I’m late with today’s column, having dithered so long yesterday trying to figure out how to watch” CBS Sunday Morning” and “UP/With Chris Hayes” at the same time. The solution, of course: dual DVR capability. But on a sandbar (where better to spend the week?) even rudimentary conveniences are unavailable.
SPECTACULARLY COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE THINKING
Susan O.: “I just watched the Russian flash mob you linked to last week, and seeing those exuberant young people (yes, I know it was a paid-for-by-Putin stunt), I realized how old and Republican Barack Obama has become, which is another way of saying how Corporate. I’m old myself. Old and angry. I’m mostly angry that Obama has betrayed the hopeful youth who put him in power. Yes, I will go to the polls. But I certainly won’t pull the lever for Barack Obama. If I’d wanted a Republican, I’d have voted for one.”
I admire Susan’s ideals, just as I admired Ralph Nader’s. But Nader caused spectacular harm; and if enough folks adopt Susan’s attitude, they will, too. Yes it took time to get the troops home from Iraq, and tripling the female representation on the Court still leaves it too low. Yes covering 30 million uninsured folks with health care and forcing group health insurers to pay out at least 85% of their premiums in benefits is not as good as simply adopting a single-payer system, and the 74 things I count that the Administration has done to further LGBT equality still leave us unequal. Yes sextupling the number of stem lines available for research is not GUARANTEED to someday save our lives, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would be even better if the President had been able to get Elizabeth Warren confirmed to head it, and taking the banks out of the student loan loop didn’t solve all our higher-ed problems, and giving FDA authority to regulate tobacco still leaves people smoking, and doubling the CAFE mileage standards is not as good as tripling them . . .
. . . but I would ask Susan how many of these things (and so many more) the Republicans would have done. And whether she doesn’t agree that the REASON the President has accomplished less than you or I – or surely he – would have liked is the reality of unprecedented Republican obstruction. Does she really want to punish Obama and reward the Republicans for this by not inspiring everyone she knows to reelect our amazing president?
I like to think Susan was just venting – hey, we all need to do that from time to time — but that she is actually working her heart out most of the time to keep Rush Limbaugh / Karl Rove / Joe the Plumber, et al, from securing control of all three branches of our government.
THEIR FOUR ADVANTAGES
Joe Scarborough makes me so mad. He scoffs at concern over the Republican billion-dollar money advantage, noting that “you didn’t hear Democrats complain in 2008” when they outraised John McCain. Because don’t you see? The two things are the same! One way (our way), we had millions of average citizens giving $20 here, $100 there — and anyone giving more than $200 doing so openly with public disclosure . . . and how could that possibly be different from a few dozen really rich guys giving half a billion or a billion as secretly as they want to? That Democrats draw a distinction here is lost on Morning Joe.
Robert Miller: “Did you see Sen. Sherrod Brown explaining (at Talking Points Memo) why the GOP is going to out-raise the Democrats this year?”
“Part of it is if George Soros wanted to give $50 million to our side, and we won, he wouldn’t get any material gain. When [Harold] Simmons from Texas, and the Koch brothers, and Adelson and these guys, they give their 10 or 20 or 50 million each, they get great benefit if their side wins. They get tax cuts, they get weaker environmental laws, they get anti-labor rules,” Brown said. “There is so much more incentive for them to do it.”
But it’s not just about Republican means and motives. As Brown put it, “A number of wealthy Democrats just think it’s unseemly to put this kind of money into these political campaigns. They really don’t like — morally, they have some moral objections. I mean, we hear that frequently. Their side doesn’t seem to have any of those. Because for them it’s an investment, like investing in a new company — only this is one with really big payoffs.”
The Republicans have four advantages: the sluggish economy they’ve worked hard to retard; the obstacles to voting they’ve worked hard to erect; this billion-dollar Citizens United advantage their Supreme Court just this past week reaffirmed; the breathtaking distortion to which they are willing to sink (just one set of examples I recently linked to, courtesy of Jon Stewart).
Our very good chance of overcoming those advantages: our ground game. A million volunteers registering millions of new voters and helping to turn out tens of millions more – for President, yes, but also to hold the Senate, take back the House, and flip state legislative chambers from red to blue.
We do have other advantages: we’re right on the issues and we have a spectacular candidate (I can’t wait for the debates). Not to mention the bumper stickers. GM LIVES; BIN LADEN DIES – all that.
But this is the sweet spot: registering millions of new voters and organizing to be sure our 2008 voters aren’t blocked from voting.
And the time to help is NOW, while there’s time for the seeds we’re planting to take root and grow.
Every week one of your friends or relatives or colleagues waits to contribute just serves to stunt the crop. Get them engaged! Convey what’s at stake, in case they don’t fully appreciate its enormity. (Start with this: the Republican austerity vision out-Hoovers Hoover and would trigger a global depression.) Convey to them the urgency of helping NOW.
Ask them to click here. (You too, if you can. I’ll see your contribution to say thanks.) And ask them to get everyone they know to visit barackobama.com and click the top menu tab to VOLUNTEER. What more patriotic way to celebrate the Fourth of July?