Today the DNC launches their convention in Charlotte, NC. This also marks the 4th anniversary of this blog which was launched at the 2008 DNC convention in Denver. Different kind of convention and energy. Eclectique916.com isn’t boycotting the conventions this year, just taking care of business closer to home. Even the blog has to ask itself, “where do we go from here?” Eclectique916.com is attracting over 1,000 unique readers each month. That’s a real convention bump from where this blog started.
The DNC released their 2012 platform in a tidy online format that you can read in its entirety or just the bits you want. I’ll post some bits from the platform here.
Arts and Culture. Democrats are proud of our support for arts funding and education. We are committed to continuing the policies and programs that have already done so much for our creative arts industry and economy. Investment in the arts strengthens our communities and contributes to our nation’s rich cultural heritage. We will continue to support public funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and for programs providing art and music education in primary and secondary schools. The entire nation prospers when we protect and promote the unique and original artistic and cultural contributions of the women and men who create and preserve our nation’s heritage.
Labor should be pleased. BTW there was a Labor Day parade in Charlotte yesterday.
Democrats believe that the right to organize and collectively bargain is a fundamental American value; every American should have a voice on the job and a chance to negotiate for a fair day’s pay after a hard day’s work.
The platform is built around the
nice ideas goals (including the ones from 2008), lessons (now scripted into goals), and policies of the party’s undisputed and unchallenged candidate, President Barack Obama. If there’s any lesson the DNC has learned over the years is to know when to gather under the big tent. But protest and descension are also part of the party culture in their post-Dixie-crat incarnation. It’s not that Tampa didn’t get their share of protesters and party crashers (The Ron Paul people pulled it off from the inside.) Weather conditions will make it easier in Charlotte for demonstrators and the media. Plus the party who has the power at the top of the chain, has to expect a response to policies enacted, and promises delayed/unkept during President Obama’s first term.
Where is this party going? Who are the party’s new faces? The next generation? We’ll see tonight. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will give the keynote. He is the first Hispanic American to deliver the keynote at a Democratic convention. But you have to ask if being a “first” in 2012 is something to stand up and cheer about.
BTW Julian has an identical twin brother, Joaquin, who is a state Representative. This could get interesting.
Rule #1 for a political convention: kick it off with a diversity theme. The Hispanic vote is a hot topic with non-Hispanic pundits every four years. First Lady Michelle Obama has women and maybe military families (omitted from the RNC convention) covered. Hopefuly, there won’t be any empty chairs inside the convention hall.
*in photo, Julian Castro is on the left (striped tie); Joaquin is on the right (blue tie).
A White House Twitter town hall may have the advantage of limiting comments to succinct 40 word questions, and add another first for the 44th President. After tweeting with the American people, the President’s Weekly, turns to the Congress to get the job done.
Ideology seems to keep everyone in lock step. Republicans will not raise or add any taxes under any circumstances coupled with some political gamesmanship for the 2012 elections; some Democrats will not make any concessions on benefits, even though many years ago, a prominent, well-admired Democrat said:
We must frankly acknowledge our complicity in the creation of the unconscionable budget deficit and recognize that to seriously address it will put entitlements at risk. The idea of justice between generations mandates such acknowledgment and more. The baby boomers and their progeny have a right to a secure future. We must be willing to sacrifice for growth – provided there is equity in sacrifice. Equity means all will sacrifice – equally. That includes the retiree living on a fixed income, the day laborer, the corporate executive, the college professor, the Member of Congress…all means all.
Barbara Jordan, 1992 DNC Convention
At today’s press conference, President Obama said,
I do not see a path to a deal if they don’t budge, period. I mean, if the basic proposition is “it’s my way or the highway,” then we’re probably not going to get something done because we’ve got divided government. We’ve got Democrats controlling the Senate; we probably are going to need Democratic votes in the House for any package that could possibly pass. And so if, in fact, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are sincere — and I believe they are — that they don’t want to see the U.S. government default, then they’re going to have to compromise just like Democrats are going to have to compromise; just like I have shown myself willing to compromise.
“Sacrifice” and “compromise” — at this rate, can “austerity” be far behind?
I’m still trying to figure out how obstructionism is the most effective strategy especially when its played out to the point of just shutting down any and everything. President Obama specifically calls out Republican “leadership” for obstructing the work of getting the nation’s business done. Here are some of the things left hanging on the “to do” list:
- Extension of unemployment benefits
- Relief provisions to states
- Home buyer credits
- Jobs programs
- Raising the liability cap on oil companies (as BP’s mess continues to spread)
- 136 appointments to administration positions
You start to wonder with a President expecting the Congress to function as part of a functioning democracy, have they determined that the job’s just too hot for them to handle in these rough times and during mid term elections? Are the stakes too high for mistakes that can make or break you? Is it just easier to force the hand of the executive office to call all the shots and then shoot down the decisions to turn the political tide?
So whose ass should be kicked to get the nation’s business done? Or is it up to the American people to do more than watch, but move the gridlockers to [as the old timers said] “S**t or get off the pot!”
I’m behind on my President’s Weekly due to so many other things on my plate and of course the news and other distractions of the past week. I’m so focused on work (thankfully) and the “what next” of health care reform that I didn’t have time to fully address the meaning and impact of the recent Supreme Court ruling on campaign contributions from corporations or unions. Unlike the President, I don’t have a staff to take care of my daily requirements.
What I have heard loud and clear is the moaning, agonizing and hand wringing posturing of Democrats, liberals and progressive politicos — not all, but the ones closet to the microphone. Mike Lux of Progressive Strategies is one of the true blue exceptions. Read his blog post here. Like Mike I fired off a series of “get off your butts” letters to several party leaders. Am I angry? You betcha.
But here’s my bumper sticker observation: “American Democracy is the art of the loophole.” While there are many who are angry and crushed by the week’s events with the Supreme Court ruling being the final blow, others are already in strategy mode on how to reap benefits from the current situation. They understand “the art of the loophole.” For example, unions are benefiting from the Supreme Court decision. Is anyone painting them as a potential hostile influence on the democratic process, or are 2010 candidates going to cultivate those relationships while the lawmakers and advocates work to put the principles of the bipartisan McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform into an amendment? Read Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) statement about the decision here. I couldn’t find anything related to the Supreme Court ruling on Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) website. Nothing on his 2010 campaign site either.
Television stations may also benefit by selling airtime. Hey, how are those station workers feeling about this decision and job security now?
Who benefits? Who loses? What are the short term gains and long-term disasters? These were questions attorney Charles Hamilton Houston posed to communities seeking to desegregate schools in the U.S. He didn’t live to see the outcome, but he mentored the lawyers to push it through. And even that Supreme Court decision came with a loophole thrown in to calm segregationist fears – “at all deliberate speed.”
The question is how do you use the “loophole” to your advantage? Trust me. Banks and business have figured this one out. Has the electorate?
One thing the founding fathers had in their favor that many lawmakers today lack is long-term vision. The Constitution is structured in a way that accommodates change. They knew the U.S.A. would not be the same country down the road that they created and inhabited in their lifetimes. They understood there had to be a process, or loopholes, to sustain a democracy as it grows and alters. We can have the debate on whether or not the Constitution is a living document. I just find the “free speech” argument interesting whereas art exhibits or demonstrations are shut down, and additional rights are granted to private companies to influence outcomes in policy and elections. And more often than not the company’s right to “free speech” also is to the benefit of the company’s own interests.
I also believe the White House needs to communicate a concise, clear message and own it. This may be the wisdom of failure moment. Fortunately it’s the first year and not the 2nd or 3rd. But there’s catching up to do. Sure, it’s a balancing act between convening the civic dialogue and dictating it. I find even people in-the-know don’t know everything, and yes you have to connect the dots loud and often. For example, healthcare reform and jobs are connected. Polls are moving the framing to one is more important than the other. I believe it was a good move for the Obama White House to bring David Plouffe back onto the field. There is no good defense when you’re not playing offense.
Republican State Senator Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat occupied by Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy since 1962 (until his death last year) in a special election against state Attorney General Martha Coakley. Brown came away with 52%; Coakley 47%. Republicans gleeful; Democrats demoralized and begin to take their usual places in the circular firing squad.
How did he do it, this Scott Brown when he was trailing by double digits in polls months ago? How did he do it in a “liberal blue state”? (Even though Massachusetts has its “Massassippi” moments – yes I have a few roots and connections there so I know.)
Markos of Daily Kos has a brilliant and insightful answer of how Brown took it from Coakley:
There’s several messages to learn from this fiasco, but chief among them — if you decide to run for office, then respect the freakin’ voters and work your ass off for their vote. They are angry, frustrated, and looking for a sign that you get their concerns. Going on vacation doesn’t cut it. Campaigning your heart out gets you a good of the way there.
Last night I was tracking the campaign online until Coakley conceded close to the 10 PM hour. Not only was it my bedtime, I guess it was her’s as well. This local Bay State election was framed outside the state on saving or killing “health care reform.” But what’s amazing to me is out side that and the party affiliation frame, unless I was reading the Boston Globe or other MA news outlets daily (and I’m not sure even about that), I had no idea what either candidate stands for in terms of policy.
Based on new reports, smears, and other media, here’s what I had in hand about Coakley:
- Party affiliation – Democrat.
- Current job – state attorney general of Massachusetts.
- Will be the crucial vote on health care by keeping the 60 seat majority if elected to the U.S. Senate.
- Doesn’t know a Red Sox player from a Yankee fan. (Unless that was a joke that batted 0)
- She’ a woman.
- She’s white or Euro-American.
- Not high on shaking hands outside Fenway Park.
- Pretty tough on dirty white collar types – read a decent litigator.
Here’s what I knew about Scott Brown:
- Party affiliation – Republican.
- Current job – state senator for Massachusetts.
- Drives a pick up truck.
- Has been seen at Tea Party rallies (affiliation with Tea Party is TBD).
- Posted nude for Cosmopolitan back in the day (centerfold nude).
- Got pecks (or had them).
- He’s a man.
- He’s white or Euro-American
- Married a TV news reporter.
- Daughter was on “American Idol.”
- Wants people to believe he’s the next JFK. (Hopefully Brown’s middle initial isn’t an “O”).
- Voted at least 90% of the time with his state party – on what, I have no idea.
- Will vote down any and all health care and insurance reform if elected to the U.S. Senate.
- Maybe pro-choice with limitations (based on past record; but this is a wait and see now).
Was this an election or a beauty pageant?
Now that we have the outcome, it’s time to get on with the nation’s business. Democrats calling for a stop time on everything to lick their wounds and/or back off in fear of 2010 are not about the nation’s business. As someone advised me about the entertainment business, “People like to see the hustle.” That’s what Scott Brown gave the people in Massachusetts. From my perspective Coakley’s team ran a Hillary ’08 campaign – they took it for granted and didn’t build on their momentum and lead.
Coakley’s pollster Celinda Lake blames the Obama administration.
“If Scott Brown wins tonight he’ll win because he became the change-oriented candidate. Voters are still voting for the change they voted for in 2008, but they want to see it. And right now they think they’ve got economic policies for Washington that are delivering more for banks than Main Street.”
I guess Lake doesn’t want to work in politics anymore, at least with the DNC. As my folks used to say, “Every tub has to stand on its own bottom.” Good time to link to my post on the Wisdom of Failure; and this post is a good companion piece too. I’ll turn the final word over to Jon Stewart for the “just desserts.” (January 18, 2010). In the mean time, I gotta hustle!
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|