COMMENT ON: Bill Halter Running For Arkansas Senate: Progressive Democrat To Challenge Blanche Lincoln

The comments I’ve read so far, if they are representative, are good news for the replacement of Blue Dogs by progressives. We badly need this movement. I wonder if the move in Arkansas will stimulate Sen. Lincoln to positive action now so she can say she was with the progressives when it counted.

Regardless, progressive challenges to Blue Dogs should be where it’s at in 2010. And hopefully will be.

If the GOP continues as the party of NO, there’s NO telling who will win, despite the media disposition to dream of a GOP landslide.

Read the Article I am commenting on at HuffingtonPost

Read HP comments on this comment here.

pattern language, politics

Toward A New White House Militancy

How bi-partisan can you be if you are opposing every Republican in sight. It is easy. In fact the entire instilling of a new White House militancy can be achieved by:

1, Bringing John Dean back in some key role. Like the DNC. Tim Kaine has been invisible. He is a man of great ability who should have a job more suited to his laid-back style. Dean would signal that the President is willing to work with progressives. We know he has always been that way. But the media?

2. Put David Plouffe into a conspicuous partnership role. David Plouffe was half the Obama winning team. When someone is needed to speak for the President, David Axelrod does not cut it with his ums and ahs. Sorry David. I can tell you do not like the role either. Plouffe has RFK instincts. That’s a talent for saying things in language the public can understand. Meaning well does not cut it. A new militancy requires a willingness to grasp the underlying issue by the throat and squeeze hard.

3. The big underlying issue is that Obama remains a person whose interest in social justice and fairness is balanced by a radical individualism that is typically associated with conservatives. We cannot let his bridge building potential fade as the media accuse him of vacating it for a new militancy. The new militancy is precisely taking back the flag of a new politics. Plouffe articulates it best.

4. The final key is to be honest about the amount of change that is needed. I believe this may be the underlying problem facing the President. We are a nation awash in personal debt and drugs. These are individual problems as well as social issues. We are a nation that needs to stop relying on oil and to end our dependence on an unsustainable automobile-metrosprawl economy.

We will only have the new jobs we need when we are pointed not toward recovery but toward creation of a sustainable economy which is not drug saturated and in permanent debt and which is taking an ecologically sound route to a recreation of community.



A Sensible Analysis of Why Dems Are Happy after The Senate Vote

From Eric Alterman here. Read the whole thing to get the whole argument.

But why then, are (most) Democrats so happy and (all) Republicans so glum this Christmas? My guess is that Democrats are gambling on exactly the same ground that so worried William Kristol 16 years ago. They’ve redefined the playing field of American politics to ground that is inherently favorable to their team. When Americans complain about their health care in the future, are they going to look to the party that wants to do nothing to fix it? No, they’re going to go with the side of political activism and government involvement. The other side, after all, isn’t even in the game. Republicans had their chance and all they could say was “Bah Humbug.”


Of course this is not over yet, though the Alterman piece argues for a Pelosi effort to let the Senate bill get through the House unscathed.

I would continue to maintain that if the House situation dissolves over Stupak issues, a more liberal compromise might be reached and the Senate would either pass it with 60 votes, of as likely, things would move to reconciliation as I have assumed from the start.

Either way things look OK for the Dems and even better for those who can be identified as enthusiastic for health care reform. I think even the ladies from Maine will be vulnerable to Democrats.

Reinstall Plouffe either at DNC or in the White House Rahm position and I will have a completely happy new year.


House Democrats Who Voted NO on Health Care Reform


The following Democratic members of the House voted NO on Health Care Reform. The complete list of all votes is here.

Jason Altmire D PA-4
John Adler D NJ-3
Rick Boucher D VA-9
Brian Baird D WA-3
John Barrow D GA-12
Dan Boren D OK-2
John Boccieri D OH-16
Bobby Bright D AL-2
Ben Chandler D KY-6
Travis Childers D MS-1
Lincoln Davis D TN-4
Artur Davis D AL-7
Chet Edwards D TX-17
Bart Gordon D TN-6
Tim Holden D PA-17
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin D SD-1
Dennis J. Kucinich D OH-10
Larry Kissell D NC-8
Suzanne Kosmas D FL-24
Frank Kratovil Jr. D MD-1
Mike McIntyre D NC-7
Jim Matheson D UT-2
Jim Marshall D GA-8
Charlie Melancon D LA-3
Betsy Markey D CO-4
Eric Massa D NY-29
Michael E. McMahon D NY-13
Walt Minnick D ID-1
Scott Murphy D NY-20
Glenn Nye D VA-2
Collin C. Peterson D MN-7
Mike Ross D AR-4
Ike Skelton D MO-4
John Tanner D TN-8
Gene Taylor D MS-4
Harry Teague D NM-2


An Open Note To David Plouffe

REMARKABLE (Update): Evidently criticism of Arianna is not permitted in Huffington Post comments. That is her right. It is her site. You will need to judge whether the statement below is so injurious that it warrants censorship. I posted this there in hopes it would get to the author of the column.

SECOND UPDATE (Wed. Afternoon) David Plouffe on John Stewart — a great appearance BTW — explained exactly what I have not really known. He had some serious need for down time after the election. A new child in particular. He said today that he expects the phone to ring and he will be back in the active Obama camp. That makes Tim Kaine a placeholder IMO. Unless the decision is to make OFA a separate entity and rev it up.  Another example of the virtue of patience and taking the longer view.

Dear David,

Good to see you taking Arianna to task. She has consistently used Obama as a whipping boy to promote a naive notion of liberalism. I applaud the following:


But I do wish you were more in the fray yourself. I have turned into a broken record on the subject. Obama needs you at the head of the Democratic Party, remoulding it. With all due respect to the OFA folk who have tried to take up the mantle, the results have been less than good.

The issue is not just organizing. It is strategy and framing the attack on the Republicans. We lucked out in NY 23 yesterday. Anything less would have put egg on our face big time.

Go into the Oval Office.  Say you are ready to take up the cudgel again. Send Tim Kaine to the Peace Corps or some other job for which he is suited. Bring some never-tested RFK-type moxie to the priogressive argument so it will not merely be a karmic dance with the hapless MSM.

In short take up your half of the job that was the campaign.

That is what is missing from your rejoinder to Ms. Huffington.


Disgust With Both Parties Could Lead to A Democratic Rout in 2010

Read This

My reasoning is simple.

The pattern may turn out to be Conservative candidates running against the GOP and primary candidates challenging Democrats.

If the fights in both parties tend this way, the Democrats win hands down. Almost no third party candidate wins. The sad exception last time was Lieberman who got defeated in the Democratic primary.

I believe the electoral dissent will boil over on the Republican side and result in third party runs by defeated GOP primary candidates. If Democrats avoid this pattern they have a lock both Senate and House.

The disgust with both parties comes from two different perceptions. Progressives are tired of bought and paid for Democrats. And the wingnut shrunken Republicans simply want to destroy the party they are ruining every time they open their mouths.

The best thing is that there is a majority that leans toward the Obama agenda. If that changes we are in deep trouble. We would be where we were when the minor dark age we live in was sealed in 1968.

I believe that fate will pass us by. Dems need to hang tough and keep battles within the party.

Republicans will be unable to. That means their fate is worse than it even is today.


Obama Agenda Is The Popular Will — Blue Dogs and GOP Take Note

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

My comment.

Washington Post: “Democrats have a large enough majority to pass bills without any GOP support, but they are grappling with internal divisions …Obama would like at least some Republican backing on key measures …”

There are several issues here.

First, In terms of health care and other major Obama agenda items, the country favors the Obama proposals. On health care this would include the public option.

Second, if this is the case, Blue Dog Democrats will need to think very carefully about going against the President. They could well be outflanked by Obama-favoring candidates in the future.

Third, the same goes for Repubicans who oppose the President. They face outright defeat at the hands of Democrats whose election will increase the current majority.

The difference between now and the past, when off-year elections went to the party out of power, is that the GOP is bereft of anything but ridicule and negation. They can argue the fiscal POV. But this is dicey because we may need for even further government commitment to move toward a new economy.

All told, the President is being pushed toward more progressive positions. Happily, these are positions he has always held. Both Blue Dogs and Republicans should see that they are potentially the losers if they oppose the Obama Agenda.


The President made it plain that Health Care Reform would “tax” everyone some. He did not use the forbidden word; He meant everyone would have to suffer some, to achieve the universality we need and the fiscal stability that is necessary. Now we see people saying not me. Sorry. He meant everyone. I have little doubt that this need for mutual sacrifice will be a major note of the President’s efforts to resolve this when he is back from his travels.