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Wednesday, July 18, 2018
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Brain-Dead Republican Line of Criticism on Brian Moran

As you undoubtedly know, and are probably sick of hearing about, I'm not a big fan of Brian Moran. Also, as you undoubtedly know, and may also be sick of hearing about, the Blue Virginia "front pagers" overwhelmingly endorsed Peter Rousselot for DPVA chair over Brian Moran. Our main lines of critique? In most of our cases, it was the fact that Moran wouldn't be a full-time chair, due to the fact that he has a busy "day job" that presumably takes up most of his time. For others, it was not just that Brian Moran had a day job, but what that day job happens to be - lobbyist for the for-profit "education" industry (for the latest on that topic, see the Huffington Post on "For-Profit Colleges Cashing In On Veterans").  

But one line of criticism nobody on this blog, or in the Democratic Party, ever raised was the Republicans' ultimate brain-dead line of criticism. Are you ready for this? That's right, Brian Moran - make sure you're sitting down here - is a "liberal".

So what did Virginia Democrats do last weekend? They selected as their state party chairman Brian Moran, the ultra-liberal former member of the House of Delegates who placed third (with less than 24 percent of the vote) in the 2009 gubernatorial primary...
My god, where do we even start here?  First, how about we point out that Brian Moran didn't lose a Democratic primary because he was "too liberal" (just as Republicans don't lose their primaries because they're "too conservative" - duh!). Putting aside the question of how "liberal" Brian Moran really is (An "A" rating from the NRA is "liberal?" Winning the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce's "Friend of Business Award" multiple times is "liberal?" Being pro-capital punishment if "liberal?" An ex-prosecutor with a reputation for being "tough on crime" is "liberal?" A lobbyist for the for-profit "education" industry is a "liberal?" Someone who sponsored an office of faith-based assistance is a "liberal?" How about Brian Moran's just a "Democrat" - period?), Republicans are basically "arguing" - if we can even use that word to describe what they're doing - that Brian Moran's a bad pick to lead the state party because he's a Democrat. And that's just brain dead. I mean, was Jeff Frederick a bad pick to lead the RPV because he was an arch conservative? How about Pat Mullins, is he not highly conservative, having just endorsed crazy Dick Black for State Senate? Are Republicans arguing that they should have selected more "moderate" people to head their party, in an attempt to appeal to independent voters?  If so, why didn't they do it?

Look, there are plenty of legitimate lines of criticism against Brian Moran - the lobbyist gig, the fact that he won't commit to being a full-time chair and filling out Dickie Cranwell's term, the way he ran his gubernatorial campaign in 2009, questionable campaign donations, his track record in recruiting candidates, etc., etc.  But the fact that Brian Moran's been a mainstream Democrat, even moderate-to-conservative in several ways over the years, somehow, counterfactually (and 100% illogically) demonstrates that Virginia Democrats are lurching to "the left" (wherever that is these days)? That's just stupid.

Eugene Robinson: “Approve the lousy deal.”

This is like swallowing poison, but I'm about 90% with Eugene Robinson on this one -- "Democrats have no choice but to accept an irresponsible tax deal." The bottom line is that this deal is awful (poorly designed "stimulus," no investment "in the nation's future," another big increase in the debt, it never should have come to this if Democrats had had their act together the last couple years), but what other choice do we have at this point? And so, Robinson concludes, the only course of action at this point: "Approve the lousy deal."  With a great deal of reluctance, I agree with Robinson. Here's a bit more of his argument:
...as much as I sympathize with the progressives who are ready to man the barricades, let's be real. Killing the deal now would mean a middle-class tax increase, no extended unemployment benefits and no payroll tax holiday. Voters would surely feel they had been robbed - and Democrats, perhaps unfairly, would get the blame.

As I said, this is painful. Democrats in Congress are understandably irate at being lectured so sternly by a president for whom ending the tax cuts for the wealthy was so important that it was non-negotiable - until he negotiated it away.

It's a sad story, for the country and especially for the Democratic Party. I believe the White House continues to underestimate the anger and disillusionment among the party's loyal base - and the need for some victories, or at least some heroic battles, to lift the spirits of the faithful. Obama needs to train his newfound passion and outrage on his foes in the GOP, not on the friends and supporters that his press secretary once derisively called the "professional left."

Pyrrhic victories don't make anything better, however. And that's what killing the tax cut deal would clearly be.

Just to emphasize Robinson's point in the second to last paragraph -- President Obama (and other Democrats) "need to train [their] passion and outrage" on the Republicans for what they just did here. In the end, Republicans demonstrated that their overwhelming top priority is not the deficit or the debt, not the economy, certainly not the working class or middle class. Instead, Republicans demonstrated as clearly as can possibly be demonstrated that their #1 priority, pretty much their only priority (other than "breaking" Obama) is helping the wealthiest and most powerful among us. No, the Democratic Party isn't fighting hard enough for working people, not at all, but at least Democrats aren't actively fighting to accelerate the growing wealth gap between the "bottom" 98% of Americans and the top 2%. Just remember, never have any illusions about this simple fact: Republicans are the "I've got mine, I'm gonna get even more, so f*** you." They're also the corporate welfare party, NOT the "free market" party, but that's a subject for another discussion.

Warner, Webb Vote to Fund Military, Repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”

I'm very happy to see our two U.S. Senators vote "yea" on funding the military and repealing the discriminatory, counter-productive, obsolete, idiotic "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. Unfortunately, in the U.S. Senate, majority does NOT rule, nor do 57 Senators voting "yea." Instead, it takes 60 "yea" votes to invoke "cloture" on a "filibuster" to...oh forget it!

Anyway, the bottom line is that the monstrosity known as "Don't Ask Don't Tell" lives to see another day, thanks to yet another FAIL by the Senate, mostly by Senate Republicans (and one "Democrat," Joe Manchin of West Virginia). I'm hoping that this story is correct, that a separate repeal of DADT "will be cosponsored by Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and they said it will have bipartisan support."  Just get rid of this damn thing already!

UPDATE: Video from the Senate floor on the "flip."

For-Profit “Education” Industry Blasted for “cashing in on veterans”

Tough stuff in today's papers on the for-profit "education" industry. A few items:

1. The Washington Kaplan Post  prints (surprisingly!) an AP story entitled, "Report: For-profit colleges cashing in on veterans."

For-profit college companies take in enormous amounts of federal student aid money by recruiting and enrolling military service members, veterans and their families, with questionable returns, says a new report from a vocal Senate critic of the industry.

The report from Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa shows how successful for-profit colleges have been in enrolling military personnel and veterans in an era of expanded government benefits...

2. Bloomberg has its own report, "For-Profit Colleges Scam Military for $521 Million, Report Says." Here's something Jim Webb must not be pleased about - his superb GI Bill being misused and exploited by this industry for their own profit.

Chap Petersen: What President Obama SHOULD Have Said

It's stuff like this that really makes me like Chap Petersen. What President Obama SHOULD have said with regard to the Bush tax cuts.
Ladies & Gentlemen:

It would be very easy for me to break my campaign pledge and continue the Bush tax cuts at the highest rates.  It would be easy for me because  the U.S. Treasury can always print more dollar bills  to cover the historic deficits created by these corrupt fiscal policies.

But you elected me to make tough choices.  Choices which will close the deficit gap and restore a 'pay as you go' mentality to Washington, D.C.  You also elected me to show that this is a democracy -- that the wealthiest people should not enjoy a windfall from the repeal of inheritance taxes, while working people see their own tax burden increase.

As a Democrat, I distrust the aggregation of wealth and power in the hands of a few people. Even my friends.

And if my honesty costs me a couple contributions in my next re-election, then that's too damn bad.  

In the meantime, I am going to restore some honesty in this budget.  And I'm not going to make it a tool for benefitting a small percentage of Americans."

Great stuff.

h/t: Not Larry Sabato

DREAM Act Passes the House

Excellent news! The DREAM Act - supported by our military, estimated to "contribute at least one trillion dollars to the American economy" over the lifetimes of students covered by the Act - just passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 216-198. The overwhelming majority of Democrats voted "aye," while nearly every Republican voted "nay." I guess Republicans would prefer to cede the Hispanic vote for a generation or two. Fine with me! :)

Also, I'll be very interested to see how the Virginia delegation voted.  I presume all the Republicans voted "nay," but what about the Democrats - Boucher, Connolly, Moran, Nye, Perriello and Scott? We'll find out shortly.

Anyway, now it's on to the Senate, where so much good legislation goes to die. Hopefully, this bill won't fall into that category...

UPDATE: I'm hearing that Nye and Boucher voted "nay," all other Virginia Democrats -- Connolly, Moran, Perriello and Scott -- voted "yea."  No surprise on Nye, or Boucher really, but thanks to all the others who voted the right way on this one!

Webb Votes for Defense Authorization Bill, Including DADT Repeal

Thank you Jim Webb!
Adjusting to reality is what Webb promotes most in the interview, saying that he voted to proceed on the defense authorization bill that includes a proposal to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which prevents gay service members from serving openly in the military.

"DOD will tell you that the percentage of people in the United States military who are gay and lesbian is about the same right now as it is in society at large, and no one is calling for those people to be discharged from the military.

"The military has accepted the fact that...there are now and have been in the past gay and lesbian service people. The question is how you deal with this..."

Without committing to how he will vote on final passage, Webb confirms that he will again vote for the defense authorization bill to proceed.

I heard this earlier today from Webb's staff confidentially, and was very pleased. Now, it's public information, so I can share it.  Thank you to Jim Webb for helping to end this unjust policy! (now, if only Republican Senators would stop being the last homophobic holdouts in the country on this subject...)

McEachin: McDonnell Should Condemn Cuccinelli’s “risky and reckless suggestion”

Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico/Richmond) blasts away at Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli on redistricting - including the news that McDonnell might form a redistricting commission - and on the voting rights act. Good for Sen. McEachin, I completely agree!
Unfortunately, the governor's suggestion is a day late and a dollar short. He is belatedly attempting to appear as if he is keeping his campaign promise, but his actions have not supported his words. Last year, a bill to create a bipartisan commission passed the State Senate and died with his Republican colleagues in the House of Delegates. Repeatedly, community leaders and Democratic legislators solicited the governor's support for this legislation and implored him to speak with his Republican colleagues. Instead he remained implacably silent and his lack of words or actions spoke volumes. As the leader of his Party, even a few encouraging words from him would have changed the outcome. Instead, at the last minute, now, as the census results are about to arrive, the governor makes a few casual comments.

"Moreover, the governor stands idly by as Attorney General Cuccinelli says Virginia has outgrown the Voting Rights Act. Again, the governor's silence is deafening. In the lifetimes of many of us, minority voters had to pay a poll tax or pass a literacy test or even risk physical harm to register to vote. In recognition of these serious concerns that took a century to overcome, the Voting Rights Act was passed and recently renewed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

"I would remind the governor that, as the leader of the Commonwealth and the head of his Party, his words and actions can and do carry a lot of weight. He missed his opportunity on bipartisan redistricting when the bill was before the legislature and now he is missing the opportunity to repudiate the Attorney General's inappropriate, risky and reckless suggestion."

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