Monday, December 31, 2007

The Answer to Partisan Gridlock

We've been seeing a lot of crap about bipartisanship lately. There's going to be a meeting next week
challenging the major-party contenders to spell out their plans for forming a "government of national unity" to end the gridlock in Washington.
Well, I have an answer to partisan gridlock, and it ain't a "government of national unity".

Follow me below the fold for the surprisingly simple answer...

The answer to partisan gridlock is pretty simple, really. Here it is:
It's really not any more complicated than that. The Republicans certainly have not been looking to take the bipartisan road to solving our nation's problems. Consider this from the New York Times:
Now Republicans are in the minority, and they have been using skills honed while they were in charge, throwing up procedural roadblocks, forcing vulnerable Democrats to take difficult votes and just generally harrying members of the majority
does that sound bipartisan to you?

Matt Stoller also does a good job illustrating
what this bipartisanship is really about is undermining the public's ability to participate in policy-making.
Matt uses the famous 2003 $87 billion Iraq supplemental vote to make his point. Even though the public overwhelmingly opposed this funding, Congress , in a show of bipartisanship, passed this measure with huge, bipartisan majorities. This despite the fact that the public opposed the measure by a margin of 64% to 34% - 30 points!

In March of this year, The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007. The subheading for this report:
Political Landscape More Favorable To Democrats
On issue after issue, the trend of the American electorate is more and more progressive. This caused the good folks at Pew to write:
Increased public support for the social safety net, signs of growing public concern about income inequality, and a diminished appetite for assertive national security policies have improved the political landscape for the Democrats as the 2008 presidential campaign gets underway.

Even more striking than the changes in some core political and social values is the dramatic shift in party identification that has occurred during the past five years... Today, half of the public (50%) either identifies as a Democrat or says they lean to the Democratic Party, compared with 35% who align with the GOP.
The American electorate wants the government to work to solve the problems that face our country today. And they see progressive solutions as the way to to this. In order to give the American people what they want, we need more Dems in Congress and particularly in the Senate where it has become necessary to get 60 votes to move legislation forward. And we need a Democratic President to sign progressive legislative solutions into law instead of vetoing them.

To undo the damage that George W Bush and the Roadblock Republicans have done to this country, we don't need bipartisanship. We need more Democrats.

And when we give the Democrats the ball, they are going to need to run with it!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Looking Forward to 2008

Since I did my look back at 2007 at Thanksgiving, as we enter this long New Year's weekend, I am looking forward to 2008. Man, am I ever!

First off, 2008 brings us the campaign to replace George W. Bush in the White House. It can't come a moment too soon for me. And it really does get out the gate right away with the Iowa Caucuses on January 3rd. Florida finally gets to weigh in when it still matters on January 29th. With all the controversy over going early, we are in a unique position to set the table for Super Duper Tuesday, one week later on February 5th. We could very well know who the nominees for both sides are going to be by the time the smoke clears that night. Or maybe not.

On the Democratic side, I think we have a much better chance of having our nominee decided on February 5th. MSNBC just showed a poll of Iowa Dems showing a literal dead heat with Edwards and Obama tied at 29% each with Clinton right behind at 28%. The winner in Iowa is likely to be propelled to victory from the momentum of an Iowa win. If it's Edwards that's a little less certain, but if it is either Obama or Clinton, my money would be that the winner there becomes the presumptive nominee on the night of February 5th.

The Republicans are much more muddled, but it really doesn't matter much. The Republican field is a slate of midgets compared to any one of the Dems, with the exception of John McCain, (who, believe it or not, is still in this thing) and he's the past, not the future.

The economy is likely to continue to go south through much of 2008 and that only helps the Dem nominee as the voters see us as much better on the bread and butter issues than the Republicans. And any kind of terrorist or other foreign policy "surprise" (October or otherwise) can easily be shown to remind people that after 8 years of Republican "leadership", their efforts have failed to make us safer. Even allowing for our Democratic propensity to screw things up, I just can't see any one of the Goper candidates actually defeating any one of our three top Dems in 2008.

In Congress, I see the same dynamics lifting Dems to big victories in both the House and the Senate. Everything that applies to the Presidential race applies to the congressional races. The lineup of open seats heavily favors the Dems. And, surprise of all surprises, the Democratic Campaign Committees in both the House and the Senate are kicking the crap out of their GOP counterparts in the money raised department.

In Florida, the only Dem who is even threatened is Tim Mahoney in FL-16. However, the Gopers are going to have a nasty primary fight and the winner will be broke coming out of that mess. Mahoney will be there waiting and sitting on north of $2 million. I just don't see him getting beat.

Christine Jennings has an excellent chance to defeat Vern Buchanan in FL-13 (again). CQ Politics has FL-8, FL-15 and FL-24 as Republican favored, but we've got a good chance to pick up one or even two of those seats as we have excellent candidates in FL-8 and FL-24. On top of that, I'm predicting a Democratic surprise victory or perhaps even two. In total, we could pick up as many as 4 House seats in Florida.

In the Florida Legislature, the rising tide is likely going to do nothing but help lift Dem candidates all up and down the ticket all over the state. Here in the Tampa Bay area, where we did so well in 2006, our best chance to pick up at least one more state House seat is with Carl Zimmerman in HD-48. Carl faces first termer Peter Nehr who he came oh so close to beating in 2006.

As far as I'm concerned, 2008 can't get here soon enough. Neither, for that matter, can January 20th, 2009.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Wish for Florida Kossacks

In this season of peace and good will, I wish you peace. Peace for you and yours, and peace for our country.

Unfortunately, we will not be getting peace until January 20, 2009. And for that we must work our tails off to make sure that we elect Democrats. We need to elect a Democratic President. We need to elect as many more Democrats in the US Senate as we possibly can. And we need to elect more Democrats to the US House of Representatives.

But for this holiday season, let's just all enjoy our family and friends. And in the spirit of the season, let's all try to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.