Sunday, September 27, 2015

Establishment Greed And Dysfunction Destroying American Democracy?


Long Island GOP crackpot Peter King went further than just calling the Liberty Caucus members who forced Boehner to retire "the crazies." He also told CNN's Dana Bash that "the time for appeasement is over." And who he's talking about appeasing are the Confederate slime and their allies who have taken over the Republican Party. King may think it's time to stop the appeasement, but Gerald Seib at the Wall Street Journal painted a picture this weekend of a considerably less determinative GOP establishment, more a victim than a shot-caller or, as he put it, shaking-- presumably with either fear or rage or both.

By forcing Boehner out-- even an alcoholic, religious-epiphany-ecstatic Boehner-- the teabaggers "have further ratcheted up their power within the party." Bad news, right? Well... Seib, still lamenting the loss of Robert Bennett (R-UT), Dick Lugar (R-IN) and even Eric Cantor (R-VA) at the hands of the teabaggers, continues: "With each such move, the grip of what people think of as the Republican party establishment-- big business donors, official party leaders, congressional leaders whose tenure dates back more than a decade or so-- is loosened a bit more." That doesn't sound terrible, does it? And how bad is this, really?
Next in the cross hairs will be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; of that there is little doubt. Mark Meckler, one of the co-founders of the tea-party movement, responded to the Boehner move by declaring: “Hopefully this serves as a strong hint to Mitch McConnell. Time for him to fade into the sunset of his career, side by side with John Boehner. The tea-party movement will continue to work to make that happen.”

The Boehner ouster-- and that’s really what it was-- was the immediate result of a fight about whether to shut down the government over funding for Planned Parenthood, one in which Democratic opposition and the math of votes in the Senate suggest there isn’t a path to success.

But it was about much more than Planned Parenthood. It was about a rage long building on the right over the fact that Republicans control both houses of Congress yet haven’t been able to kill Obamacare, or the Iran nuclear deal, or, now, defund Planned Parenthood.

... "I was conservative before a lot of these cats were even born, so I’m not going to be lectured by them on what’s conservative," former House Republican leader Trent Lott told the Journal’s Reid Epstein. Said another former Republican House leader, Vin Weber, "Between Donald Trump and Boehner’s retirement, there’s a pretty high level of nervousness on the Republican side."

... The disconnect may be felt most acutely in the party’s business wing. The GOP’s tea party-inspired elements are powerful voices for small businesses but have limited use for big corporations and the financial industry. That is awkward, considering big business interests and Wall Street figures finance much of the party’s activities.

No organization, for example, has worked harder to keep the Senate in Republican hands than has the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Now the Chamber wants immigration reform, funding for the Export-Import Bank and a free-trade agreement with Asian allies.

Yet the House Republican caucus has killed immigration reform and funding for the Ex-Im Bank and, when a vote came on giving President Barack Obama more power to negotiate a free-trade deal, 50 House Republicans-- essentially the same group that undermined Mr. Boehner-- voted no.

The insurgents point to support at the grass roots, as reflected in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that found 72% of Republican primary voters said they were dissatisfied with the ability of Messrs. Boehner and McConnell to achieve Republican goals.

Establishment figures point to the electoral disaster that befell Republicans after the government shutdown in the 1990s and the damage to the GOP brand from the budget brinksmanship of recent years. As Mr. Boehner fell, though, so did their confidence in prevailing.
Beltway establishment Democrats are no different. Schumer hasn't even been elected Senate Democratic leader yet and he's already, in the words of the New York Observer, screwing up the most important Senate race of 2016. Michael Sainato writes:

Florida is the largest remaining swing state with 29 electoral votes up for grabs. The fate of the 2000 presidential election rested on just a few hundred votes within the state, and although the recount between Democratic nominee Al Gore and Republican nominee George W. Bush was an extreme case, a lot is riding on whether the state sways blue or red in 2016.

The race for the seat of a Republican presidential hopeful, Florida’s junior Senator Marco Rubio, will play a significant role in determining which way the state swings in the 2016 presidential election. It is also a key opportunity for the Democrats to win back the majority in the Senate. Twenty-four Republican seats in the Senate are being contested, compared to just 10 Democrats. Every extra seat in the senate won by Democrats in 2016 brings them closer to winning back the majority they lost in 2014.
Schumer's dedication to his Wall Street paymasters knows no bounds. He has taken more money in legalistic bribes from Wall Street banksters than any other Member of Congress in history other than some presidential candidates. Not even including the massive amounts the banksters have been shoving up his ass in this cycle, through 2014 Schumer had taken $22,994,437 from the finance sector. He's well-known around Capitol Hill as "the senator from Wall Street." And that's just Schumer directly, not the DSCC he now controls again, ironically, through pathetic sock puppet Jon Tester-- "ironically" because Schumer once tried keeping Tester out of the Senate in favor of a more Wall Street-oriented candidate. 

Back to Michael Sainato's observations about what happens when voters have no choice because the cowardly and corrupt establishment Democrats run their horrible Republican-lite candidates or "ex"-Republican candidates:
Florida Democrats ran an embarrassing governor’s race in 2014. With former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist securing the Democratic nomination, voters felt like they didn’t have much of a choice between him and the incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott, despite his low approval ratings. Voter turnout in the state of Florida for the 2014 election was abysmally low, with 50 percent of eligible voters turning out across the state, those numbers were even lower in predominantly Democrat controlled counties.

Florida’s Democrats are setting themselves up for failure once again if they make U.S. Representative Patrick Murphy their nominee for U.S. Senate in 2016. In 2011, he switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat to run against Tea Party Republican Allen West in 2012. His announcement to run for the Senate was endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Committee in May 2015. They are making the same mistakes they made with supporting Gov. Charlie Crist and they shouldn’t expect a different result. Mr. Murphy’s cross-party appeal due to his centrist views are going to once again inspire very low voter turnout among Democrats, which could also have drastic consequences for the Democratic Presidential Nominee’s efforts to take the state of Florida.

Instead, Democrats should be excited about U.S. Representative Alan Grayson’s announcement in July he will be running for the U.S. Senate against Patrick Murphy in the Democratic Primary. The GOP passionately hates Alan Grayson because of his progressive views, and Democrats, like they did with President Obama in 2008 and 2012, should embrace that fervor for progressivism over playing it safe by endorsing a conservative Democrat. Democrats have over 300,000 more voters registered under the affiliation of Democrat than Republicans in the state of Florida. The 2016 U.S. Senate race and what way the state swings in the 2016 Presidential Election will be determined by whether those registered Democrats come out to vote, and Patrick Murphy doesn’t provide much incentive, but Mr. Grayson does.

“I offer voters a real choice. The low voter turnout in the 2014 Florida Governor election was because voters couldn’t see a difference between candidates. That shows a sad, total disconnect of the political system, particularly on our side of the aisle, and voters actual cares and concerns,” said Rep. Grayson in a phone interview with the Observer. “I intend to offer them a choice. It’s safe to say whichever Republican I run against is not going to expand Medicare or Social Security the way I have fought to or the way it needs to be done. On the contrary they’ve sold out to Wall Street, they want to privatize Social Security, they want vouchered insurance company-dominated Medicare and those polarities will give a voters a real choice.”

Mr. Grayson has passed more amendments, and written more bills than any current member of Congress, including Patrick Murphy, who was ranked as one of the most ineffective members of Congress in a study conducted by InsideGov. The study’s accuracy was refuted by Mr. Murphy’s campaign, but no matter how they try to argue against it, Mr. Grayson’s productivity in Congress rapidly outpaces that of Murphy’s, and his platform enriches many key issues from the Democrat’s 2012 National Platform that helped the party secure Obama’s re-election, such as improving and expanding social security and Medicare.
“Next month the Social Security admin-istration is going to announce the cost of living adjustment for social security will be zero.” Says Mr. Grayson, “Almost every senior citizen will tell you that their cost of living in the past year has only increased, so I delved into it and found that, first of all benefits had not been increased at all in the past 40 years. Per capita income has gone up 97 percent in America while the purchasing power of social security benefits have gone down by 3%. And I asked the congressional research service what would be a fair, equitable cost of living adjustment for seniors and they said 3 percent, so I’m introducing a bill to institute an immediate 3 percent increase of social security benefits and then fix the broken system that we have where increases are calculated. Right now we calculate our cost of living adjustments based on how workers spend their money, well most seniors don’t work, so we need to calculate based upon how seniors spend their money, that is the second element of my bill, the Seniors deserve a raise act and its part of my platform for seniors.”

In part, Mr. Grayson’s success and productivity in getting amendments passed, despite being a member of the minority in Congress, has to do with his fervor for scanning through existing legislation and correcting arbitrary exclusions. “We make promises to seniors that we’ll take care of their health needs then, when they finally qualify for Medicare at 65, we exclude their eyes, ear, and your teeth. Once again I delved into the 50-page bill Medicare act, 2 lines arbitrarily exclude eyes, ear and your teeth, deep and practical problem, 2.7 million seniors are blind due to glaucoma and that could have been avoided with a $40 eye test. The exclusion of basic dental care from Medicare is destroying senior nutrition, leaving them exposed to gum disease, which can lead to heart disease. A $50 dentist visit could prevent a $100,000 case of heart disease. So again there’s a basic easy fix here, deleting those two lines of statute. The bill, Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act, introduced in December 2014, drew 76 cosponsors in the first two days.”

... Rep. Grayson gives Florida voters, and Democrats throughout the country something to be excited about and his propensity for inspiring high voter turnouts is something Democrats desperately need in 2016 to keep control of the White House and recover from their 2014 midterm losses.
But Schumer doesn't give a rat's ass about either. He is firmly focused on what his Wall Street bankster donors want, and they have made it abundantly clear that they want an easily controlled and repulsively corrupt Patrick Murphy, not an independent-minded, brilliant and forceful Alan Grayson, someone who would be far more on the page of a President Bernie Sanders than either Schumer or Murphy would ever be. And someone who will work vigorously with Senate progressives like Elizabeth Warren rather than with the forces of reaction and greed, the way Murphy has consistently done in the House. If you'd like to contribute to Grayson's campaign, you can do it here.

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