Right-Wing Spins '08 Results
Partially hyperlinked to sources.
For all sources, see the data
Sources you'll hear in today's show
include: the New York Times, newsmax.com, the Gallup polling organization,
mediamatters.org, USA Today, commondreams.org, the Washington Post and Reuters.
So, what kind of post-election spin
from the right have you heard?
Whatever the variety, their spin is
designed to rev themselves up, and to demoralize us.
Won't work, I'm afraid.
Let's take three right-wing attempts
to delude themselves.
The most idiotic take I've heard is a
repeat from prior presidential elections. Right-wingers
present a map
of the US color-coded blue-red not by state, but by county.
The country is awash in red.
Tom Brokaw even was on the air talking
Such a map is meaningless.
Sparsely populated counties voted for McCain.
There are a lot of square miles there.
But few people. That's why
McCain lost. Few people.
What, is this Empty Acres for McCain?
Now, another doozy I've heard
purports to tell us, that Obama's victory shows the public embraces right-wing
This, amazingly enough, comes from
people who mere days before, were warning the nation that Obama was espousing
Brent Bozell is the head of a
right-wing media watchdog group called Accuracy in
A week before the election, Bozell said
on Fox & Friends:
But when you go through
the entirety of the campaign saying the kind of things that you're saying in the
debates, where on, for every question, you've got a redistribution of wealth
answer, where you've got socialism, where you've got the government controlling
every aspect of life. You don't expect a reporter to ask you, "Is this
socialism?" Because the media don't ask that question.
Ok, you'll recall that my entire last
podcast before the election, was devoted to debunking that final right-wing
attack line, that Obama plans to turn the country into a socialist state.
Yet listen to what Bozell said, three
days after the election, on Fox News' America's Newsroom:
[T]he fascinating thing,
Bill, is that Barack Obama ran as a Reaganite and won over the fiscal -- the
public as a fiscal conservative. That's what the polling data shows…Barack
Obama won as a conservative. That means that Barack Obama does not have the
mandate to enact the left-wing agenda he wants to enact. He didn't run on it, he
ran from it. So, this is not necessarily bad news for conservatives.
So, Obama ran as a Reaganite.
But I thought he ran as a socialist. A
Reagan socialist, perhaps? No,
no, of course, it's a socialist Reaganite…
Arguing that government must step in
to strengthen the social safety net, that we must raise the taxes on the
wealthy, those are certainly Reagan-like positions, huh?
The right-wing capacity for
self-delusion is seemingly endless.
Republican Senator Lindsay Graham told
the Associated Press:
I think this is a
center-right nation. America did not wake up one day and become liberal…
In short, several polls from major
polling organizations show that Americans support
progressive policies on most every economic and social justice issue, that our
progressive majority is growing larger and larger, and, that increasingly
left-leaning youth will turn the country increasingly progressive.
That last item was pretty prescient,
What issues are these?
For starters, try the overall role of government, health care, taxes, and
moral values. Yes, moral values.
Majorities, sometimes even
super-majorities of Americans, believe that:
--the government should provide more,
not less services
--the government should guarantee
health care for every American.
--the distribution of wealth in this
country is unfairly concentrated
--the wealthy pay too little in taxes
--Democrats reflect the nation's
moral values more than do Republicans
You may also run into right-wingers
who are now bringing
a post-election poll that says Americans describe themselves as conservative,
moderate and liberal in the same percentages as four years ago.
That would be 34% conservative, 44% moderate, and 22% liberal.
Part 2 of the series, addressed this
very mystery, that if more than half, often two-thirds or more of Americans
espouse progressive positions, shouldn't two-thirds or more of Americans
describe themselves, given the choices liberal-moderate-conservative -- as
They should, but they don't.
A couple of reasons, according
to analyses and polls: the word liberal has become so demonized, that many
people espousing progressive positions will instead call themselves moderates.
And perhaps the main reason, many self-described moderates and
conservatives don't understand their positions are actually progressive, not
moderate or conservative.
Ok, enough with absurd right-wing
spin, and abstract ideology. Up
next: what are the dire real-life effects on flesh-and-blood humans when
right-wing policies are actually put into effect?
See you in a minute.
Shameful Health Care Statistics
Partially hyperlinked to sources.
For all sources, see the data
The last couple of weeks you heard a
lot here about right-wing smears in the campaign.
But what always should remain
paramount, and will be now that the election is over, is showing how right-wing
policies are wrong because they increase human misery, suffering, pain and
For me, it's not a question of, oh,
that ideology sounds better to me, or more logical.
No, I look at results.
I like to think of myself as a humanitarian pragmatist.
If right-wing policies did well by the average person, then I'd be for
right wing policies.
But they don't, and so I'm not.
That's why I fight against them so
Our current health care system is
right-wing health care, except for two parts progressives pushed through --
Medicaid for the poorest of poor, and Medicare for those over 65.
Everyone else, you're on your own,
Charley, you're on your own Charlotte.
As George Bush put it:
I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.
Just recently, we had more evidence
of this sad, right-wing-caused state of affairs:
One in eight people with
advanced cancer turned down recommended care because of the cost, according to a
new analysis from Thomson Reuters, which provides news and business information.
It's even worse for those at the
bottom of the economic scale. For
those earning less than $40,000 a year, fully one in four feel it necessary to
refuse treatment for advanced cancer.
The cost of cancer care has doubled
in recent years. Maybe that's why
25% of cancer patients or their families have their savings wiped out by the
cost of treatment.
People you may know, or you yourself,
can face a horrible dilemma. As one
oncologist put it:
Do they pay out of pocket
— sometimes in the thousands of dollars — or do they forgo the therapy to
preserve for their family what modest assets they may have?
Such are the Hobbesian choices a
right-wing system forces upon you.
And It's not just cancer care.
Across the board, Americans are being
forced to cut
back on needed medications.
As people around the
country respond to financial and economic hard times by juggling the cost of
necessities like groceries and housing, drugs are sometimes having to wait.
"People are having to
choose between gas, meals and medication,” said Dr. James King, the chairman
of the American Academy of Family Physicians…
“I’ve seen patients
today who said they stopped taking their Lipitor,
medicine, because they can’t afford it…I have patients who have stopped
taking their osteoporosis
People employ various strategies,
like splitting pills, taking them only every other day.
One 56-year-old accounting manager said:
Don’t tell my wife, but
if I have 30 days’ worth of pills, I’ll usually stretch those out to 35 or
You’re trying to keep a
house over your head and use your money to pay all your bills.
Here's another fact that came out
during the weeks just before the election:
Shamefully, we're 29th in the world
in this regard.
Right-wingers rant and rave about
freedom all the time. No freedom
means anything if you unnecessarily die of a medical condition.
Nobel Prize winner and Harvard
Professor Amartya Sen has spoken
of the need to eliminate "unfreedoms," deprivations that prevent
people from living long and healthy lives.
Well, a great American progressive hit on that very point, speaking of
audio: Franklin Delano
An old English judge once
said, "Necessitous men are not free men." Liberty requires opportunity
to make a living-a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living
which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.
That was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
So remember the bottom line.
The right doesn't give a damn. The
only reason they ever offer plans to improve the nation's health care system, is
to have something to say to answer progressive advocacy.
Up next: maybe you'll feel as
disgusted and outraged as I was, when you hear how as they're on their way out,
the Bushians are seeking to take medical care away even from those who already
receive inadequate treatment.
Bush's Last Minute Regulatory Massacre
Partially hyperlinked to sources.
For all sources, see the data
The title of this New York Times editorial
says it all:
So Little Time, So Much
What are they talking about?
Nothing less than this:
President Bush’s aides
have been scrambling to change rules and regulations on the environment, civil
liberties and abortion rights, among others — few for the good. Most
presidents put on a last-minute policy stamp, but in Mr. Bush’s case it is
more like a wrecking ball. We fear it could take months, or years, for the next
president to identify and then undo all of the damage.
Envision hordes of corporate
lobbyists descending upon the Executive Office Building, pleading for a
loosening of restrictions and speeded up decision-making.
Because they "fear that industry views will hold less sway after the
The Bush administration is responding
Their unfortunate actions
already cover a wide range of human activities.
The Bushians will weaken drinking
Make it easier to engage in
destructive mountaintop coal mining.
Reduce standards designed to prevent
and contain oil spills.
They're going to allow the commercial
and recreational fishing industries to police themselves.
How about pristine federal lands?
The Interior Department is hell-bent
on selling oil and gas leases on millions of acres of fragile wilderness.
The Bushians will further allow
health care providers to refuse to tell women about abortion referrals,
emergency contraceptives and other reproductive health care options.
And clean air?
Forget about it.
The right-wingers will allow more
pollution from power plants, oil refineries, chemical factories and other
John Walke of the Natural Resources
Defense Council says these changes "will force Americans to choke on
dirtier air for years to come, unless Congress or the new administration
reverses these eleventh-hour abuses."
At the end of the last segment I said
the Bushians want to cut back medical care for those already not getting enough.
Let more poor people suffer and die.
The usual effect of right-wing
Don't take my word for it.
John W. Bluford III, president of
Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, Mo.:
This is a disaster for
safety-net institutions like ours…
Richard J. Pollack, executive vice
president of the American Hospital Association:
The new regulation will
jeopardize important community-based services, including screening, diagnostic
and dental services for children, as well as lab and ambulance services.
Doing this is especially horrific in
a time of economic crisis.
Ann Kohler, executive director of the
National Association of State Medicaid Directors:
More and more people are
coming onto Medicaid. People are
losing their jobs and running out of unemployment benefits. Some employers can
no longer afford to provide health insurance to their workers.
Reducing Medicaid benefits is the
exact opposite direction Congressional leaders and President-elect Obama have
been trying to go.
As usual, I've give you a brief taste
-- could you really tolerate much more? -- a brief taste of the typical blather
the right-wing offers as a defense when they get caught red-handed in their
This is from Tony Fratto, White House
This administration has
taken extraordinary measures to avoid rushing regulations at the end of the
term… [T]hey're well reasoned and are being considered with the best interests
of the nation in mind.
Which nation is that, I wonder?
Certainly not the nation George W. Bush is president of.
Well, he won't be president of it for
too much longer.
In the last segment, you'll hear what
President-elect Obama has been up to in preparing to meet the right in battle on
the regulatory front.
I'll also give you my personal
reaction to Obama's victory, as well as some thoughts on the best way for
progressives to pressure the Obama administration to move in a clear progressive
Ensuring A Progressive '09 And Beyond
Partially hyperlinked to sources.
For all sources, see the data
Ok, we just spoke about the Bush
on-the-way-out regulatory massacre.
Well, Obama's been doing some
intensive counter-work in
He's had four dozen advisers working
for months identifying regulations and policies he can change with the stroke of
a pen after he takes office.
So far they've identified two
hundred. That list will certainly
get longer after the Bushians execute their last minute flurry of rule-making.
The Obama team is consulting with
liberal advocacy groups. In fact,
the founder of one, John Podesta, is the co-head of Obama's entire transition.
Podesta started the Center for American Progress, www.thinkprogress.org,
the progressive think tank Thom Hartman is always citing.
Many of the Center's staff members are involved in the transition.
Three items expected to be at the top
of the list of Obama reversals are:
--Bush's restriction on federal
funding for embryonic stem cell research
--Bush's global gag rule against
abortion counseling by groups receiving US aid, and
--Bush's denying California the right
to regulate CO2 emissions from automobiles.
Now let me get a bit personal.
Let me tell you how I feel right now.
Before the election, every day I'd
wake up and dread what I'd see when I clicked on the computer, what kind of
vicious, cruel, illegal, unconstitutional, deadly, immoral things would the Bush
administration be doing today, or have revealed that they'd already done?
And every day, what they were doing
or proposed or had revealed they'd done earlier, was worse than I could have
So after the election, when I felt as
if something was missing in my psyche, it didn't take too long, before I
realized it was that part of me which had dreaded each day's revelations.
That part of me was expecting to have
far, far less, maybe most often nothing to do come January 20.
All won't be sweetness and light, far
from it. But the runaway train
heading hard right has been stopped.
In my show
about the un-wisdom of voting for Ralph Nader, which I caught a lot of flack
for, I said that if a runaway train is heading towards you, all you want first
thing, is it to be stopped. You
don't care if the person stopping it is a great person, you don't care whether
they'll reverse the train, if they understand how to prevent runaway trains, or
if they'll improve our national rail system.
First and foremost, right now, you
just want the damn train stopped in its tracks.
You and I were facing a runaway
train, the right-wing project to transform this country into economic feudalism
and soft fascism. Another eight
years of right-wing control of the reins of government, and we may well have
been past the point of no return.
I wasn't a big fan of Obama during
the primaries. Nor of Clinton.
Obama's change mantra drove me nuts.
I didn't really care as between him
and Hillary, it was just whoever could stop the Republican candidate
When Obama got the nomination, I saw
him as the only human being on the face of the earth who could throw the
right-wing out of power.
That's why I supported him so
Not because he was the incarnation of
I maxed out my contribution to Obama
in the last weeks of the campaign. I
figured, if kicking the right out of power wasn't worth $2300 to me, what was??
I, personally, am greatly relieved
that the right-wing has been kicked out of power. Even idling in neutral,
if that's all we get, will be infinitely preferable to continue racing full
speed down the road to ruin.
In my own mind, I've already gotten
close to 100% of the minimum I wanted.
Of course I'll fight with all my
heart and soul for much, much more.
Now, what's inside Obama?
What's his core?
I'm encouraged that both after
college and again after law school he turned down lucrative corporate world
possibilities to work
as a low-paid community organizer helping the poor.
I'm encouraged that as a law
professor, he created
a course on racism. He required
students to look at horrific pictures in a 1919 catalog of lynching victims.
When I was organizing civil
disobediences in the 1980's against aid to the contras, Biden did vote against
On the other hand, Obama has recently
negative comments about Hugo Chavez, echoing right-wing talking points.
Certain things Obama may have to be
pressed much harder on than others.
Tom Hayden has advocated
much the same thing:
The task is ours to build a social movement and create a climate that
organizes the pressure that will enable [Obama] to do the right thing. I don't
know of any political leaders who will go beyond what their base has made
And for a bit of grass roots wisdom,
how about this:
“America wants a
microwave,” said Pernell Vassell, 40, an assistant manager of a gas station
who hopes to go back to school in Norwalk. “We have to slow-cook our way back.
It’s like if you have the flu. You don’t expect to be all better
please, let's not start off by immediately smashing Obama in the face with a
of the email I'm getting is really disturbing to me.
Certain progressives purport to be
simply horrified that Obama selected Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff.
Almost like having Dick Cheney as your vice-president, isn't it?
criticize Obama's policies when necessary, not the man, not his motives or
President Obama, you weren't elected to do that.
That's against your own principles. Against
your own philosophy.
That's against Christian principles
This will be counterproductive to the
goals you want to achieve
Please rethink your decision.
We can't support this.
If you change, we'll have your back
The right-wing is already well
underway in their efforts to destroy the Obama presidency.
Obama represents a terrifying paradigm to them, with his heavy youth
support and burgeoning minority voting. Add
to that a decline in the right's ability to pull off touch screen vote machine
fraud and vote caging voter suppression. No
wonder the right is scared of being on the outside for a generation or more.
Listen to Bill O'Reilly the day after
Guest: We shouldn't be
fearful about that, because what we have to do --
I am fearful. I am. I'm scared to death that I'm going to be living in
San Francisco on Long Island. I
don't want San Francisco values. I
don't want socialism, I don't want any of this stuff.
Let's be smart about this.
I'll leave you with some FDR and
some… Jay Leno.
Remember I said earlier that I wasn't
in love with any particular ideology, that I'm a humanitarian pragmatist, that
I'm interested in whatever works to reduce human misery, suffering, pain and
This about sums it up:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Governments can err,
Presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that divine justice
weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted in
Better the occasional
faults of a Government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent
omissions of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.
Or as Jay Leno put it a few weeks
Vice President Dick Cheney
had to cancel appearances this week after doctors discovered his heart had an
irregular rhythm. Well, the first
clue that Cheney's heart was irregular--it was beating.
Actually it was a
four-hour procedure. Four hours!
Well, the first two hours were just waiting for the heart to thaw.
I believe Obama has the FDR attitude,
not the Dick Cheney one.
Obama does not have an icy heart of
indifference that needs to be thawed. For
that alone, I rest a bit easier at night.
Maybe you should as well.