Friday, February 27, 2009

New PAC to Keep Politicians Accountable



Progressive bloggers have banded with the union SEIU to form a political action committee that will pressure Democrats to actually be ... liberal, reports the New York Times.
Accountability Now, set to officially launch today (though it has been in the works, at various levels, for some time), is working with state bloggers to recruit and cultivate progressive candidates on the state level.
The name pithily sums it up: the organization will work to make politicians accountable to their constituents rather than the corporate interests so firmly entrenched in Washington. By cultivating new candidates, the organization threatens the taken-for-granted incumbency enjoyed by many in Congress (e.g. the Ned Lamont strategy).
The coalition includes MoveOn, the Service Employees International Union, DailyKos, ColorOfChange.org, Democracy for America, 21st Century Democrats and BlogPAC. Glenn Greenwald at Salon and Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake are also involved.
Greenwald wrote in a July 14, 2008, post in Salon:
Conveying to Democrats that you will support all of them no matter what they do, no matter how egregiously they trample on your values, only ensures that they will ignore your political priorities and values even more. ... Only by attaching a serious price to their enabling of these extremist, destructive policies will their behavior change.
If they are rewarded with greater control and greater comfort for doing what they've been doing, then it's just guaranteed that they'll continue to do the same thing. Only if they suffer losses and have their power threatened from this behavior will the behavior change.
From the Accountability Now PAC Web site:
Accountability Now is an organization built around a single guiding principle: Challenging the institutional power structures that make it so easy, so consequence-free for Congress to open up the government coffers for looting by corporate America while people across the country are losing their jobs and their basic constitutional rights while unable to afford basic health care.
Washington, D.C., is a town that operates on one principle -- maintaining incumbency. There is no higher orthodoxy in D.C.: Thou shalt not challenge an incumbent.
Accountability Now believes that members of Congress in both parties need to hear from their constituents and that nothing focuses the mind of a politician on listening to citizens better than a primary.
Accountability Now will target members of Congress who sell out the interests of their constituents in favor of corporations.
By recruiting progressive candidates who are tapped into the needs and interests of their constituents, the organization hopes to give [Barack] Obama more of an opportunity to stay true to his campaign promises:
Accountability Now will help create the political space needed to enable President Obama to make good on the many progressive policies he campaigned on -- such as getting out of Iraq, ensuring access to affordable health care for every man, woman and child, restoring our constitutional liberties and ending torture.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

GOP Party Of Obstructionist


Republicans will be judged by the voters. If they want to obstruct and filibuster while the economy is in free fall, the president should call their bluff and let them go at it. In the first four years after F.D.R. took over from Hoover, the already decimated ranks of Republicans in Congress fell from 36 to 16 in the Senate and from 117 to 88 in the House. The G.O.P. is so insistent that the New Deal was a mirage it may well have convinced itself that its own sorry record back then didn't happen either.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Religious Right's New Demand: Stop Calling Us the Religious Right





It seems that leaders of the Religious Right are tired of being associated with the Religious Right because nobody likes the Religious Right. Unfortunately for them, they are the Religious Right and that is what we are going to keep calling them, especially now that they are saying we should stop calling them that.

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The Right's Agenda Under Obama




Yesterday we received a fund-raising letter from the Family Research Council in which FRC President Tony Perkins warned that the Democratic leaders in the White House and Congress are "the most radically liberal in the history of our country" but that FRC will be at "maximum strength" to fight back an "seize the opportunities God has given us."

Perkins crows that FRC has already "scared away the Left from their plan for an all-out blitz to pass their entire wish list of nightmarish legislation in the first 100 days" but ominously warns that "[President] Obama and the Left are [still] insidiously planning to destroy your values and freedoms piece by piece under the radar."

"If our side shows any softness," he warns, Democrats will ram through bills that will destroy everything they hold dear and, as such, it is vitally important that people not only send donations but also fill out the enclosed "Values Voter National Survey on Faith, Family, Freedom, and Other Major National Issues in America."

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Conservatives are Beating Us...

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Dear Progressive Voter:
Conservatives are Beating Us...
For every 100 phone calls to Congress from conservatives trying to obstruct change, there is only 1 phone call from a progressive demanding passage of President Obama's economic recovery bill. We won't get change unless your Senators hear from you NOW! Call 1-866-544-7573 and demand economic recovery NOW!
100 to 1. We've gotten word from our progressive friends on Capitol Hill that for every one hundred phone calls to Congress from conservatives trying to obstruct change, there is only one phone call from a citizen demanding passage of President Obama's economic recovery bill.
Backed by this conservative grassroots pressure, Senate Republicans are moving rapidly as a block to obstruct - pushing reforms that are designed essentially to make the plan fail. They're demanding that billions be cut from a plan that, if anything, is already too small, and that more be diverted to top-end tax cuts.
That's not how you create jobs or counter a recession.
We can't allow this partisan posturing in the midst of a national crisis. Progressives need to pick up the phone now to counter the onslaught of calls pouring into the Senate from conservatives.
Consider what conservatives might succeed in passing if they continue to out-call us 100 to 1:
  • Giving corporations a 30% tax cut, instead of investing in clean green energy that will put people to work.
  • $3.1 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy that we know simply don't work to create jobs.
  • Less help for states that will be forced to lay off workers, instead of funds to retain police and teachers.
This is not the change America is demanding. It's the same failed Bush policies that drove us to economic disaster. It's time to get to work. This is the first big battle of the Obama administration, and we've got to reignite the fight for change.
Most Americans support a big and bold bill that creates jobs, generates clean energy, modernizes infrastructure, makes education and health care more affordable and protects state governments from slashing services.
But that message is getting drowned out in Washington as conservatives out-organize us and bury Congress in calls. We need to respond!
On the night Barack Obama was elected President, he said, "This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you."
And it cannot happen if we let conservatives out maneuver us on this pivotal first fight 100 to 1. If we want to turn change from a slogan to reality, we must speak up. Now.
Sincerely,
Robert L. Borosage, Co-Director

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Monday, February 02, 2009

The Republican Death Spiral, in Graphic Form

From: FiveThirtyEight.com

To add a little bit of rigor to the point I made this morning, take a look at the following:



This is a diagram of the partisan composition of the 109th and 111th Congresses. The 435 Congressional Districts are arranged from left (most Democratic) to right (most Republican) based on their PVI -- that is, partisan voting patterns in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential Elections.

We see that most of the damage to the Republican Party has come in moderate districts. Not a big surprise really, but -- the numbers are fairly jarring. There are 81 districts with a PVI of between D+3 and R+3: these are your prototypical swing districts. After the 2004 elections, Republicans controlled 54 of these 81 seats and Democrats 27. Following November's elections, however, the ratio had almost exactly reversed itself: 55 Democrats and 26 Republicans.

There's More...



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