The lesson Democrats can learn from Republicans

The extreme right wing of the Republican party demands purity. If you’re not radically conservative, you’re as bad as a Democrat. They’ve scared the GOP so much that reasonable members of the party are afraid to stand up to them. If it wasn’t for the Electoral College, gerrymandering and voter suppression, they would have destroyed the party by now. If nothing else, they’ve reduced the reputation of the GOP to the point where it’s at the lowest it has ever been.

And in many cases, they’ve lost because of it. Just take Roy Moore for an example. He won the Republican primary over a more moderate Republican after attacking him mercilessly, because the crazy right can’t stand anyone who might compromise. And this led to their ultimate defeat to a liberal Democrat in the general election, in Alabama of all (5)

Demanding absolute purity from your candidates, rejecting anyone who isn’t as far to the extreme as you wish, and demonizing any of your own candidates who aren’t perfect is not a winning solution.

And too many Democrats haven’t learned that lesson.

In 2016, I was a Bernie supporter but I spent much time criticizing other Bernie supporters who constantly attacked Hillary, spreading lies and libel from various memes (many of which came straight from the Russians, giggling at how easy it was for us to help them).

What’s wrong with saying, “We have two good candidates here, but I prefer one over the other for these reasons”? Why do we decide that if you’re not completely on our side, you’re the enemy?

That doesn’t mean we can’t criticize our own; it doesn’t mean we can’t talk about their faults and encourage them to change their positions on issues where we disagree. But outright attacks on our own? How does that help us win in the long run?

We’re all on the same team ultimately and while we may disagree on some minor thing, we’re in agreement 80% of the time. Destroying each other and thus allowing the other party to win gives us someone we agree with 0% of the time.

And sometimes, maybe only 60% is all we’re going to get. Some states and districts are so red that we have to have moderates on our side or we’ll never win. Better to have a Democrat in there we agree with 60% of the time than a Republican we agree with 0%.

Ronald Reagan once joked that the 11th Commandment was “Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of any Fellow Republicans.” Maybe Democrats could learn something from the Gipper.


Why this deal is not bad for Democrats

A lot of liberals are criticizing the Democrats — you know, the minority party that doesn’t have a lot of power right now — for not getting everything they wanted in this government shut-down.

They don’t quite understand how politics work. You can’t always get everything you want.


The Democrats gave up nothing. They got CHIP funded like it needed to be funded. The government is back open. And they kept DACA from disappearing.  Sure, it’s still on the table, but it’s not dead.

This is not a bad thing. People are now talking about it. We have another few weeks to build more support for keeping it (and, let’s face it, something like 80% of the public supports it).

Honestly, I’m kind of sick of the “Bernie Bot” mentality that if you’re not 100% in agreement with everything they want, you’re the enemy. I’m sick of the idea that compromise in order to move toward your goal is a bad thing.

Take Obamacare as an example. Was it everything we wanted? No, of course not (as I’ve said on this blog many times). But it’s still better than what we had, and we can move forward to make it even better.

There’s nothing wrong with getting half way up the hill, so long as you keep climbing. Instant gratification is something for children, not adults.

So yeah, do I wish the deal had included keeping DACA? Of course. But Jeez, it could have been killed today and it wasn’t. The Democrats kept the option open at a time when they, as the minority party, have little power.

This is a win, isn’t it?

White House just can’t stop lying

The latest lie blames the Democrats for the government shutdown. This is despite the fact that the Republicans couldn’t even get enough votes from their own party to reach 50%.

Mind you, this isn’t just a talking point. In a completely unprecedented and childish move that is 100% away from “Presidential,” the White House has stopped answering the phone, and people who call get a message blaming the Democrats. I am not making this up.
angry trump

Let’s recap. The GOP said “If you don’t either kill the Dreamer program or CHIP which provides health care to poor children, and if you don’t let us build the wall, we’re going to shut the government down.”

Or, to put it another way, “We have hostages. Do what we say and we will only kill one of them.”

The Dreamer Program (DACA, which stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”) is supported by 87% of all Americans, who clearly think it’s a pretty good idea. This allows innocent children who were brought here illegally by their parents to stay in this country if they do certain things (don’t get arrested, stay in school, join our military, etc.). It has been wildly successful. People like helping children. But, of course, the GOP hates it for some reason. (Hint: it helps brown people.)

CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) similarly provides support for kids who, through no fault of their own, are poor.  It is supported by 75% of Americans because, come on, we’re nice people who think children deserve not to die. Once more, the GOP says “screw you” to what the vast majority of Americans want.

And then there’s the Wall that Trump promised Mexico would pay for. Now he wants us to pay for it. This is opposed by 63% of Americans as it has been since Trump first started spouting it on the campaign trail. Do you think the Republicans care what Americans want? (And why only a border wall with Mexico and not Canada?  Hint: brown people again.)

The Democrats are standing up for what the vast majority of Americans want. Yet the GOP still claims it’s the Democrats’ fault.

The House came up with a compromise (because that’s what government is all about — compromising) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with the president and worked out a deal. Trump, of course, then broke his promise to Schumer almost immediately and then blamed Schumer. “Negotiating with this White House is like negotiating with jello,” Schumer said.

Yet they still say it’s the Democrats’ fault.

You’d think a man who ran on the platform of being “the world’s greatest negotiator” would have been able to come to some sort of compromise, wouldn’t you? But of course, for that to happen, it would have meant that Trump would have told the truth.

And that’s just clearly not in his character.

The lesson for those with honor

If you’re honest and sorry and accept blame for what you’ve done, you will do the honorable thing and resign.

If you refuse to admit you’ve been wrong, blame your enemies, and behave in an amoral way, you get to keep your job and may even get elected to prominent positions.

This is the contradictory lesson our leaders are sending us.


Al Franken resigns for inappropriate touching, almost all of which was in public with witnesses while pictures are being taken, while on the GOP side, people who have committed the kind of creepy crimes that would normally place one on sexual offenders’ lists are promoted by the party.

I’m getting tired of playing by the rules and doing the right thing while political opponents are playing by different rules.

They’re like the bullies laughing at us do-gooders while they destroy us behind the scenes. You can’t win the game if they’re playing hardball while we’re playing softball. I’m just tired of having the sand kicked in our face and replying by turning the other cheek. All it does is make them kick us harder next time.

While I think Franken should have been censured and perhaps removed of a few important committee assignments, I can also understand his dilemma:  Had he stayed on, there would have been an investigation and the Republicans would have milked this for everything they could in order to destroy him and the Democrats (while completely ignoring their own more serious transgressions because, of course, they are all flaming hypocrites).

So perhaps leaving and setting an example was the best thing he could do, because, if nothing else, it allows the Democrats to be the party of morals and “family values” for the 2018 election.

Ye Olde Double Standard

Trump: “I like to brag about grabbing pussies against their will and walking into underage girls’ dressing rooms. And I don’t apologize for it.”

GOP: “What a guy! Let’s elect him our leader!”

Franken: “I posed for a funny picture where I pretended to grope a sleeping woman. There were witnesses, a photographer, and I’m clearly doing it for humorous effect. I apologize completely for my crude actions, and hope everyone will forgive me for this.”

GOP: “He needs to resign immediately!”


We are the majority

While the United States currently appears to be a right-wing oligarchy, keep in mind that our government has been taken over by people who do not represent us and do not care about us.

We are the majority.flag_diversity

In six of the last seven Presidential elections, a majority of Americans voted for the Democrat.

A majority of Americans support Obamacare.  (This is especially true if you call it “the Affordable Care Act.”)

A majority thinks gay marriage,  abortion and marijuana should be legal.

A majority supports more gun control.

A majority wants to raise taxes on the wealthy and do not believe that “corporations are people.”

A majority want to raise the minimum wage and do something about campaign finance reform.   (And a majority support amending the Constitution to overturn the Citizen’s United case).

And, of course, a large majority are against Donald Trump, by one of the largest margins in American history. He hasn’t even finished a year and he has become the most unpopular President since they started polling people.

That’s why I have been complaining here about wimpy Democrats who refuse to discuss these issues.  They’re winning issues!  They are “mainstream America.”

As our country becomes a plutocracy, it’s even more important that Democrats take a page from Teddy Roosevelt and come out swinging against the monopolies, corporations, and billionaires who have ruined our country in the same way they did during Roosevelt’s time.  (Before you point out that Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican, please learn some history.  The Republican party was the liberal party back then — the party of Lincoln.)

So why do we lose? Gerrymandering, voter suppression, the electoral college, and Citizen’s United all play a part. Republicans appointing judges who stay in office forever and who rule against us also contributes.

But it’s also our fault. We don’t vote like they do.

When we do come out and vote (like we did when Obama was on the ballot) we easily win, and we win the lower races, too, where it’s needed. (A President can’t do everything by himself — we need Democrats in all levels of our government.)

So this Tuesday, you’d better not be sitting at home. You need to go out and vote. I don’t care if it’s just for dog catcher, you need to send a message. You need to fill our government with people who do not support this current regime, who will help our causes at all levels.

And if you don’t vote, then you’d better not be complaining.

The Democratic Witch Hunt

Mueller is a registered Republican, appointed by a Republican Attorney General, approved by Republicans in Congress.

So clearly this is a Democratic witch hunt.


The Clinton Distraction Game

Well, Trump is in trouble again, and that means it’s time for the Republican’s favorite pastime, the Clinton Distraction Game!

“The Whitewater scandal! That’ll get them!”

(Millions of dollars later)

“Okay, but THIS time we got them! The Vince Foster scandal!”

(Millions of dollars later)_42289464_clintons_afp416

“Okay, so there was nothing there either. The Clinton sex scandal!”

(Millions of dollars later)

“Okay, so no crimes were committed. Benghazi! This time for sure!”

(Millions of dollars later)

“Fine, fine. Hillary’s emails! Hoo boy, we got her good now!”

(Millions of dollars later)

“So maybe there was nothing with the emails.  But Clinton and the Russians! We can’t lose this time!”

(etc. etc. ad infinitum)

It’s difficult to have Republican friends these days

I certainly used to have Republican friends. In fact, I even voted for Republicans in the past. Why, in the 90s, I even voted for William Weld for Governor of Massachusetts because he was (believe it or not) more liberal than the Democrat who was running.

Hard to believe that there used to be liberal Republicans as well as conservative Democrats.


cartoon by David Horsey

But thanks to gerrymandering, Fox News, and Citizen’s United, those days are gone. The GOP has gone farther right than anyone would have ever expected and the Democrats have moved right with them.

Issues that would have been considered moderate when I was younger are now thought of as radical liberal ideas. Just look at Europe, Canada, and Australia for examples. Their “conservatives” would be liberals here in America. It’s not that the rest of the world has moved to the left so much as we have gone so far off to the right as to be unrecognizable to the rest of the civilized world.

Many of my more reasonable conservative friends no longer call themselves Republicans, because even they see that it has gotten out of control. How can they support a party that embraces hatred, bigotry, homophobia? How can they support a party that decries diplomacy, that promotes huge deficits, that wants to install a Christian theocracy? How can they support such a childish, incompetent President?

And that’s why I just cannot honestly call Republicans “friends” any more. It’s why I won’t vote for any Republican, even if it’s just for dog catcher. Unless you convince me that you are trying your best to change the party and rid it of Trump and the alt-right, I have to assume that you approve of what the party is doing.

And if you approve of the party that only cares about rich, white, straight, Christian men; that does not speak out against nazis marching in our streets; that thinks guns are more important than lives; that wants to take away the rights of non-Christians — then I’m not sure how we can be friends.

We have the money!

The United States is the richest damn country on the planet. We can afford it. 

Republicans constantly complain that we can’t afford health care coverage for all, or dozens of other programs that we, the people, could use to make our lives better. Yet somehow they always find money for the things they want…uncle sam money

One estimate says that if we had a national health care program, it would cost $600 billion. Wow! That’s a lot of money! “We could never afford that!” say Republicans.  (Oh, in a completely unrelated matter, here’s an article about how Republicans today passed a bill giving the military $700 billion this year.)

We apparently have an infinite budget when it comes to defending Americans against foreign attacks, but a minor one for protecting us against illness and disease.

Another study shows that if we just raised taxes on the super-wealthy back to levels we had under President Eisenhower, we’d gain $276 billion a year right there.

The fact is that we have the money — we’re like a family that has said, “Sorry, kids, we can’t afford to get your teeth fixed because we have spent all our money on these 30 cars we don’t need and gave the rest to your rich uncle.”