Democrats and Spiking the Ball

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Chris Matthews made a very relevant comment on “Hardball” last night. He said the Democrats were not very good at spiking the ball. He was referring to the inability of the Democratic Party to celebrate its accomplishments and to make sure everyone knew about them.

… the upcoming election will largely depend on the enthusiasm of the base, as opposed to the small sliver of undecideds remaining, and no one is better at whipping a Democratic crowd into a frenzy than a Democratic President.

As an example, he cited the drop of the unemployment rate to 5.9 percent and the creation of millions of jobs since President Obama assumed office. He rightly noted, the Republicans would be holding a party, similar to when they hoisted the banner of “Mission Accomplished” to mark what President Bush thought represented the end of the Iraq campaign. Moreover, after a rocky start, Obamacare has become widely accepted in American society, and the Republican plan to campaign solely on that issue has fallen flat.

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Using the President to Hold the Senate

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Democrats are making a big mistake by trying to avoid using the President during the current campaign. This poor strategic choice can be traced back to Al Gore’s refusal to tout President Clinton’s success with the economy because of fears about the effect of Monica Lewinsky.

The traditional approach to an unpopular President, using him for closed-door fundraising events but avoiding public rallies, ignores the importance of turnout of the base to affect election results.

Gore lost Arkansas in that election, a key battleground state, and a little campaigning there by President Clinton could have changed the results and the trajectory of our nation. One can easily argue another President would have avoided 9/11 by paying closer attention to clear warnings about Al Qaeda’s intentions from the intelligence community.

The traditional approach to an unpopular President, using him for closed-door fundraising events but avoiding public rallies, ignores the importance of turnout of the base to affect election results. In fact, due to the polarization of our politics, one can argue that there are fewer and fewer undecided voters, making efforts here increasingly unproductive.

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Protecting the President

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Protecting the President has been widely assumed to be a start-of-the-art, fail-safe process in the 21st century, honed and perfected by the most professional of agencies, the Secret Service.

… a failure to adequately protect the President inevitably puts Congress in the cross hairs as well by showing their vulnerability …

Recent events have therefore come as quite a shock to both the public and the political elite as well. Because a failure to adequately protect the President inevitably puts Congress in the cross hairs as well by showing their vulnerability to the deranged people out there.

That’s why it was inevitable for Julia Pearson to resign after one more incident became public, with an armed, unvetted person riding the elevator right next to the President of the United States. And only informing the President about the incident minutes before it appeared in the press certainly didn’t help matters.

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Hillary Clinton Declaration for President

 

It’s not easy to run for President, and people need to cool it with their speculation and exercise a little more patience while Hillary Clinton makes up her mind.

She brings a diligent attitude to everything she does, taking care of her responsibilities in a thoroughly committed manner.

Mrs. Clinton knows full well the rigors of the campaign trail, and she should get more respect from the news media as she decides whether she should take the plunge. Yes, her decision is facilitated by the lack of other serious candidates, but deciding to run for President involves more than political calculations. It is a deeply personal decision with a long-lasting impact on her family and friends.

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Senate in the Balance

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The fate of the U.S. Senate is being hyped by a lot of pundits as if it would make a big difference. In reality, as long as a Democrat sits in the White House, our country is safe from the worst depredations of the Republican world view.

Yes, many of our programs need to be protected from abuse, but we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

That view, and there should be no doubt, includes a dismantling of the social safety net both for the poor and the elderly, and a radical difference of what it means to be an American citizen.

The concept of rugged individualism must be accompanied by an empathy for those who have fallen behind in the race through no fault of their own. Before social security, and the current generation does not remember this, the elderly used to constitute a poor and needy class as their life savings were consumed by the cost of health care.

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Republican Fiasco on Immigration by Hispanics

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The Republicans don’t hate Hispanics. It just appears that way.

In one of the most embarrassing fiascos in the House this week, the leadership failed to pass its own legislation to address the thousands of unaccompanied children crossing the border to flee from unabated violence. Showing an utter lack of humanity and compassion, the Tea Party forced modifications of the immigration bill to cut its funding and make it more draconian, even though they knew that the Senate had already left town, and there was no hope of passage.

…while in one breath, the Republicans spent taxpayer dollars to sue the President for taking too many executive actions, in the other, they demanded the President take more executive actions to deal with the border crisis, because they couldn’t pass any legislation.

Moreover, while in one breath, the Republicans spent taxpayer dollars to sue the President for taking too many executive actions, in the other, they demanded the President take more executive actions to deal with the immigration of Hispanics, because they couldn’t pass any legislation.

The hypocrisy of this strategy caused some Republicans and even Fox News pundits to point out the contradictions. So what should the average voter make of all this?

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False Equivalence in Gaza War against Hamas

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In watching the coverage of the war against Hamas in Gaza, one is struck by the use of false equivalence — in an effort to provide “balanced” stories, Hamas has been provided with an outlet to disseminate its views on a par with the Israeli Defense Force.

It should be remembered that Hamas, while denying involvement, nevertheless applauded the criminals. The outrage of this kidnapping seemed to be the last straw for Israeli authorities …

The current hostilities started with the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers. It should be remembered that Hamas, while denying involvement, nevertheless applauded the criminals. The outrage of this kidnapping seemed to be the last straw for Israeli authorities; they cracked down on the West Bank, arrested Hamas representatives and made life miserable for all the Palestinians in a so-called effort to find the youngsters.

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Recess Appointments

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The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Justices Rebuke Obama on Right of Appointment,” describes a decision that will be used by the right wing to further their narrative of a Presidency run amok with executive overreaching and neglect of the prerogatives of the legislative branch.

… the Obama administration has issued fewer signing statements, made fewer recess appointments and been embroiled in fewer real scandals than previous executive branches.

In reality, President Obama’s use of executive power has, by almost any standard of measurement, been modest compared to Presidents before him. Looking at the sheer numbers, the Obama administration has issued fewer signing statements, made fewer recess appointments and been embroiled in fewer real scandals than previous executive branches. At the same time, he has been beset by an unprecedented degree of hostility and reflexive outrage by the other Party.

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Mississippi Tea Party

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The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Senator Defeats Tea Party in the Mississippi Primary,” shows why Tad Cochran is a Senator and Chris McDaniel is not. The Senator beat back the insurgent challenger by appealing to African-Americans and Democrats to help him continue bringing home the bacon in federal grants for the state.

…the Senator made the people of Mississippi understand the importance of seniority in continuing the stream of financial support for his otherwise poverty-stricken state.

In addition to the flexibility of this redirection of his campaign, the Senator made the people of Mississippi understand the importance of seniority in continuing the stream of financial support for his otherwise poverty-stricken state. Cochran is in line to be the head of the Appropriations Committee in the Senate, a position that will give him even more power in promoting Mississippi’s interests.

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Cantor Earthquake

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The lead article in today’s New York Times, “After Upset, G.O.P. Fears Infighting will Take a Toll, describes the continued fallout over the defeat of Eric Cantor, Majority Leader of the House, by a little-known right-wing Tea Party opponent.

It is ironic that the manipulations undertaken by Republicans after the census to give themselves safe seats will ultimately cost them in Presidential elections for decades to come.
The reverberations continue due, in part, to the sheer surprise of the result in an era of modern polling.

The upset is sure to increase the resistance to immigration reform on Capitol Hill despite the existential need for the Republican Party to connect with Latino voters. Without doing so, they risk becoming increasingly marginalized as a national party. It is ironic that the manipulations undertaken by Republicans after the census to give themselves safe seats will ultimately cost them in Presidential elections for decades to come.

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