So You Thought President Obama Would Be A Lame Duck, Did You?

Six weeks ago an election concluded that brought what every Republican, and many Democrats, thought was the deathblow for the Obama administration. There was no phrase that was uttered more often than “Lame Duck” as pundits rushed to write the epitaph of Obama’s presidency and agenda. They were convinced that the Obama era was dead and, with apologies to Monty Python, it had…

“…passed on. It is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet it’s maker. It’s a stiff. Bereft of life. It rests in peace. It’s pushing up the daisies. It’s metabolic processes are now history. It’s off the twig. It’s kicked the bucket. It’s shuffled off it’s mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible. This is an ex-presidency.”

Obama Lame Duck

Well, in the subsequent forty-two days the President has demonstrated a stubborn resistance to complying with the conventional wisdom. He has defied his critics’ forecasts of an untimely demise, as well as their conviction that he is incapable of leadership. Here is a brief summary of some of the achievements that have come to pass since November 5, 2014, beginning with an historic announcement today:

  • Normalizing relations with Cuba.
  • Deferring deportation for certain undocumented immigrants.
  • Passage of a spending bill that averts another government shutdown.
  • Confirmation of his Surgeon General nominee.
  • Confirmation of twenty-seven federal judges.
  • Climate agreement with China.
  • Protection for Bristol Bay, Alaska from future oil and gas drilling.

In addition to the above, Obama has also presided over record enrollments in the second year of ObamaCare, and the deflating of Russia’s economy. And all the while the U.S. economy is performing better than any other major nation, and most indicators are firmly in positive territory.

Of course, there is still much room for improvement, but that cannot be achieved without the cooperation of Congress. There is not likely to be much of that in the next couple of years, but Obama has proven that he is able to attend to the interests of the American people even when Congress refuses to do so. And the 2016 cycle is shaping up to heavily favor Democrats.

In fact, 2016 holds decidedly bad news for Republicans and their new senate majority. The GOP will be defending 24 seats, as compared to only 10 for the Democrats. Nine of the those GOP seats are in states won by Obama in 2012. So are all of the Democratic seats. With a larger and more representative electorate it is almost a certainty that the senate will flip back to the Democrats.

It will be interesting to see where we go from here as the new congressional session begins next month. What we already know is that with Republicans in charge the Congress has set a new record for laziness. It has spent more time on vacation than working (239 total vacation days in 2014). Plus, it was the least productive session in history. It took that trophy from the session just prior.

Much of the blame has to be laid at the feet of John Boehner, the Tea Party, and the GOP’s inability and genetic aversion to governing. But if anyone is still holding onto the belief that Obama has become an irredeemable lame duck, the evidence of the past six weeks ought to shake that conviction. It is clear that Obama has no intention of being hobbled by an antagonistic Congress that cares more about their own grasp on power than they do the welfare of the people they are supposed to representing.

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Jeb Bush Plans To Run For President As Drug Dealing Charges Emerge

The big news today that surprises no one is that Jeb Bush is seriously considering a run at the presidency in 2016. He says that he will launch an exploratory effort to test the waters, but that is a well known artifice that politicians commonly use to disguise or delay their true intentions. Bush has been hinting at running for some time and he is keenly aware that there will not be too many other opportunities. If he passes on 2016, and the next president serves two terms, Bush will be 70 before he could run again.

One of the reasons politicians seek to put off official announcements of candidacy is that they will begin take fire from all sides. Already the conservative wing of the GOP is lashing out against Bush. Another reason they delay announcing is that doing so brings on a whole new level of scrutiny. And Bush’s announcement has produced a perfect example of that risk. A report now circulating in conservative circles is questioning whether Bush was a drug user and dealer while attending prep school at Andover.

Jeb Bush

The allegations stem from an article written by John LeBoutillier, a former Republican congressman and currently a co-host of Fox News Channel’s Political Insiders. Under the title “The Jeb Bush Illegal Drug and Liquor Distributorship at Andover,” LeBoutillier wrote that…

“Jeb Bush and one other fellow student back then ran an illegal drug and liquor distributorship on the Andover campus. When the heat started coming down, Bush ratted out the partner to the school authorities and saved his own skin. Jeb got away with it, was never caught, never punished, graduated unscathed and went on to the University of Texas at Austin.”

If this account is true then Bush was not only engaged in unlawful activities, he was also an untrustworthy associate who will steamroll over others to avoid personal responsibility for his own conduct.

Some will say that these allegations are dredging up a distant past that holds no relevance to the present. After all, Bush went on to complete two terms as governor of Florida without any suspicion of substance consumption or commerce. But we must not forget the manner in which President Obama was harassed by wingnut critics who mined his past back to even his birth.

Conservative conspiracy theorists hatched plots that involved Obama’s parents fabricating a birth certificate to secure his U.S. citizenship. They accused him of being indoctrinated by early childhood influences from Muslim Madrassas to alleged communist subversives like Frank Marshall. They went into his college days at Columbia and Harvard to make tenuous connections between him and his lefty professors. They went totally bonkers over his attendance at the church of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. And, of course, they veritably salivated over reports of his youthful indulgence in marijuana.

If Obama’s drug use was considered an election issue by Republicans in 2008, then certainly Bush should be subjected to the same inquiries today. And as LeBoutillier noted in his article, even if the use of drugs were to be excused, Bush has been accused of trafficking, a far more serious offense. These kinds of tabloid assertions were a staple of the campaigns against Obama. But will the so-called liberal media apply the same standards to Bush?

Don’t count on it. The media is already demonstrating its hypocrisy by making a controversy out of Hillary Clinton’s wealth. They assert that due to her financial status she cannot relate to average Americans even though she was never wealthy until after leaving the White House. But they have yet to question Bush’s riches or their effect on his ability to relate, despite the fact that he was born to great wealth.

Similarly, the media is obsessed with the matter of dynasty. However, the Clinton’s hardly qualify as a dynasty since there is no multi-generational component to their public service. It is simply Bill and Hillary. But Bush is the brother and son of a president, and the grandson of a senator, and the father of an officeholder in Texas. That’s four generations of Bushes in politics. Which is more than the Kennedys. Nevertheless, the media treats the two families the same. Not even Jeb’s mother does that. She was famously quoted saying that “We’ve had enough Bushes,” when asked to comment on a prospective Jeb candidacy.

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Personally, I don’t put much stock in the charges against Bush. Even though the source is more reliable than the fruitcakes that were cooking up plots about Obama, there should be more evidence and corroboration before anyone makes decisions based on them. I am also not a fan of ancient history being exploited as a weapon against people whose current lifestyles do not exhibit any misbehavior. However, I do believe that the press should be, as they say, fair and balanced, and if they go after Democrats like Obama and Clinton, then they need to do the same to Bush and any other Republican candidate. That does not seem to be the case so far.

WTF? Fox News Links Bill Cosby’s Alleged Sexual Abuse To Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Prospects

Earlier this year Fox News fortified their rabidly right-wing roster of Republican PR flacks by hiring Roger Stone, a veteran GOP dirty trickster and notorious Clinton hater. Stone cut his teeth in the nastiest campaigns of Richard Nixon and in 2008 he founded a group to oppose Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign that he called “Citizens United Not Timid,” or C.U.N.T. He said that the group’s mission was “to educate the American public about what Hillary Clinton really is.”

Hillary Clinton WTF

Well, Fox is getting their money’s worth as Stone makes appearances on the “news” network spewing outrageous allegations and vile insinuations that set the bar for decency at new lows. Last week Stone visited the Kurvy Kouch Potatoes at Fox & Friends (video below) to hurl his trademark insults and innuendo. He was asked by Elizabeth Hasselbeck for some “insight with Hillary Clinton’s relationship with Wall Street.” Stone’s answer began predictably by asserting that it “causes her real problems.” Of course, if she had no relationship with Wall Street that would also be a problem. Fox is hard-wired so that anything that happens, or doesn’t happen, is a problem for Democrats. But then he swerved to inject an unrelated criticism from far-right field.

“Frankly, the much greater issue is the new public Bill Cosby scandal, which is gonna cause a reexamination of the problems of Bill Clinton and what Hillary knew about those actions and what she did to suppress them. So I think the Bill Cosby issue, as it were, could be a real problem for Bill Clinton and, therefore, for Hillary Clinton.”

Yes. That’s “the much greater issue.” A twenty year old incident of marital infidelity that is in no way analogous to Bill Cosby. Clinton’s affairs were consensual and, by all accounts, they stopped twenty years ago. You can be sure that if he were fooling around now some tabloid would have uncovered it. The notion that the Cosby controversy would spark a reexamination of Bill Clinton exists only in Stone’s perverted mind. Nobody cares about any of that, as evidenced by Clinton’s high approval ratings. If anything, it would be a reminder that the Clintons worked through their difficulties and preserved their marriage, affirming their family values.

The fact that Fox News employs a despicable character like Stone is proof that they have no interest in ethical journalism. But he is only the tip of the viceberg. Fox’s cast of characterless mudslingers include Karl Rove, who said that Clinton is too “old and stale” for America; Dinesh D’Souza, who said that the young Clinton looks like a hippy (and young Obama looks like a thug); Edward Klein who thinks that Chelsea Clinton was the spawn of Bill after raping his lesbian wife, Hillary. If there is anyone who still thinks that Fox News is either fair or balanced they had better seek professional help and massive quantities of medication as quickly as possible.

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So F**KING What: Hillary Clinton Is OLD And Fox News Wants You To Know It

Now that the midterms are out of the way, Fox News can concentrate on the 2016 presidential race, and that means relentless and asinine criticisms of prospective Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. In fact, the obsessive bashing has already begun with Fox pulling sentence fragments out of context and making fun of her laugh. And now they are raising an issue that is certain to register with their overwhelmingly elderly audience: Millennials Have No Idea Hillary Clinton Is Old.

Fox Nation Hillary Clinton

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That’s right, Fox News thinks it’s important to know that young Americans don’t know how old Clinton is. And the reason they find significance in this is…Oh, who the hell knows. Perhaps they think that young voters won’t support a 67 year old candidate. But if that’s true they would also have to dispense with many Republicans who are even older than Clinton, including the new Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

This is an insult to every senior citizen in the country. There is a distinct odor of ageism in it that compliments Fox’s racism, jingoism, homophobia, and other assorted flavors of bigotry. What other purpose could there be for making an issue of this rather bland factoid?

The article that Fox published on their lie-riddled Fox Nation website was sourced to the uber-rightist Daily Caller, which happens to be run by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. in the piece it is reported that “a new Pew Research poll” found that only 27% of 18-29 year olds were able to correctly say Clinton is in her sixties. On the surface that would seem to be flattering to Clinton who appears younger than her years. But Fox wants to make sure it is seen as an insult.

However, digging a little deeper and you find that this isn’t a new poll at all. Pew published this data back in March as part of a larger survey that also showed the public as generally supportive of Clinton. She was viewed by majorities as being tough, honest, and a plurality thought that this old broad has new ideas.

This isn’t the first time that Fox has gone after Clinton based on her age. Earlier this year Fox contributor Karl Rove lashed out at Clinton saying…

“In American politics, there’s a sense you want to be new, you don’t want to be too familiar, you want to be something fresh, you don’t want to be something old and stale.”

Exactly, You don’t want something old and stale like Ronald Reagan who was older than Clinton when he took office. You don’t people like Fox News viewers whose average age is 69 years old. You don’t want people who have a past filled with experience. If you’re Fox News you just want people whose thinking is from the past. You want youngsters like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz who oppose civil rights and voting rights and women’s rights, and who advocate economic policies that favor the wealthy and were responsible for the worst recession in nearly a hundred years.

And finally, if you’re Fox News you have no problem insulting the largest demographic group that makes up your audience, not to mention the most reliable voting bloc among the citizenry. Nice work, Fox. Keep it up. You have just demonstrated that you hate senior citizens and you think Millennials are stupid.

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Ben Carson Sacked By Fox News As His Loony Presidential Bid Takes Shape

Dr. Ben Carson has no more chance of being elected president, or even getting the Republican nomination, than Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, or Montgomery Burns. Nevertheless, he is slated to appear in an hour-long infomercial (that he calls a documentary) that celebrates his journey from poverty to world renown as a pediatric brain surgeon.

His quixotic fantasy of being leader of the free world is entertained despite his numerous pronouncements of unadulterated wingnuttery. He is an unabashed conspiracy theorist whose delusions include assertions that President Obama is a tyrant; that the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) is akin to slavery; and that America is very much like Nazi Germany. Not exactly the sort of soaring, patriotic oratory that is employed by most prospective presidential candidates.

Ben Carson

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The aforementioned television infomercial was the impetus for Fox News to terminate Carson’s contract as a network contributor. While Fox has a policy prohibiting active political candidates from being employed as on-air personalities, they have frequently ignored the policy. In the run-up to the 2012 presidential race, Fox permitted Sarah Palin to remain on the payroll despite her coy flirtation with running. And Fox still allows Mike Huckabee to host his own program even as speculation mounts as to his status as a candidate. But at least with regard to Carson, Fox is playing by the book.

The odds of Carson obtaining the GOP nomination are so remote that even Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace openly sneered at the thought. He asked Carson directly…

“Do you really want to spend the next two years begging people for money, shaking hands, eating a lot of bad meals, when I think you would agree at best you are a distinct long shot?”

Apparently the answer is “Sure, why not.” Carson has the benefit of a rabid cult following that has contributed millions of dollars to a Super PAC aimed at drafting him to run. And therein may be a hint as to what his true aspirations may be. He’ll need some excuse to spend all that money. And by launching a presidential campaign Carson can keep himself in the media spotlight where he can promote his books and speaking engagements. He can also raise his profile so that he can negotiate even richer contracts with Fox News or other media following his inevitable failure as a presidential contestant.

There is a constituency for Carson that he can amicably share with the likes of Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, and Alex Jones. He has promoted the writing of a Nazi sympathizer. He believes that the suffering of veterans neglected by the V.A. was a “gift from God.” And he even came to the defense of Vladimir Putin as champion of Christian values.

That’s why Carson will continue to be seen on Fox News, although not as an employee. He will still be invited to spew twisted opinions to the dimwitted Fox audience that eats up that sort of hog slop. That’s precisely what happened with former Fox contributor Scott Brown after he left to lose the senate race in New Hampshire. Speaking of which, after everything Fox did to promote his candidacy, Brown still lost.

However, there is another group of Americans that will be even more excited about a Carson candidacy: Liberals, Democrats, comedians, and lefty media bloggers. So bring it on, Benny. Your history of hysterical extremism is just what the doctor ordered. After all the bad news from the midterm election, this has really made my day.

[Extra] Carson now says “I feel fingers” of God driving his aspirations for the White House. Well, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, and Herman Cain, have all said the same thing, and we know how that turned out.

Democrats And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (For Republicans)

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: Election day 2014 sucked elephant balls. It is saddling America with a Republican senate that is notable for being unproductive and adversarial. It’s new leader is a hyper-partisan, Washington fossil whose only agenda is obstructionism. One of its new members is an Agenda 21 conspiracy nut who carries a gun to defend herself from the government she now represents. Florida and Kansas returned to office the two least popular governors in the country. And the right-wing noise machine is going to be gloating feverishly for weeks.

But the real story underlying this election is one that the media will almost certainly fail to address. Despite the election returns, America hates the Republican Party and its policies. The turnout is estimated to be about 38%. That means that the GOP victory was achieved with a majority of a little more than one-third of the electorate, or about 20%. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Republican agenda.

Election Turnout 2014

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The demographic makeup of the voters this year was decidedly older and whiter. It was also more concentrated in the South which accounted for 34% of all votes. The rest of the country came in a substantial nine to twelve points lower.

Just two years ago President Obama was resoundingly reelected along with increasing the number of Democrats in both houses of Congress. The turnout then was 58%, or 53% higher than 2014. Exit polls show that both parties are underwater in voter approval, but Democrats are still favored over Republicans 44% to 40%. Exit polling also gives Obama a 41% approval rating, compared to just 13% for Congress.

On the basis of this fractured and biased sliver of the electorate, Chris Wallace of Fox News declared this morning that “The Democratic Party brand is damaged.” But further examination of the exit polls says that isn’t true. On virtually every policy question, voters sided with the Democrats. That includes ObamaCare, immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage, same-sex marriage, legalizing marijuana, abortion, and climate change. And when asked about preferences for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton is leading every GOP opponent (Clinton 42%, Jeb Bush 29%, Rand Paul 26%, Chris Christie 24%, and Rick Perry 24%).

2016 holds more bad news for Republicans and their new senate majority. The GOP will be defending 24 seats, as compared to only 10 for the Democrats. Nine of the those GOP seats are in states won by Obama in 2012. So are all of the Democratic seats. With a larger and more representative electorate it is almost a certainty that the senate will flip back to the Democrats. And with a popular and history-making candidate like Clinton that outcome is even more likely.

In the meantime, we can expect some epic battles to ensue. Although Mitch McConnell made some perfunctory remarks signalling bipartisan cooperation, his resume suggests a different course entirely. He told supporters last night that “Just because we have a two-party system doesn’t mean we have to be in perpetual conflict.” That coming from the man who presided over more filibusters than any senate in history.

But the battles will not be limited to those between the two parties. McConnell is going to experience some of the misery of John Boehner as he tries to herd the Tea Party contingent of his own party into some semblance of unity. Don’t expect Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or Mike Lee or Joni Ernst to fall obediently in line. In fact, Cruz is already announcing his intention to prosecute the President for many of the phony scandals for which the GOP-run House failed to find any wrongdoing. He told Fox News last night that…

“I hope we begin serious, systematic, sober hearings, examining executive abuse, regulatory abuse, lawlessness, abuse of power. Whether it is IRS wrongly targeting citizens or the debacle of Benghazi and four Americans who lost their lives and why more was not done to save them, or whether it’s the lawlessness that pervaded Obamacare as the president and executive branch has tried to pick and choose which laws to follow. I hope we see serious oversight on those fronts.”

That’s a path that leads to increased animosity and the “perpetual conflict” that McConnell says he hopes to avoid. But with Cruz and Paul and Rubio amongst those in his caucus who are contemplating a presidential run, can McConnell prevent them from hijacking the senate for their own purposes? And will their purposes include attempts to impeach Obama as some Republicans and conservative pundits have already advocated?

The next two years are going to be a bumpy ride for both parties and, unfortunately, the American people. There is much that we cannot anticipate at this time. What we can safely assume is that the extremist, Tea Party wing of the GOP will deliver some histrionics and hilarity. And Fox News will cover all of it as if it were sober statesmanship. So buckle up, folks. And be glad that the ride is over in only two years.

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Whining On Fox News: Correspondent Sulks When Democratic Candidate Snubs Him

Poor thing. Fox News correspondent John Roberts went into a deep depression after he was rejected as a debate moderator by Democratic Senate candidate Michele Nunn of Georgia. Roberts took his mopey lament to Neil Cavuto’s program on Fox News and complained about being shunned by meany Michele saying that…

“For some reason, the Nunn campaign just does not want to talk to Fox News […] They didn’t like the idea that someone from Fox would be moderating that debate, so out I went.”

Fox News Whining

Out he goes, into the cruel, cold world of right-wing hacks who make a career out of bashing Democrats and liberals. Now, “for some reason,” he is reduced to having only Cavuto and the rest of the conservative Fox machine into which his lonely teardrops can fall.

As usual, Fox is demonstrating their rank hypocrisy by criticizing Nunn for requesting another moderator (who turned out to be a local Fox affiliate anchor). But they haven’t been the least bit critical of Joni Ernst, the GOP senate candidate in Iowa, who has refused to grant ANY interviews with Iowa journalists. However, she did go on Fox News.

It’s laughable that Fox would try to extract sympathy for being shunned by a Democrat. They know damn well the reason. They are a brazenly hostile enterprise whose mission from day one was to smear progressive values and those who profess them. Roberts fits squarely into that mold, making him an inappropriate moderator for a fair and balanced debate. And in the same segment with Cavuto he provided evidence of why no one at Fox should preside over any debate when he admitted that Fox is just a communications vehicle for the Republican Party, saying that…

“In states where you’ve got to get independent, Republican votes, doing something with the Fox News Channel is something that they need to do.”

This complaint is even more laughable considering the fact that Republicans are the ones who wrote nixing debate moderators into their campaign handbook. Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, announced last year that the party intended to handpick their debate moderators and would not countenance any whom they regarded as unfriendly. Discussing debate strategy with Fox News (who else?) he said that

“I think 23 debates is ridiculous, but the second thing that is ridiculous is allowing moderators, who are not serving the best interests of the candidate and the party, to actually be the people to be deposing our people. And I think that’s totally wrong.”

Somewhere Priebus got the notion that moderators from the press were supposed to serve the interests of the candidates. Certainly the interest of the voters never entered into it. And to that end he led the party to ban CNN and MSNBC from hosting any GOP primary debates. That leaves Fox News as the only cable news network that Priebus considers friendly enough to host his party’s debates.

While Republicans have openly declared that they have implemented a wholesale ban on moderators they don’t like from across the mediascape for the entire primary season, they are sorely miffed at a Democrat who asked to substitute a single moderator at a single a debate. So when Fox asks “Are candidates limiting media access?” you have to wonder why that is so disturbing to them when they don’t care at all if a whole political party does it. It really makes you feel sorry for them, but not in the way they hoped.

What’s Wrong With America? Why Is Anyone Voting Republican?

A new poll from Fox News affirms what virtually every other poll has found when people are asked to name the most important problem facing the country. And as James Carville noted long ago, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Economic Poll

The Fox poll had an overwhelming 43% of registered voters citing the economy as the most important issue. That was two and a half times more than the next three issues, immigration, healthcare, and foreign policy.

Nearly every economic indicator shows that the economy has been booming in recent years. The Obama administration has presided over the biggest and most enduring advance in fifty years. The Dow reached another all-time high today. Unemployment is 5.7%, nearly half of what Obama inherited from George W. Bush. GDP growth increased at an annual rate of 3.5% in the third quarter of 2014. Housing is up, interest rates are down, inflation is imperceptible, and consumer confidence rose in October to its highest level since 2007.

The only significant low points are average wages and public sector employment. In both of those matters it has been the Republican Party that has thrown obstacles into the path of progress. Democrats are universally in support of a minimum wage increase that economists agree would produce higher demand for goods and services, thus stimulating job growth. And Obama has been trying to drag the GOP along to allocate funds for infrastructure development which would not only create jobs, but improve the environment for businesses to succeed. Yet conservative naysayers continue to stifle these measures for no reason other than to hurt the President and his party.

Given the success on so many levels of the President’s economic record, and the fact that the economy is the number one issue on the minds of voters, the obvious question is: Why on Earth are Democrats struggling to hold their position in Congress? The American people ought to be rewarding success and punishing the obstacles to it. With a more cooperative legislative branch, Obama could achieve a great deal more in the last two years of his presidency.

And therein lies the answer to the question. The last thing the GOP wants is for Obama to be successful. It’s what they pledged on the eve of his first inauguration when Mitch McConnell declared that his top priority was to make Obama a one-term president. It’s what their de facto leader, Rush Limbaugh, pronounced when he said that he wants Obama to fail. It’s why they orchestrated a shutdown last year that achieved nothing but cost $24 billion. And it’s why they have a kneejerk opposition to anything that Obama proposes, even if it was originally proposed by a Republican.

Also notable is that the other issues cited as important to voters also have seen measurable improvement during the Obama years. Illegal immigration is way down, while simultaneously domestic responses to the plight of undocumented residents have become much more compassionate and rational. As for health care, more Americans are covered by insurance than ever, and at less cost. And their coverage is more comprehensive and cannot be denied due to preexisting conditions.

Nevertheless, midterm polling is inexplicably showing tight senate races in several battleground states. With all of the good news, Democrats should be running away with this. But Republicans have expertly managed a campaign of dishonest negativity that has distorted the debate and damaged the perception of Democratic candidates. They have also had the benefit of bottomless barrels of cash from billionaires like the Koch brothers with vested interests that do not align with those of ordinary Americans.

Still, in most of these states the Democrats would be leading comfortably if the poll queried the entire electorate. But when constraining the poll to “likely” voters, the numbers fall decidedly against the Democrats. That’s because many of the traditionally Democratic constituents tend to sit out midterm elections.

If Democrats can reverse that trend through voter education, and a strong ground game getting out the vote on election day, the pollsters and the Republicans and the media will be shocked by the results. But it will take money and hard work to do it. Any encouragement you can give to people you know to insure that they vote will pay off in dividends. Especially in races that are so close. And here are a couple of other ways you can help:

Contribute to or volunteer with…
MoveOn.org or Democracy for America

You’ll be glad you did. The work, calling other Democrats like yourself, is fun and rewarding. And any funds can help to expand the outreach. The alternative is to wake up Wednesday morning with the prospect of a senate run by Mitch McConnell where every committee chair is a Republican who wishes harm on this President and his agenda. Victory is not out of reach, but it will require some determination and commitment. So please consider everything that you can do to be a part of a major electoral upset that will put the Tea Party on its knees.

Rand Paul States The Obvious: The Republican Party Brand Sucks

Every now and then a politician will surprise people by saying something that is manifestly true. However, they often only resort to that strategy when it is also unarguably obvious or they have an absurd explanation for why the truth is what it is.

Sen. Rand Paul (KY-Tea Party) made just such a pronouncement yesterday while on the campaign trail for his Kentucky colleague, Mitch McConnell. The glaringly evident observation that Paul issued was that “The Republican Party brand sucks.”

Rand Paul

No, really? Who knew? Well, pretty much everybody except for GOP chair Reince Priebus and most of the cult-bound viewers of Fox News. Notwithstanding all of the media pouncing on President Obama’s low approval rating in recent polls, his 41% looks awfully good compared to the GOP’s ranking down in the low teens. So it’s understandable that Paul would seek to provide a tortured interpretation of reality to explain the public’s distaste for his party. And apparently it’s all the fault of colored folk.

Paul: For 80 years African-Americans have had nothing to do with Republicans. Why? Because of a perception. The problem is the perception that no one in the Republican Party cares.

Indeed there is a perception among African-Americans (and Latinos, and women, and gays, and youth, and seniors, and workers, and the poor) that Republicans don’t care about them. But it is a perception based on political reality. The GOP’s policies have been aimed straight at the heart of Americans who are not wealthy or otherwise privileged. When Republicans oppose raising the minimum wage, and cutting social security, and advocating tax reform that puts more money in the pockets of the rich while incentivizing corporations to send American jobs overseas, there will be a perception resulting from such deliberately harmful legislative practices.

What’s more, if African-Americans have had nothing to do with Republicans for 80 years, it may have something to do with the fact that throughout all of that time the Republicans have tried to suppress them by opposing the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act, and other measures aimed at insuring a more equal society. Even today the GOP has been fiercely fighting to impose obstacles to voting for minorities and other citizens they fear will vote against the GOP. Why on Earth would any of these disenfranchised Americans have a positive perception of Republicans?

Paul, it should be noted, is specifically among those who have advocated for policies harmful to African Americans. In an epic debate with Rachel Maddow he argued his position against parts of the Civil Rights Act, although he later denied he ever took such a position. This disparity is certain to come up again should Paul enter the primary for the GOP nomination for president in 2016, as many expect that he will.

So it is small wonder that the Republican Party brand sucks. It is more surprising that anyone might still hold it in high regard. But for Paul to carry this message as if he were positioned to fix the branding is ludicrous. And the notion that the GOP’s problems are merely related to perceptions, rather than substantive differences with their historical and current platform, is really just another example of why the party is so out of touch.

Fox News: Obama Plans To Flood U.S. With Foreign Ebola Patients

With just one week left before the consequential midterm election, the crackpot right-wing conspiracy theories are starting to erupt faster than they can be recorded. And the common theme among them is a frightening tale of some dastardly scheme devised by President Obama to rain misery on the American people who elected him twice.

Fox News Ebola to America

The latest plot uncovered by the intrepid reporters on Fox News is that Obama has a secret plan to import Ebola patients from West Africa into the United States where they will consume our scarce resources and infect our children. The plot was discovered by the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte, who claims to have confidential information that came to him via an “inside source” within the administration. Naturally he takes this skimpy, unverifiable gossip to Megyn Kelly of Fox News. He tells her that…

“There’s increasing evidence they’re making those plans. Members of the media, my office, have received confidential communications saying that those plans are being developed. […] If you are concerned about this problem spreading – and this is a deadly disease that we’re even concerned about the great health care workers when they come back not spreading it – we certainly shouldn’t be bringing in the patients.”

The alarmist anxiety of Rep. Goodlatte is typical of the fear mongering that Republican politicians and pundits engage in so frequently. And as usual he has no on-record evidence of his allegations. This is just another unattributed assertion from a source whose credibility can’t be ascertained.

Not surprisingly, when the State Department was approached for a response they unambiguously shot down the conspiracy theory saying…

“There are absolutely no plans to MEDEVAC non-Americans who become ill from West Africa to the United States. We have discussed allowing other countries to use our MEDEVAC capabilities to evacuate their own citizens to their home countries or third-countries, subject to reimbursement and availability. But we are not contemplating bringing them back to the U.S. for treatment. Allegations to the contrary are completely false.”

Once again Fox News jumped way ahead of a story that had no foundation to begin with, that turns out to be untrue. In the process they terrified several million of their gullible viewers who will have heard the initial false reports on Fox, but not the State Department’s refutation. Plus, the original story got picked up by numerous right-wing media outlets (i.e. Washington Times, Breitbart News, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, etc.) that further spread the phony report.

Compounding his fake controversy, Goodlatte demonstrated his ignorance of the issue by telling Kelly that…

“The risk, of course, is that we still don’t even know exactly how this disease is spread.”

But we do know exactly how this disease is spread. Goodlatte is just trying to make the problem even scarier by characterizing it as a mysterious malady that threatens us all. This is a deliberate strategy on the part of Fox News and the Republican Party to keep the public afraid as they contemplate the coming election. The GOP stands to gain by casting the administration as evildoers plotting to harm the nation. And the more frightened they can make voters, the more voters will vote against the President’s party. It is a tactic that squarely fits the definition of terrorism: (ter-uh-riz-uh m) – noun: The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.