Friday, September 10, 2010

Washington Update

Comrades-- the quotes below are from Mike Allen's Politico Playbook-- considered by many to be the best blog about what's really going on in Washington. I find it interesting that some Democratic leaders think the best thing the party can do to win votes is to follow in the foot steps of Reagan. [I've been in the party long enough to remember Gus Hall's view that the re-election of Reagan could lead to the end of civilization as we know it!]Tempus fugit.--tr

MEAT FOR THE ROUNDTABLES - SNEAK PEEK FROM NEXT WEEK: WP COLUMNIST RICHARD COHEN WILL WARN OBAMA: Fire or be fired!: “In last week's prime-time address, … the president sat behind a massive and capaciously empty desk, looking somehow smaller than he ever has -- a man physically reduced by sinking polls, a lousy economy and the prospect that his party might lose control of Congress. Behold something we never thought we'd see with Obama: The Incredible Shrinking Presidency. This is an amazing and, to me, somewhat frightening turn of events. The folks who ran a very smart presidential campaign in 2008 have left the defining of the Obama presidency to … people on the edge of insanity. … It is clear by now that Obama has allowed others to define him. For this, Obama needs to blame Obama. … Like a picture hung in the sun, he fades over time. … Go back to Obama's recent Oval Office speech. It was only his second and so great importance was attached to it. He should have had something momentous to say. In fact, he had almost nothing so say -- no news to make or report. … The president needs a staff to tell him not to give an Oval Office address unless he has something worthy of the Oval Office to say. … In other words, the president needs to fire some key people. Either that, or the way things are going the American people are going to fire him.”

THE BIG IDEA - WashPost Outlook cover story, “How to survive the midterms, Reagan's way,” by Jim Kessler, vice president for policy at Third Way, a progressive think tank: “'We are going to lose the House and the Senate.' Those were the opening words of a memo that I faxed to my then-boss, Chuck Schumer, … on Labor Day in 1994. Schumer was still in the House, I was his legislative director … My phone rang at 11 p.m. Without so much as a hello, Schumer said: 'I read your memo. I think it's right. We need a plan.' The next evening, we sat down with House Speaker Tom Foley. Schumer began by saying: 'Mr. Speaker, I'm worried about the November elections. I think we could lose the House. I'm even worried about your race.' Despite the fact that Schumer had been in the House almost 14 years, Foley didn't really know him (he called Chuck 'Charlie,' for one thing). The speaker rolled up a magazine, … launching into a story that continued for 15 minutes and involved … a ceremonial headdress he had received from a Native American tribe outside Spokane. Finally, he slapped Schumer on the leg with the magazine and said, 'So, Charlie, I'm not concerned about the House or about my race.' … Foley became the first speaker to lose his seat since 1862. …

“The economy was tepid in 1994; it's truly awful now. Even so, there is a model for Democrats: Ronald Reagan's triumph in 1982. … With the country shaken by a series of recessions and foreign policy setbacks, he rallied Americans behind his optimism … and faith in American exceptionalism … If Democrats are to hold on in November, they must follow Reagan's tack, sketching a vision for the future that has the United States leading the globe with the world's strongest economy -- one fueled by private-sector growth and a successful middle class. And they must resist the temptation to succumb to a populism that portrays members of the middle class as weak, powerless victims. … Our recent poll found that voters approved of a hypothetical candidate who supported Obama's economic policies by 15 points over one who wanted to go back to Bush's economic policies. … Americans realize that the economy is in crisis, and they don't expect it to turn on a dime. But they want to know that Democrats have a vision that appeals to their highest aspirations and seeks to restore our nation's economic greatness and mantle as the most powerful economy on Earth.” [Long Live Imperialism]

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