Tea Party 2.0

I hate to break this to those of you of the centrist or left wing point of view. I’ve seen the future of the Tea Party Movement and it is us. Well, that is to say some of us.

If you have read my Twitter Bio, I mention that I left the Republican Party due to the dominant influence of the Tea Party over party leadership and day to day operations. This “grassroots” movement funded by the Koch brothers began organizing to lower taxes and federal influence over “Murica”. This was around the time that this Black guy popped up in the White House. They were and remain a far right-wing extreme of the conservative movement. However, instead of true conservatism, they focus on taxes that are already lower than at any time in over 50 years and the feds doing the unthinkable, trying to ensure that local governments treat all United States citizens like; citizens regardless of race, religion, sex or sexual orientation (the bastards!).

Well as it always is for the angry, uneducated and impatient among us, the movement took hold. Despite representing a shrinking demographic of the population, they still influence tremendous power and fear in the GOP. Obstruction in Congress became a mantra. Government that does nothing is just fine with them, providing they still get their: social security checks, Medicare, Medicaid, Farm subsidies, etc., etc., etc. They also started to impose a “conservative litmus test”; enforced by purity and anger towards anyone not fitting their special conservative ideology. As a result, liberals and moderates such as myself were labeled RINOs and many left the party to become Independents or even Democrats.

Now as we are nearly finished with the Democratic Primary process that will determine who will be the Party’s nominee for President; between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, similar stirrings of a “liberal litmus test” are starting to manifest itself in social media. The core determination if you are truly a liberal or not? Who you support for the nomination. True Blue Bernie Sanders who can and will do it all, or that Republican in Democratic Clothing paid for by Wall Street and the Industrial Military Complex, Hillary Clinton. Yes, Hillary Clinton. That same woman the Republicans have attacked with lies, innuendos and investigations; starting with a Christmas card list to Emails and every kitchen sink in between. Forget that nothing of substance has ever been uncovered or verified in over 25 years. She’s not a true Democratic Liberal because at age 16 she was a Goldwater Girl (even though at 18 she registered Democratic and has served and supported the Party ever since). Yes, she’s sneaky.

So because Hillary is winning and Sanders is doing stronger than suspected, his followers are determining who on social media is a true Democrat and Liberal. Your views on liberal programs, LGBT, xenophobia, civil rights, unions, workers’ rights, taxing, etc. don’t matter. It’s who you support.

Let’s leave out the part that Bernie only recently declared as a Democrat after decades of ridiculing both parties, but caucuses with the Dems in order to get good committee assignments. No, he’s the true Dem and Hillary is Ronald Reagan in drag and not to be trusted. As a result, much like the early Tea Party, the Bernie or Bust Crowd will scope out those with positive views of Hillary Clinton from longtime Democratic supporters and fighters (such as yours truly) for being so destructive that they will support in the general, whoever wins the primary. Again, bastards!

To them, because only their view of what a Liberal and Democrat must be (mind you they vote but never were part of the party “establishment” because, you know, establishment) they are the only ones who have the say. If Bernie doesn’t win, we must allow a Republican to win because Hillary is one of them. (Yeah, that confuses me too).

Susan Sarandon has gone so far as to say Trump would be good because he would destroy the Republican Party. She leaves out the party that like Bush (whose win was also to destroy the Republican Party) did more to destroy the country than party. Who suffered? Minorities, workers, middle-class, indigent, etc. but not the Hollywood elites and those who were in the 1% like, Susan Sarandon. They made out fine and will again while Trump is destroying the country, I mean party.

As we near the end of the primaries, the anger and vitriol is getting worse. On Twitter many long time mutual follows aren’t mutually following anymore. The tactics that I personally find to be more from the Sanders’ supporters than Clinton’s are using long established “Tea Party Tactics” to make their angry divisive points made.

I’m not the only one noting this. A certain Black guy in the White House who inspired the first Generation of Tea Party has noted it too. He’s none too happy.

From The Hill:


I have been on Twitter for 6 years. I remember the “emoprog” wars among the left around 2010 by those pissed with Obama for not pushing for single payer in ACA, and the “UniteBlue” war among the left over whether to organize or not for “Blue Causes” outside of other organizations supporting and pushing Blue causes. This war is worse and it must end.

The President is correct, this is divisive. Too much at stake to allow it to continue too long endangering not only retaining the White House from the First Generation Tea Party, but limiting the chances of the Dems taking the Senate back. This must end.

The lesson from 150 years ago is that a House Divided Cannot Stand. Our House, our litmus test is not being part of the Republican Tea Party Litmus test of exclusion for the impure. The more this continues, the smaller, angrier and less effective the Democratic Cause becomes. It’s that simple.

Support anyone not running as a Republican and support and vote for whoever wins the Democratic Primary running against a Republican. You can’t change Washington if you’re not there to change it. Elect Dems to represent you and keep them motivated.


An Open Letter to Senator Sanders


For years I’ve listened to you on the Thom Hartmann Show for his “Brunch with Bernie” segments. I was always appreciative of your ability to talk with Thom regarding important economic issues in the country and world, as well as taking questions from callers unscreened. I found you open, sincere and truly dedicated to what you presented. You would point out the serious issues regarding wage and wealth disparity and I would nod in agreement, you would point out serious issues with “free trade agreements” and again, I would nod in agreement. You would point out how things should be: higher taxes on the wealthiest, corporations, single payer healthcare, reduction in income/wealth disparity, strong unions, worker rights, and each time you made the point, I would nod in agreement.

Now, assuming it was because of time constraints when asked by callers about “how?” I never heard anything more than the people getting involved. Obvious that is the first step but not the last or even middle step. The action of the people is important to bring awareness to the legislators and chief executives to the issues of the land and her people, but it comes up short. As you yourself pointed out, major stumbling blocks exist: Citizen’s United, Corporate Lobbying, Gerrymandered Congressional Districts, Lack of Serious Campaign Finance Reform, Super PACS, the list is endless and you point out the problems precisely. What was always lacking was how beyond “people power” you remove those obstacles to implement the change that is needed and how much time would it reasonably take to accomplish.

When you announced your candidacy for President, I like many found it interesting. However I also looked at it in the sense that to avoid a “Clinton Coronation”; having a far left challenger would coax her more towards the center if not the left on certain key areas. I don’t even believe you thought you would have any chance of success. You knew then that Hillary Clinton would be the best option of the then announced candidates and you wanted to make her a better candidate for the left.

Sir, you succeeded in that task. Sure enough she started making public proclamations that many were waiting to hear, not the least of which being her opposition to the TPP. She agreed that more banking regulation was required beyond Dodd Frank. She moved left. However, then you started getting a following. Again, congratulations on this accomplishment, you were able to get more  people involved in the political process. You ignited the “people power” first step in change. However, something else happened. Although you started as an “anti-establishment” candidate of and for the people, you started the path of a serious candidacy that required you to bring on talented and experienced political experts to get your message out and dare I say, possibly win the nomination. You began to present yourself as an establishment candidate, using establishment rules of the game.

Here’s the problem, your message is out, the problems are now front and center, the way things need to be are now front and center, only thing lacking is the plan. Everything you suggest should be to solve the problems hinges on raising taxes not only among the corporations and wealthiest, but the middle-class too. The group you say are dying off due to economic hardship. In saying taxes must be higher you leave out the most important step in accomplishing that feat, getting the House to legislate the new taxes and spending and the Senate to concur before it could go to the Executive to sign off or veto.

As you pointed out in the past, there are major stumbling blocks with campaign financing and gerrymandering to expect to have a Congress receptive to these changes even with “people power.” As you know, today’s Congress will not even debate issues that 70 to 80% of nation want addressed. You also know that in 2017 the House will most likely remain in Republican Control and although the Senate is within reach, it won’t be “Filibuster Proof.” Any proposals for tax and spending increases will be dead on arrival for the next two to three Congresses. That is to say, the way you propose they be enacted.

This brings me to my respectful request of you. Recently, your campaign has gone on record demanding that the DNC have an “Open Convention” to give you the chance to win the nomination. This would mirror the dysfunction currently underway with the RNC. Further, your candidacy and recent “attack ads” on Clinton have inspired Democrats to attack her in kind using the same innuendos and false claims the right-wing have used against her for over 25 years. This in turn has led to attacks on you and your followers from Democrats. The party is now beginning to resemble the dysfunction the GOP is experiencing between Trump and Cruz. A divided party will have a more difficult time to keep the White House in 2016. Further, President Obama had planned by this time to place his support behind the nominee in an effort to reunite the party and move forward to not only a White House win, but a Senate win too. As long as the fight between you and Hillary Clinton continues, President Obama must wait on the sidelines.

You are an intelligent man Senator Sanders, of that there is no doubt. As such you know it’s mathematically impossible for you to win the nomination outright unless you destroy Hillary more to move this to an open convention. This only serves to benefit the Republican candidate. You also know that Hillary Clinton is more than qualified and experience to continue the work and progress begun by President Obama. She can move the nation and our economy towards the same goal we all share, just a bit more slowly and methodically. As they say, haste makes waste.

I implore you Senator Sanders, suspend you campaign and begin to unite the party for a massive win in November. The longer you delay, the harder it will be to repair the damage being caused. For the people, for our nation, unite with Mrs. Clinton who has moved towards your views on key issues and lets defeat those who would take us back to 2008.


Thank you.

Why I Support Hillary Clinton

My last blog post focused on how I wouldn’t take a firm stand for either Sanders or Clinton on my Twitter timeline or my blog. My view was that both candidates are qualified, both on their worse day are far better than any Republican candidate on their best and it was important to respect both campaigns and remain solid in order to keep the White House and take back the Senate. 

Since that time I’ve read numerous posts on my feed from the so-called “Bernie Bots” often called the “Bernie or Bust” crowd not only going after Clinton, but her supporters. Now it’s true that some of the reverse has also been occurring. However, from my difficult perspective of remaining neutral, I’ve not only seen more vitriol from the Bernie supporters, I have found it to be less factual and frankly more childish than from the Clinton supporters. 

Now this is not a reflection on Bernie Sanders himself, but a reflection of some of his more intense followers. This isn’t like what the GOP has with a Vienna sausage fingered Orange Julius buffoon inciting a cadre of Brown Shirt wannabees, this is an ethical and well-meaning candidate who sadly has some unhelpful followers oblivious to the big picture. Polling shows that 30% of Sanders followers would not support Hillary Clinton were she to win the nomination. On the other hand, a higher percentile of Hillary supporters will vote for Sanders should he win.  

When asked on twitter by someone I’ve followed for years and he back, started egging me to disclose who I was favoring I was taken aback. Not by his question but his tactic to convince me what an untrustworthy criminal Hillary was. He was using easily disprovable bullet points that’s been out there for years. He was passing innuendo as fact, he was doing to her what the rightwing has been doing to her since Bill took office in 1993. He wouldn’t let up and took offense when I questioned his facts. So I unfollowed and muted him because I found him annoying. However I started getting more inquiries from the Sanders supporters using the same overblown hyperbolic rhetoric against Hillary, while not providing anything factual to support Sanders. It got me to thinking and I started analyzing the data. As a result, today I made it clear on my timeline that although I will still vote “Blue No Matter Who” in November my preference is Hillary Clinton. Here’s why: 

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have nearly equal voting records in the Senate, in fact its 93%. On only two key issues did they vote otherwise, the Authorization for Use of Force in Iraq and Blanket immunity for gun manufacturers. Bernie took the correct stance on the War authorization and Hillary on the immunity. More than anything, Hillary’s vote allowed Obama to take the nomination from her in 2008. However, let’s be real, hers was not the deciding vote. Quite the contrary, a majority of Democratic Senators and Members of the House voted for the resolution in light of the political atmosphere that existed at the time. Was it cowardly? I’d say so. Was it wrong? Certainly. Should it be held over her head indefinitely? Not unless she stands by that vote and won’t accept it was wrong. She’s accepted she made a mistake on that vote. 

Now on the Gun Manufacturer Immunity Vote Sanders was wrong. A case could be made that coming from Vermont, it was the politically correct thing to do to keep his seat. Was his vote cowardly? I’d say so. Was it wrong? Certainly. Should it be held over his head indefinitely? Not unless he stands by that vote and accept it was wrong. Well, he’s doubled down on that vote and won’t accept the harm it creates for victims of gun violence in holding gun manufacturers civilly liable for creating a product that causes harm. In fact one manufacturer is putting on the market a .32 caliber handgun that can be disguised as a cellphone. What good use would that be? Why shouldn’t the family of someone killed by such a weapon not sue the manufacturer? Bernie won’t talk about that. 

The art of politics, especially when you have been in it for as long as both Hillary and Bernie is that you are going to be on the wrong side of an issue at some point and when that happens, you can either alter your views or double down on them. Nobody is always right from day one. Hillary’s views have evolved over time, she has acknowledged mistakes her husband has made in office too (his mistakes not hers). Although a proponent for the TPP, she is now opposed to it responding to the voice of the people. She’s learned from the mistake of Free Trade agreements. She’s also evolved about LGBTs rights. She’s recognized the crime act supported by the Black Caucus at the time turned out to be bad for Minorities and no longer supports it. She learns from mistakes. Obama has learned from his mistakes too and has evolved. Sadly, he still holds firm to TPP, but I’m not going to throw him out of office and discount all his other accomplishments over this one issue. No politician is perfect and Bernie is also a politician. But he has yet to acknowledge doing anything wrong. That troubles me. 

As for experience, well Hillary has served as first lady in Arkansas and the White House. As such she’s seen first-hand political operations at both the State and National level. She’s been an advocate for women’s rights around the world as first lady. She was a very successful and popular Senator from the State of New York and she was a successful and consequential Secretary of State. She helped build the coalition that assisted Obama in getting Iran to the table to discuss ending their nuclear ambitions and despite the cries from the GOP and FOX, she was very much involved with and very successful in representing the views of the United States throughout the world helping bringing back our credibility lost during the Bush administration.  And no, she wasn’t responsible for Benghazi despite the multiple hearing put on to say she did. The evidence isn’t there. In fact she’s been the subject of attacks for nearly 30 years, nothing has come to pass against her. You might say she is the most vetted candidate for president ever. Bernie has yet to be fully vetted by the GOP or media. Keep in mind despite his polling now, were he to get the nomination, could he withstand the same ferocity of attacks as Hillary has? For our voting public, labeling him a Stalinist or Marxist Socialist would have an impact of his approvals by the center right independents that he would need to win the White House. He’s not used to being attacked on a national level, Hillary is battle tested. Sanders’ experience in office, in international diplomacy and in getting attacked doesn’t begin to compare to Hillary. 

Now despite his popularity and views of his supporters, a Sanders win for the nomination is at best a long shot still. The math doesn’t add up for him under the DNC rules. It’s very unlikely it will happen. That is a difficult realization for his supporters to accept, they can complain about a rigged system and they could very well be right, but it’s the same rigged system that gave Obama the nomination in 2008. That is a fact. What’s more, especially if Trump is the nominee, the turn out for Clinton would be record breaking. Forget head to head match-ups with Clinton v Trump, Sanders v Trump, Clinton v Cruz, Sanders v Cruz, they mean nothing because they are based on national trends, not state electoral college analysis which varies significantly from national polling. As such today for instance, Clinton beats Trump 347 to 191. 

Finally, for an establishment outsider I do have issue with Bernie Sanders. Although he “caucuses” with the Democrats, he has always railed against both parties, almost saying like many that both parties are the same (they’re not and I’m an independent). He hates the establishment but has resorted to using the establishment to win the presidency. Were he true to his word and ideals, he would run as an independent, not a Democrat. He’s become a Democrat out of convenience, not loyalty. I find that disingenuous. At least he promises to support Hillary should she win, as should all of his supporters. 

Again, I could be wrong and Sanders may pull this off but the odds are against him. Either way, rather than being purists like those in the Tea Party, keep your options open, be accepting of differing views and perspectives for getting the right thing done and Vote Blue No Matter Who in November.