Tag Archive: midterm elections

For Progressives There Is a Path to Escape the Curse

Republicans: “Their bumper sticker . . . it’s one word: ‘No.’ . . . Our bumper sticker has – it’s just way too many words. And it says, ‘Continued on next bumper ­sticker.’ “ – Senator Al Franken

Governor Christie can enunciate his position on ARC in a few words, “We can’t afford the cost overruns,” but progressives list many reasons why ARC is essential. He can dismiss women’s healthcare clinics with five words, “We don’t have the money,” whereas, progressives offer five reasons to the contrary. No doubts nor nuances in his mind, Christie just executes a quick visceral punch – a sound bite – that captures support. Senate President Sweeney can also get right to the point as when he said regarding the millionaire’s tax, “Seniors and the disabled are worth fighting for.”

In a recent study in the Journal of Politics researchers from Harvard and UC San Diego hypothesized, “Indivuduals with a genetic predisposition toward seeking out new experiences will tend to be more liberal, but only if they are embedded in a social context that provides them with multiple points of view.” After genetically testing and studying 2,574 people, the researchers determined that it is the interaction of two factors – a dopamine gene variant and the environmental condition of having many friends in adolescence – that is associated with being more liberal. Learning about the genetic aspect is interesting. But it is the co-factor of “multiple points of view” which can often be our curse.

In the current election cycle Tea Party activists reduce the federal healthcare legislation to “socialism.” Obama struggles too hard to emphasize its many advantages, and liberals with multiple points of view mull over its many aspects and bemoan it did not go far enough. In addition to tough economic times, it is our own flailing, complaints and inaction that are leading us toward disappointing midterm results and into next year’s legislative elections.  

The liberal in me may want to talk about poverty in NJ and its many causes and solutions, but the realist in me says I have to connect viscerally, not complain, organize others, speak succinctly, and go for the jugular. A friend of mine who years ago used to sell encyclopedias door-to-door loved the idea of his product’s ability to provide people with a vast array of information. However, he was paid on a commission basis, so he quickly learned that information and ideas would only succeed if he could sell them.  

COFFEE TALK with Linda Richman

On this quiet morning, looking forward to tonight’s Saturday Night Live and tomorrow’s Boardwalk Empire, and in the midst of Midterm Madness, let’s gather for COFFEE TALK. You can think of me as Linda Richman, with a bad hair day and saddened by no news about Barbra Streisand in weeks.

“Give me a call, we’ll talk, no big whoop  …  Caller # 1 you say that Irishman “Nucky” Thompson is so smooth, he’s almost like buttah  …  Caller # 2  you say Christie has left you with shpilkis in your genechtagazoink  ….  Caller # 3 you say about midterm elections, Please every single day different polls. Oy vey.

“Well, I’m afraid that Christie’s whopper on ARC, the thrill of another evening with “Nucky,” and the direction of the upcoming midterm elections have left me a little faklempt  …  Talk amongst yourselves.

“I give you two topics:

    Midterm madness is neither midterm nor madness.

    or

    Compare and contrast Chris Christie and “Nucky” Thompson.

Discuss among yourselves.”

                                             Then revisit a classic SNL skit.

No Time for Complacency

Promoted by Rosi

Cross Posted on Daily Kos

It sometimes feels like a political eternity has gone by since President Obama was sworn-in with a Democratic Congress last January.  After sweeping into office with the most electoral votes since L.B.J in 1964, our country was poised to turn the page on the failed policies of the past. A little over a year later, we have made a lot of progress and realized important achievements on issues long neglected by the Republicans.

In fact, the 111th Congress is on pace to pass more legislation than any Congress since the Great Society.  We provided the biggest middle-class tax cut in history. We saved and created millions of jobs with the American Investment and Recovery Act. We signed the Worker, Homeownership & Business Assistance Act into law, and we ensured fair pay for women in the workplace with the Lilly Ledbetter Act. We passed a green jobs bill that will cut carbon emissions. We also protected consumers with the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights. And just last week we voted to repeal the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies.

But there is much more to do. This Congress and this President are on path to do more.  True to their pattern of siding with special interests, the Republican obstructionists are fighting hard to turn back the clock to the policies that caused so much harm to begin with. We need to fight back.

The losses over the last year – Senator Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, as well as the gubernatorial races in Virginia and right here in New Jersey-show that there are political obstacles.  We can clearly see that those who stand opposed to reforming health care, protecting the environment and creating good jobs for American workers are well-funded and highly motivated. We can learn from those political setbacks and use them to motivate more people to join us in the fight for more progress.

Two years ago, special interest groups poured $1 billion into American elections – mostly trying to discredit Barack Obama and Democratic candidates.  This year  their influence could even be more pernicious. I’m sure you’re aware the Supreme Court recently issued a ruling removing all limits on corporate money.  This will open the floodgates and give corporations unchecked influence over our political process. Big business – even those owned by foreign entities – can now crack open their treasure chests to buy as much television time and as many direct mail pieces as they want to help out their handpicked candidates.  Washington Republicans and right-wing challengers will most assuredly reap the benefits – since they’ve been staunch advocate for tax giveaways to the wealthy and the companies they represent.  America is already struggling with the worst recession since the Great Depression, caused in large part by the reckless behavior of big business. The last thing our nation needs is for these same companies to be able to buy elections and undermine our political process.