Skip to main content

The progressive movement had a few hiccups this past week, to put it charitably. On the heels of Senator-Elect Brown's improbable victory in Massachusetts, Democrats and progressive interest groups everywhere received another body blow on Thursday morning with the news of the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Citizens United.

Brown's victory gives Republicans the numbers in the Senate to filibuster most Democratic legislation, while the recent Supreme Court ruling eliminates many restrictions on how corporations are allowed to use their treasuries to influence political races--and it's no secret that corporate money is seldom friendly to the progressive agenda. And while these events may seem like devastating setbacks, they also provide a rich opportunity for President Obama to reshape the negative political narrative that has been haunting him for many months--if he's bold enough to seize it.

At the outset of his presidency, Mr. Obama promised to the nation a bold agenda with sweeping reforms on health care, climate change policy, financial sector reform, and just about every single major issue on the radar screen of the American voter. But he made one other promise: to accomplish it all in a collegial, bipartisan atmosphere.

Despite his best efforts, this last promise was not his to keep. This should have been clear during the heated debate about Mr. Obama's first stimulus bill. That bill included several hundred billion dollars of tax cuts that were included not because he viewed it as the best policy, but so that he could mollify the expected Republican opposition to the measure. What did the President get in response? Accusations of being a socialist, a communist and the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, all rolled up into one self-contradictory ball of inscrutable evil.

The Republican Party, aided by the astroturf groups inspired by its cable propaganda network, became a constant voice of strident opposition that pushed and often exceeded the limits of civilized political discourse. This might not have been as problematic if GOP support had mattered for passing a bill. But ever since the seating of Al Franken as the "60th Democratic Senator," the media narrative was entirely different.

Because Democrats supposedly had 60 votes and the Republicans were no longer numerically able to prevent a unified Democratic front from passing its agenda, the majority was held responsible for the year-long failure to produce tangible results on the issue. Meanwhile, Republicans used their access to the airwaves to slam any version of reform in either chamber. The result was a perfect storm of anger: Democrats were unmotivated, Republicans were furious, and independents were distrustful--creating the only environment that could lead to a Republican winning Ted Kennedy's seat in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

But the election of that 41st Republican Senator offers the opportunity for change. By now, every prominent politician in America not named Evan Bayh must recognize that bipartisan compromise is a bygone dream--and even those named Evan Bayh can see that the party that taps into populist anger will be the one that wins at the ballot box.

The media narrative has transformed. The fact that Republicans have the ability to filibuster obviates Obama and the Democrats from the sole responsibility to pass reform and allows the administration and Congressional Democrats to strike a decidedly partisan tone by blaming Republican obstructionism for anything that doesn't get passed. This will force Republicans like Scott Brown to either face the anger of the voters for blocking reform, or face the anger and disinterest of their base if they accede to it.

But taking advantage of this opportunity will require the daring to propose and advocate for popular and populist reforms that Republicans are likely to vehemently oppose. The silver lining of the abhorrent Citizens United ruling is the opportunity to do exactly that. If Americans were already queasy about the influence of corporate dollars on our government, this ruling might just be an emetic.

No matter what happens on health care reform over the next few weeks, the 2010 election will be decided by the state of the economy, and whether the Democrats and President Obama can establish a decisive contrast between themselves and the GOP regarding financial sector reform and reining in corporate influence on government. Mr. Obama is already off to a good start with his banking tax proposals and his tough talk. And should the Democrats in Congress attempt to carry such legislation, a Republican filibuster would shift the narrative and turn voters against the GOP for being too close to the banks. And in that sense, that 41st vote may actually be a liability.

But a more aggressive approach could change the narrative even more dramatically. The only way to reverse the Citizens United ruling is a Constitutional amendment. While this may seem drastic and unwieldy, there is perhaps no better time than now: President Bush discussed an amendment to ban marriage equality--despite it having no chance of succeeding--just to send a signal to his social conservative base that he was still paying attention.

Because a Constitutional amendment requires ratification by two-thirds of the states, passing one would require the creation and activation of a nationwide base. Fortunately for Mr. Obama, he has one: Organizing For America. OFA is rumored to have an email list of more than 13 million people, with volunteers in every Congressional District. During the recent Senate election in Massachusetts, OFA volunteers made over 2.3 million calls on behalf of Coakley's campaign. Imagine the influence that these millions of volunteers could have if they were put to work lobbying locally for a Constitutional amendment to limit corporate money in politics.

Such a move would activate and motivate the progressive base, would likely be relatively popular, and would make the Republicans who opposed it look like the pawns of corporate America that they so often are. The only question is: Does the President have the courage to do what's right?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:00 PM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Is anybody working on (18+ / 1-)

    Reviving the public option? Harkin stated he had 56-57 votes for it...and reconciliation is now a given. Why is nobody pushing for this?

    •  honestly, it's dead (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Trial Lawyer Richard

      only hope is that House passes that already passed Senate bill

      •  I don't see why (10+ / 0-)

        The reason they axed it was because it didn't have 60 they don't need 60 votes anymore, because they're going for reconciliation.

        •  i doubt we have 50 for recon (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          too many scared Dems

          •  it's funny how the republicans scare the public (6+ / 0-)

            by yelling "socialism!!!"

            Obama should make it clear that ANY system that works (ie, cuts costs, provides increased access to healthcare, and improves the quality of care) is the point.  As long as it is constitutional and works, that's all that matters.

            I've never believed that single payer by itself (or the public option by itself) would be the silver bullet.

            I believe that the single payer/public option/medicare-for-all would be an important, essential part of HCR, but not adequate by itself.

            we've let the republicans take us down a blind alley with their tangential shouts of "socialism."

            The private insurance companies don't have to exist.  What purpose or value do they add?

            Their existence isn't guaranteed or protected by anything that I know of.

            •  "We don't need insurance companies." If Obama (7+ / 0-)

              could say those words and put force behind them, and wage a campaign of convincing the public that socialism or not, such reform works (as defined above) we'd be ahead.  

              But no, the Dems are complicating things by being precise with numbers.  We're competing with knuckle-dragging assholes who yell "Death Panels!  Socialism!  Fascism!"

              •  They haven't taken on the ins. companies (16+ / 0-)

                at ALL.  Any legislation that they offered clearly had to first be preapproved by the insurance cartels--and that's why we got what we got.

                Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

                by oscarsmom on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:34:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  And that's just what we should do now, (7+ / 0-)

                  Forget reform altogether, and concentrate on regulating the ins. companies to death.  

                  Nobody can be refused for preexisting conditions.  First bill to pass.

                  Ins. companies can't raise rates without reasonable scrutiny.  Second bill to pass.

                  Companies no longer are exempt from anti-trust laws.
                  Third bill to pass.  

                  And it goes on from there.  Who is going to vote against clear, concise bills that prevent these companies from raping the people?  They have to be simple and have catchy names that resonate with people.  That's how repubs. do it.  

                  •  Totally agree (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cassandra77, indres

                    Although my first choice--because the insurance companies whine so much--is just for the government to offer a public option open to all, and let the insurance companies continue their evil ways as much as they like until they're dead.

                    Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

                    by oscarsmom on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:49:39 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The first big social safety net in decades -Medi- (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      bmcphail, oscarsmom

                      care for all. Everybody in nobody out.
                      A group associated with PNHP, don't recall which one but here is their idea to begin work on a single payer plan. Someone in every community would do research that would demonstrate the savings in the budget to the governing body if universal single payer was implemented.
                      I think it would cause some in local government to think outside the box.

                      •  Never heard of the Hyde Amendment? (0+ / 0-)

                        Medicare will. not. pay. for. abortions.

                        Best,  Terry

                        •  Will. it. pay. for. elective. surgery? (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Cassandra77, oscarsmom, indres

                          I don't understand the logic here. Medicare won't cover a certain procedure, so we can't have Medicare for all. It's a flimsy excuse. Make abortions elective, perhaps medically necessary ones could be covered, I don't know. Or an individual could purchase supplemental abortion insurance if they so choose.

                          Are there any legitimate reasons why this wouldn't work?

                          Speaking of supplemental insurance, I'd like to make it so that those fearing muslims and brown people in general could purchase supplemental insurance to cover them. The proceeds would go to buy bombs, and the rest of us would be spared paying taxes for something that we morally object to.

                        •  Are you saying the abortion question stands in (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          the way of single payer? I don't think that 17,000 physcians nationwide and the California Nurses Association and Kentuckians for Single Payer made up of nurses and doctors believe it does. And it would be worked out in some fashion anyhow.

                          •  I said no such thing. (0+ / 0-)

                            Are you saying the abortion question stands in the way of single payer?

                            I am saying exactly what I said.

                            The Hyde Amendment strictly forbids Medicare from paying for abortions.

                            Rather obviously it would take little for single payer to get around the terrible Hyde Amendment that should be repealed as soon as possible.

                            In any case single payer was ruled out by your President.

                            Best,  Terry

                        •  ???? (0+ / 0-)

                          Medicare will. not. pay. for. abortions.

                          Medicare as it stands now covers abortions.  Why would that change?  Most of the women covered by Medicare at present are old enough that they won't become pregnant, but Medicare now also covers disabled women who are premenopausal.  If these younger Medicare-covered women need or want abortions, Medicare will cover them.

                          Renewable energy brings national security.

                          by Calamity Jean on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 10:11:24 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  it actually is fiscally conservative (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        I am in public health and the numbers have always shown it is the least expensive with the most in services.  We have had public health since the early 1900's and life span increased from 45 up to 70+.  This has discouraged me the most, how well known this secret is in medicine.  Not to mention factual examples all over the world.  Pass anything, it will cut costs and get the ball rolling and you are dead on about looking at this from a local level, with the existing public health department, great idea.

                    •  I agree with you there, but the public option has (0+ / 0-)

                      been beaten to death in the realm of republican propaganda.

                    •  Oscarsmom, I like to piss on their grave. n/t (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      oscarsmom, indres

                      "It's not just the premiums - It's those high deductibles and out-of-pockets."

                      by Cassandra77 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:24:51 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  agreed. but, had better hurry to get those (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Farlfoto, CParis, bmcphail, indres

                    bills passed....else, that industry will go full speed ahead lining up candidates for 2010 - based on last week's SCOTUS ruling...

                    Palin/Brown 2012...the Barbie/Ken ticket!

                    by left my heart on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:07:54 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, Farlfoto, regulate them to death. I love (0+ / 0-)

                    that idea.  Why not? what real purpose do they serve?

                    "It's not just the premiums - It's those high deductibles and out-of-pockets."

                    by Cassandra77 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:23:45 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Insurance companies have fought HCR (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Cassandra77, Samer, bmcphail

                  very hard because of limitations in the bill. All those anti-HCR ads on tv? Paid for largely by insurance companies that funneled money to the Chamber of Commerce and others whose names were on the ads. They wouldn't have spent those millions if they were getting what they wanted.

                  Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

                  by SoCalSal on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:18:33 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Well, there are these matters -- (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Matt Z, bkamr

                the large majority of the public are happy with their current health insurance and want to keep it; about 500,000 employed by the health insurance industry who would be unemployed; the significant amount invested in insurance stocks. Anyone willing to eliminate health insurance companies might want to check their group retirement fund and mutual funds to find out if any HI investments would be at risk.

                Somewhere I read that insurance companies depend quite heavily on investment income. If that's true for health insurance companies, a sudden evaporation of investment could be another blow to the economy...  hmm, wonder what would really occur.

                I'd much prefer a single payer or public option myself, but the polls show the majority want the public option as a choice, not a mandate. Doing away with health insurance companies would be extremely unpopular. But I believe the PO could have allowed that to happen over a long period without much disruption.

                Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

                by SoCalSal on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:11:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You present some unpleasant truths, here. These (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Matt Z, SoCalSal

                  points have not had much discussion, here, but they are part of our current reality.  And, I'm sure they were part of the consideration and discussion in Congress, as unwelcome as that may be to many of us, here.

                  I'm hoping that the bill will still go through, and we'll cycle back for Medicare expansion going forward.

                  Organize at the local level, nurture solidarity, persevere through set backs, and remember to celebrate the incremental wins. Yes. We. Can.

                  by bkamr on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:43:02 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  well, when slavery was outlawed, that (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  did away with a huge business that employed thousands and circulated millions of dollars in the economy, not to mention destroying the economic structure of the entire southern half of the country.  (shrug)

                  Dem Party Motto: "Hey, at least we're better than nothing!"

                  by Lenny Flank on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 07:29:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't know much about the economic (0+ / 0-)

                    destruction of the south after slavery was outlawed (lived in Canada through high school). But I have read about former slaves being on the road, in difficult times then. As for former slave owners, their economy was doomed for its inhumanity, an unpleasant adjustment was inevitable.

                    Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

                    by SoCalSal on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 09:30:29 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, change is not simple (0+ / 0-)
            •  It isn't the Republicans that scared the public (14+ / 0-)

              At least, they wouldn't have done half as good a job if Obama had clearly and repeatedly articulated what his plan was, what he would do, and what he would not accept. But months have gone by and the thing changes at every turn. Can you blame people for being skeptical?

              •  i agree completely. the WH fucked up the message (11+ / 0-)

                from the beginning.  

                remember the days when Bush et al wanted to start a war in the middle east with a country that posed no threat to us?

                what did he do?

                he got his soldiers (Rice, Cheney, etc) to appear on the Teevees and scare the public with "mushroom clouds" and other nonsense.  he even went as far as making up slides to show ridiculous mobile labs housing lethal bacteria to present at the UN.

                he got his way.

                where is the coherent message that is (not) being echoed?

                such a disappointment that a man who ran such a successful campaign fucked HCR up the way he has.

                •  there's nothing socialistic about public option. (5+ / 0-)

                  a medicare for all program would be more efficient, less costly, would allow access to a greater number of people.

                •  The WH did not fuck up (7+ / 0-)

                  Given the difficulties we are facing they did pretty well and got a lot done in just one year. They will learn form mistakes, but they did not fuck up. Can I please ask for a bit more respect? What have you done last year? What did you accomplish? We all have to do better.

                  •  Well yeah, you can ask for respect-- (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kyeo, primarydoc

                    is that a newfangled term for pony?

                    Can I please ask for a bit more respect? What have you done last year?

                    We learn to love the struggle, and fear victory-- Me, Madison Wisconsin, c. 1970

                    by PhilJD on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:05:25 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Obama turned gray in just one year (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Matt Z, fayea, indres, SoCalSal

                      he is trying his best. He will learn from his mistakes, but he is working really hard. Plus he is risking is life. I simply cannot describe this as "fucking up".

                      •  You give points because he has a little gray hair (3+ / 1-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Philoguy, happynz, kyeo
                        Hidden by:

                        and he works so hard in the Oval Office, in a big limousine, even on a jet airplane, and while vacationing in Hawaii? A lot of people work fucking hard, work dangerous jobs, and have gray hair. What's so special about his case. Sheesh.

                        Some posts will attract a strong response from those unfamiliar with robust dialogue

                        by Eposter on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:37:28 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  he has accomplished many things (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          trashablanca, Matt Z

                          Restored competence in all departments. He avoided a depression. Saved many jobs - not enough, but he did with the stimulus package. He saved the car industry. Changed course in foreign policy. Changed EPA policies. All in one year. Absolutely impressive. Could the message been better given what he accomplished? Yes, more focus on the mass Bush left us would have helped you to see how unfair your comments are.

                          •  Still not impressed. But I'm just a voter. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kyeo, primarydoc

                            How did he save jobs? Nobody has been able to show how the stimulus package saved "many" jobs.

                            In fact, a lot of the stimulus money was very slow to get out and it is doubtful it did any good.

                            The car industry was saved? That's debatable.

                            Foreign policy changed? What he sent more troops to war is that what your applauding?

                            You're really struggling to make a convincing case for this guy.

                            I'm sure is has good intentions, he's smart, and all that. He should be a college professor not president.

                            Some posts will attract a strong response from those unfamiliar with robust dialogue

                            by Eposter on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:49:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We are in a depression (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bmcphail, kyeo, primarydoc

                            He avoided a depression

                            Like hell he did.

                            Saved many jobs

                            Bank and health insurance executive,  mercenary killers. soldiers, bullet and bomb makers, Republican lawmaker.

                            Glad he is unbound though.  Bad to be constipated all the time.

                            Best,  Terry

                          •  most economists disagree with you (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            trashablanca, tari
                          •  We avoided a depression and the stimulus package (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            trashablanca, Matt Z

                            worked. Most economist agree with this.

                            Interestingly, Paul Krugman argued early in 2009, if the stimulus package would be too small, it will not create enough jobs and the Obama administration will be blamed for its failure despite the fact that it worked. Based on your statement, Krugman was right. Thanks man!

                          •  Bet You Can't Name Just One (0+ / 0-)

                            most economists disagree with you

                            There is an official measure for a recession that may have as much relevance as whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow in forecasting the weeather but it is a standard.  One can disagree about the meaning and the worth of the measure but it is official.

                            There is no such measure for a depression.  None at all.  

                            Even if Harry Truman had found his one-handed economist, couldn't have found just one that knew exactly what a depression was.  

                            The Great Depression was the only one since it was a newly minted word.  Previously depressions were called money panics and some were very severe.

                            Some writers have described a recession as an inventory adjustment, a depression as a credit crunch.  If that were the standard, we are clearly in something considerably more severe than an inventory adjustment.

                            I am an unreconstructed Keynesian.  A quick perusal of the most elementary textbook on Keynesian economics would show a favoritism towards government spending rather than tax cuts, elitist "middle class" or other.

                            The banks are actually lending less to small businesses after the bail money.

                            Did I forget to mention that lobbyists are doing very, very well?  How dreadful of me.

                            Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Reich and other liberal economists have been screaming for more spending on jobs and screw the tax cuts while Obama is set on a course to lower the deficit by cutting Social Security.  That should really do a fine job on electoral prospects for Democrats.

                            Best,  Terry

                          •  Where would we be with McCain/Palin now? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            trashablanca, Matt Z

                            We would be in a depression. Unemployment would be between 15 and 20%. Riots are ongoing in all major US cities. US and Israel planes would have bombed Iran by now and ground troops are on their way. Europe has condemned the US/Israel moves and the US is politically isolated. Given the Iran war, and despite a world wide depression gas it at $5 per gallon. We are in the midst of a new arms race with Russia. Diplomatic relations with China came to an halt over the Iran war and North Korea bombings. The second surge is underway in Iraq.

                            Given the circumstances the administration is considering a bill that all unemployed have to serve in the military to fight the wars in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea and solve the economic crisis. Wars are seen as the only way out of the depression just like in the 30/40ties. Millions of Americans are expected do perish.

                            Well not like this I hope, but unemployment without the stimulus would at least be at 12/13%. We are reducing the number of troops in Iraq. We are doing more in Afghanistan because the Taliban would host Osama again and launch attacks on American soil. We are in advanced negotiations with Russia to reduce nuclear war heads. Chances for health care are not yet over. Chances for taking on Global warming are real.

                            I have no regrets with Obama. He has been nothing but impressive given the mass Bush left behind.

                          •  Sadly, I suspect a lot of Kossacks (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Matt Z

                            would have been pleased with McCain and Palin.

                          •  this is my feeling too (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Matt Z

                            We all knew that the economy was in free fall. But we are not in a depression. This was avoided. Problem is that it will take years to come out of this and a return to GOP economic politics may well through us back into a depression. None of the economic policies the GOP has in mind will help us in this situation.

                          •  "A lot"? I think that is a giant ... (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kyeo, alethea, PhilJD


                            Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                            by Meteor Blades on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 11:34:07 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Naww, we all preferred Michelle Bachmann for (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            SarahLee, kyeo


                            I suspect a lot of Kossacks would have been pleased with McCain and Palin.

                            This is teabagger talk.  It is completely divorced from any resemblance to reality, like the Bachmann nutcases.

                            Best,  Terry

                        •  You are being really anti- Obama in your uncalled (0+ / 0-)

                          for offensive comments. We get your message already.
                          HR'd for it.

                          •  I'm not anti-Obama. Comment was about a comment. (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bmcphail, tari, kyeo, PhilJD

                            Mr. Obama is smart, hard working, well intentioned. His leadership baffles and disappoints me sometimes.

                            Some of his decisions have been a huge disappointment to me: Iraq, Afghanistan, bailouts, bonuses, HCR mandates, stimulus impact on the economy.

                            I only regret the profanity in my comment.

                            Some posts will attract a strong response from those unfamiliar with robust dialogue

                            by Eposter on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:38:31 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  His comment, while harsh, (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Meteor Blades, kyeo, primarydoc

                            did not merit a troll rating.  I'm uprating for that reason.  Oh, and incidentally, he went gray during the elections prior to taking office, not since taking office.

                        • are a right wing troll. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          Obama's supporters understand that Hawaii is his home.  At least he didn't buy a pretend ranch in Texas to appear as a "regular guy" and presidents are allowed to take  vacations.  

                          Even though he went 'HOME' for Christmas like he's done for years, he really didn't get much of a "vacation" having to deal with an almost terrorist attack.

                          And during the summer when he went to Martha's Vineyard, he also had to do business by re appointing Bernanke for Fed chair, and handle Ted Kennedy's death.

                          Not much for vacation all year really.  So stop with the right wing talk about Obama on vacation.

                          •  You're jumping to conclusions the comment was (0+ / 0-)

                            about how hard he worked.

                            He works hard. So do lots of hard working people some with two and three jobs.

                            He works everywhere - pretty nice digs. I'm talking about Americans in nasty factories and crowded hospitals.

                            You forgot regular people who are waiting on Obama's Administration while you rant about who has the biggest mansion among the rich and famous.

                            He's under stress. Many people are under a huge amount of stress to pay the bills.

                            His security is at risk. There are people doing dangerous work every day like police and firemen.

                            He doesn't get respect. There a plenty of people doing important thankless jobs like garbage men.

                            He's got a little gray hair after a year on the job. Really, that comment just struck me as pathetic.

                            So if that's right wing troll pointing out his hard days pale to the people who are counting on him then no wonder the party is out of touch.

                            Some posts will attract a strong response from those unfamiliar with robust dialogue

                            by Eposter on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 07:40:45 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  ok - sorry for the gray (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        this comes across as pathetic. But honestly, I wished I could say I would work as hard as Obama. I am trying my best, but if I would, I would not have the time to be at this site. :)

                    •  Obama had us take a great risk in electing him. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Shishkabugs, kyeo, Eposter

                      Now it's his turn to fight for us!

                      Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

                      by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:28:57 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Where were all the "progressives" when Bill (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Clinton was gutting the Democratic Party of its core values?  Oh yeah, I forgot, he was a white guy.

                  •  Yes, Pollyanna the White House did fuck up (6+ / 0-)

                    You want respect for the Obama administration? Show me why I ought to expect anything better than the cluster fuck of 2009. Banks get billions of US tax payer money who thumb their noses at all of us and give out millions of bonuses to the same folks who nearly caused the world economy to disintegrate, but unemployment rises. 45 million Americans without health insurance and Obama refuses even now to take the lead on things he promised during his campaign. Even George Bush, God curse his name achieved for of his own agenda with only 50 Republican senators.

                    I think that you mistake leadership for being able to make a persuasive rhetorical argument. They are not the same. Leadership is more than making a convincing argument; it is getting people to perform the tasks necessary to achieve specific goals. Obama has been dreadful doing that, and that is where he fucked up.

                    It does not matter to you or I how much the rhetoric of Barack Obama moves us, because unless he moves to appropriate action those who efforts are necessary to advance towards his goals he is not leading the nation.

                    I wish that those who admire Obama's rhetorical skills realize that the man is the chief executive of a government with several million employees and is supposed to lead them and is not merely a hot speaker on the Chautauqua tent circuit.

                    "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

                    by kuvasz on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:19:35 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Obama had better start fighting. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kyeo, primarydoc

                    Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

                    by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:27:55 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  They all really, really wanted war. n/t (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  -- We are just regular people informed on issues

                  by mike101 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:45:11 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Really!?! (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  417els, bmcphail, Matt Z

                  The WH fucked up the message??  

                  So the Republican obstructionism had nothing to do with it.

                  Public opposition in some states had nothing to do with it.

                  The massive anti-HCR campaign, financed by insurance companies and the right had nothing to do with it.

                  Dysfunctional Senate rules had nothing to do with it.

                  The drawn out, dysfunctional Senate Finance Committee hearings had nothing to do with it.

                  Of course, history shows HCR should be easy, right?

                  Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

                  by SoCalSal on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:21:43 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  All of those things had (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kyeo, primarydoc

                    something to do with it, but I don't know about you, I just didn't see Obama out in front of the message this last year, nor did I see him telling congress what he would and would not accept.  

                    •  Yes. I did see Obama out in front of the message (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Matt Z

                      He described his goals for HCR and stayed with those goals, did town hall meetings through June, July, August. His HCR address to Congress was historic, presidents rarely do that. Weekly public addresses. Television interviews. Many speeches.

                      He had a team of six aides working nonstop with the House and Senate. Made phone calls and had meetings, numbers of meetings with Pelosi and Reid and also with legislators. For example, Gail Collins with the NYT reported that he met with Senator Nelson three times in the nine days prior to the Senate vote. He met with industry representatives.

                      Yes, he did tell congress what he would/would not accept. He said that the bill must cost less than $1 trillion over ten years, fix the Medicare "donut hole", include insurance exchanges, and...

                      well here, read this.

                      Yes, he was in front of the message.

                      I don't think the president can get too much blame if the media wasn't giving that much coverage or the public was not paying attention.

                      Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

                      by SoCalSal on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 08:48:05 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  "Stayed with his [HCR] goals"? (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        kyeo, SoCalSal

                        When he started backing away from the public option and finally said it "wasn't necessary"?

                        When he (who had campaigned AGAINST mandates, mind you!) raised no objection to the mandates in the Senate bill and never so much as hinted that they were unacceptable?

                        When he LET Congress dither and dawdle and dally and delay delay delay, when he set deadline after deadline only to stand by supinely as each of them slid past?

                        It's only "staying with his goals" if you assume that his ONLY goal was to get something, ANYthing, passed and handed to him to sign, SOMEDAY.

                        Right now I'm very annoyed with him for letting the first-grade class run wild shouting and screaming and doing whatever it damn well pleased, instead of gently but firmly insisting that they sit down, shut up, and STUDY.

                        If it's
                        Not your body
                        Then it's
                        Not your choice
                        AND it's
                        None of your damn business!

                        by TheOtherMaven on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 12:31:21 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Rec'd for a good rant (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Matt Z

                          even if I don't agree with it all, it's a good rant.

                          I disagreed with Obama about mandates during the campaign, consider mandates necessary to cover all. My opinion FWIW.

                          For the delays, I first blame Republicans for being the 1st graders, then Reid and Baucus more than Obama (who is not in charge of the Senate). I'm dismayed that the left directs so much anger and blame to Obama, when the Republicans are the root cause of the mess. The Republicans must be very happy about this, they got what they wanted.

                          But opportunity was missed, I'm frustrated with that, and particularly like this paragraph in your post:

                          Right now I'm very annoyed with him for letting the first-grade class run wild shouting and screaming and doing whatever it damn well pleased, instead of gently but firmly insisting that they sit down, shut up, and STUDY.

                          Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

                          by SoCalSal on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 06:36:37 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

              •  Can I "blame" people for being skeptical? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                417els, Matt Z, indres

                "blame" is too harsh for my tastes, but my take on the messy HCR process differs. No one knows that HCR would look better at this point if Obama had done anything differently, it's all conjecture.

                I paid attention, and he was clear and repeatedly articulate from my point of view. Some posters here couldn't even guess at the number of town halls, speeches, articles, addresses, interviews or operating plan by Obama, yet they blame him.

                The biggest problems that led to this mess, as I see it, is

                1. the dysfunctional Senate filibuster rule that Republicans used to drag down/drag out the process;
                1. the divided national opinion, HCR is very unpopular in some states (see Nelson, Landrieu, Lincoln);
                1. The Senate Finance Committee/Baucus dragged the process out way too long. And Reid let that happen, though what he could have done to stop it isn't clear to me.

                Obama also tried to speed up the Finance Committee process but the president, any president, doesn't have authority to demand what the Senate will to do!

                Yes, I fervently wish that Reid, Baucus, Obama had managed to speed up that process so HCR would already be passed.

                Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

                by SoCalSal on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:08:35 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Who said anything about the Senate? (0+ / 0-)

                  I didn't even address the problems of the Senate. I was talking about Obama's failure to make the plan clear to the public. Or does he need senatorial approval for that?

            •  Funny, Obama feels the same way and for all of (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fabienne, glynis, oscarsmom, fayea, SoCalSal

              saying over and over the PO was an essential part of a COMPREHENSIVE health care reform bill, with OFA making nearly 2 million calls from August til the Senate Bill passed to support the PO, too many think he didn't fight for the PO.

          •  Its not over yet by a long shot (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hester, bmcphail, oscarsmom, PhilJD

            now is the time to double down, push for medicare for all and let the Republicans filibuster, going to hurt them more than us because regardless of what the MSM and the GOP says that really is what the majority wants in this country.

          •  Dems would be more afraid of not passing it. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chipoliwog, SoCalSal

            The public option had high approvals before Republicans began lying about it.  It would have those same high approvals by November.

            Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

            by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:53:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Shouldn't the Dems be more scared of Democrats? (0+ / 0-)

            "Well, gosh, Republicans might get really scary, so let's not."

            Should we all join the "surrender on necessities" faction then, and give up pressuring for what the vast majority of Americans say they want? What all indicators say our businesses and budget needs?

            Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

            by Jim P on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:08:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Progressives won't be like paleocon voters (0+ / 0-)

              At least I hope so. I've scoffed at the "values voter" paleocon repubs because I know they will never get what they want. The neocons and corprocons would lose their energized voter base if we became a theocracy (and that is really what the paleocons are after). Otherwise Huckabee would have been lavished with contributions and Palin wouldn't have been sent in to split the vote later (2012...).

              But after watching the events of the past year and then reading Taibbi's article in the Rolling Stone, I'm beginning to feel like progressives are just the Democratic mirror image of the paleocons in the republican party.

              This is deeply disappointing to me, and quite frankly I am not going to be so easily fooled again. The upside is it looks like MA progressives decided it was time to see some results before committing more time and energy. I doubt the rest of the country is any different.

              Dem senators and representatives should be afraid of losing their base, but it sounds like a lot of them still don't get it. But then why mess up that lucrative lobbying position now when your gig at Congress is about up?

              BTW I am not a troll, I was a strong Obama supporter during the campaign and became an Obama alternate delegate to the Idaho state convention.

              Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely - Lord Acton

              by Shishkabugs on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 08:06:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  health care is critical part of jobs jobs jobs (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KayCeSF, Predictor, snackdoodle, akmk, SoCalSal

          it would give coverage to the unemployed. would create jobs in the health care industry. Win win situation really. needs to be pushed in parallel to jobs jobs jobs

          •  Absolutely. Jobs for primary care, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            jobs for nutrition and exercise, jobs for home-health care.

            Much better than money for unemployment, cash for clunkers, bailouts for banks, and pork-barrel project to the same old, same old.

        •  Because the White House doesn't want it. (0+ / 0-)

          We don't need a third party. We need a second party.

          by obiterdictum on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 05:02:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  No No No (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Strip it and pass something to get on the books or the repubs will win ..Quit giving them amunition..The SCOTUS ruling is a GSend   it gives personhood to Foreign Corps to buy our Congress..Brown is a centerist... and the repubs need to be reminded daily of the $1.3 trillion dollar deficit they created --with deregulation and tax cuts to the rich--all not paid for plus TWO WARS NOT PAID FOR!

        Quit whining and get to work!

      •  Why are we so pessimistic? The president did not (5+ / 0-)

        have 60 senators at the beginning of his presidency.  Sen Specter changed to become a Dem in Feb or Mar of 2009.

        Sen Franken became a sitting sen in July.

        With MA election, the Dems should soldier on and stop this pessimism.

      •  It's not dead. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        In fact because it can be passed through reconciliation the public option is more alive than ever.

        Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

        by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:52:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There are 200 votes for the Senate bill (0+ / 0-)

        in the House.  That is counting all of the Democrats in safe districts and the Democrats who are retiring.  We need just 18 more votes to make this happen.  

      •  Guys c'mon the PO is dead... (0+ / 0-)

        Don't fight it, understand it!

        by vinkeith on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:19:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Who Controls Congress? Neither Party (0+ / 0-)
    •  Anyone who was awake during the Clinton (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, happynz, bmcphail

      presidency knows that 'bipartisanship' is a pipedream at best and propaganda at worst.

      There is no dealing with the modern Rethuglican party.  Clinton himself had a brief period of budgetary success, because of the ineptness of Gingrich in threatening to shut down the goverment, and because of Clinton's ability to negotiate with Bob Dole.

      But once the Delay era began in earnest, the hunt for Lewinski was on, and it became clear that the Rethuglicans were out only to put a thumb in the president's eye.

      To me, one of the worst after-effects was that during the 2008 primaries, some posters in comment threads on this very site started re-cycling Rethug  anti-Hillary talking points from the 90's.

      You don't have to love Hillary to know that was wrong.

      It is also wrong to excuse Obama's failures on the grounds that he was attempting to honor bipartisanship.  If he went into the presidency believing that could work, he should have learned in about 3 weeks what he was up against.

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:37:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This comment completely bogarts this diary (0+ / 0-)

      and initiates a meaningless digression to a topic that has already been hashed over endlessly here and in a hundred other places with absolutely no fucking result.

      Money=speech; every dollar has a right to be heard. The Supremes

      by orson on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:53:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ummmm, why the troll rating on (0+ / 0-)

      this comment?

  •  losing Ted Kennedy's seat was a minor road bump (12+ / 0-)

    compared to the tragedy that was Citizens United VS FEC

  •  The 28th Amendment to the US Consititution (34+ / 0-)

    A corporation is not a person.

    "Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."

    by oregonj on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:03:41 PM PST

    •  It would be easier to change (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      campaign finance laws.

      For now u[ the limit individuals can donate to campaigns.

      •  Support Durbin-Larson (12+ / 0-)

        The bill in Congress introduced by John Larson (D-CT) and Sen. Durbin of IL would provide public campaign financing for qualifying candidates as well as unlimited private funds raised by donations of $100 or less.  I think we could survive corporate contributions if Exxon or Boeing were limited to $100 per election, like other persons.

        •  It's really not the campaign financing (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          missliberties, Philoguy, Matt Z

          that is the problem.  What the SCOTUS issue just dealt with is the "right" for a corp to fund direct to public political advertising related to a specific candidate with the corp's general funds.  A corp still can't give more than you can directly to a campaign.  

          I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

          by fayea on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:42:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A couple of folks Matthews had on (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Matt Z

            the other day said individuals can give unlimited monies.  Matthews was surprised by this, as was I, but they both insisted on it.  When it comes to Matthews show anymore, however, I never know what to think from what I hear on there.  The guy is so underinformed and judges everything based on optics that I have no idea what to take away from him (it was the first time I'd tuned in in months).  Case in point, on the day of the SCOTUS decision he ran Obama's bank busting talk first, then the Edwards story, and didn't get to the SCOTUS decision until last.  Nuts.  This guy is completely out to lunch.

        •  True, but that is open to Republican undoing (0+ / 0-)

          as soon as they are in power.  I really really like the constitutional amendment.

          Expose the lies. Fight for the truth. Push progressive politics. Save our planet. Health care is a right, not a privilege.

          by lighttheway on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:10:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Amen!!!!!! (0+ / 0-)

      They've sent us a message... that they can take whatever they want. Well we will send them a message. That this... This is Our LAND!

      by AntonBursch on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:12:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How about this? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      All rights within the constitution and it's amendments shall be reserved for the United States, the states, or the people.

    •  A constitutional amendment is not needed (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, Predictor, annieli, Miggles

      A dead or retired Thomas, Scalia, Alito, Roberts or Kennedy, with a Democratic President in office at the time a said death or retirement, will accomplish the same result.  

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:25:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's not necessarily true, unfortunately (4+ / 0-)

        Most Justices respect precedent--plus it would take several years for a challenge to make its way through the courts to the SCOTUS.

        Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

        by oscarsmom on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:37:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But this is so blatently political (5+ / 0-)

          It came to SCOTUS on the narrow issue of whether the Clinton video violated election law, and the 5 wingnuts demanded it be reargued on something they had already dreamed up and decided on their own.  The whole thing is obviously to counter the fact that Obama in 2008 raised a record on the internet in small donations - the 5 wingnuts did this to bring their party back into power.  "Precedent" like this is no precedent.  It deserves not the slightest iota of respect or deference.

          It's as wrong as Morehead v. New York, a 1936 5-4 Supreme Court decision striking down a minimim wage law as a violation of the freedom of wage earners to contract for their wages.  Morehead produced national outrage and only lasted a few months, although I expect the 5 wingnuts now to reinstate this "freedom" as well.

          "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

          by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:56:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You must have forgotten Bush v Gore (0+ / 0-)

          If Congress appoints two new SCOTUS seats, the new chief justice could reverse the decision long before this November's elections.

          Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

          by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:08:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  you're kidding, right? (0+ / 0-)

            This Congress can't get their act together to make health care reform happen, and you're suggesting they try to pack the Supreme Court?

            I'm not sure what's more ridiculous, the suggestion itself, or the idea that Congress might be able to accomplish such a maneuver.

        •  Um, this latest abomination (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bmcphail, Matt Z, fayea

          in fact overturns the SC's own precedent. They follow precedents when that works for their own ideology. Pretty much like "original intent".

          But a Democratic Congress could certainly make laws that cripple this decision to death, if they wanted to. The slowness of getting another decision from the SC cuts both ways.

          Everybody talkin' 'bout Heaven ain't goin' there -- Mahalia Jackson

          by DaveW on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:26:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  From your mouth to God's ears!!! (0+ / 0-)

        Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

        by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:51:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  An amendment would guarantee that another (0+ / 0-)

        court couldn't re-instate the Robert's court decision as precidence.  

        •  That's always a problem, but read my signature (0+ / 0-)

          link to see why the Republicans are not going to take back the Supreme Court for decades after we create two new seats.

          Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

          by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:35:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nice read - mostly demographics. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            417els, Matt Z, SoCalSal

            However, I remember the very populist 60's and 70's and how popular our ideas were.  We were getting somewhere, but then there were a series of assassinations that caused a group depression in the liberals of the time.  Many just turned inward and lived their own lives without public involvement.  Some turned bitter and went over to join the opinion that the world is really dog eat dog and justified becoming greedy pigs.  
            I do not want to let down the new group of enthusiastic 18 - 29 year olds who overwhelmingly voted Democratic and have Progressive leanings.  We must protect and nurture their hope and enthusiasm.  

            I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

            by fayea on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:53:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Can't wait for or depend on that happening. (0+ / 0-)

        By the time that happens, all elections would be bought and paid for and many more corporatist would populate both parties.

        Expose the lies. Fight for the truth. Push progressive politics. Save our planet. Health care is a right, not a privilege.

        by lighttheway on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:11:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The 1st Amendment doesn't mention a "person" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CParis, hwliii

      so your proposed amendment wouldn't change the effect of the SCOTUS ruling.

      Besides, is it really a good idea to open up the 1st Amendment to change?  Why not see what Barney Frank has in mind regarding changing corporate laws to affect the ability of corporations to finance political campaigns?  Remember, any changes to for-profit corporations' ability to donate to campaigns and/or candidates will hit not only the corporations we love to hate, but also those that we would all wish to keep in the political process, including non-profit corporations.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:33:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The 1st Amendment does mention "people" (0+ / 0-)

        And the legal precedents subsequently, up to and including this week's clueless ruling, imaginatively grant extend personhood's free speech rights to corporations

        "Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."

        by oregonj on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:43:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You are right about the person issue. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But, there is a compelling interest of the govt to protect our democracy from corruption and even from the appearance of corruption that corporate financing of elections can create.  There is 100 years of SCOTUS law precedents that allow the restriction of the right to free speech when there is compelling interest to do so.  This SCOTUS was simply wrong and weirdly activist.

        But perhaps simply defining what a corp does as "advertisement" regulated by the Congressional powers over commerce and not define what a corporation does as "speech" at all would be a step to curtail this corrupting influence.  

        Has anyone heard what Barney Frank is proposing?  It seems that what Grayson has suggested is not going to hold up under SCOTUS scrutiny.

        I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

        by fayea on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:59:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  We The People... (0+ / 0-)

      Corporations are not people. If there were one broad idea that would give power back to the people it would be this Amendment.

  •  I would really like to see (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oscarsmom, kyeo

    any tea leaves that suggested this was something that might actually happen.

  •  The Change We Need to Make In Our System's (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philoguy, millwood, annieli

    relationship to communication and information is so radical that it could rival the change from monarchy.

    Meanwhile we've had virtually no relevant societal discussion about it.

    Americans can doubt many elements of our system, but the archaic statements of rights in the 1st few amendments are totally inconceivable for us to doubt.

    Well almost. Many of us do have some ability to doubt that the 2nd amendment gives us a right to bear nukes. But we aren't able to think about speech or press that way despite the fact that there are speakers and press a billionfold more powerful than anything conceivable to those who wrote that amendment.

    Now may be the time it could be revisited, but anything we would pass now with essentially no preparation is almost certain to make the speech/press situation even more dangerous than it is now.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:05:19 PM PST

    •  There has been quite a bit of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Philoguy, 417els, Matt Z, SoCalSal

      societal discussion of this issue - facebook, a party I went to last night, looonnnngg phone conversation with my "Independent" son, discussions and emails from my sister, etc.  Even a very "conservative" Christian acquaintance of mine was very distressed by the decision.  

      There actually is about 100 years of SCOTUS precedent upholding the right of Congress to limit speech when there is a compelling interest especially in regard to corrupting influences on elections and elected officials aliegences.  Restrictions on speech are not new at all.  

      Read the dissenting opinion of Justice Stevens.  Really compelling and quite interesting reading.

      Hopefully (there's that word again) Obama's constitutional expertise will be helpful.

      I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

      by fayea on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:05:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No doubt, he has the courage. -eom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Heads Up (10+ / 0-)

    The SwfitBoaters are back.

    They recommend e-mailing this vile video so it goes under the radar.

    The The SwiftBoat Gang in Disguise

    Now because of this new ruling these "patriot nationalists' can spend as much as they like on filth.

    I am saying do not ignore Glenn Beck's propaganda. These are his backers, and they intend to break the President.

    (I know that sounds crazy, but ignore at our peril)

  •  I hear faint echoes of "Stay the course!" nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    [message deleted] - Barack Obama

    by Bob Love on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:07:28 PM PST

    •  I hear the audible advice of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, PhilJD

      Lanny Davis and Mark Penn:  Tack Right!

      This is a certain death knell for the Democrats.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:52:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Coakley loss was NOT "progressive hiccup". (12+ / 0-)

    Coakley was not a progressive in any sense.

    She signed on to a health care bill that was an example of lobbyist written legislation that benefited insurance and drug industry while raising the costs for US even higher than it's already record high, economy killing rates. As the NPR "Wait, Wait" crew said "she just sat there".  Next time Democrats were going to nominate a lemming because "at least they run".

    Coakley was a defeat for the conservative Democrats who worked with insurance and drug industry to deny American's the health care the Democratic candidates promised.

  •  So far, the President has not used some (7+ / 0-)

    of the opportunities handed to him at the beginning of his tenure.

    I would hope that this opportunity does indeed unbind him from whatever it is that holds him back from the boldness that is needed for changes.

    I hope President Obama has the courage and is encourage by those around him to be courageous.

    Blessed are the bewildered, for they won't notice.

    by trinityfly on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:07:39 PM PST

  •  Does the President have the courage to do what's (9+ / 0-)


    If past is any indication of the future, the answer is a clear NO.

    In fact, I'll be shocked if this actually gets followed up in Congress after a few weeks, and if Obama actually puts his speeches into action. I'm willing to bet that in about 3 weeks time no one in Capitol Hill nor the WH will be talking about this ruling anymore. It's a brilliant political strategy to use this, but this White House never ceases to amaze me when it comes to missing glaringly good opportunities.

    I hope I'm dead wrong and that they make use of it, and not just for political wins, but to actually get this horrible ruling reversed for real. But after the performance of year 1, I'm not holding my breath.

    "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

    by michael1104 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:08:07 PM PST

  •  Excuse my laughter... (8+ / 0-)


    No matter what happens on health care reform over the next few weeks, the 2010 election will be decided by the state of the economy, and whether the Democrats and President Obama can establish a decisive contrast between themselves and the GOP regarding financial sector reform and reining in corporate influence on government.


    What contrast?

  •  Where are the 67 Senate votes to pass this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sorry, but a Constitutional Amendment to reverse this is dead even before it is introduced. You have 41 Republicans in the Senate who will vote against it as a bloc. You need 67 votes and there is no way that even a majority would vote Yes.

    •  An Article V Convention bypasses Congress (0+ / 0-)

      and leaves it up to 3/4 of the states to ratify any proposed amendments.  It is extremely risky, but it's the only way.

      •  Re-ratification Dilemna (0+ / 0-)

        Why would the states agree to this?

      •  Here's the full relevant text (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress

        In case no-one's directly pointed it out yet, the diarist is wrong: Constitutional amendments require the approval of a simple majority of the State Legislatures in 3/4 of the states, not 2/3 of them. Or, as you point out, Constitutional Conventions in 3/4 of them, if that route to approval were to be taken.

    •  could be close. Would energize the Nov election (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      if it also on the ballot. And it puts pressure on McCain etc. I think there is a chance that a few within the GOP realize that this is also the end of the GOP as we have know it. The teabaggers would also lose influence. The teabaggers are a a peoples organization - I don't think they would like to be paid by Wall Street. Yes, I think a two third majority can pass a Constitutional Amendment. More importantly, if the GOP goes against this, they lose big time in the election. Thus, we should link the Constitutional amendment and the Nov election. Smart move.

  •  Excuse me. did you say "Constitutional amendment? (8+ / 0-)

    Takes about thirty years usually, no?
    I'm having a really hard time picturing Democrats pushing any legislation more controversial than, say, a second Mother's Day. I wonder why that is.

  •  Hmm (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, CParis, Matt Z, kyeo, msmacgyver

    I don't trust Congress to produce legislation that helps me anymore, why in the world would I want them to append anymore modern stupidity to the Constitution?

    You know what's going to happen with that? I'll tell you:

    It's going to attempt to define "person" and be written in a way that "unfortunately" protects fetuses from the evil women that bear them. That's what.

    Count me out of this bold agenda.

    Count me all the way in if anybody in this party means to tackle a massive job creation bill.

  •  The liklihood of getting 3/4 of the states to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, JC from IA, Miggles, MichaelNY

    ratify an amendment that did not start in Congress is zero----none of the prior amendments passed in that manner.

    None of the 27 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed by constitutional convention.


  •  OT - Moderator please? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oscarsmom, Matt Z, notrouble

    Could a mod please delete this embed?

    It's playing audio automatically, and causing a lot of grief.. I didn't realize it was on autoplay when I posted.   Could you please delete or remove the "embed" part?

    Sunshine on my shoulder...

    by pkbarbiedoll on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:14:45 PM PST

  •  And what would the amendment say? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PBCliberal, Showman

    It could:
    a. Focus on making the Bill of Rights apply only to human beings; or
    b. Revisit the First Amendment to make campaign spending laws OK.

    Each has advantages, each has real issues.

    •  And that's the crux of the problem... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If the Bill of Rights applies only to human beings, most every news organization and advocacy organization in the country will be subject to the government muzzling it.

      A good percentage of the churches and religious organizations (those which are incorporated) could have their beliefs, practices and procedures mandated by government. (While this might be delightful to watch, it's probably bad public policy.)

      Revisiting the First Amendment to find some clever way to make suppression of speech acceptable for a greater common good would probably be more difficult to pass than health care reform, and writing the actual verbiage would be nearly impossible in a world where media changes so quickly.

      If it were true, they couldn't say it on Fox News. -6.62 -5.90

      by PBCliberal on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:49:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, no - (0+ / 0-)

        Churches cannot be muzzled because they are explicitly protected in the First Amendment, under "freedom of religion" rather than speech.

        But the ACLU, the NRA, and Handgun Control might each be muzzled.

        •  Its a question of application (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Elwood Dowd

          If your point #1 (the bill of rights is redefined to only apply to persons) is the preferred method, then all the provisions of the first ten amendments would not apply to any corporations, so any explicit protection in any of the amendments would cease to apply to religious corporations.

          But your objection actually raises another issue. The first amendment isn't actually a granting of rights to people for any function save assembly, its a denial of rights to the government.

          If it were true, they couldn't say it on Fox News. -6.62 -5.90

          by PBCliberal on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 06:53:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Oppose the bipartisan budget commission (8+ / 0-)

    What was Obama's answer to Massachusetts?  The creation of a bipartisan budget commission to make policy for reducing the deficit.  Instead of policy coming from the House, which was elected by proportional representation, we get this commission who no one elected.  Instead of the Democratic majority in Congress, we get this commission where Republicans have equal say.  And who is the Democratic leader? Conrad, who obstructed the public option at every turn.  We need to make calls and oppose this commission.

  •  What was the male/female vote breakdown in MA? (0+ / 0-)
  •  Media concentration laws are Constitutional. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Obama could instead go after the problem of having maybe six owners control 80%+ of news media as measured by eyeballs / ears.

  •  What was the Asian American vote in MA? (0+ / 0-)

    I would like to know the Asian American vote for Brown & Coakley

  •  I expect another "Now you make me do it" moment (0+ / 0-)

    soon and for my money it can't happen at a better time. With the conservatives clinging desperately to the tea partiers for messaging, the time is ripe for chess player President Obama to move to Check.

  •  the 28th. People ARE People & Paper Ain't. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:19:32 PM PST

  •  This sounds like good sense (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, Predictor

    Just hope the President will act on this advice.

    Yes, I'm het, but I'm NOT a Mad Hetter!

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:21:48 PM PST

  •  Prometheus shrugged? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ex Con, Matt Z, im hip

    During the recent Senate election in Massachusetts, OFA volunteers made over 2.3 million calls on behalf of Coakley's campaign.

    Too late to correct the shortcomings of that ambivalent campaign.

    Does the President have the courage to do what's right?

    Yes, he can; yes, we will.

    "...calling for a 5" deck gun is not parody. Not by a long shot." (gnaborretni)

    by annieli on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:23:46 PM PST

    •  I see a problem (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, SoCalSal

      One of the roadblocks to health care reform has been conserva-Dems that have corporate masters. Obama may have the courage, but there is a difficult calculation to make on this issue. It won't be good if the Democrats come of as too fractured.

      How do you solve a problem like Lieberman?
      How do you catch a fart and pin it down?

      by Ex Con on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:58:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Worth remembering that those Conserva-Dems (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ex Con, Matt Z

        represent conservative states. NCrissieB published her research on Dkos Morning Feature, showing that the Conserva Dems' opposition to HCR were driven by public opinion in their constituency, not by corporate contributions. Other Senators who were among the top recipients of corporate $ in opposition to HCR, but whose constituency favored HCR, dropped their opposition to the HCR bill.  The clear conclusion is that corporate donations don't mean as much as constituency opinion.

        Surprised many of us.

        Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

        by SoCalSal on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:55:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  No, he doesn't. (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    The Truffle

    That was easy.

    "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine" --Patti Smith

    by andrewj54 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:24:52 PM PST

  •  I'm sorry, MA Dems lost an open senate seat in a (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Truffle, glynis, 417els, Matt Z, fayea, CKendall

    special election.  They did so with a candidate with an uninspired campaign, to be kind.  Reading much more into the deal beyond that is fraught with peril.

    Yet, aided and abetted by supposedly Democratic blogs, this week's media meme has been the obituary and autopsy report for the Obama Administration and the Democrats in general.  For ONE senate seat, and for only a third of a senate term at that.  Many of these are the same folks who decried all efforts to secure Arlen Specter's decision to join the Democrats, without whom Franken would have never been the 60 vote in the first fucking place!

    This has truly gone from the sublime to the ridiculous and now has every appearance of a self-fulfilling prophecy:  WE'RE DEMOCRATS!  WE SUCK!  WE NEVER GET ANYTHING DONE!  AND, THAT'S WHAT WE STAND FOR!  EVERYBODY SAYS SO, INCLUDING US!


    Oh, and while we realize that there is nothing we can do to immediately alter a USSC decision, THAT'S OUR FAULT, TOO!  WE SUCK!

    Am I the only one who sees the left wing being played for fools, here?

  •  I just spoke to a friend (9+ / 0-)

    in Omaha, who voted for Obama.  She says everyone she knows there is fed up - they don't see progress, they don't see jobs, they don't see change.  

    And because desperate people tend to respond in a binary fashion and this is a two party system, analysis is not involved here, only knee jerking - they are swinging back the other way.  They will vote Republican next time, she says.

    Obviously, this will not help them but it does explain things to some degree.  

    People are scared and hurting and the Democrats are worried about Chase Manhattan and Blue Cross Blue Shield.  Okay, we'll go with the other guy.  That's a (sadly) typical American response.

    "Never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce."

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:27:15 PM PST

    •  JC from IA would do well (0+ / 0-)

      to read your comment.

      Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

      by oscarsmom on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:43:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I did. And, if it weren't for the "Omaha" part, (0+ / 0-)

        I would give it more weight.

        Nebraska is already a Republican stronghold, and has been for many, many years.  They managed one Dem Rep, and Ben Nelson, hardly what I would see as a great groundswell of Democratic support.

        That they are ready to jump ship at the first sign of trouble is hardly surprising to anyone in the Midwest.

        •  Is that (0+ / 0-)

          sort of like that Republican stronghold MA jumped ship last week?

          Or is there a secret plan to win re-election this time without  all those swing states that I haven't heard of?

          •  MA was a special election for an open seat, (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kitebro, 417els, Matt Z, CKendall

            with a shitty campaign.  Only the Dems  are self-destructing to the MSM meme about it meaning so much more than it does.

            There was NO incumbent running, even if the media designated the seat a Kennedy birthright.  Too bad the Dems bought into such bullshit to the extent that they assumed the actual vote was a formality.

            •  Nobody here took the primary seriously. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Matt Z, JC from IA

              What is the point of this blog if it ignores the important things while focusing on squabbles. Pathetic.

              There is a reason that there has only been a Dem in the Oval Office for 13 of the past 41 years. And it ain't Obama.

              by kitebro on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 07:20:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Boldness, political courage ... isn't that what (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dante Atkins, Predictor, roberta g

    it's ALWAYS all about?

    What we want to see more than anything?

    Great essay, Dante. Here's hoping our President reads it and takes it to heart.

    "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT

    by BeninSC on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:28:25 PM PST

  •  Refocus on promoting one-person-one-vote (5+ / 0-)

    I have thought for some time that the focus on banning corporate and union money in politics was missing the central problem.  This issue isn't that some juridical entity is acting politically, it is that organizations whose management is elected on a one-dollar-one-vote basis are making the funding decision in the political sphere, where democracy demands one-person-one-vote.  Even Glenn Greenwald pointed out the danger inherent in the traditional approach to campaign finance reform in his partial defense of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United.  

    I suggest that we refocus on the importance of upholding the principle of one-person-one-vote.  Businesses are not expected to be run on democratic principles.  In a corporate context, "democracy" usually means something closer to one-dollar-one-vote.  Business entities are governmental creations and the interstate commerce clause has a long reach.  I suggest the following steps to defend democracy from non-democratic business interests:

    1. All contributions to political campaigns or PACs and all purchases of political advertising or hiring of lobbyists must be approved, directly or indirectly, on a one-person-one-vote basis by all members or shareholders, regardless of shareholdings, and by all employees, regardless of position, or salary.
    1. Organizations like cooperatives and properly-run labor unions, whose management is elected on a one-person-one-vote basis would be free to make political contributions as they wished.  
    1. Organizations whose management is not elected on a one-person-one-vote basis could satisfy the requirement by having either (a) a political or social board of directors elected on a one-person-one-vote basis by all members and shareholder and all employees, who would have control over all political spending or (b) a representative on their regular board of directors who is so elected and who would have a veto on any political spending.

    This approach would not solve all of the problems, but it does not prohibit any speech.  It merely imposes democratic principles on political spending by business entities.  But it does it in a way that will both increase the awareness of employees of the political activities of their employers and give them a voice in the political process.  This approach could both meet the Supreme Court’s test for corporate free speech and strike a blow for democracy and against the public’s profound cynicism about politics.  

  •  Ultimately, this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CParis, Predictor, tari

    is going to all hinge on jobs - everything does.  Jobs that pay fair wages and the only place these jobs are going to come from is government spending to create them.  

    Obama either gets this or he does not.  And as reactionary and obstructionist as the Congress may be, even they probably remember what happens when the rich get too rich and the poor get too poor - eventually.  Give those that ain't got a little more - or lose a lot.

    "Never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce."

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:30:54 PM PST

  •  lets vote for a Constitutional amendment Nov 2010 (0+ / 0-)

    I like it! This will energize voters and increase turnout in Nov. Smart move. The court tried to hand the Nov election to the GOP, but we can turn this around.

  •  I have another question. Do the Progressives have (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kitebro, Matt Z, tari, SoCalSal

    the courage to help President Obama be bolder and more aggressive, or are they going to pick up their marbles and go home until they get a 'better candidate'?

  •  For anyone saying Obama hasn't shown courage (7+ / 0-)

    You're absolutely right and I agree that he's done fuck all to help move things forward.

    But perhaps it was because he was under the illusion that his Democratic majorities in Congress would do all the dirty work for him.

    Maybe now that he's lost that, he'll realize he'll need to get off his ever-loving ass and put some work into things?

    I still believe that Obama could accomplish damn near anything he wanted...if he put in the kind of work that he did during the campaign.

    Obama could round up enough reconciliation-type votes for just about everything, and people would love him. Populist support, support of the base, etc...I think would go way up.

    The question is...will any of that actually show up?

    The ball is in his court. Let's see if he starts taking some 3-pt shots with it.

    •  Perhaps Obama was suffering under the delusion (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glynis, mike101, roberta g

      that Congressional Dems would do ANY of the work, dirty or otherwise.

      Instead, they keep looking to him to carry all the goddamned water for them.

      •  If that's the case (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hester, mike101, oscarsmom, PhilJD

        Then we should probably be more mad at them than at him.

        I know for a fact that if the guy I voted for, Barack Obama, was out there busting his ass trying to bring things like a public option or jobs or climate change or financial regulatory legislation to fruition and the only reason it wasn't happening were people like LieberTratior, BenBackstabber, and Blanche "Out of Touch" Lincoln...then I'd be totally in Obama's corner and directing all of my ire at Congressional Dems.

        But because Obama hasn't been strong enough...I'm mad at him too.

        All of them could very quickly change that. Will they? I'd love to see it, but I will not hold my breath.

        •  What, exactly, should Obama do, then? (4+ / 0-)

          The POTUS can't vote for all the troublesome Senators.  He can only hope to persuade them, and persuade enough of their voters to pressure them.  The Senators and the public have got to exert some effort, too.

          He charged Congress to work this deal out, and has repeatedly stated what he thinks it needs to accomplish in order to be worthwhile.  All throughout, he has alternatively been charged with saying too much and saying too little.  Whenever it has looked like a deal was on the horizon, one faction or the other pitched a hissing bitch about some part of it or another, and back to the drawing board we went.  And, as often as not, these fits came from the President's side of the aisle and blogs just like this!

          What do you think the President can do to be stronger, then?

          •  "Permanent Campaign" (6+ / 0-)

            If the President were selling his agenda the way he sold himself on the campaign trail, I think we'd be in a very different place right now.

            Instead of paying lots of lip service to "bipartisanship" he needs to be mad. He needs to be bold. He needs to be talking about why we need health care reform like we needed him to be President.

            He needs to be twisting arms of Senators to vote for his agenda. He needs to be telling his party's caucus what to work for. He needs to be singling out obstructionists of both parties and letting the American People know just who is standing in the way of progress.

            Basically, I think if the President had been or would begin to sound like he has on Wall Street/the Citizens United decision on health care and jobs and everything else...I think we'd all be better off.

            I'm not saying this is or would be a foolproof strategy, but damn I think it'd make me feel a lot better about him if nothing else.

          •  Start fighting for one. (0+ / 0-)

            Let him instruct Reid and Pelosi to create two new Supreme Court seats to overturn Citizens United v. FEC.  They the Democratic Congress would know he's got their back, and would work with him.

            Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

            by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:20:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Glad I'm not expert, because the experts don't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    seem to get it.

    All this talk about Republicans and Democrats and advantages and parliamentary procedure and deals, and tough talk and no more Mr. Nice Guy, and still...

    while it's nice -- very very nice -- to see attention drifting over to jobs, there still seems to be a huge disconnect in the politician/political wonk brigades.

    2010 and beyond is going to be decided by voters, not Democrats or Republicans.  Sure, lots of those voters will call themselves Democrats and lots will call themselves Republicans, but the pain amongst the populace is very real.

    Scoring points, doing things on the to-do list, talking tough is all just window dressing -- good only if it actually leads to doing something that will make us -- the poor dumb fly-over masses -- a little better off.

    Forget all those fancy suits.
    We're the audience that matters now.
    Ask Martha Coakley.
    Or Chris Christie.
    Or Bob McDonnell
    or even Bill Owens, after winning by the skin of his teeth in an election when the other major party candidate not only withdrew, but endorsed him.

    If people get in your way, roll over them.
    If you can't roll over them, then dare them to beat you.
    Make them vote no on things that are clear, comprehensible, and desirable.

    Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

    by dinotrac on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:32:18 PM PST

  •  Obama bound himself (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oysterface, Philoguy, PhilJD

    He had every opportunity to be bold before now.  I hate to sound so cynical, but I have no real expectation that things will change.

    Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

    by oscarsmom on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:32:42 PM PST

  •  I might've been able (8+ / 0-)

    to agree with much of your diary if I had not just read about Obama's declaration yesterday that he supports the Conrad/Gregg bipartisan congressional commission to examine the deficit.  I've heard the word "bipartisan" coming from his lips more in the last week than I did during the campaign.  

    I find it very hard to believe that anything substantial will happen with bank reform now that the president is back in his bipartisanship fantasy.  The republicans have to be absolutely delighted with the fact that as little as 6 months ago they were degenerating into a weak, marginalized regional party and now they are riding even in the polls with the president's own party, pick your reasons why.

    As much as I like and admire the president I don't believe that he will do much of anything different or substantial from this point on.  He's too wedded to the advice he is getting from the people he chose to surround himself with.  Tone deaf is a kind way of putting it, I guess.

    The Village pronounces, the republicans howl, and Obama responds.  It's become well, I don't have words for it anymore.  Bowing to Conrad and Gregg, especially after the way Gregg punked him during the nominating process is a triangulation too far.

    Americans don't give a fig about the damn deficit.  They want the banks to be reined in, punished, and put under lock and key.  They want jobs that pay a living wage and insurance that will not bankrupt their families.  The president is not offering any of these things.  Instead he has embraced the republican ideals of balanced budgets, strangling Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and nary a word about the bankrupting costs of the endless wars.

    Words fail.  

    •  Yes what about the m*therf*cking wars! (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe we DO need a third party.  Sigh.

      Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

      by oscarsmom on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:48:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps all of this renewed hope that Obama will (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Philoguy, WarrenS, oscarsmom

      now somehow act with true progressive audacity and courage is missing the forest for the trees.  Did any of you ever think that maybe the Democrats keep capitulating and fumbling and acquiescing on key issues because they have no fucking intention whatsoever of really enacting change?  Politics in Washington has merely become so much theatre, in which Republicans and Democrats spout their usual lines, but in the end it's the Corporatocracy that rules, no matter who is in power.  The SCOTUS decision on Thursday is merely the icing on the cake.  As soon as one understands this central truth, that Congress and the White House no longer really serve the citizens, then it becomes easier to understand why Obama sounds so good, yet mysteriously fails to deliver the goods.  They all try to say the right things to fire up their base, but in the end, their true masters are the guys with all the money.  I've never been more disgusted by politics in my life, and after eight years of Bush and Cheney, that is saying something.

      The past is never dead. It's not even past. - William Faulkner

      by Jimbo47 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:02:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think what you suggest is what (0+ / 0-)

        many of us suspect but are just hoping otherwise.  If this is true, however, the contradictions (and I mean this in the Marxist dialectical materialist sense) will eventually catch up with the system.  A big symptom of what you say is that neither single payer nor the public option were ever seriously entertained by either the Whitehouse (lip service aside) or congress despite their popularity.  Now why might that be?  Hmmmm.  Another symptom would be the lack of accountability proposed for the bailouts and the fact that they went entirely to the banks.  Then, of course, there's the notorious economic team Obama selected.  These things speak volumes.

        •  Why might they have not seriously considered (0+ / 0-)

          single payer?

          Because they had a pretty good idea they couldn't pass it and withstand the media barrage scaring people havlf to death about it.

          Look what happened even after there were some agreements to give some to industry in order for them to not fight the bill all out.

          Strategy is everything in battles like tis. Single payer is too big a step for the nation as a whole. We've been working for years to pass it in CA - to no avail.

          Why didn't MA do single payer? Surely because they could not get there in one step. They apparently couldn't even get cost controls of any kind in their plan.

    •  Top comment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read." Groucho Mark

      by hester on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:27:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  yeah, right (5+ / 0-)

    OFA is rumored to have an email list of more than 13 million people

    They might have had that many a year ago, but I'd be willing to bet they've had a lot of people unsubscribe in the last few months.

    •  Why and what is your evidence that (0+ / 0-)

      ... I'd be willing to bet they've had a lot of people unsubscribe in the last few months.


      •  A lot of us got very discouraged (0+ / 0-)

        when early meetings appeared to be structured so as to tell us what we had to do, not ask us what we wanted to see accomplished and what we wanted to do.

        A very off putting process, but as the options have narrowed, the process is better. There are also many people locally who are very good at bringing people in.

        It's also easier to get people involved for specific tasks in emergencies, which we've had quite a few of recently.

    •  I did. nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      When people show you who they are, believe them: Maya Angelou

      by bakenjuddy on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:04:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually... (0+ / 0-)

      My understanding is that there have been roughly equal additions and removals. There are also plenty of new donors.

      50% of the volunteers are long-timers, and 50% are new. They are all getting active to engage folks in advocating for what people, citizens want to see from D.C. It's not all line-toeing. The vast majority of work is encouraging others to call their reps and speak their own mind.

      Are you involved in your local chapter?

  •  Harry Reid: Nuke the filibuster (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Showman, oscarsmom, Georgeo57, JC from IA

    Because you're not going to get shit done if you don't.

    Your responsibility is too great to do anything less.

    •  That's general problem with nukes, even the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fhcec, kath25, NorthlandLiberal, Enthalpy

      parlimentary kind:  They are good for threats, but if you use one, somebody you don't like is going to use one, too.

      Which is why I like the idea Harkin and Lieberman championed years back:  Keep the filibuster, but set some graduated time limits on it.  IE: The longer it goes on, the fewer votes necessary to break it.

      I'm sure Lieberman has long since changed his mind about this, but Harkin hasn't.

      •  Republicans almost nuked the filibuster (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, JC from IA

        There was a bi-partisan deal that was brokered that prohibited judicial filibusters... which the republicans broke once Obama was in power when they filibustered the Hamilton nomination.

        Whats to say that they will not threaten to do so again?

        Will another crappy "bi-partisan deal" come up again, that the republicans will break further down the road?

        Will the republicans, if they get back in power, nuke the filibuster anyway?

        I prefer Harkin's idea, but I don't think it will happen.

        In any case though, Harry Reid needs to worry about 50 votes for healthcare, not 60.

        •  The Republicans made their bluff believable. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          There have been few if any electoral consequences for their double-dealing.

          But, I think we can be sure that if the Democrats get into a tit-for-tat with them, the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the MSM and the right will be deafening.

          The Dems have an excellent opportunity, right now, to take advantage of the fact that the GzeroP thinks they are in the ascendancy because they won a couple of special-elections against weak opponents.  The Dems need to take advantage of that over-confidence, IMO, and propose some leveling of the playing field.  IOW, some offers NoNo can't refuse.

        •  We don't have to worry about Republicans gaining (0+ / 0-)

          power again if we kill the filibuster and create two new SCOTUS seats.  If we choose to do nothing, Republicans will win.  We cannot let that happen.

          Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

          by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:23:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  No one will nuke the filibuster (0+ / 0-)

          Neither party really wants to get rid of it, same way neither party wants to get rid of the right of individual Senators to place holds.  It gives a ton of power to individual Senators- why would any Senator really want to get rid of that.

          Plus, Senators have a long view, after all, they serve 6 year terms.  Minority and majority status can change quickly.

          If there is anything I have learned from Scooby Doo, it is that the only thing to fear is crooked real estate developers.

          by JakeC on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:28:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Democrats no longer have a choice (0+ / 0-)

            After Republicans filibustered 139 times last Congress and are on track to meet that record this Congress.  In the 1950's there were a couple of filibusters per session.  Republicans have abused the privilege, and now they will pay thee price.

            Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

            by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:38:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Except (0+ / 0-)

              What if disaster strikes and the Republicans are back in control in two years?  Who is paying the price then?

              No one in the Senate wants it to turn into the House, where if you are in the minority you might as well not get out of bed in the morning.

              If there is anything I have learned from Scooby Doo, it is that the only thing to fear is crooked real estate developers.

              by JakeC on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:45:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  BTW (0+ / 0-)

              I just clicked on your link and read your past couple of diaries- kudos on being very prolific.

              My question, though- in your most recent diary you come down that the Republican party is finished, kaput.  The diary before that states that, in light of United Citizens vs FEC, that the Democratic party will be destroyed.

              Who do you see running the place in a couple of years?  Greens?  Federalists?  Know Nothings?

              If there is anything I have learned from Scooby Doo, it is that the only thing to fear is crooked real estate developers.

              by JakeC on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:54:02 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, the Harkin approach is the way to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JC from IA

        essentially kill the filibuster.

        Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

        by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:14:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's now or never. (0+ / 0-)

      Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

      by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:55:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If Dems don't end the filibuster, either they (0+ / 0-)

      have already been bought by business, or they are cowards, or both.

      Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

      by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:21:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was the filibuster, I've read, that (0+ / 0-)

        saved us Supreme Court Justice Alberto Gonzales.

        It has its uses... Also, bush tried to elevate an extremely, extremely conservative Black woman judge from the 4th circuit to the Supreme Court. That would have been a disaster.

        Dems just have to force the Republicans to stop - by making them responsible for ignoring the needs of the people, the country, the earth, current and future children, polar bears, and so on... Hold them responsible in the market place of public opinion, and they will eventually stop.

        In the meantime, use reconciliation for everything of substance.

        Also write laws so that Republicans are voting against apple pie and motherhood if they vote against.

        But Senate Dems will have to work together to make this strategy effective, and as we have seen, that's not easy for those cats.

  •  I agree with your basic thrust... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oscarsmom, kath25, Miggles

    Obama would do well to position himself as a progressive reformer, and position the Republican Party as the reactionary obstructionists they are.  Make them vote no on needed reforms, make them filibuster, and make it very clear who is trying to help the people and who is trying to protect the perquisites of big business, even if that means being on the losing end of some votes in Congress.

    Without commenting on the likelihood of success, I also think the idea of a Constitutional Amendment to do away with this business of corporate "personhood" would be a wonderful thing to pursue.  Sign me up.

    •  Constitutional amendment would take much too long (0+ / 0-)

      We need a solution in time for the 2010 elections.

      Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

      by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:16:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Check to see what Barney Frank has in mind. (0+ / 0-)

        He plans to modify the Law to limit use of corporate funds for political purposes.

        As he says, Congress has written the law on Corporations and can and will change it. It's not god given, he said, as the Supreme Court seems to think.

        He is also going to take on the personhood fiction.. He may find out something different once he and his colleagues get into it, but he's damn smart, and if anyone can lead the effort to success, he can.

  •  Creating two new Supreme Court seats (0+ / 0-)

    would be a much faster, and better, way of addressing the Citizens United v. FEC ruling.

    You wrote:

    The only way to reverse the Citizens United ruling is a Constitutional amendment

    Do you understand that a Constitutional amendment requires 3/4ths of state legislatures, and Democrats don't control nearly that many?

    Do you understand the damage Republicans can do in the 2010 and 2012 elections, long before the Constitutional Amendment has ANY chance of passing?

    Do you understand how egregious a power-grab the SCOTUS decision is, handing our democracy over to corporations in a way that the American People will very likely be unable to overcome?

    The Republicans have just hit us with a hydrogen bomb, and you are advocating for some kind of arms treaty.  

    No!  We need to fight.

    Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

    by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:41:56 PM PST

  •  Only thing is.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    417els, oscarsmom, Miggles
    ...when you start amending the constitution, crazy things can happen: such as an English only amendment or one against gay marriage (which would easily pass).

    Tonight I'm going to party like it's 1929.

    by Bensdad on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:45:53 PM PST

    •  I'm advocating for two new seats, (0+ / 0-)

      not for a constitutional amendment, which would take years and give corporations enough time to cement their power fully.

      Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

      by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:50:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Barney Frank has two of his committee members (0+ / 0-)

      working on modifying the Law on Corporations to forbid using corporate money for political purposes. That may also open the way for some other changes, like personhood. I do believe I heard/read that he is going after that, too. I looked for the source, but could not find it.

      Amending the Law on Corporations is much easier than a constitutional amendment.

  •  Same Old (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester, Big Tex, Philoguy, oregonj, oscarsmom

    I'm tired of the same old progressive line that inevitably follows a major setback or defeat. You know, "It's really an opportunity, this will really galvanize our cause," yada yada. Obama knew what he was elected to do, and he failed to execute, as did the Democratic congressional "majority." Let's face it: the Democrats are simply too spineless to govern effectively, and their fecklessness now appears as a fatal weakness to the voters. Carville's dream of "perpetual Democratic rule" following eight of the most disastrous years we've ever experienced will go unfulfilled, mainly because today's ruling party does not have the will to govern.

    While many look forward to a "get tough" Obama in his first State of the Union, I'm of the opinion that it's already far too late. He was always hated by the right, and now he's under pressure by the very people who got him elected. That includes me, and I feel betrayed and more than a little angry.

    I don't know, maybe it's because the Democrats, like their Republican counterparts, are owned lock, stock and barrel by the very corrupt corporate interests they pretend to oppose. I would gladly support a third party, but a viable third party is nowhere on the horizon.

    America is a sinking country, akin to fifth-century Rome, and I believe it has had its day. Perhaps it would be best to let Palin, Beck & colleagues drag it the rest of the way down. When the middle class is no more, when only the rich can afford health care, when abortion has been declared a felony punishable by death by stoning, when legitimate scientific inquiry has been outlawed, and when prayer in the schools is not just allowed but mandatory, perhaps the American public will finally awaken and take their country back.  

    Other than that, everyone have a really great day!    

    •  Obama definitely has one or more chances... (0+ / 0-) lead this pack of spineless Democrats.

      Before I throw in the towel.

      "Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."

      by oregonj on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:56:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  is it the economy? (0+ / 0-)

    Just playing advocate here but ...
    There is a vast portion of the Republican base that regards Obama as an enemy alien and Pelosi as the vanguard of an enemy culture. For a subset of that base the culture war is religious. These people are fired up and will organize and vote against the black alien and the San Francisco (uh ... San Franciscain?) whether they have jobs or not. If the economy improves Obama won't score any points with them, if it tanks they're already as fired up as they can be without bringing their beloved guns to the Mall in DC - and don't think they're not talking about it (IMHO all talk ...)

    Then there's the mushy non-blogosphere left (which means left of the Bush Republicans) - they (we?) are not fired up, did not get the change they could believe in. Without a substantial turn on their issues - various subsets but Health Care, equal rights, etc ... their energy is gone though many will still vote. There's the youth that Obama brought with him but now that he didn't solve everything in 12 months like in the movies they've mostly lost interest and can be easily swayed (like everyone) by the media meme barrage.

    And the independents of legend. Unless Obama folds and goes back to McCain's drawing board in search of the illusive bi-partisan solution to (?) then Obama didn't deliver bi-partisanship.

    Now I say swing for the fence and arrest Summers on national TV but that's just me.

    Does any of this make sense? I think the political problems are more complex than just the economy, and that's a pretty bad problem as it is.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:55:06 PM PST

  •  This Comment Not Meant to be Offensive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    But the majority the Dems hold now, after Brown's win in MA, could -- without warning -- be further reduced.

    Sen. Byrd of WV is in tenuous health.  Should he die, I don't have confidence that WV would return a Dem in a special election anymore than the voters of MA did.

    Gov. Manchin is a solid Byrd-like Dem, from a political dynasty in WV.  Perhaps if he first appointed himself the interim senator, then ran for the senate seat in the event it became prematurely vacant, he'd beat a Republican opponent.  So far, he has been diplomatically silent on the subject.

    He has an advantage that Martha Coakley didn't have; he's as widely known as he is popular with WV voters.

    "Give me but one firm spot to stand, and I will move the earth." -- Archimedes

    by Limelite on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 04:56:06 PM PST

    •  not offensive (0+ / 0-)

      just throw some salt over your shoulder.

      I heard that the Democrats in New Jersey were looking at changing the law so that the governor wouldn't replace a deceased Senator, so clearly they are willing to talk about it.

      Only chance that the Democrats could really lose the Senate involves a couple of deaths or resignations.

      If there is anything I have learned from Scooby Doo, it is that the only thing to fear is crooked real estate developers.

      by JakeC on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:16:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  About OFA... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Big Tex

    Imagine the influence that these millions of volunteers could have if they were put to work lobbying locally for a Constitutional amendment to limit corporate money in politics.

    Would it be the same lame effort they put into health care reform?  Who castrated those poor folks?  Axelrod?  Emanuel?

    •  Let's be fair. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glynis, indres, SoCalSal

      OFA has very, very minimal resources. For our local chapter, it was a big deal to have the $$ to buy some cruddy cellphones for phonebanks. Friends have said that the DC office is very, very meager. OFA, like most non-profits, is largely donor-driven, and there's a large staff to fund. And they're not overpaid by any means.

      They do a LOT with very, very little. Over 1.2 million calls made in one weekend to MA through a grassroots network? Over 350,000 constituent calls into Congress in a day? The numbers are very impressive.

      They are working to launch localized, grassroots operations in all 50 states in a shoestring. The fact is, they've done a heck of a lot in not much time, and they will only continue to get better.

      Have you participated in your local chapter?

    •  Lame effort? (0+ / 0-)

      making millions of calls about HCR is a lame effort?

      Coalition does not equal unholy alliance--Deoliver47

      by glynis on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:30:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll rejoin OFA if they take this on. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester, fhcec, oscarsmom, daveUSA, indres

    Air America listeners, check this out

    by shpilk on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:06:05 PM PST

  •  progressives understood the stakes in MA and like (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester, OLinda, oscarsmom

    in the 2008 campaign were the ones who principally responded to phone-bank mobilizations initiated through OFA, which does have an impressive phone and text message capability in addition to the huge email list.

    Otherwise, like the White House itself to a large degree, OFA has squandered a lot of its inherent political power by mobilizing for compromised positions on health care, corporate-sponsored faux-reform in education and, essentially ZIP to adequately address the massive crisis of joblessness, foreclosures and the war on working people -- employed, unemployed and underemployed -- in our country.

    If OFA hasn't done much of anything on these issues already, lots of luck mobilizing for a Constitutional amendment on campaign finance.

    Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself - Wallace Stevens

    by catchlightning on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:07:51 PM PST

  •  it says a lot about leadership (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester, chipoliwog, oscarsmom

    When losing your super-majority in the Senate derails your entire agenda. That pretty much says you don't in fact have any leadership capability.

  •  Simplistic but this U-tube (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    pretty much says it all:

    We're all one heartbeat away from Forever.

    by KS Rose on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:13:02 PM PST

  •  Great idea! (0+ / 0-)

    Great idea, but I don't think there is a chance this administration or this bunch of Democrats will do any such thing.

    I watching the playoffs on TV, so the apt metaphor that comes to mind is that this team is going to play defense for the rest of this game, even though they're only one point ahead. Any score by the opposition wins the game. It's a lame strategy that usually fails. And it's shitty to watch.

  •  This is very good plain speaking, Dante. (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you.
    I sent a link to the President. You never know.

    Grab a MOP, you GOPpers,
    Or getTF out of our way!

    by OleHippieChick on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:19:31 PM PST

  •  I agree wholeheartedly... nt (0+ / 0-)

    Don't fight it, understand it!

    by vinkeith on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:19:50 PM PST

  •  Eh (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester, Coss

    Campaign finance reform?  It's the kind of issue that the media, insiders, and those who are really, really engaged are fascinated by, and the rest of America could care less.

    Bringing that up now seems like a potential disaster.  One of the themes going around right now is that while the country was worrying about the economy and jobs, the President wasted a year on health care.  Democrats can't allow for any perception that they are wasting time on something that Americans just don't give a damn about, it has to be all jobs, all the time in 2010.

    If there is anything I have learned from Scooby Doo, it is that the only thing to fear is crooked real estate developers.

    by JakeC on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:20:39 PM PST

  •  Time for the 'Alternate Plan'.......lemonade out (0+ / 0-)

    of lemons.

  •  No. (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    The Truffle

    Next question?

  •  Dante wrote a diary and he's nowhere to be found (0+ / 0-)

    What's up with that?

    Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

    by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:26:38 PM PST

  •  Dante for President 2012 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dante Atkins

    Dude, this is outstanding.  Soooo well written.

    The answer to your final questions is an emphatic YES.  The President has courage in spades - and audacity - and hope.

    The REAL question is, do we trust the President enough to follow his leadership?

    I know it's hard for us, as Kossacks, to "march in lockstep" or be accused of "drinking the Koolaid".  We don't trust incrementalism because it smacks of foot-dragging.  (And after all the knuckle-dragging from the GOP, it's hard to trust any dragging appendages these days...)

    But President Obama is still - and will continue to be - the same man who posted on DKos in 2005 and who ran an improbable, authentic, and citizen-centered campaign in 2008.

    Time to stop blaming President Obama and grab our mops.  He's not gonna be able to do it alone.

    "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses." - CS Lewis, Weight of Glory

    by Benintn on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:26:52 PM PST

  •  Only a "media narrative" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Obama sold HCR down the river in his private meetings with Big Pharma. That wasn't a "media narrative"- that was Obama himself. Being quite bold, quite assertive and quite successful- the silver was paid to the well-connected insiders.

  •  The answer is "no" if you even have to ask the (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    The Truffle


    Does the President have the courage to do what's right?

    That was the last sentence in the diary. The conclusion is right. There is a lot of reasonable doubt about Obama's leadership and little reason or hope he even knows he is a big part of the problem.

    Some posts will attract a strong response from those unfamiliar with robust dialogue

    by Eposter on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:32:08 PM PST

  •  Formulate the amendment you are thinking about (0+ / 0-)

    and let's push it.

  •  Kill the filibuster; create two new SCOTUS seats. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Game, set, match.

    Read Teixeira's 2009 report, and see why the GOP is almost dead.

    by Georgeo57 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:45:38 PM PST

  •  I blame the Dems for the loss in Massachusetts (0+ / 0-)

    I live in Mass and I saw squat for getting Martha elected. The Dems took it for granted that they would win because of the early poll numbers and they then dropped the ball, no one to blame but who ever ran the campaign.

  •  I love this idea (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    daveUSA, standupguy

    And while we're at it let's eliminate corporate personhood as well.

    Money=speech; every dollar has a right to be heard. The Supremes

    by orson on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 05:46:19 PM PST

  •  uh, about that 13 million email list (0+ / 0-)

    It would be very interesting to learn about where they are now.  

    Especially after health reform and the Massachusetts election.

    I suspect that the 13 million isn't quite that high anymore.  I think we all would be very surprised to hear about how many of their active folks have unsubscribed.

    Just a guess.  But I know I am one, and I know several other folks who have told me they have opted-out of OFA emails.

    One other thing - I wonder how many calls the average OFA volunteer put into the MA campaign?  2 million calls could be done by 100,000 people averaging 20 calls apiece.  Or by 50,000 people averaging 40 calls apiece.  That's the key number in the equation.  Number of people on an email list tells you nothing.

  •  What makes you think . . . (0+ / 0-)

    The only question is: Does the President have the courage to do what's right?

    . . . it's a question of courage?

    Perhaps it's a question of druthers.

  •  Best and most important diary of this new year. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Truffle

    What an AWESOME road map to both good policy and victory in 2010.  Bravo!

    Expose the lies. Fight for the truth. Push progressive politics. Save our planet. Health care is a right, not a privilege.

    by lighttheway on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:01:42 PM PST

  •  Wilhelm Reich - My Favorite Author (0+ / 0-)

    Regardless of what you’ve done and will do to me, of whether you glorify me as a genius or lock me up as a madman, of whether you worship me as your deliverer or hang or torture me as a spy, your affliction will force you recognize sooner or later that I ... have given you an instrument with which to govern your lives with the conscious purpose which thus far you have applied only to the operation of machines.

    And to the dictators and tyrants, the crafty and malignant, the vultures and hyenas, I cry out in the words of an ancient sage:

    I have planted the banner of holy words
    in this world.
    Long after the palm tree has withered
    and the rock crumbled,
    long after the glittering monarchs
    have vanished like the dust of dried leaves,
    a thousand arks will carry my word
    through every flood:
    It will prevail.

    -- Wilhelm Reich

  •  Yeah, if (0+ / 0-)

    if he's bold enough to seize it.

    Of course it will have to be bipartisan.

    •  Indies WANT Obama to be bipartisan, according (0+ / 0-)

      to a good article by Doyle McManus today in the Sunday LA Times. What to do? We want him to be tougher here, and more "take no prisoners." Indies, the fickle ones, who just put Scott Brown in, want him to be more "centrist and bipartisan."

      Lotsa fucking luck in pleasing everybody.

      •  Perhaps Indies are more complicated (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        than the polling question asks.  My son, an Indie, is really sick of the red vs blue thing.  He doesn't see the world that way.  But he has caught on to the corporatist vs the populist meme.  The official 2 parties are a bit behind the current dichotomy.  We have corporatists within the Dem party (Ben Nelson, Landrieu, etc).  We never really had 60 votes in the Senate if we means those who are progressive, populists, those whose politics is informed by compassion instead of greed.

        By the way, my Indie son is really pissed off about the SCOTUS decision.  Not as concerned about Massachusetts.

        I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

        by fayea on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:31:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Am I the only one here who thinks (0+ / 0-)

    it is time for the nuclear option:   kill the filibuster?  (yes, it can be done)
    Then pass the entire Democratic Platform (real health care reform) and some fix to the SCOTUS thing that will actually hold up constitutionally, all by November.  

    Get Americans addicted to thinking they deserve better health care just like they're addicted to Medicare.

    Get to work on corporate influence.  Frame the debate as not between red and blue, Repubs v Dems, but Corporatists against Populists.  Make all Dems reveal their corporate relationships.  

    If we don't kick serious butt by November, there will be no further chance.  The corporatists will have taken over.

    I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

    by fayea on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 06:26:15 PM PST

    •  hah. The Dems don't even want their own platform (0+ / 0-)

      And the corporatists already took over. Decades ago. Both parties. That's why the HCR is a giveaway to the insurance companies.

      Dem Party Motto: "Hey, at least we're better than nothing!"

      by Lenny Flank on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 07:35:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Constitutional amendment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't see why a constitutional amendment would be necessary. The constitution does not say that corporations are persons: that was an invention of the Supreme Court. Why wouldn't a law, passed by simple majority in the House and the Senate, to the effect that

    Corporations shall have only those rights explicitly given them by statute, and nothing in the constitution shall be interpreted as implying that corporations are persons, or have any other rights of persons

    be a perfectly appropriate response by Congress? In the past, when courts have misinterpreted laws (according to the intent of Congress), the Congress has gone back and clarified its intent, and the courts have following the clarified law, as they should.
      Wouldn't that work in this case too?

  •  Obstructing Bad Legislation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpringtimeforHitler, RweTHEREyet

    If the legislation is bad, it should be obstructed. The Stimulus Bill was very, very bad legislation. TARP was just as bad. Both of those bills passed with Republican support.

    If a bill is bad, it should be opposed. Rep. Michaud opposed TARP because he didn't think it would accomplish what it was supposed to accomplish. Rep. Michaud is a Democrat. Meanwhile, Senator Snowe and Senator Collins both supported it. Would you consider a senator who supported either of these measures a "Rethuglican", or is it just the Republicans who don't agree with you?  

    Similarly, both Health Care reform bills are bad legislation. First of all, they're both awfully big and they're both filled with language that the lawmakers themselves have admitted they can't understand. If you think it's a good idea to vote yes one something without knowing what you're approving, then I can understand why either of these so-called "reform" bills would be attractive.
    I think it would be helpful to write bills that the lawmakers can actually read and comprehend.

    (This is the part where people make jokes about the stupidity of Rethuglican lawmakers. Obviously all the Democrats were perfectly able to read a 2,000 page bill filled with dense legal terminology in less than a week and understand every word without any trouble. That sort of goes without saying, doesn't it?)

    Cap and Trade is bad, too, and it isn't just Neanderthal Neo-Banker-Lovers who oppose it. Somehow, letting unelected officials make arbitrary decisions about who can produce what isn't popular with lawmakers whose constituents still have jobs. Some of these lawmakers aren't Rethuglicans. Creating a commodity with an arbitrarily assigned value will almost certainly result in fraud, just as it did in Europe. Obstructing this legislation is a great idea.

    Propaganda isn't the purview of one network, unfortunately. It could be argued that Air America was a propaganda radio network. There's plenty of evidence to suggest that MSNBC is a propaganda network too. Can anyone say that Olbermann is really any different than Beck or Limbaugh?  They're all preaching to choirs. They're just singing different hymns.

    You're suggesting that these "astroturf groups" became angry because they believe whatever Beck tells them. Rather than thinking beings, they're mindless automatons who do the bidding of their TV host masters.

    The question is this: if this is the case, do you want these people on your side?

  •  great snark (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    especially this...

    The only question is: Does the President have the courage to do what's right?

    I know you MUST be kidding to end your "suggestion" with an ignorant belief that if the POTUS doesn't do your bidding he's a coward. Besides an amendmant like you suggest won't fly until way too damn late. Very. goddamn. funny.

  •  "Limit Corporate Money"??? (0+ / 0-)

    Limit corporate money my ass!!  If you're going to take a shot at a Constitutional amendment in this matter, why not go for the whole enchilada and revoke the "personhood" of the corporations altogether.  It is well known that their status as "persons" is the result of the basest form of skulduggery, so it shouldn't be a stretch to take it away.  And let 'em spend billions trying to defeat it.  If the left manages to keep hold of the framing and the narrative the corpos'll go broke and shrivel up and die.  

    And won't that be special!!

    Liberal = We're all in this together
    Conservative = Every man for himself
    Who you gonna call?

  •  The Supreme Court (0+ / 0-)

    decision is what it is and we can take it, or make good use of it. As of now the Gift Tax excludes political donations. With our majorities, it should not be too hard to amend this law. Placing an extremely high tax on all political donations that would be directly earmarked to fund Medicare, Medicaid, and the future Health Care Bill, would make good use of money designed to buy a politician. This would further eliminate or lessen the raising of taxes to pay for these necessities since political donations are no small change items when looking at local, state, and federal campaigns combined. Corporations would have to make much higher donations to secure any help to the candidate since most of the money would go to the tax.

  •  What a positive spin diary! (0+ / 0-)

    If only I believed all this....

  •  SCOTUS and End of Democracy? (0+ / 0-)



    As some folks downplayed the Massachusetts loss, there is one story that we cannot allow to fade.

    All three of the White House Staff sounded an alarm about the Supreme Court's decision that lifts all limits on corporate spending (which includes everything from Big Business to Big Labor to Big Advocy Groups). I am alarmed about this on a number of levels.

    This ruling gives foreign powers an enormous amount of power in determining American political life.

    Here is a good (bad) example: Aramco, a corporation owned by the Saudi Arabian government, will have enormously more influence in choosing your senator than you will.

    Saudi Aramco (Arabic: ?????? ???????? ) is the state-owned national oil company of Saudi Arabia. It is the largest oil corporation in the world with the largest proven crude oil reserves and production.[2] Headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia,[3] Saudi Aramco also operates the world's largest single hydrocarbon network, the Master Gas System. It was known as just Aramco between the years of 1933-1988, an acronym for Arabian American Oil Company.

    Associated companies/subsidiaries

    * Aramco Services Company (ASC): HQ in Houston. * Aramco Overseas Company B.V. (AOC B.V.) - HQ in The Hague. * Aramco Associated Company (AAC) * Aramco Training Services Company * Saudi Refining, Inc. (SRI)
    o Aramco Financial Services Company (AFSC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Refining, Inc. * Saudi Petroleum International, Inc. (SPI) - HQ in New York. * Bolanter Corporation N.V. * Pandlewood Corporation N.V. * Saudi Petroleum Overseas Ltd. - HQ in London. * Vela International Marine Ltd.: HQ in Dubai.

    Each of these companies will be able to spend money freely on issues or candidates they endorse. Current disclose rules will provide no relief from this. There is virtually no transparency now. How bad will it get when there is even more money flowing in the system and the motivation to create front groups or bury responsibility in jargon will be even stronger than it currently is?

    Want to guess how interested this company will be in controlling our energy policy? Want to guess how interested this company will be in controlling our environmental policy? Want to guess how interested this company will be in controlling our trade policy? ....Our research and development policy?....Our international banking policy? ....Our Middle East Policy regarding Israel, Iran, Muslim Fundamentalism?

    This will not stand. It cannot stand. There are too many Americans who love this country and won't allow it to happen. Are you one of them?

  •  Does the President have the courage? (0+ / 0-)

    If Joe Lieberman says it's okay, yeah.

  •  What Obama keeps failing at is this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    You can't expect to make truly progressive changes and be everybodys fucking friend. In fact, the more you side with American people over corporate greed, the more Washington and elected republicans are going to hate you.
    So who fucking cares! Let them fucking hate you and do what's right, not only morally but strategically. Where the fuck  is the spine????  

    Please join the new facebook group, "We want Howard Dean back in charge" and spread the word!

    by astronautagogo on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 09:30:01 PM PST

  •  Health care will be Obama's Waterloo..... (0+ / 0-)

    along with his fan club.

    If he fails to relieve both Americans and employers of the oppressive cost of health care for the foreseeable future, he and the DEM party will never get their votes.

    Let Single Payer try on the glass slipper too!

    by seastar on Sun Jan 24, 2010 at 10:00:01 PM PST

  •  Don't need a Const. Amendment (0+ / 0-)

    An Amendment would surely work, but the USSC decision is also a recipe for how to write plain old legislation that would survive a constitutional challenge.  Look - if Tort reform is legal as the GOP always says that it is.  Somehow limits on political campaign spending can be.  The Congress just can't use the same language and structure that was in the bill that was struck down.  They can use similar language and get to the same place a different way.  Sometimes appellate decisions are actually road maps for how to write legislation.  

  •  This can only work if (0+ / 0-)

    the Democrats get health care passed.  Otherwise, people will simply say that since the Democrats couldn't get the thing they worked on all year passed even when they had 60 votes, what's the point of giving them 60 or more votes again?  It's not just the Republicans that obstructed getting health care passed. The Democrats obstructed themselves.

  •  This sounds like just what the Administration (0+ / 0-)

    has in mind going forward.  To bad they just do not get it.  What an opportunity squandered this has been.  Obama needs to run all the idiots advising him, Axelrod, Emanual, Gaspard and Jarret.  Start over, he is still popular enough.  

  •  Dodd (0+ / 0-)

    I am a pretty cynical person.  But, I had faith in Senator Dodd's progressiveness.  I thought his freindship with Ted Kennedy indicated some integrity about liberal causes.
    Wow, what happened to him?  Ever since he announced he was not going to run for reelection, he has backed away from all those things he was promoting.

    Wants to slow down HCR.
    Backing off Wall Street reform.
    Backing off banking reform.

    I thought he had enough money.  I knew he had corporate backing. But, he has proven to have no honor.  He must be assured of a nice K Street or corporate job.

  •  The nuclear option (0+ / 0-)

    You don't need to amend the Constitution to keep Congresscritters from taking money from corporations.  All you need is for prosecutors to stop acting as if offering a bribe in the form of a campaign contribution categorically immunizes it from being considered as the pro quo of a politician's quid, the consideration of value for which he or she performed some official service for the corporation.  There was absolutely nothing at all out of the ordinary about the legislative advocacy Bill Jefferson provided for that $95,000 of cash he took from that software company.  He would have been just fine with the law, at least as enforced by our prosecutors, if he had simply taken his quid as a campaign contribution.

    This Supreme Court ruling makes it easier to pursue this nuclear option for dealing with campaign finance reform, because it removes the defense established by laws, now invalidated, that set limits on corporate contributions, and thereby could be claimed to have legalized the practice of such corporations.  Remember Al Gore's legalistic distinction about the "controlling legal authority"?  Well, by pre-empting legal authority in the matter of campaign contributions, Congress to a large extent pre-empted prosecutorial oversight over potential bribery, at least if the prospective quid took the form of a campaign contribution.  That pre-emption is gone now.  It's time for prosecutors to sharpen their axes.  They have loads of Congresscritters to take care of their way, now that the FEC can't do the job its way.

    Forget about bogus free speech arguments.  In cases of bribery, even legislative advocacy, the most highly protected form of free speech in our system, is very overtly not protected.  

    Of course the whole idea that campaign contributions, direct or indirect, are a form of free speech, is specious.  If I write a book that arguably is favorable to Obama, it helps him only insofar as people buy the thing to read it,which means it really can't be much like a commercial, can it, since people hate commercials, and would never fork over money for a book-length commercial.  I'm exercising my freedom of speech when I write and publish such a book, and it really is aa side issue if that happens to help Obama.  The people who buy the thing are exercising their free speech rights as well.  But I would merely be doing something of value to Obama, whose every official action thereafter must be scrutinized for its tendency to favor my interests, if I paid money to have a commercial thrust into people's faces unwanted.  When the targets of the "speech" in question are not willing participants, if they aren't exercising their rights in choosing to listen to, or read, what I have to say, then my saying or writing it isn't really free speech to which I have any right.  

    But, yes, sure, our free speech rights are so important, so central to the functioning of democracy, we can give the SC the benefit of the doubt about their motives in being so arguably over-zealous in their defense.  I even think that, however obviously partisan their motives, they have unwittingly done us a service by forcing us to confront our hypocrisies.  Why do we regulate campaign contributions, what other public interest are we protecting, if not to keep our public officials from receiving pay checks from any master other than the people?  What's the concern that the FEC addresses, if not the threat of bribery?  But the FEC, and our campaign finance laws, are obviously not an adequate way to address bribery.  There is no tolerable amount of bribery, no "contribution" limits that make any sense, because this is a qualitative problem, not a quantitative one.

    So let's play along with the SC.  Let's see their little gambit, and call.  Let's no longer have campaign finance regulation in any way other than in the way prescribed by the Constitution, as enforcement of laws against bribery.

    Now, perhaps other SC justices, even ones whose opinions we tend to respect, have done the same, but Scalia has been in the news accepting corporate funded junkets, duck hunts and such.  Let's start the new regime, the new controlling legal authority which is really as old as public office, by prosecuting Scalia for bribery.

    The presidency must be destroyed.

    by gtomkins on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 06:09:13 AM PST

  •  Daring and the Democratic Party (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Unfortunately, the words, 'daring' and 'Democratic Party' will rarely if ever be seen together. And that my friends, is the problem.

  •  Free Speech (0+ / 0-)

    An amendment to reverse Citizens United should be met with the same scorn as an amendment to outlaw flag burning. Apparently mote vs. beam is as alive in the liberal sphere as it is in the conservative one. What is it about "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech" that is so hard to understand or so hateful?

  •  Corporations are not people, not human (0+ / 0-)

    beings, not American citizens,
    NOT PERSONS endowed with all of the rights envisioned by the Founders and guaranteed to us  by our Constitution....
    Something of that tenor.
    A clarifying amendment. Short, speaking the language of people's well-justified frustration and alienation while defining a concrete reform.

    The thought had crossed my mind, but seemed too long a shot to even mention, until you posted this, DA.
    Proposed amendments have an accumulating effect on the ideological climate and political discourse. Look at the Equal Rights Amendment.

  •  Sorry. Politically brain-dead suggestion. (0+ / 0-)

    I can hear the howling now....

    "Obama is rewriting the Constitution of this country!!"

  •  Constitutional rights only for NATURAL PERSONS (0+ / 0-)

    Not for corporations.

    A one-sentence Constitutional Amendment is needed in order to make this clear, and almost all of the woes of our society will end, immediately.

    "All the rights in this Constitution shall apply only to natural, living, human persons, not to corporations or artificial legal entities."

    That's it. No more 1st Amendment rights for corporations. No more 4th Amendment rights for corporations. No more 5th Amendment rights for corporations, and especially NO MORE 14th AMENDMENT RIGHTS FOR CORPORATIONS, ever again.

    The world will be a beautiful place where democracy will once again flower.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site