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On Saturday (7 Sept 2013) Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in Bill Clinton's administration, wrote this assessment of Secretary of State John Kerry. On Facebook.

Indeed... I found this astounding:

Kerry is an intelligent man, but he has a fatal flaw. He craves the limelight. He wants to be in the center of the action and attention. Over the years I heard again and again from his Senate colleagues that Kerry grandstanded and wanted all the credit, said things that would get him on the evening news, pushed too fast and too far in order to make his mark.
Reich writes that Kerry has convinced President Barack Obama to "stake much of his second-term presidency on it." Why? So a "grandstanding" loving Kerry can etch out this Munich Moment as his crowning moment? Is it the opportunity to act presidential, embracing his inner commander and chief?

As we watch this cartoonish keystone kop-like crusade unfold with ever more absurdity, Kerry actually says this about Syria, with everybody listening:


John Kerry Promises ‘Unbelievably Small’ Action in Syria
"We’re not talking about war
. We are not going to war, we will not have people at risk in that way. We will be able to hold Bashar al Assad accountable in a very limited, very targeted, very short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons. That is exactly what we are talking about doing. Unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.

reported by Tommy Christopher | Mediaite, September 9th, 2013

Subtext to this? The failure of President Obama's LEADERSHIP, instead Obama appears too willing (yet again) to be led by what Reich characterizes as "the loudest voice in the room."

 

This is a disaster of immeasurable scale, whether or not we actually attack Syria. The leadership, both political and corporate, of United States has willingly boarded a runaway train and seems to love this ride, riddled as it is with blood lust and power madness.

We can't stop these fumbling fools and I do mean most, if not all, of the powerful Democrat leadership, and without doubt, the Republican leadership.

No. We can't beat them at their own game. We CAN change the game. LOCAL.

Let me ask: if the ground game works, and we saw its success in the re election of Obama. We've been the victims of its success as fundamentalists, tea partiers and Republicans worked the ground in town after town instilling Jesus Rode a Dinosaur mentality throughout the land. Why haven't Democrats pursued this effective strategy of taking back our towns, cities, counties, and states?

The control over police, how many laws are wielded, prisons, education, even health care can all be worked at the state level down... and yet we continue to pursue national elections, praying to a god unknown that Hillary or whomever is going to stop the madness. Except most of the madness is perpetrated by people of Hillary's ilk and they are, as I write, continuing (virtually unopposed) to position law, resources, and a place at the proverbial table outside of our reach.

We need sites like Daily Kos, with its membership and influence, to help progressives realize and implement creative, inventive and effective strategies to regain secular, sane, and socially just laws and governance. We need to play the long game, the politics-is-trickle-up game. In fact, whatever happened to the very wise understanding that "all politics is local?"

We need to fashion new kinds of political models and politicians. We need integrity, intelligence, and vision to make a come back.

To continue to ask for people's efforts and cash to elect Democrats to send to Washington is a losing strategy. That much must be clear by now... we will NOT stop these people in power. We can NOT win playing their game. We don't know how to manage it.

The world seems to be crumbling in front of our very eyes and yet we cling to the same old ideas and strategies that have simply accelerated this mess.

But we could change the game. Just do it. It has to be done. Consider:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Buckminster Fuller

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

    by pfiore8 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 11:51:27 AM PDT

  •  Lust for limelight goes hand in hand (8+ / 0-)

    with a lust for power.  That's par for the course for a senator, but dangerous for a secretary of state.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 11:55:12 AM PDT

  •  The whole situation (8+ / 0-)

    looks utterly abysmal and Kerry definitely looks like the center of the problem.

    •  Lord have mercy. (0+ / 0-)

      This narrative is really frustrating me.

      I guess sometimes a guy does such a compelling heel turn that smart people have to mark out and boo the hell out of him.

      The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:25:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Democratic Party Mostly Doesn't Want to Do (9+ / 0-)

    this, and the Republicans didn't either. It was the rightwing revolution that used these methods beginning at least 40+ years ago in order to take over the Republican Party.

    We haven't had an overarching liberal or progressive movement to correspond. One reason is that there are no top-wealthy individuals willing to fight to make the country progressive, while there are dozens fighting to make it rightwing.

    Progressives and liberals have been operating on the historic default that we had a progressive party that was merely out of touch on certain particular issues, so we have particular issue movements but not a nationwide overarching progressive movement.

    Since the party became a conservative party, we've needed to make that switch, but it hasn't happened yet.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:03:32 PM PDT

    •  exactly. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, Deep Harm, aliasalias

      and I've been saying the same for years:

      Progressives and liberals have been operating on the historic default that we had a progressive party that was merely out of touch on certain particular issues, so we have particular issue movements but not a nationwide overarching progressive movement.
      basically, it (a progressive party) doesn't exist in Washington or within the Democratic party.

      which is why I keep hammering away that we must get to trickle up politics... gravity - defying politics.

      school boards, town boards, county boards... talking to your neighbors, going to county fairs and talking to the farmers left and how communities can coalesce around them and buy local. local/regional economies. it can be done if we are smart and realize that down sizing from consolidated markets (wal mart etal) to small family owned... it's no surprise we've lost all our resources. we don't produce jobs much any more or wealth... we have become workers and consumers.

      “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

      by pfiore8 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:26:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I always thought his fatal flaw was (7+ / 0-)

    "vanity" which is different from a craving for the limelight; it is a larger concern for how he has to appear to advantage in his surroundings and this might also include NOT drawing the limelight.

    I drew this conclusion from his unwillingness to fight what I perceived at the time to be clear and convincing evidence of possible election fraud in the 2004 election, especially events in Ohio.

    I was extremely disappointed that he showed absolutely no willingness to engage and I attributed it to the simple desire not to be seen as PoorLoserMan  a la Al Gore who at least had the gumption to fight a wrong.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:07:58 PM PDT

  •  Dems can't win in red districts and states (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lordcopper, VClib

    at least not liberal ones.  That's the problem.  We've got most of the blue states and districts.  But there are enough red states and districts to block any meaningful action from happening.  Until liberals can figure out how to win in places like Arkansas, the current political dynamic will continue.  

    The Democratic Party is merely a vehicle.  Ultimately the current political environment is due to the fact that the red and blue states/districts are so divided and entrenched.  Only the people can change that dynamic.  I think demographics will change it in the long run, but in the short run the only thing I can think of is running liberals in red states, districts, school boards, you name it, until they win.

    The problem is that in places like rural Arkansas or Missouri, such liberals simply do not win.  And that's less the fault of the Democratic Party than it is due to character of the voters in such states and districts.  At the moment, and for several decades now, they generally do not vote for liberals.  Changing such opinions is very, very difficult, and not something that can be solved by better messaging or more money from the DNC.

    The opinions of the people in such districts and states must change dramatically in the near term (a very hard, if not impossible, lift), or the people themselves in such districts must change - meaning either more liberals move to such districts/states, and/or the demographics become more nonwhite (who are generally more liberal).

    "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

    by puakev on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:11:15 PM PDT

    •  Well we rarely test your theory (5+ / 0-)

      because liberals are seldom given the opportunity to run in such places because of the common wisdom you spout.

      To use Arkansas as an example, it would have been great to see if Bill Halter could have beat the Republican, but Blue Dog Blanche Lincoln won the Democratic primary with President Obama's help who campaigned for her, even after she boasted about being the killer of the public option and in the general she managed to lose her seat.

      She turned off a lot of Dems in Arkansas and Halter would have been the far better choice for the general election in my opinion.

      “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

      by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:19:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Liberals don't win in such areas (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lordcopper, VClib

        because they don't win their primaries.  They don't win their primaries because even the Democrats in places like Arkansas are pretty conservative.

        Yeah, it would've been nice if Halter had won, but I recall that polls showed he would've gotten his ass kicked by John Boozman that year.  The notion that somehow Lincoln only won because Obama campaigned for her is pretty laughable.  Obama is unpopular in Arkansas, even among Democrats, so his support could hardly have been a boon to Lincoln.  

        You seem to think that the support of the national party is the determinative factor here.  Well, tell that to the Tea Party.  They've won a string of primaries and statewide elections over the last few years in spite of opposition from the Republican establishment.  By contrast, name one primary or statewide election that a liberal upstart managed to win.  Hell, Ilya Sheyman ran as a staunch liberal in a pretty centrist district and he still got creamed.  

        My attitude is that liberals should keep trying and running in conservative and centrist districts and states.  But if it seems that we only get conservative or centrist Dem candidates in such places, it's because the only Dems who seem to ever win or are competitive in such places are conservative or centrist (see Landrieu, Mary; Pryor, Mark)  It's not a conspiracy by the party establishment.  It's simply the characteristics of the voters in such districts and states.  They are generally centrist and conservative, and not very keen on liberals, simple as that.

        That can change of course, but it will likely be due to demographics.  That's why New Mexico and Colorado and the Philadelphia suburbs have gone from solid red to blue in the last 10 years.  Liberals just need to keep trying until they win.

        But don't kid yourselves that simply saying the magic words will somehow convert a bunch of staunch conservatives into liberals.  

        "Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude." - Martin Van Buren

        by puakev on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:44:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Howard Dean was the only one (3+ / 0-)

        and boy, did the establishment Democrats hate it.

        No 50-state strategy for them. They're willing to put up with it briefly if they need a quick populist fix for one or two cycles, but they aren't about to let it become common practice.

        And if you want some real talk about how DC Dems shut down Democratic campaigns they don't like--and refuse to challenge Republicans like Paul Ryan--go to downwithtyranny.blogspot.com  Howie Klein has some really good info about the Zerban challenge to Paul Ryan and how DC dumped cold water on it even as Zerban raised 2 mil on his own.

        The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:31:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is zero need to malign Kerry. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the oklahoma kid, lordcopper, VClib

    I thought only the wingnuts did this sort of thing but I have been proven wrong. Sadly, the John Kerry who has served his country bravely has now been deemed to be evil, incompetent, and hopeless vain.

    There is an authoritarian streak on the Left that deems any perspective that is different must be rooted in some deep character flaw. It isn't enough for Kerry to be wrong, no, he must be exposed as too deviant to trust.

    I thought we were better than the Right, but more and more I see that too many claiming to be of the Left are just a different side of the same sad coin. The willingness to lie and go after John Kerry in much the same way as the Right went after Max Cleland is shameful.

    The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

    by sebastianguy99 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:13:52 PM PDT

    •  oy. vey. (5+ / 0-)

      lie? where's the lie? Reich is analyzing Kerry's behavior based on Kerry's actions and reputation among colleagues. i think Reich was/is well enough placed to offer this assessment.

      and we will never unravel this mess if we continue with our Hatfields vs McCoys mentality.

      right left... it's all bullshit. we need to stop blathering about bullshit and start making smart decisions about how to mitigate the very big mess we've made out of life on Earth.

      it's left/right against monsanto, big oil, water, war... right left. keyrist. get over it already. but apparently, that's not clear enough. somehow. it isn't clear enough. mind boggling.

      “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

      by pfiore8 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:21:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Max Cleland never went Godwin on the folks (4+ / 0-)

      who were his putative allies, did he?  Kerry claims that the same people who opposed the war of aggression in Iraq (which he voted to proceed with) are, on the same principle that we stood on in '03 - that you don't attack if you aren't imminently threatened, are now a bunch of Neville Chamberlains for not wanting us to continue the neocon plan to operate as World Vigilante (World Policeman being just that much off the mark).

      Your conflation of Progressives with the Rovian hatchet job against Max is in that exact category: hyperbole piled on obfuscation.  I see clearly where you get the propensity, at least.

      "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

      by nailbender on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:34:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  God, people are strange (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeadHead, Lepanto, churchylafemme

      You get defensive on John Kerry's behalf, while saying other people have an authoritarian streak?

      Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

      by yet another liberal on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:41:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm getting defensive because I'm sick of (0+ / 0-)

        sloppy thinking passing itself off as fact.

        Also, it's intensely frustrating to me to watch people on this site, many of whom I respect, fall for something that looks to me like mediocre wrestling booking.

        Which is not to say that Kerry doesn't privately want to attack Assad. He may well. But this over-the-top frothing and foaming is so clearly scripted we might as well have a guy in a director's chair at the press conferences saying "Action!"

        The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:38:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the foaming at the mouth is being done by Kerry (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lepanto, churchylafemme, aliasalias

          it is painful to listen to him, truly.

          Reich's analysis gives some perspective because truly, i was lost as to what was fueling Kerry's dangerous rhetoric. this explains it as well as anything else.

          “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

          by pfiore8 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 02:20:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think so, for reasons I've already (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pfiore8

            stated.

            But the rest of what you say I like. A lot.

            The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 02:29:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  well, i guess it doesn't matter... (2+ / 0-)

              the world is a mess and we shouldn't be disagreeing over bits and pieces when we agree, in many ways, how we might regain sanity.

              and whether or not Reich is plain sloppy, wrong and sloppy, or even right and sloppy, it illustrates what we are up against because that much Reich got right.

              it's how the powerful think. and that is what we need to grasp in order to move on and away from them. it's human engineering gone awry... its built a system with which it can not manage. there doesn't exist the proper scale of consequence or accountability.

              we can not win them over, change them, redeem them, or make them fear for their world their children will inherit. they think the rules of law, nature, the universe don't apply.

              and that is what Reich captures, whether he intended to or not.

              as an aside, i've come to believe there are subspecies of humans ... not based on skin color or geographic region. but of this inability to scale action to consequence. those of us who understand the world is on fire are a different subspecies than those populating BushCo. simple as that, imo.

              “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

              by pfiore8 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 03:23:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I speak up when I see unfairness. (0+ / 0-)

        No apologies.

        The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

        by sebastianguy99 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 03:40:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly!! Evidently Reich doesn't believe in the (0+ / 0-)

      merits of his argument because he resorts to personal attacks.  One could make some pretty damning arguments about Reich's personality as well, but would they be relevant to the issues at hand?

      "Because I am a river to my people."

      by lordcopper on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:48:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, of course. Zero need. (4+ / 0-)

      He hasn't been saying stupid shit or anything recently.

      Also, this is funny:

      There is an authoritarian streak on the Left that deems any perspective that is different must be rooted in some deep character flaw.
      Projection is fun, isn't it?




      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

      by DeadHead on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:53:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  this is not where the authoritarianism (0+ / 0-)

      in the party lies. Neither pfiore nor Reich is being authoritarian. Far from it. What Reich is being is intellectually lazy and sloppy in proving his point. Actually, he apparently thinks he doesn't have to prove his point, because he has DC credentials and relationships that he can point to. But that's no substitute for evidence. Or at least, if you're gonna base your argument on anonymous gossip, you could be very specific about it, as Yves was in her NSA article that I quoted in my other comment.

      The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:34:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, and the authoritarians.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pfiore8, churchylafemme, aliasalias

      ....are the supposed liberals who use Bush's language to get us to fight a war. Liberal hawks can kiss my ass. The burden of proof is on them.

  •  Although I've been reminded here (9+ / 0-)

    that he serves as the messenger for the President, I still think Kerry is handling his duties in an incredibly blunt, overwrought, inappropriate manner.  He can't shut up.  The definition of diplomacy is:

    The art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements.
    2. Tact and skill in dealing with people.
    Kerry shows neither art, tact nor skill.  He speaks as he would if he were a Senator, a candidate for President, or on a talk show.  This is a different job.  I refuse to believe the President Obama, who could give a sly, relaxed performance at the Correspondents' Dinner as the raid to capture Osama bin Laden was going on, and who could keep his cool every day as venomous insults, scathing cartoonish caricatures and unprecedented threats come his way, agrees with Kerry's performance on this issue.  

    "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    by SottoVoce on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:18:17 PM PDT

    •  Probably wishes he had Hillary back. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SottoVoce, pfiore8

      But I'll wager she is the happiest person in the world right now not to have to deal with this fiasco.

      Imagine if Hillary were forced to lead the charge as SOS, instead of Kerry. The Republicans would be having a field day with that, much more even than they're having now.

      •  Yes, Kerry is setting up a big face push for Hill (0+ / 0-)

        next year.  It's all designed to lead up to her big Wrestlemania moment in Nov '16.

        Of course, she's not doing in-ring time right now, but they had her cut a nice promo backstage.

        The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:39:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SottoVoce, pfiore8

      Obama is so measured and cautious in everything he says and Kerry has been a bomb-thrower. He's got to be an embarrassment to the administration especially since a big part of Obama's positive public image used to be because of "No Drama Obama".

      I'm thinking at this point Obama needs to ask Kerry to resign. People say Biden is a gaffe machine but he has nothing on John Kerry.

      Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

      by Matt Z on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:22:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If he doesn't agree with it, he can let that be (3+ / 0-)

      known. He's the fucking President, after all.

      The handling of the Russian initiative will tell the tale on that count, that's for certain.

      "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

      by nailbender on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:37:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, Carney has now contradicted Kerry. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pfiore8, Lepanto

        It's my hope that this is an indication of some kind of Administration pullback of Kerry's rhetoric.  If Obama doesn't put Kerry on a short leash, and at least school him about his public utterances, then I guess I'll be proven wrong.  The whole episode seems so out of character for this administration in its bumbling, fitful, contradictory way.  

        "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

        by SottoVoce on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:47:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  link? (0+ / 0-)

          "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

          by nailbender on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:55:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Today's diary (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nailbender, pfiore8

            by kos ended with this comment and tweet.  

            kos: 11:19 AM PT: Obama's spokesman apparently walks back Kerry's walkback. Tweet: "Q: Has the admin exhausted all diplomatic options with Syria? Carney: Well, we like this new Kerry-Russia idea and "are going to study it."
            I looked it up elsewhere, and it seems that the Administration's willingness to give a hard look at the Russian proposal and Syria's "welcoming" of it, was spoken by Tony Blinken.  Here, from this article, is his statement:
            "We would welcome a decision and action for Syria to give up its weapons," said Tony Blinken, President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser. But Mr. Blinken said he had little hope that Mr. Assad would give his chemical weapons to the international community as he refused for years to even acknowledge he held such stockpiles. The Obama administration said it must continue to put pressure on the Assad regime.

            "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

            by SottoVoce on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:25:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Also, TomP's diary has a few quotes: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nailbender, pfiore8

             

            Rhodes said the U.S. would “follow up” with the Russians on the point “to discuss the seriousness of the proposal,” but he noted that Russia has a record of defending the regime in Damascus.
            snip
               A State Department spokeswoman made similar comments in what appeared to be a coordinated administration response to the Russian suggestion.
               “This proposal…is only taking pace in that context [of] the threat of military action,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said. “The Russians for months and years have stood up for the Syrian regime at the United Nations.”
               Harf said, however, that the U.S. would welcome the Syrian regime giving up its chemical weapons. “ Clearly, we think that would be a positive step for the Syrian people, for the region, for the whole international community,” she said. (bold mine)
            diary link

            "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

            by SottoVoce on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:29:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Kerry is the one who made the suggestion! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SottoVoce

          Everyone took it as a gaffe when he suggested that all chemical weapons be removed from Syria this morning. I think it was a trial balloon, for which Russia has responded to positively.

          It didn't come from the White House first. But I am sure it was all agreed upon before it happened.

          Seriously, guys -- Kerry isn't acting on his own. He has a boss -- the POTUS.

      •  Ah, nailbender, don't trouble the narrative (0+ / 0-)

        of the John Kerry heel turn. It's really important. If John Kerry gets enough people hating  on him, he can get Obama out of this looking clean as a whistle, moderate and judicious, while everyone pines for Hillary to occupy the public stage again.  

        The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:41:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Heh, here's my take on it an hour ago: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SouthernLiberalinMD

          "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

          by nailbender on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 02:45:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is kind of a crappy show they're (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nailbender

            putting on for us.

            I'm glad it's Monday. I need to watch Raw to clear my mind.

            The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 02:51:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  When you say (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pfiore8

          "don't trouble the narrative," I presume you're accusing me of furthering some kind of narrative?  What might that be?  Is it your idea I mean that Kerry is being lousy at the job to make Hillary look good by comparison?  That may be your take, but I'm not buying.  Kerry seems perfectly capable of making himself look terrible all by himself.

          "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

          by SottoVoce on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 05:51:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's the White House's narrative (0+ / 0-)

            Kerry is obviously doing his part, so I assume he agreed to it. And yeah, you're furthering it.

             But nobody around here, or almost nobody, seems interested in doing anything except having a knee-jerk response to the images and words the big boys in Washington are delivering to us, so never mind.

            Just one note before I drop it, though:  Hillary 2016 is neither the primary nor the secondary goal of Kerry playing bad cop. It's a tertiary goal, otherwise known as "gravy" or "hey, while we're at it, why don't we give you a boost in your POTUS run?"

            The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 07:07:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  that's the bigger picture: nobody doing anything (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SouthernLiberalinMD

              here, in a place that could conceivably change the game... as it almost did those first BushCo years.

              but let's just do some spit-ballin' here:
              this site is stuck because it's partisan and tethered mainly to the national stage. if we are to emerge with something viable and useable, this site and others like it need to be issue driven, connected, and using resources of their respective communities to help small town or county or state people become candidates, set up websites, help research issues/laws that can put some breathing space between citizens and the out-of-whack federal gov't.

              just raising a few bucks site wide for 25 local races... say we and others out in the netroots manages to raise $10,000 for each of those races... with the prereq that they have sane strategies in place and pass the sane/secular/civic minded smell test... and i'm sure there are people out in the netroots that could help us come up with some kind of meaningful list of questions to give us a reasonable way of sizing up candidates.

              can also do something like they must repay $$ if they turn out to be secret fundies or something.

              but there's lots we can do without burning ourselves up for Hillary or whomever.

              “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

              by pfiore8 on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:29:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I really agree, but the best we can likely do (0+ / 0-)

                is establish a small space on this site where people who want to do action like that can come. And I'm not sure, given the relentless trolling, that even that will work, although it's possible it will if we stick to local issues that are rarely incendiary.

                Thing is, though, you'd better find a Democrat who will fit your bill for those local races, or you and everyone doing work toward electing whoever it is will be banned. This site is about electing Democrats. That won't change in any way.

                If it didn't change when Democrats were pushing PIPA and SOPA, which would effectively put this site out of business, it's never going to change.

                The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:47:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  i have (0+ / 0-)

                  a website that i'm not using at the moment. in fact, we had a troll problem but it wasn't the trolls who chased me off. it was my own "board"... continually trolling for trolls.

                  i said: leave them ALONE... at some point, they'll give up. i just couldn't do it.

                  what i would be willing to do is pay to keep the site running if I could find a decent board and someone smart and good at IMPLEMENTING to lead it... i'm great with ideas, but not such a good implementer.

                  think about it. maybe you know a group from here and there who'd like to give it a shot? i'll sit on the board, pay the yearly site bill, but somebody else needs to be the CHEESE. i like the team thing (and NOT all like minded, but a group that can work it out), and while i can take over the reins and push things forward, it's not my really good place.

                   

                  “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

                  by pfiore8 on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:56:13 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Also called S America "our backyard". How (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pfiore8, aliasalias

      fucking old school and inappropriate was that.  (Not once but twice by the way.)

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 04:37:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't see that at all and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lordcopper

    these types of comments are not helpful anyway. I remember when Dem pundits were sniping at the President during the Gulf Oil disaster and they were proven to be unknowing and petty, really.

    •  See my comment below. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      the oklahoma kid

      Reich is making a lazy argument based on gossip from unnamed sources--and it's not even specific gossip. It's a really vague amalgam, like saying "Oh, a lot of people I knew over the years said he's a real bastard."

      At least when Yves at Naked Capitalism uses opinion from an unnamed source it is specific. Compare this quote to Reich's blog post:

      This is from Naked Capitalism:

      I happened to be on the phone with a political expert and insider when the result of the Amash amendment vote in the House of Representatives hit the news wires. While I am sure readers will be disappointed that this proposal to curb the NSA was defeated (see background here), the margin of victory for the bad guys was so stunningly narrow that it shows how badly support for the NSA has fallen even among its normal allies. When I read the vote results to my expert, 205 to 217, his reaction was uncharacteristically heated (he describes his degree of sang froid as somewhere between that of a Chinese sage and a dead dog):
      Holy shit, this is huge. The NSA must be shitting in its pants. They got this close to beating them when the opponents had no time and no organizing, and the White House was throwing its weight behind this too.
      Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/...

      The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:20:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i think this is pretty overblown (0+ / 0-)


    Reich said Kerry is a grandstander - you inflate that to "bloodlust and power madness" - you don't see a bit of - say - HYPERBOLE in there?  Particularly considering Kerry's words that he is pushing for 'unbelievably small' action.  Considering that 11 members of the G20 endorsed action against Syria, Kerry is not far out in front of anyone on this.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 12:57:42 PM PDT

  •  I find this a really dumb argument. (0+ / 0-)

    Even though Reich is generally speaking really smart.

    From about 1992-2002, where was the "lust for the limelight?" For that matter, from Aug 2008 (the convention) through 2012, where was the "lust for the limelight?"  Kerry, who had kept his campaign structure from '04 and transformed himself into a movement leader of sorts through his listserv and PAC (kind of like Howard Dean did), once Obama won the nomination, faded quietly and quickly into the background, and stayed there, until he became SoS.

    Reich is an academic, so it shocks me he makes character-driven arguments (i.e. this behavior of that Great Man comes from x character trait or y character flaw) without even looking at a large portion of the man's life, and with no better basis than:

    Over the years I heard again and again from his Senate colleagues that Kerry grandstanded and wanted all the credit, said things that would get him on the evening news, pushed too fast and too far in order to make his mark.
    Which colleagues? In what situations? Specific examples of grandstanding and "getting on the news?" Because maybe it's just cause I was in FL, but I didn't know who the man was before 2002, and neither did most of the people I knew. And we're mostly college-educated, regularly voting types. In any case, even in quick blog posts, I expect more evidence than "a lot of my colleagues said over the years he was a spotlight-hogger."

    In addition to assembling some evidence, usually it's a good idea to vet your sources. The Hill is a catty place. It's having been on the Hill (as an outsider/grassroots advocate type) for years that made me come up with the phrase: "Politics is congealed gossip."

    In other words, I think Professor Reich might want to vet his unnamed sources and do an honest assessment of their possible motivations, before he bases his entire assessment of someone's foreign policy choices (on an extremely serious issue) on what some people Reich knew said some years ago.

     Good God, that could have been based on lingering resentment of Kerry pushing the BCCI thing against the wishes of party leadership both sides of the aisle, or of him sending his own staff down to Nicaragua to do his own investigation. Or it could have been that he made a rude comment about some Senator's wife's hair, or persistently refused to play ball with some particular clique on some issue.

    This is lazy analysis. I expect better of academics senior to me.

    The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:13:06 PM PDT

    •  what do you think is happening among those (0+ / 0-)

      in charge? politicians and CEOs? what do you suppose is their thought process, their methodology for decision making?

      would you give those powerful few good marks for the state of the world?

      in fact, Reich's musing really touches on what I believe to be the immature, drug addicted-like behavior and borderline personality issues exhibited by the powerful.

      they are beyond the reach of the law and almost everything they've done has been at the expense of most of the 7+ bn of us... along with billions of other earthlings from bees to bears.

      your comment, and others, betray a real dilemma in your own thinking: are we in trouble? are the people in charge creating our problems? are they co conspirators? politicians and corporatists? or is it just Republicans? is that what you think?

      take another look. try to align what is actually happening in the world with the way you seem (at least from what i can tell) to hang onto the idea that there is any ANY rationality emanating from the people in charge, from Obama to Kerry and from Boehner to name somebody.

      “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

      by pfiore8 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 02:29:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are not seeing where I'm coming from. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pfiore8, aliasalias

        You think I'm saying Kerry is a good guy.

        Kerry was a good guy.

        Kerry is not a good guy right now. Probably never will be again.

        You think I'm defending Kerry. I'm only defending Kerry in that I'm saying he's a tool (probably a willing one) acting out a part, and I refuse to buy into any critique of him that's not founded on rational argument and fact. I wouldn't criticize Dick Cheney himself based on such flimsy argument as Reich just provided.

        Nor am I willing to engage in criticism of Kerry that isn't in the context of criticism of the Obama Administration, because, IMO, the idea that Kerry is any kind of "loose cannon" here is simply bunk.

        However, I have expressed my intense criticism of Kerry's position on the war, his speeches, and his actions in multiple comments in multiple diaries for the past two weeks.  So this is not about getting Kerry off the hook.

        Going on to your second point, yes, there is a kind of rationality emanating from the so-called "people in charge" who may or may not be entirely in charge, but that's another conversation.

        Barack Obama is quite rational about making himself look good--in his terms, which basically means projecting a wise father image who knows what's good for his "children" better than they do. (Eat your peas! (tm))He can't maintain that image and wander the globe frothing and foaming about Syria. He needs someone else to do that for him. Who better to play the bad cop with maximum impact than Kerry, famous for the "Winter Soldier" speech and its classic criticism of war?

        By the way, that speech is now tarnished forever, so it's one more resource lost to progressives of the future when they try to re-fill the well of their spirits. Now, instead of being galvanized to act against war by that speech, instead of being reinforced in the knowledge that dissent can be patriotic, subsequent listeners or readers will have a cynical "meh" response.  
         It's a good thing Mario Savio is dead, or the Obama Administration would probably try to co-opt him in some way too.

        The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 02:44:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  do you think Kerry is set up by Obama? (3+ / 0-)

          or he's taking one for the gipper?

          Also possible, I suppose. but the bullshit coming out of Kerry's mouth was really difficult to bear... truly, it is embarrassing. And believe me, I was happy to have him as SOS and I worked hard campaigning for him in 2004. but had i heard one iota of this out of his mouth... i would have never ever supported him.

          and this whole turn in your weapons things... and everybody jumping on the bandwagon. it's just to funny and sick.

          and what, will we all say he's a brilliant strategist... bullshit.

          wall street wants war. the arms makers want war.

          and if one more politician says or uses the word "humanitarian" my head might explode.

          i mean there is no intelligent argument left, is there? we've been talked out of reason after Bush and Cheney.

          and it's happening still under Obama and it will continue with Hillary's approval and somehow, it's okay.

          i just don't get it.

          “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

          by pfiore8 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 03:13:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, no. Kerry's a team player. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pfiore8, churchylafemme, aliasalias

            Has been since the early 90s. He's definitely falling on his sword, both for the sake of his boss, and in order to achieve a certain aim in Syria (using a method commonly known as "playing chicken" also known as "Russian roulette.") And as an additional bonus, they're using him to make Hillary look better and set up her 2016 run.

            And yes, brace yourself, every Obama supporter on this site is going to be crowing like there's no tomorrow, because what's most important to them, always, is that Obama looks good.  The fact that we have been in danger the last two weeks because our government was being bellicose in a highly dangerous, complex, and volatile situation doesn't matter to them at all.

            Well, you know what, as long as we don't go to war, I don't give a shit. Let them celebrate.

            The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 03:19:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  ... (2+ / 0-)

              oh well. at least there are those like you around. and Big Al and others that help ease the pain of seeing our country being lost to these vampires...

              so let's celebrate today: maybe no war tomorrow.

              “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

              by pfiore8 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 03:29:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  By the way, now that I've made 2 caustic comments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pfiore8, churchylafemme

    Let me say I agree with almost everything you say beneath the orange squiggle.

    The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:22:54 PM PDT

  •  It's called desperation. I'll think I'll start (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pfiore8, churchylafemme, aliasalias

    calling him Desperado.  Desperado why don't you come to your senses.  Ah, too late for that.   He wants war because he has a sense of immortality.  He's going to be the one that does it man.  This is his final act and he wants to go out with a bang.

  •  Too bad it's hogwash (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SouthernLiberalinMD

    Kerry did tons of work in the Senate, and at the last minute had his name removed from the bill in order to get it passed. I mean, seriously, the Senate is full of 100 giant egos, yet Reich is singling out Kerry? Probably based on 3rd hand gossip by those who didn't like his BCCI investigations.

    This is just a hit piece, and given how Kerry's remarks today has led to movement from Russia and Syria is decidedly irrelevant.

    •  Hi, beachmom. (0+ / 0-)

      It's good to see you again, though the circumstances are unpleasant.

      Reich's argument is hardly worth the name, for reasons I've laid out in other comments.

      I can't say I agree with Kerry's actions on this matter, and I was initially shocked and horrified that he'd be willing to say some of the things he did. Then, when I realized he was playing bad cop, I became more horrified and saddened because he's essentially burning his credibility for his boss (I still don't agree with what he did, despite the fact that I think it was scripted at the highest levels, and definitely not done without Obama's assent--how stupid can people get?--but he was clearly playing a part, and his part was clearly on message for the Obama administration, or they would have pulled the plug on it after the first "Munich" speech!)

      Somehow, Kerry seems to bring out that part of people that is most vulnerable to propaganda. I remember after '04 watching Democrats recite all the Bush/Cheney '04 talking points:  weak, cowardly, wishy-washy flip flopper, won't fight, duplicitous, etc. etc. etc. without even thinking about the fact that they were echoing a Karl Rove narrative.  While criticism of Kerry was certainly warranted after that, why can't we criticize while 1)sticking to the facts, and 2)keeping an independent mind?

      In this case, the political fiction is coming from the Obama White House, and Kerry almost certainly agreed to his role, so it's not like he doesn't deserve some blame here. But the Kerry-bashing, especially with its emphasis on making Obama and Hillary look good by comparison, is the intended effect of the political fiction they deployed. And I'd expect smart people to be able to see through a simple good cop-bad cop routine and treat it as such, rather than falling for it and acting like Kerry and his lack of  SoS foo is the sole problem here.

      Anyway. I'm glad to "see" you again, and sorry for the circumstances.

      The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:55:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, and by the way (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not even sure at this point that he does lack SoS foo. There's so much scripted crap being thrown around on the Syria issue that I can hardly tell who's attempting to accomplish what.  But if he was trying to push Assad and yet do it in such a way that he actually sabotaged his own effort (IOW looking like he's for real while doing everything that would drive away allies and American voters from supporting what he said) then I still don't appreciate him playing roulette with our lives.

      So, whether he is a highly skilled SoS playing the fool toward a particular end, or an unskilled SoS, I still disagree with his actions.

      The party of Kennedy is also the party of Eastland. The party of Javits is also the party of Goldwater. Where is our party? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 01:58:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  none of those egos is up there blathering about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, aliasalias

      "munich moments" and pounding the war drum who seem to have the ear of the President.

      unless of course, Obama is just hiding behind Kerry. but really who cares.

      the whole thing is another embarrassment ... my country is run by a bunch of clowns, keystone cops, it's burlesque.

      the world is far worse off and Obama, Dem leadership aren't doing what needs to be done to get jobs, reclaim the country from the corporate vampires, and it's just sickening.

      there is no defense. i am amazed. truly. what will it take? for all of us to collectively wake up.

      “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

      by pfiore8 on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 03:16:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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