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Democrats on the Edge of a Midterm Disaster

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Posted on Sep 7, 2010
carlyforcalifornia.com

Carly in charge?: Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, pictured, could bring Barbara Boxer down in November.

By Bill Boyarsky

The nation’s problems—war and unemployment—are badly damaging the Democrats, even on the Pacific Coast, which President Barack Obama won easily in 2008. And Obama himself, reacting slowly and indecisively, is contributing to the challenges his party faces in November.

Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer of California and Patty Murray of Washington are in trouble. Only Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon appears safe. If Boxer and Murray lose, Republican chances of winning the Senate are greatly strengthened, given the trouble facing some other Democrats around the country. Add that to potential Democratic loss of the House, and the Republicans could take over with their pro-oil and help-the-rich agenda. 

Boxer’s plight is a perfect example of the Democrats’ problems. As the year began, she was favored to win. If she had held on to her lead, the Democratic Party could have turned its attention elsewhere. But her chances sunk with the economy. Today, with unemployment in California at 12.2 percent, almost three points above the national average, she is about even in the polls against her opponent, Carly Fiorina.

Boxer rose from the Marin County Board of Supervisors to the House and finally the Senate in 1992. Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co. from 1999 until she was ousted in 2005, is counting on the bad economy and hostility to Washington for a victory. This is how she puts it: “Barbara Boxer’s taxpayer-funded big-government bailouts have failed to make a positive difference for our economy.”

Not very inspiring, but the economy is so bad she may not have to say much more. And she’s getting help. American Crossroads, the group led by Karl Rove, the former adviser to President George Bush, has already put $1 million into a television ad erroneously claiming that Boxer voted to cut Medicare benefits by $500 billion, according to the Annenberg School of Public Policy’s Factcheck.org.

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The difficulties the Democrats are having in fashioning a rebuttal were apparent on a recent morning when Boxer sat at a conference table in a stuffy room in Los Angeles City Hall next to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. They were there to promote a job-creating initiative that could help Boxer.

It’s a great idea and a simple one. Los Angeles voters approved a sales tax increase in 2008 to complete a subway line, build other rail lines and improve highways. It was to take 30 years to finish the work. The mayor’s staff recently proposed borrowing money against sales tax receipts with the federal government guaranteeing the loans. With the local tax dollars repaying the loans, the plan wouldn’t require federal funds. And the work would be done in 10 years rather than 30, and create 166,000 construction jobs. Work could start quickly. The plan is now under consideration by Congress.

“Everything we do has to be job-focused,” said Boxer.

This proposal should be a plus for her. But as I sat in the back of the room and listened, I could see why she is in trouble. Although the idea is simple, the transportation bureaucrats and financial industry people (who would sell the bonds for the borrowing) made it complicated. So did Boxer, who lost me in a tangled description of congressional obstacles, as did the others.

I didn’t understand why there would be any obstacles. You’d think the administration would be rushing this through. Where was a cheerleader representing the president at the event? It’s as if the White House doesn’t see the coming disaster.

The administration is coming in with too little, too late. Rather than fighting for a big stimulus package last year, the Obama team waited for its limited steps to work. Now, on Labor Day, the president proposed spending $50 billion in the near future to create jobs rebuilding roads, railways and airport runways. But voters understand this will not help end unemployment quickly.

Without immediate solutions, Boxer is attacking Fiorina and hoping that the novice politician will foul up before Election Day.

“Barbara Boxer, people know her,” said Kam Kuwata, who is helping run a Democratic party operation, CEO Watch, which hammers away at Fiorina and Meg Whitman, the billionaire former eBay CEO who is running for governor against Democratic Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown.

“They don’t know who Carly Fiorina is, what her record is. They may know she was a corporate executive. They may know she was with Hewlett-Packard. What they don’t know is that the stock price fell about 50 percent under her rule. What they don’t know was she laid off 30,000 workers. What they don’t know was she was fired for incompetence. And she got a golden parachute.”

Unable to cut down unemployment, this is how the Democrats are trying to survive by scraping out victories attack-by-attack, hoping for a break. In Nevada, for example, where the inarticulate and unpopular Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, may win because he is running against an eccentric tea-bagger, Sharron Angle. In other races, Democrats similarly are counting on extremists to be vulnerable to attacks or to shoot themselves in the foot, which is a real possibility since they are all gun nuts. 

We’ve come a long way since 2008 and Obama’s speeches about hope. I was never fond of those speeches. They seemed to promise more than anyone could deliver.

But on occasion, given the right circumstances, those speeches could be inspiring. You can’t say that about this current Democratic campaign and its likely outcome.


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By ibh, September 7, 2010 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here in our state of California - we have two filthy disgusting swines running .  If they win they will complete dismantle what is left of the state.

I never wished ill on anyone but for these two freaks I will make an exception -  may they both get inoperable terminal cancer, and suffer a painful demise.

This would be better than another french revolution

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By ofersince72, September 7, 2010 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

Big Deal…..

Play their game….they love you…but they could care

less about this debate out here in America.

Rich boss own you now.  Dem or Pub.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, September 7, 2010 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

It’s worth repeating.  Not a single piece of major legislation passed in the previous 18 months has enjoyed the support of the majority.

Politico now reports that at least five congressional Democrats who voted against what one of them calls “massive government health care” are running ads touting that fact.  Meanwhile, Politico writes, “[I]t appears that no Democratic incumbent – in the House or in the Senate – has run a pro-reform TV ad since April, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) ran one.”

If you think about it, this is really quite incredible:  279 Democrats, House and Senate included, voted for Obamacare, and not one of them has been willing to publicize that fact in a single TV spot over the past four months in the midst of a congressional campaign?  Apparently, the only Democrat who’s running pro-Obamacare TV ads is President Obama, and he’s funding them with your money.

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By ofersince72, September 7, 2010 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

The Oligarchs, owners of the Plutocracy and also

holders and owners of our national debt, don’t really

care what faction of the duopoly you all elect to office.

They are neither.  Both parties are their favorites.

They will dictate Austerity no matter which one is in

in office.  The intergovernmental debt to social security

will be wiped out, the wars will continue, the ecology

also will continue to collapse.  As the Citigroup memo

pointed out, they don’t need you or the middle class to

keep their sacred financial growth in the stock market.

In fact , you are a hinderance to them.

THE MILITARY EMPLOYMENT ECONOMIC COMPLEX RULES.

and ain’t gonna change, while everyone is bickering

Dem or Pub.$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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By Hammond Eggs, September 7, 2010 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

“Add that to potential Democratic loss of the House, and the Republicans could take over with their pro-oil and help-the-rich agenda.” 

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.  I will never again vote for a Democrat.  I’m done with those bastards.

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By - bill, September 7, 2010 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

Ah, Boyarsky - still pimping for the corrupt Democratic estalishment, I see.

Obama is not indecisive at all (especially with Emanuel as his strong right arm):  he’s getting exactly what he wants, including getting people like you to attempt to place the blame elsewhere.

And the thought that “Republicans could take over with their pro-oil and help-the-rich agenda” just isn’t all that scary given the Democrats’ “pro-oil and help-the-rich agenda” of their very own.

“It’s as if the White House doesn’t see the coming disaster”?  Not at all:  they actively engineered it.  Unless Obama is a complete idiot (which he does not appear to be), he’s likely welcoming the prospect of a Republican Congress against which he can vigorously campaign in 2012 (unless enough people catch onto his game before then).

Now in retrospect you’d like to excuse all this by claiming that Obama’s campaign speeches “seemed to promise more than anyone could deliver” (don’t seem to recall much such skepticism from people like you at the time, though).  But the REAL problem is that once those speeches got him elected Obama never even TRIED to deliver but rather (with a lot of help from the rest of the national Democratic establishment) sold out early and often most of what he had promised to fight for - usually before any real opposition had yet materialized.

I really do hope that the national Democrats are on the edge of a mid-term disaster, because they’ve certainly earned it.  They’ve proven conclusively that they will not deliver any kind of real change that we so desperately need, and thus made it clear that something other than conventional party politics is required to achieve that end.

“Throw da bums out!” is only sometimes a simplistic reaction to such perfidy:  in times like these, it’s the only hope left.  Making it clear that those who do not serve our interests will not be allowed to serve at all (regardless of how dubious their non-incumbent replacements may look) might just be what we need to get (and then keep) decent representation in Washington to replace the completely unacceptable weasels controlling both parties who have been there for at least the past decade (and a couple of decades longer than that in many cases).

Only the fair-weather ‘left’ clinging desperately to their delusions of Democratic salvation is stuck in the slough of despond.  The REAL left (those who hadn’t already seen the light during the DLC-dominated Clinton years) lost those blinders after seeing how Democrats enabled Republican abuses during the first 6 years of this decade and then actively perpetuated them during the last 4, and is ready to do whatever it takes to start getting things fixed.

Electing more Democrats to national office in 2006, then even more (plus a Democratic president) in 2008, proved ineffective or worse, so now it’s time to clean House (and Senate) to make room for some new brooms (even if that requires sub-standard cleaning apparatus until those new brooms can be constructed).

(That’s not “disappointment-fatigue”,  “petulent frustrations and hysteria”, or “personal anger”, gerard:  it’s a very deliberate strategy.  The fact that you “can’t imagine” it simply reflects your own limitations, not ours.)

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By M L, September 7, 2010 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The American people believe they are no longer represented by either party. Many do not even bother to vote because they feel their lives will not change or improve. Our government legislates for the wealthy. Our government can be taken away from the corporations when there is a change in public consciousness and people finally connect the dots between the discontent and the policies of this corrupt government.

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By woundedduck, September 7, 2010 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

If Boxer doesn’t hit Fiorina early and often with her pathetic management record while at HP—50% stock loss, thousands of jobs sent to China—she’s got no business winning.  Californians will not be happy to learn one of their potential Senators is RESPONSIBLE for California’s huge unemployment.

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By jjohnjj, September 7, 2010 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Fie on both your houses” equals victory for the Republicans and Wall Street.

True, there’s a rising flood of discontent in the nation.

You can either get off your butt and start piling sandbags on the top of the levee, or you can watch the progress we’ve made so far get washed away.

Tomorrow I’m going to start phone banking with my local Democratic club. What will you be doing?

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By PatrickHenry, September 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

I hope it is the encumbents who are in for unemployment come November.

We need to change out this Congress, irregardless of party.

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By gerard, September 7, 2010 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

Anarchissie:  What happened to the left?  They’ve got disappointment-fatigue complicated by a chronic and very debilitating case of “There’s-Nothing-I-Can-Do-ism.”  They got stuck in a kind of two-party tea-party syndrome, one the exact counter-image of the other, both entirely re-active, both easily manipulated by forces seemingly beyond their control, both aggrieved victims, both entirely boring and predictable. Both full of sound and fury, signifying nothing but petulent frustrations and hysteria.
  Ignorance on one side and fear on the other, America is losing confidence in democracy and freedom and its capacity for self-correction.

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By Go Right Young Man, September 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

Blaming “those evil republicans” is useless.

No economist worth his or her salt will suggest that one president or political party in control of congress is at fault in an recession.  Only in the insipid media and blog world is such nonsense bantered about.

-

The party in power usually goes the way of the economy in midterm elections.  It’s been that way since before the United States was conceived.  Bellyaching and devising all manner of rationalizations to explain it otherwise is a waste of an individual’s time.

Of course, me falling more near the “right-of-center” of politics, I can see that not a single major issue of legislation passed over the previous 18 months has enjoyed the support of the majority.  Not even one. 

One can safely say that those within the “Party of No” are looking pretty good this elections cycle.

-

My lament is in how there are so few in Washington representing the strongest - and most stable thinking - majority of people.  The center.  Or centered, if you will. 

The two party’s today, when we do wintess real differences, seem heavily controlled by extreme ideologues. - Think Truthdig and Red State.  Hannity and Olbermann. - THIS is not where Americans live their daily lives.

Almost 80% of Americans are smart, centered, logical common-sense people.  It’s no accident that those same people frown on the whole of congress.  Equally.  Those who tend to post comments on Red State and Truthdig seem not to understand this.

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By Shift, September 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

I cannot in good conscience vote for the candidates of either the Democratic or Republican parties.  I will not actively participate in my own destruction.

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By Anarcissie, September 7, 2010 at 1:52 pm Link to this comment

What analysis?

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By G.Anderson, September 7, 2010 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Obama’s problem was always, that he tried to be a Democrat and a Republican at the same time…

Throw in a dose or two of analysis is paralysis, and you have a receipe for disaster….

When voters see, the tax break for business headline, the first thing that will come to mind is what about the people…?

Well Mr. Obama, what about the people?

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By truedigger3, September 7, 2010 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Bill Boyarsky wrote:
“Democrats on the Edge of a Midterm Disaster”
____________________________________________________

There is no difference whatsoever between the Democrats and Republicans. Both of them are owned and controlled by Wall St. and the Corporatocracy.
At least the Republicans talk the talk and walk the walk, but the Democrats walk exactly the SAME walk but talk the opposite. Very Sleazy.
I hope the Democrats lose, and lose big, especially in their strongholds in the North East. That way they will get their just and deserved punishment for deceiving the common people.
The people gave the Democrats the majority in Congress for 4 years where they harmed the common people.
It is time to give the majority to the Republicans, where they, also, as usual, will harm the common people.
Hopefully, that will teach the people a lesson, and let them think seriously, about a viable third party.

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By Blackspeare, September 7, 2010 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

Let’s take a closer look at what the trickle-down theory—a redirection Trojan Horse used by republican elites to trick working class conservatives into supporting huge tax cuts for the wealthy, and infamously labeled by Bush 41 as “voodoo economics”—did to the economy under 8 years of Bush, Boehner and McConnell. Under Bush, income for the top 2% rose by 255%, while income for the bottom 98% rose only 3%. Strangely, no reputable economists support Reagan’s “voodoo economics,” choosing instead to embrace those pesky little things called “facts.” 2001 to 2008 registered the weakest job and income growth since 1945, and the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% produced a $1.4 trillion deficit. When Bush entered office, 9% of the population was living in poverty; by 2008, that number had swelled to 17%. Under Bush, the number of homeless Americans increased 23%, unemployment doubled to 8%, monthly job growth was the worst of any cycle since 1945, household income growth was negative for the first time since tracking began in 1967, and Americans receiving food stamps went from 17 to 48 million. Bush claimed tax cuts for the wealthy would create jobs, but from 2000 to 2008, the economy loss 8 million private sectors jobs and created less than 2 million, as compared to the 22 million jobs Clinton created. Republicans congressmen are defacto paid lobbyists for the super rich.  The Tea Party Republicans will finish the job Bush started——the creation of a true two-class societal oligarchy.

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By Benito, September 7, 2010 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Republicans are so funny, when the economy is good you say let’s all celebrate “Cinco de Mayo, my brothers” but when the economy is down “it’s all your fault, you damn immigrant”. When most Americans (with Latin America roots) go to the polls this November we will remember that the GOP has gone on a nationwide rant in proposing and passing several anti-immigration legislation (that our US Courts continue to strike down) and have continue to blame the immigrant for the flat economy or worse. We will remember who stands with us and who stands against us, so trying to stop it now is somewhat funny, but go ahead, you will not change our minds. Plus the more radical of the GOP are now attacking our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, in a misguided attempt to garner some much needed votes, they really are fools, and leading the GOP towards obscurity because they are no longer a party of ideas, just of empty suits. Your hate made you do it, in November; you will reap what you have sown. I wonder what Abraham Lincoln would say about todays GOP, he unlike the current GOP was a man of ideas.

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By Robespierre115, September 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

Both parties are useless. We need revolutionary movements, enough with empty liberalism and looney conservatism.

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By BarbieQue, September 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

Hmmm. Things must be getting desperate in (D) pundit land.

This is one of the writers that thought it was more important to pass legislation to require citizens to purchase insurance from for profit companies-enforced by the IRS (a Republican plan! Proof: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2010/February/23/GOP-1993-health-reform-bill.aspx) than to worry about whether those citizens actually had a job so they could afford to pay the bloodsuckers.

How’s that working now, Boyarsky? LOL- the varmints won’t even bring up the subject on the campaign trail.

To the poster down there that talks of “Repug Evil Freaks” [...] try to remember that they couldn’t have done what they did without (D) help.

Clinton and the rest of the corrupt DLC wing of the party couldn’t wait to start Shock and Awe. John Kerry, while campaigning, ran around talking about how he “helped to write the patriot act”.

Seriously, anyone that can’t figure out now that us hapless citizens have been worked over by the good cop/bad cop thing haven’t been paying attention.

The politicians of both parties have betrayed their oaths and the trust that was bestowed upon them and need to be sent home. Imagine the shock and awe coming from the east if the whole lot of corrupt reptiles were sent packing. It would be something to behold. Wouldn’t it?

Random picks from a big city phone book would produce a better congress that did more for the people that the (D)‘s have abandoned in their quest for corporate ca$h.

http://costofwar.com

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By Anarcissie, September 7, 2010 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

It’s a bit late to be worrying about the 2010 elections.  It takes several months to set up a primary campaign, much less a whole separate party.  I am not sure there is enough room left in our supposedly democratic system to enable anything like that to take place anyway: the Democratic Party insurgent in my district, for instance, is not a fire-eating progressive but a shill for Wall Street, sent to punish the incumbent for not being subservient enough.  The Democrats’ one hope seems to lie in the Republicans’ going fully crazy, with their ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ circus and the Koran-burning pastor.  You’re right, handing the nuclear codes to Palin is pretty scary.  In fact, that we still have nuclear codes is pretty scary.  I guess there is not much left to do but hunker down and hang on for the rest of the ride down the mountain.

So what happened to the Left?  Where is it?

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By gerard, September 7, 2010 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

After all those destructive years with Bush/Cheney I can’t imagine many Democrats actually voting Republican as a viable answer to the horrendous problelms Republicans left behind—and that, simply because they are personally angry.
  Ideally, there would be a third choice—but there isn’t, and probably won’t be.
  That leaves us again with the weak “lesser of two evils” choice which tens of thousands of people despise.
  But not voting at all?  Worse yet, especially since we know the money and the rabble-rousing capabilities of the Republicans.
  I can’t imagine that Democrats are crazy enough to fall into that trap.
  Maybe a huge morale-building effort within the party?  Maybe some attempt to get wide consensus and enthusiasm from the grassroots up, for specific issues to emphasize—jobs? corporations dominating government? stop wars?  greener economy?  children’s future?
  This could begin at the local level and move up if not stimulated from the center down (which seems unlikely at the moment). It’s pretty much up to the local level to get moving, with all the hard work that entails.

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By mdgr, September 7, 2010 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

Revised, as suggested by a colleague, with some essential movement in paragraph structure:


It’s all about risk/benefit analysis. My guess is that if this patter (I’m refining it, and it’s pretty succinct at this point) begins showing up in Congressional email and on the web as a meme, it may get people to think.

Anger isn’t the motivator here. Strategy is. Think about the transfer of our nuclear access codes in 2012.  Few in the the progressive community talk about this, but there is nothing more important. 

Bush had some checks and balances. Palin (or someone like her) will not, especially if people like Beck or Limbaugh are on the Cabinet).  The nuclear access codes might very well be transferred to these people. It’s really that serious.

If the Dems win in 2010, they will lose in 2012. By then, things will be much worse, and Obama will be unelectable.  Moreover, no viable progressive/independent third party will have yet been formed. Think Weimar, 1932.

The writing’s on the wall. If we want to give the nuclear access codes to someone like Palin, we’ll vote Democrat in 2010. Otherwise, we make a bank shot, hoping that things will favor the creation of a viable progressive/ independent party in 2012.

I have just written several elected officials as follows. If it registers with you, please substitute names and send out copies at will.
——————————————-

To——:

I’m a progressive. After Obama (and many of your betrayals as well), I will never vote Democrat again.

Let’s have no more wasted time in trying to save the DNC’s soul. I’d urge Democratic progressive elected officials to publicly resign from that party ASAP. It could create the necessary groundswell, as nature does abhor a vacuum.

Now, you yourself are a corporately-owned DNC Democrat. So is Senator Patty Murray in Washington State, where I live.

I can’t vote against you, but to do my part in helping to bring forth a truly viable progressive/independent third party, I will not vote for her next November.

It’s way past time closing time for the Dems. “It’s over,” as Leonard Cohen also sang, “and it ain’t going any further.”

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By Jimnp72, September 7, 2010 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

baloney to this article. I will do everything in my power to stop the repug evil
freaks, urge others to do the same.
they bankrupted the economy, had their heads up W’s vile ass for eight years and
went along with his deceit, corruption and incompetence.
Why dont you write about that to remind the short memory voters of the way
things really are and how they became that way, instead of moaning loss before it
occurs.

Report this

By mdgr, September 7, 2010 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

It’s all about risk/benefit analysis.

I have just written several elected officials as follows. If it registers with you, please substitute names and send out copies at will.
——————————————-

To——:

I’m a progressive. After Obama (and many of your betrayals as well), I will never vote Democrat again.

Anger isn’t the motivator here. Strategy is. My guess is that if this patter (I’m refining it, and it’s pretty succinct at this point) begins showing up in Congressional email and on the web as a meme, it may get people to think.

Think about the transfer of our nuclear access codes in 2012.  Few in the the progressive community talk about this, but there is nothing more important. 

Bush had some checks and balances. Palin (or someone like her) will not, especially if people like Beck or Limbaugh are on the Cabinet).  The nuclear access codes might very well be transferred to these people. It’s really that serious.

If the Dems win in 2010, they will lose in 2012. By then, things will be much worse, and Obama will be unelectable.  Moreover, no viable progressive/independent third party will have yet been formed. Think Weimar, 1932.

The writing’s on the wall. If we want that to give the nuclear access codes to someone like Palin, we’ll vote Democrat in 2010. Otherwise, we make a bank shot, hoping that things will favor the creation of a viable progressive/ independent party in 2012.

Let’s have no more wasted time in trying to save the DNC’s soul. I’d urge Democratic progressive elected officials to publicly resign from that party ASAP. It could create the necessary groundswell, as nature does abhor a vacuum.

Now, you yourself are a corporately-owned DNC Democrat. So is Senator Patty Murray in Washington State, where I live.

I can’t vote against you, but to do my part in helping to bring forth a truly viable progressive/independent third party, I will not vote for her next November.

It’s way past time closing time for the Dems. “It’s over,” as Leonard Cohen also sang, “and it ain’t going any further.”

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By FRTothus, September 7, 2010 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

As the other corporate appeasing, right-wing faction of the Business Party, the Party of Money, the Dems no more deserve to rule than do the Repubs.

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By Paul_GA, September 7, 2010 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

Seems to me as if the Demos started out overconfident, and then became chicken-livered as the economy worsened. No doubt about it—“IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID!”

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