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“Sanders And The Snapchat Liberals”: Why Progressive America Routinely Punches Below Its Weight On The National Stage

If the polls hold, scoring tickets to “Hamilton” will be as good as it’s going to get for Bernie Sanders in New York. But let us first linger in Wisconsin, where Democrats and independents gave Sanders what looked like a decisive win.

It seems that 15 percent of Sanders’ Wisconsin supporters voted only for Bernie, leaving the rest of the ballot blank. By contrast, only 4 percent of Hillary Clinton voters skipped the down-ballot races.

It happens that one of the down-ballot races was for Wisconsin Supreme Court justice. The progressive, JoAnne Kloppenburg, had a good chance of toppling Rebecca Bradley, a right-wing appointee of Gov. Scott Walker’s. But Kloppenburg lost, in part because of the laziness of Snapchat liberals.

Snapchat is a messaging app that makes photos and videos disappear after they are viewed. Its logo is a ghost. Snapshot liberals are similarly ephemeral. They regard their job as exulting in the hero of the moment. Once the job is done, they vanish.

(An interesting wrinkle is that 10 percent of Sanders’ voters checked the box for Bradley. This suggests that a good chunk of his win came not from fans but from conservatives seeking to frustrate the Clinton candidacy.)

Anyhow, three days later, a Wisconsin circuit court judge struck down an anti-union law backed by Walker. The law ended unions’ right to require that private-sector workers benefiting from their negotiations pay dues or an equivalent sum.

The ruling was hailed as a “victory for unions,” but that victory will almost certainly be short-lived because the matter now heads to a divided state Supreme Court. As a Supreme Court justice, Kloppenburg could have helped save it.

Sanders can’t directly take the rap for this. He, in fact, had endorsed Kloppenburg.

But the Sanders campaign rests on contempt for a Democratic establishment that backs people like Kloppenburg. It sees even the normal give-and-take of governing as thinly veiled corruption. Liberals involved in the necessary horse trading are dismissed as sullied beyond repair.

TV comedy news reinforces this cartoonish view of what governing entails. The entertainers deliver earnest but simple-minded sermons on how all but a chosen few folks in Washington are corrupt hypocrites. (I find their bleeped-out F-words so funny. Don’t you?)

Snapchat liberals tend to buy into the “great man” theory of history. So if change comes from electing a white knight on a white horse, why bother with the down-ballot races?

Hence the irritating pro-Sanders poster: “Finally a reason to vote.”

Oh? Weren’t there reasons to vote all these years as tea party activists stocked Congress with crazy people? Wasn’t giving President Obama a Congress he could work with a reason to vote? (The liberal savior in 2008, Obama saw his own Snapchat fan base evaporate come the midterms.)

When asked whether he’d raise money for other Democrats if he were to win the nomination, Sanders replied, “We’ll see.”

Bernie doesn’t do windows and toilets. That’s for establishment Democrats.

The difference between the pitchfork right and the Snapchat left is this: The right marches to the polls to vote the other side out. The left waits for saintly inspiration. If the rallies are euphoric and the Packers aren’t playing the Bears, they will deign to participate. Then they’re gone in a poof of righteous smoke.

It is a crashing irony that many liberals who condemn voter suppression by the right practice voter suppression on themselves. The liberal version doesn’t involve onerous ID requirements at the polls. It comes in the deadening message that few candidates are good enough to merit a vote.

And that’s why progressive America routinely punches below its weight on the national stage.

 

By: Froma Harrop, The National Memo, April 12, 2016

April 13, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Down Ballot Candidates, Hillary Clinton, Progressives | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Loud And Depressingly Familiar Voice”: The Koch Brothers Kick Detroit While It’s Down

Over the last five months, a deal has come together that would solve some of the most contentious issues in Detroit’s bankruptcy. It would minimize the pension cuts for 30,000 retirees and city workers, save the city’s art collection and give a reasonable amount of money to the city’s bondholders.

As expected, there were some objections from a few big insurance companies that stood to lose heavily. But with the support of Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, the deal seemed to have a shot in the state legislature, which would be required to spend about $195 million of tobacco-settlement money on behalf of Detroit’s pensioners.

And then, a few days ago, a loud and depressingly familiar voice rose in protest. The Koch brothers, through the screeching megaphone they built known as Americans for Prosperity, condemned the deal and announced plans to contact 90,000 conservatives around the state to build up pressure against it. The Associated Press reported that the group threatened to run ads against any Republicans in the legislature who voted for the deal in the coming days.

AFP has already set up a website — “No more bailouts for Detroit!” — that plays on the long-running, sometimes racially inflected resentment of Detroit around Michigan.

“Michigan has rewritten its laws numerous times to give Detroit special treatment and more financial assistance,” the website says. “Unfortunately, all this help has encouraged, rather than corrected, bad behavior. Years of fiscal mismanagement, corruption and cronyism resulted in Detroit’s staggering $18 billion of debt. Yet its leaders continue to blame the State for Detroit’s problems.”

The poor management of the city by its own officials is well-known and stretches back decades, but the state and its residents bear a huge responsibility for Detroit’s plight. State officials allowed fleeing white residents to hide behind suburban boundaries that depleted the city’s tax base while cutting revenue sharing. The think tank Demos found that revenue sharing cuts amounted to a third of the city’s revenue losses between 2011 and 2013.

As Robert Kleine, a former state treasurer, wrote in the Detroit Free Press last August:

“Detroit may have mismanaged finances, but the state’s cuts to revenue sharing doomed the city. One option would have been for the state to restore revenue sharing to previous levels which would have been worth nearly $200 million to Detroit. The state could have afforded to do this if it had not cut business and income taxes in 2000, and then given business another $1.8-billion tax break in 2011.”

Under the circumstances, the proposed state contribution on behalf of vulnerable pensioners is a modest way to make up for Lansing’s decades of abandonment. But it’s too much for the Kochs to stomach. They apparently want city workers and retirees to publicly suffer for the sin of having been union members. They want bondholders and insurance companies at the front of the creditors’ line, and don’t seem to care if the Detroit Institute of Arts has to sell off its paintings and sculptures to put them there.

As they have in so many other areas of public life, two of the country’s wealthiest citizens are using their good fortune to make life far more difficult for those at the bottom of the ladder.

 

By: David Firestone, Editor’s Blog, The New York Times, May 21, 2014

May 22, 2014 Posted by | Detroit, Koch Brothers | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“Vroom, Vroom”: So Let Me Tell You About My Car And Why Mitt Romney Will Lose Ohio

Greetings from the battleground state of Ohio, which Democrats and Republicans alike insist will determine the presidential race.

No use resenting us if you don’t live here. For a few more days, we’ll be the center of the universe. After Election Day, you can go back to wondering how a state with so many dairy farms and coal miners can be in the same time zone as Manhattan.

President Barack Obama continues to hold the lead in polls in Ohio. Beltway pundits love to rattle off the reasons, but this Buckeye who lives here has narrowed it down to one: the auto rescue.

So, let me tell you about my car.

Last summer, I traded in my Pontiac Vibe for a Chevy Cruze. It’s bright red. I call it my red-hot mama car, just to embarrass the kids.

I bought the Cruze primarily because of my roots. I was born in Ohio and raised here by blue-collar parents who believed in God, hard work and organized labor. In the early 1970s, dozens of my relatives, including my utility worker father, worked in union jobs at power plants, steel mills and auto factories. I grew up believing that Ohioans knew how to make things — big things — that were shipped all around the world.

How my parents would have loved the story of the Chevy Cruze. It’s a tale of many cities, many of them in my home state, full of the people I come from.

Bear with me, please, as I rattle off Ohio workers’ contributions to the Cruze, which is now one of the best-selling cars in America:

The engine is made in Defiance.

The seat frames: Lorain.

The brackets: Waverly.

The fasteners: Brunswick.

The plastics: Tallmadge.

The seats: Warren.

The transmission: Toledo.

The sound system: Springboro.

The steel: Middletown and Cleveland.

The wing nuts: Tiffin.

The weld nuts: Hudson.

The weld studs: Medina.

The insulators: Norwalk.

The wheel bearings: Sandusky.

That is a partial list of Cruze parts made in Ohio.

The Cruze is assembled by about 4,500 union workers in Lordstown, Ohio, which is producing cars around the clock.

But wait… there’s more.

Even if you don’t live here, you probably have heard about another made-in-Ohio car: Chrysler’s Jeep Wrangler, which is assembled by union workers in Toledo.

I’ll spare you that list of Ohio suppliers. Lots of cities — and lots of workers, too.

Mitt Romney, who opposed the auto rescue, recently claimed during a campaign stop in Defiance, Ohio, that Chrysler is planning to move its Jeep production to China.

For a few hours, I was willing to write off this absurd claim as just another Romney gaffe. He says a lot of ridiculous things. Some of them are even unscripted.

Then Romney doubled down on his lie with TV and radio ads here in Ohio. In them, he claims that President Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians who are going to build Jeeps in China.” A little word-tweaking, but the clear intention is to scare Ohio workers into believing they are about to lose their jobs.

For this whopper, Romney has earned nonpartisan PolitiFact’s worst rating, “Pants on Fire.” As PolitiFact also reminded readers, about 1 in 8 jobs in this state are auto-related. That’s more than 800,000 jobs, which means at least a half-million families who have better lives because of the auto industry. These workers have relatives — friends and neighbors, too. Most of them care about the survival of the auto industry, too, because they care about the people who work in it.

This is very bad news for Romney — just as it was bad news for Ohio Republicans when going after the collective bargaining rights of state workers backfired on them last year.

In the wake of Romney’s ad, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne felt the need to send a letter to his employees: “Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand,” he said. “It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.”

Nevertheless, as I write this, Romney’s ad continues to run in Ohio.

And I’m days away from renaming my made-in-Ohio Chevy Cruze the red-hot victory car for Barack Obama.

By: Connie Schultz, The National Memo, October 31, 2012

November 1, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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