President Obama's convention speech last night was nothing short of brilliant. But that shouldn't be a surprise, since nearly all of his speeches are brilliant. He touched on all the right themes, and demonstrated once again why he deserves a second term. As everyone who reads this blog knows, he has done a lot as president, despite having to work around some really significant obstacles. If you haven't read the list I compiled of President Obama's accomplishments, you owe it to yourself to do so, and pass it around to everyone you know.
In a normal election year, I wouldn't be worried. President Obama is the best candidate for president, by far. Willard Romney, for all of his business "accomplishments," simply doesn't have the knowledge of what it means to run the government. His only experience in government was four years as Massachusetts governor, and that experience was apparently so bad, he won't even talk about it these days.
But this isn't a normal election year. Progressives made a statement in 2008, and Barack Obama won in a landslide. It was the largest margin of victory by any Democrat since LBJ, and it felt great. We did it through positivity. Obama and progressives pushed a positive message that resonated with people of all ideological stripes, and we echoed that. We need to do that again.
But we all stumbled badly in 2010. The negative rhetoric against Democrats caused many potential voters to stay home, and we allowed Tea Party Republicans to take control of the House and also come within a hair's breadth of taking over the Senate, too.
In her speech at the Democraic Convention, First Lady Michelle Obama pointed up the stark difference
between her husband and his challenger quite well with the following statement:
"Barack knows the American Dream because he's lived it,
and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter
who we are, or where we're from, or what we look like, or who we love."
Ultimately, the main difference between Obama and Romney is
that President Obama lived the dream that most of us imagine and aspire to, while Romney has
lived a different dream, and can't seem to relate to what anyone else has gone through. r
That's not to discount Romney's version of the American
dream. There is nothing wrong with being born rich and privileged. But that rich person has to understand that a decision to run for public office is a decision to become a
servant of the people. That equires you to make a concerted effort to learn and understand how the rest of us live.
I'm not saying Romney's an ogre who hates people. I'm saying that he simply show no sign that he understands how the other 99% of us lives. That doesn't make him a bad person, it just disqualifies him from the presidency. Or should.
Here's the latest episode of my podcast, in which I discuss a must-have app for political junkies, why Ryan and Akin should be joined at the hip in our rhetoric and why Blue Dog bashing is killing the progressive movement.
After the tragic shooting at the Sikh temple, I once again got to thinking about the prevalence of guns in this country. But just as importantly, it got me to thinking about racism and bigotry against people who are perceived as different. The concept of "different" is related to the concept of "normal," in that there's no static definition of either. We're all different. My two brothers grew up in the same household, but except for the slight physical resemblance, there are few other commonalities. Consider your family; every one of you has at least one uncle or cousin who's not like anyone else.
Being different can't be a basis for much of anything, because the only thing everyone in this country has in common is that we're American, or aspire to be. Otherwise, we're all different. So why do we we seem to always have that small-but-loud segment of society that simply has to treat group of people who are supposedly "different" as less than human? Why do we allow certain people to operate under the impression that they’re better somehow, by virtue of the color of their skin, their gender, their religious beliefs, their mode of dress, their sexual orientation, or any of a number of other purely arbitrary factors, such as their chosen profession?
I understand that the United States isn't alone. Hate exists all over the world. But most of them don’t bill themselves proudly as “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” and tout themselves as a “melting pot.”
First, they complained about the StopRush movement, which seeks to inform advertisers as to what their advertising money is actually going to when it supported the Rush Limbaugh Daily Crap-athon. There’s never been an overt attempt to get Limbaugh off the air; all anyone seeks to do is to allow advertisers and their customers to have all information necessary to make an informed choice.
That’s not a free speech issue. To claim that Rush Limbaugh has the right to free speech is accurate. He does have the right to say what he wants on his radio program. If anyone were actually trying to take that away, I would be first in line to defend him. But his right to free speech does not entitle him or anyone connected to him to make money, and there is especially no right to make money from those who object to the content of his free speech.
Those of you who know me already know I'm something of a geek, so it may not surprise many to know I always check out the Project for Excellence in Journalism's "State of the News Media" reports when they come out. I pay special attention to the reports on cable, network and local television news, radio and newspapers. And there is one unmistakable trend in all of them.
Fewer and fewer people are relying on the major media for news.
I knew this without reading the reports, of course. When you consider the level of ignorance that's thrown around daily, especially from people who claim to be "news junkies," it's not difficult to see there's a problem. Despite the fact that the population has grown tremendously in the last 20 years, consumption of news has shrunk significantly.
If you actually read the news on a daily basis, it's not difficult to see why this is the cases. Fox News severely edited a couple of quotes by President Obama, removing all context from them, and most journalists just let it slide. In fact, in a blog post at the Washington Post yesterday, reporter Aaron Blake actually blew the truth off as someone else's job.
I know it’s hard to remember a time when Bernard Goldberg was simply a credible reporter. These days, except for his occasional sports stories on HBO’s “Real Sports,” he shows himself to be little more than a partisan hack, with little regard for fact, if he thinks it gets some sort of point across. That he now simply repeats untrue Republican Talking Points™ that we’ve all heard over the last week or so, without even qualifying them or checking them, verifies his hack status.
Last night, he was on The O’Reilly Factor, claiming that the media was remiss because it wasn’t paying enough attention to five of President Obama’s “broken promises.” Here’s the crucial portion of the transcript, which can be found here:
The neocons have held a disproportionate share of the government and basically have run things for the last 32 years now.
When do we progressives get tired of that?
When do progressives, as a whole, stop listening to the professional left, and realize that most of these people know exactly nothing about how politics works? I’m getting really sick of these people saying things that demonstrate a complete numbness as to how politics actually works.
Politics itself is NOT ideological. If you think it is, then you need to learn the difference between ideology and politics. While our ideology (and common sense) tells us we need to wean the country off fossil fuels, politics delineates the strategy by which you actually wean the country from fossil fuels. Our professional left understands ideology really well, and they know how to press lefty buttons so that you’ll keep reading them and giving them money. But very few of them understand politics.
One of the latest examples of this is a short piece written by Markos Moulitsas on his “Daily Kos” blog. Check out the title: