Blair Forlaw Benjamin, this is well-reasoned, but is anybody listening to reason anymore? Tom Friedman quoted Romney's lead pollster Neil Newhouse in his column in the NY Times yesterday: “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.” What once was mild disregard for the truth has turned into a mean arrogance. Alas!
Blair Forlaw Hey Dave. Great piece. I don't agree with everything you said, but if half the people in our country took the time and care to educate themselves about their "choices," as you have, this would be a far better place. We could have a real election instead of the cacophony of distorted sound bites we have now. Thanks. Blair
Blair Forlaw Thanks, David. As a former Missourian, I am so ashamed of Akin's comments. There's nothing wrong with differences of opinion on social issues (in fact, it's a good thing because it forces us to find common ground), but ignorance and bigotry are awful.
Blair Forlaw Thanks. Yesterday I heard on the radio that Amy Goodman had given $1 million to an Obama-leaning Super PAC, and I thought, gee, that's not much. Might have been funny, except it's not. Blair
Blair Forlaw Interesting chart. Here are some more interesting stats, which I ran across last night (wish I had had them when I wrote this piece). Percent of total contributions to Super PACs in the 2012 election cycle to date: Individuals - 73.8% Businesses - 11 % 527 advocacy groups - 5.6% Unions - 4.6% Read more at http://www.demos.org/publication/million-dollar-megaphones-super-pacs-and-unlimited-outside-spending-2012-elections Blair
Blair Forlaw Hi David. Thanks for your comment. I am sick of partisan jabbing myself. My intent in this piece was not to take sides, but to illuminate where the money is coming from that is making all this negative campaigning possible. Both parties say that democracy is the foundation of our great nation, but we're starting to look like a plutocracy. Or at least these three big donors seem to think that wealth rules. I hope they are wrong and that Rs and Ds and Independents who still believe in a political process where everyone participates will prove them wrong. Blair
Blair Forlaw The SCOTUS' Citizens United v FEC and subsequent court rulings allowed corporations and unions to give unlimited amounts of money to Super Political Action Committees that throw their support behind political candidates with lots of expensive media time and other activities. They are supposed to operate independently of the candidates, but .... Here's a link to a piece about it. Google it and you'll find more than you can possibly read. http://www.npr.org/2012/02/23/147294511/understanding-the-impact-of-citizens-united. SuperPACs have to disclose the identity of their donors, but there are a growing number of 501(c)4 advocacy organizations that can keep their donors anonymous. They do also perform a lot of political 'education.'
Blair Forlaw No money laundering here, Charlie. It's all perfectly legal since Citizens United and subsequent Supreme Court decisions. These men are making incredible investments to ensure a specific political outcome -- to elect Mitt Romney, or, more likely, to defeat Barack Obama. You can be a loyal Jets fan and still not condone how big bucks are manipulating our democratic process. In fact, you are in a great position to speak up.
Blair Forlaw Yes, I agree. It's disappointing that the folks who are getting all worked up trying to impose their own moral judgements on everyone else are using up the time and attention we should be spending on economic challenges.
Blair Forlaw It does seem that the Republican Party has become two parties (at least) and this issue could force a break, as you say. The most interesting thing to me as I researched this article was the gutsy voice of Republicans who are willing to challenge the hypocrisy of folks who try to dictate personal behavior from the foundation of a party that is supposed to be about liberty and freedom. My opinion: if the traditionalists continue to challenge the social ideologues and restore the GOP to the party of Lincoln, we'll all (Democrats, too) be better for it.
Blair Forlaw It can now be said without equivocation that Rush Limbaugh hates this country. If he cared about America, he would get in there and try to help solve some of the challenges we all face together, rather than just spewing hateful talk. No one (entrepreneur, corporate executive, citizen, non-profit leader, government official, philanthropist) got where they are completely on their own. To say otherwise is to be really out of touch. I worry that voters are going to be so turned off by this unreasonable rhetoric that no one but the extremists will be engaged in November.
Blair Forlaw I believe you have presented the very kind of common-sense practical measure that could help. Citizens shouldn't have free and confidential access to weapons of mass destruction. There are so many social problems that could be solved if we got practical instead of emotional about them -- we know this because other countries have done so. But, as you rightly point out, your suggestion will be beaten down by emotional rhetoric on both sides.
Blair Forlaw That one will be interesting to watch, too. Redistricting is really something else. Seems to have had a positive effect in some instances, and in others, the maps look like nothing short of gerrymandering.
Blair Forlaw I agree with you, Talib; this is what most of the American people want. It's crazy, but so refreshing. So, how would we bring that pressure to bear on the candidates? Already, we see the campaigns "sharpening their contrasts" -- more blame-smearing and name-calling!
Blair Forlaw The caucus you describe is a great idea, and if it were comprised of both Ds and Rs, so much the better! My take-away from this meeting was that the four forces the former legislators described are not only impacting the Democratic party -- they're driving folks to the extremes on both sides. They have the process totally locked up. Let me know if I can help with the caucus idea.
Blair Forlaw I agree with Douglas that No Labels has a good common-sense plan to rein in some of what's wrong with the system. But an underlying problem seems to be that our elected representatives think that partisan point-scoring is more important than solving problems. A variety of factors have pushed politicians to extreme ideological positions, and now they talk loud and push each other around and never get anything done for the American people. If we voters would hold their feet to the fire, maybe a strong independent broker at the top could steer us in a different direction.
Blair Forlaw Good article, Christina; you make a great point about poverty not being part of the national dialogue in this election cycle. Another important issue that contributes to homelessness is mental illness and substance abuse. Folks who suffer from these conditions can find themselves on the streets due to lack of appropriate healthcare and community-based services. These services are inadequate at present, and are vulnerable to budget cuts.