Thursday, February 25, 2010

Breaking News! A People Person Discovered in Congress!

It's the morning of the Day After Weiner Socks it to Congress, calling the Republicans a "wholly-owned subsidiary of the insurance industry", and the video is going viral--I can only hope.  I'm going to do my part today to pester everybody in America about it, and I'd better not be the only one.  I'm asking--no, begging--everyone who cares about putting an end to the corporate takeover of our once-great country to join forces with the good congressman from New York.  (Okay, it's New York.  I know, I know. . .we here in the hinterlands don't CARE how they do it in New York.  But this guy gets us.  He cares about us.  He actually is--dare I say?--one of us.)


Rep. Anthony Weiner (Big D-NY) has been one of my heroes for a long time now.   His passion, his outrage over corporate excesses and governmental indifference is inspiring and always entertaining.


He is smart and funny and absolutely sure of his positions on everything.  He wants Single Payer and he makes no bones about it.  Medicare for All.  But he's open to a Public Option, if that's what they're going to settle for.  As long as it leads to Single Payer.  What he's totally, rabidly against is Business as Usual.  Oh,  how he's railed against it.  Sometimes he gets close to looking like Jimmy Stewart at the end of that long filibuster scene in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", and I suffer with him.  Life can be hard for defenders of the people these days.

But my man Anthony rose above even himself yesterday, and today I celebrate and revel in his outrageously over-the-top outrage.  It's about time.  I love that man!

So in this clip are my two favorite people's people:  Anthony Weiner and Rachel Maddow.  The very nature of this video ensures hate mobs going after it with a vengeance.  Who cares?   This is for US:



Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Square Deal, New Deal, Fair Deal, Raw Deal: What's it gonna be?

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.
 - Theodore Roosevelt

One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment... If it doesn't turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.
 - Franklin D. Roosevelt

You can always amend a big plan, but you can never expand a little one. I don't believe in little plans. I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we can't possibly foresee now.
- Harry S Truman 
___________________________
 
In 1904, Teddy Roosevelt used the term "square deal" to push the quaint notion that no one business or individual or organization should have an unfair advantage over the other.  He was a trust-buster who wasn't anti-trust. All trusts were not bad, they just needed watching.  "Somehow or other," he said, "we shall have to work out methods of controlling the big corporations without paralyzing the energies of the business community...".  
 
After Upton Sinclair wrote "The Jungle", exposing horrific conditions in the meat-packing industry, TR  pushed and passed the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act.  The conservative Republicans fought against it.
 
When railroad rates went skyward, Roosevelt endorsed the Hepburn Act, which gave the Interstate Commerce Commission the authority to set rates.  The conservative Republicans gutted the bill and gave more power to the courts to "fix" the problem.

The Employer Liability Act of 1906 was put forward to address worker injuries after 27,000 workers died in job related accidents in 1904 and 50,000 job-related accidents were reported in New York factories alone. It was declared unconstitutional by--guess who?  The Republicans. (A revised, watered-down version finally passed in 1908.)
"In the vast and complicated mechanism of our modern civilized life, the dominant note is the note of industrialism, and the relations of capital and labor, and especially of organized capital and organized labor, to each other, and to the public at large, come second in importance only to the intimate questions of family life. . . I believe that under modern industrial conditions it is often necessary, and even where not necessary it is yet often wise, that there should be organization of labor in order better to secure the rights of the individual wage-worker. All encouragement should be given to any such organization so long as it is conducted with a due and decent regard for the rights of others "  (TR, State of  the Union address, 1904

Guess who hated that idea?  The Republicans.

When Teddy's cousin Eleanor's husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt, became president a quarter of a century later, he took many of Teddy's Square Deal ideas and expanded them into the Depression era New Deal.  In FDR's First Hundred Days, he was a human whirlwind, sweeping through emergency reforms and programs that did far more than simply putting Republican-endorsed bandaids on gaping wounds.  He regulated the stock markets, abandoned the gold standard, guaranteed bank deposits, put tight banking controls in place, created federal jobs programs, gave immediate aid to the poor, and approved the legalization of 3.2 beer. 

Guess who fought him every step of the way?  The Republicans.  (Okay, maybe not the beer idea.)

When Harry S Truman, believing that the government should be in the business of guaranteeing economic opportunity and social stability, tried to build on the New Deal with a program called the Fair Deal, he ran into--guess what?--"fierce political opposition from conservative legislators determined to reduce the role of government".  The G.I Bill passed, as did de-segregation in the military and anti-discrimination in Federal programs, a slight minimum wage increase, and some expansion of Social Security and housing programs, but by the end of his second term most of his 21-point program, including national health insurance, unfair employment practices, greater unemployment compensation and housing assistance, had been decimated by--guess who?  The Republicans.

Still, through the 50s, 60s and 70s, union membership--and wages and benefits--grew, and regulations and watchdogging kept banking and businesses in check.  They were our golden years of prosperity.  We had a working class.  We had a middle class.  We also had a wealthy class who weren't suffering in the least.

Then Ronald Reagan, he of the boyish grin and nonsensical motto ("The best government is no government"), became the leader of the country, and for eight long years he worked at disproving his own point.  He and his cohorts worked diligently at stripping every last reform and regulation that might put a stopper on the activities of Big Business.  It took a long time for the Republicans to accomplish all they wanted to do, but by the end of George W. Bush's eight years, in 2009, Big Business had no fear.  They were running the country, at long last.

Barack Obama and most of the Democrats thought they could change all that.  By Inauguration Day, 2009,  it should have been clear to anyone with eyes that the Government of Big Business was a complete and total failure.  Renegade banking policies exposed as corporate theft, jobs gone overseas never to be seen again, unemployment and underemployment at record levels, sick people dying without health care, houses that used to be homes sitting empty, tent cities popping up. . .the evidence is slapping us in the face even today, trying without success to bring us to our senses.

We cannot survive without emergency governmental programs patterned after the Square Deal, the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the Great Society--people programs that give aid and comfort to the many who so desperately need them. We cannot exist as a powerhouse without busting the stranglehold of the corporatocracy and returning democracy to its rightful place.  

But let's face it:  Every governmental program that benefits the people at large is obstructed or defeated by the Republican party.  At first mention of any plan that takes away from Big Business in order to give to the people, the battle lines are drawn and the forces against it rise like the Mongols under Genghis Khan. 

Their strategy is to overwhelm us when we're looking the other way.   They scatter divisive issues among us, like religion and communism and abortion and taxes and elusive presidential birth certificates and death sentences for our grandmothers, and while we're preoccupied with the stuff that makes us really, really mad, they rob us blind and revel in the spoils.

It's been a long time since Genghis and the mongols roamed the earth burning and pillaging.  Most of us here in the United States no longer live in isolated villages far from the protections of civilization.  We are savvy now.  We can read and write and use Google.  By rights, we should be long past being duped, but even as I write this the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) is in the midst of their annual convention.  Glenn Beck is scheduled to be their keynote speaker, and it promises to be a fine day for Tea Parties.  According to Gail Collins in her aptly titled (and pretty funny) column, "Time to Party like it's 1854", one of the panel discussions is called, “When All Else Fails: Nullification and State Resistance to Federal Tyranny.”  (Go here and click on 2010 agenda.  Oooo, scary!)

Mitt Romney spoke at the convention:  "[Obama] has prolonged the recession, expanded the pain of unemployment and added to the debt of future generations. The Obama, Pelosi, Reid team has failed the American people. . .Truth trumps hope.  The truth is that government is not the solution to all of our problems."


Hoo boy. . .  Can't wait for the second installment.  The one where they tell us what's going to happen once they get the government out of the picture.

(This is my take on last year's convention.  No Tea Party and not so much "tyranny" talk.  But some things never change.)

"I'm the commander - see, I don't need to explain - I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president." - George W. Bush, as quoted in Bob Woodward's "Bush at War"

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Friday, February 12, 2010

False Labor: After Elaine Chao, You Owe Us

Name me one Republican congressperson who backs the unions.  Name me one who has EVER backed the unions.  Now give me one good reason why any of us who support unions and equity in the work force should be hopeful that they will see the light and give Big Business the business for undermining and ultimately destroying the lives of millions and millions and millions of Americans.

They're not going to do it.  All of our hopes and prayers and groveling and kowtowing will do nothing to change their minds.  The country is falling down around us and they're still concerned with "death taxes" and keeping the business climate sunny with no chance of annoying precipitation.  Unemployment figures mean nothing to them, except as proof of the effectiveness of downsizing, under-employing and off-shoring.  Lean and mean.  That's the way to do it.

Each and every one of them got to where they are by appealing to the rank-and-file members of the work force and getting them to cast their ballots for them.  They couldn't have won without them.  To say they've turned into ungrateful bastards is like saying the cat turned into the dog.  Interesting, but not especially earth-shattering.   It's more than that.  They lied, they lied again, and they're still lying.

We couldn't bid high enough, so they sold out to the highest bidder.  And before you get all huffy and tell me the Democrats aren't much better, let me just say this about the Democrats: they're not much better. (I qualify it because some of them are much, much better.  Nobody listens to them is all.) 

Here's how I see the Democrats:  There they are hiding behind the trees while the marauders are out there slashing and burning.  They're wringing their hands, muttering, "This can't be right. . .".    Some of them turn tail and run.  Others of them haul out the white flags and surrender.  Even others of them see profit in them thar hills and make a mad, friendly dash to the other side.  So we're left with a ragtag handful of good souls trying to fend them all off with the only ammunition available:  a need to serve a suffering people and a clear vision of what that means.

So the Republicans have now refused to approve the nomination of Craig Becker, President Obama's choice for the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) on the grounds that, as a former labor union lawyer, he's biased toward labor.  No, really.

This is what the NLRB does: 

What We Do

The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1935 to administer the National Labor Relations Act, the primary law governing relations between unions and employers in the private sector. The statute guarantees the right of employees to organize and to bargain collectively with their employers, and to engage in other protected concerted activity with or without a union, or to refrain from all such activity.

So is it too much to ask, in this climate so sunny for all but the masses, that the very agency set up to protect the workers would be administered by someone from LABOR???

The Republicans cry "foul", but, according to a great post by Adele Stan, AlterNet's Washington Bureau chief, Bush used the recess seven times to stack the NLRB with business-friendly members.

There was Peter N. Kirsanow, who "[represented] management in employment-related litigation, as well as in contract negotiations, NLRB proceedings, EEO matters, and arbitration."

There was Ronald E. Meisburg,  a member of the Employment Lawyers Advisory Council of the National Association of Manufacturers, a group that, as Stan reminds us, is about as anti-union as you can get.

There was Michael J. Bartlett,  director of Labor Law policy at the U. S. Chamber of Commerce  (Wait.  I take back what I said about the NAM being as anti-union as you can get.  The USCC tops them and wins, hands down.)

Stan has more to say about this, so please go on over and read the rest.   It wouldn't hurt to pass it along, either.

So maybe you're wondering about my title.  About Elaine Chao and how she fits in here.  Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, and an unabashed pro-business cheerleader, was Labor Secretary under George W. Bush for eight lo-o-o-o-n-g years.  She was recruited from the Heritage Foundation, where her claim to fame was the constant denunciation of Affirmative Action.  She was praised by the U.S Chamber of Commerce (see above) for supporting "the limited role of government" and "free-market principals".  John Sweeney, former head of the AFL-CIO said of her,  "I have never seen a Labor Secretary who is so anti-labor".

She tried to water down OSHA practices, kept her distance from labor advocates, argued that Homeland Security employees shouldn't be union members because it would cause them not to be able to protect Americans sufficiently, and all around kept those damned labor protections from harming her best buds.

She now stumps for Big Business, talking against any measures that might ease the burden of the working people of this country.  Increased taxes, increased government mandates, increased government regulations.  Her solution?  Stop the health care reforms and cancel scheduled tax increases, including the estate tax.  She says, with passion, "This economy needs to be free from the shackles (voice cracks here) of government regulations and government mandates and government regulations."  (ed note:  And probably government mandates, too.)



So labor people (and former labor people, and wannabe labor people) could you kindly throw boulders at the Republicans and lob a few bricks at the Democrats and help us get this country back on its feet?

It's not like there's nothing in it for you.

Ramona

(Cross-posted at Talking Points Memo here)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rachel Maddow on the "Stimulus" hypocrites --Now THERE'S a Stimulus Package!

This may just be the most incredible piece of responsible journalism I've seen in a long, long, LONG time.  Rachel Maddow is the Edward R. Murrow of our age.  The Republicans can have their Sarah Palin.  We have Rachel Maddow.   Let me repeat:  We have RACHEL MADDOW.

Democratic "leadership", listen up:   The great Rachel Maddow may be wood-shedding the Republican hypocrites, but she is talking to YOU. 

(I'm dancing here. . . .)



Cherish this woman; honor her; let her know how very appreciated she is:  rachel@msnbc.com

I'm doing my part to send this into the viralsphere.  I hope you'll do your part, too.  What Rachel just did for us here is pretty remarkable.  And if you'll notice, she didn't have to look at her hand once.

Ramona

Cross-posted at Talking Points Memo here

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sarah Palin Tea Party Speech SIMULCAST: Surrender NOW

It's 5 AM.  I can't sleep.  Moments ago I was lying under the covers, thinking, did I fully enjoy life before the coup?  Will I have enough good memories?  Because after today memories are all I'm going to have left.

Normally, I'm on top of things enemy-wise (or at least I thought I was), but I missed this one.  For most of the day yesterday (Saturday) the TV was off, and last night we had a rare night out visiting friends.  So I didn't know a thing about the end of the world until a few minutes after we got home, when my daughter called.

 Me:  Hello?

My daughter:  Can you believe they've got her on ALL the channels?

Me:  Who?

MD:  Sarah PALIN!  That tea party speech!  And now she's doing a x#%* Q and A!!

Me:  What!!! (Alarmed) You've got to be kidding!   MSNBC too?  Not C-Span!

MD:  All of them!  Turn on your TV!

I gotta go," my daughter said, "I'm writing letters; I'm calling those stations.  They can't get away with this."

I turned on the TV.  MSNBC.  The crowds were cheering and Sarah Palin was smiling and waving, Evita-like, blowing kisses, winking.

I turned the TV off.

This can't be happening, I remember thinking.  I went to the window and looked out into the darkness.  I put my ear to the glass.  I waited for the inevitable sights and sounds of war:  the rumble of tanks, the whump, whump, whump of helicopter rotors, the ack, ack, ack of flak guns, the fires rising skyward, telling me whole towns were being destroyed. . .

So far nothing was happening.  That was good.  I turned on my computer.  It didn't appear to have been taken over yet, so I went to my Twitter page to see what my buddies were reporting about it.

Roger Ebert:  Did she just say Mikey Cyrus?


Joan Walsh:  "So tired of hearin' the talk talk talk" -- she sees me! Sarah Palin sees ME!
   
Buzzflash:  Good Grief! Palin said "America is Ready for Another Revolution." What, the Revolt of the Zombies? 
Borowitz Report:  It turns out Palin was reading from crib notes written on her hand 2nite. I for one am shocked she can read and write.

Good God.  They were using pea-shooters against heavy artillery.  All is LOST.

So what could I do?  No guns in the house.  (I'm anti-gun.  Wouldn't you know?)  I did the only thing I knew how:  I wrote protest emails to everyone at NBC, MSNBC, CNN and C-Span.

(When I went to the MSNBC-TV home page,  a huge picture of President Palin hit me, first off.  She was smiling and waving, and the headline read something close to:  Palin to Obama:  Ha!  Ha ha ha ha and HA!!)  

Then it was midnight and I was tired.  I wanted so much to cling to this day, the last day of life as I would know it, but sleep took over--blessed oblivion for a few quiet hours--and now, as I write this I'm surprised at how afraid I am.

I should go and read what our new leader said last night.  Be right back.

(In the meantime, a musical interlude for your pleasure.)



This is taking longer than I thought.  Here's another one.  Sit tight:





Okay, I can't watch it.  I'm sorry.  I can't.   I watched 3 minutes, 20 seconds and had to quit when she got to the "guy with the truck".   Aiii.  And oy.  It's almost as bad as Carly Fiorina's sheep ad.

So.  Now that it's over for the rest of us, I keep thinking:  Should we have seen this coming?  Did we completely overlook the power of big hair, good teeth and a teasing wink?  When that tea party guy held up that sign that said, "Get a brain, Morans",


did he really mean "morans" and not "morons"?   Did we miss the deeper message?

 
And when that nice tea party lady raised her sign telling us to make English our "offical" language, did we just think she meant "official"?   Will Offical be our official language now that we've been taken over?


And when the tea party guy paraded with the sign that said "niggar",  was it maybe not as ignorant and odious as we originally thought?  Was he just innocently speaking Offical?


Remember how much fun we had with those people?  Are you thinking what I'm thinking?  I'm thinking it was all a clever ruse designed to put us off-guard until the actual Saturday-night Tea Party massacre.

All the time we spent laughing at them, they were just biding their time.  Sarah Palin, the unemployed-former governor-because-she-quit-Sarah Palin, finding new life going back to her old baton-twirling, cheer-leading days, collected $100,000 for an hour-long, $500-a-seat pep rally eagerly awaited and covered by the major cable networks (the same ones she called the "lamestream" media), filmed in its entirety by C-Span, the people's network (paid for by you and me, the cable subscribers), and told the citizens of the United States to get ready for a revolution.

And today, enjoying full collaboration with the media, it's here.  (Can't say she didn't warn us.)   So back to the age-old question; the one we've been asking and asking and asking without ever getting an answer:  What now?

Ramona

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

We are the Ordinary People of Our Time

"[Howard Zinn's] fame and popularity came from helping us see America from the ground up - as ordinary people struggling to gain and hold their place in it. When no history book told that story as it should be told, he wrote the book himself -- A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. It became a perennial best seller."
Bill Moyers Journal, 1/29/10

Think of those who joined in — and in many cases became leaders of — the abolitionist movement, the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the feminist revolution, the gay rights movement, and so on.  Think of what this country would have been like if those ordinary people had never bothered to fight and sometimes die for what they believed in.
Bob Herbert, "A Radical Treasure",  1/29/10
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As the woes of this country escalate instead of dissipate, as millions of us go to bed each night knowing that we won't stop thinking about tomorrow, it's a pretty safe bet we're eventually going to work up to, and beyond, the point of just edgy. (I think we saw it in Massachusetts last week.  Yes, Martha Coakley had to be dragged kicking and screaming onto the campaign trail, and probably deserved to lose, but why was she the candidate in the first place?  That was the best the Massachusetts Dems could do?)

In millions and millions and MILLIONS of households, every day is a new calamity.  Some if not most of these calamities are fixable with a little help from Those who Have--including the government, whose holdings are largely OURS anyway.  If they were seriously working on the jobs situation--creating them, bringing them back to America, being honest about what constitutes a livable wage--people would be seriously working.

If people were working, they would be living in their homes, not standing on the outside looking in. They would be buying groceries and trying on clothes and sitting for family portraits again.  They might even be turning up their thermostats.

If banks were making low-, or even reasonable-interest loans, the people with jobs would be purchasers again, entrepreneurs would be building small businesses again, and all who were honest enough would be paying their fair share of taxes again.

If some of those billionaires would stop worrying about how they'd survive if they suddenly became millionaires again, and see themselves less as the privileged few and more as the instigators of this mess, we might get out of this mess quicker.

If the U.S (as in United States) Chamber of Commerce became less the foul foreign-interest chamber pot and more the cheerleaders for true American commerce, those meaningless slogans about "jobs, jobs, jobs" might actually morph into jobs, jobs, American-made jobs.

But so far, none of those things are happening, and we're left with a conundrum:  How do we--that's WE, as in we, the citizens, the hoi polloi, the common people,  the teeming masses, the heedless multitudes--build up the strength to fix this?

The truth is, I don't know.  I've spent months thinking about this, ever since Barack Obama became president, and it all comes down to--I don't know.  So if you're still with me and you're waiting breathlessly for an answer, you might as well exhale. I'm just one lone person here, same as you, thinking hard, talking my head off, working up the energy to march to and against and for. . .without even a hint of a plan taking shape.

Frank Rich gave me a real eye-opener on Sunday when he wrote:  "The historian Alan Brinkley has observed that we will soon enter the fourth decade in which Congress — and therefore government as a whole — has failed to deal with any major national problem, from infrastructure to education. The gridlock isn’t only a function of polarized politics and special interests. There’s also been a gaping leadership deficit."

It's true.  The Democrats, my party for better or. . .dammit. . .bounce between lethargy and stupidity.  Harry "public option is too HARD" Reid was so riled up over what's happening around here, he merely yawned during the SOTU speech but didn't actually fall asleep.  Nancy Pelosi seems to think that grinning is the solution to everything.  And the Blue Dog Democrats take pride in being the infiltrators from the enemy camp.  The few who actually see some urgency in saving the country--damn the torpedoes--say all the right things but in voices so weak everybody gets away with pretending they can't hear them.
 
If you count the 535 house and senate members in Congress, plus the president, the vice president and the entire West Wing, plus the deputies and the assistants to the deputies, plus a whole slew of pundits who claim to know everything, that's a lot of people wandering around in a fog looking for answers to what ails us.

So a year later, here they are, bragging about unemployment numbers in the tens of thousands per month instead of hundreds of thousands,  still without a WPA-like emergency jobs program that would immediately put people to work rebuilding America, still without any hope of a health care reform bill that first and foremost addresses health.  And those are just the big things.

Obama gave his State of the Union speech early last week and then, a few days later, went to see the Republicans at what was laughingly called their "retreat" (they don't "retreat", we do).   I'm always looking for signs, it's true, but last week I might have seen the first signs of a leader ready to fight.
 Some words from our president that gave me hope:

"In this new decade, it's time the American people get a government that matches their decency, that embodies their strength.

 ". . .And to encourage these and other businesses to stay within our borders, it is time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America.

". . .So tonight, we set a new goal: We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support 2 million jobs in America.

". . .I took on health care because of the stories I've heard, from Americans with pre-existing conditions whose lives depend on getting coverage, patients who've been denied coverage, families, even those with insurance, who are just one illness away from financial ruin.
After nearly a century of trying -- Democratic administrations, Republican administrations -- we are closer than ever to bringing more security to the lives of so many Americans.
The approach we've taken would protect every American from the worst practices of the insurance industry.  (This worries me.  What about the least worst practices?)

"...To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades and the people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills.

"...And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that 60 votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town, a supermajority, then the responsibility to govern is now yours, as well. Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.  So let's show the American people that we can do it together."

Near the end of his speech, he said,  "I don't quit.  We can't quit."   I loved hearing that.  It sounded as if we had started. 

At the Republican Retreat in Baltimore, Obama did a little hand-smacking:  (He did a lot of brown-nosing, too, but I expected that.)

"I'm not suggesting that we're going to agree on everything, whether it's on health care or energy or what have you, but if the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don't have a lot of room to negotiate with me.

"I mean, the fact of the matter is, is that many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable in your own base, in your own party. You've given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you've been telling your constituents is, this guy is doing all kinds of crazy stuff that's going to destroy America."

 Well, that was on Friday, so on Monday morning I tuned in to "Morning Joe" to hear Joe and bunch's take on the dressing-down in Baltimore.   When I got there, Mika was in the middle of reading a couple of paragraphs fromWSJ about Obama's detached style and his perceived lack of irony.  Joe latched onto it and every time someone said something favorable about either the SOTU speech or the Baltimore Q&A, Joe said, in effect, "Yes, but is he ironic?"

It came from this piece entitled, "The Obama Spell is Broken", by Fouad Ajami:
"We have had stylish presidents, none more so than JFK. But Kennedy was an ironist and never fell for his own mystique. Mr. Obama's self-regard comes without irony—he himself now owns up to the "remoteness and detachment" of his governing style. We don't have in this republic the technocratic model of the European states, where a bureaucratic elite disposes of public policy with scant regard for the popular will. Mr. Obama was smitten with his own specialness.
In this extraordinary tale of hubris undone, the Europeans—more even than the people in Islamic lands—can be assigned no small share of blame. They overdid the enthusiasm for the star who had risen in America."

It takes some bodacious, mendacious audacity to write in the Wall Street Journal about hubris or ". . .a bureaucratic elite [that] disposes of public policy with scant regard for the popular will" after those not-so-long-ago (but really, really long) Bush years, but if anybody can pull it off, it's the WSJ.   Their audience has the most to lose if Obama wins his battles.

It's the ordinary people (that's us) who need to keep Obama where he is.   Underneath the "uniter" facade is a street fighter.  "Community organizer" is on his resume.  He knows what it's like to be ordinary.  So he might not have the answers, and I might not have the answers, and I might not know exactly where we're going (and he might not, either), but I'm picking sides.  That's something.

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Signs that I'm getting way too immersed in this "saving the country" business:  I saw this internet bumper sticker the other day and I immediately thought of congress:  "I'm not really slapping you, I'm just high-fiving your face."