Still All That I Want

Something that gets lost in the news about the unemployed is the fact that much of what used to be the backbone of this nation's economic prowess, the middle class, is now the working poor:
Imagine That: Working Poor On The Rise

After the Republicans crashed to economy in 2008 one thing became immediately clear. It would not be the folks who can afford it who would pay for the excesses of the last few decades. No, the elitist millionaires in Congress and the White House would make sure they kept their precious tax breaks. Yes, the only group that would be expected to sacrifice just like always would be the working American. Now a new study is out showing just how much they did sacrifice.
One can only hope that Capitol Hill is really ready to grow its heart a few sizes before things get any worse. But if the media and the politicians are unable to even address the issue of Class War honestly, I can't see them actually fixing the problems. Not in the the favor of the average American, for certain.

An early Merry Christmas OR Happy Holidays, if you are so inclined, just in case this is the last post you get to check before you disappear into a pile of wrapping paper, empty bottles and hugs from family and friends.

As for my own Christmas list this year? Well? If you see Santa, tell him that as much as I liked everything from my wife and kids and even what I found in my stocking last year? All that I wanted last year is still all that I want this year:
The Weepies beautiful Christmas song, All That I Want, live in Philly:

I really want for nothing for myself. There are so many things that I want to see changed in the world for the good of everyone. World Peace? Stopping hunger? Ending poverty? Maybe I do want something: Wish me luck on getting those things.
Is there anything in particular you want for yourself or for others this year? Drop it in comment...



Click on the above link, and it will take you to an interesting place. A place where obstruction is the norm, bad lawyering is the standard, lack of preparedness is encouraged, and focusing on the main mission is discouraged. Sounds beautiful, doesn't it? Here's the real name of this magical cyber spot:

What a Waste William Wellman Was While Wading through this Week's Work at the Board of Education

What was WW up to this time? As usual, not much. It seems all he's really able to do is abstain on voting for nearly every issue, and deliver legal opinions that are shot down by non-lawyers.

What doesn't WW do? Comment in any way, shape, or form on issues of education. And that's true for not just this meeting, but every meeting. Good thing he's on the board of EDUCATION, right? Maybe he thinks it's the board of Obstruction (but we'll get to that later).

To give you an idea how little WW cares about serving as a public official, he didn't cast vote for the election of BOE Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, or Secretary. He cares so little that he didn't even vote "no."

  • If you care so little, or can't even muster an opinion on your fellow board members, maybe it's time to resign. Public participation would be essentially equivalent for your current level of commitment to the voters.

Too bad there's no video of that "historic" vote.

But let's give the guy some credit: he later tried to show everyone what a great lawyer he was. Unfortunately, he was shot down by lay people - no judge required to hold him in contempt! He tried to impose his lack of legal knowledge on the rest of the BOE in an attempt to make it seem they hadn't done their homework to update the policy on expulsions. However, when the Superintendent, and Board members Lawson and Faulenbach, reminded him that all of the facts were already in the document, poor WW could only feign ignorance as a defense. Claiming he didn't have the appropriate page in front of him - which means he either didn't read the entire document or was simply choosing to ignore it - WW just chose to disagree.

  • Some lawyer you were, WW. The voters - and your colleagues on the BOE - hold you in contempt.
  • Pay a fine, spend a night in jail, or for your sake and ours, please resign.

As for the rest of the meeting, the poor old obstructor didn't say a word. No input on a variety of policies, a 5 year curriculum plan, new text books, etc. Why bother weighing in on education issues when you're on the board of obstruction???

  • Stop wasting your time - and ours. Stay home on Tuesdays. Watch college basketball, read a book, play the victrola. Send in a letter to the editor for your various objections. Make better use of your time - and your fellow citizens.


Tales From The Crypt - Tax Cuts and Bond Markets Edition

Markets screeched in horror at the mere mention of conservative ideas like tax cuts, a GOP "free market" and glibertarian favorite stump speech talking point that should be laid to rest permanently:
For the past several months, we've been told by various Serious People that European governments were being punished by markets for being too lavish on social spending, despite bond rates being at record lows (other than in peripheral countries subject to more specific attacks) - or would be punished if they didn't "reform" and lower taxes. The same has been promoted in the US, via the Catfood Commission and the whole noise machine against deficits and stimulus packages... Well, the US government did just what the Serious People wanted, with a nice fat tax cut for the rich, and bond rates jumped - ie markets actually literally hated the measures, selling off US bonds violently.
Bwahahaha! RIP conservative tax cut kool-aid.
Considering al Qaeda's stated goals of destroying America economically... This kind of puts the conservative ideology of never-ending tax cuts firmly in the arsenal of a terrorist's financial Weapons of Mass Destruction (right up there with Credit Derivatives and Credit Default swaps) and those that support them... Well? In the words of an American idiot, "if you aren't with us, yer against us."


2010 New Milford Awards - Your Vote Counts!

Grab a beverage and help us toast another banner year in New Milford history. While we won't be applauding most of the award winners, we can still say "cheers" as we raise our glass to their achievements. Make like Bridgeport: vote early, vote late, no official ballot necessary, and write-in nominations are welcome!

Favorite Republican Dirty Trick
* Appointing Dem. Rod Weinberg to BOE
* NMBudgetFacts.com (anonymous - or was it?)
* NMBudgetFacts.com roadside signs (also anonymous - or was it?)
* Mayor and Szendy claim no raises for employees - then attempt to grant raises three months later

Best Example of Gutless Public Service
* Town Council Republicans silent vote to reduce school budget by $1.8 million
* Ray O'Brien's "Civility Rule" attempt to limit free speech
* Walter Bayer failing to second a motion by his fellow Dem. council member
* Mayor Murphy unable to say whether or not she supported her budget at the Annual Town Budget Meeting

Clueless is an Understatement Award
* Mayor Murphy for not doing any homework in a failed attempt to pass an ordinance to control the BOE's purchasing policy (The BOE's purchasing policy was better than the town's!)
* BOE Member Bill Wellman for being on the board nearly three years and not understanding how field trips are funded by the PTO (even though it's on the agenda every meeting!)
* BOE member Lynnette Rigdon (no explanation necessary)
* Roger Szendy states concern that the new Economic Development Corporation could vote themselves salaries of $100,000 (Yes, and they could vote themselves a trip to Mars, too)

Worst Person in the Town Award
* TC member Ray O'Brien for his "Civility Rule," and claiming that approving a 0% teacher's contract was like having a gun held to his head
* Mayor Murphy for not supporting her budget for the first time in 7 years, and for claiming no raises for non-union employees and then claiming they were "in the budget" three months later
* The Entire RTC for not condemning it's members who organized NMbudgetfacts.com
* Walter Bayer for pretending to be a "D" while attending the RTC's Reagan Dinner and other "R" functions - and contributing money to the R's in the process

Vote Now - Vote Early - Vote Often! And don't forget your beverage to toast the winners. Cheers!


Rell's Big Spending Bureaucratic Republican Cronyism

Cementing Her Excellency, Governor M. Jodi Rell's legacy:

Connected Appointee Gets Immediate Raise

Jacqueline Mandyck of West Hartford — a political appointee of Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell's who had stood to lose her job as a $107,000-a-year deputy commissioner of consumer protection in January, but on Oct. 22 landed a position on the permanent state civil-service payroll — has experienced still another bit of good fortune.

Newly surfaced records show that the announced $103,580-a-year salary for her new job at the state Department of Economic and Community Development was immediately increased by more than $10,000, to $113,623.


Mandyck, 43, knows Rell's powerful chief of staff, M. Lisa Moody, as well as Moody's longtime friend and golfing partner, the well-connected lobbyist Paddi LeShane. Mandyck was the focus of a Government Watch column in the Courant on Sunday about a number of Rell administration appointees being placed in jobs on the permanent state payroll rather than becoming unemployed after Democratic Gov.-Elect Dan Malloy takes office on Jan. 5. Other candidates scored higher than Mandyck on an examination, but an interview panel led by Rell appointees said she did better in her interview.
Emphasis mine, because lord knows GOP cronies should not have to suffer through the same unemployment problems - problems  they caused with their glibertarian* free-market-run-amok deregulation of financial industries out the ying yang - that the rest of America has to suffer through in the real world.

So Rell is using the taxpayer's money as an ATM to pay for her friends' parting gifts in the typical IOKIYAR "Big Spending Government Bureaucracy" the GOP likes to create and break when they are in power and then point to as the problem when they are not in power.

* Glibertarian and, again, emphasis mine:
a portmanteau of glib and libertarian, a person who affects libertarianism when it’s convenient. Used by those not ready to admit that all libertarian philosophy can be boiled down to “I got mine, fuck you”, or by those attempting to be polite to libertarians.


Thanks, Aunt Myrtle. Now, put the gun down.

As fun as it would be to keep talking about national politics, it’s probably time to return my gimlet eyes to local politics.

(Wait! one last sip:
How awesome are Republicans? They may be drunk with victory, but boy, are they mean drunks!




And then there’s this fresh Hell:


Can you feel the brain cells die as you watch? I know the mere thought of those two getting into a “situation” together makes me never want to let anyone have sex. With anyone. Ever. Again.)

Ok. Gasp! Ok.

No more capitol cocktails. The hypocricy could kill a person. Local brews. Local brews.

So. Been to a Town Council meeting lately? Or are you too busy trying to decide if you should support the Bush Tax Cut sunset? Well. You might be able to catch the meetings on cable access. If you keep the tv on channel 17 for the rest of your life. (Better than DWTS at least).

At the November 8th meeting, the Town Council weighed in (almost!) on the teacher contracts.

What teacher contracts? Oh. These:


Let's pause here. This is a big deal. New Milford teachers and the town’s Board of Education, reached an amicable agreement in July, over salaries and benefits for the next academic year. The upshot is that teachers are accepting a pay freeze. They have also agreed to slightly higher copays for some medical visits. And they did this without a lengthy and expensive arbitration process. So. Tax payers: hug a teacher. And also a BoE member.

Now. Onc e the contract is approved by the teachers and the BoE, it goes on file with thew Town Clerk. Note the date of the article (September 29th). And count 30 days forward. According to the town charter, that’s how much time the Town Council has to approve, reject, or decline to notice, the new contract. The Mayor and TC chose the latter course, but it seems it’s because someone forgot to count.

I guess the Mayor and TC wanted to say something about the contracts, but didn’t realize the contract had been filed (do none of them read the local paper? This was big news), or that they only had a 30-day window. Which, given how long most TC members (not to mention the Mayor) have served this community, seems a little odd. But not as odd as this explanation, from the meeting minuntes:

“[A Councilman] asked why the Town Council was not notified that the agreement was submitted to the Town Clerk. Mayor Murphy stated that it is not required to.”

See? “It is not required.” That’s logical and satisfying, isn’t it?

I know. But … given that the TC agenda from October 25th included this item:

“Mayor Murphy told Town Council members if they know of anyone whom they think should be recognized for something they have done in the community or another accomplishment, they should let her know.”

And, given that the BoE successfully negotiated an even more recent contract, this time with school administrators, also with a $0 salary increase, also with concessions on benefits, also without arbitration


it’s not like there wasn’t anything worth commenting on.

(Um, Mayor Murphy, how’s about thanking the teachers, adminitrators, and the BoE for agreeing to a pay freeze, and saving tax payers money!?! Too much to ask, I suppose.)

Well, even though the magic 30 days had passed, preventing the TC from epxressing their official dis/approval of the contracts, some members exercised their First Amendment right to free speech, and comment less officially at the November 8th meeting.

“Mr. Bass stated that all parties should be thanked. Mayor Murphy thanked all those involved for a good job including those people in the audience from the Board of Education.”

At the risk of sounding ungenerous, these “thanks” were recited with all the passion and sincerity of an 8-year-old thanking their Aunt Myrtle for a hand-knit Christmas sweater.

But, wait, there was more! Following the national trend of seeing one’s first amendment and raising you the second amendment, Councilman Raymond O’Brien had this to say:

“Mr. O’Brien stated that the Town Council usually approves contracts ‘with a gun to our heads’ because it is always told that if they don’t approve the contracts, they would go to arbitration and the town would lose.”

Of course, he isn’t exactly accurate on how the process works. I’ve looked in the Town Charter, and it really doesn’t say “After contract is filed with Town Clerk, a gun will be placed to the Town Council’s head until they vote their approval. If they reject the contract, the Town will automatically lose in arbitration.” But then, my reading of the Health Care Reform Act didn’t turn up any Death Panels either. So, there might be a special ink, visible only to conservatives, involved here.

Well, Mr. O’Brien. Thanks for the statesmanlike response. Honestly. A gun to your head? There’s a lot I’d like to say in response to your stunning hyperbole (not to mention hypocrisy: how’s about that civility manifesto?), but it’s not printable.

But that’s not even the most incendiary part of his comments. There’s more:

“[Councilman O’Brien] would much rather be advised earlier so that the Town Council could have some meaningful input before it is filed with the Town Clerk.”

Ummm ……. Because that’s not how the system works.

So, what? Councilman O’Brien would like a seat at the bargaining table? Should Councilman O’Brien just write the contracts himeslf? Why not just let Councilman O’Brien be in charge of everything? Charter, shmarter.

Councilman Peter Mullen tried to dial back the crazy:

"Dr. Mullen stated that communication is great, but disagreed with O’Brien’s statement. He felt the Town Council is not forced to accept a contract. They are not told the Town will lose."

Yeah. Well. That and telling Sarah Palin she can’t see Russia from her house will get you a blank stare and a headache.

Look. I’m quibbling over a minor detail. The comments of a cranky man about teacher contracts that already passed really don’t add up to major policy.

It’s just so disheartening.

It’s just another casualty in the decline of civil discourse.

These contracts were the result of hard work, good will, community spirit, and mutual trust, on the parts of our educators and our Board of Education. They are an example of putting community before personal gain. The contracts are something to celebrate.

Is it too much to ask that people like Councilman O’Brien not spoil the moment with petty carping (while also attempting some sort of political coup where he actually gets to take the place of the BoE and the teachers’ union in deciding contracts)?

Would it be putting a (metaphorical!) gun to the Town Council’s heads to expect a sincere, full-throated “Thanks!”

Or is it too close to budget season?

(are those crickets?)


Don't Turn Your Back on the Bankers for Even a Moment

The ink on the legislation is still drying and, already, the mortgage mill industry is trying to gut the little things that might help to hold them accountable for their bit part in the complete economic collapse of this nation:
Dodd-Frank requires that lenders retain five percent of every loan on their books, so that they are not completely separated from default risk. McClatchy reports that the banks are trying to quietly nix that part of the law:
Financial lobbyists also are working to soften requirements that Wall Street firms put more “skin in the game” by retaining more mortgage bonds on their books to guard against shoddy lending…They’re trying to expand the definition of “plain vanilla” mortgages that would be exempted from the risk-retention requirements. [...]
The [American Securitization Forum] and its members want to exempt interest-only mortgages, which caused many unsophisticated borrowers to lose their homes. “Certain types of loans aren’t standard, but are appropriate for high creditworthy borrowers,” Deutsch said in an interview, pointing to wealthy borrowers who seek to maximize their mortgage-interest deductions at tax time.
During the debate over Dodd-Frank, the banks pushed Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) to propose an amendment (which was ultimately defeated) striking the risk-retention provision from the bill. It’s no surprise that during the law’s rule-making phase, they are trying to weaken it as much as possible.
Nevermind the fact that their argument boils down to "What about the rich people and their tax deductions?" Just in case you missed that last part that Think Progress had not emphasized:
Deutsch said in an interview, pointing to wealthy borrowers who seek to maximize their mortgage-interest deductions at tax time.
"Leave the rich aloooooone!!!"

Does not matter what the issue, nor their political affiliation for the most part... That is always the battle cry and once the lobbyists dump enough money on them or get enough of their corrupted politicians in place you can bet these tiniest of common sense changes will be gutted.


Sarah Palin: Mayor of New Milford?

Is this a parody or real life? You decide.

Citizens of New Milford:
I want you to know that I'm on the job 24/7. Twenty four hours a week, seven months a year. But even with this strict time commitment, I can't be expected to keep up with everything going on in this vast metropolis. That's why I like this job - I've got plenty of other folks to do the work.

Not that I seek to blame everyone else for my problems, but everyone seems to be conspiring to keep important topics hidden from my highly skeptical spectacles. Even the Town Clerk couldn't seem to get me a copy of the new teacher's contract, cuz he knows I want to tear them teachers up for their greedy, self-serving ways. I know it's a good 30 paces from his office to mine, so that old buzzard would have to send one of his four staffers all the way down here. But, heck, how else am I supposed to know about these things?

How was I supposed to know New Milford's teachers took a Zero % increase next year? And they agreed to pay more for health insurance, too. Who would have ever thought the teachers and the Board of Education would ever take me and Roger Szendy seriously?

Do you think I - or one of my 40+ staffers - have time to read about this in the News-Times, Spectrum, or Housatonic Times? That's just plain crazy - we've got other things to do. Why, just the other day I had to count votes for Linda McMahon, and drive Clark around to some meeting at a funeral home. Who's got time to read?!

I'm a momma black bear (no grizzlies in these parts). I'll guard my cubs with my life, and you, the citizens of New Milford, are my cubs. You've got to trust that I'm doing all the right things, even if I don't really pay much attention to them. A momma black bear would never deliberately hide money for raises in the budget, or hire kin-folk on the public payroll. Now, she might ask someone else to do those things, but you must trust that I'm doing good by you.

And don't ask no stupid questions, ya hear? Luv Ya!


Your Mayer


Much like the "conservative" GOP...

The conservative Blue Dogs acted as Bush's domestic poodles, helping to move a dangerous right wing agenda.

They were owned by the right wing and corporations and there is no big surprise why more than half of the Blue Dog caucus (28 of 54 members) were slaughtered in the 2010 elections.
So far, it looks like nearly half the Blue Dog Dems have been kicked out of office. That’s a much higher percentage of Dems than the Progressive Caucus lost tonight. I think it speaks loudly to why the Dems got their butts kicked today. This wasn’t Americans turning to the Republicans, which polls show Americans hate worse than Dems. This was Americans turning away from the Blue Dogs. The ones who sold us out to the corporatists.

This opens up some serious opportunities for progressives if we can capitalize on them two years from now. Without incumbency to aid them, the Dem Machine – which will be bringing more Blue Dogs to the table to replace the ones they lost – will have to win primaries against progressive alternatives in every Blue Dog seat.
Meanwhile in the Progressive Caucus?

Already the largest caucus in the Dem caucus, the Progressive Caucus lost only 4 members in the elections. And may even have gained a new one.

And the New Dems that had aligned with the idiocy of the Blue Dogs? They are decimated too:
Yesterday, in "Blue dogs decimated, blue dogs triumphant" I called attention to the Blue Dogs losing more than half their seats in Congress, and in "Fighting smart", I endorsed Big Tent Democrat's argument that progressives should start immediately "focus on Dem primaries for House seats."

To flesh out the argument further, yesterday at DKos, Chris compared the Blue Dogs, New Dems & Progressive Caucus, showing how drastically different they fared:

And the resulting swing in makeup of the House, making the Progressive Caucus the new plurality:

Check his post out for a chart with a much finer level of detail.  But here's how Chris concluded:
Losing the House is painful, and will cause lots of problems for two years (or more). However, it does give us an opportunity to reshape the ideological composition of the House Democratic caucus in a positive way. Imagine if we can retake the House with the CPC maintaining this new plurality.
Clearly, the strategy Big Tent Democrat suggests would help us do precisely that.
Just so you know what BTD was talking about:
Creative Destruction
By Big Tent Democrat    

A historic loss for the Democrats last night creates opportunities for progressives around the country. Now more than ever, the primary process should give progressive candidates chances to capture Democratic nominations around the country.

While the Beltway and The Third Way will argue that Democrats need to run moderate Republicans as their candidates in the next election, the reality is the Beltway and The Third Way can no longer get a single person elected in a Democratic (or Republican, for that matter) primary.The era of the smoke filled room is over.

Progressives can be the change they are looking for. But they need to start now. And they need to focus on Dem primaries for House seats.

As Rahm Emanuel said, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Progressives should not waste this one.

In case you wanted the list of Blue Dogs that were crushed... Some Puppy Ciao furnished by Meteor Blades:
As for the departed Blue Dogs, we can do without their sabotage which did so much to deliver House Democrats into the minority. Only seven of the defeated 22 had served more than two terms in the House. Rep. Gene Taylor (MI-04), the longest serving defeated member, was first elected in 1988. So was John Tanner, who opted out of running this year. But 16 of them were first elected in 2006 or 2008. Here they all are, with the year they were first elected.

Mike Arcuri (NY-24) 2006; R. Marion Berry (AR-01)
 (Retired) 1996; Allen Boyd (FL-02) 1996; Bobby 
Bright (AL-02) 2008; Christopher Carney (PA-10)
 2006; Travis Childers (MS-01)
 2008; Jim Costa (CA-20) 2004; Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03) 2008; 
Lincoln Davis (TN-04)
 2002; Brad Ellsworth (IN-08)
 (Ran for Senate) 2006; Bart Gordon (TN-06)
 (Retired) 1984; Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (SD)
 2004; Baron Hill (IN-09)
 1998 through 2004, 2006;Frank  Kratovil, Jr. (MD-01)
 2008; Betsey Markey (CO-04) 2008; Jim Marshall (GA-08) 2002; Charlie Melancon (LA-03)
 (Ran for Senate) 2004; Walt Minnick (ID-01) 2008; Harry 
Mitchell (AZ-05)
 2006; Dennis Moore (KS-03)
 (Retired) 1998; Patrick Murphy (PA-08) 2006; Scott Murphy (NY-20) 2008; 
Glenn Nye (VA-02) 2008; Earl Pomeroy (ND)
1992; John Salazar (CO-03)
 2004; Zack Space  (OH-18)
 2006; John Tanner (TN-08) (Retired) 1988; Gene Taylor (MS-04)
 1988; Charles Wilson (OH-06) 2006.

The four members of the Progressive Caucus who lost: Alan Grayson (FL-08) 2008; Phil Hare (IL-17) 2006; Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (MI-13) (defeated in primary) 1996; and John Hall (NY-24) 2006.

It seems like everybody on the left realizes the opportunity ahead of us all now that the Dems that had created some of the worst right wing policy and legislation have been crushed.

And we all know what we have to do... Get to work with an aim to run the primaries off of the map.

And there is a certain amount of humor in seeing a Tea Bagrrrr movement come to screeching halt in this Connecticut election.

And the biggest change Tea Party Inc. achieved? In other parts of the nation they made the lefts' job easier by helping to pick off the worst Democratic party members in the country while leaving the more reasonable politicians in office even stronger than they were before. And they have nearly completely destroyed the GOP while doing all of that for us.

Stop Drinking and Start Doing, Dem Dumb Dumbs

Sober up, Dems.

You started sucking suds when you captured the Congress in 2006. Since 2008 you've been binge drinking with Congress and the Prez. You even nibbled on some hot wings and pub nuts. Burp!

And now the bartender just cut your drunk, lazy, liberal, progressive, leftie ass off. You dig, Dem dumb dumbs?

You thought you could just party like it was 1999. You can't take a beer bong and pour healthcare reform, trillions in spending and bailouts to fat cats down the average 'Merican's throat and not expect a fight. But, as usual, you didn't fight - you just kept doing Jager-bomb shots.

Let's not only blame the Prez for this election. Just go straight down the line - all the way to the grass root dumb dumbs who didn't lift a finger to dial up fellow dems to get them out of the bar and into the polls.

Too many Dems turned away after 2008, assuming the Prez and the Congressional majority would take care of "our" business. We drank up, while they did what we asked them to do. But, we didn't follow up on our end of the bargain - work our butts off to help them stay in office.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Can you say you worked as hard in 2010 as you did in 2008? Did you bring your neighbor to the polls? Did you give $$ to a candidate? If you didn't do that, how can you expect Joe the Bartender, Joe the Plumber, or any average Joe, to understand the complexities of the issues of the day?

How can you expect Joe to deal with this: the worst economy in two generations; soaring debt; jobs lost; home foreclosures, etc. That stuff scares the crap out of people. If you don't help them to understand that you're trying to solve their problems today - and for tomorrow - they're going to do exactly what they did: vote for the other team.

You have to expend energy to inspire 'Mericans to vote. Let's make a quick list of the "no shows" when it came to putting energy into this fall's campaign: Chris Dodd (thanks for nothing), the Prez, the Veep, Rahm "Windy City" Emmanuel, Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, Al Gore, etc. I'm sorry - you can't count the Prez's work in the final week as really getting it done; he should have been out there since labor day. Were you all having a beer in the Rose Garden?

Who deserves real credit for working his tail off? William Jefferson Clinton. He was busting his hump out there, putting his stent-laden heart on the line 24/7. Let's give the man some credit.

Learn from Bill: you have to work hard to win elections. Not other people - YOU! You have to get it done. You have to contribute time, energy, $$. If you can't contribute any of these, then you can't complain about the outcome.

To bring it back to a local level, look at Chris Murphy. He worked his butt off! I saw him in New Milford a few times - and I never saw Sam Caligiuri (if I had paid $100 to attend the RTC's Reagan Dinner, maybe I would have caught a glimpse of Sam C).

And I saw Ann Cutter (local Dem) leading Chris Murphy around the Harvest Festival. She worked hard the entire election cycle - organizing phone banks and other get out the vote efforts. Where was the rest of the local Dem leadership? Show up or shut up!

Here's the deal: You've gotta work hard lefties, or the righties are gonna kick your butt in 2012, too.


The People Have Spoken. And Their Message Is – Squirrel!

So. What the heck happened last night?
The GOP picked up 60 seats in the House, effectively reversing their losses there from 2006 and 2008, and returning control of that body to them.
The GOP picked up some 6 seats in the Senate, but the Democratic Party retains control there.
The GOP picked up several governor seats as well.
And it was a very good night for the GOP in local races around the country.


I should be suicidally depressed, right?


Don’t get me wrong: I’m disappointed as the next progressive. Disappointed in the party, in the party leadership (Doctor-Governor-Chairman Dean, we miss you and your 50 state strategy!), in knowing I’ll have to hear the phrase “Speaker Boehner” for the next 2 years, in every failed vote and compromise and missed opportunity of the last 2 years.


I’m far more confused, or bemused, than angry or sad.
What I don't get is how non-sensical the results are, when taken as a whole.
Despite what the pollsters, the pundits, the media, the GOP leadership, and the defeated TEA-baggers who seemed unclear on what the words “concession speech” mean, all tried to tell us today, there is no single clear “message” to take away from this election.
The People Have Spoken, but they all spoke at once, and not many of them agreed with each other.

It's not that GOP victories don't make sense: I expected them. Incumbents always lose in the midterms; the economy still pretty much sucks; the major reforms and achievements of the past 20 months have been distorted or ignored; and the GOP has both a major “news” network, and a multi-national secret fundraising machine.
It’s the inconsistency behind those victories (and losses!) that don’t make sense.

Sarah Palin's candidates won some races, but lost spectacularly in other races. Including, it is widely assumed, in her home state of Alaska.


So, is Palin a king-maker, an idiot, or a stopped clock? (Or all 3?) But more importantly, when will her 15 minutes finally be over?! No one in the GOP wants her to run in 2012. She’s started to lash out at her party and supporters, just like she has for her entire political career. And OMG, when will her daughter stop dancing?

For all the “Throw the bums out!” anti-incumbent mentality of this season, several incumbents did quite well. Harry Reid is probably the most surprising incumbent victory, but he’s not the only successful “old guard” campaign. Barney Frank of MA held on to his seat (like anyone was surprised), after fending off a primary challenge from a dining room table, and a general election from a TEA Bagger. Here in CT, incmubent Chris Murphy beat challenger Sam Caligiuri by a very comfortable margin, even in Caligiuri’s own town.

True to form, the electorate was largely unimpressed by self-funders (buh-bye Linda McMahon and her WWE game-face, Meg Whitman and her maid, Carly Fiorina and her “So yesterday” campaign, Iott and his spectacular Nazi uniform, and almost everyone who ran using their own fortunes), even though the best way to beat a self-funded "outsider" is to be an "establishment Washington insider:” Welcome back, Senator McCain!
Speaking of Palin and McCain, they don’t seem likely to get the band back together for a reunion tour in 2012.


But, if I were the kind of person to spread ugly rumors (and you may want to skip the rest of this sentence), I’d wager that they must have the best hate sex since Mary Matalin and James Carville.

Of course, Marco Rubio was a self-funded candidate, backed by Mama Grizzly, and a likely criminal to boot, and he, sigh, managed to win.

(I can’t even begin to explain Rand Paul. But then, I can’t explain much about Kentucky. Enjoy him. What other choice do you have?)

Several key races were nail-biting heart-breakers (Sestak-Toomey in PA, Giannoulais-Kirk in IL), that “shouldn’t” have been so close. Toomey would have beaten Specter in the primaries, if Specter hadn’t switched parties. And given the Blagojevich/Burris debacle in IL, and Giannoulais’ banking ties, it was time for Illinois residents to be disgusted by Democrats, instead of Republicans (who here remembers George Ryan?).

Other races were mind-numbing landslides: Ayotte over Shea-Porter in NH; Rubio-over Christ (and, I guess, Meek) in FL; Feingold-Johnson in WI.

Ayotte I understand. NH really is “ruggedly independent” state: I think they enjoy bucking trends, when they’re not setting them. They’ve flipped from GOP to Dem in 3 times in the last 20 years (Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Kerry by a nose), and chose Hillary over Obama in the democratic primary. Ayotte, despite Palin’s “Mamma Grizzly” merit badge, really isn’t a hardcore conservative.


Rubio was able to take advantage of the 3-way race in Florida. (The final tally was 50-29-20. So, if Meek had bowed to the pressure applied by Bill Clinton and dropped out, FL might have flipped to Christ, who would likely have caucused with the Democrats. Not that I blame Meek for running.)


Feingold I just don’t understand. WTF, Wisconsin? That was the electoral equivilent of pawning your grandmother’s heirloom jewelry for a few bucks at a Cash 4 Gold store, so you can go out on Friday night.

I especially don’t get this one from the TEA-bagger perspective. Feingold was anti-war and pro-campaign finance reform, things TEA-baggers are supposed to appreciate. It only makes sense if the TEA Party is really the GOP in a tea bag. (Oooooohhhhhhhhhh.)


We lost too many progressives last night, but the Progressive Caucus is still in tact. But, voters kicked out half of our "Blue-Dog Democrats."


I actually think this is a good thing.


It hurts to lose the seats, and the committee chairs in the House. But. The Blue Dogs are not exactly helpful to getting progressive legislation passed. The GOP has been purging its ranks of moderates (and non-crazies). Blue-dogs sold out the progressive base of their own party to appease the more conservative voters in their own districts. This is poetic justice. And, it leaves room for more progressive candidates to emerge in those districts.

Because I think, the take-away message from this election is this: the American voter is impatient, underinformed, and impulsive. The entire electorate just said, “Squirrel!”

I say this because, although the Democrats took a “Shellacking” last night, it’s not because the electorate loves the GOP. They don’t.


Seriously. The electorate just broke up with Barack Obama to go back out with the guy they know is going to cheat on them, and possibly beat them up.


A few thoughts:

1. No one realized that Change doesn’t come by overnight FedEx. And so, like Americans in crisis (like, when the computer freezes) do, they started pounding all the buttons on the keyboard at once, hoping to make something work. The Obama administration, the Congress, the press, and the public, share responsibility for this communication fail.

2. They forgot the things the Obama administration, with the Democrats in congress (and really, not 1 GOPer), actually accomplished.


Or, if you can’t sit through the whole thing:


There. FTFY, America.

3. Also, the country seems to have forgotten what the GOP did to us.
So, here:


4. The Citizens United Ruling from the Supreme Court really did unleash a vast Right-wing conspiracy. Really.


This has to be the worst ruling since Plessy v Ferguson. But, even that bone-headed ruling was eventually overturned. This too shall pass.

5. The media really, really, REALLY wanted to tell the “Democrats are in trouble” story, and so they did. (See my earlier post,
about how off-the-mark the coverage of the Blumenthal-McMahon was. BTW, Blumenthal won by 10.5 points. It wasn’t even close.)

Here’s one thing that it wasn’t: a repudiation of “liberalism”


But. We’re back together with the cheating, punching, ex-boyfriend. What’s life going to be like now?




See? Obama’s aprty lost because they refused to compromise (which apparently means, “capitulated to all the opposition’s demands”). Now that the the tables have turned (sort of), we can expect …. NO Compromise from the GOP!

And they’re going to roll back Health Care Reform (here’s where I think Christine O’Donnell is speaking through them). Good luck getting past the Democratic-held Senate and the Presidential veto …. And the percentage of your constituents who actually would rather not go back to being without reform!

And they’re going to cut the budget: everything is on the table, except the stuff that’s not.


Good luck with that too.
Oh, and they're going to impeach Obama. Because he must have done something to deserve it. Even if they can't figure out what it is.


That'll get people back to work.

So basically, we’re looking at More. Of. The. Same. For another 2 years. From the GOP. And the TEA Party.

But. The Democrats may have learned something from this season.

For one, DADT is going to come before the legislature in the lame-duck session.


And so are the Bush-era tax cuts.


At this point, Dems have nothing to lose, and much face to gain, by going to the left on both of these issues. Even the outgoing Blue Dogs.

The Senate now has the opportunity to reform the rules for the filibuster. They should.
And congress, either in the lame-duck session, or in the new session, needs to address the debacle of Citizens United. Because whether they wear a powdered wig or an “I’m With Reasonable” t-shirt, the voters are pissed as all hell at the way campaigns are financed.

But whatever happens, I’m pretty sure by 2012, most voting Americans won’t remember who did what when. What they will care about is, whether or not they have a decently-paying job, and whether or not they have a home not in foreclosure. And I remain confident that the Obama administration, with or without a majority in congress, can make that happen.

As maddening as the electroate’s ADD is to endure, I take comfort in knowing that today’s Wunderkinds will be tomorrow’s bums. And today’s wave will collapse tomorrow. But, even though we swing back and forth and back and forth like a carnival ride, we still move foreward in the long term.

So I remain optimistic.

I turn to National Treasure, Jon Stewart, to put it all in perspective.



Veni, Vidi, Voting

Hey all!
Gimlet Eyes just got back from the Rally To Restore Sanity in Washington, DC (did you see me? I was right in the middle! With a sign!) and now I’m fired up and ready to go.
First things first.
The rally was incredible. No, it wasn’t partisan. In fact, it really wasn’t political: Stewart didn’t even ask his attendees to vote, let alone to vote for a particular candidate or party. But it was not vague or unfocused. Stewart’s message was simple, beautiful, and smart: disagree with passion, but treat our fellow human beings with compassion. Think intelligently about political choices. And don’t believe everything in the media – particalarly the over-wrought, over-blown under-baked rhetoric.

No, I don’t know how many people were there (though reliable estimates range from 200,000-250,000), but it was probably exactly eleventy billion. Gimelt Eyes gave up on taking the metro out of there, and restaurants from China Town to 9th St were jammed (waiting times of 2 hours and more) for hours after. But it was a beautiful day, the crowd was friendly and respectful, and I did manage to squeeze into a pub for some post-rally nosh and libation.

Was the rally the best 3 hours of Stewart’s and Colbert’s career? No. But it was often funny, sometimes charming, and always smart. (And the Peace Train/Crazy Train/Love Train battle was pure genius.)

But what was the point of the rally? I think Arianna Huffington sumarized it brilliantly today on CNN’s Reliable Sources:


HUFFINGTON: Not at all. Because they [attendees who rode the HuffPo buses to the rally]wanted to have that sense of community and connection. And that was really what you observed all around the rally when you walked around. It wasn't just what was happening on stage, it was what was happening among people there.


HUFFINGTON: Oh, you can go on shows and disagree with Republicans, or disagree with Democrats. And I do both. The question is, is what you are saying based on fact?

Then, in a moment of unintentional serendipity, Howard Kurtz made Stewart’s point about the stupidity of the media for him with this exchange:

KURTZ: But let's be candid. I mean, Jon Stewart appeals to you because he comes at his comedy and satire and criticism from a liberal point of view.

HUFFINGTON: Well, actually, if you watched his interview with the president, that was a tough interview.

KURTZ: We're going to play that later, but most --

HUFFINGTON: But he exposed the Achilles heel of the president. That's not a cheerleader interviewing the president.

KURTZ: Well, now, but it was somebody -- he came off as a disappointed liberal. But let's leave that interview aside. When I see clips of "The Daily Show" on "The Huffington Post," it's often securing Republican targets. You like that.

HUFFINGTON: Well, that's not at all actually what makes Jon Stewart special. What makes him and Colbert special is the fact that they use satire to speak truth to power. Whether that power is liberal, conservative, in the media, in politics, that's where the power comes from. And people will continue to see this sort of left- leaning show completely missing its appeal.

KURTZ: All right. I think I disagree with that.

Of course you do, Howard.

Ms Huffington also had this to say:

HUFFINGTON: However passionately you may express it, is it based on facts? That is really the key distinction that we need to make. And also, in the progress, are you disagreeing with your opponents or are you demonizing them?

KURTZ: For you it's about the tone?

HUFFINGTON: For me it's about -- first of all, it's about facts. Is it factual? That's key.

KURTZ: Right, but conservatives who disagree with you certainly think they are being factual.

HUFFINGTON: No. They can't possibly think they are being factual when they say that Barack Obama wasn't born here, or when they are saying that Barack Obama is taking us down a communist path. These clearly are not factual statements, and that is really the first distinction.

I mean, really. There are facts, and there are flaming sacks of dog poop. Most of us can tell the
difference. Why does Kurtz seem to find it so difficult?

Here’s an example:


“On Fox Business’ Varney and Company, Monica Crowley did her best to discredit the,Stewart/Colbert rally by claiming that union members were being bused in at gunpoint to the rally. She said, ‘Well, but there are a lot of union members who are actually being bused in at gunpoint by their union leadership.’ When Varney countered not at gunpoint, Crowley said, ‘In some cases yes at gunpoint.’”

What do you think? Facts? Or verbal flaming dog poop? Yeah. Flaming dog poop is pretty easy to spot.

Of course, Howard Kurtz wasn’t the only “news” person who really didn’t get it.


Oh, Fox. Your skewed perspective is showing.

Fortunately, people noticed.


(But, wouldn’t you rather hang out with stoned hippies than foaming evangelicals anyway?)

So. Did the rally accomplish anything?

Let’s ask the twenty four-hour political pundit panic conflictinator:





Or, read/watch this, and answer it yourself:


My answer is an unequivical Yes.

The rally restored my faith in America as a nation of basically decent, basically intelligent, basically reasonable people. Despite what the verbal flaming dog poop flingers would suggest.

Do I think Stewart’s rally will sway the election?

No. I get it, he was preaching to the choir. People who honestly believe Obama is a secret Muslim or a Nazi Communist will not suddenly vote Democractic in 2 days. And the crazies are more excited about voting than the rational people this time arounnd.


I don’t think the public is as TEA-bagger happy as the media would have us believe. And I don’t think there is going to be a “Republican revolution” come Wednesday. (But then, I didn’t believe the GOP was “finished” in 2008 either.) Yes, some very unfortunate candidates will win on Tuesday (Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, perhaps Pat Toomey or Sharron Angle), but in other places, people seem to be coming to their senses.

I also keep the faith that, if the GOP manages to take control of the House - they won’t get the Senate - they will have to dial back their crazy no matter how many seats they win.

But, I’m actually not convinced Tuesday is going to be GOP-victory bloodbath that the media keeps telling me it will be. I think the Democratic base is not as suicidal as the media insists they are. I think Independents are not as distractable as the media thinks. And I feel in my heart that people are more reasonable than the media gives them credit for.

In any case, whether he meant to or not, Stewart’s rally inspired me. I’m excited to go to the polls on Tuesday. I’m fired up and ready to go. And I’ll be doing what I can in these final hours to convince my fellow voters to vote rationally. I’m betting there are some 200,000+ people like me who will do likewise.

Thank you, Jon Stewart.

Veni, Vidi, Voting.


Dan Malloy scores first in Danbury

Dan Malloy jumping off of the bench of the Danbury Whalers shortly after scoring the first goal in Whalers' history.

[update] I have an interview from after the game at TK's. Let me say, in advance, that he was a bit reluctunt to give it since I am a political blogger... But as a hockey fan I promised to make it about the real story: The first goal in Danbury Whalers' franchise history, his assist, and the team with no more mention about his family than "say hi to'em".  The young man is a team player. (Saw ctblogger at the game, as well, and he had his cam rolling so he may have some footage to add to the game story).


Throwing a Real Tea Party

Funny or Die pretty much sums up what we are dealing with when we talk about the Tea Party:

A slightly misogynist message (Probably a bit NSFW, too) to another aspect of the Tea Party that we have to deal with below...

Passed around on Facebook...

Reaganing - Even Liberals will Drink to This!

For a little levity during this political season, watch the 30 Rock episode titled "Reaganing." If you don't have access via on-demand, check it out:


There are tons of laughs, but the jelly bean bit will make any politico crack up! Enjoy...



Wow, our chattering class sure loves horse races, doesn't it?
Even when there's not a pony in sight.
Guess what? Richard Blumenthal remains ahead of Linda McMahon! By about the same, comfortable but not Delaware-style oh-my-god-we-can't-possibly-pull-the-lever-for-the-crazy-lady-wide margin as he has enjoyed since the primary.


Before you start telling me that McMahon "closed the gap!" with some colorful wrestling expression, stop. Of course the race tightened after the primary. Richard Blumenthal, a well-respected long-serving attorney general against an unknown representative of a demoralized party still reeling from ass-handing defeats in 2006 and 2008, is a shoe-in. Richard Blumenthal running against an actual candidate, and one who both has a functioning intellect and cash to buy lots and lots of ads and mailers, is a bit tougher.

But it's not been the on-the-ropes chair-smashing slug-fest the media would have you believe.

Look at the chart. With the exception of one blip at the very end of September, the race has been steady-Freddy for the past two months.

Some CT voters (I'll go out on a limb here and call them "Republicans") prefer McMahon over a Democratic candidate. But, more CT voters (including a majority of independents) actually prefer the candidate they know over the candidate they don't know (who, despite all the junk mail and nasty swift-boating attempt, and really, really, really lame tv ad featuring 2 "housewives" in an SUV .... really doesn't seem to articulate much of a plan beyond "spending bad. tax breaks good.") Go figure.

One reason why?

Maybe his ideas are actually better.

Check this out:

shorter version:

Even shorter version:
Huh. Tax breaks on the wealthy don't create jobs.
Investing in infrastructure and education do.

I guess you can dress up old GOP ideas in a sparkly wrestling cape, but ... no one's going to mistake them for anything but a cheap distraction.

Now, just because Nate Silver thinks McMahon has about a 0.04% chance of (insert your own wrestling analogy for "win surprisingly" here), CT voters should not get complacent.
There are some closer races that will hinge on Democratic (or at least, the "Sweet Mike, not the GOP again!") voter turnout.

This isn't the Kentucky Derby (if it were, I'd be praying to Aqua Buddha. Just to hedge bets.)
But it's not a done deal.

Vote. vote. vote. vote. vote. vote. vote. vote.


How Wrong Can One Person Be?

I know it’s exciting when someone new walks in and turns everyone’s heads. They’re mysterious. That’s sexy. And, if they can put words together into complete, grammatically correct sentences, they (by today’s standards) are brilliant.

So, suddenly, the known quantity of the person we’ve been with seems suddenly unbearably dull. And all their flaws become magnified to funhouse proportions. We’re prone to find fault with old reliable. We dream of dancing with the New Kid In Town.

But sooner or later, the New Kids reveal themselves to be complete jerks. What was once cool, suddenly seems mean. We realize that New Kid hasn’t been laughing with us, New Kid has been laughing at us. Or worse, we realize that seemed “cool” is actually, kinda dumb.

It may sound like middle school, but that’s politics in America today. And Linda McMahon has been CT’s New Kid du jour. But guess what? Turns out that scrappy-business-woman-who-will-shake-things-up-in-Washington-and-go-to-the-mat-for-us-in-CT narrative isn’t really an accurate character portrayal. McMahon really, really, is far more out of touch with “real people” in CT than she claims.


McMahon was asked if she supported increasing the minimum wage. (This wasn’t a gotcha media question out of nowhere. She’d just received the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business, who is decidedly anti-minimum-wage increases: http://www.nfib.com/issues-elections/issues-elections-item?cmsid=240). She responded:

“What I think what we have to look at whenever we’re talking about minimum wage increases is where is our economy is at this particular point, and how’s that going to impact the businesses that are going to have to pay those wages?” McMahon said.

Yes. It must be really, really terrible to be paying out minimum wage to one’s workers. Really, if we wanted to help out mom-and-pop business owners (like McMahon and her hubby, who run a mom-and-pop small business themselves, dontcha know?), we’d indenture workers to them for 7 years.

“Pressed further, McMahon admitted she did not know the current minimum wage or if anyone at World Wrestling Entertainment is earning that amount.”

Oh. That’s probably why she needs to study it more, then. For the rest of us, who already know that the minimum wage is $8.25/hr in CT (and $7.25 from the feds), and who also know that the federal minimum wage recently rose after nearly a decade of remaining stuck at $6.55/hr, do we really need the review?

Minimum wage is only the bottom rung (well, second bottom rung: don’t forget the many employees who earn less than minimum, and rely on tips to make up the difference. And Americans are lousy tippers.) of the pay-scale ladder. And it’s been clear to anyone who earns an hourly wage that our wages are not keeping up with our cost of living. By keeping the minimum wage down, wages all up the ladder stagnated. (Except at the tippy top. Where Linda McMahon sits.) Which is part of the reason we are in this nightmare recession to begin with.

McMahon, however, doesn’t earn an hourly wage. She earns $46 million a year with her little mom-and-pop business. Now, much of that money is “bred”: it’s dividends and compound interest on investments and all kinds of other low-tax, non-work-related income that one can get when one has accumulated a huge pile of cash. If McMahon’s earnings were calculated hourly, assuming 50 work weeks a year –I’m giving her 2 weeks’ vacation like the rest of working stiffs– she’d be making $23,000 an hour.

Nice work if you can get it. Which, apparently, McMahon can, but she’d rather you and I ….. can’t.

Now, McMahon, sensing she’d maybe said something a little out-of-touch, quickly back-pedaled:

“Don’t take away this morning that I’m saying that we should scrap minimum wage,” she said. “That is clearly not my position.”

So, she’s not for not increasing minimum wage? Or, she was for it, but now she’s against it? Or, she has no idea what it’s like to live on $14,500 a year ($16,500 in CT), but she does know that increasing the tax rates on people earning $250,00 + is just too much to be borne? Clearly, her position is entirely unclear. But, her sympathies do lie with the people who have to pay their workers.

Oh well, any rising star candidate can have one bad moment, right?

Except, the more I hear from McMahon (and, honestly, I get so much junk mail from her campaign, I feel like I went to high school with her), the less I understand about her positions.

Maybe you don’t know this, but immigration has become somewhat of a hot topic this election cycle (I know. Who knew?). Two important pieces of immigrant-related legislation were nearly voted on this week. (Except that the GOP voted to not vote on either one of them. Hasta la vista, baby!) Maybe you’ve heard that CT is home to a sizable population of immigrants?

Well, it’s all news to McMahon!


“In an interview, she claimed ignorance of two issues of top concern for Latino advocates, especially in a city that has thousands of illegal immigrants: She said she is not familiar with the federal Dream Act, a federal bill that would have allowed “alien children” a path to citizenship. She also said she had not heard about the New Haven’s municipal ID, which made national headlines when Mayor John DeStefano created it in 2007 for all residents, regardless of immigration status.”

Awesome. It’s not like the legal status of American-born children of non-native-Americans will be of any consequence to CT, right? It’s not like issues of immigration and minimum wage are completely unrelated. Nor the idea of educating children of immigrants (legal or otherwise) won’t have an impact on our workforce, our economy, or wages!

(Hmmm, maybe McMahon should ask her kindred spirit - another mom-and-pop-small-business owner! - and fellow office-seeker, Meg Whitman, about thorny issues of immigration and wages …


…. Maybe not.)

Then there’s McMahon’s two-step cha-cha position on education:


“As a member of the state Board of Education, McMahon supported the state's application for federal Race to the Top funds, an education program that many in the Tea Party see as another federal intrusion into what should be the province of local and state government.

“But McMahon did tell [Freedomworks] she would consider voting to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education, as well as the Department of Energy and, possibly, the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Or, maybe she didn’t!

“McMahon's campaign says McMahon's position to the Tea Party was that she would have to study the issue, before deciding if she could support dismantling any federal agency.

Except, there’s a Video of her remarks, taken by an audience member, is available on YouTube.

The question comes at 4:45: “Can you name the top 2 or 3 federal agencies you would dismantle?”

The answer is coy.

"I'm not sure that I know an agency should be totally dismantled and done away with until I've had an opportunity to look at it more," she said. "Some that come to mind that I think would have a first look: one would be the Department of Education."

So, she won’t dismantle the DoE, until she’s looked at it. Then she’ll dismantle it.

I now have a headache in my right eye. This is political hair-splitting. Does McMahon ever state a clear policy position? For someone who has used her “political outsider” credentials a major line on her resume, she sure learned the argot of political double-speak pretty quick. (I should also add, she put the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency on the chopping block as well.)

Or her remarks on repealing health care reform (at about minute 2 in the same video): she thinks we need health care reform, but because there was “no bipartisanship” in the recent overhaul (which is true only in the sense that no Republicans voted for it. Because there are a lot of Republican ideas in HCR. But that’s another blog post), she wants to “repeal it” and “start over.” And probably end up with a bill that looks remarkably similar, but with less access to health care for the middle and working class. And more perks for the ultra-wealthy, like herself.

That’s what really gets me. Here is a candidate who pretends to be “for the regular people.” But she’s really in it for people like her. Top earners. (And, of course, she then smears her opponent with her own flaws.)


Here’s the rundown so far (based on her campaign website):

Linda McMahon is for:

tax reductions on capital gains and dividends

abolition of the estate tax and the gift tax

greater tax deductions to encourage savings for IRAs and higher education

passage of pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and Korea

All of which help to enrich the top earners, at the expense of bottom earners.

She’s against:

the minimum wage (starve the worker, so the employer can make more)

health care reform (so her “independent contractor” wrestlers have even fewer options when the steroids they’ve used to stay employed melt their internal organs.)

the stimulus (we should take all that money and “pay down our national debt.” So the jobless, and the soon-to-be-homeless can feel financially responsible, I guess.)

“burdensome regulations” (want some eggs?)

All of which help to level the playing field for the middle and working class. (Once again, let me refer you to Senator Al Franken’s brilliant one-act play:


Because sometimes, you need Helen Hunt and Drew Barrymore to explain regressive tax policy.)

She’s also, apparently, against the Department of Education, for reasons I can’t begin to guess.

On top of it, she doesn’t even bother to know the details of things that concern “regular people”. Like what the minimum wage actually is. Or what the DREAM act might mean to cities like New Haven. But then, we should recognize this character trait by now. Look at how hard she and her husband worked to make sure they were enriched at their wrestlers’ expense! (Insert your own links here. There are many. Just don’t go to that vapid ad with the 2 soccer moms jabbering about “soap opera.”)

Color me unimpressed with Linda McMahon. She’s wrapped up Reaganomics talking points in wrestling tights and cape, but she’s no more compassionate about the actual plight of actual constituents than any other Beltway bloodsucker. And she’s willfully ignorant on issues that do not intersect with her rarified world of the very, very rich.

While certainly more polished(and less whackadoo) then, say, Sarah Palin or Christine O’Donnell, under the surfaces, she’s cut from the same “Me first! Screw you!” cloth.

Cool? Nope. Smart? Not in my book. Senatorial? Let’s hope not.


Here's what McMahon's opponent did today:


Which will certainly come as a relief to many CT homeowners. (I've been wondering: if McMahon is really so concerned about her potential constituents, why doesn't she dole out $25 million in mortgage relief to CT homeowners unemployed from the Great Recession? How many houses would $25m save from the bank auction? And how would keeping these people in their homes positively impact the CT economy? Linda? Call me!)


The hits keep coming. (This is where being a shut-in on a Friday night pays off. Who else saw Rachel Maddow tonight?)


When asked by an audience member at a TEA-bagger event, if she'd ever lobbied congress:

"McMahon then acknowledged having made campaign contributions to both parties. But “in terms of lobbying dollars in Washington, I have not spent lobbying dollars in Washington,” she said. "

Too bad she's, um, lying.

"Between 2001 and 2008, McMahon’s company paid at least $680,000 to lobby Congress and federal agencies over such issues as the defense authorization bills of 2002 and 2003, which included taxpayer-funded advertising programs during wrestling programs. McMahon’s company also sought lobbying help during a Congressional steroids investigation.

Yeah. Lying. Pants-on-fire lying.

But this is my favorite part:

"The McMahon campaign dismissed the issue as a simple matter of imprecise language and defended the lobbying payments."

I'm guessing she left herself some wiggle-room with the sentence, "I have not spent lobbying dollars in Washington." She probably wasn't "in Washington" when she made those lobbying payments. She was probably on the phone, credit card in hand, in CT. Or, she sent a flunky to DC with the check while she was on vacation. Or, maybe, she was in the District of Columbia, but not in Washington State. See? It's all a big misunderstanding!

So. Tell me again how Linda McMahon is an "outsider" offering us something "new?"