December 27, 2010

Sarah Palin is the “Misinformer of the Year”

I can’t really say this is a surprise, but I’m glad to see that someone who pays attention to media agrees with what most of us already know: Sarah Palin wouldn’t know the truth if it came up and shot a moose in her backyard. Media Matters for America has labeled Palin “Misinformer of the Year,” citing everything from Death Panels to her “broad” experience in foreign policy that turned into no experience at all. Here’s what they had to say:

This year, we’ve chosen Sarah Palin — former half-term governor, current Fox News contributor and prolific Facebook user — as our Misinformer of the Year.

This year, Palin stood out for her sheer ability to dominate our national conversation and draw the attention of the entire news media to her factually challenged claims and vicious attacks. She has blurred the line completely between media figure and political activist.

From spreading lies about “death panels” to cropping Obama’s comments about “American exceptionalism,” from her comfortable perch at Fox News to her self-promoting books and reality show, Palin has truly broken new ground in misinformation.

The video really makes the case, check it out:

[ Misinformer of the Year ]
Source: Media Matters for America

Historic START Treaty Wins Overwhelming Senate Vote, 71-26

Chalk this one up along with the rest of President Obama’s achievements – and more proof that he’s definitely earned the Nobel Peace Prize that he has (note people can’t complain too much about his global anti-proliferation goals anymore.) The START treaty was part of America’s “rebooted” relationship with Russia, which had been strained under President Bush for a number of reasons – his own ignorance and warmongering agenda notwithstanding.

That said, there were worries that congressional Republicans would oppose any advances in the peace process and in the push for the world’s major powers to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons, and sure enough a bunch of them voted against it partially because of old Cold War beliefs, and partially because of a desire to oppose any achievement of President Obama’s, and partially because of their own personal political agendas.

Even so, the START treaty sailed through the House and the Senate thankfully, and will make the world a safer place overall. When I heard the news, the first thing I wondered was whether or not the Doomsday Clock would be turned back a minute; it seems like this would be a great occasion to do so.

[ Historic START Treaty Wins Overwhelming Senate Vote, 71-26 ]
Source: TruthOut

December 20, 2010

What Progressives Don’t Understand About Obama

This piece hit home in a way that few rarely do – partially because I can see myself in the author for more than one reason, and by proxy I see myself in the logic behind the way President Obama argues and negotiates with people on his side and across the table from him.

It’s remarkable how much progressives – with whom I stand, especially – want someone who rides into Washington, guns blazing, shooting down conservative ideals and missteps with glory, taking us all the way to a progressive American utopia and ultimate victory for the truth and justice that we all know is on our side. The problem is it just doesn’t work that way, ever, and regardless of the fervor around President Obama, he’s not that guy – he can’t be that guy and expect to get anything done. And this – this piece explains why.

I couldn’t possibly cut it, so I’ll present the whole thing here, with all credit due to Ishmael Reed, writing for the New York Times:

Not all of my white teachers viewed me as a discipline problem. To the annoyance of my fellow students, one teacher selected me regularly to lead assembly programs. A high school teacher insisted that I learn about the theater. She was an America-firster who supplied me with right-wing pamphlets and magazines that I’d read at breakfast and she didn’t seem bothered by my returning them with some of the pages stuck together with syrup.

But most of them did see me as an annoyance, and gave me the grades to prove it.

I’ve been thinking recently of all those D’s for deportment on my report cards. I thought of them, for instance, when I read a response to an essay I had written about Mark Twain that appeared in “A New Literary History of America.” One of the country’s leading critics, who writes for a prominent progressive blog, called the essay “rowdy,” which I interpreted to mean “lack of deportment.” Perhaps this was because I cited “Huckleberry Finn” to show that some white women managed household slaves, a departure from the revisionist theory that sees Scarlett O’Hara as some kind of feminist martyr.

I thought of them when I pointed out to a leading progressive that the Tea Party included neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers — and he called me a “bully.” He believes that the Tea Party is a grass-roots uprising against Wall Street, a curious reading since the movement gained its impetus from a rant against the president delivered by a television personality on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

And I’ve thought about them as I’ve listened in the last week to progressives criticize President Obama for keeping his cool.

Progressives have been urging the president to “man up” in the face of the Republicans. Some want him to be like John Wayne. On horseback. Slapping people left and right.

One progressive commentator played an excerpt from a Harry Truman speech during which Truman screamed about the Republican Party to great applause. He recommended this style to Mr. Obama. If President Obama behaved that way, he’d be dismissed as an angry black militant with a deep hatred of white people. His grade would go from a B- to a D.

What the progressives forget is that black intellectuals have been called “paranoid,” “bitter,” “rowdy,” “angry,” “bullies,” and accused of tirades and diatribes for more than 100 years. Very few of them would have been given a grade above D from most of my teachers.

When these progressives refer to themselves as Mr. Obama’s base, all they see is themselves. They ignore polls showing steadfast support for the president among blacks and Latinos. And now they are whispering about a primary challenge against the president. Brilliant! The kind of suicidal gesture that destroyed Jimmy Carter — and a way to lose the black vote forever.

Unlike white progressives, blacks and Latinos are not used to getting it all. They know how it feels to be unemployed and unable to buy your children Christmas presents. They know when not to shout. The president, the coolest man in the room, who worked among the unemployed in Chicago, knows too.

Reed isn’t just right here, he’s so right on the dot that you’d be able to verify his accuracy with an electron microscope. If Obama were as aggressive and militant as a lot of progressives – especially some who have served in government long enough to know this is the truth (I’m looking at you, Robert Reich,) he’d fail instantly as everyone – include people in his own party and on his side, dug in against him or simply failed to support him.

He’s doing this the right way – and while it’s not as fast as progressives would like and it’s not as winner-take-all leave-no-prisoners as many of us would like it to be, we need to remember that each step forward is a positive one, and one we would never have gotten had the other guy been elected.

[ What Progressives Don’t Understand About Obama ]
Source: The New York Times

December 13, 2010

Green Strategy Now

In the wake of the midterm elections, now that Republicans have control of the House of Representatives and will summarily go forward crushing any initiatives towards keeping the air and water clean in America, reducing our country’s global impact on climate change overall, and squashing any potential for renewable energy, smart grid technology, and domestic energy production – all in favor of lining the pockets of their friends in the oil and gas industries by forcing us to import more oil from abroad and bomb the hell out of anyone who opposes us – environmental activism groups are ever eager to win the ground war for the minds and sensibilities of voters.

The new strategy involves taking the truth to the streets, and making sure that the American public, which seems to be woefully undereducated and ignorant of climate, science, and environmental issues, gets an opportunity to hear the truth instead of the political talking points from industry that is all too ready to whine that any improvement in the condition of our planet will come at the cost of jobs or taxes.

Following the defeat, and faced with an immediate deadline for averting global catastrophe, greens big and small are going more local and becoming more confrontational. But there is wide variation in what that means.

Greenpeace, which had lobbied to improve the proposed bills but did not support them, is refocusing on local actions and alliance building, particularly against coal mining and burning. The fight against coal is one recent bright spot in the environmental struggle. For several years the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, numerous local outfits and, more recently, Greenpeace have waged a grassroots campaign using mass protest and direct action like mountaintop occupations, as well as financial and political pressure, and so far have prevented the construction of 130 proposed new coal plants [see “Cracking Big Coal,” Robert S. Eshelman, May 3]. Direct action against coal directly cuts emissions, and in so doing it supports the various regional cap-and-trade structures like RGGI in the Northeast and the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), Davies points out. “Those mechanisms only work if there are some real emissions reductions,” he explains.

The Sierra Club, under the leadership of its new director, Michael Brune (who had headed the more radical Rainforest Action Network), is also redoubling its efforts against coal. The Club, which had supported Waxman-Markey and its EPA gutting before Brune took over, now considers protecting the EPA one of the “bright lines” that must not be crossed. Brune says, “Our top priority is our Beyond Coal campaign, to clean up and close down coal plants and replace them with clean energy.” Other priorities include building a movement by connecting with local activists, linking these antipollution and antimining fights to global climate issues, and working with the nascent clean-energy industry to help it become more organized and vocal.

This is important because when it comes to politics the clean-energy industry is bizarrely passive. While coal and oil buy influence, manipulate the public discourse (routinely lying in the process) and demand massive government subsidies, the wind and solar companies sit by politely.

The truth of the matter is that the environmental movement and green energy industry will need to take a much bigger stand and speak with a much louder – and hopefully collective – voice in the halls of government. The old fossil fuel industry has no intention of quieting down and giving them a room at the table, and in the absence of their voice, none of us win.

[ Green Strategy Now ]
Source: The Nation

December 6, 2010

Tea Party Caucus Takes $1 Billion in Earmarks

Literally moments after taking the seat of power, the Tea Party thugs who essentially elbowed and mud-slung their way into political office did exactly the thing they promised all of their so-called friends on the campaign trail they wouldn’t do: start hungrily collecting money for pork projects and personal pet projects in their home districts by taking over a billion dollars in earmarks.

Frankly, it’s not surprising – even people as ignorant as the Tea Party fanatics have to understand that the only way to stay in office is to make sure you bring home the pork -I mean bacon- for your home district, and the way to do that is to make sure you get as many pet projects approved in spending bills as possible, and that of course means earmarks. After all, the so-called “have it out on the house or senate floor” method of approving local spending would take time and then put their projects in the public light and subject them to scrutiny, something that the Tea Party simply can’t stand up to.

Members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus may tout their commitment to cutting government spending now, but they used the 111th Congress to request hundreds of earmarks that, taken cumulatively, added more than $1 billion to the federal budget.

According to a Hotline review of records compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste, the 52 members of the caucus, which pledges to cut spending and reduce the size of government, requested a total of 764 earmarks valued at $1,049,783,150 during Fiscal Year 2010, the last year for which records are available.

“It’s disturbing to see the Tea Party Caucus requested that much in earmarks. This is their time to put up or shut up, to be blunt,” said David Williams, vice president for policy at Citizens Against Government Waste. “There’s going to be a huge backlash if they continue to request earmarks.”

In founding the caucus in July, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said she was giving voice to Americans who were sick of government over-spending.

Oh Bachmann – your ability to talk out of both sides of your mouth never ceases to amaze me. Let’s get to the proof though, shall we? Shine the light on the cockroaches, as it were:

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), for one, attached his name to 69 earmarks in the last fiscal year, for a total of $78,263,000. The 41 earmarks Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.) requested were worth $65,395,000. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) wanted $63,400,000 for 39 special projects, and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) wanted $93,980,000 set aside for 47 projects.

Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) takes the prize as the Tea Partier with his name on the most earmarks. Rehberg’s office requested funding for 88 projects, either solely or by co-signing earmarks requests with Sens. Max Baucus (D) and Jon Tester (D), at a cost of $100,514,200. On his own, Rehberg requested 20 earmarks valued at more than $9.6 million.

More than one member can sign onto an earmark. Still, there are 29 caucus members who requested on their own or joined requests for more than $10 million in earmark funding, and seven who wanted more than $50 million in funding.

Most offices did not respond right away to a request for comment. Those that did said they supported Republicans’ new efforts to ban earmarks.

Walk the walk, but never talk the talk, eh, GOP?

So what does the Tea Party do when confronted with the reality of politics that they claimed was so broken and horrible? Break one of their first and primary campaign promises before they’re even really in power. I wonder how the torch-and-pitchfork mobs that elected them will respond to the news? Will they hang them too and claim they’re “spending too much” and that this is more “dirty tricks by big government,” or will they look the other way because after all, they’re more like them than that brown fella in the White House?

We’ll see.

[ Tea Party Caucus Takes $1 Billion in Earmarks ]
Source: The Atlantic

November 29, 2010

Motor Trend Lays the Smackdown on Rush Limbaugh

So Motor Trend Magazine voted the 2011 Chevy Volt as car of the year. That’s not a huge surprise, considering the innovative technology that’s gone into the vehicle and has helped bring it to fruition over it’s long long development cycle. The car is, in many ways, another hybrid on the market, which Chevy won’t shy away from, but the fact of the matter is that this hybrid is electric first and gas second; charges really quickly for an electric vehicle, and lays the groundwork for more and better hybrid technologies in the coming years. All that and it gets amazing mileage, doesn’t emit any greenhouse gases as long as you’re driving all-electric, is low-emissions when you use gas, and it great for the environment.

Who wouldn’t like that?

Oh wait, Republicans and conservatives. If it doesn’t destroy the planet, dirty our air and water, and leave behind a barren wasteland for our children to deal with while they line their pockets with our money, they’re not interested.

And who speaks for them? Of course – Rush Limbaugh – regardless of whether conservatives like to think he speaks for them, he does, and he called out the Chevy Volt with a shotgun barrage of half-truths and outright falsehoods that to any half-trained or skeptical ear would prove that he’s never even SEEN the vehicle, much less driven one or bothered to educate himself on its operation, design, and build process. But hey – the far right has never let a little thing like education get in the way of their pontificating.

So what does Motor Trend do? Respond in glorious fashion, making sure that Rush knows exactly where he stands, and that the public knows what the truth about the Volt really is. They pick Limbaugh apart piece by piece in a glorious open letter to him that includes this gem:

Just remember: driving and Oxycontin don’t mix.

I really hope they don’t make him apologize for that – that’s absolutely brilliant.

Here’s some of the meat of the article’s opener, for good measure:

You said, “Folks, of all the cars, no offense, General Motors, please, but of all the cars in the world, the Chevrolet Volt is the Car of the Year? Motor Trend magazine, that’s the end of them. How in the world do they have any credibility? Not one has been sold. The Volt is the Car of the Year.”

So, Mr. Limbaugh; you didn’t enjoy your drive of our 2011 Car of the Year, the Chevrolet Volt? Assuming you’ve been anywhere near the biggest automotive technological breakthrough since … I don’t know, maybe the self-starter, could you even find your way to the front seat? Or are you happy attacking a car that you’ve never even seen in person?

Last time you ranted about the Volt, you got confused about the “range,” and said on the air that the car could be driven no more than 40 miles at a time, period. At least you stayed away from that issue this time, but you continue to attack it as the car only a tree hugging, Obama-supporting Government Motors customer would want. As radio loudmouths like you would note, none of those potential customers were to be found after November 2.

Back to us for a moment, our credibility, Mr. Limbaugh, comes from actually driving and testing the car, and understanding its advanced technology. It comes from driving and testing virtually every new car sold, and from doing this once a year with all the all-new or significantly improved models all at the same time. We test, make judgments and write about things we understand.

Absolutely glorious.

[ Rush to Judgement ]
Source: Motor Week Blog

November 22, 2010

GOP Rep Promises to Hold Middle Class Tax Cuts Hostage–Unless the Rich Get a Permanent Break

Seriously, read that headline and think hard about it – now you know who the GOP represents in Congress. Not the angry, disillusioned, ignorant Tea Partiers who voted them in, and not you or I or anyone else in the reality-based community: they represent the millionaires who line their pockets, wine and dine them on the backs of the American people, and who shovel money into their campaign funds in return for the earmarks and pet projects and contracts that the GOP says they’re so opposed to but will likely flinch over.

So this is what it’s come to – if you’ve ever wondered if there’s really a class war in America, this is it, and sadly, there are a number of wealthy Americans who see this for what it is and are begging Congress to raise their taxes.

But no – the GOP claims that they’re doing us all a favor by hand-feeding more caviar to the rich while the middle class can’t afford to stay in their homes and small businesses can’t afford to hire even if they want to, so this is the result:

The Republican rich-people bias isn’t exactly a shocker, but finally someone’s had the gall to spell it out. In a speech to the pro-business Tax Council, House Rep. David Camp said that the Dem’s middle-class tax extensions–permanent breaks for those earning $200,000 or less, with temporary extensions on the wealthy–would be blocked during the lame-duck session unless the rich get the same permanent extensions. Wait–he’s demanding the rich get equal treatment as the middle class?

Sad, isn’t it?

[ GOP Rep Promises to Hold Middle Class Tax Cuts Hostage–Unless the Rich Get a Permanent Break ]
Source: AlterNet

November 15, 2010

One Million Reasons the Millionaire Bailout is a Bad Idea

Cracks are starting to show that President Obama and Congressional Democrats may flinch on the issue of the Bush-era tax cuts for the super-wealthy, and let them become permenent instead of allowing them to expire into the nothingness that they should be – they did nothing for the economy when they were passed, despite the loving praise that Republicans lavished on them when they gleefully passed them when they had majorities in the House and the Senate, and Americans didn’t see a single job created thanks to them.

Now, Republicans are claiming that if their best friends don’t get to continue to enjoy the disproportionate tax breaks and the fact that even without them the wealthy have the smallest tax burden they’ve ever had in the United States, second only to the absolute poorest among us, the sky will fall and the economy will grind to a halt.

They may have some leverage there actually – you do have to wonder why so many businesses have decided to only hire very very slowly over the past two years, and why so many businesses are suddenly interested in squeezing as much as they can possibly get from their current employees rather than bring on new ones. Everyone’s trying to hold the government accountable for job growth, but no one seems willing to hold the millionaires and the business owners accountable – the people who are shredding resumes by the thousand. And as illogical as that seems, Tea Party thugs and Republicans of multiple stripes are interested in giving these same people tax breaks, rewarding them for their gross mistreatment of the rest of America.

The folks at MoveOn.org are collecting a list of reasons why the Millionaire tax breaks are a bad idea. I encourage you to submit your own:

[ One Million Reasons the Millionaire Bailout is a Bad Idea ]
Source: MoveOn.org

November 9, 2010

Letter to a Whiny Young Democrat

One of the best pieces of post-election coverage that I’ve seen came from the San Francisco Chronicle, and was titled Letter to a Whiny Young Democrat; which lambasted progressive slacktivists who, instead of making sure they turn out to the polls each and every election like they should if they want to see true progressive motion in our country, stayed at home grumbling because Barack Obama hasn’t made the sky rain money and candy bars just yet and everyone isn’t holding hands singing yet.

Because I simply can’t cut up the op-ed, here’s the whole thing with all credit to the Chronicle and the piece’s author, Mark Morford:

Oh, now you’ve done it.

See? You see what happens when you young liberal voters get so disgruntled and disillusioned that you drop all your party’s newborn, hard-won ideas about Hopeâ„¢ and Changeâ„¢, without any patience, without really giving them sufficient time to mature, without understanding that hugely foreign, anti-American concept known as “the long view”?

See what happens when you wallow in hollow disappointment, trudging all over your liberal arts campus and refusing to vote in a rather important mid-term election, all because your pet issues and nubile ego weren’t immediately serviced by a mesmerizing guy named Barack Obama just after he sucked you into his web of fuzzyhappy promises a mere two years ago, back when you were knee-high to a shiny liberal ideology?

Well, now you know. This is what happens: The U.S. House of Representatives, the most insufferable gaggle of political mongrels this side of, well, the rest of Congress, reverts to GOP control like a brain tumor reverts to a more aggressive form of cancer, and everything gets bleaker and sadder and, frankly, a whole lot nastier.

What happens is: Many kinds of fragmented, muddled, but still constructive Democratic progress might get stopped quite nearly dead, and even a few pieces of legislation we actually did gain get slapped around, threatened, stomped on the head like a scientist at a Rand Paul rally. Happy now?

Check it out, kiddo: This is not just any Republican party you allowed back into power; these mealy folks are not anything like the war-hungry, Bush-tainted army of flying monkeys and Dick Cheney moose knuckles you so wonderfully helped bury in the history books last election.

No, the GOP of 2010-2011 is even weirder, dumber, less interested in anything you even remotely care about; this GOP is infused like a sour cocktail with a bitter splash of the most cartoonish, climate change-denying Tea Party dingbats imaginable — most of whom think you’re an elitist, terrorist-loving, gay-supporting threat to “real” American values, btw — all led by a guy named Boehner who wears a bizarre, shellacked tan so fake and creepy it makes Nancy Pelosi looks like a supermodel.

And you made it all happen. Or rather, you failed to prevent it from happening, by not voting, by turning your collective back on Obama’s tough love, by getting all whiny and dejected like some sort of sullen teen vampire who can’t get laid.

Do you deny it? Did you see the polls and studies that said that most fresh-faced, Obama-swooning Dems like you are now refusing to support our beloved Nazi Muslim president because he didn’t wish-fulfill your every whim in a week? That he was, in fact, not quite the instant-gratification SuperJesus of your (or rather, our) dreams?

Of course you didn’t see any of that. Hell, I bet you’re not even reading this column right now. You’re probably back on Twitter, raging into the Void about, hell, who knows what? The Wolf Parade concert. Angry Birds. The People of Wal-Mart. Anything but politics, really.

But hey, whatevs, right? Screw it. Screw him. After all, the prez let you down. Conveniently “forgot” to include you in the dialogue, after a major election that you helped him win. Where were the outreach programs? The campus speaking tours? Weekly appearances on “The Daily Show”? Legal pot and gay marriage and discounts tickets to SXSW and Burning Man and Coachella? I want my goddamn political perks, and I want them now.

Hey, I understand. We’re an instant gratification culture, and you’re an ADHD generation. Who wants to hear that serious enviro legislation might take a decade or two to fully come to fruition? Who wants to hear about Obama passing rather amazing student loan reform? Or even financial reform? Or health care, the Iraq drawdown, saving a million jobs at GM, or all the rest of his rather astonishing achievements to date? Dude, so boring.

Of course, you’ve now learned the hard way that the hot flush of a major election is far more electrifying than the gray n’ meaty grind of actual governing. Obama flew into office on gossamer liberal wings, but the real halls of D.C. are a goddamn pigsblood slaughterhouse, brutal and depressing, full of gnarled legislative compromise. Screw that noise, you know?

And you know what? You’re right. Well, sort of. The Obama administration sure as hell could’ve done more to keep young activists inspired and involved. It’s an opportunity squandered, no question. Then again, dude was sorta busy unburying the entire nation, you know? And the twitchy Democratic party has never been known for its savvy cohesion. Maybe you can give him/them a break? Whoops, too late.

Look, I’m sorry. I know I’m being far too hard on you. Of course it’s not just you. It’s not completely your fault these dimwit Repubs were allowed to ooze back into a bit of power so soon. As many analysts have pointed out, this wasn’t a vote for the Republicans, but against the limp-wristed Dems who didn’t step up and lead with more authority and clarity of purpose. Truly, libs and independents of every age are frustrated Obama isn’t governing with the same kind of magical, balls-out visionary zeal that fueled his campaign.

And let’s not forget a shockingly unintelligent Tea Party movement that stands for exactly nothing and fears exactly everything, all ghost-funded by a couple of creepy libertarian oil billionaires — the leathery old Koch brothers — who eat their young for a snack. Who could’ve predicted that gnarled political contraption would hold water? But hey, when Americans are angry and nervous, they do stupid things. Like vote Republican. It happens. Just did.

But here’s your big takeaway, young Dem: It ain’t over yet. The 2012 election is just around the corner. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that two years whip by insanely quickly. Anything can happen, and usually does. You’ll have another chance. And probably another after that. Maybe more.

So here’s what you need to know, right now: Barack Obama is, and will continue to be, a bit of goddamn miracle. He’s simply as good as we’re going get for an articulate, thoughtful, integrity-rich Democratic prez in your lifetime. Period. To hamstring his administration out of spite and laziness is childish and sad. Check the accomplishments. Understand the process. Deal with the messiness.

It will never be perfect. It will never be giddy liberal nirvana, because it doesn’t work that way. Politics is corrosive and infuriating, de facto and by definition, even with someone as thoughtful as Obama in the Big Chair. Understand it. Deal with it. Get back in the game. If you don’t, we all lose.

Your choice, kiddo.

Absolutely fabulous, from top to bottom.

I know a lot of people take offense to being lambasted this way, and will inevitably claim that the tone of the article is too harsh and will drive people away from following politics and the political process, not wake them up to how important it is to participate. Frankly, I think we’re definitely at the point where we’ve been rewarded for participation in the process and now we need to be reminded that it is indeed a process – not an game of instant returns. It’s a process and we all need to keep participating, and we all need to keep fighting, or else what happened here will continue to happen.

[ Letter to a Whiny Young Democrat ]
Source: The San Francisco Chronicle

November 8, 2010

7 Reasons the GOP’s House Takeover was No “Wave”

All the credit goes to the folks at AlterNet for this one, but while many people are sitting back and wailing about the loss of the House to the Republicans as something catastrophic, the one thing you won’t hear anyone but the Republicans themselves saying is that they have some kind of mandate to reduce spending and create jobs – two things that are all but impossible to do since employing people involves spending money on those people. As usual, the instant the Republicans and their tea party friends win a few elections, they’re back to their Bush Era paradoxical talk and impossible promises – after all, those promises and paradoxes are what got them elected.

A lot of good Democrats lost in the House, but in some cases I don’t regret their losing – Blue Dog Democrats who caucused with the Dems but voted with the Repubs, or who held up critical legislation in order to push their own semi-centrist agenda won’t be missed. This is a rallying call for the Democrats who remain to trust in their progressive base and go on the attack, and make sure the American people know loud and clear who’s responsible when the improvements already in place either start to stall, or when one of those new Tea Party freaks does something stupid, says something racist/sexist/homophobic, and inevitably gets busted taking money from the private industries whose boots they lick.

Perhaps the only loss I’m really mourning is the Senate seat of Russ Feingold – the one Senator who voted against the Patriot Act, the one Senator who truly appreciated and respected the rights and civil liberties of the American people, voted out and replaced with a car salesman who bought his way into the Senate with a ridiculous amount of money. Just goes to show you where the Tea Party heads are at, doesn’t it?

So they’re in the House now with a ridiculously slim majority, no majority in the Senate, and an agenda that includes something like repealing Health Care reform, which I would almost be happy to see them try to do – they’re going to need a whole lot more votes to do that, and any effort they make to try and pull people in front of Congress to talk about the new health care laws, the more the American people will see what it does for them, so good luck with that.

Regardless, over at AlterNet, there’s an excellent list of 7 reasons why this was anything but a “wave,” and nothing compared to the 08 elections, and while it’s worrysome in many ways, it’s nothing that progressives can’t rally against – and we all should. Here are a couple of highlights:

We thought a little perspective was in order, so without further preamble, here are seven things progressives should keep in mind after Tuesday’s drubbing:

1. Midterm elections, unlike presidential races, are a collection of low-turnout, localized contests rather than a barometer of the nation’s ideological tilt.

The GOP’s gains in last night’s elections, as Rosenberg notes, “are part of the predictable rebalancing that occurs between presidential elections, rather than ideological shifts in the electorate.”

2. The electorate is hopping mad, but they still dislike Republicans. A month before an election that has swept some rather extreme GOPers into Congress, an Associated Press-GfK Poll found that “60 percent disapprove of the job congressional Democrats are doing — yet 68 percent frown on how Republicans are performing.”

A New York Times/CBS News poll last week found that while a majority of Americans voted GOP yesterday, the electorate “continues to have a more favorable opinion of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party, with 46 percent favoring Democrats and 41 favoring Republicans.”

This will be the third consecutive year in which the party out of power wins. That’s not a measure of the country’s ideological leanings, it’s a sign that people are hurting and are mad as hell about it (in case one needed such a sign).

3. Blue Dogs took the brunt of it. The loss of Wisconsin’s liberal lion, Russ Feingold, is a blow to the progressive movement. Alan Grayson’s defeat in Florida hurts. Other good lawmakers were booted out of office last night as well. But in many cases, what we saw were conservatives with Ds next to their names replaced with conservatives with Rs.

I’ll leave the others – really good ones, I might add, to you to head over and check out.

[ It’s Not the End of the World — 7 Things Progressives Need to Keep in Mind About Last Night’s GOP ‘Wave’ ]
Source: AlterNet