With Democratic Friends Like These, Our President Needs No Enemies… (January 12, 2010)

Blagojevich: “I’m blacker than Obama”
Former governor, in a somewhat bizarre interview, goes off


Reid’s Obama comments could worsen Democrats’ woes


Sigh. What the hell is going on here? Where is this crap coming from and why now, all of the sudden, from Obama’s own party? It’s like the Democrats have a death wish regarding the 2010 mid-term elections.

This makes me so apoplectic, I don’t even have words to form an argument. I am just disgusted.


2010 At Last (December 31, 2009)


We were warned, and braced ourselves for a rough 2009. We knew the economy would remain rickety and jobs would be lost. We knew we’d have a long fight ahead of us, after the initial glow of the Obama inauguration wore off, when it came to reforming health care, making choices when it came to war in Afghanistan, and wrestling with the many other formidable challenges confronting the nation. For these struggles, we hunkered down and prepared to tough it out.

What was less expected this year, and what brought some of us to our knees intermittently (including this blogger) was the daunting glut of personal tragedies that seemed to pop up every eight weeks or so. It was enough to endure my husband’s job loss, the deferring of our dreams of home ownership for another year, and the shaking of our faith in the consistent growth of the American economy. Add to it the death of loved ones (twice), infidelity, a sick niece, the mental collapse of a father, swine flu and well, you get the picture. 2009 was unkind on more than one occasion.

But as of midnight tonight, or so I keep telling myself, all that bad ju ju is behind us and the world gets a fresh start. The best news is that for all the punches 2009 was able to pull, she has a shelf life, just like every other year. Tomorrow morning when we wake up, not only is it a new annum, but a whole new decade. The Winter Olympics will dominate your television screens in a couple weeks, a fresh reminder of that unifying, competitive spirit that can elicit beauty from international cooperation (not just the groans of agony from another fruitless climate summit). 2010 feels positively pregnant with promise.

New Year’s Eve is typically the night for binge drinking and partying, at least for the urban, childless set, but I am going with a quieter welcome this round. Instead, I’ll be eating pizza in the ‘burbs with Max, Jen, KK and Rosebud, cherishing my family and basking in the warm feeling of belonging. No fabulous downtown soiree can compete with cuddling my nieces.

Happy New Year everyone. Be safe, be warm, be loved and join me in welcoming a new beginning.

Obama Speech Roundup (September 9, 2009)

Our president has been all over the place in recent days, trying to rustle up support for the critical health care overhaul, as fear and madness have begun to take over, and Obama’s poll numbers have sagged. I was starting to wonder myself where our leader was in all this. It began to seem as though he was taking punches and retreating to the corner to lick his wounds. I, like so many other left leaning, progressive people, have not given up on reform. It is vital, it is humane, it is economically necessary – no matter what scare tactics the naysayers try to use. So it is with great pride that I have watched my elected leader come out swinging again in the last week.

1. Obama’s Labor Day Address at the AFL-CIO Picnic

Alright, in fairness, this was a friendly crowd. No one seems to love Obama more than organized labor, and that comfort level was reflected in his casual-Friday like speech. But like a football coach boosting his losing team with a halftime, locker room pep talk, I think this message was needed. Don’t give up yet. The time is now. I for one felt “fired up” and “ready to go” after watching this energetic address! We’re still in the game.

2. The President’s Message to School Children

This speech was a detour from a full court press of the President’s ideology, in an attempt to bolster the nation’s youngest citizens. American students are woefully behind many other countries in critical, 21st century areas like math and science. Obama sought to inspire the children with the story of his own unlikely rise, and teach them the necessity of owning their path. How wonderful.

Naturally, the response from the right was a measured dose of…condemnation. WTF? Seriously? Obama was disingenously accused of indoctrination by certain conservative crazies. As Tom Friedman said on last Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press: sometimes it’s on us to stand up and point out when something is “stupid,” to scream when partisan bickering has crossed the line of sanity. What could be more ridiculous than finding a first day of school address to our youngest Americans controversial? Is it just me or are some of Obama’s critics really grasping at straws?

3. Tonight’s Address to Congress

Are you ready to rumble??!!! The interesting thing about tonight’s speech is that Obama has to try and verbally slap members of both parties on the Hill. No fault of his own of course, but Obama pledged a decrease in partisan politics when he ran for office. This health care debate has instead brought out the absolute extremes in party posturing. Dems like Nancy Pelosi have been every bit as dogmatic, power hungry and unreasonable as some of their Republican counterparts. Tonight is the night when Obama has to smack some bitches up on both sides of the aisle and make it clear we need to get things done. Enough talk.

Senator John McCain Still Can’t Accept the Country’s Rejection of Him (March 18, 2014)


My colleague and Senior Editor, Justin Baragona, did a marvelous job identifying and assessing Arizona Senator John McCain’s hypocritical, warmongering bologna on MSNBC earlier this weekin the aftermath of the laughably suspect Crimean referendum. However, I’d like to take a step slightly farther back in time if we could. I’d like to travel back to last weekend when the ersatz maverick sullied my favorite morning read, the Opinion page of the New York Times.

Though the piece was actually published on Friday, March 14th, it wasn’t until Saturday that I scrolled the headline, Obama Has Made America Look Weak, across the screen of my smartphone. Similar to what I imagine were the conscious streams of many an unprepared liberal, my first thought was: “I hope this is just an ironic hook, but something tells me I am about to read the words of Lindsay Graham or John McCain.”

There are times I hate being right and this was certainly one of those. But it was about to get much worse, with McCain opening his assault with a tried and true journalist trick of the right wing trade: the rhetorical question that actually affirms that which it proposes to query. McCain asks, “Should Russia’s invasion and looming annexation of Crimea be blamed on President Barack Obama?”

The fact that he immediately responds with “No” means absolutely nothing. As Billy Crystal’s titular character wonders aloud in 1980s romantic comedy classic, When Harry Met Sally,“Oh geeze…what are we supposed to do? Call the cops? It’s already out there.”

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to make a citizens’ arrest of Senator McCain, for a veritable truckload of irresponsible, reactionary 20th century battle rhetoric he’s vomited up on the voting public since President Obama was inaugurated. I said itlast week and I’ll say it again. The lack of public support that McCain and the bulk of his partymates have shown the POTUS in one delicate, dangerous international imbroglio after another, is nothing short of treasonous. Short of the divided loyalties of the Civil War, American history has seen nothing to rival it.

Of many instances in the Op-Ed where McCain claims not to impugn President Obama’s foreign policy as the root cause of the Crimean standoff (before doing exactly that), I think this was my favorite. McCain writes, “More broadly, we must rearm ourselves morally and intellectually to prevent the darkness of Mr. Putin’s world from befalling more of humanity.” Yes, pick up the weapons of “American exceptionalism,” which worked so well for us in the aughts. And it is just me or does the Republican party’s 21st century version of national superiority sound and feel an awful lot like the international bludgeon that many on the right would like us to wield in perpetuity? Violent wish fulfillment disguised as patriotism is a special kind of hypocrisy.

Earlier in the piece, McCain not so slyly makes the following observation about the general Obama military strategy: “In Afghanistan and Iraq, military decisions have appeared driven more by a desire to withdraw than to succeed.”

Um, yes, yes they have Senator McCain. And you want to know why? I know this is a trifling consideration for your party, but disengagements from money and life wasting Middle East quagmires have been more commonly referred to in the last decade as “the will of the people.” And I won’t even try to ask you to explain where it is that President Obama is supposed to “succeed” in Afghanistan and Iraq where his predecessor couldn’t. Should he continue looking for Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction then?

I applaud the New York Times for its long-running and dedicated efforts to bring all voices to the proletariat. But as for Senator McCain, the people outside of Arizona have spoken again, and again and again. They don’t want war. They don’t want shoot first and ask questions later diplomacy. And sir, they don’t want you in charge. Please find a way to support your Commander-in-Chief. Barring that, silence is golden.

On Issue After Issue Republicans Are Determined to Be Wrong (March 10, 2014)

mccain graham ayotte

There are so many elements to unpack with regard to the very recent, quick changing and still unfolding events in the Ukraine. I think many of us are in agreement that we expected something to go down during the expense-laden bombast fest that was the Sochi Olympics. Could Vladmir Putin risk parading his own controlled version of Russian exceptionalism on the world stage, without asking for some sort of karmic exposure? The terrorist attacks and bombings that preceded the Games seemed to bode ill for security issues in a region that was volatile before Olympic planning ever commenced. Along with most of the rest of the civilized world, I crossed my fingers, turned on the TV and hoped for the best.

As we know now, the Games, for the most part, played out without any large-scale incidents (What’s a little baton beating of protestors? In Russia, Putin calls that “Tuesday”). And though the media and well-informed observers knew a situation was brewing between Russia and Ukraine, its neighbor to the Southwest, I don’t anyone could have anticipated the escalation and series of events that followed.

As of early this week, Russian troops have tightened their grip on the Crimean peninsula, and the region is imminently prepared to vote upon a secession referendum. This even as Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, is reportedly seeking elevated diplomatic assistance from the United States and the United Nations to help restore order and beat back this act of Russian aggression.

The world is watching, cautiously, and with much trepidation as President Obama and his team decide America’s next move. Any illusions of Putin as a rational custodian and partner in enforcing international norms have been shattered, probably for good. It’s not just the situation in the Ukraine that we must ponder. For months and years, President Obama has tried to establish Putin’s cooperation with regard to other unstable nations and threats, including but not limited to: Syria, Iran North Korea, China.

President Obama’s cautiousness in deploying U.S. troops is in keeping with the nation’s evolving attitude toward long, expensive, overseas conflicts without directly achievable objectives. In late January of this year, results from a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center poll indicated that more than 50 percent of respondents (across party lines) believed that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan waged across most of the 21stCentury to date, failed to achieve anything of consequence. At least not anything to warrant the costs, both economic and in human terms.

Moreover, Christopher Gelpi, an Ohio State University political scientist, is quoted in the piece as saying,  ”What is especially interesting about these responses is that the public has continued to update its views on Iraq and Afghanistan despite the fact that these wars have received virtually no attention at all from our politicians over the past couple of years…This shows that the public is more attentive to costly wars than we might expect, even when politicians try to ignore the conflicts.”

President Obama may now fully understand that placing his faith in Putin to be a good steward for democracy and the world’s collective interests was a mulligan. But I for one am grateful that the cerebral POTUS hasn’t proposed a reactionary return to the failed Cowboy Diplomacy of George W. Bush (“Bring ’em on!”). There are similarities of course between this situation and international land grabs of the past, but this is 2014, not 1941, and the solutions aren’t as black and white as the attitudes of certain Obama critics might suggest. Case in point: Contributor Michael Peck of Forbes (no one’s idea of a liberal rag) wrote last week, “America is the mightiest military power in the world. And that fact means absolutely nothing for the Ukraine crisis. Regardless of whether Russia continues to occupy the Crimea region of Ukraine, or decides to occupy all of Ukraine, the U.S. is not going to get into a shooting war with Russia. This has nothing to do with whether Obama is strong or weak. Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan would face the same constraints.”

So now we get to the real crux of my column. I am 35 years old. Over the course of a relatively short life, I have watched as the nation came together in times of conflict: Operation Desert Storm of the 1990s, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, various skirmishes on the continent of Africa, the Balkans, etc. I did not mention the names of Presidents in charge of operations during these battles. You know why? Because it didn’t matter. A sitting President could expect all sorts of partisan bickering and legislative headaches in times of relative calm, but he could also count upon united support when lives and U.S. international interests were at stake.

Republicans have slowly and systematically set about destroying paradigms of the normal order since President Obama first took the oath in January 2009. But once again, they have failed to understand that their short-term goals (undermining every single thing that the President endeavors to achieve) stand in relief against what is best for the country. Their strategies aren’t even healthy for the struggling party’s long-term branding.

Lindsay Graham, John McCain, and others, I am looking at you. Your rhetoric (“feckless,” “dangerous,” “weak”) is actually what makes the country appear limp and disorganized, rather than Obama’s thoughtful cautiousness. Publicly impugning your President in 145 characters and trying to create a pathetic political link between the Ukraine and Benghazi, really Graham?

If there’s something that’s not in the national interest, it is this bizarre Putin hero-worship on the part of much of the Republican establishment, and the method by which these right wing lemmings have succumbed to the Russian President’s divide and conquer strategy.