As we look ahead to the so-called "fiscal cliff" negotiation, it's instructive to consider what the Republicans would do if they were in our position, with all the momentum and the leverage.
Here's a brief thought experiment: imagine that a Republican president had just been elected with 332 electoral votes and a 51% to 48% popular vote, and that his party had gained two seats to strengthen their Republican majority in the Senate. Meanwhile, the only branch of government still controlled by Democrats was the House, where Democrats had lost ground while still managing to retain control of that Chamber.
In the aftermath of this hypothetical GOP election victory, the media would be speculating on how Democrats must change their message in order to ever have a chance of winning a presidential election in the future, and the Democratic Party would be divided and bitter.
In this scenario, it's hard to imagine the Republicans being in the mood to compromise on the agenda they ran on (and won on), isn't it?
(more below the fold)
“I was really kind of hoping Romney would say some stuff that I’d understand, as far as what his plans are,” Ms. Jernigan said. “And I don’t feel that this has clarified anything for me.”
That quote is from a New York Times article
published this evening about a suburban debate-watching party in Ohio. Theoretically, the people quoted in the article are some of the voters who will decide the election.
That quote - by Ms. Jernigan - sums up the real takeaway from tonight's debate. Voters know about President Obama. They've had 4 years to evaluate him and observe his policies and make an opinion about them.
Tonight was the moment to get to know Romney's plan. And judging from the quote above, and from my own viewing of the debate, that didn't happen.
Sure, Romney had some good lines and came across as more appealing than many of us expected, but that was not enough. He needed to present a clear plan, but he failed to do so.
Voters were looking for information about his plan... and they didn't get it tonight. That will ultimately make it much harder for Romney to win, regardless of whatever the pundits are saying right now.
I have a feeling the debate over the #Occupy movement is about to shift into high gear in the national media, and one of the main points of discussion will be the takeover of a building (i.e. "private property") in Oakland.
The media will likely start asking questions like... Why did the protesters take over private property? Does this justify the police actions? Does it discredit the movement?
How to answer those questions I'm not exactly sure, but I think this message will be part of the answer: [Disclaimer: I was directed to this link via Twitter and cannot vouch for the authenticity/accuracy of it, but I'm feel pretty confident it is legitimate]
The Oakland branch of the Traveler's Aid Society was a government-funded non-profit that provided aid to houseless people in our area. After the government cut funding to the program the Oakland branch faced foreclosure at the hands of their private lender.
Since then, the space sat vacant, as though it were disposable to those with the keys. To us this space is invaluable. We are reclaiming it for the people. It is now open for our use.
We welcome the Traveler's Aid Society to resume providing services in this building. Otherwise, we will make it into a library and open workshop space for the people of Oakland.
This space is an example for the country. When the political and financial systems of this nation fail to provide needed services, we must do it ourselves.
This will be short because I just want to get this idea out there. Occupy Wall Street has been so successful that I think it's taken a lot of people by surprise, including many of those who support the idea like me.
But you can be sure it's surprised a lot of powerful people who don't support it, too.
And one of the things that can happen when something like this gains steam is that the establishment will look for an excuse to marginalize it. I'm always amazed at how fast the news cycle is these days, and while I'm thrilled with all the coverage the protests are getting (much of it positive) I'm not foolish enough to think that will last forever.
What could change? Well, in the past there have been instances where police or those opposed to a protest tried to discredit it by planting fake protesters or in some cases even weapons. I'm not saying this will happen, or even that it is likely to happen. I'm just saying it could - and therefore it's wise to be prepared for the possibility.
Just like Howard Dean was discredited once there was a "gotcha" moment (the scream), a protest can similarly be discredited and effectively destroyed if something that widely perceived as bad happens and is blamed on protesters.
Here's a few previous stories to consider:
Many arrested people have sought to discredit the police by alleging the planting of evidence. It is particularly common in drugs cases. But Simon's allegations carry rather more weight because a cameraman from Greek television was recording the sequence of events. The shot of the arrest clearly shows Simon, as he says, with a rucksack coloured blue and purple.
The lens then switches to the other side of the road where a police officer is displaying an open black rucksack containing the Molotov cocktails, and other weapons. Two police officers carry this bag across the road and dump it on the pavement next to Simon. The sequence ends with Simon surrounded by three black rucksacks. Meanwhile, the blue and purple one - his own - has disappeared.
When Bush was in Canada selling America to Mexico earlier this week, Canadian labor unions protested the secret negotiations between the three countries’ leaders. And whenever there’s a big political protest, there are cops in disguise — usually as “anarchists” — trying to start shit so that the uniformed cops can smash skulls and shoot their water cannons and rubber bullets and tear-gas cannisters at the real protesters who were just peacefully protesting. What was interesting about this week’s agents provocateurs is that they got caught on video and the video was immediately seen by hundreds of thousands of people all around the world and for possibly the first time ever, a police department has been shamed into admitting that it plants disguised cops in protest crowds to stir up shit.
I'll let this message speak for itself. Posted on Facebook earlier today:
The Marines are coming to Wall St...(to PROTECT the protestors)
"I'm heading up there tonight in my dress blues. So far, 15 of my fellow marine buddies are meeting me there, also in Uniform.
I want to send the following message to Wall St and Congress:
I didn't fight for Wall St. I fought for America. Now it's Congress' turn.
My true hope, though, is that we Veterans can act as first line of defense between the police and the protester. If they want to get to some protesters so they can mace them, they will have to get through the Fucking Marine Corps first. Let's see a cop mace a bunch of decorated war vets.
I apologize now for typos and errors. Typing this on iPhone whilst heading to NYC. We can organize once we're there. That's what we do best. If you see someone in uniform, gather together.
A formation will be held tonight at 10PM.
We all took an oath to uphold, protect and defend the constitution of this country. That's what we will be doing.
Hope to see you there!!"
So I posted an article on CapInsider today about something I saw on the website of "The John and Ken Show." John and Ken are two very conservative radio hosts who have developed such a following that pretty much every Republican elected official in California is afraid of them. They had a post up today on their website that was really offensive and mean-spirited and I called them out on it:
Right now we are seeing an eerie parallel between the looming shutdown of the federal government and the ongoing impasse between Gov. Brown and Republican legislators in resolving California’s budget situation. If we look closely at the events unfolding in both D.C. and Sacramento, we see quite a few similarities...
On March 16th, I wrote the following: The L.A. Times is reporting that the five GOP Senators whose votes Gov. Brown has been courting in order to pass his budget proposal are making a new demand just hours before both houses of the Legislature are scheduled to vote. Their demand is to significantly weaken the landmark environmental law known as the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. The law requires development projects to go through stringent environmental reviews, and it has long been a target of Republican legislators. Seizing their moment of greatest leverage, these Republicans are now hoping the Governor and legislative Democrats will be desperate enough for a resolution to the budget ordeal that they will be willing to sacrifice CEQA.
Now today, March 24th, after a week of not hearing anything about changes to CEQA, suddenly it seems that is still a possibility.
Crossposted from www.CapInsider.com
During one of the long floor sessions last week in the California State Senate, Republicans became angered when a Democratic lawmaker – Sen. Mark Leno – referred to them as the “Party of No.” Republican Sen. Bob Huff and several other Republicans spoke up, decrying this breech of comity and demanding an apology.
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you are State Senator Sam Blakeslee. You represent the 15th Senate District, which includes the cities of San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, and Monterey, and which covers all or part of five different counties along the central coast. Seven months ago, in August of 2010, you won your current Senate seat by defeating former Democratic Assemblyman John Laird in a special election to replace Abel Maldonado.
Today, the California Legislature is taking up budget trailer bills that will make devastating cuts to many social programs. Ironically, it is not even clear yet whether Republicans will vote for the cuts they are forcing Dems to make, let alone whether they will allow the people of this state to vote for extending certain taxes for the next five years to save some of these social programs.
Republicans have been demanding concessions to get their votes: (1) rolling back public employee benefits, particularly pensions, (2) a hard spending cap on state spending, (3) gutting CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act, which governs development projects in CA.
I will be updating this diary today (and tonight) as the floor debate continues. This is an important day in California!
The L.A. Times is reporting that the five GOP Senators whose votes Gov. Brown has been courting in order to pass his budget proposal are making a new demand just hours before both houses of the Legislature are scheduled to vote. Their demand is to significantly weaken the landmark environmental law known as the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. The law requires development projects to go through stringent environmental reviews, and it has long been a target of Republican legislators. Seizing their moment of greatest leverage, these Republicans are now hoping the Governor and legislative Democrats will be desperate enough for a resolution to the budget ordeal that they will be willing to sacrifice CEQA.
The details of the plan are still being sorted out, but according to the L.A. Times article: