Chris Bowers

The Incredibly Important Lesson Democrats Must Learn from the Bernie Sanders Campaign

Every major poll analysis outfit--from Nate Silver's fivethirtyeight, to the Huffington Post's Pollster.com to Real Clear Politics--all show Hillary Clinton to be the favorite to win the Iowa caucuses Monday night. 

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Democrats With Balls? How Some Progressive Lawmakers Are Hitting Back in the Class War

As you read this, rich and powerful people in Washington, DC are trying to determine not whether they should cut programs designed to help low and middle-income Americans, but by how much they should cut those programs. The rich and powerful people in DC are making these cuts in order to pay for tax breaks they recently gave to rich people and large corporations. Additionally, the cuts are being made at the behest of the lobby organizations and media operations owned by rich people and large corporations.

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No Dem Incumbent Will Lose a Primary by Voting for the Health Care Bill

Even though I favored passing the gutted Senate health care bill, I am heartened by the noise some progressives are making in opposition to it.  Without such noise, there would be no hope to improve the bill, or much hope of getting better health care legislation in the future.  In keeping with the basic principle of the Overton window, there has to be prominent, public left-wing disagreement with Democratic policy, or else the national political discussion will never move to the left.

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This Decade Mostly Sucked - Except for the Huge Expansion of the Internet

Let's face it--from a political, economic and ecological perspective, this past decade pretty much sucked ass.  Lots of war, lots of economic downturn, lots of legislative failure and the continued onset of a new, ecological, Malthusian trap.  Still, looking at the decade from the grand perspective of human history, there was also a huge positive: the continued development and expansion of the Internet.

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6 Lessons Progressives Should Take Away From the Underpants Bomber Incident

There are a few lessons to be learned about the bathroom bomber incident. Here are six lessons that come to mind:

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3 Reasons Why Progressives Are So Frustrated

If I may be so bold, I believe I can sum up, in three main points why progressives are so frustrated right now:

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More Republicans Think Obama Stole an Election than Democrats Believe Bush Did

A new survey from PPP (PDF) shows that 26% of Americans, most of whom are Republicans, think that ACORN stole the election for President Obama.

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Ned Lamont to Run for Governor of Connecticut

This just in--Ned Lamont is looking to run for Governor in Connecticut:

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3 Important Lessons Dems Should Learn From Grayson

Usually when Republicans and conservative media join together to throw a coordinated hissy fit against something "outrageous" a Democrat has said, it resulted in apologies (John Kerry in 2006), resignations (Van Jones) and public condemnations in Congress (MoveOn.org). Yesterday, however, Republicans actually backed down from their hissy fit when Rep. Alan Grayson stood up to them. Even as Grayson intensified his rhetoric, Republicans withdrew their resolution to condemn him on the House floor.

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Dems Regain Electoral Footing Looking Ahead to 2010

Earlier in the week, in my first House forecast for 2010, I looked at generic congressional ballot polling from August 20th through September 17th.  At that time, the most recent survey from the nine polling organizations to publish generic congressional ballots conducted entirely since August 20th showed Democrats ahead by 3.5%.

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Blue Dogs Offer Bogus Justifications for Opposing Real Health Reform

The primary justification that conservative and moderate Democrats offer for their policies is not the strength of the policy, but rather its electoral and legislative viability. The way that members of the Senate Conservadem group talking about the public option is a good example of this:

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Blue Dogs Have More to Lose Than Progressives

Responding to the Progressive Block strategy, which was designed to put the Progressive Caucus on equal footing with Blue Dogs, Ezra Klein seems to conclude that Progressives can never have more influence than Blue Dogs. This is because Blue Dogs only have incentives to oppose must-pass Democratic legislation, while Progressives only have incentives to support it:

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It Is Possible To Pass A Public Option Now

In both branches of Congress, Democrats already have the votes and procedural options in place to pass a public option on health care reform. This means it is possible to pass a public option now. It also means that if a public option does not pass as part of health care reform, it will be a because of a political calculation made by the Democratic leadership, not because there was no way to pass one.

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The Republican White Voter Strategy

Tom Edsall discusses how whites are the primary demographic target of conservative attacks on President Obama:

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The Path to Victory on the Public Option

Currently, as the awesome Senate targeting chart showed yesterday, we are at 38 votes for the public option. (Huge hat-tip to HCAN and DFA on the chart). As such, we need at least 12 more to pass it thorough reconciliation.

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The Problem With The Public Option Is That It Lowers The Cost Of Health Insurance

The main goal of health care reform is to lower the cost of health insurance. Apropos, Olympia Snowe thinks that the problem with a public health insurance option is that a public option would... wait for it... lower the cost of health insurance:

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The Future of News Is Nonprofit

All of the discussions about the future of newspapers and journalism are never going to get anywhere until more people come to the realization that there is no future for profit-maximizing news outlets. There are simply too many media outlets, especially online, that are willing to produce and distribute quality news information either for free, or for prices and that will never lead to profitability, for profit-maximizing organizations to successful, and sustainably, compete with them. As time goes on, these media outlets will only continue to expand in number and audience, undercutting for-profit news outlets all the way.

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Obama Receives Large Sotomayor Bump

Rasmussen had been showing President Obama with lower approval ratings than other outlets. They are still doing so, but the trendlines and demographic crosstabs since Sotomayor's nomination are important (emphasis mine):

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The Climate Bill Will Continue to Be Watered Down

When the original draft of the The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), was introduced on March 31st, it was considered good, though far from perfect, by most progressive climate change analysts and organizations. Climate Progress gave the bill a B+ (whatever that means). Greenpeace wrote that the bill was a first good step, must that it must be strengthened. The Sierra Club called it a "strong start." Friends of the Earth issued a more mixed reaction.

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Is President Obama Putting Net Neutrality At Risk?

There is a disturbing possibility that President Obama has put his excellent open media and network neutrality platform at risk with his latest--and last--Democratic FCC appointment, Mignon Clyburn.

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Who Supports Secession?

Governor Rick Perry of Texas continued to make veiled threats to secede yesterday. The only thing that is really unusual about these threats is that they are coming from a Governor, rather than the guy sitting next to you in the local bar. After a political power shift, empty threats about emigration and / or secession are fairly common. It is a safe bet that everyone in America has either a family member or a close friend who has made such a threat at some point over the past decade. In the days immediately following the 2004 election, in my West Philly neighborhood, talk of secession and emigration was rampant to the point of becoming standard ambient noise. Eventually, as time passes, both the tempers, and the empty threats accompanying them, begin to recede.

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Why Democrats Need a Blue Dog Proof Majority

Two days ago, I argued that what progressives need to be working toward now is a Blue Dog proof majority in the House of Representatives, rather than just electing more Democrats of any sort. If the Iraq and FISA fights in the previous Congress failed to convince you of this (39 of the then-47 Blue Dogs sides with Republicans on both), and if the concessions the Blue Dogs squeezed from the Obama administration on the stimulus (see here and here) failed to convince you, then check out Blue Dogs on the Employee Free Choice Act:

Is President Obama Shifting on Social Security?

As mentioned in my previous post, on February 23rd, there will be a "fiscal responsibility summit" convened by Jim Cooper and other Blue Dogs. One of the main goals of the summit is to create a commission that will provide non-amendable, non-filibusterable legislation that will cut Social Security and Medicare:

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Why Would Obama Stick With Gates as Defense Secretary?

Remember who the last Secretary of Defense was under a Democratic President? It was a Republican:

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Take Action on Lieberman Now


 

The vote on Senator Lieberman's chairmanship will be held tomorrow. Even though it will take place behind closed doors and without a roll call vote, you can still make your voice heard by signing the Just Say No To Joe petition at FDL. Or, you could directly call a member of the Democratic Steering committee:

Debbie Stabenow, Michigan - Chairwoman (202) 224-4822

Harry Reid, Nevada (202) 224-3542

John Kerry, Massachusetts (202) 224-2742

Daniel Inouye, Hawaii (202) 224-3934

Robert Byrd, West Virginia (202) 224-3954

Edward Kennedy, Massachusetts (202) 224-4543

Joe Biden, Delaware (202) 224-5042

Patrick Leahy, Vermont (202) 224-4242

Chris Dodd, Connecticut (202) 224-2823

Tom Harkin, Iowa (202) 224-3254

Max Baucus, Montana (202) 224-2651

Richard Durbin, Illinois (202) 224-2152

Kent Conrad, North Dakota (202) 224-2043

Carl Levin, Michigan (202) 224-6221

Herbert Kohl, Wisconsin (202) 224-5653

Barbara Boxer, California (202) 224-3553

Hillary Clinton, New York (202) 224-4451

Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico (202) 224-5521

Mark Pryor, Arkansas (202) 224-2353

Even though he isn't on the committee, Natasha and I both called Senator Casey's office this morning, since he is our local Democrat, and all members of the Democratic caucus will vote on this one. Senator Casey's office said that he was undecided on how to vote, so clearly there is still time to make a difference. Also, I'm trying to get my family in Rochester and Syracuse to call Senators Clinton and Schumer. My main target is my popular 12-year old niece who was elected class President a couple years ago and recently tested as the most liberal member of her class in a Social Studies quiz. If she gets into it, that should mean a couple dozen more calls.

In the extended entry, you can find some suggested talking points for your call, culled from recent statements on Lieberman by Democratic Senators.

 

Secretary of State Update

If Hillary Clinton does not accept the Secretary of State job, then it appears Bill Richardson is next in line:

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Why McCain is Betting Big on Pennsylvania

Here is the McCain Pennsylvania targeting theory, as best as I can tell:


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What Happens After the Rout?

The NRCC has taken out an $8 million loan, and they are withdrawing all support from candidates running for Democratic-held seats. They will still have a lot of targets to defend, as the DCCC Red to Blue list has now reached 63 seats. The RNC is taking out a $5 million loan, in order to use the money to prop up a few Senators, not to help John McCain. They are going to need it, as polling currently shows Democrats poised for 8 Senate pickups, with Georgia and Mississippi threatening to make it 10 (and a few others not much further behind). Obama's national lead, according to Pollster.com, has ballooned to 8.5%, and that doesn't even include the new CBS poll where Obama leads by 14%.


While the election isn't over, Republicans are clearly just trying to limit the damage at this point rather than making plays to win. And with good cause, too. Right now, Democrats are very close to a 100-seat majority in the House, 60 seats in the Senate, and Obama has about a 95% chance of victory. We appear to be living during the second largest partisan swing during a four-year period since the direct election of Senators, surpassed only by the 1930 and 1932 elections where Democrats picked up 18 Senate seats, 150 House seats, and the Presidency. Click here for historical results.

So, what happens if this rout holds up, and Democrats score a trifecta that includes a 100 seat House majority and 60 seats in the Senate? In the extended entry, I take a look at the macro political ramifications of such a massive Democratic rout.

How Do You Know When the Bailout Is Little More Than Theft?

How do you know when the bailout is little more than theft? When CEO's who stand to benefit from the bailout refer to the democratic political process as a hostage crisis (emphasis mine):

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Did McCain Lift His Russia-Georgia Speech from Wikipedia?

Via Political Wire, it appears that McCain's vast policy experience and knowledge of international affairs is derived from wikipedia:
A Wikipedia editor notices some similarities between Sen. John McCain's speech today on the crisis in Georgia and the Wikipedia article on the country Georgia. They appear similar enough that most people would consider parts of McCain's speech to be derived directly from Wikipedia.
First instance:
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