Yesterday was a busy day here at NN11 in sunny, warm Minneapolis, MN. There are so many really interesting panels that choosing which to attend is tough. I’m also here in a different capacity than I was in Pittsburgh two years ago, I have two webs sites that I administer. I’ll talk about that later probably when I get back.
On of the outstanding panel I attended was with Jane Hamsher of FDL, John Aravosis of AMERICAblog, DADT, LGBT and Army veteran Lt. Dan Choi and Dream Act activist Felipe Matos. They discusses what progressives could do when the president is not into your issues and how to get the administration to take the lead. When the floor opened to questions, the first person to a approach the stage was a young an who said he was a member of Obama For America (OFA) who managed to cause an incident that has gotten quite a bit of attention from the internet and on-line news media:
Lt. Dan Choi, who was discharged from the military for running afoul of its anti-gay Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, provided a visual when an Organizing for America volunteer stood up and asked him to support Obama in 2012. The man said he did not support gay marriage — “civil unions?” he offered weakly — and Choi promptly ripped up an Organizing for America flyer he had been given and threw it back in the man’s face.
I also had the pleasure and honor of saluting Lt. Choi and giving him a hug. Here’s is the video of the full panel which was quite a lively conversation
“Obama conducts first sit down with “progressive” bloggers ”
The invitees fall more under the rubric of ideological or issue-oriented activists as opposed to online reporters, though the names are familiar to most political junkies. An administration official confirmed that Joe Subday of AMERICABlog; Duncan Black (“Atrios”), who runs the site Eschaton; Barbara Morrill, who writes for the DailyKos; Jon Amato, who edits Crooks and Liars; and Oliver Willis, who runs an eponymous site, spoke with the president on Wednesday.
Calling the mistress of the ugog MF banhammer trolls who routinely rid the site of anything not uber right wing a ‘progressive blogger’ is like calling a shark a vegan guppie kitten kisser.
Of her last eight diaries, 7 were about the Rand Paul headstomping incident and one about the latest Jerry Brown ad. Before that set, ones on AZ sherrif tweets about Sarah Palin, and Juan Williams getting fired and going to Fox. DADT. One on Joe Miller. Joe Miller. Joe Miller. Joe Miller. Sharron Angle. Christine O Donnell. Tea Party. Christine O Donnell.
At least 16 Tea Party Is Bad diaries in the last 22 days (others were open threads and news roundups)
Joe Miller, Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle are all being financially supported by the same King Media/Russo Marsh Rogers/Move America Forward/Our Country Deserves Better/Tea Party Express PAC and Republican PR firm (that is also registered as a foreign lobby for Northern Iraq, and that also has done extensive Pentagon media work during the Iraq War) that supported Sarah Palin and Tom McClintock (R, chickenhawk) in 2008 and John Doolittle (R, Abramoff Scandal) in 2006. This PAC has changed their name and filing techniques, so the swiftboating expenditures they did before Oct 2008 on behalf of McClintock and Doolittle do NOT show up under their current FEC name but were made as general payments to Russo Marsh. Here’s their first 2008 filing under the new name, which has a payment to Bryan Barton who made the anti Democratic candidate videos for Tom McClintock http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-b…
I just checked their independent expenditures and they appear not to be funding the Rand Paul Kentucky thing but certainly Paul associates himself with Tea Party.
So I imagine the “outreach” went something like this. Say, could y’all start ramping it up some more on how bad the Tea Party and the Republicans are ? Big Scary. Other issues way too complex. Don’t mention where money comes from. Do NOT mention Blue Dogs, DOD, or Foreign Interests. Do not mention Wars, Torture, Drones, Pentagon Budget having Domestic Narco Surveillance Money, 50 million Americans without Health insurance, Economy, Energy or Foreign Policy, Foreclosures or the Unemployed and Homeless. Do not mention that Greek woman named Arianna. Do not mention any Senators from Connecticut, ever. Kthnxbai !
Other lead blog stories right now on:
Oliver Willis. Rand Paul headstomper story, calls Ari Fleischer a liar.
Crooks and Liars.(Amato) Rand Paul headstomper story. Teabaggers.
Eschaton. (Black) Said he was optimistic about November on Tuesday. Aie yi yi. Latest post is on walkable neighborhoods.
The invitations were extended late last week, and the meeting was to be a Q&A with the President for 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes with presidential adviser David Axelrod. No recordings are permitted, but the White House will release a transcript of the discussion after it is finished.
It will also be the first time that President Obama has sat down and taken questions from a member of the gay media, Joe Sudbay, who is representing both AMERICAblog and AMERICAblog Gay.
You know, when I watch somebody like Rachel Maddow, I don’t think of her as the “gay” media but somebody who just brilliant at interviewing, but I don’t in my mind have to make her over into “straight” media, either. She just is what she is.
comment under post at AmericaBlog:
….The administration has spent months trashing progressive bloggers as well as those who read and support them. One afternoon, mere days before the election, smacks of desperation. Like they suddenly realized they did something wrong and have to quickly try to unburn a couple bridges.
Finally, Joe asked the President if he has a strategy for passing the DADT compromise legislation during the lame duck session in Congress. The President did make some news here, by telling Joe that he asked the Log Cabin Republicans in a meeting at the White House yesterday to get him 2 to 5 votes. The President seemed to think that Joe could help persuade Log Cabin to help. Joe told the President that he didn’t have sway with those people.
“Those” people ?
Well, hell, they are Republicans. Try the Bipartisanshipthingee.
“once like a movie write your own ending keep believing keep pretending we done just what we set out to do….”
Thurs am update: Full transcript of this “outreach” can be found here . It is not possible to tell easily who was asking what question on all of them
Summary. The guy still thinks he needs 60 votes to do anything.
I don’t think that this person in the WH Oval Office really has a core commitment to anything other than saving his own hide for the next 2 years, and he’s already been practicing mouthing Republican catch phrases for months in preparation. I think at this point it is time to stop calling him the “leader” of the Democratic Party. Somebody else needs to act as a spokesperson when they have a top elected official sabotaging the ticket that much and trying to get more of the other party elected. Apparently he also wants the supposedly left blogs (hah ) to acknowledge their lack of actual relevance, and diss him to give him credibility with the MSM. If anyone would want to accuse me of hyperpartisanship I would be more than willing to debate several of the Republican talking points he used in this interview, and tell the country that we do not need any more excuses from either the WH or the Senate as to why this country MUST constantly seek to appease privatization extremists and Corporations in the MIC who do NOT want things to become better.
Fri Afternoon 10/29/10 update
The “progressive” blogger whom I characterized as a shark masquerading as a guppie kitten kisser has not posted anything on her homebase website since the White House experience other than the WH transcript of the meeting, and a few comments on it. She has since stated in a comment that the questions she asked were on raising the retirement age and the one which started “I want to go back with working with Republicans…. ”
This would be these questions, which were actually very good:
Q – I want to go back to the idea of working with Republicans. And given the comments from McConnell and — well, all of them — I think that what a lot of people find frustrating is that our side compromises and continues to compromise just to get that one Republican on. We’re going to get one of the Maine twins — whatever. And it doesn’t happen, and then by the time health care or whatever goes through we’ve compromised; we still don’t get any Republicans.
I don’t anticipate this changing in the next two years. I think it’s going to get worse. How are you going to get Democrats to understand that compromise means the other side has to give something sometimes, one day?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, obviously I share your frustrations. I’ve got to deal with this every day.
Q Well, I don’t expect you to talk like a blogger. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: But I guess I’d make two points. The first is, I’m President and not king. And so I’ve got to get a majority in the House and I’ve got to get 60 votes in the Senate to move any legislative initiative forward.
Now, during the course — the 21 months of my presidency so far, I think we had 60 votes in the Senate for seven months, six? I mean, it was after Franken finally got seated and Arlen had flipped, but before Scott Brown won in Massachusetts. So that’s a fairly narrow window. So we’re right at the number, and that presumes that there is uniformity within the Democratic caucus in the Senate — which, Barbara, you’ve been around a while. You know that not every Democrat in the Democratic caucus agrees with me or agrees with each other in terms of complicated issues like health care.
So it is important for me, then, to work every angle I can to get as much done as I can. If we had a parliamentary system, then this critique would make sense to me because you do as much as you can to negotiate with the other side, but at a certain point you’ve got your platform and you move it forward and your party votes for it.
But that’s not the system of government we have. We’ve got a different system. I will say that the damage that the filibuster I think has done to the workings of our democracy are at this point pretty profound. The rate at which it’s used just to delay and obstruct is unprecedented. But that’s the reality right now.
So I guess my answer is that there has not been, I think, any issue that we’ve worked in which I have been willing to sign on to a compromise that I didn’t feel was a strong improvement over the status quo and was not the best that we could do, given the political alignments that we’ve got.
And, yes, it leaves some folks dissatisfied. I understand that. But let’s take the health care bill. As frustrated and angry and dispirited as the base might have been — we didn’t have a public option, and it just dragged on for such a long time, and you’re having conversations with Grassley, even though it turns out Grassley has no interest in actually getting something done — all the complaints which I was obviously very familiar with, the fact of the matter is, is that we got a piece of legislation through that we’ve been waiting a hundred years to get through; that in the aggregate sets up a system in which 30 million people are going to get health insurance; in which we’ve got an exchange that forces insurance companies to compete with a pool of millions and will be policed so that they can’t jack up prices; that pool has purchasing power that they’ve never had before; that you’ve got a patient’s bill of rights that was the hallmark, sort of the high-water mark of what progressives thought we could do in the health care field — we got that whole thing basically just as part of the bill.
You’ve got investments in community health centers and preventive medicine and research that’s going to help improve our health care delivery systems as a whole. And we can build on that.
And I know this analogy has been used before, but when Social Security was passed, it was for widows and orphans. And a whole bunch of folks were not included in it. But that building block, the foundation stone, ended up creating one of the most important safety nets that we have. And I think the same thing is going to happen with health care.
…… (the answer continues to ramble on to include financial reform and finally the stimulus. note this: )
And I’ll give you one last example because I know this is a famous example in the blogosphere, is the stimulus. I mean, if folks think that we could have gotten Ben Nelson, Arlen Specter and Susan Collins to vote for additional stimulus beyond the $700 billion that we got, then I would just suggest you weren’t in the meetings.
This notion that somehow I could have gone and made the case around the country for a far bigger stimulus because of the magnitude of the crisis, well, we understood the magnitude of the crisis. We didn’t actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible. We had to act quickly.
They never filibustered. They merely threatened to, and the Democrats folded meekly.
Here is the sorry spectacle of the President trying to set the conditions of what reality he can operate under, the Majority Party Caucus declaring that they need a supermajority of 60 to pass any legislation. the 3/5’s rule, we should start to call it, and then saying he cannot depend on his own caucus so he has to go to the other side. But he did have that 60 vote majority for half a year. We already know that the President decided to have secret meetings with lobbyists like Billy Tauzin at the WH right at the very beginning of his Presidency, and that is when the Public Option was secretly ditched. We know the House under Speaker Pelosi passed their version of the Bill on time and with a Public Option. We know the President let the Senate dither away stalling for months all summer. And he finally got the health care bill he wanted – one with no Public Option.
Said bill which much of the general public hates, because most of it isn’t implemented yet, did not change a single thing for them, and let private contractors, aka private insurance, get the promise of being able to feed off of more Medicaid in the future, but it let the insurers continue to jack rates up. It will, by the numbers, barely cover half the uninsured someday in the future if the Republicans don’t destroy it, the rest have still been thrown to the wolves. The reality is embarrassing.
If Ben Nelson is such an incredible impediment to ever getting any sort of legislation passed in the Senate, there is a simple solution – throw his sorry butt out. Nebraska is low in population. There is no reason I can see to let people who are never going to vote with the party on major issues continue to caucus with said party. They’ve already tried this with Sen. Lieberman and it never works- it backfires. Notice how he never mentions Lieberman and his wife who sits on so many boards who pay her a nice fee. He never mentions Blanche Lincoln, whom he endorsed and campaigned for after she went on point against that Public Option. Nor Kent Conrad, another in what Glenn Greenwald aptly named the Village Villain Rotation.
Regarding the stimulus bill, look who he tries to blame again – Ben “Mutual of Omaha” Nelson, Arlen Specter who has changed parties again, another Republican, Susan Collins, plus Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s irresponsibility.
How does a person who has relied on charisma to get elected, now criticize populism and direct appeals for public pressure with a straight face ?
They can’t. It’s an excuse, again. He got what he wanted.
The other question, and look at the ridiculous answer:
Q Mine is an easy question. Will you rule out raising the retirement age to 70?
THE PRESIDENT: We are awaiting a report from the deficit commission, or deficit reduction commission, so I have been adamant about not prejudging their work until we get it.
But I think you can look at the statements that I’ve made in the past, including when I was campaigning for the presidency, that Social Security is something that can be fixed with some modest modifications that don’t impose hardships on beneficiaries who are counting on it.
And so the example that I used during the campaign was an increase in the payroll tax, not an increase — let me scratch that. Not an increase in the payroll tax but an increase in the income level at which it is excluded.
And so what I’ve been clear about is, is that I’ve got a set of preferences, but I want the commission to go ahead and do its work. When it issues its report, I’m not automatically going to assume that it’s the right way to do things. I’ll study it and examine it and see what makes sense.
But I’ve said in the past, I’ll say here now, it doesn’t strike me that a steep hike in the retirement age is in fact the best way to fix Social Security.
No, we cannot look at statements you made in the past, unless you wish us to presume that you are going to ignore them now that you are elected, that you were lying, or at least you were persuadable to being lobbyied, and that you now have all the possible scenarios on the table. Because that is the historical precedent we have seen so far with many campaign promises the President made — they were just that, words. And the President has a set of preferences, but he certainly isn’t going to share them with anybody.
A “Steep hike” may not be striking him as the best way, but a less steep hike in the retirement age is implied to be on his table.
Currently the retirement age in the US is 62/66 for reduced to full Social Security benefits.
He could have just said “no,” and have been done with it.
I don’t believe that one could write up such an experience with those sorts of answers with the timing being right before the election and not have rather the opposite impact of what you intended, if you were intending to want to motivate voters to actually vote for the incumbent Party in office.
Changing the filibuster rules to give themselves a smaller, simpler Senate majority, would mean the responsibility for passing lousy legislation or not bothering to pass it at all, would fall squarely on the shoulders of the Democratic Party with that majority in this instance. With a much tighter Senate coming up, and a possible loss in the House looming, the President in the next term will now have his perfect, built in excuse.
No wonder the front pagers at that blog all switched over to writing Get Out The Vote pieces afterwards.