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Looks like they will bring back the panels!

Previous post on subject.

The Republican third party fund raising groups are outspending the Democratic groups 5 to 1.  Part of the problem is Citizens United.  Another part of the problem, according to this MYDD blogger,  is that Obama’s team has effectively neutered the progressive groups.  And according to the article, much of the problem begins with Rahm Emanuel.

It comes down to this:

I have been fighting this battle inside Democratic strategy circles for 15 years now, but the problem is worse with the current team at the White House. The folks running the Obama political operation have always believed they could control the message and the resources of the party better than anyone else, and that they didn’t need or want to empower outside progressive groups. Now embattled House and Senate candidates are paying the price, and it is a bitter price to have to pay. The groups that do have resources that are pro-Democratic- labor, MoveOn, Emily’s List, the trial lawyers- are doing their best to stem the tide. But corporate money in the post-Citizens United era is swamping us, and unlike in some cycles in the past (2004, 2006), wealthy progressive donors were sent signals not to engage, or just not cultivated at all, and the result is that we are being badly outspent.

One final note on all this: the irony of outside progressive groups being blamed for not doing enough to help the Democrats when the White House has been complaining about the “left of the left” and the “professional left” for many months- and de-motivating donors the whole time- should not be lost on anyone. You can’t attack progressives for being too strident and then wonder why they aren’t doing more and still have much credibility.

Hopefully there is truth to the rumors that Emanuel is history.  About the last thing Obama could do to energize his base is to can Emanuel now, before the election.

Much more through the link.

Jon Tap says that pundits are underestimating Obama – again.

Although one wonders why we need 50,000 troops to stay behind now that it’s over.

Heard on the radio this morning that the month of July was the bloodiest month in over two years in terms of Iraqi deaths in excess of 500.  The US military is disputing the numbers, but I”m not sure what the motive would be for the Iraqi government to inflate them.

Obama says that 90 thousand troops are being “brought home,” which is good news; but are they coming home or being redeployed to Afghanistan?

In this quarter’s issue of Dissent, history Prof Julian Zelizer examines the tension between Obama and the centrists and the liberal left of the Democratic Party with some contextual history.  The question is whether Nancy Pelosi can be to Obama what Robert Wagner was to FDR, or whether she will be what Ted Kennedy was to President Carter (funny that there is no mention of Reid, nor any of the Democratic congressional “leadership” during the 1990s, which was largely hapless). 

Basically, the theme is that the left pushed FDR to be competative in the realm of ideas and the president pushed legislation which mimicked that of his loyal liberal dissent.  Later the left successfully pushed Johnson on the domestic front, but Johnson pushed back in foreign policy, with the 1968 convention tearing the center-left alliance apart.  Carter then opted moderate to hawkish in defiance of Ted Kennedy.  The feud is described in some detail in the middle of the article, consisting of a flashback after the intro depicted a history I missed, probably because I was in high school on my summer break when it happened.

WHEN SENATOR Ted Kennedy walked onto the podium at the 1980 Democratic Convention, the crowd erupted. The senator raised his fist to the Massachusetts delegation. Then he quickly shook President Carter’s hand and walked away without lifting Carter’s arm—the traditional sign of unity at the end of a primary battle. After Kennedy left, the crowd shouted, “We want Ted!” so vigorously that he returned for an encore. At that point, it looked like Carter had to chase Kennedy down to get his attention. Ronald Reagan, the Republican nominee, took close notice of what had happened. “If that’s the best they can do in unity, they have a long way to go….” Six months later, Reagan trounced him in the election with 489 Electoral College votes.

The awkward scene between Carter and Kennedy culminated four years of tense relations between these two men and, more importantly, between the White House and liberal Democrats in Congress. The fallout was devastating to the party, especially as the conservative movement was gaining steam in the 1970s. Since Carter’s presidency, the relationship between centrist and liberal Democrats has been characterized by mistrust and suspicion.

The revelation though is in the FDR section of the article.  Even he had to be pushed, and often opted for compromise with conservatives even as he was threatening to stack the Supreme Court to get his way.  I’ve examined the differences between Obama and FDR in the past, and unfortunately I think Obama would just as well go the route of Carter, only for two terms.

The article then moves into familiar territory – Obama’s weak will with regard to health care reform and the stimulus.  Although the article ends on a note of hope not justified by any of the data presented, I do have to say I’m encouraged by his strong-arming of BP to put up a bankruptcy-immune 20 billiion escrow fund.  I just wish he’d put a leash on Rahm Emanuel, who I think has given the president some bad advice.

Obama will host the second Seder ever to be held in the White House.  It boggles the mind when you think of it since pols when pontificating on some moralist theme often refer to the “Judeo-Christian tradition.”  It’s often an overstatement.  After some religious right figure called for the moment of silence in lieu of school prayer and referencing such practice as “Judeo-Christian,” a Jewish comedian whose name I can’t remember remarked, “I was raised in a Jewish household and I can tell you that we never once had a moment of silence, unless we were all sleeping!”

My religious studies professor in college (Noel King, who died last year :&( ) referred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as the “quarrelsome family of a mother and two daughters.”  And it could be argued that Judaism and Islam have more in common with each other than either with Christianity (“there is no god but God” is a quote in reference to what some of them perceive to be the polytheism of the Christian trinity).

But over the past few decades it has become fashion in Christian fundamentalism to deem Jews automatically saved (a serious point of contention).  So with at least the facile elements of anti-semitism in check, why was there never a Seder held in the White House before last year?  Nixon had problems with Jews, but what about the other presidents?  Boggles the mind.

Kudos to Obama for doing it, without making a huge deal out of it.  Maybe it’ll become a permanent tradition.  Sure, it’s merely symbolic.  But this is some powerful symbolism.

I wonder if they put oranges on the Seder plate.

Anyway, the New York Times provides the brief history (including the WH protocols compromised to accommodate last year’s Seder) leading into this year’s event.

It’s too late in the evening for me to write in detail about it now, but on this day I became certain that, barring a major scandal or something more dramatic, Obama will win re-election in 2012.  It’s not for the reasons previously stated.  And the 2010 House and Senate elections will not alter that outcome, no matter how they turn out.

I’ve been wrong before, but rarely on the occasions on which I have become this certain.  There are developments which are quietly making news, and I think they are setting a trend upon which there will be a narrative that the Republicans simply will not be effective in opposing.  It’s all happened in the past couple of months, and the media has been covering it, but they have not yet discussed it’s broad political significance.

More another time.

Yesterday my kids had music classes at HSU in the morning and indoor soccer in Samoa in the afternoon.  In between we stopped in to Petes New York Style Pizza (the best restaurant pizza I’ve had in Humboldt County!) for lunch.  They have like five televisions with sports on and they had the Georgetown/Duke game on several of them.  We were waiting for our meal when Obama came onto the screen with the commentators to do some play-by-play.  I couldn’t hear the conversation over the background noise and the kids playing Fussball, but it looked like the commentators were having a good time.  At one point towards the end they started laughing hard, and I was curious as to what it was about.  So this morning I found the clip on Youtube.  When asked about his being left handed and favoring it in play, he responded that he’d been to the Republican caucus meeting yesterday to prove that he could go to his right, but admitted that his left was much stronger.  Here it is:

Georgetown clobbered Duke.

Obama’s a genuine fan.  Biden not so much apparently.

Here’s one clip from the GOP retreat where he points out that the health care bills are centrist to the core.  The meeting was a gutsy move on his part, and maybe it paid off.  If you click twice on the video it will take you to the youtube page where you will find more clips from the event.  There were some pretty contentious moments.

Here’s one of those moments.

Here are some written highlights if you don’t have high speed access.

I only heard clips on the radio, and I’ve only just turned on the idiot box to hear the blather, but apparently his speech was well received.

I did see a clip where Obama listed the tax cuts he signed into law last year, and the Republicans were still sitting on their hands with sour looks (McCain was the worst!).  He cracked a joke, “I thought that would earn some applause from you,” and a few of them clapped.

McCain’s on Larry King right now whining about the lack of bipartisanship from Obama.  And I mean whining.  High pitched.

Did anybody watch it?  Yeah, yeah, I know.  It’s all talk.  Doesn’t mean anything.  Blah, blah.  But it’s good political theater, and it does actually means something to a lot of people.

I’d like to see this moment of the speech.  From a TPM poster:

Maybe it’s just because I’m a poli sci major turned lawyer, but that moment when he turned to the Supremes and took them directly to task for Dred Scott II the Citizens United opinion, and then watching the majority look completely taken aback as the other branch of government stood up, looked at them and cheered actually stunned me a bit.

McCain did force a compliment out of his mouth for Obama.  Kind of mandatory since it was McCain’s law which was slapped down.  The old McCain’s that is, but McCain’s nevertheless.

Apparently Alito wasn’t happy.

Chris Matthews delivered an odd comment:  “I forgot he was black tonight.”

And Joe what’s-his-name’s 15 minutes are over.  He obviously took his medication.  No wackoid outbursts tonight.

Addendum: It does appear that the speech did Obama and the Democrats some good.

Second addendum: Mike Thompson commenting on the speech doesn’t really say where he falls on health care at this point, except to say that Obama needs to show “leadership” on the issue.  And he is backing Obama’s call for discretionary spending freezes, which is absolutely amateurish and detrimental policy in a recession where even most conservative economists will tell you that deficit spending is actually necessary to stimulate the economy.  Granted 25 billion a year isn’t that big on the scale of things, but it could make a difference for tens of thousands looking for work.  And exempting military spending from the strategy is even more detrimental as we have seen some of the worst graft, pork, and unaccounted for money in that area than all the others put together.  Anybody remember that 10 billion or whatever which simply disappeared in Iraq a few years ago?  We could use that money right now.

Third addendum: Nate Silver analyzes some numbers in the speech.  Not the ones you’re thinking of.  I hope he’s getting paid for his time!  The graph tallying the buzz words of various SOTUs is a mere sample.

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