Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Streams Of Consciousness


Dick Lugar To Teabaggers: Make My Day

The Hill had two stories about Indiana this morning, one about how it was one state Obama won in 2008 that he could probably just forget about in 2012 and the other about the senior senator, Richard Lugar, a mainstream conservative who, unlike-- say-- Olympia Snowe and Orrin Hatch, isn't afraid of the teabaggers. While Snowe and Hatch make unseemly and, at least in Snowe's case, unconvincing jags to the extreme right, Lugar just keeps on marching to his own drummer, working on the START Treaty, voting to confirm both Sotomayor and Kagan, sponsoring the DREAM Act, and announcing support for ending DADT.
While most of his GOP colleagues are heeding the advice of their Senate campaign chiefs and preparing for conservative primary challengers, Lugar is bucking his party on several high-profile issues.

Last week, he split with Senate Republicans, rejecting a voluntary, two-year ban on congressional earmarks.

He posed for pictures with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) as part of a photo-op on the START arms-control treaty between the U.S. and Russia, which is expected to come up for a vote next month. Lugar, in contrast to most of his GOP colleagues, supports the treaty.

He’s also said he would vote to take up the defense authorization bill, which contains a repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, as long as Democrats allow a fair amendment process.

And he’s one of nine Republican senators who did not sign onto a legal brief challenging the healthcare reform law. Aside from Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.), Lugar is the only Republican up for reelection in 2012 who didn’t lend his name.

In an interview with The Hill, Lugar said he is well-aware of his differences with other Republicans, but denied the party has become too conservative for him or that he is considering retirement.

“These are just areas where I’ve had stances for a long time,” Lugar said. “I didn’t adopt them to be contrary. I think what’s occurring is, the Democrats are trying to get passage for things in the last stages of their majority, so a number of these issues have arisen because of that. I have no other explanation.”

Alabama Aisle Jumpers

Republican voters didn't reward right-wing Blue Dog Parker Griffith when he switched parties. Already the most Republican-voting Democrat, he barely had to changing his voting pattern to redefine himself as one of the most reactionary Members of Congress. Even though he spent most of his congressional career as a Democrat, more or less, his voting record is already more conservative than 20 Republicans. But Alabama Republicans rewarded his perfidy with a resounding defeat in the primary and threw him onto history's junk heap. Monday four more Alabama conservatives, Alan Boothe of Troy, Mike Millican of Hamilton, Lesley Vance of Phenix City, and Steve Hurst of Munford, who were all elected to the state legislature as Democrats jumped the fence and handed the GOP a super-majority to do whatever they please with no interference from Democrats.
The legislators said they would be able to better serve their constituents in the Republican Party, which they said better represents their beliefs. They said they believe in small businesses and small government.

...They said the people of their districts, the people of Alabama and people nationwide spoke on Nov. 2, when there were sweeping Republican victories.

Boothe, who has not had opposition in his district in the past three elections, said he was listening to the voters.

"There was a message sent on Nov. 2 and that was that people want a change in Montgomery," he said. " ... If you do not listen, if you do not pay attention, you're not doing your job."

Hubbard, chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, said those four men approached them about switching. He said no other Democrats have approached them.

Hubbard said they do not want opportunists, but wanted like-minded conservatives, which he said is evident in those four legislators by their voting record. He said none of the men were promised anything and that they did not discuss committee assignments or any other arrangements.

Hubbard said he talked to the four Democrats about their motivations.

"They're switching for one reason," he said. "They are philosophically aligned with the Republican Party."

The Alabama Democratic Party criticized the move of the men, which just won re-election with the physical and financial help and votes of Democrats.

Republicans in the Legislature "have put on a full-court press to push all white Democrats to change parties after the election," according to a statement from the Alabama Democratic Party. The switch also demonstrates the partisanship that can be expected from the Republican majority with intentions of impugning the rights and voices of those Democrats who did not switch over, according to the Alabama Democratic Party.

"These gentlemen have been my friends for a long time, and I respect each of them personally, but I am saddened and hurt by their decision today," Democratic Party Chairman Joe Turnham said in the statement.

If the four legislators believe that the ideals of the Republican Party are better for them, Democrats said each could resign and seek re-election in a special election as a Republican. They would have to win the primary and the general election "and let the voters of their districts validate their switch today," according to the statement.

The Losses Can Make Us Stronger... But Will They?

I didn't bother me much that blue t-shirt wearing/DADT supporting Solomon Ortiz conceded his loss in Texas today or that Blue Dog Jim Costa eked out a narrow win over some deranged teabagger. But it was tragic that Dan Maffei, an early endorsee of Blue America's back in 2006 (when he came so close) and 2008 (when the groundwork he laid paid off and he won), was confirmed to have been beaten by Ann Marie Buerkle by just a few hundred votes. He was a defender of the legitimate aspirations of working families. Buerkle is a raving lunatic and an imbecile and can be expected to cause as much damage as her limited brain allows her to. Meanwhile, though, Amy Dean drew two very useful lessons from the shellacking 3 weeks ago.
The first is that progressives need to build permanent grassroots infrastructure, so that they begin treating politics as a year-round endeavor and not merely showing up at the last minute to endorse a lesser-of-two-evils candidate.

The second lesson is that when you do have this type of infrastructure in place at the local level and are using it to push forward your own agenda, progressives can prevail even when there is no inspiring leadership coming down from national officials.

I've been wondering, for example, if there's anyone at the DCCC thinking beyond how to abscond with 15% of whatever Democrats donate and perhaps thinking about how to beat some of the dozens of Republicans who now represent districts that helped elect Obama-- from Paul Ryan (who the DCCC has protected for his entire career) to some of the new anti-family fanatics like the above mentioned Ann Marie Buerkle. Obama won her district 56-43. Even the DCCC should find that enticing. And Obama won in Ryan's district 51-48%. (He won WI-8 by 54-45%, where Reid Ribble beat Steve Kagen 55-45%, and in Obey's old district where a reality celebrity, Sean Duffy, beat Democrat Julie Lassa 52-44%, Obama beat McCain 56-43%. Imagine the Democrats getting busy in Wisconsin now and not waiting a year.)

Today's PPP Poll Was A Doozy

Above is the excellent ad Americans United For Change did to urge anti-healthcare fanatic Andy Harris (R-MD)-- who campaigned on a "Repeal ObamaCare" platform and got to DC and started publicly whining that he had to wait two months before his new government-subsidized healthcare kicked in-- to give up his taxpayer funded healthcare. It turns out most Americans agree-- and more so, most Republicans.
Most Americans think incoming Congressmen who campaigned against the health care bill should put their money where their mouth is and decline government provided health care now that they're in office. Only 33% think they should accept the health care they get for being a member of Congress while 53% think they should decline it and 15% have no opinion.

And, remember, if the Republican congressmen are serious about ending healthcare and reducing spending and the national debt, if they all give up their taxpayer-funded healthcare they'll not only make it harder to call them hypocrites, they'll also save the country $2.4 million a year. Leading by example is so awesome, too. And so is this new episode of The Simpsons:

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At 12:12 PM, Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

Dick Lugar talks to queers? ReallY?

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

Bee interesting to see how long that stays up.

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ou forgot to mention that Lugar has onr of teh worst anti-gun records in the senate and is a supporter of amneaty for illegal aliens.

He is no conservative.


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