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.