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January 19, 2012 04:01 PM UTC

Thursday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“I will offer a choice, not an echo.”

–Barry Goldwater


58 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. Comment from TPM  http://2012.talkingpointsmemo….

    Of course nobody likes him. We all know him from high school.

    He was the guy who would ooze false bonhomie in his Lacoste shirt when he’d buttonhole you in the hallway to be on the pep rally committee. He was the guy who was constantly sucking up to the faculty adviser so he could be the editor of the school paper. He was the guy who’d rat you out for smoking behind the handball courts and tell you he did it for your own good. He was the guy whose parents bought him a brand new Trans Am in junior year while you had a ten year old Nova with a hole in the floor.

    In short, he was the guy we knew to be a phony who always had an ulterior motive.

    1. that Romney went to schools where they ALL drove nice, new cars; or at least hand-me-downs that were in decent shape. Novas with holes in the floor were public school rides.

      1. … certainly not Mittens situation. Mittens never had to do anything for himself but somehow has this blueblood aura of a self-made man.  Fuxsake, he was hand fed his success by his mentor @ Bain and then had them write a golden rock-solid CYA contract for him to start up Bain capital — he couldn’t fail.

        The only way he’d start Bain Capital was if they guaranteed he could have his old job with any intervening raises and bonuses accrued during the start up and he was given premo options & profit sharing from the start up.  He had that rosy smell all over no matter what came out of his Gordon Gecko experiment.    

      1. is that if you want Congress to do something, you have to do it yourself. Protesting is great, but if you don’t have some sort of organized communication to elected officials to go along with it, then it’s easily co-opted and spun.

        Occupy constantly blamed the media for distorting their message, but here we see that, despite the major media outlets having the same corporate owners (Murdoch, for example, has been an outspoken proponent for SOPA/PIPA) this protest was arguably more effective in a day or week than Occupy was in 3-4 months. Granted, this was much more focused on a particular piece of legislation, rather than the entire system, but I think it can serve as a guide to future protests.

        If you want Congress to do something, you have to flood their offices with calls, e-mails, letters, etc. Otherwise, they’re never going to notice or care. Until people seriously want a real revolution where the system of government or the economic system is overthrown, then you have to work within the existing system to have a positive effect.

        1. has actually played a key role in all of this.  They set the tone for objection, protest, reminding people to speak up and say NO!  They’re the musical theme underneath, and the periodic flooding of Congressional offices with calls and emails is the melody.

          1. If SOPA/PIPA go back to the drawing board to find a way to their (supposed) intended purpose of stopping overseas IP pirates from easily profiting, then this can serve as a blueprint for more successful ways for citizens to combat the stranglehold that corporate lobbyists have on Congress. Of course, it really helps when websites like Wikipedia and Google are part of the protest too. I think that was another really interesting aspect of yesterday’s strike–seeing just how powerful internet entrepreneurs and users are when they want to be.

            But, getting back to Occupy, it was frustrating to watch that movement be so easily co-opted and distorted. I think that had a lot to do with the Occupiers’ aeguably justified feelings that Congress was never going to listen to them, so they couldn’t do things like flood their office with calls. Yesterday was like one gigantic “mic check” and it really resonated inside the Congressional offices. I know that they were watching, and participating, yesterday, and I hope that they take notice and make strategic adjustments as we head towards another round of Occupying in the spring.

        2. Is they were getting contacted by constituents in their district that normally pay no attention to politics. Getting a ton of contacts from activists across the country they ignore (and reasonably so). But local non-activist voters – that’s the one thing that trumps lobbyists & money.

          ps – If only we could generate this response for all the other times Senator Bennet votes as his funders direct.

          1. First of all, why should they ignore activists? Why is an engaged voter’s opinion on legislation any less important than an unengaged one? Should someone’s opinion be ignored once they’ve exceeded their one-call-a-month limit?

            Second, maybe you should be happy you got your way on this one rather than going directly into your usual, predictable bashing of Bennet. “All the other times he votes as his funders direct” reads to me like “All the other times he didn’t want to do an interview with me and I threw a hissy fit.”

            1. But Dave’s right – if certain kinds of feedback are predictable, elected officials will react as such. They probably know about how many emails and calls to expect, as well as what they’ll all say, whenever or other group sends out the word on a given issue, and if that’s what they get, it probably won’t affect their vote one way or the other.

              Hearing from a lot of people who DON’T ordinarily contact their officials regularly, if at all, is anything but routine, and that will get their attention. Myself, for example – I rarely contact them because there are rarely any major issues that I’m worried about how they’ll vote. But with Bennet sponsoring and DeGette waffling, you bet I stepped up.

              I’ll let Dave’s snarkiness slide this time, too, because it seems pretty spot on here. We obviously can’t say whether a Senator Romanoff would or wouldn’t have opposed it, but he was without ties to Anschutz.

              1. They get used to objections from the usual suspects.  This time they were being contacted by all kinds of constituents on this, including small business owners and seniors. They were hearing from people at various points over the political left/right spectrum. That made a big difference. The constant stream of e-mail petitions from the same sources can become little more than background noise signifying not much.

                Calls and e-mails from individual constituents, especially if it’s high volume coming from all different sorts, get more attention than business as usual mass petitions or little rallies from politically homogenous groups. Not that rallies don’t serve apurpose, especially when they are covered.

                1. E-mail petitions and other forms of purely online activism are pointless, and deserve to be ignored–or at least marginalized.

                  But calls, actual calls from concerned people, are almost impossible to be determined as being from a “regular” person or an engaged activist. When I called Bennet and Udall’s office, nobody asked for my name and address (DeGette’s office did, presumably to send me a letter) just my ZIP code.

                  If activists actually called more often, then maybe they’d be more successful. It takes about 1% more time to make a phone call than it does to sign an e-mail petition, but for some reason people rarely do it. But this notion that activists calling means less than “normal” people calling is pretty dumb. That’s why I didn’t understand David’s comment.

                  And he may well be right about Bennet this time. I was very disappointed with his stance on this. That doesn’t mean I have to heap praise on David for continuing to harp on a grudge that did originate with him being refused an interview.

                    1. His first, overarching grudge was Udall, who I don’t think ever sat down with him. That caused lots of random Udall bashing that was based on his supposition that Udall never held town halls–a claim that was often debunked, but that never really went away. Now that he generally agrees with Udall, he doesn’t really care about it anymore.

                      Bennet did sit down with him one time, after he was sworn in, but before Romanoff announced a primary challenge (not 100% sure about the timing, but you can find that interview here. Later, shortly before the state assembly, he tried to get another interview with him and was shot down. That spurred the now famous hissy fit to which I was referring, which culminated in not voting for Bennet at the assembly and has continued to this day. David will probably deny that this was the reason though.

                    2. First off I interviewed Senator Bennet twice so the idea that I switched my view of Bennet because of being turned down does not match the facts.

                      Second, what flipped my view on Bennet was how he gave Wall St everything they asked for in his votes on amendments on the financial “reform” bill. After I wrote a post here about why I was upset with Bennet, several people here said I should give him a chance to explain his votes. So after I flipped, I asked to be fair. But the ask was after, not before.

                      Third, I asked numerous people in the Udall campaign to identify a single town hall Udall held in the year prior to running for the Senate where he announced in advance he would take general questions. No one could identify one. He did have a lot of “townhalls” where there were no questions. He had a lot of roundtables where he pre-selected who would ask. But nothing opening it up to the unwashed masses.

                      Fourth, what first soured me on Udall was his vote on FISA. Not townhalls, not interviews, but his walking over the constitution.

                      If you can show evidence of a Udall townhall where it was announced in advance he would take questions from the public during that period, just one, I will apologize on this issue.

                      As many say, you get to have your opinion, but you don’t get to make up your own facts.

                  1. I don’t think Dave was speaking about phone calls in particular. But if he was, I’d still be inclined to agree with him. Senators and representatives get calls all the time, just as they get emails and online petitions, and they probably have a very good idea of how many calls they’re going to get, and about what topics, and what the ratio of pro to con calls will be. They’re only really going to react if something does not go according to expectation.

                    1. of pro and con calls. You may be right about what they expect to get, but when there are organized grassroots calling campaigns, they’re almost always impossible to ignore.

                    2. Is if they get a ton of identical emails on a given issue one day that is due to a moveon or fox news push, and also get phone calls on that same issue, they discount them together.

                      I think the best approach is a phone call, but 3 weeks after the call to action.

                  2. and seen firsthand. About 5 years ago I had an appt with Allard at his Senate office. Arriving early as I usually do, on a day with a hot immigration vote, his receptionist was tallying and relaying the yays and nays by voice through his open office door. K Salazar’s office was doing the same thing without the shouting

          1. but that wasn’t why it resonated with people. Indeed, as the protests became dominated by people further and further left, its influence with the general public declined.

            OWS’s great success was getting people talking about how the politicians and policies ALL favor the rich at the expense of everyone else, and I think that heightened awareness played a role here. Remember, it was on its merry way through the legislative process when the alarm was sounded. Would as many people have paid attention? That’s hard to answer conclusively without some solid evidence, but my feeling is that the answer is no. Stuff like this has been passing through Congress for decades; various watchdogs has tried to raise awareness, but with little success.

            As you point out, it was a battle of corporations against corporations, but I don’t think that’s the first time a bill that pitted one industry’s interests against another’s has been around. I think the changed atmosphere allowed google, wikipedia, et al to do this with less risk. How would this have been reported by the media (and received by the public) just last summer?

            Just some food for thought.

          1. but yes, exactly. When people call a congressional office, you can’t judge them like the Occupiers were judged. Not that I’m saying that it was right, just that it’s easier to smear them when they’re not engaged in some sort of communication effort… other than drum circling. If people had been supporting the “dreadlocked drum circling hippie” Occupiers by overloading the Congressional office switchboard, or writing tons of individual letters and e-mails, there’s no telling what effect it could have had.

            What I took away from the occupy movement was that people need to stop sitting idly by and letting the country get screwed over by corporations and wealthy individuals whose sole concern is their own bottom line. I just think that choosing to try to go around the our system of representative democracy, without having any real ideas for replacing or overthrowing that system, is a big mistake, and it’s why their message gets lost in the shuffle.

          1. no matter how much they like forgiving sinners, when push comes to shove, I don’t see a snow ball’s chance in hell for a woman with Callista’s history to be chosen by the GOTP to be their candidate for First Lady.  The forgiving among the evangelical crowd is usually reserved for men.  It’s still a different story for women among the wives must be submissive crowd. How they get around Callista so perfectly fitting their own definition of “slut” is going to present a much tougher problem for them.  

  2. No surprise. It’s been obvious for months (maybe from the beginning) that Tipton wasn’t listening to Mike Hesse.  As one of Tipton’s former backers told me yesterday – “He’s been drinking too much toxic tea and listening to the wrong people.”

  3. I heard it on TV this morning. Proving, perhaps, that Gingrich is a true “con-servative” (heavy on the “con”), rather than “cun-servative.” What an effin’…never mind.

    1. The rationale for calling this a tie, according to the Des Moines Register, which has the story as an exclusive, is that 8 precincts’ numbers are lost permanently and will never be certified.

      1. It was silly to ever call it a win for Romney with unofficial numbers since any recount would easily change the result. They didn’t know the exact value then, they don’t know the exact value now, a tie is a tie.

        And that’s aside from this update which shows those precincts were excluded on a technicality.

      2. We don’t want to ruin Romney’s “inevitability”.

        If the caucus numbers were never officially submitted, then they don’t count.  For a caucus, those precincts might as well not have met.

        However, it was reported the day after the caucus that even with all of the results, it was likely that Santorum won – the state mistakenly recorded only 2 votes for Santorum in one precinct where he received 22 votes.

        It is highly likely that Santorum won Iowa, barely.  It’s quite possible that Newtmentum will take hold and South Carolina will make Willard 1 for 3.

  4. Attacked the media for airing the interview with his 2nd EX-wife.  I am back to predicting that Newt may well be the nominee….

    He is a fighter…and that is what the RRR wants….

    1. because they’re out of other guys (probably Santorum will get another turn too), but he’s going to crash again for the same reason he did twice before: he can’t control himself. “Giant blustering asshole” is appealing to lots of Republicans when they’re pissed off, but when they think seriously about him as President, even they sober up.

      1. Newt is incapable of failing to self destruct. Romney is sustaining more damage as the out of touch elitist every day but will still end up running as the Thurston Howell, let them eat cake candidate who can’t seem to grasp that no matter how deserving you think the deserving rich may be, you still have to get the majority of the poor shlub 99% to vote for you.  

  5. So Gingrich refuses to talk to the media about news of his affairs in a press conference, like any ordinary politician would have to, and instead uses a friendly audience to pull a classic “How dare you even suggest!?” response. What a brilliant debater!

    I imagine Bill Clinton would have gotten the same sort of hero treatment had he been asked about Lewinsky in a Philadelphia town hall rather than in a grand jury.

    But now right-wingers have to pretend for a week or two that Gingrich is a “real conservative,” with family values and limited government and the works. It was kind of funny last time because you knew deep down they didn’t believe it. Now it’s sad because some of them really do.

    Anyway, if you want to get sad like me, check out the responses to Haners on this RedState thread.  

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