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Barack Obama
"Lincoln Sells Out Slaves"
by: Rob Kailey - Sep 13
1 Comments
If You Haven't Seen This
by: Rob Kailey - Apr 28
5 Comments
Impeach the President?
by: Rob Kailey - Mar 16
15 Comments
It's the system, stupid!
by: Jay Stevens - Oct 24
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Rob Kailey is a working schmuck with no ties or affiliations to any governmental or political organizations, save those of sympathy.
2012 Elections

What to Take From the Democratic Convention

by: Russel

Sun Sep 09, 2012 at 01:56:11 AM MST

Now that both conventions are completed and we have passed the magical date of Labor Day, the campaign for President begins in earnest with the next big dates coming in October with the debates. Before looking ahead, we should look at the recent past, specifically these conventions. One is left with the impression that when all is said and done despite the spin from both sides- pro and con- nothing has really changed.

For the Democrats, the big talk is the speech last night by Barack Obama. It was not the knock-out speech that our Orator-in-Chief is capable of provided the teleprompter is running. Absent that little technological marvel, Obama is quite a blubberer. For my money, Tammy Duckworth gave perhaps the best speech for the Democrats, not Obama, not Biden, and not anyone else. Despite the allegations thrown at Paul Ryan, he gave a speech that was red meat with a smile while focusing on leadership and a vision of the future. Quite frankly, I lost interest in Romney's speech about three-quarters of the way through and failed to watch Obama's speech at all. Although I did not watch Clinton's speech, I read the transcript. If anything, the Democratic convention proves that Bill Clinton is still the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, not Obama. That simply underscores the Ryan speech. If Obama as President cannot be the "leader" of their own party, are we to accept him as leader of the free world?

Of course, both cities had their logistical problems although Tampa handled a passing hurricane much better than Charlotte handled the threat of afternoon thunderstorms. Because of Hurricane Isaac, some pundits questioned Florida as a site for future conventions ignorant of the fact that Tampa itself has not been hit by a hurricane in about 100 years. They also ignore the fact that moving a convention from the end of August to July does not guarantee the lack of hurricane activity. And likewise, North Carolina is not immune to hurricanes. Put another way, the weather was as big a story for both conventions as the some of the news coming out of the actual conventions.

Both party conventions had some interesting floor action. For the GOP, it was the appearance of Ron Paul on the convention floor and some rules wrangling. But that was about it for the Republicans. For the Democrats, however, there was an ugly floor scene when the party's platform was changed allegedly by a two-thirds vote, although the amount of "NO's" and boos heard suggested otherwise. Specifically, this was in response to the removal of that nasty word "God" from the platform and, for the first time, the removal of Jerusalem as the recognized capital of Israel. That latter issue led to some interesting spin from the likes of former DNC Chair and Presidential candidate ranter, Howard Dean, who explained that it was not specifically mentioned because it was an understood given. You know things are bad when Anderson Cooper of CNN stated that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was living in an alternate universe regarding her spin on the issue. Most importantly, we now find that Obama had signed off on the original platform.

From the list of speakers at the Democratic convention, it would appear that they intend to take advantage of the so-called gender gap between female acceptance of Obama versus Romney. In effect, their convention turned into, at times, a pro-choice rally by parading the likes of the leaders of NARAL, Planned Parenthood and Sandra Fluke before the cameras. Fluke stated that the GOP would have women dying in emergency rooms if they are denied contraceptive services in their health care plans. Of course, the Republicans and specifically Romney are apparently just out to kill lots of people by denying them certain health care options. But, this is simply keeping in line with the scare tactics of the Democrats in the hopes of garnering votes. Despite this "illustrious" group of female speakers, it is interesting to note that although they focused on reproductive rights, they said little about kitchen table economics. We did have Eva Longoria telling us that she did not need a tax cut. Of course, she could always direct her accountant not to take any of the tax breaks she is afforded so that she can then "pay her fair share."

There is good news and bad news for the GOP. The bad news is that the Democrats, ironically, did a better job on the foreign policy front than the Republicans. Despite the speech by Kerry that, incidentally, had some factual errors (Tina Fey playing the role of Palin said she could see Alaska from her house; Palin never said it) that are actually rather old, stale jokes now, trotting out dinosaurs like John McCain to make the Republican case for foreign policy is looking backwards, not forwards. Thankfully, Condi Rice refocused the discussion although she started talking about domestic issues like education reform. But, unlike the Democratic rants, Rice's speech was intelligent. The good news for the GOP is that foreign policy is not the major issue in this year's campaign, unlike 2004. All Romney needs to do in the debates is look competent as most people will vote based on economic issues. Also, it is suggested that he adopt an international populist stance and talk tough about our relations with China as that would be a winning foreign policy argument.

Politico stated that both parties played to their base. Quite frankly, this writer did not see that too much from the Republicans. Interestingly, it was the GOP keynote speaker, Chris Christie, who stressed bipartisanship. We did not hear that phrase very much from the Democrats as speakers like Pelosi, Longoria and Warren played more to the class warfare tactics evident from the Democratic side. And one Democratic base constituency we did not hear too much from was Al Gore and the environmentalists. In fact, where is Al Gore? Prior to the GOP convention, news outlets were reporting that the Republican platform had removed exceptions for rape and incest for abortion. This they claimed was a play for the social conservative faction. However, the abortion language in the 2012 platform was actually largely unchanged from the 2008 platform. However, removing references to God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is clearly a more glaring appeal to the Democratic base than anything the Republicans did.

It was also interesting to note that while Rahm Emanuel can sum up the Obama presidency as "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," we heard very little about TARP, the Obama stimulus and climate change. This is strange for a candidate who was going to cease the rise of the oceans four years ago and who saved the country from the brink of financial collapse. Of course, being accustomed to plagiarism, Biden then stole that line from Rahm Emanuel on the campaign trail. They also failed to mention that General Motors is hardly a healthy comoany and represents a $26 billion loss and counting to the taxpayers at this point and that most of their growth has been from sales in China. One guesses it can be called collective outsourcing of jobs at taxpayer expense which I argue is ten times worse than anything Bain Capital ever did.

As I mentioned earlier, I turned off Romney's speech and never watched Obama's speech. However, on some replays of the Obama speech, I did catch some of the yawns from the audience- and these are his people. Most news outlets said more people were talking about Clinton's and Biden's speech than they were about Obama's speech. Things must be bad when a person recognized and adored by the media as a great speaker elicits yawns and guffaws from the very adoring media. It did not help Democrats either as a brand when some delegates talked about "eliminating" certain Republicans or comparing them to Nazis. Off course, the media saw no "code words" in these statements because, after all, it is only that racist Tea Party that uses code words.

The bottom line is that neither candidate, quite frankly, deserves a bump from their convention performance. But, there was greater expectations for Obama and he fell flat. Everyone was saying that Romney needed to deliver the speech of his life. He didn't and it doesn't matter. Because both candidates performed to a draw with maybe a slight advantage for the Republicans, the status of this race will remain unchanged. Either the debates or actions and statements on the campaign trail will have a greater impact. If anything, the Democratic convention showed that Democrats are hypocrites with no vision of the future other than the status quo. Their ideas are stale and rooted in the past era of the New Deal and the Great Society. Republican ideals and ideas are more forward looking that keep the current social safety nets solvent until real, sustainable fundamental reforms can be enacted.

In the final analysis, the Democratic convention can best be met with a shrug of the shoulders and a "ho-hum" attitude. In effect, they wasted three days of valuable air time on television.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

New poll shows western voters support environmental protections

by: Matthew Koehler

Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 12:17:00 PM MST

A new bi-partisan poll of inter-mountain West voters shows that a strong majority (77%) believe that environmental standards and a strong economy can coexist. The findings, from the first-ever Conservation in the West Survey, reveal differences and many points of agreement among voters on issues such as conservation, regulations, renewable energy and other environmental issues.

The poll, conducted by Lori Weigel at Public Opinion Strategies (a Republican firm) and Dave Metz at Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (a Democratic firm), measured environmental attitudes of 2,200 voters in the five Western states January 23-27, 2011. The survey is being released by the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project, which, for the past eight years, has worked to increase public understanding of vital issues affecting the Rockies through annual report cards, free events, discussions and other activities.

"This research underscores an interesting and important trend in these five states," said Walt Hecox, Ph.D., professor at Colorado College and director of the State of the Rockies Project. "While there are differences of opinion on a range of issues, there are true common values shared between each state, including a commitment to protect the important natural resources that make this region so unique."

Click here to view the executive summary or entire report.

Below are some interesting Montana-specific findings, especially in the context of the current gutting/eliminating/slashing of environmental protection laws and regulations by the GOP majorities in the Montana Senate and House.

Q: As part of efforts to improve the state economy and generate jobs as quickly as possible, some people have proposed reducing protections on land, air and water that apply to major industries, including construction and agriculture. Would you prefer that:
    • Montana reduce protections for land, air and water that apply to major industries:  20%
    • Montana maintain protections for land, air and water that apply to major industries:  73%

Q: Even with state budget problems, we should still find money to protect Montana's land, water and wildlife.
    • Strongly or somewhat agree:  81%
    • Strongly or somewhat disagree:  16%

Q: We should ensure that undeveloped, public lands in Montana are kept in their natural state.
    • Strongly or somewhat agree:  75%
    • Strongly or somewhat disagree:  20%

Q: We need to do more to ensure oil, gas and mining companies follow laws protecting our land, air and water.
    • Strongly or somewhat agree:  76%
    • Strongly or somewhat disagree:  22%

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Report: Rehberg to challenge Tester

by: Matthew Koehler

Tue Feb 01, 2011 at 08:14:26 AM MST

This blog post from the Missoula Indy's Skylar Browning has all the details.  Apparently, Rehberg will make the announcement this Saturday at the Lincoln/Reagan Dinner in Helena. 

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DailyKos Founder Tester Tweet: "Good luck getting re-elected, a--hole."

by: Matthew Koehler

Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 08:56:45 AM MST

The following article appeared today in the Washinton Examiner. - mk

DREAM Act causes ugly breakup on left
By Byron York

Markos  Moulitsas, the influential founder of the lefty website DailyKos, used  to love Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.  Starting back in December  2004, when Moulitsas first praised Tester, then a farmer-turned-state-legislator, as a Democrat who  "naturally speaks the language of rural America," the DailyKos has  portrayed Tester as the cutting edge of a movement by which once  deep-red western states would become swing states and then, perhaps,  permanently blue.

In June 2006, Moulitsas was rhapsodic when Tester won the Democratic  primary to challenge then-Sen. Conrad Burns.  "What a great night,"  Moulitsas wrote.   "Not only did the best Democrat win, but so did Conrad Burns' worst  nightmare. Say hello to the next Senator from the great state of  Montana."  Electing Tester and other favored progressives would create  "a whole new ballgame in Washington DC," Moulitsas added.  "Let's do  everything we can to make it happen."

Moulitsas certainly did his part, promoting the Tester campaign -- "This is the future face of the Democratic Party," he swooned -- and contributing $1,500 to Tester in October 2006.  When Tester defeated Burns, part of a Democratic wave that took over the Senate and House that year, Moulitsas was ecstatic.

Now that's all a bitter memory.  On Capitol Hill, Democrats are using  the lame-duck session to try to ram through some key unfinished parts  of their agenda.  Among them is the DREAM Act immigration bill, a  favorite of Moulitsas'.  And on Friday, Jon Tester, once the darling of  DailyKos, announced that he will vote against it.

Moulitsas' reaction was swift and furious.  "Jon Tester to vote against DREAM," Moulitsas tweeted Friday night.  "Good luck getting re-elected, a--hole."  Moulitsas  began re-tweeting negative comments about Tester -- one said, "Sen.  Tester's active misrepresentation of DREAM act isn't just burning his  bridges, it's going at them with a blowtorch."  And then Moulitsas added  his own final remark: "Anyone who votes to punish innocent kids is a de  facto a--hole."

The DREAM Act isn't the only cause of the breach; just a couple of  days before, Tester voted to extend all the Bush tax cuts.  But there's  no doubt the love affair is over.  When Tester runs for re-election in  2012, he'll have to do it without some of his most passionate supporters from 2006.
Discuss :: (9 Comments)

UM Economics Expert: A Political Dead End?

by: Matthew Koehler

Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 13:58:14 PM MST

(This is definitely worth a gander. - promoted by Rob Kailey)

This commentary from Dr. Thomas Michael Power, Research Professor and former Chair of the Economics Department at the University of Montana, was on Montana Public Radio earlier in the week. - mk

A Political Dead End?
By Dr. Thomas Michael Power

I wonder sometimes what the rest of the world thinks about the volatility of American politics. Four years, as well as two years ago, President Bush and his Republican allies had incredibly low approval ratings and Americans sent more Democrats to Congress, statehouses, and legislatures, and, ultimately, a Democrat to the White House. Republicans were repudiated. Commentators wondered if the Republican Party had a future as it began fighting within itself over the source of voter disaffection.

Just two years later voters have returned a majority of Republicans to the House of Representatives as well as to many state legislatures and statehouses. It certainly might cross some people's minds that we just cannot make up our minds or that we are a bit crazy, politically speaking.

But interestingly, polls of those independents who voted Republican in last week's election indicate that support for Republicans and their core policies remains low. Voters were voicing dissatisfaction with the continuing pain and destruction associated with the Great Recession and the failure of those in power to effectively do something about it. So incumbents were turned out of office and Democrats, being in the majority, made up many of those incumbents.

This result is not likely to be very productive for the American people and economy nor bring any "change" to Washington DC. The surging Republicans did not receive a mandate to pursue their more extreme agenda items such as dismantling Social Security and Medicare, weakening environmental regulation, turning Wall Street loose again to inflate another destructive bubble, or getting the government more involved in trying to dictate the most intimate aspects of our personal lives.

Nor can the Republicans deliver on their proposals to cut the federal deficit. They want to keep all of the Bush tax cuts in place and continue to aggressively prosecute the two wars that Bush started. Those were the sources of the Bush deficits even before the Great Recession hit. It is very unclear what it is the Republican will set out to cut in order to trim the deficit: Expenditures on highways and other vital infrastructure? Support for the military? Expenditures on helping us educate our kids? Support for the millions of unemployed? Food Stamps for families? Medical care for low income families? It seems unlikely that the aggressive pursuit of any of these will improve the Republicans' standing with the majority of American voters.

The Republican congressional leadership seems to recognize the fact that there is little they can do about the issues that so many Americans are worried about: namely jobs and the federal deficit.

Speaking candidly before their handlers told them to tone it down, that leadership made clear that their objective over the next two years is not to fix any of the nation's economic problems but, rather, to embarrass the President and Democrats in Congress so that Republicans can claim the Whitehouse and both Houses of Congress in the 2012 elections. That is, the next two years will be used for unrelenting partisan attacks that represent an early opening of the 2012 presidential election campaign.
That will produce nothing but more paralysis, gridlock, and negative partisan bickering. It certainly does not represent responsible governing, but it is, unfortunately, all that we are likely to get.

Despite the official proclamation that the recession ended early this year and the economy is now growing, we certainly are not out of the economic woods yet. There are more jobs losses coming in state and local government as stimulus money runs out and state and local budgets have to be balanced. The foreclosure avalanche is still growing and is likely to spread from residential homes to commercial real estate. Even those who do not risk losing their homes have seen the value of their assets, the most important of which for most people is their home, decline drastically. This makes them substantially poorer than they were two years ago and is likely to suppress household spending for some time to come. The ongoing housing mortgage crisis will also keep the construction industry from bouncing back. The stagnation and high unemployment rates will continue.

That will force deficits higher. As an International Monetary Fund report recently pointed out, most of the increases in government deficits here in the US as well as in other developed countries are tied to declines in tax revenues due to workers earning less, household buy less, and firms producing less. The deficits are not due to the explosive growth in new discretionary spending that can be quickly cut. If we cannot get households buying again and firms hiring so that that can produce more to meet the rising demand, we are not going to do anything significant about either jobs or the deficit.

That is why the bumper sticker political dialogue we are having about "cutting the deficit" by "shrinking government" or magically stimulating businesses to create more jobs to produce things no is in a position to buy is just so much hot air that will get us no where.

If you thought this last political campaign was pointlessly nasty and unproductive, just watch the next two years!

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