An election season void of any real debate on any real issue, simply comes down to this: the best liar, wins.
Who pointed the most fingers, who had the biggest megaphone and the most passionate liars on the biggest networks to push their message, who had the most donations from the most secret donors each with their own motives for getting their politician elected.
These are the engins that pushed this year’s midterm election cycle, and lost in all the melee are the issues that matter to the voters.
After the dusts have settled and the votes are counted we will know. The final vote count will tell us who had the loudest megaphone, the best liars, the biggest network. In this cycle it does not matter what your feelings were about health care, or the deficit, or ISIS or the budget or immigration. Because the chance that these issues survived this election cycle is minimal.
So some will win and they will celebrate, oblivious to the issues that matter, but mindful of the donors they’ll represent.
And these “winners” will sit in office for the next few years planning their path for the next re-election. They will cuddle up with their secret donors and they will cultivate their friendship with the networks. And the vicious cycle of lies and misinformation will continue with the losers being the American people and the issues that matters to them.
American democracy. You just gotta love it!
President Obama continued his personal tradition at this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner, of being the funniest man on the room.
Watch, as even Boehner’s color got a laugh with this remark, “These days, House Republicans are giving [Speaker John Boehner] a harder time than they give me – which means orange really is the new black,”
The President even went after Chris Christie when he spoke about the partisan gridlock in Washington, saying that partisan gridlock “has gotten so bad in this town – you’ve got to wonder, ‘What did we do to piss off Chris Christie so bad?”
After hearing the news on NBC’s The Today Show, Lupita Nyong’o replied, “It was exciting and just a major, major compliment. And especially, I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen.”
In the first go around, Bill O’Reilly had his way with the first term President. Bill showed a level of disrespect to the president not seen in a long, long time. O’Reilly lived up to his Fox News expectation and interrupted, cut off, spoke over the young Barack Obama. So when I heard that the President was offering O’Reilly another interview, I couldn’t understand the reason.
I do now. Like he did in the second debate against Mitt Romney, President Obama kept Bill O’ Reilly and his Fox News talking points at bay.
In the second go around, President Obama stood his ground and directly pointed out that Bill O’Reilly and the people at Fox are the ones pushing the misinformation to the country. He refused to allow Bill O’ to run the show like he did in the first interview and over the 10 minutes of the interview, President Obama got his message across, leaving Bill O’ to try to cut the interview short, but the President continued, letting the country know that he is doing his part, unlike those who wish to continue push a misleading narrative to their listeners… like Fox News.
Watch the interview below.
Far be it from me to argue with one of the greatest historical minds of the 20th century, but we essentially have an executive that serves a six year term, even if we get two extra bonus lame duck years for our efforts. So it has been with most other presidents, and so it probably shall be with Barack Obama. This is his sixth year; if it doesn’t happen this year, chances are that none of his high priority agenda items will become law in 2015 or 2016.
That’s why 2014 represents the final push for immigration, tax reform, a higher minimum wage, climate policy and every other item on the left-wing wish list. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. History has taught us that the first push rarely results in success when it comes to big change. Look how long it took to get healthcare reform. Sometimes the push is necessary if for no other reason than to get an idea in the public’s mind and to prepare them, or to follow their lead, when it comes to legislation.
Like marriage equality, which coalesced into a major civil rights issue in a short amount of time, the push for rights for all people goes as far back as Stonewall in 1969 and the Supreme Court’s ruling for and then reversal on, anti-sodomy laws in 1986 and 2003. Progressives have been highlighting income inequality and the rising gap between wealthy and not for decades. Now that cry is becoming a major force in calling for a higher, livable minimum wage that just could pass this year. After all, most people, even Republicans, support it.
The same will most likely be true of climate legislation, immigration, privacy and energy. More and more younger people realize that their world is changing and that the United States either has to catch up to other countries who are already addressing the problems or fall behind to our economic and social detriment. The far right is beginning to lose its grip on the Republican Party, and while I don’t see a more moderate wing surging anytime soon, I do see a less strident GOP in our future. That’s good news.
This year will see one or two major pieces of legislation, with the rest of Obama’s agenda left to the next Democratic president and a more willing population. I think we are moving in the right direction, but like anything done well, this will take time.
It seems to be the season of making predictions for the next year, and I certainly don’t want to be the only self-appointed chronicler of the age to miss that boat, so herewith is my take on what we can expect for 2014.
The year will be unpredictable. A bold assertion, I know, but look at where we were a year ago. Obama had just been resoundingly reelected and the right was on the run. They gave in on taxes and spending and agreed to extend unemployment benefits for another year. They were talking about immigration reform and a bargain on spending. It seemed that the left had the right ideas and, led by the president, it would be a year of progress.
How did that work out? We know. Immigration passed the Senate. Sequestration clawed its way through all of the doomsday scenarios and became the budget template for the year. The House became the place where all good ideas went to die. The website was doomed to failure because nobody thought or had the money to test it. The right shut down the government. Unemployment payments have not been renewed. Our privacy either being stolen from Target or abused by the NSA.
So why am I so optimistic about the upcoming year? Because there are some terrific trends in American life that are trending in the right direction. Marriage equality is close to becoming the law of all the land. The Supreme Court will probably slow it down and rule at some point that states do have the power to prohibit it through their constitutions, but that will just be a temporary delay. State barriers to marriage, and by extension to rights for all LGBTIH and GSD and other capital letters, is in our near future. This is a profound change and one that we need to be thankful, thoughtful and diligent about enforcing.
The next year will also see health care for all. Think about that one and smile. Health care for all. The United States will join the rest of the industrialized world, and some of the less industrialized, in making sure that sickness or injury doesn’t mean bankruptcy or worse. There will be more bumps next year related to insurance company payments and recalcitrant GOP obstruction, but this law is here to stay. And the better part is that the law will be strengthened in the next few years. It has problems that need attention and we are looking at the possibility that more employers will begin moving employees to the exchanges rather than covering them through company plans. As one of my conservative friends says, if you thought the fuss over six million people being told their insurance didn’t measure up to the ACA and had their coverage canceled, wait until sixty million people who have insurance through work lose it. This is your only warning.
There are other hopeful trends to watch in 2014. The move towards a livable minimum wage is not going away and will probably gather steam next year. The criminal justice system is recognizing that mandatory sentences were a fevered reaction to inner city crime related to drugs and has done more to create a new economy based on prisons, especially in rural areas. President Obama’s sentence commutations are a first step towards making sentencing more flexible without going back to the instability of the 1960s and 70s. The Dodd-Frank bill will force financial institutions to curb or make transparent some of the practices that led to the financial crisis. Wall Street will kick and scream, but they will need to abide by the new rules.
And immigration reform will, I think find some success in the coming year. The Senate bill will not be passed by the House, and a path to citizenship might not survive the political process, but this is an idea whose time has come. It might take four or six more years before it comes to fruition, but it will.
The House will stay Republican in November and the Senate will stay Democratic, if only by 51-49 or by a Vice-President Biden Tie-Breaking Constitution Special 50-50. Someone you never considered will announce, by year’s end, that they will be a candidate for president in 2016. Someone you thought was a no-brainer will say that they will not run.
And no, it will not snow on Super Bowl Sunday.
Have a very Happy New Year and continue to work to make the United States, and the world, a better, more humane, just place to hang out in.
If Democrats are able to regain control of the House of Representatives from the failed Republicans, they have some big plans for the last years of the Obama presidency, like comprehensive childcare.
In an interview with The Hill, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explains.
Pelosi and other Democrats have emerged from the shutdown fight with new confidence, and she vowed her party would “of course” pick up seats next year. It is the first time Pelosi has guaranteed that Democrats will cut into the GOP’s majority.
Atop her priority list as Speaker, she said, would be “comprehensive affordable, quality childcare” for working mothers, which she sees as a natural extension of ObamaCare.
“That would have the biggest impact on women, families and … job creation,” Pelosi said. “That was on President Nixon’s desk … in the ’70s, and he vetoed it for cultural or whatever reasons. And now we have to do that again.”
Pelosi, the nation’s first female Speaker, has long fought for progressive legislation on women’s issues, whether at home, in the workforce or in politics.
Of a federal childcare law, she said: “This is the missing link in so many things that we’ve talked about. It is not exhaustive of all the things we want to do or have done with regard to women, but I do think it would unleash the power of women.”