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News and Notes in the coffeehouse – preposterous Dem fear tactics and posturing

I’m under the weather today (airplane travel + filthy air + coughing, sneezing + fibro), so I won’t be good for much besides tea, soup and bed today. Right now I’m on a soup break and checking mail, Twitter and Facebook and then back to unconsciousness. Since I haven’t the clarity to write posts of any useful length, I’ll point to some stories that I’d love to see you all discuss in the comments.

* Salon: The Democratic fear-based strategy. Glenn Greenwald goes in depth into a subject we discussed here a while back – the Dem establishment pathetically invoking Sarah Palin as the Fear Factor to get out the Dem vote. A snippet:

That the Right has become an even more twisted, malicious and primitive version of what they were during the Bush years is unquestionably true. And it’s perfectly legitimate to point out the flaws and excesses of one’s political adversaries. But the expectations which large numbers of Obama voters had — based on the promises made — are not going to be forgotten with these distracting, divisive strategies. The great irony of the Obama presidency is that a central promise of his candidacy was to reduce the corrosive cynicism pervading the citizenry regarding our political system, but dashing the hopes of huge numbers of first-time and young voters — as the “enthusiasm gap” compellingly reveals is occurring — will likely do more than any other single event to increase cynicism levels to all new heights. It’s easy to imagine large numbers of people who decided for the first time that politics can matter — people who were enthused supporters who expected the fundamental change they were promised by electing Barack Obama — giving up “hope” for a long time, if not forever, in the face of a Party which now has little to say to them other than: But Look Over There at Sarah Palin!!

* Americablog : We’re quickly heading towards zero major gay accomplishments by the Obama administration this term. This post by John Aravosis was up before the news broke that Reid will call for a DADT vote, but in essence, it’s still true since DADT has not been repealed and there’s no date certain when the discharges will stop. Hate crimes was a done deal with the majority we had in Congress. All Obama had to do was sign off on it. So…

We were told that the President simply couldn’t get to his promises to our community in his first two years in office because we are a nation at war, and he had to work on health care reform, the economy, and many other issues that were meant to believe were far more important than our basic civil and human rights.

And now, after all the pandering by all the pro-Obama apologists who said that we were wrong to ask the President to address our community’s needs during his first two years in office, that we were wrong to warn of the imminent loss of a Democratically-controlled House, and how that loss would stymie gay rights progress for years to come, and that we were wrong to suggest that this President would never, ever get to addressing a real repeal of DADT and DOMA, and the passage of ENDA – after all that, it turns out we were right.

Barack Obama is on the precipice of accomplishing a grand total of none of his major promises to gay and lesbian Americans in return for our supporting his candidacy with our votes and our money. I’m not smelling change.

I’ll just say that for me it’s not as black and white. There were major gains for the transgender community in these two years, the most prominent being the passport rule changes regarding gender ID made by the state department. And in fact we’ve seen a host of Cinderella Crumb rights tossed our way, executive measures taken by this administration (remember the FMLA interpretation changes?) that any future president can roll back with the stroke of a pen. Those are not insignificant to those affected, but it is not establishment of full civil equality. Thus John’s initial declaration is still true -none of the major promises this president has made have been fulfillled. Barack Obama’s promises, not our demands.

More headlines below the fold, including a doozy of a Dem leadership embarrassment.* HuffPo: Only One Party Stands for LGBT Rights. This is an essay by Ray Buckley, the first openly gay politician to hold the position of the President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs. I will not doubt the sincerity with which he continues the GOP fear factor meme for the midterms by touting all the progress by the Obama administration. Here we go…

We Democrats are the Party of equality and we have been the party that has been delivering results in advancing the cause of equality for LGBT Americans and more broadly Democrats in Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, the Lily Ledbetter Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Act. But we don’t just look back at our accomplishments. Our Party is — with virtually no Republican help – currently working to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We are expanding rights for LGBT Americans through administrative actions. For example, the Department of Health & Human Services has extended medical decision making rights to LGBT Couples and the Department of Labor has extended the Family Medical Leave Act to cover LGBT families.

As we stand on the precipice of so much positive change, this is not the time to become apathetic or turn back the clock. Do not allow Republicans to cause us to stay home in November, because “one party is just as good as the other” on LGBT issues. We have to stand with the Party that has continually stood for equality, and encourage the community to do just that this November.

Note that bolded statement above. Buckley’s expectation is that perhaps there’s big change looming on the horizon if we just lay down under the bus one more time. Unfortunately, Buckley’s predictions and expectations have changed wildly since the Presidential Inauguration, where he said in this video (praise Jeebus for the YouTube) that he “would be VERY surprised if by the end of they year we did not pass” hate crimes, inclusive ENDA, and repeal DOMA and DADT. (it’s around 3:12, hat tip to Towleroad).

I guess believing in life at the precipice, as it were, is how the die-hard Obama supporters sleep like babies while actually under the bus.

* Right Wing Watch: 2012 Candidates Weekly Update. Excellent – RWW will be doing GOP 2012 Clown Car updates so I don’t have to. 😉 The reason this piece ties in with the above is the fact that the list of clown on that list so far doesn’t scare me. The GOP agenda is full of fail, and this list of prospective presidential candidates is pitiful: Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin. George Pataki, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum. If Obama’s political team can’t figure out how to beat these people, the man shouldn’t deserve a second term.

And my last article to point to, indicating even more cynicism is deserved regarding the Dem tactics for the midterms…

* National Despite Electoral Landscape, GOP Proposals Not Popular. The polls do not support the meme that Americans are so frustrated that they will turn to accept failed GOP policies. The problem is the Dems sucked at leading and implementing a successful agenda in the wake of Bush and GOP leadership destroying the economy over the last decade. It’s the economy, stupid.

Americans offer tepid support for much of the Republican Party’s domestic agenda, including repealing the new healthcare law and extending tax cuts for the wealthy, according to the latest Society for Human Resource Management/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted with the Pew Research Center.

The results suggest Republicans could struggle to pass legislation advancing many of the smaller-government themes that have dominated their campaigns in the midterm elections, even if the party wins control of one or both houses of Congress in November.

In particular, the party appears to risk a backlash from senior citizens, a critical voting bloc that harbors deep skepticism about tinkering with entitlement programs.

…[T]he poll offered little to suggest that the surge in voter support for Republican candidates, whom analysts project to win major gains this fall, carries over to support for policies championed this fall by Republican leaders in Washington and on the campaign trail.

…One issue united Americans of all demographics: Three-quarters of them said they could not name the leader of the Republican Party, or that the party does not have a leader.

Anyway, have at it — I’m heading back to bed now that I’ve finished my bowl of soup…

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding