Those Damn Socialist Democrats!

Warning:  This post contains strong words that some may find offensive!

I cannot believe that I need to have this conversation again. Let me say from the onset….if you think that Democrats are Socialists then you are a moron……yes, a MORON! Every time you write or speak that Dems are Socialist you prove just how f*cking ignorant you truly are. The closest one could say about Dems is that it could be construed as a bastardized form of Fabianism…. I can just imagine the looks of a deer in the headlights right about now……do not give yourself a headache….. The Fabian approach to political action by way of calm intellectual reflection and considered rational planning, and advocacy that social democracy be engineered by a meritocratic state elite, have appealed to successive generations of senior parliamentary Labor Party figures and to socialists overseas, such as Nehru. Fabianism has been criticized from the left for its rejection of notions of class struggle and its focus instead on creating social solidarity from above which underplays the problems of the working class. It is charged with being based on inherently elitist assumptions, born of its adherents’ generally relatively comfortable upbringings and university education. Equally, it has been criticized from the right for ignoring the role of markets, in which benevolent administrators have a smaller role than in planned societies. These mental midget will scare the people with other fearful terminology like Communist…and even to go so far as equate Dems with Nazism (that illustrates just how f*cking ignorant these fools truly are….and even more so for the people that embrace such manure) Then there is a military training guide that lumps socialists in with the Nazis…..do I need to help these total morons with the difference?

A new U.S. military training document obtained exclusively by The Intercept places socialists in the same “terrorist ideological category” as neo-nazis, worsening long-standing progressive fears that a federal crackdown on “domestic terrorism” would just as likely be used to target leftists who want a truly democratic society as to thwart far-right extremists who favor racist authoritarianism. Journalist Ken Klippenstein, the recipient of the leaked counterterrorism training material, reported Tuesday that the Navy’s new guide includes the following question: “Anarchists, socialists, and neo-nazis represent which terrorist ideological category?” “The correct answer is ‘political terrorists,'” according to Klippenstein, who was informed on the matter by an unnamed military source familiar with the training.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/06/23/disturbing-us-military-document-puts-socialists-same-category-neo-nazis All the slogans and vitriol from the aging Right…..somethings are not working anymore….

You would think by the news that most Americans are Centrists or socially conservative……that may not be entirely accurate…..

For the first time more Americans identify as “socially liberal” than conservative, revealing a huge double-digit swing over the past two decades. Gallup reveals 34% of Americans now say they are socially liberal, 30% conservative, and 35% identify as moderate.
But as the pollster notes, starting in 2001 “social conservatives had a clear advantage over social liberals — by 12 points, on average.” That started to change in 2013, and now socially liberal has pulled ahead, representing a huge 16 point swing from 2001 to 2021. Americans’ “self-described economic views,” Gallup finds, “have remained predominantly conservative over the past two decades.” In a separate report this month Gallup looked at views on sex and marriage, finding Americans increasingly “tolerant.”

https://www.alternet.org/2021/06/social-liberalism/ But wait! The bad news just keeps getting worse for the in-bred knuckle-draggers……

While a majority of U.S. adults still have more positive than negative perceptions of capitalism, less than half of the country’s 18 to 34-year-olds view the profit-maximizing market system favorably, and the attractiveness of socialism continues to increase among people over 35, according to a new poll released Friday. The online survey, conducted June 11-25 by Momentive on behalf of Axios, found that 57% of U.S. adults view capitalism in a positive light, down from 61% in January 2019, when the news outlet first polled on these questions. Then and now, 36% are critical of the exploitation of the working class and the environment by the owning class.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/06/25/poll-finds-socialism-increasingly-seen-badge-pride-us It’s a tale as old as time. Or at least as old as the Cold War. Whenever Conservatives run out of material, whenever they find themselves going up against an idea only total assholes would oppose, they throw out the word SOCIALIST. That one word would cause whole lot of people who grew up during the Cold War and associated socialism exclusively with the USSR to reliably freak out, and turn to Republicans for comfort and the free market. It did not matter if the person or the idea was actually socialist, it did not matter that there were things conservatives liked (like police officers!) that were, in fact, socialist. And they weren’t the only ones. Republicans have long been able to exert a certain amount of control over the Democratic Party with the word, because it was always a looming threat. You’re not going to see Republicans policing themselves and their own ranks because of what Democrats could call them or say about them (or for any other reason, really), but “But Republicans will call us socialists!” has always been a reliable excuse not to do certain things and to perhaps be more circumspect than they might otherwise be.   (wonkette.com) It has been a slow trip to the light on the Left…but the trip has been steady and those young voters are coming of age. I do not trust polls but this has been a steady journey…I have seen it in the youngsters I talk with….. Like I said….Bad News indeed.

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Do We Want A True Conservative Party?

The GOP use to hold the mantle of America’s conservative party….that is until the slow rise of the Tea Party and then the election of Donald Trump…..the GOP has become the party of Trump and flies in the face of conservatism.

To keep it simple…..Generally believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense.  Also believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goal.

So with that simple explanation we see that Trump flies in the face of American conservatism.

But if you need more conservatism to test my premise then this may be of assistance….https://kirkcenter.org/conservatism/ten-conservative-principles/

Next, do we truly want a true conservative party?

Why?

We already have a damn good conservative party…..it is called Democrats.

I have been saying that for years…ever since the Reagan years because the Dems turned Right and got worse under Clinton.

I found a great article that explains it better than I can (I tend to get emotional when trying to explain this)

I used to be cautious about making predictions. This is partly because history is a complex, open system and predictions almost always come to grief in some important detail. It is also hard to take seriously the Chris Matthews school of punditry: make a series of wild predictions. Supposedly, everyone will forget the clangers, but if you luck into a correct one, the chattering classes will hail you as the next Nostradamus.

Nevertheless, I will now venture one categorical prediction that seems to run counter to the Deep Thoughts of some in the political class.

The Republican Party, with or without Donald Trump, will not factionalize, and—apart from a few marginal figures whom the media will falsely proclaim as the future of the GOP —will remain overwhelmingly united behind its present ideology and be competitive in national, state, and local elections.

What’s more, the “principled conservatives” that the press rhapsodizes over couldn’t fill a phone booth relative to the 74 million Americans who voted for Trump (the most any presidential candidate in history has ever received apart from Joe Biden), and the millions in state races who robotically pulled the lever for toxic imbeciles like Tommy Tuberville, or saturnine villains like Mitch McConnell. The disaffected few just might form a third party, but it will be an insignificant factor, like the Vegetarian Party or Kanye West’s recent attempt at being elected as our singing Messiah.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/29/hey-america-you-want-true-conservative-party

Since we already have a slow mind of conservatism then I believe it is time for a long needed Left party.

The Dems will never come around to progressivism because the party is owned lock, stock and barrel by the wealthy industrialists.

 

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Massive Blue Wave

For months the polls and the pundits kept telling us mere mortals about the massive Blue Wave that was taking shape in the 2020 election…..all the indications were there this year of a possible sweep for Dems in Congress…these were the same sources that kept telling us about the HRC presidency.

The problem for Dems was they keep believing the crap pollsters feed them and as usual they LOSE!

Let’s look at that non-existent Blue Wave…..

Some Democrats had been hoping that popular rejection of Donald Trump would lead to a clear Biden victory on election day, the taking of a majority in the Senate, and an increase in the Democratic majority in the Congress. But the anticipated Democratic landslide was not to be. Trump won the key up-for-grab states of Florida, Texas, and Ohio by strong margins. Biden is headed toward an Electoral College majority on the basis of narrow majorities in Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and possibly Georgia, and the results likely will face legal challenges from Trump. If the Democrats can muster a majority in the Senate, it would be through victories in two runoff races in Georgia in January, creating a 50-50 tie that could be broken by a Democratic Vice-President presiding over the Senate. And the Democratic majority in the Congress will be smaller than prior to the election. With high voter turnout by U.S. standards, Trump received nearly 48% of the popular vote, getting more votes than Barack Obama or any previous victorious presidential candidate.

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman has written that “We have just experienced four years of the most divisive and dishonest presidency in American history,” yet it produced “no landslide — no overwhelming majority telling Trump and those around him that enough was enough: Be gone with you and never bring that kind of politics of division back to this country again.” Friedman quotes Doy Seidman: “Whatever the final vote, it is already clear that the number of Americans saying, ‘Enough is enough’ was not enough. There was no blue political wave. But, more importantly, there was no moral wave. There was no widespread rejection of the kind of leadership that divides us.’’

The Blue Wave that Never Came

As usual Centrist Dems are assigning blame like they did for their losses in 2016…but this time it is the Progressives that are to blame.

Whining and blaming will not secure any more wins in the future…..but that is how the gutless and spineless do things…..just look at the slob we just voted out of office…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Medicare For All (Cond)

I started my writings on Medicare For All on IST…..https://lobotero.com/2019/03/04/medicare-for-all/

I am writing this because I am sick of the BULLSHIT spread by the GOP and some of the Dems about the idea of Medicare For All.  Have you noticed the excuses that some Dem candidates have sound more like GOP talking points than Democratic ideas? Like the so-called front runner Joe Biden…….his plan for health care is a corporate dominant plan like Obamacare……

Joe Biden is taking an aggressive approach to defending the Affordable Care Act, challenging not just President Trump but also some of his Democratic rivals who want to replace the current insurance system with a fully government-run model, per the AP. The former vice president will spend much of the coming week talking about his approach to health care. On Monday, Biden unveiled a plan that would add a “public option” to the 2010 health care overhaul, with expanded coverage paid for by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. The former vice president’s health care proposal is anchored by a “Medicare-like” plan that any American, including the 150 million-plus Americans now covered by job-based insurance, could buy on ACA exchanges. “I understand the appeal of Medicare for All,” Biden said in a video posted Monday morning. “But folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of ObamaCare. And I’m not for that.” The proposal would make existing premium subsidies more generous and make more middle-income households eligible for them, lowering their out-of-pocket costs. It also would extend premium-free coverage to lower-income Americans who have been denied eligibility to Medicaid in Republican-run states that refused to participate in the Affordable Care Act. The campaign puts the taxpayer cost at $750 billion over 10 years, with the campaign saying that would be covered by returning the top marginal income tax to 39.6%, the rate before the 2017 GOP tax cuts.

But what will this plan do?  Is it truly as billed?

After spending the past week sniping at Medicare for All with insurance industry talking points, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Monday unveiled a healthcare plan that one analyst said could cause the deaths of around 125,000 people over the first ten years by leaving millions of Americans uninsured.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/15/not-acceptable-analysis-estimates-biden-healthcare-plan-would-kill-125000-people

I listened to a Biden senior analyst speak on Biden’s plan….she spoke so fast I thought I was bidding on a vase at Sotherby’s……do not trust people that talk so fast you cannot keep up with their BS. Corporate profits will remain with Biden and after all is that not what it is all about?

AS we approach the 2020 election cycle then the lies about Medicare For All will increase….the usual lies like it is “socialism”…or my favorite you will lose your doctor if they do away with private health insurance…..enough is enough. First I am on Medicare and I have NEVER been told which doctors I can or cannot see. Second nothing would prevent a person from getting a supplement insurance since Medicare only pays about 80% and the patient is on the hook for the other 20%. You can go to any doctor, any hospital or clinic or other provider you prefer. All networks are gone. So are all surprise medical bills. So are all out of network charges. So are all premiums, all deductibles, all co-pays for such basics as emergency care, doctor’s visits, mental health, dental, vision, long term care, and so much more.

A new survey out this week is an important step forward to demolishing one of the principle talking points against Medicare for All. No doubt, you’ve heard this one: “People love their insurance! Under Medicare for All, you’ll lose your private insurance and your doctor.” Uh, no. A Morning Consult/Politico survey conducted after the first Democratic presidential primary debates found that when people hear the real story—that under Medicare for All you can keep your preferred doctors and hospitals, support climbs to a clear majority of 55 percent. Support among Democrats gets to 78 percent. For independents it’s a big leap of 14 points, up to 56 percent support. That support eclipses the disinformation peddled by the health care industry, their lobbyists, their mouthpieces in Congress—and too many in the media—that if you lose your private insurance you will lose your preferred doctor or other provider.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/03/medicare-all-means-real-choice-one-health-card-good-anywhere-you-go

Keep in mind that all the negativity comes from those that get a large portion of the cash from the industry that they are protecting…..big pharma and the health industry none of whom want to see their massive profits diminished. For instance Joe Biden…….he has attacked the proposal of Medicare For All……as well as other progressive solutions…..

After former Vice President Joe Biden attacked Medicare for All, decriminalization of border crossings, and other major progressive agenda items during an interview that aired Friday morning, fellow 2020 White House contender Bernie Sanders responded that bold ideas will be necessary to “energize voters” and defeat President Donald Trump.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/05/agenda-america-needs-sanders-fires-back-after-biden-attacks-medicare-all-and-other

If you want quality health care and the people deserve such then Medicare For All is the answer…..anything else is just letting the insurance people control when and where you are ill. Read the bill that would create Medicare For All….. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1129/text#toc-id543f8d72ce1c4b05b7d6e4c41b0d31ee

Just a little FYI……. https://theoutline.com/post/7735/health-justice-now-excerpt-single-payer

Okay Trolls may jump in now and tell me all about the benefits of private health care.

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Why Not Elect Progressives?

College of Political Knowledge

Paper:  2018/2

We have all the indications that there will be a “Blue Wave”….by that we mean there should be a massive election of Dems to the House and maybe some for the Senate.

Most Dem candidates tell the population that they stand for progressive ideas and for moving the country forward.

This tickles me…….the ones that are saying such crap are the old Clinton Dems from the 90’s and those are in NO way a progressive candidate……these people are what use to be called “Blue Dog” Dems….meaning that they were conservative some to the point of being more so than the GOP….they did NOTHING to move this country forward.

Most are owned by the corporate structure that owns the GOP….it is not political it is about which will increase profit with the least amount of pain for business.

To be a true progressive one would need to embrace a wealth of issues…..

  • A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies.
  • Social insurance,  to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled.
  • Limited injunctions in strikes.
  • Farm relief.
  • Worker’s compensation for work-related injuries.
  • An inheritance tax.
  • equal rights (pass ERA finally)

Yes these were ideas from the old Progressive Party of Teddy when he ran as a 3rd party candidate.  A look at modern progressive issues from the Progressive Policy Institute…..

https://www.progressivepolicy.org/issues/

Progressive politics are essentially a set of ideals and policies revolving around solving social issues and preventing different forms of disenfrachisement. Things like broader voting laws, stratified taxation (e.g. more money–> higher, more taxes), and different forms of equality legislation (e.g. Equal pay, Marriage equality, voter protections to prevent disenfranchisement).

We true progressives hate it when the media taunts some candidate as a progressive……No I am not a liberal…no I am not a Democrat….I am a progressive.

I often get asked what the difference between a “liberal” and a “progressive” is. The questions from the media on this subject are always something like, “Isn’t ‘progressive’ just another name for ‘liberal’ that people want to use because ‘liberal’ has become a bad word?”

The answer, in my opinion, is no – there is a fundamental difference when it comes to core economic issues. It seems to me that traditional “liberals” in our current parlance are those who focus on using taxpayer money to help better society. A “progressive” are those who focus on using government power to make large institutions play by a set of rules.

To put it in more concrete terms – a liberal solution to some of our current problems with high energy costs would be to increase funding for programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). A more “progressive” solution would be to increase LIHEAP but also crack down on price gouging and pass laws better-regulating the oil industry’s profiteering and market manipulation tactics. A liberal policy towards prescription drugs is one that would throw a lot of taxpayer cash at the pharmaceutical industry to get them to provide medicine to the poor; A progressive prescription drug policy would be one that centered around price regulations and bulk purchasing in order to force down the actual cost of medicine in America (much of which was originally developed with taxpayer R&D money).

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sirota/whats-the-difference-betw_b_9140.html

Please do not get me started on the stupidity of a Democrat equates to being a socialist.  That is right I said STUPIDITY!

My point is know your issues and do not allow labels to define your vote.

Democrats A Go Go

80+ days and counting……….

2018 will be an exciting event…..well that is the story that the media is passing off as news.

Some pundits think there will be a Blue Wave in this election…that is Dems will take back the House and gain in the states as well……but what will be the Dems direction in the 2018 mid terms?

Will it continue down the road as big money party or will it return to the days of a party for the working masses.

The Dems unveiled their new slogan for the mid terms……

House Democrats have finalized their campaign slogan heading into the last months before the midterm election: “For the People.”

The new motto, which Democratic leaders unveiled in a private meeting with members Wednesday morning, is meant to put a finer point on the broad economic-based messaging Democrats have been pushing with mixed success since last summer. That initial message — a “Better Deal” — has largely failed to break through with voters and has been openly mocked by some Democratic lawmakers.

Plus the Dems are truing to look like a party of the people……this by no longer accepting oil industry money….

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has voted unanimously to ban contributions from fossil fuel companies, in a victory for activists and environmental advocates.

Following a vote over the weekend, the DNC will no longer accept donations from corporate political action committees (PAC) associated with oil, gas, and coal companies, HuffPost first reported Tuesday. The political organization reportedly adopted a resolution put forward by Christine Pelosi, the daughter of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

https://thinkprogress.org/dnc-ban-fossil-fuel-companies-408e1595bcda/

Silly slogans are not a platform or a direction…..there leaders are starting to worry about the appeal that DSA is getting with the young….. As Donald Trump’s presidency stretches into its second year, democratic socialism has become a significant force in Democratic politics. Its rise comes as Democrats debate whether moving too far left will turn off voters.

There are 42 people running for offices at the federal, state, and local levels this year with the formal endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America, the organization says. They span 20 states, including Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, and Michigan. Their key policies: Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, free college tuition, and the abolition of the federal department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Congress’ only self-identified democratic socialist, campaigned Friday with the movement’s newest star, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former bartender who defeated one of the most powerful House Democrats last month. Her victory fed a flame that was already beginning to burn brighter. Click for the full story.

The DSA is scaring the middle of the road Dems to tears……

If Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading a leftist political revolt, then a summit here of moderate Democrats might be the start of a counterrevolution.

While the energy and momentum is with progressives these days — the victory of rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, buzz about Democratic Socialism and the spread of the “Abolish ICE!” movement are a few recent examples — moderates are warning that ignoring them will lead the party to disaster in the midterm elections and the 2020 presidential contest.

That anxiety has largely been kept to a whisper among the party’s moderates and big donors, with some of the major fundraisers pressing operatives on what can be done to stop Sanders, I-Vt., if he runs for the White House again.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/sanders-wing-party-terrifies-moderate-dems-here-s-how-they-n893381

As an old radical from the days gone by…I see this as a good thing that we on Left have been waiting for the mainstream voter to see and appreciate.

As a final thought…who repesents the people when the parties represent corporations?

We the people of the United States find ourselves in a political crisis and resurgent tribalism that pits left against right, hard-left against moderate-left, and extreme-right against everyone else. The result is a political impasse that leaves us unable to address our own needs domestically and has stripped us of credibility globally.

The crisis has a simple explanation, and it didn’t start with the current occupant of the Oval Office. Irrespective of where we fall on the political spectrum, a great many of us don’t trust our own political system. Nor should we: It represents power that is captive to interests quite at odds with our own.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/07/25/who-represents-us-when-our-political-parties-represent-only-corporations

Watch the 2018 mid-terms and see if anything changes…..I feel like it will not.

Bernie was a hit back in the 2016 cycle and he still holds a bit of clout with progressive voters…….but is Bernie really the change the country needs?

Never mind that the progressive and mildly social-democratic policies Sanders and his cadre of Democrats back – Medicare for All, progressive taxation, free college tuition, a significant increase n the federal minimum wage, the re-legalization of union organizing – have longstanding majority support from the U.S. populace.

Never mind that it precisely the centrist neoliberal nothingness of the dollar-drenched dumpster- fire that is the current corporate Democratic Party (aptly described by Sheldon Wolin as “the Inauthentic Opposition” in early 2008) that has delivered state and federal government over to the widely hated, radically regressive and arch-reactionary (racist, sexist, white-nationalist, and eco-fascist) Republicans.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/07/27/sorry-bernie-we-need-radical-change/

This election for all its interests will bring no change just a continuation of policies of corporate America.

Looking To 2020

Everyone is laser focused on the mid-terms of 2018……I think that 2020 should be more important.  The president will be up for re-election and his policies will be under extreme scrutiny.

First let me say that I am not a Democrat or a liberal…..I refuse to categorize myself with the cowards on what the idiots on the Right call “the Left”…..most have no idea what the Left is about only what some pathetic loser on FOX tells them.

The mid-terms will spell the country that we will have come 2020…….The Dems need to pick a side and stick with it……as someone called Dems….Repub Lite,……..

Dismay will spread as Republicans use the deficits the tax cut exploded to justify cuts in basic security programs — Medicare and Medicaid, health care, food stamps, investments in schools, and more. Meanwhile, the administration’s claim to be cleaning out the swamp turns out to mean allowing lobbyists to savage protections for workers, consumers and the environment. This isn’t a “populist agenda.” It is a plutocrat’s agenda, with a populist sales pitch and Trump as the lead huckster.

Most of this is about turnout in what are traditionally low-turnout, off-year elections. Trump wants to rouse his base. He believes that the politics of fear, featuring poisonous, racially charged libels and slanders directed at immigrants will turn more supporters out than off. The tax cuts consolidate support among the affluent that tend to vote; the venom rouses and distracts those whose interests are being trampled.

The problem is so far that the Dems stand for nothing so far…….I am not sure of what they will champion other than they are against anything Trump does…..which is not a platform that is a winner.

The Dems are lost and have been for 50+ years……

The Democrats have been in turmoil for the last half century and then some, when they abandoned their racist base and supported the civil rights movement.

Revved up by the spirit of the ’60s, the party began opening itself to further change, even daring to push beyond the financial interests of its controlling oligarchs and declare an opposition to war. “I have no secret plan for peace. I have a public plan,” George McGovern said during his 1972 presidential campaign . . . and that was that. After his crushing defeat, at the hands of Richard Nixon and his “Southern strategy,” the Dems quietly retreated. Their prevailing slogan ever since, whispered subconsciously, has been: We don’t stand for all that much.

The Dems are now Republican lite. They don’t have the will to disrupt anything that seems tried and true — such as, for instance, American exceptionalism and bloated militarism.

https://www.laprogressive.com/dems-could-win/

The Dems have had some successes in local races….but I do not see that translating into a national agenda that will win them anything other than heartache in 2020.

I will revisit this topic when we get closer to the 2020 vote……If I am wrong I will glad print and post my error to this prediction.

Today’s The Day

History is to be made today–GO VOTE!

I have heard Repub surrogates (names easily forgotten) say that an Obama win and a 60+ Congress scares them.  Why?  What about that scares Repubs?

Maybe it is their loss of influence over policy.  Or is it that the working class couls gain a little more clout?  Or maybe that the wealthy will not be in control anymore.  That would be a silly fear–the rich will ALWAYS be in control.

But wait!  What about the South?  Where about 75% of elected representatives are more conservative than a lot of the Repubs.  These people will vote against anything remotely liberal that comes to their attention.  Cochran, Wicker, Taylor, just to mention a few; these people aresome of the most conservative in Congress.

So please4 stop whining and worrying.  Your conservative ideals will be safe from the harm of the liberals.  Southern representatives will guard them wisely.

LA: Energy Policy Debate

Eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives — four Democrats and four Republicans — will hold a debate on a national energy policy today at 11 a.m. at Tulane University.

The session, in the Kendall Cram Lecture Hall, Room 213, of the Lavin-Bernick Center, will be free and open to the public.

The scheduled participants are Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.; Jay Inslee, D-Wash.; Denny Rehberg, R-Mont.; Hilda Solis, D-Calif.; Bart Stupak, D-Mich.; Fred Upton, R-Mich.; and Zach Wamp, R-Tenn. The moderator will be a representative of The Politico, a political newspaper and Web site.

Host for the debate is the Entergy-Tulane Energy Institute, which was founded to improve public understanding of energy and the way it fits into virtually all parts of everyday life. Others involved in staging the forum — part of the “Congress Debates” series — are the House Democratic Caucus, the House Republican Conference, the Democratic Leadership Council and the Congressional Institute.

MS: Obama Could Help Mississippi Contest

Few Senate races could have greater impact than the matchup between appointed Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker (R) and former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D). If Musgrove wins, Democrats will add yet another seat to their majority. But more importantly, his victory would tell us something about Barack Obama’s effect on black-white politics and Democrats’ ability to win in the South.

The state does have vestiges of its conservative Democratic past; Democrats still control the state legislature, and both parties have held the governorship in recent years. But in most other respects, Mississippi has become a reliably Republican state. President Bush won the state by 20 percentage points in 2004, and Trent Lott and Thad Cochran easily defended their Senate seats in recent elections. Few expected that Lott’s retirement and the subsequent appointment of well-regarded Wicker, a House member for 13 years, would give Democrats much of an opening. But a combination of a good Democratic year, the recruitment of Musgrove and the wild card of Obama’s effect on black turnout have made the race too close to call.

Mississippi is 36 percent African-American, the highest percentage of any state. It also displays some of the country’s most racially polarized voting patterns. In 2004, according to exit polls, Bush won 85 percent of the white vote, while Democrat John F. Kerry took 90 percent of the black vote.

It is possible for a Mississippi Democrat to win in a statewide election, but it would likely require 30 percent of the white vote along with nearly the entire black vote. In 2003, Musgrove lost his reelection bid for governor to current Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican. Musgrave took about 22 percent of the white vote, and lost the election 53 percent to 46 percent. In 1999, when Musgrove beat Republican gubernatorial nominee Mike Parker in one of the closest races in Mississippi history, he performed even better among white voters, running well ahead of typical Democratic performance in Northeast Mississippi, a Republican stronghold.

The formula that has sometimes worked for Mississippi Democrats is directly at odds with Obama’s strategy for putting Southern states in play. Obama and his aides have made the case that Obama could increase black turnout so substantially — by 30 percent or more — that Southern states with large African-American populations would become competitive even without much of a change in the white turnout. But the math here is much harder than the Obama campaign asserts. If you take the 2004 presidential election results, increase the black vote by 30 percent and assume that the white vote stays the same, Obama would still lose Mississippi by more than 100,000 votes. And most analysts think that a 30 percent increase in the black vote is extremely optimistic. Obama will surely draw African-Americans to the polls in record numbers, but even a 10 percent to 15 percent increase in African-American votes would be historic. Add to that Obama’s problems in attracting white Mississippi voters even in the Democratic primary, where he attracted only a quarter of white Democrats.