This is how words, and then ideas, vanish from our political lexicon: Whatever connotations it once had, the word "moderate" has now come to mean "liberal" or even "left-wing" in American politics. It has been a long time since "moderate" Republicans were regarded as important, centrist assets by their party: Nowadays, they are far more likely to be regarded as closet lefties and potential traitors. "Moderate" Democrats, meanwhile, no longer exist: In their place, we have "conservative Democrats." Nobody pays attention to them either -- unless, suddenly, one of them threatens to vote against health-care reform. And then he is vilified.
Having made the journey from liberalism to full-throated conservatism myself, I recognize the importance of this particular revelation. It is the key to opening a mind to rethinking other assumptions about politics. It breaks the trance, so to speak, which keeps many otherwise thoughtful, intelligent, caring people enmeshed in the delusions of modern American liberalism. To these liberals, membership in the cadre of caring, enlightened, public-spirited Americans defines what it means to be a good and responsible member of the civic community.The overwhelming focus on caricaturing and demonizing conservatives as racist ignoramuses is based on a pragmatic understanding of the importance of maintaining this trance. Because liberal ideas manifestly fail when implemented, the liberal trance is the only way to maintain the allegiance of intelligent liberals to the cause. This is why academia, media, and other liberal hotbeds are so intolerant of conservatives. They fear that real and prolonged exposure to the vibrancy and humanity of modern American conservatism will bleed away the most thoughtful liberals from the cause.
Assuming that the Republicans take control of the House in the next session of Congress, what will happen with current Democratic leadership? Usually after an electoral debacle, the remaining members of the caucus want fresh voices at the top to recapture credibility with voters. Most Speakers don’t stick around Congress at all, and some speculation in Washington has Nancy Pelosi looking for greener pastures rather than suffer the humiliation of returning to back-bencher status. CQ Politics looks through the smoke signals, via Yahoo:
Democrats on Capitol Hill and K Street are increasingly convinced that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have little interest in being Minority Leader — and may start preparing to leave Congress altogether — if Republicans win the House next week.
Pelosi and her allies adamantly refuse to entertain questions about a possible Democratic minority. But Democratic sources say they have a hard time imagining the 70-year-old, independently wealthy California Democrat would want to return to the less-powerful post that she held for four years before becoming Speaker in 2007, particularly after having spent the past four years driving the Congressional agenda.
Still, San Franciscans will be going to the polls on Tuesday with the idea of voting for Nancy Pelosi (hard as it may be to believe). It seems a bit of a cheat for her to run for an office that she will immediately resign from. I say, make her keep her backbench status at least for a little while.
During the campaign, Donna Brazile famously said that the Democrat Party no longer needed the people Obama once described as “bitter, religion-and-guns-clinging, Midwesterners”. Brazile took this further and said, outright, that the Democrat party did not need blue-collar white voters, the Jacksonian voters, the Hillary voters, because the party was “Obamafied” and would win elections for generations with the Obama coalition of blacks, Leftist elites, Hispanics, low information gay voters, and self-hating Jews.
This is all the Democrats have left, Rush.
Speaking from personal experience, as someone who has worked in fundraising for over 10 years and who has been a part of every presidential campaign since 1992, the Democrats have permanently alienated tens of millions of people who normally turned out reliably every year not just to vote Democrat, but also to write checks and otherwise participate in campaigns.
No more. Never again.
HH: His roots in Alinskyism, Stanley, is what I was writing about this morning at Hughhewitt.com. Alinsky preached pick a target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it. And Obama lived that. Thus I’m not surprised to hear him on the campaign trail say, for example, this about Latinos.
BHO: Well, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to see how well we do in this election. And I think a lot of it is going to depend on whether we still have some support not only from Democrats, but also Republicans. But they’re going to be paying attention to this election. And if Latinos sit out the election instead of saying we’re going to punish our enemies, and we’re going to reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s going to be harder. And that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2nd.
HH: Punish our enemies, reward our friends. And then the President says this about Republicans.
BHO: We’ve got to have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can go, come for the ride, but they’ve got to sit in back.
HH: Now that, Stanley, it makes so much more sense to me after I read your book. And especially as I get to the end, that the President’s long term strategy may be in fact to force a class-based realignment of American politics. And Alinsky would teach you, and the President would personify that by personalizing, objectifying and angering people about other people in America.
SK: Well, that’s right, Hugh. You’re absolutely right. And I go over this in many ways and at many points in the book. And I can’t tell you, Hugh, how many times during my research I ran across this notion of the enemy. The Alinskyite organizers, who were Obama’s mentors and colleagues, just constantly used this word enemy. And now I do mention this a few times in the book, but I made a conscious decision not to make too much of it, because maybe people wouldn’t believe or be persuaded by my constantly mentioning how they harped on this word. But it was almost a slip, I think, because he had to be used to hearing that all the time from his friends and colleagues. But the larger point is that this Alinskyite tactic of polarization has been put within the context of a long term socialists strategy for realigning the Democratic and Republican parties along class lines. This was the holy grail of the modern American socialist movement as Obama grew up in it. And the way it works is roughly like this. You launch a series of attacks on particularly business interests, and you treat them as enemies, whether you use that word or not. You try to drive them out of the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party. Now that might seem crazy. Why would anyone want to drive someone out of their party? But the other side of the coin is that once you start these anti-business attacks, you jump start a populist movement, an anti-business populist movement of the left. And those people start pouring into the Democratic party. Then, allied with that, you do a similar sort, you run a similar sort of polarization strategy with Latinos and blacks. And you assemble a rainbow coalition of radicalized minorities along with economic populists, with heavy participation from unions, especially public sector unions. And in this way, you try to activate the left into a kind of movement, into a kind of replay of the 60s, but this time grouped around economic populist issues. And with the business interests in the Republican party, and the what you might want to call the have-nots gathered in the Democratic party and activated, America is polarized along class lines. And the theory of Obama’s mentors and colleagues was that over time, the have-nots, once they were divided by class from the haves, would inevitably drift towards socialism.
The Republican woman who has the best chance to win in California on Nov. 2 is not billionaire Meg Whitman, who has spent more than $140 million of her own money to make sure every living thing knows who she is. It's Carly Fiorina, another former Silicon Valley CEO with thinner pockets but a looser campaign style who has drawn incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer into a dead heat.
The two Republican candidates have not campaigned together, but when they have appeared at the same event, it has been Fiorina who gets the attention, pounding a shot of Tequila and letting loose a rolled-r trill at the Hispanic 100 Lifetime Achievement Award dinner in Newport Beach (Orange County) this month.
Even as Fiorina piggybacks on Whitman's high-tech ground operation to mobilize voters, her campaign is betting that she won't be sucked down with Whitman should the former eBay CEO lose the race for governor to Democrat Jerry Brown.
I've been hanging out with the Haight Street kids. Over the course of a week or so, I smoked weed, drank malt liquor, witnessed nasty run-ins with police officers — all events that anyone who has walked down the sidewalks of that legendary street would expect. But I also met people who'd give away their last dollar to a friend, people who know a thing or two about community, and people who don't see sidewalks only as thoroughfares to commerce.
Ironically, though the homeless kids on Haight are the explicit inspiration for Proposition L, the sit-lie measure on the Nov. 2 ballot, their voices have been significantly absent from the vitriolic debate on its merits and faults. Ironic because of all people, it's these young men and women — and the citizens of San Francisco who interact humanely with them — who could teach us the most about what public space in San Francisco could be.
Most of the stories in this special anniversary issue are about marginalized youth — young people trying to survive and make their way against all odds in an increasingly hostile city and a bitter, harsh economy.
But there's an important difference about San Francisco today, something earlier generations of immigrants didn't face. The cost of housing, always high, has so outstripped the entry-level and nonprofit wage scale that it's almost impossible for young people to survive in this town — much less have the time to add to its artistic and creative culture.
I met the 21-year-old daughter of a college friend the other day. She's as idealistic as we all were. She wants to move to San Francisco for the same reasons we did and you did — except maybe she won't. Because she felt as if she had to come visit first, to use her dad's network, see if she could line up a job and figure out if her likely earnings would cover the cost of living. When I mentioned that I'd just up and left the East Coast and headed west, planning to figure it out when I got here, she gave me a look that was part amazement and part sadness. You just can't do that anymore.
The odds are pretty good that San Francisco won't get her — her talent and energy will go somewhere else, somewhere that's not so harsh on young people. I wondered, as I do every once in a while when I'm feeling halfway between an angry political writer and an old curmudgeon: would I come to San Francisco today?
Would Harvey Milk? Would Jello Biafra? Would Dave Eggers? Would you?
If you were born here, would you stay?
Are we squandering this city's greatest resource — its ability to attract and retain creative people?
For nearly two decades, Lillian McEwen has been silent -- a part of history, yet absent from it.
When Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his explosive 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Thomas vehemently denied the allegations and his handlers cited his steady relationship with another woman in an effort to deflect Hill's allegations.
Lillian McEwen was that woman.
At the time, she was on good terms with Thomas. The former assistant U.S. attorney and Senate Judiciary Committee counsel had dated him for years, even attending a March 1985 White House state dinner as his guest. She had worked on the Hill and was wary of entering the political cauldron of the hearings. She was never asked to testify, as then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), who headed the committee, limited witnesses to women who had a "professional relationship" with Thomas.
Now, she says that Thomas often said inappropriate things about women he met at work -- and that she could have added her voice to the others, but didn't.
Armed with the panoply of lawmaking, these moonstruck fools for power go about in a jealous rage. They fear power’s charms may be lavished elsewhere, even for a moment.
Democrats hate success. Success could supply the funds for a power elopement. Fire up the Learjet. Flight plan: Grand Cayman. Democrats hate failure too. The true American loser laughs at legal monopoly on force. He’s got his own gun.
Democrats hate productivity, lest production be outsourced to someplace their beloved power can’t go. And Democrats also hate us none-too-productive drones in our cubicles or behind the counters of our service economy jobs. Tax us as hard as they will, we modest earners don’t generate enough government revenue to dress and adorn the power that Democrats worship.
Democrats hate stay-at-home spouses, no matter what gender or gender preference. Democratic advocacy for feminism, gay marriage, children’s rights, and “reproductive choice” is simply a way to invade -power’s little realm of domestic private life and bring it under the domination of Democrats.
Democrats hate immigrants. Immigrants can’t stay illegal because illegality puts immigrants outside the legal monopoly on force. But immigrants can’t become legal either. They’d prosper and vote Republican.
Democrats hate America being a world power because world power gives power to the nation instead of to Democrats.
And Democrats hate the military, of course. Soldiers set a bad example. Here are men and women who possess what, if they chose, could be complete control over power. Yet they treat power with honor and respect. Members of the armed forces fight not to seize power for themselves but to ensure that power can bestow its favors upon all Americans.
CHUCK TODD: NPR says the feelings Williams expressed were not compatible with his job as a news analyst, and that's drawn fire from the right, including calls to cut NPR's limited amount of federal funding. Norah O'Donnell is MSNBC's chief Washington correspondent. So Norah, how real are these threats about seeing its federal funding, and how much money, what percentage of NPR's budget is federal funds, taxpayer money?
NORAH O'DONNELL: It's about 1-3% that NPR receives in some taxpayer money. Most of NPR is funded through their local stations, through corporations, through the people who like NPR, private donations. They apply for grants and then, to the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, and some of that is federal money [try virtually all], so 1-3% is what they say.
TODD: But a very small amount.
O'DONNELL: It's a very small amount. So cutting their funding won't really cripple NPR.
The paperwork mess muddying home foreclosures erupted last month. But the legal strategy behind it traces to a lawyer's gambit in 2006 that has helped keep one couple in their home six years beyond their last mortgage payment.
Lillian and Robert Jackson stopped paying on their home in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2004 when business dropped off at their cleaning company. Eviction might have seemed inevitable when they faced a foreclosure hearing two years later.
But their lawyer, James Kowalski, had the idea of taking a deposition from the signer of the mortgage papers. When a document processor for GMAC Mortgage admitted she routinely signed such papers without being familiar with details of the loans, she was tagged as one of a species now known as robo-signers.
It was a first step in the growth of a legal sub-specialty called foreclosure defense that has sown confusion and turmoil in the housing market. Lawyers in the field now commonly use a technique more identified with corporate litigation: probing depositions, designed to uncover any lapses in judgment, flaws in a process or wrongdoing. In the 23 states where foreclosures entail a court hearing, the bank may be ordered to pay the homeowner's legal bill if a lawyer can convince a judge that the bank has submitted false documents, such as affidavits saying employees personally reviewed the details of loans when they didn't.