Thursday Reads: Berning Down The Democratic Party

Good Morning!!

Finally some journalists are beginning to understand that Bernie Sanders is serious about trying to destroy the Democratic Party in hope that his “political revolution” will emerge from the chaos he and his supporters create. The Party should be focusing on how to beat Donald Trump, but Bernie is enjoying being the center of attention so much that he just can’t stop himself.

When he started running for president, I’m convinced that Sanders didn’t think he had a chance, but once the donations started flowing in and he saw the cheering crowd and read the article lionizing him, he began to believe he would win the nomination and actually be able to run the country his way.

Now that he has lost, Sanders seems determined to take everyone else down with him and hand the presidency to a seriously insane person with no experience in politics or government and no interest in learning about either.

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Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast: Bernie and Jane Sanders: The Democratic Party’s Thelma and Louise.

Now we are forced to ask whether Bernie Sanders has decided he wants to destroy the Democratic Party. I’m sure he would say he wants to save it. The way we saved villages in Vietnam. You know the quote.

I don’t allege that he decided to run as a Democrat for this reason. He did so, I’m told by those who’d know, because he did not want to be the 21st-century Ralph Nader and because he knew that running against Hillary Clinton would give him a much bigger stage on which to inveigh against the parasites.

That was then. But now, after the Nevada fracas and his gobsmacking statement in the wake of it, it’s remorselessly clear that he wants to obliterate the Democratic Party. Revolutions take on lives of their own. Robespierre never thought back in 1790 or ’91 that the guillotine would be needed. But as the dialecticians like to say, historical circumstances change. By 1793, those little sheep who’d been misled by sellouts like Danton were part of the…corrupt establishment.

Tomasky explains what he thinks is motivating Bernie and Jane Sanders and Jeff Weaver’s vicious attack on the Democratic Party.

Most things that happen in campaigns tell us something about people as politicians. This statement told us something about Sanders—and, I suspect, about his wife, Jane, and Jeff Weaver, his campaign manager—as human beings. Everything is subordinated to ideology. Basic human impulses are buried. There is only politics, only ideology, only the movement. I’m really glad we’re not in Romania in 1965. I know where I’d be.

I know this because I’ve known lots of people like this. Leftists like Sanders regard the Democratic Party as a far bigger problem in the world than the Republican Party. The thinking goes like this: The Republicans, sure, everybody knows they’re evil. That’s obvious. But the Democrats, they’re evil too. They adopt a few attractive positions, say nice things on certain issues as long as saying those nice things doesn’t really threaten the established economic order, so they’re even worse, finally, because they fool people into thinking they’re on their side. I heard this a hundred times from the old guys who used to hector me at the Socialist Scholars Conference in Manhattan 25 years ago when I used to speak there.

That’s what Bernie is. If he’d stayed in Brooklyn, he’d have been a Social Scholars Conference hectorer. He had the wisdom to move to a podunk state, and the luck to do so just as it was becoming the place where all the aging hippies were moving, and so he became a mayor and then a House member and, finally and exaltedly, a senator.

BERNIES

So many liberal bloggers and journalists have been saying nice things about Bernie throughout the primaries. Yesterday, Josh Marshall finally woke up to reality: It Comes From the Very Top.

Over the last several weeks I’ve had a series of conversations with multiple highly knowledgable, highly placed people. Perhaps it’s coming from Weaver too. The two guys have been together for decades. But the ‘burn it down’ attitude, the upping the ante, everything we saw in that statement released today by the campaign seems to be coming from Sanders himself. Right from the top.

This should have been obvious to me. The tone and tenor of a campaign always come from the top. It wasn’t obvious to me until now.

This might be because he’s temperamentally like that. There’s some evidence for that. It may also be that, like many other presidential contenders, once you get close it is simply impossible to let go. I don’t know which it is. That would only be my speculation. But this is coming from Bernie Sanders. It’s not Weaver. It’s not driven by people around him. It’s right from him. And what I understand from knowledgable sources is that in the last few weeks anyone who was trying to rein it in has basically stopped trying and just decided to let Bernie be Bernie.

Some journalists, like MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell have basically been surrogates for the Sanders campaign. I’m not sure where Hayes and Maddow stand on burning down the Democratic Party, but Lawrence O’Donnell made it clear last night that he’s on board with Bernie’s plan.

Too bad Marshall didn’t start asking questions sooner.

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Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum is still holding onto the fantasy that Sanders is basically a good guy who has gotten caught up in power-seeking: The Sad Decline and Fall of Bernie Sanders.

The one thing I do keep wondering about is what happened to Bernie Sanders. Before this campaign, he was a gadfly, he was a critic of the system, and he was a man of strong principles. He still is, but he’s also obviously very, very bitter. I wonder if all this was worth it for him? By all objective measures he did way better than anyone expected and had far more influence than anyone thought he would, and he should feel good about that. Instead, he seems more angry and resentful with every passing day….

I don’t even blame anyone in particular. Maybe Hillary’s team played too rough. Maybe Bernie’s team is too thin-skinned. I just don’t know. But it’s sort of painful to see a good person like Bernie turned into such a sullen and resentful man. And doubly painful to see him take his followers down that path too.

Usually these things fade with a bit of time. Politics is politics, after all. But for Bernie, it’s always been more than politics. I wonder if he’s ever going to get over this?

“Hillary’s team played too rough?” Give me a break. They have held back on many of the attacks they could have used.

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Some journalists, like MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell, have basically acted as surrogates for the Sanders campaign. I’m not sure where Hayes and Maddow stand after Bernie’s latest disgraceful behavior, but Lawrence O’Donnell made clear last night that he is still in the Sanders camp.

On last night’s show, O’Donnell hyped the latest Fox News poll that had Trump leading Clinton by a couple of points; of course he failed to point out that poll sample included a larger proportion of Republicans than is contained in the population as a whole.

O’Donnell noted that Bernie Sanders still leads Trump in the Fox poll. He claimed that Hillary Clinton has never been able to raise her standing in polls–she always goes down. He actually went on to advocate that Democratic superdelegates should overturn the will of the voters and make Sanders the nominee!

Here’s Greg Sargent, who has been Bernie-friendly for most of the campaign: Will Bernie Sanders burn it all down?

In an interview with me today, top Sanders adviser Tad Devine — while stressing that Sanders would support the eventual nominee — demurred on the broader question of whether he would, in the end, do everything necessary to persuade his supporters of the legitimacy of the process.

At the same time, in a separate interview, a top supporter of Sanders — Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon — bluntly told me that if Sanders finishes behind in pledged delegates and the popular vote, he should not continue to try to win over super-delegates, and should concede rather than take the battle to the convention.

I asked Devine: If Clinton wins the nomination after all the votes have been cast, will Sanders issue an unequivocal declaration that the outcome was legitimate?

“We’re still involved in this process, so it’s hard for me to declare what’s going to happen at the end,” Devine said. “As we look forward, there are a lot of issues of deep concern.”

Devine cited the DNC’s appointment of former Rep. Barney Frank as the chairman of the Democratic National Convention’s Rules Committee and the appointment of Connecticut governor Dan Malloy as the co-chair of the Platform Committee, arguing that both had been “partisan” in their “attacks” on Sanders.

So the answer is no. The Sanders campaign will continue to whip up the Bernie bros and encourage protests and perhaps even violence at the Democratic convention in July. Democratic leaders need to act now to head these people off at the pass.

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The Hill reports that Democrats held a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to discuss the Sanders threat: How Senate Democrats are trying to deal with Sanders.

Democrats in the room decided the best course would be to let Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) handle the delicate task of talking to Sanders about the increasingly negative tone of supporters of his presidential bid, according to sources familiar with what happened at the meeting.

“I’m leaving it up to Reid. That’s what the caucus did yesterday. We said he would be the lead on it,” said one Democratic senator. “There was some suggestion that we would all make calls. And everybody said the best idea is to let the leader handle it.”

A senior Democratic aide said that thinking reflects an acknowledgement among the senators that Reid is the one member of the caucus who “has an actual relationship with him.”

Sanders is a political independent who caucuses with Democrats. That’s made him a bit of an outsider with his colleagues, something highlighted by the Vermont senator’s rebuke this week of a Democratic Party he says should open its doors to political independents.

The presidential candidate is not chummy with his colleagues.

 Fellow senators have been known to roll their eyes at his idealistic — some say unrealistic — jeremiads in private meetings. Sanders is known for speaking out at the sessions.

Reid, however, has always been a helpful ally. He gave Sanders the full benefits of membership in the Democratic caucus after his election to the Senate in 2006, rewarding him with the committee assignments he wanted even though he was not a registered Democrat.

Well, Harry Reid tried and failed to reason with Bernie. To paraphrase the famous quote from Jaws, I think the Democrats are gonna need a bigger plan.

So . . . what stories are you following today?

 


Lazy Saturday Reads: Serenity Now!

serenity

Happy Weekend Sky Dancers!!

We just have a few more days until the New York primary is over with. I hope we all survive. Honestly, I don’t know how much more of the Bernie Sanders hype I can take.

Apparently, Bernie got to meet with the Pope in Rome after all, although there are no photos. The Associated Press reports:

U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told The Associated Press that he met briefly with Pope Francis at the papal residence Saturday and said it was a “real honor” to call on “one of the extraordinary figures” in the world.

Sanders, in Rome for a Vatican conference on economic inequality and climate change, said the meeting took place before the pope left for Greece, where Francis was highlighting the plight of refugees.

The Vermont senator, in a race with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president, said he told the pope that he appreciated the message that Francis was sending the world about the need to inject morality and justice into the world economy. Sanders said that was a message he, too, has tried to convey.

Jeffrey Sachs must have some serious pull at the Vatican.

Sanders and his wife, Jane, stayed overnight at the pope’s residence, the Domus Santa Marta hotel in the Vatican gardens, on the same floor as the pope….Jeffrey Sachs, a Sanders foreign policy adviser, said there were no photographs taken of the meeting.

Domus Santa Marta

Domus Santa Marta

The Pope lives in a hotel? I did not know that.

Sanders said the meeting should not be viewed as the pope injecting himself into the campaign.

“The issues that I talked about yesterday at the conference, as you well know, are issues that I have been talking about not just throughout this campaign but throughout my political life,” Sanders said in the interview. “And I am just very much appreciated the fact that the pope in many ways has been raising these issues in a global way in the sense that I have been trying to raise them in the United States.”

Well, Sanders doesn’t get to decide how this is “viewed.” In my opinion, it will certainly be interpreted as the Pope “injecting himself” into a U.S. election campaign.

Sachs said the candidate and his wife met the pope in the foyer of the domus, and that the meeting lasted about five minutes. Sanders later joined his family, including some of his grandchildren, for a walking tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the holiest Catholic shrines.

I expect we’ll be learning more about this as the day wears on. The meeting sounds oddly similar to the “private meeting” that Kim Davis claimed to have with Pope Francis during his visit to the U.S. last year.

In that instance, Francis “greeted” a number of people in passing as he left the Vatican Embassy in Washington DC. The Pope did not know that Davis was there.

The AP article says that Sanders “met” the pope in “the foyer of the domus” of the hotel. If Francis did actually meet and talk personally to Sanders, I think he made a big mistake. We’ll just have to wait and see what the fallout will be.

Bernie and Jane Sanders disembark from chartered Delta 767 in Rome.

Bernie and Jane Sanders disembark from chartered Delta 767 in Rome.

The Daily Mail provides details on Sanders’ trip to Rome, which was funded by campaign donations.

A day after Bernie Sanders claimed he ‘introduced the most comprehensive climate change legislation’ and said he would tax carbon use, the Democratic presidential candidate chartered a Delta 767 to fly him to Rome and back for less than 24 hours.

After attacking rival Hillary Clinton for her stance on fossil fuels stepped on Thursday, Sanders stepped off the plane on Friday in Rome for the Vatican conference with his wife, ten family members, a group of campaign staff, Secret Service detail and members of the press.

The total group of what is believed to be below 50, flew in a chartered Delta 767 for their trip, which can seat between 211 and 261 people, depending on the model. It is unclear if Sanders’ aircraft had flatbed seats.

A 767 aircraft carries up to 23,980 gallons of fuel, which is ‘enough to fill 1,200 minivans’, according to Boeing.

Sanders’ wife, who is Catholic and ten of Sanders’ other family members joined him for the 8,870 round-trip flight, including four of his grandchildren….

With a range of 6,408 miles on a full tank of gas, it can be calculated that a 767 like Sanders’ flying 4,435 miles from New York to Rome uses approximately 16,596 gallons of fuel. The round-trip flight will use approximately 33,193 gallons.

On average, an American flies only 7,500 miles per year, according to AmericanForests.org, 1,360 fewer miles than Sanders’ round-trip Rome travel. Thus, an average American releases less carbon emissions via aircraft each year than Sanders did in 24 hours.

Hillary Clinton tours public housing building in Harlem yesterday.

Hillary Clinton tours public housing building in Harlem yesterday.

Yesterday, while Sanders flew to Rome on a chartered plane and spent a night at the Pope’s residence, Hillary Clinton visited a public housing building for elderly people in Harlem. New York Daily News:

Clinton traveled to East 116th Street in Harlem for a tour of the Corsi Houses, a seniors-only New York City Housing Authority building that has struggled with mold, leaks and an inadequate repair system.

“I wanted to come here to really make a very strong plea that we do more when I am president to help the people who live in developments like this,” Clinton said.

She was given access to an apartment on the second floor that was in the midst of a major repair job to fix mold issues and leaks….

“I will do everything I can as your president to remember what needs to be done here in the city that I love, that is the greatest city in the world,” she said to cheers from the crowd.

To fix NYCHA, which has suffered for years from federal disinvestment, she said she would boost funding for the section 8 program, invest $125 billion to help struggling communities like the South Bronx, and expand Low Income Housing Tax Credits to curb rental costs.

“I will fight for you,” she said.

Clinton also hobnobbed with residents and guests, at one point joining in a game of dominoes in the rec room.

 

In other strange Bernie Sanders news, actress Sharon Stone hypothesizes that Bernie has done a lot of acid.  NY Daily News:

Outspoken actress Sharon Stone recently told The Hollywood Reporter she worries the presidential candidate, 74, dabbled in psychedelic drugs during his younger years.

“He didn’t really work until he was 40, so I wonder, like, how much acid has this guy taken?” the “Basic Instinct” star told the magazine.

“I really do (wonder), that’s not a joke. We were so aggressive asking people, ‘Did you smoke pot?’ But in reality, how much acid has Bernie Sanders taken?” she asked again.

“There’s a certain edge to his personality and way about his behavior that makes me wonder, ‘How much LSD have you taken?'” she asked a third time during the recent interview.

Weird. IMHO, if Bernie had taken some acid trips he might not be so grumpy and negative today.

Bernie and Jane have finally released their full tax returns (except for the list of charities) from 2014. They say they will also release the 2015 return once it is filed. No word on the rest of the promised returns going back to 2007. David Cay Johnston at The National Memo:

Tax Transparency: After Expansive Vow, Sanders Releases Only 2014 Return.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders released nearly all of his and wife Jane Sanders’ 2014 tax return Friday night, but that disclosure still remains far from his wife’s promise to release returns for the last eight years — raising more questions about the candidate’s judgment and his wife’s claims.

As expected there was nothing startling in the schedules, but the failure to fulfill their promise to release returns back to 2007 — when Sanders was first elected to the U.S. Senator from Vermont — erodes the likelihood that other Presidential candidates this cycle and in the future will release their own full returns.

A key detail withheld by Sanders until Friday night prompts yet another question: The senator and his wife have both said on national television that Jane Sanders prepares the couple’s returns using TurboTax software. But a schedule that had been withheld until now shows $204 in tax preparation fees.

The most expensive version of TurboTax sold currently — a higher grade product than needed to prepare the couple’s returns, costs $109.99 That price includes both an online download and a compact disc. And that is the price charged by Intuit, the manufacturer, with retailers offering discounts pricing the top product at under $100.

Hmmm . . . maybe Jane got a fee for filling out the forms?

Bernie bros protest high dollar fund-raiser for down-ticket Democrats in San Francisco

Bernie bros protest high dollar fund-raiser for down-ticket Democrats in San Francisco

While Bernie was out of the country, his supporters picketed a fund-raiser hosted by Amal and George Clooney for Democratic candidates in San Francisco, where they chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, Hillary Clinton has got to go.” Very classy. ABC News describes the bizarre scene:

Approximately 100 Bernie Sanders supporters demonstrated outside of a George and Amal Clooney-hosted Hillary Clintonfundraiser Friday night in San Francisco’s upscale Nob Hill neighborhood.

Clinton and her aides arrived at the home of venture capitalist and Democratic donor Shervin Pishevar around 6:30 p.m. for the fundraiser, which kicked off at 7 p.m. Tickets to the event cost roughly $30,000 per person or $350,000 per table. (This is the first of two Clooney-hosted fundraisers this weekend. On Saturday night, the Clooneys are hosting another fundraiser, at his home in Los Angeles.)

The San Francisco street where the home is located was blocked off by police, but the protesters gathered at the top of the hill and then marched around the block.

Holding signs that read “Hillary: You can’t sit with us unless you have money” and “$353,000 for Dinner? And you thought SF home prices are high,” while banging pots and pans, protesters were vocal about Clinton’s ties to big money.

“Hey, hey, ho ho, Hillary Clinton has got to go!” the crowd, many of whom appeared to be in their twenties and thirties yelled out. “Bernie or Bust!”

It’s difficult to fathom why these people oppose raising money for Democrats running for Congress. Wouldn’t a President Bernie Sanders need Democrats in the House and Senate? The ways of Bernie supporters are very mysterious.

That’s all I have for you today. I didn’t even look at the Republican side of the campaign. It’s all just too crazy for me today. And now I plan to try to regain some kind of serenity before the big showdown arrives on Tuesday.

What stories are you following?


Let’s Hear It For the Girl

Elizabeth Warren, the Woman Who Would Throw Stones, The Matriarch of Mayhem, the Socialist Whore [according to an irate party crasher] dedicated to turn your first born into a Marxist revolutionary and the woman who dares to run for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachussets has produced her first political ad.  Ooooo, scary!

Now think about the ads Karl Rove’s outfit, Crossroads GPS, has run against Elizabeth Warren–the attacks, the baseless accusations.  This straightforward introduction is a breath of fresh air.  And that is why Elizabeth Warren is so very dangerous.

Let’s hear it for the girl!


Elizabeth Warren for Senate? MA Dems Not On Board So Far

The blogosphere is all a-flutter over the possibility of Elizabeth Warren running for the Senate from Massachusetts.

The Progressive Change Campaign has begun a petition drive to draft Warren.

Taylor Marsh is reporting that Warren told Andrea Mitchell that she will think about the Senate after she gets back to Harvard.

Greg Sargent has posted a list of reasons why national Democrats want Warren to run.

So how do Massachusetts Democrats feel about all this? A few days ago, The Boston Globe’s Joan Vennochi wrote that President Obama was afraid to unlikely to appoint Elizabeth Warren as head of the new Consumer Protection Agency that she fought for and then built, so now her supporters are pushing a Senate run against Republican Scott Brown as a “consolation prize.” According to Vennochi, this initiative isn’t being received all that well here in Massachusetts.

On paper, her candidacy would attract women, liberals, and money from both constituencies, locally and nationally. “She’s tough as nails . . . She’s smart as hell and she could wrap Scott Brown around her little finger in a debate,’’ said Philip Johnston, [John] Walsh’s predecessor as state party chairman.

But Warren isn’t well-known, beyond a small circle of elite Democrats. She has never run for office or built a grassroots organization. And a handful of candidates already in the race won’t be happy about being big-footed, leaving current supporters in an awkward spot.

Massachusetts Democrats aren’t too pleased with the DSCC these days after they and Obama chose not to support Martha Coakley against Scott Brown. State party chairman Walsh told Vennochi that he probably wouldn’t support Warren’s candidacy, since he is backing John Kerry’s chosen candidate Setti Warren. Vennochi:

The idea of Washington Democrats imposing their will on Massachusetts Democrats is distasteful. The DSCC, especially, is not popular here after its tactics largely backfired in the special election that Brown stunningly won. A lack of initial support for Democrat Martha Coakley was followed up by a belated barrage of negative ads that hurt rather than helped Coakley.

The DSCC can also come off as bullies.

Last month, when Kerry was hosting a fundraiser for the DSCC at his Beacon Hill home, he wanted to invite Setti Warren to the event. But the DSCC said no to inviting only one candidate because the group didn’t want to look like it is taking sides – unless, of course, it’s Elizabeth Warren’s side.

Besides, would Obama pitch in to support Warren for Senate? Somehow I doubt it.


Poor little Barack … He sooo wishes he could be anonymous.

Poor Barack. His high-powered job has made him so famous and powerful that he can’t go anywhere to unwind anymore except the golf course. That’s why he golfs so much. He really wishes he could be “anonymous” so he could go the car wash or the grocery store. At least that’s what he told the editors and publishers of Hearst Magazines.

“I just miss — I miss being anonymous,” he said at the meeting in the White House State Dining Room. “I miss Saturday morning, rolling out of bed, not shaving, getting into my car with my girls, driving to the supermarket, squeezing the fruit, getting my car washed, taking walks. I can’t take a walk.”

He says he enjoys golf but is not the fanatic that some have portrayed him to be because of the frequency of his golf outings.

“It’s the only excuse I have to get outside for four hours at a stretch,” he told the Hearst executives.

Awwww…poor guy. That’s so sad. He sounds so wistful about it too. He must get so stressed out when he has to made those “tough decisions” like selling out the American people to the Republicans so he doesn’t have to piss off any of his rich banker donors. No wonder he spends so much time playing golf.

Just imagine how hard it must be to be the first black president–and a Democrat too (supposedly)–and be *forced* to destroy the legacies of FDR, JFK, and LBJ! Imagine how hard it must be to realize that after he gets through, the Democratic Party will be well and truly dead.

He must really have to rush to play golf when he thinks about how he used the legacy of Martin Luther King to get himself elected, and now he has to hurt poor people, including a lot of African Americans, because those mean old Republicans are making him do it.

The President will probably have to spend a lot of time on the golf course after his speech on Wednesday. From what I’m hearing and reading, he is going to have to break it to the bottom 90% of Americans that they are utterly screwed, and explain why we must “sacrifice” our health care and our pittance of retirement from Social Security in order to make sure that the banksters don’t have to cut back at all. After all they are our betters, aren’t they?

It’s so sad that poor Barack will have to live with being the President who destroyed the social safety net in the U.S. What a terrible burden for him to carry! I just hope he can get enough stress relief from playing golf. Maybe he could also relieve his giant burden of stress with one of the Hearst magazines that he says he likes to read.

“If there are any magazines in the (White) House, they probably come from you guys,” he told the Hearst Magazine executives.

Hearst Magazines publishes periodicals including Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, O, The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, Esquire and Cosmopolitan, among others.

I wonder which of those magazines he like best. Maybe we could take up a collection and get him a subscription to Cosmo or something.

Poor, poor pitiful Barack!


Axelrod to Leave White House Soon?

Fox News:

President Obama’s senior advisor David Axelrod is planning to move up his departure to sooner than originally planned, a senior White House official told Fox News on Monday, heading out in late January or early February.

The purpose is “to leave enough time to spend time with family before the next project begins,” the official said.

As recently as Nov. 14, Axelrod told “Fox News Sunday” that he’d probably stay about six more months before leaving to work on the president’s re-election bid.

Really? You mean this has nothing to do with the “shellacking” Obama received in the midterms?

CNN’s Ed Henry reports that:

President Obama is planning to bring former campaign manager David Plouffe onto the White House staff at the beginning of January to work alongside senior adviser David Axelrod for a brief time before Axelrod moves on to help run the re-election campaign, according to a senior administration official and a senior Democratic strategist familiar with the plan.

The sources added that Axelrod is now planning to leave his White House post as soon as immediately after the State of the Union address, which is an earlier departure date than originally expected and could be part of a new round of departures at the White House.

While there have been reports suggesting Plouffe will directly replace Axelrod, the working plan right now is actually for the two veterans of the 2008 campaign to work together for at least a short period as sort of a handoff, as the White House continues to reshape itself to deal with a Republican-controlled House and a shrunken Democratic majority in the Senate.

Well, there’s no time to lose with the President’s approval rating at 39% in the latest Zogby poll and only 28% strongly supporting him in the Rasmussen daily tracking poll today.

Yikes! Look at those disapproval numbers.

Meanwhile, at Huffpo, Sam Stein continues his reporting on disgruntled Democratic donors:

In the wake of an electoral drubbing and fearing another one in two years, some deep-pocketed Democratic donors have decided to essentially go rogue with respect to the Obama White House.

In meetings this past week, some of the top financiers in the party advanced discussions about building a third-party apparatus to counter that on the Republican side of the aisle.

I’m not sure how “rogue” these donors are really willing to go, since they are mainly talking about David Brock’s new project. James Carville sounds skeptical too:

“There probably is some kind of need [for a third-party outlet]. The one thing about us though is when we lose we have a lot of meetings. We are not even getting started on the retreats or retrospectives,” said James Carville, a longtime Democratic strategist, during an unrelated breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “There is probably going to be one now, it is just the nature of what it is. Undoubtedly the Democrats will have symposiums and retreats.”

Big whoop.

Still, at least the Dems are recognizing that things don’t look so rosy for Obama. It appears that David Axelrod is worried too.


What Devil Did Obama Make a Deal With?

Barack Obama speaking at 2007 fundraiser in New York

As Dakinikat pointed out in her latest post, Paul Krugman used his column today to describe (and bemoan) Barack Obama’s negotiating style and his apparent lack of ideology. Krugman argues that the problem we face now (emphasis added) is:

…the contrast between the administration’s current whipped-dog demeanor and Mr. Obama’s soaring rhetoric as a candidate. How did we get from “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” to here?

But the bitter irony goes deeper than that: the main reason Mr. Obama finds himself in this situation is that two years ago he was not, in fact, prepared to deal with the world as he was going to find it. And it seems as if he still isn’t.

In retrospect, the roots of current Democratic despond go all the way back to the way Mr. Obama ran for president. Again and again, he defined America’s problem as one of process, not substance — we were in trouble not because we had been governed by people with the wrong ideas, but because partisan divisions and politics as usual had prevented men and women of good will from coming together to solve our problems. And he promised to transcend those partisan divisions….the real question was whether Mr. Obama could change his tune when he ran into the partisan firestorm everyone who remembered the 1990s knew was coming. He could do uplift — but could he fight?

So far the answer has been no.

Although Krugman has come a long way from the days when he defended Obama’s health care “reform” bill, he is still clinging to the notion that Obama is a well-meaning, although hopelessly weak and gullible liberal. But what if Obama never intended to keep his campaign promises? What if he always planned to help cover up the Bush administration’s crimes and continue their wars?

In a recent post, I linked to this article at Common Dreams: Obama Was Used, And Is Now Used Up, by Robert Freeman. Freeman writes:

Barack Obama was used. Of course, he knew he was being used when he made the deal. But what he didn’t know was how quickly he would be used up. Now he has to face two years of humiliation knowing that he betrayed the people and the country he claimed to champion – and knowing that everyone else knows it as well – but also knowing that he’s gotten what’s coming to him.

Obama made a deal to get the job in the first place. The deal was that he would carry on with Bush’s bailout of the banks, with Bush’s two wars, with Bush’s suppression of civil liberties, that he wouldn’t prosecute or even investigate any of the enormous fraud that had brought down the country, or the lies that had railroaded it into war.

I haven’t been able to learn very much about Freeman. According to the description on one of his earlier Common Dreams pieces,

he teaches history and economics at Los Altos High School in Los Altos, CA. He is the founder of One Dollar For Life, a national non-profit that helps American students build schools in the developing world through contributions of one dollar.

He has been contributing to Common Dreams since at least 2004. Freeman doesn’t say with whom Obama supposedly made a deal, or why that entity would want the U.S. to continue the Bush administration’s policies. For all I know, Freeman could be just talking through his hat when he makes this unsourced claim; but isn’t it something many of us have wondered about for the past several years? I know I have.

Still, Why would Obama do that? Why would he campaign on high-minded generalities, leading gullible “progressives” and even well-meaning liberals to believe he would transform Washington DC and reverse Bush policies like torture, indefinite detention, and concentration of power in the executive branch?

Why did the financial community back him so strongly? Wasn’t it most likely their desire to get their hands on the Social Security trust fund? Perhaps they made a deal with Obama to engineer an assault on Social Security, Medicare, and other social programs, but would the financial community also demand that Obama continue the Bush policies of torture, detention, and endless war?

Now let’s look at the latest article by Bruce Dixon at The Black Agenda Report: Barack Obama, Social Security and the Final Irrelevance of the Black Misleadership Class. Dixon also claims that Obama’s betrayal of all that is liberal was foreordained because of a deal to make him President.

The masters of corporate media proclaim that their raid on social security, is a done deal. “Entitlements,” their code word for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, will be cut in the lame duck session of Congress, with Democratic president Barack Obama taking the lead. Though the outlines of this raid have been clear for months, what passes for black America’s political leadership class have been silent. As far as we know, they have not been ordered to shut up. They have silenced themselves, in abject deference to the corporate black Democrat in the White House.

It took a Republican Richard Nixon to open relations with China in the seventies. It took Democrat Bill Clinton to impose draconian cuts in welfare and end college courses for prisoners in the nineties. And today, only a black Democratic president can sufficiently disarm Democrats, only a black Democrat can demobilize the black polity completely enough for the raid on “entitlements” to be successful.

Dixon then points out a fact that many white “progressives” are missing:

Many among the current Congressional Black Caucus are utterly unprepared to stand against the corporate onslaught to gut social security because it is backed by the same forces who have made their political careers possible, and spearheaded by a black Democrat in the White House. The NAACP and similar advocacy organizations too have neutered themselves with a generation of corporate financing and the “reward” of regular meetings with White House officials

Some “progressives” are discussing as possibilities for a primary challenger to Obama in 2012 or, alternatively, a third party challenger. Both of these efforts will fail, because any challenger to Obama will not win the black vote. Dixon implies that Obama’s “deal with the devil” was a sellout to corporate interests.

Inflicting a fatal wound on social security has been the aim of America’s business class for generations. It is a project upon which some of them have spent billions. Thanks to our lack of a functioning black press, or electronic media that address black audiences, most African Americans don’t know who billionaire Pete Peterson is.

Peterson is a billionaire who announced his intention almost 20 years ago to spend every last dime of his net worth to kill social security…. [Peterson has] push[…] the fraudulent notion that social security is “a Ponzi scheme,” unsustainable, a drain on the nation’s finances, and won’t be there when people currently in their thirties and forties get old anyhow. A decades-long campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt has been waged against the American people to prepare for the final undoing of the New Deal and Great Society programs of social security, Medicaid and Medicare. But it’s a campaign most of us are barely aware of.

Is Dixon right? Did Obama sell out in order to destroy social security? Then who demanded that Obama continue all of the Bush policies and block any close examination of Bush administration crimes?

I’m not suggesting any vast, all-encompassing conspiracy–clearly Obama’s corporate and political backers had differing goals in mind when they gave him their money. They probably didn’t all gather in a large room and deliberately plan to make Obama President. Some, like Teddy Kennedy, probably believed that Obama would really follow in JFK’s footsteps, inspiring a new generation to enter politics and change the system in radical ways. Read the rest of this entry »