Category Archives: Partisan Politics

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Obama! by Frank Rich

Posted by: TheLCster

Op-ed by Frank Rich

Columnist Frank Rich

NOT since Clark Kent changed in a phone booth has there been an instant image makeover to match Barack Obama’s in the aftermath of his health care victory. “He went from Jimmy Carter to F.D.R. in just a fortnight,” said one of the “Game Change” authors, Mark Halperin, on MSNBC. “Look at the steam in the man’s stride!” exclaimed Chris Matthews. “Is it just me, or does Barack Obama seem different since health care passed?” wrote Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast, which, like The Financial Times, ran an illustration portraying the gangly president as a newly bulked-up Superman.

What a difference winning makes — especially in America. Whatever did (or didn’t) get into Obama’s Wheaties, this much is certain: No one is talking about the clout of Scott Brown or Rahm Emanuel any more.

But has the man really changed — or is it just us? Fifteen months after arriving at the White House, Obama remains by far the most popular national politician in the country, even with a sub-50 percent approval rating. And yet he’s also the most enigmatic. While he is in our face more than any other figure in the world, we still aren’t entirely sure what to make of him.

Artwork by Barry Blitt

Depending on where you stand — or the given day — he is either an overintellectual, professorial wuss or a ruthless Chicago machine pol rivaling the original Boss Daley. He is either a socialist redistributing wealth to the undeserving poor or a tool of Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs elite. He is a terrorist-coddling, A.C.L.U.-tilting lawyer or a closet Cheneyite upholding the worst excesses of the Bush administration’s end run on the Constitution. He is a lightweight celebrity who’s clueless without a teleprompter or a Machiavellian mastermind who has ingeniously forged his Hawaiian birth certificate, covered up his ties to Islamic radicals and bamboozled the entire mainstream press. He is the reincarnation of J.F.K., L.B.J., F.D.R., Reagan, Hitler, Stalin, Adlai Stevenson or Nelson Mandela. (Funny how few people compared George W. Bush to anyone but Hitler and his parents.)

No wonder that eight major new Obama books are arriving in the coming months, as Howard Kurtz reported in The Washington Post last week. And that’s just counting those by real authors, like Bob Woodward and Jonathan Alter, not the countless anti-Obama diatribes. There’s a bottomless market for these volumes not just because their protagonist remains popular but also because we keep hoping that the Obama puzzle might be cracked once and for all, like the Da Vinci Code.

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Filed under Health Care Reform, Obama Administration, Partisan Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized

Jon Stewart Returns And Rips Conservatives For Violent Health Care Fallout (VIDEO)

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Filed under Creepy right-wing antics, Health Care Reform, Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, Partisan Politics, Tea Party Protestors, Uncategorized

Why are Republicans Mad Now?

Viral email posted by: Betsm

This says it all about our party, my fellow Republicans:

We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, but why only now is it that you get mad!?

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted.

You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn’t get mad when we let Bin Laden escape.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.

You didn’t get mad when TARP was first enacted.

You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You only got mad when our government decided that people in America deserved the right
to see a doctor if they are sick.

Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing our tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with the Grand Old Party, but helping other lower or middle class Americans…oh HELL NO!

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Eric Cantor’s Phony Victim Story

Written by Joan Walsh, posted by: Betsm

His false claim of office gunshots functioned as the Ashley Todd tale of 2010, distracting from right-wing violence

Left: Ashley Todd on Oct. 22, 2008. Right: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia.

Did House GOP Whip Eric Cantor just become 2010’s answer to Ashley Todd, the white McCain supporter who claimed she was assaulted by a black Obama backer in October 2008?

You remember the story: A 20-year-old McCain-Palin volunteer told Pittsburgh police that a black man robbed her, and then, when he saw a McCain bumper sticker on her car, he beat her and carved a B – for “Barack” — into her cheek, and told her she better support the black Democrat. Days later, the clearly disturbed Todd confessed that she made up the attack, and apparently mutilated herself to provide “evidence.” But for a few days, the right wing insisted Todd’s attacker was the Democratic equivalent of the menacing crowds at Sarah Palin rallies shouting “Kill him!” and “Terrorist!” about Obama. Drudge and Fox News hyped the story, with Fox news V.P. John Moody even claiming the attack might lead some voters to “revisit their support for Senator Obama.”

No one’s accusing Cantor of shooting up his own office, but from the minute he made his claim — also implying he was targeted because he was Jewish — it was almost certain to be untrue. In the very first AP report on the incident, the Richmond police said the bullet had been fired into the air, not through Cantor’s window. Two photos in Salon show that the nondescript office building is unmarked, with no signs indicating Cantor or his staff have one of the suites inside. Friday Richmond police confirmed the bullet was a stray: Neither Cantor nor his office was targeted, and in fact the bullet didn’t even land in his office. A spokesman for Cantor told reporters he was “very happy” his story turned out not to be true.

But just as Ashley Todd’s tale interrupted a narrative of right-wing menace and near-violence about Obama, briefly letting commentators tsk-tsk about extremes on both sides, Cantor’s claim interjected the same kind of false equivalence. On CNN Thursday night, Gloria Borger insisted not only should tea partiers rein in their members, but “Move On too” (h/t Greg Mitchell). It’s crazy time.

Read Joan Walsh @ Salon.com
Please continue reading @ Salon.com

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TPM Update: Cantor’s Office Claims Ignorance In Pumping Up Random Shot Incident

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Violence Erupts Over Health Care Bill

Posted by: Bluedog89

The Monroe County Democratic Committee in Rochester, New York, is vandalized by anti-health care legislation protesters. Photo courtesy WHEC.

CNN~Shots fired at a congressman’s campaign headquarters. Windows smashed at Democratic offices across the country. A coffin placed on a lawmaker’s lawn. Hate-filled voice mail messages left on members of Congress’ phone lines.

Those are just some of the incidents reported since the House passed historic health care reform legislation Sunday — a bill that became the law of the land.

The issue has unleashed a deep-seated anger from those worried about a government takeover of health care, and what they deem as the process being “rammed through” Congress.

James Leach, with the National Endowment for the Humanities, said that while many of the acts may be protected under First Amendment rights, “that doesn’t mean that they’re morally justified.”

“And we have to think of ourselves as, ‘what kind of people are we?’ ” Leach said. “Are we one people working together with rival thoughts, or are we enemies within? And I think there’s something that’s been let loose in American politics that has to be thought about.”

That anger was visible in unruly protests by health care activists at the Capitol over the weekend.

Republican House members encouraged protesters outside and inside the House gallery, some of whom carried messages like “Vote no or else” or “If Brown won’t stop it, a Browning will” — a reference to newly elected Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown accompanied by a silhouette of a pistol.

But the anger has boiled over into physical and verbal threats. Windows have been smashed at Democratic offices in at least three states, and federal agents are investigating whether a cut gas line at the home of a Virginia congressman’s brother was related to the lawmaker’s yes vote.

Republicans have the right to be angry over the Democrat’s health care bill, but “resorting to violent measures is exactly the wrong way to send a message,” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Thursday night.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, confirmed Thursday that his district office in Queens received an envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter.

Later Thursday, Weiner told CNN that initial tests indicated the powder was not a biological agent, but that he still was awaiting final word from the New York Police Department. Workers at the office turned over their clothes for testing and were given protective suits before being allowed to go home a few hours later, Weiner said.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are now looking into the threats, and at least 10 House Democrats have been given extra security.

The voice mail has been vicious toward Michigan’s Bart Stupak, who switched his vote to seal the deal for the bill. He has released one of the voice mails.

“Stupak, you are a lowlife, baby-murdering scumbag, pile of steaming crap. You’re a cowardly punk, Stupak, that’s what you are. You and your family are scum,” an unidentified caller said. “That’s what you are, Stupak. You are a piece of crap.”

“Go to hell, you piece of [expletive deleted]” another caller said.

On Sunday, Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan of Missouri had a coffin placed on his lawn, said his spokeswoman, Sarah Howard. She said Tea Party protesters at his office in St. Louis had a coffin with them and later brought it to his house. The coffin was later removed, she said.

Democratic congressional leaders have demanded Republicans join them in condemning a spate of threats and vandalism that has followed Sunday’s vote on the health care system overhaul.

The top Republican in the House, Minority Leader John Boehner, condemned the threats and vandalism, telling reporters Thursday that it “should not be part of a political debate.”

“There are ways for people to channel their anger, and they should do it in a constructive way,” he said.

Liz Mair, a Republican consultant, said protesters “are unfortunately crossing a line.”

“When we’re talking about violence, vandalism, threats, that crosses a legal line, in addition to being in plain old bad taste,” Mair said. “And I think that there’s a lot that is in plain old bad taste that is going on.”

Democrats aren’t the only ones being targeted.

Rep. Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, said Thursday that a bullet had been fired through a window at his campaign office in Richmond, Virginia.

A Richmond police spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that a bullet was fired at the congressman’s office. “We are investigating the circumstance surrounding it,” spokeswoman Karla Peters said.

Cantor also said that he had received threatening messages but that he would not publicly release the messages out of concern that doing so would only incite further violence.

He also accused Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland — a member of the Democratic House leadership — of “fanning the flames” of violence by using threats that have been made against Democratic members “as political weapons.”

“Enough is enough,” Cantor said. “It has to stop.”

Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse hit back against Cantor’s claims.

“We disagree with the charge made by Rep. Cantor today that Democrats are using acts of violence for political gain,” he said. “Let’s be clear: Calling on Republican leaders who have contributed in part to this anger by wildly mischaracterizing the substance and motives of health reform to condemn these acts is entirely appropriate.”

Another Republican — Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida — said in a news release Thursday that she received what appeared to be a death threat on her district office’s voice mail.

“Just wanna let you know I have 27 people that are going to make sure that this b**** does not live to see her next term. Goodbye,” the voice mail said, according to the release.

Brown-Waite said she contacted both the Capitol Police and the Hernando County sheriff, and they are “looking into the matter and subpoenaing telephone records.”

At least one of the threats aimed at lawmakers appears to be racially based.

House Democratic Majority Whip James Clyburn, who is African-American, said he has received a fax in his office with a picture of a noose drawn on it and had threatening telephone calls at his home.

“We’re giving aid and comfort to these people, and this stuff gets ratcheted up,” Clyburn told CNN. “We in this Congress have got to come together in a bipartisan way and tamp this foolishness down. It doesn’t make sense. That’s not what a democracy is all about.”

Democratic officials and liberal Web sites are also upset that Sarah Palin used an image of crosshairs in a Facebook post this week listing 20 vulnerable Democrats who voted for the legislation. She plans to target them this election year with money from her political action committee.

Palin’s political “hit list” includes: Which Democrats has she singled out?
The list includes: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Harry E. Mitchell (AZ), Gabrielle Giffords (AZ), John Salazar (CO), Betsy Markey (CO). Allen Boyd (FL), Suzanne M. Kosmas (FL), Baron P. Hill (IN), Earl Pomeroy (ND-AL), Charlie Wilson (OH), John Boccieri (OH), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA), Christopher Carney (PA), John M. Spratt, Jr. (SC), Tom Perriello (VA), Alan B. Mollohan (WV), and Nick J. Rahall II (WV).

Palin’s team is fighting claims that she is encouraging threats of violence. One House member mentioned her Facebook posting during a Wednesday meeting on safety concerns, a Democratic source told CNN’s Dana Bash. Mention of the map brought audible groans to the room, the source said.

An adviser to Palin responded by pointing to several instances in which the former Alaska governor has urged supporters to focus their energies on civil debate and action at the ballot box, not extremist activities.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Cities, CNN, Creepy right-wing antics, Crime, Democrats, DNC, Facebook, Hate Crimes, Health Care Reform, MSNBC, News, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, States, Tea Party Protestors, Twitter, United States, Violence

Latinos Launching Campaign Exposing Tea Party Racism

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by Axel W. Caballero

As has been now widely reported by mainstream media, more than 600 people gathered for the first ever Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee on February of 2010. The ‘teabaggers’ reveled as they sat there listening to hateful speech after hateful speech by the likes of their champions Tom Tancredo and Sarah Palin among others. The rhetoric, the signs and the vitriol sounded familiar:

  • President Obama wants to turn the country into a third world country
  • Immigrants are taking over the United States, they must be sent to where they came from
  • This is our nation and we should take it back
  • Make English America’s official language
  • Congress loves Illegals

To the chants of “Take Our Nation Back,” the “teabaggers” turned political speech into a display of incoherent intolerance and racism.

The convention represented the launching point for what has become a full-fledged attack and repudiation of one community in particular: Latinos.

Deep-rooted within the Tea Party ideals is not only the belief that immigrants – along with Latinos in general – are what is inherently wrong with the state of the nation but also a thinly veiled attempt to disguise behind an economic argument a very latent and dangerous prejudice. It is also a calculated political ploy to undermine what is likely to become a powerful block in the upcoming electoral cycle.

Seemingly, Tea Partiers as a group believe they have found their perfect scapegoats. They see in Latinos a fast and easy attack. Thinking, hoping and expecting that the battle will be one way, that the response will be null and that Latinos will not be ready or organized enough to fight back.

Think again.

A new series by the project Cuéntame (tell me) is precisely channeling this Latino anger and frustration through video segments aimed at exposing “teabaggers'” true colors. It features all the racist speeches, the violent words, and actions, letting their predominantly Latino audience judge for themselves whether the Tea Party truly represents a legitimate movement or is yet another example of the intolerance and discrimination Latinos face in today’s society. The “teabaggers Series” as it is being called, also prompts the community to organize and to unite in an effort to fight back against the misconceptions and lies.

Ultimately the message Cuéntame is sending is that if “Tea Partiers” want to target and attack the Latino community through the use of prejudice and flat out racism as a way to advance their political agenda they will not face a silent and dormant opposition.

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Justice’s Wife Launches Tea Party Group

Posted by: Bluedog89

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with wife Virginia.

Story by Kathleen Hennessey of the Los Angeles Times

As Virginia Thomas tells it in her soft-spoken, Midwestern cadence, the story of her involvement in the “tea party” movement is the tale of an average citizen in action.

“I am an ordinary citizen from Omaha, Neb., who just may have the chance to preserve liberty along with you and other people like you,” she said at a recent panel discussion with tea party leaders in Washington. Thomas went on to count herself among those energized into action by President Obama’s “hard-left agenda.”

But Thomas is no ordinary activist.

She is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and she has launched a tea-party-linked group that could test the traditional notions of political impartiality for the court.

In January, Virginia Thomas created Liberty Central Inc., a nonprofit lobbying group whose website will organize activism around a set of conservative “core principles,” she said.

The group plans to issue score cards for Congress members and be involved in the November election, although Thomas would not specify how. She said it would accept donations from various sources — including corporations — as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court.

Read the entire story at the Los Angeles Times.

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GOP Trashes Its Own Donors: Urge Fundraisers to Prey Upon Fear and Ego

Posted by: LibbyShaw

The Party of No and Obstruction not only despises jobless and uninsured Americans, apparently it also loathes its donors, both big and small.
According to Politico, The RNC Finance Director gave a 74 page power point presentation to top donors and fundraisers at a party retreat in Florida a couple of weeks ago. The presentation mocked at its donors urging fundraisers to appeal to their egos and play upon their fears.

The memo candidly confirms that the aim of such caricature is to amp up “fear” among the GOP’s conservative base. The memo also makes fun of major RNC donors, categorizing some as “ego-driven” and easily pacified with “tchochkes” (a Slavic word for toys).

Go ahead Republicans. Keep on emptying your pockets for those who disrespect and ridicule you.

The reason we know about this no longer secret strategy is because someone attending the retreat had left behind a paper handout of the presentation. As we can see, the handout is now making its way through the tubes and Internets. The mainstream media, including FOX “News” has covered this.

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Thanks for making our day you careless and irresponsible silly ones.

The Evil Empire
As we saw, the GOP fear and smear campaign includes a poster that depicts President Obama as the joker from Bat Man. The President’s face is painted white. Underneath is a cartoon of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shown as Cruella de Ville and Senate leader Harry Reid as Scooby-Doo.

It looks like the work of eighth graders to me.

RNC Chair Michael Steele defends it.

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Politico reveals that the RNC intends to launch a campaign charging the Obama Administration and Democrats with driving the country toward socialism. The purpose of course is to confuse and evoke fear among voters.

The fright fest frenzy is a strategy the Republicans have used for decades. From its 1950’s hysteria over communism through the 2008 election cycle in which Republican attack ads warned about impending and imminent terrorist attacks should God forbid, Barack Obama, were to win, a party of little or no ideas seems real comfortable operating from a sewer.

Republican smear and fear campaigns are not new. We see them every election cycle, though some are more over the top than others. I predict the 2010 cycle will be one in which Republicans win an Oscar in the beyond the pale of anything remotely decent or true category.

But what is truly weird and strange this time is the RNC’s blatant contempt for its donors.

From Politico, cited above, below are the RNC’s categories of donors.

Visceral giving. Those to manipulate and scare.

The most unusual section of the presentation is a set of six slides headed “RNC Marketing 101.” The presentation divides fundraising into two traditional categories, direct marketing and major donors, and lays out the details of how to approach each group.

The small donors who are the targets of direct marketing are described under the heading “Visceral Giving.” Their motivations are listed as “fear;” “Extreme negative feelings toward existing Administration;” and “Reactionary.

Appealing to deep pocketed fat cats. Whose butts to kiss and how.

Major donors, by contrast, are treated in a column headed “Calculated Giving.”

Their motivations include: “Peer to Peer Pressure“; “access“; and “Ego-Driven.”

If my party had shown such cynical disrespect and scorn for me it would be a cold day in hell before I’d ever vote for one of its members or give any of them a dime.

UPDATE: The fall out from the offensive, insulting and juvenile pitch has begun. A major GOP contributor said he is ashamed of the presentation and he will no longer give to the RNC.

A prominent Evangelical figure and Republican donor says he will end his contributions to the organized Republican Party in reaction to the leaked fundraising presentation that advised using “fear” to solicit contributions and displayed an image of President Obama as the Joker from Batman.

Mark DeMoss, who heads a major Christian public relations firm in Atlanta and served as a liaison to the Evangelical community for Mitt Romney in 2008, wrote Chairman Michael Steele yesterday that he was “ashamed” of the presentation, calling depictions of Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Majority Leader Harry Reid “shameful, immature and uncivil, at best.”

DeMoss rightfully calls out the RNC for its current culture and mindset.

While I realize your office made steps to distance you from this presentation I’m afraid the presentation is representative of a culture and mindset within the Republican National Committee; consequently, I will no longer contribute to any fundraising entity of our Party-but will contribute only to individual candidates I choose to support.

Finally someone called the GOP out for what it is. Maybe the mainstream media will finally do the same.

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Filed under (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid, (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Creepy right-wing antics, Michael Steele, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, RNC, Uncategorized

Harry Reid’s Office: Jim Bunning Holding All Presidential Nominees

Posted by: BuellBoy

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)

TPM/Rachel Slajda~Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), who has become a one-man filibuster of a bill to extend unemployment benefits, apparently placed a hold on all presidential nominees last week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office confirms to TPMDC that Bunning has placed the holds.

It turns out that not only has he been blocking the unemployment insurance bill, he has also been blocking the confirmation of nominees since last week as well,” said Reid spokesman Jim Manley.

Bunning’s spokesman tells TPMDC that he doesn’t know about the holds.

I don’t know that. Right now the senator’s number one priority is reaching an agreement to get this bill paid for and passed,” said the spokesman, Mike Reynard.

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Not A Game by Senator John Kerry

Posted by: Betsm

Written by Senator John Kerry/Cross-posted from TPM

Senator John Kerry

Senator John Kerry

Too often, the way it’s played and the way it’s reported, Americans might think everything that happens in Washington is a game.

But look, this is anything but a game. The business before the Senate is literally life and death on many issues, and the parliamentary tricks to delay and obstruct the basic workings of our government have real-world consequences.

What am I talking about? Start with the latest example: one Senator’s effort to delay the votes on some critically-needed legislation for Americans out of work and hurting in our economy.

A lot of people today are clicking on this news story about Senator Bunning.

Political theater? Much more than that. Here’s what’s at stake: 2000 federal highway workers were furloughed this morning, losing the pay that their families depend on and halting work on critical national infrastructure. Nearly 1.2 million could lose their unemployment benefits without an extension of that program, pulling away a critical financial lifeline.

This has to end.

In the last Congress, the Republican minority more than doubled the previous record for filibusters, and they are on a pace to challenge or surpass that “accomplishment” this Congress as well. And filibusters are only the most obvious part of it. (TPM put together a great chart on filibusters which you can see here.)

On issue after issue, votes large and small, the strategy from the GOP at the highest levels has been the same: exploiting every Senate rule, playing every trick to try to slow things down. They put holds on bills that later pass by 90 votes, filibuster things they later vote for, block things they previously proposed. They used the filibuster to shoot down a debt commission that they themselves called on President Obama to implement! They block completely uncontroversial nominees and cause days of delays on the most critical of legislation. They even stalled on money for our troops last year, just to try to delay debate on health care reform.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are good Senators on both sides of the aisle. Last week, five Republican Senators (including Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and I don’t care about party label, I call it the way I see it – Scott cast the right vote for Massachusetts there) joined with Democrats to break a GOP filibuster to pass a jobs bill helping small businesses hire in this tough economy. Senator Lindsay Graham and I are working hard together to develop a bill on energy and global climate change.

But as long as the GOP leadership continues with the scorched-earth campaign, it will be tough to get done the things we know we need to do.

We need this to end. Debate big differences. Disagree. Use the filibuster when big matters of principle hang in the balance – and sometimes they do. But at the end of the day, Washington has to function – people are counting on it. When it comes to unemployment insurance for workers who have been laid-off through no fault of their own, stop playing games immediately, allow a vote, and then get to work trying to solve some problems, not playing tricks with the Senate rules. The framers invested the minority with rights to protect the Senate – not to destroy it.

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Filed under Economy, Jobs, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, Sen. John Kerry, Senate, Uncategorized, Unemployment