English: Seal of the President of the United S...

English: Seal of the President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Personal Note to the President of the United States, Monday, 6/4/2012

Dear President Obama,

I got the tweet from you the other day.  Something or other about the election in Wisconsin.  Honestly, my first reaction was, really? Your first comment on Tom Barrett in a tweet?  I know Wisconsin only has 10 electoral votes, but democrats across the country have been watching and wondering where the love is for the grass roots of the party.  Wisconsin put a lot on the line and there is barely any acknowledgement from the leader of the party.

When Bill Clinton came to Wisconsin, I was thinking, wow, President Obama must be busy.  But for once, I have to say that Scott Walker was right when he wondered why you would come so close to Wisconsin and yet remain so far away.   The hardworking folks in Wisconsin who have put lives and reputation on the line to protect their rights deserve more than 140 characters.

I don’t know who is going to win the Wisconsin recall.  I just know how good it felt to have some old figures in the party come and advocate for the people.  I just wish you could see how it would only give you the high ground in the debate if you would just take the political upper hand in this situation.  The people of Wisconsin are correct to rise up and demand accountability from their elected officials.  In an era where a few anonymous wealthy contributors can tip the playing field 25 to 1, you have a responsibility to get in and play hard for the team .

I don’t know the entire situation you face of course.   It just seems though that by visiting the neighboring states at such a crucial time, you appear to be ‘nibbling at the edges’ and avoiding going for the goal.  If you are going to face criticism, however, it is better to face it for doing the right thing.

Addendum, Tuesday 6/5/2012

The depressing results have come in and I’ve listened to the concessions and acceptances and the pundits analyses.  I don’t blame you for not playing in the campaign.  I do think GWB would have come into the fray had the shoe been on the other foot.  Ah, but then comes back up the shoe metaphoric thing.  It’s easy to see a coldness in the regard of the President toward the Unions of Wisconsin.  I hope  we don’t see a replay of the 2010 election where a dejected progressive electorate fails to turn out.   I just think you missed an opportunity to fight the good fight and even if it was a loser, be on the correct side and help shine a spotlight on the truth.

Then again, maybe you have already decided that you cannot fight the mass of cash and media arrayed against you.

Still hoping for some change, fellow citizen, Joe Blunt

 

 

Republicans for Obama

Republicans for Obama (Photo credit: EN2008)

Why does the GOP think they can push unpopular laws through?  We have seen limits passed on access to contraception and invasive laws designed to humiliate women who are seeking abortions.   The polling on these issues is conclusive.   Why do Republicans think they can stir up these contentious issues in an election year?  The prevailing wisdom before this year of breathtaking rollbacks in womens health rights has been that these issues are pushed in off election years.  Has the Right become so drunk with power, holding the majority of assets in the nation and using significant amounts to control access to government and outcomes of elections.   Do they believe they are going to be able to buy the elections or control the vote?

Apparently, they think the time is ripe to pull back the curtain a little to bring in more followers on a moral issue that they can claim is a high ground.  It is an absolutist posture that appeals to someone who does not want to think about the issue.  Oh we’ll hear the various politicians walk back from these extremes.  Mitt is starting to pivot back to the middle but make no mistake, we got to see some holy righteous bare ankle of the extremism of the GOP during their primary.

The GOP trifles with these moral quandaries and does nothing to recover the economy .  Also, they have taken the fight to contraception, the very practice that helps reduce abortions.  They must think we’re pretty dumb huh?  Maybe they just think they have the whole election thing ‘locked up’.  Make no mistake, just like Scott Walker, all these GOP players are wearing long frocks before entering office.  We don’t get to see the whole show until they make it there.  We only get to see their ugly proselytizing souls bared after they attain office.  We have seen enough to say there is definitely a misogynist,racially biased and homophobic agenda lurking behind the curtain.

The GOP is working all the angles and the Dems are days late and billions short.  It is a nearly vertical challenge, but rubber on the road, sweat and tears may still prevail.  If the people do not come together to solidly reject the GOP this years election, we will see the rollback of the 20th century and the ascendency of the robber barons of the new millennium.

An image of John Boehner at the AT&T National ...

Image via Wikipedia

We have had the House of Representatives ruled by the GOP for over a year now.   I thought it might be instructive to review their year of inaction.  This list is by no means exhaustive and I’m sure someone else could better research and document the year in review.  My point in doing this is that this congress began with John Boehner yelling ‘where are the jobs?’  Did that yelling help your job search?

Here is what the GOP really wants to spend their time on:

  • In God We Trust
  • Terminate taxpayer voluntary funding of presidential campaigns
  • Repeal the Health Care act
  • Eliminate funding for NPR and PBS
  • Install a statue of Gerald Ford in the capitol
  • Terminate the Emergency Mortgage Relief program
  • Terminate the FHA Refinance Program
  • Eliminate tax funds for Planned Parenthood
  • Defund provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care act
  • Prevent the EPA from addressing climate change due to greenhouse gases
  • Refuse to continue funding the government and jeopardizing the bond ratings of US Treasury bills.
  • Eliminate rules concerning the use of pesticides near water as regulated in the Water Pollution act
  • Deregulate clean air rules for oil drilling and refining
  • Fund non public elementary charter schools and CIA pensions
  • Eliminate financial transparency for the judicial branch
  • Balanced budget amendment to the constitution
  • Further deregulate Wall St
  • Defang rules established by executive order
  • Allow increases to payroll taxes

Don’t get me wrong, while I am opposed to most of these provisions, I am ambivalent to a few of these.  Back to my point though, where is the major jobs creation bill that was proposed and debated on the floor of the House?

Like I said, this is not an exhaustive list.  I think I forgot to include the ‘Improving the golf handicap act of 2011′.

Cover of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

Obama did not get much of anything he wanted despite the emerging right wing talking point to the opposite.   He has had to put a brave face on a record level of congressional obstruction not seen in history before his administration.  Even though the dems held both house and senate for two years, not much happened without huge give aways to the right wing.  This is because nearly every effort to pass bills through the senate was barricaded by the GOP with by procedural delays such as calls for quorum and threats of a filibuster.

The only stimulus bill to help get the economy back on track was passed in the last days of the Bush administration.  After Obama’s inauguration, conservatives have actively blocked any further attempts by the congressional majority to help along a more successful economic recovery.  The GOP needs to have a crisis they can try to blame on Obama.

The 1939 movie with James Stuart,  ‘Mr Smith Goes to Washington’ dramatized the use of the filibuster as it came into uncommon use.  In a filibuster, senators may hold the floor and speak out on any subject for as long as they wish purely to obstruct the debate on the bill from going forward.

In recent years, the senate leadership has preferred to avoid the filibuster in order to proceed on other business.  For the convenience of allowing debate on other issues, it went from being a process requiring all day and all night speech on the floor to a short procedure, after which the senator may exit the door.

Until the senate leadership changes its policy on avoiding the filibuster, all the senator must do these days is threaten the filibuster and force a motion for cloture and the issue is closed.   Now that it is such an easy process, the GOP has used it to hold off Democratic initiatives such as the various jobs bills.  The cloture process has been used more in the last two years than in all preceding years combined.  This is an abuse of this arcane parliamentary procedure allowing the GOP to obstruct the recovery of our economy.

The current leadership should call the bluff of the GOP threats to filibuster and force them to stand in the well of the senate until their bladders explode and all phone books have been read into the record.   Maybe then we will see a rollback in the use of this procedure.

Filibuster Chart, Talking Points Memo, Brian Beutler

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