Who I’m Supporting

It is, my editor tells me, the time of year for political endorsements.  And my email inbox is quickly filling up with the same (thanks David Segal).

Actually, it’s past time, since the election is upon us. But I’m told that it’s better late than never, so here goes.

First, these are the State House candidates supported by Clean Water Action/Vote Environment, my favorite of the boards on which  I’m honored to sit:

Gayle Goldin State Senate 3
Dominick Ruggerio State Senate 4
Adam Satchell State Senate 9
Teresa Paiva Weed State Senate 13
Ryan Pearson State Senate 19
Josh Miller State Senate 28
David Bates State Senate 32
Catherine Cool Rumsey State Senate 34
Edith Ajello State House 1
Chris Blazejewski State House 2
Maria Cimini State House 7
Joe Almeida State House 12
Arthur Handy State House 18
David Bennett State House 20
Frank Ferri State House 22
Teresa Tanzi State House 34
Scott Guthrie State House 28
Lisa Tomasso State House 29
Donna Walsh State House 36
Larry Valencia State House 39
Jeremiah O’Grady State House 46
Stephen Casey State House 50
Linda Finn State House 72
Deb Ruggiero State House 74

 

Further up the food chain, I will support Sheldon Whitehouse, who has been almost everything I want in a Senator.  (Especially for his willingness to take a public stand on reforming Senate rules to reduce the power of individual senators to bollix up the works.)  On financial reform, civil liberties, and a host of other issues, he has set the bar high, and cleared it. [n.b. updated this paragraph, see below]

I’m also supporting David Cicilline, and will spend election day helping get out his voters.  About Cicilline, as I’ve written before, I think there were many people responsible for Providence’s fiscal condition at the end of 2010, and by going on the record blaming Cicilline they managed to evade taking any responsibility for their own actions.  I’m not sure I would have used that word to describe a city in the throes of taking huge fiscal hits from the state, but would a city in less than “excellent” condition have been able to withstand the draconian and sudden state aid cuts of 2010 without going broke?  Once again, I find it challenging to think of a politician besides Al Gore who has been so unfairly tarred, and I like and admire the way Cicilline has conducted himself in Congress.  I will support him without reservation.

In the second district, I find a hard choice for me.  I admire Abel Collins and think he’s very obviously the best of the three candidates for the office.  But experience tells me that the route to a fairer and more just government and economic system will not travel through third party bids.  When the pen is actually in my hand on election day, I might well vote for Abel because of how I feel about him with respect to the other candidates, but I haven’t actively supported his campaign because of how I feel about third parties.

Is a Third Party the Way Forward?

The fact is that the structure of our politics vastly favors two parties, though there is no single obvious reason why.  It could be because of the winner-take-all structure of our elections, the habits of mind that seem to set voter allegiances at birth, or the many institutional barriers to third party challenges.  Or maybe all of the above.  I’m not really sure why it’s like this, but a few decades of observations tells me that it is.

On the brighter side, that same few decades of observation has also shown me that the parties do change.  Both the Democratic and Republican parties of today stand for very different things than they did when I first cast a vote.  So now, when I consider what might be the likely paths for change, I see a two-party system that hasn’t changed a bit in decades, and two parties within it that have changed a lot.  Granted I’m not wild about the changes made by either party.  The Democratic embrace of anti-labor policies like free trade and the current corporate flavors of education “reform,” along with its surrender on issues like civil liberties and climate change seem almost as troublesome as the Republican conflation of the common good with tax cuts for rich people.  (And puts the lie to claims the Democratic party has moved left, by the way.)  Nonetheless, the fact remains that the current Democratic and Republican parties are very different things than their predecessors of forty years ago, though the names have stayed the same.

If change can happen in one direction, I see no reason it can’t happen in the other direction, too.  I see little evidence in opinion polls to suggest that America’s populace has moved right in policy preferences, despite the motion of its two institutional parties.  Whatever has happened, this is not a story of parties changing to suit a rightward-moving electorate.

What I do see is the pernicious influence of money in politics.  I see phenomenal increases in wealth inequality, which means phenomenal increases in the money available from big donors.  As more money flows into party politics, successful campaigns get more expensive, and the competition for election becomes more and more about a competition for dollars.  I suspect this explains much of the conservative drift of the Democratic party as well as the outright purchase of the Republicans, and am pretty sure that underfunded third-party challenges will address none of it.

What challenge, after all, does a third party make to the established parties?  That the one with the most support might still lose.  This is far from a guaranteed way to get a party to move your way, nor does it seem a realistic route to power.  Simply claiming otherwise does not make it so.

This, then, is my challenge to progressive third-party dreamers: don’t run.  Instead, help me find ways to change the Democratic Party.  Let’s work to get more progressive candidates in at the ground level, and to make the party a less hospitable home for those who don’t share our vision.  We can also work to make money less important in politics, by improving communication with voters, reforming our laws, changing our constitution if the Supreme Court insists it must be so.

Let’s also acknowledge that the way forward for our society is not to claim — against the mountain of evidence amassed during the George W. Bush presidency — that it doesn’t matter which party wins.  It absolutely matters which party controls the offices of our government, and it’s absurd and insulting to claim that people who acknowledge that mountain are in any way “selling out.”  Barack Obama’s has been a flawed presidency in many ways.  I’m not satisfied with many of his policies.  But neither do I think that Jill Stein and the Green Party offer any realistic path forward, so I will happily support Obama’s reelection.

To those who claim I am rewarding Obama’s bad behavior, I reply that I believe the small victories we may see in a second Obama term are more valuable than the ground that would be lost in a Romney victory.  Remember, these are not theoretical exercises; people’s livelihoods, and, in many cases, lives depend on this election.  To claim otherwise is to pretend the election is just an abstract debate about ideas rather than a contest over real power over real lives.  I will not be party to such a pretense and hope you will not, either.

 

[Note: Wrote this late last night and misremembered an email exchange with Senator Whitehouse about Senate rules and filibusters.  Corrected to reflect reality better, and he has my apologies.  11/6/2012, 5pm]

Related posts:
  1. Gemma Said He Wouldn’t Vote For Cicilline
  2. Political Parties Should Invite Voters into Process

Tom Sgouros is a freelance engineer, policy analyst, and writer. Check out his new book, "Checking the Banks: The Nuts and Bolts of Banking for People Who Want to Fix It" from Light Publications.

31 responses to “Who I’m Supporting”

  1. David Vogel

    @Tom,
     
    You lost me at your suggestion that third-party candidates simply shouldn’t run.  Once upon a time, I thought you might have been a reasonable, thoughtful person.
     
    You have convinced me that you are anything but.
     
    I’m off to vote.
     
     
    David
     

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  2. cofathome@gmail.com

    .I respect you and your perspective so very much – all the more reason that it pains me to say that I’m disappointed in your piece, but not completely in disagreement. In one breath you say “I see a two-party system that hasn’t changed a bit in decades,” – in the next breath you say “What I do see is the pernicious influence of money in politics.” — You disprove your own point. The two-party SYSTEM *has* changed, precisely because of the ‘pernicious influence of money’ and will continue to undergo unimaginable changes if we don’t do something about it. And, ‘independent’ is not a third party. It’s just that, independent of party affiliation. All that said, I heartily applaud your closing statements: “Remember, these are not theoretical exercises; people’s livelihoods, and, in many cases, lives depend on this election. To claim otherwise is to pretend the election is just an abstract debate about ideas rather than a contest over real power over real lives. I will not be party to such a pretense and hope you will not, either.” It’s that compassionate, real, visceral statement that I hope reverberates in people as the take-away of your piece.

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  3. Craig OConnor

    Tom –
     
    As much as I almost always agree with you, you are way off on this. As we’ve talked about, there is clearly a limit in the effectiveness of trying to change things via third parties. But, as someone who has spent years and years trying to make it a better world via political action, I cannot agree that we should only continue to try to improve the Democratic party. That sort of thinking traps into supporting Gordon Fox for Speaker and Paiva-Weed for Senate President. That sort of thinking lets us think a President who assassinates people in foreign countries and does ZERO to put bankers in jail is an acceptable example of progress. We can’t afford to try and change the Democrats anymore. The fact that Clean Water Action PAC (and I’m on the Board with you) is essentially forced to endorse Paiva-Weed and David Bates is a symptom of the two party system. Maybe the root issue is money, as you propose. But I’d rather three or four or five parties splitting the coffers of the plutocratic elite, giving a Green Party or a Social Democrats Party or a Rhode Island Progressive Party a chance to compete.

    I proudly voted for Jill Stein and Abel Collins today, as they actually represent what I believe in and what I want from my government. I also voted for Sheldon Whitehouse, who is about the best among the elected Democrats in the US Senate. Obama has not earned my vote in any way – though I do hope he wins. Langevin needs to go – we cannot afford do nothing, go-along-to-get-along Democrats anymore. I would consider it a waste to vote for anyone I don’t actually believe in. It is a betrayal of myself, my values and the future I want to see for my niece and nephews and neighbors children.

    Rhode Island is one of a handful of states where a third party actually make sense, form the standpoint of concrete positive change. On the national level, we lose nothing because RI will always vote D (or will for the foreseeable future). On the local level, we have everything to gain, since the Democratic Party here is the party of tax cuts for the rich, subservience to the Bishop and the homophobes, has its arms open wide to haters of immigrants and women, and works tirelessly to squash any real reform in governing ethics or openness. We should seriously consider building a local alternative, like the Progressive Party of Vermont. (Sorry Greens, the national brand is not going to cut it here.)

    Rhode Island and our nation need a broader, more inclusive politics. We can’t settle for nostalgic memories of FDR or a hope that the Democrats will someday be a party of Paul Wellstones and Jan Schakowskys. It just ain’t going to happen.
    Progressive blogs and internet-fueled PACs have not gotten us anywhere. The United states still spends over $700 billion a year on war, 40% of the worlds total expenditures on implements of death. The Us is still a military presence on over 130 countries (according to the Department of Defense). Under Democrats like Clinton, the share of wealth for the top 1% increased, and their tax rates went down. Under Democrats like Obama, we arrested millions of poor immigrants and not one bank CEO. Under a Democratic Senate and House we passed DOMA and NAFTA and the Telecommunications Act.
     
    If we continue to support a system that gives us Obama as the agent of progressive change that we seek, then we will be waiting a long, long time for a better America.
     
    Craig O’Connor
     

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  4. David Vogel

    @Tom,
     
    You only prove my point that you are anything but a reasonable, thoughtful person.
     
    The fact that you can say with any degree of seriousness that you have no understanding of my candidacy demonstrates to me that you either are close-minded entirely, or are too intellectually lazy to have watched, listened, or investigated me in any way.
     
    Either way, you have cemented my opinion of you.
     
    And I am not going to bother responding to anything further you might write on this matter — I have wasted enough time with you at this point.
     
     
    David

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  5. leftyrite

    Here’s one vote against haughtiness generally and one more for the establishment of a Progressive Democratic third party, even if it takes twenty or more years to establish it.

    History has caused the two conventional parties to slam together. The undoing or weakening of the last massive legislative achievements of the Roosevelt era will be the result. Largely acted out by a Lincoln impersonator.

    Obama wanted his hands to be tied so that he could engage with the people he courts, the entrepreneurial Right. How hard did he fight for Ted Kennedy’s seat?

    Unfortunately, they, too, have committed themselves to the largely unregulated casino economy.
    Bill Gates and Co. should not have so much power in a Republic. Should they own the schools, too?

    Obama, our “progressive,” is too lonely and too calculating, with too little heart. He wants to role-play on a great stage.

    If he truly believed in process, not power, he would have gained control and disciplined his own party by now. And he’d have more respect for habeas corpus. And less for Vegas and Wall Street.

    But the “party” is a made-for-tv special. Every man for himself, generally. (One-man filibusters?? What does that truly say?)

    Maybe building something relatively new from the grassroots, even if it takes two decades or more would be a more valuable investment, certainly more worthwhile than what we have to look forward to over the next few hours.

    Hope and change have morphed into hype for the best deal that the nonlooney rightwing aristocrats can make and money can buy. 

    Not good enough.

    I’ll vote with joy for Elizabeth Warren, though. And wish Sheldon and David well.

    Capitalism is mandated by its top operators to think short term.

    The building of a new vision and a new party will someday (soon, I hope) be a much more human endeavor, one with a renewed respect for process and people, not financial empire, which is what too big to fail actually is, and cowed government. 

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  6. Craig OConnor


    I’d just like to add that I believe there is a true, real world difference between the two major parties. The difference between an Obama Administration and a Romney Administration not be as much as I’d hope, but the difference would be vast, and the effect on people’s lives measurable. Anyone who says there isn’t a difference between the parties, and their Presidential candidates, needs to look closely at the impact of specific policies the different parties enact. It is clear that there is a quantifiable difference between the effects of states run by anti-union, anti-welfare, anti-gay rights conservatives and states where elected officials support workers, and gay people, and try to help the poor. In a swing state, I’d have reluctantly voted for Obama.

    Health care reform is the perfect example that both shows that a Democratic President is much better for the country than a Republican President while also demonstrating the limits of what the current system offers.
     
    30 million people gaining health care security is a good thing, for individuals and businesses and the economy, and it happened because there was a Democratic majority in the House and Senate as well as a Democratic President. It would not have happened if one of those three pieces of the puzzle had been Republican controlled.
     
    But the bill is flawed. It passed only because the ACA protects the profits of hospitals, insurance companies and big pharma and does not substantively address the systemic problems of our health care system. The ACA has these limitations because the Ds (like the Rs) are beholden to wealthy corporate elites from the hospital, pharmaceutical, lawyer and insurance industries.
     
    Reforming the way money can be raised and spent in elections would certainly reduce this reality, but so would multiple parties that offer true alternatives, can challenge the power of the two major parties, and force elected officials to be more responsive and truthful to their constituents.

    P.S. If I lived in District 1, I’d have voted for Cicilline, not Vogel, for many reasons, not least of which is that . Vogel seems to think the right thing to do on election day is write meaningless comments on blogs, not meet the people he wants to represent.

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  7. leftyrite

    All of the above-mentioned events have a history, and the subjective quality of that history (ie. what could have been done with powerful presidential initiative,) has been distinctly lacking.

    It has led to the “both sides are to blame” stasis of the last thirty-two years or more. It’s why the New York Times is gradually losing me, also. Any alternatives to that out there??

    We’ve paid a huge price due to the lack of audacity of our leaders, a term, incidentally, used often, and to great effect, awhile back. I mean, of course, audacity on behalf of honorable, accountable governmemt.

    Obama and Clinton have bought more time for a kind of globalization that has weakened our country terribly.

    We have been on the wrong side of history before, but never wielding such power and never with such a suspect national narrative. Our spiritual house is not in order.

    I love America too much to settle–and that’s all that’s on the table right now. And, at least in the short term, it will go badly, I believe. 

    Elizabeth Warren has more balls than the whole crew. SHE should be president. And Andrew Bacevich should be welocomed to take a prominent place in government, similiar to that niche that Colin Powell once held. 

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  8. Leslie Myers

    Why Presidents Don’t Matter
    In response to the “third party” vs. “fix the democrats” conversation, consider the issue from this point of view: We are a profoundly divided nation in 2012, with both democratic and republican party loyalists equally disaffected. Historians  compare our state of the union to that of the Civil War era, minus the war. In this parallel, there were 2 ways out of the 19th c. deadlock: genius politicians, strategists, crafters of compromise who get-it-done, i.e. Lincoln.  (It’s no accident that artist-filmmaker Spielberg has tapped into this deep river with his November release of Lincoln.) The second way forward after the Civil War was the rise of the third party; the Republican party, to be exact, was a third party born in the reconstruction years. 
    My personal and your readers preferences aside, bear with me–
    It is an almost impossible in our 21st century to pull off the organization, civility, and ego-suppression required to launch a viable, NATIONAL third party. The Tea Party peaked 2 years ago and is waining fast. A kinder party would fail even faster.  
    Yet the nation is and will be deadlocked, ungovernable and dysfunctional AS A NATION for the foreseeable future (sorry to shout I don’t have italics here.) 
    SO, the rise of state power over federal power is about to raise its beautiful head, all the while working through a 2 party dem-rep  and local third party dialogue. Differences between states in the next decade will become ever more emphatic. State elections and issues will matter more than they have in recent decades, and more than national governance by a long shot. National debate will be a RHETORICAL device for local clarification of issues. It will matter where you live because local control of issues which used to be nationally mandated will turn to state control. Case in point: the Make It Happen initiative to funnel employment dollars to workers and employers who would share in the productivity of such a collaboration.  
    So get involved in Rhode Island! And don’t wait for the national mothership of either party, or third party, to deliver us! We’re on our own, Rhode Island, which may turn out to be a huge gift and blessing in this d— national dysfunction. 

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  9. leftyrite

    I really enjoyed reading the Leslie Myers post above. Her arguments were compelling, and they made me think.

    The results of yesterday’s election will unquestionably put a big damper on radical ideas from the left  for as long as the economy shows some signs of life.

    But it is also very easy to imagine another economic shock, maybe worse than the last one, and its also not too hard to imagine a huge war scenario in the Middle East.

    As was mentioned, the Republican party itself was a third party that arose out of extraordinary circumstances.

    I’m not rooting for apocalypse; I’m just owning up to the notion that potential apocalyptic situations lie ahead.

    Communication, and alternative means of communication, have improved vastly. Lousy, absolutely corrupt social contracts are tolerated, and even many of these, particularly as regards the public infrastructure will be broken. 

    I, for one, refuse to count out the possibility that a third party, or even a militant wing of the Democratic party that refuses to budge on core issues, is out of the question.

    Dream a little. Envision a little. “Real politics” gave us this piss poor, low quality, tightly constrained, lie-filled election—all balloons and styrofoam boaters to the side.  

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  10. Frymaster

    The fact of the matter is that in Vermont, there is a powerful 3rd party that drives the debate solidly left – the Progressive party. It took about a decade to grow into a force and another decade to become dominant in Burlington, where it started. 

    Frankly, I don’t care either way. We can push the DINOs out from the left or break into the independent / 3rd party track. Either way, RI is not going to improve appreciably without some of the “radical” economic development concepts that are WORKING in VT. 

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    1. DogDiesel

      Don’t be surprised when a more libertarian conservative party breaks out. Conservatives need to get away from social issues like gay marriage and abortion and just get back to real conservatism. Romney’s biggest problem was he had to play too far to the right to get the nomination and tried to bring it back to the center right once he got it. It provided too many talking points for the left.

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      1. turbo

        “Conservatives need to get away from social issues like gay marriage and abortion and just get back to real conservatism.”

        Ha ha ha!

        “It provided too many talking points for the left.”

        No. Romney’s willingness to say anything revealed who Romney really is–a completely unprincipled person. That’s not a talking point. That’s a fundamental problem with your candidate.

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        1. DogDiesel

          If that’s your opinion, how does that make him any different than Obama?

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          1. turbo

            Ha ha! Yeah, okay. Obama’s just as much an etch-a-sketch as Romney.

            Tell me that when Obama runs against Obamacare, just like Romney ran against Romneycare.

            But, before you do that, allow me to agree with you: conservatives should get away from issues like gay marriage and abortion.

            That is: conservatives should take the liberal position on those issues. Give up social conservatism and become social liberals! Good advice!

            You’re halfway there, DogDiesel. Now all you conservatives have to do is become liberal on  economic issues as well.

            Then you’ll really win some elections!  

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            1. DogDiesel

              “Now all you conservatives have to do is become liberal on  economic issues as well.”
               
              LOL! Just what we need, more deficit spending or more 38 Studios, Solyndras, and Evergreens. How’s that all working out.

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              1. turbo

                “How’s that all working out.”

                I assume this is supposed to be a question.

                “38 Studios”

                Carcieri. Conservative.

                “Solyndras”

                The stimulus had a lower failure rate than Bain Capital.

                But let me answer your question in another way.  

                “How’s that all working out[?]”

                 332 to 206.

                That’s how. 

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                1. DogDiesel

                  332 to 206 was the fear vote. The Democrats platform solely relied on scaring the electorate. Romney’s self deportation comment was so ‘hurtful’ to the hispanic community yet the President has deported more hispanics than any other president in history. Romney’s GM bankruptcy comment that offended auto workers, that’s just what the President did, take GM to bankruptcy. The President’s claim that Romney would cut Medicare? That’s just what the president did by cutting payments to providers. There will be plenty of seniors looking for new doctors when they stop seeing Medicare patients. Don’t get me wrong, the Republicans created many of their own problems with stumbles and bumbles. Some of those stumbles were helped by the media…thank you Candy Crowley but the the bottom line is, we have status quo and who’s gonna’ change that?

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                  1. turbo

                    “332 to 206 was the fear vote” You mean it wasn’t the ‘Take Back America’ vote?

                    “hispanic ”

                    Hispanics can judge for themselves who treats them fairly. They don’t need you to tell them what’s what.

                    “Romney’s GM bankruptcy”

                    Auto workers aren’t fooled, either.

                    “Medicare”

                    Romney chose Ryan. Ryan wants to dismantle Medicare.

                     ”Some of those stumbles were helped by the media”

                    You can’t help a stumble.

                    Your argument is that Democrats fooled Hispanics, auto workers, and old people, with the help of the media. Nice.

                    Well, keep insulting the intelligence of Hispanics, auto workers, and old people. See how that works out for you.

                    Oh wait. You just did! 

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                    1. DogDiesel

                      If they were fooled, they should feel insulted not by me but by enablers like you that continue perpetuate the lies. That said, Romney was a long shot. Obama and Romney were more alike than not however, I think Romney would have gotten more accomplished with Democrats than Obama could with Republicans.

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                    2. turbo

                      “If they were fooled” They weren’t.

                       ”Obama and Romney were more alike than not however”

                      And now you want the next Republican to be even more like Obama. You want the next Republican to take liberal positions on social issues.

                      “ I think Romney would have gotten more accomplished with Democrats than Obama could with Republicans”

                      If so, that says more about Democrats, than it does about Romney.

                      In any case, we’ll never find out, because Romney just got trounced, because he was the lousy nominee of a lunatic party, a party that will never win the Presidency again without taking up Democratic positions.

                      Ha ha!

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                    3. DogDiesel

                      “In any case, we’ll never find out, because Romney just got trounced, because he was the lousy nominee of a lunatic party, a party that will never win the Presidency again without taking up Democratic positions.”
                       
                      So not only do you perpetuate the left wing lies, you also perpetuate the divisiveness that’s ruining this country. And you think Republicans are the problem? Somehow you equate the President’s reelection with winning. Winning what? The country is still not off it’s back yet. I’ll call it a win when we are.

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                    4. turbo

                      “Somehow you equate the President’s reelection with winning.”
                      Yes.

                      “Winning what?”

                      The election.

                      “the divisiveness that’s ruining this country”

                      The big division in the United States is the same now that it has always been: the division between Southern white men and everybody else.

                      “the left wing lies”

                      Conservatives are making three arguments about Obama’s victory right now:

                      1) Americans are stupid.

                      2) Romney sucked.

                      3) The Republican party has gone nuts.

                      You just made arguments 1&2 yourself. I disagree with 1 and subscribe to 2&3 (plus some other stuff).

                      None of them is a left-wing lie.

                      “The country is still not off it’s back yet.”

                      No, the country is not off “it is” back yet. I’ll assume you meant the possessive there.

                      The U.S. could get off its back quite easily with a New New Deal paid for by the tax rates of the Eisenhower administration. You are standing in the way of that, as is President Obama. Nonetheless, while Americans have not chosen to do the right thing, they have at least chosen not to do the wrong thing.

                      Obama’s victory is an expression of the will of the people. The American people have thoroughly rejected the Republican and conservative policies that put the country on its back in the first place.

                      There’s still a long way to go, but leaving behind people like you is a start.

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                    5. DogDiesel

                      “The American people have thoroughly rejected the Republican and conservative policies that put the country on its back in the first place.”
                       
                      Again with the revisionist history. Please step off your high horse. The policies that put America on it’s back started as far back as the Carter administration. The same policies that Bill Clinton bragged that he expanded during his administration and the same policies that were carried out by the Republicans as well.

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                    6. turbo

                      “The policies that put America on it’s back”

                      What does “on it is back mean”?

                      At any rate, no, George W. Bush and his pals caused the current problems.

                      Have Democrats put right-wing policies into place? Yes. Have those policies failed? Yes.

                      I don’t see how you’re making a good argument for right-wing economic policies here. 

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                    7. DogDiesel

                      Your last response is indicative of having no argument left. Thanks for playing but now as expected you’re just trying to obfuscate the truth. You can blame Bush for the tax cuts and two wars but that’s not what crushed the economy.

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                    8. turbo

                      “You can blame Bush for the tax cuts and two wars”–which ramped up the national debt.

                      “but that’s not what crushed the economy”

                      Correct: deregulation and removal of oversight of financial fraud and Alan Greenspan’s chairmanship of the Fed and other right-wing policies under Bush crushed the economy.

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  11. Robert Malin

    I know Bernie Sanders is the exception but Vermont and RI have a lot in common in terms of their compactness and liberal democrat history (Note: Vermont is more progressive as they don’t have the Naval and war industry but they have a nuclear reactor of Fukishima vintage that they can’t get rid of so nobody’s perfect).

    Rhode Island is different in that it’s become a 1 party state for all practical purposes and the Democrats here show little resolve to reformulate them selves as the Great Society or New Deal Democrats that progressives, and most Democrats, are nostalgic for. 

    Langevin will go back and make you beg for every progressive crumb that he lets fall off the table but he didn’t magically transform into a fighter for social justice or the environment. 

    He only mumbled something about supporting Fair Trade because Abel Collins was so clear about it but he promised nothing- he will go back and work behind the scenes for the Trans-Pacific Partnership which will let foreign corporation chose which laws they have to follow.  

    Statistics showed that if he said “fighting for working people”  ”X” number of times people would believe it and they did- the illusion is complete.

    He said ”Global Warming” on WJAR an number of times because Abel Collins was on the stage with him and he didn’t want to lose any votes to him but he supports the XL Keystone pipeline exploiting toxic Tar Sands which will accelerate Global Warming. 

    Had they asked on WJAR they would have found out that Abel, like Vermont, wants to opt out of “Obama-care” and follow Vermont by self insuring.

    HealthCare Now’s formula show’s that RI would save 1 Billion dollars a year if we just paid claims- that’s the State Budget- that would give RI a lot of development options and make it an employers heaven.
     

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  12. Robert Malin

    PS An Independent only would answer to the voters in his district, not a party w a long list of promised favors. Also I believe his first job as a Freshman Democrat is to log 120 hours of party fundraising- best democracy money can buy. 
     

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  13. leftyrite

    Elizabeth Warren has proved that one enthusiastic individual who knows something real about people, about government, and about the economy can do quite a bit.

    A progressive could start running for governor right now and make a huge difference.

    Beautiful cities, miles of shoreline, people ready to work, history everywhere, the university community, the artist contingent,… and a somnolent nice guy governor who repeats Obama talking points.

    But, you see, Elizabeth Warren has big balls.

    Isn’t there, lurking at the Coffee Exchange, or walking the beach at Moonstone, or finding herself unchallenged in Barrington, or smoking too much in Riverside, a heart big enough to kick conventional ass and lead Rhode Island on to something bigger and better??

    A man or woman with a nineteenth century heart and a cutting edge mind for right now?

    Anyone know Eric Goetz, the anthropologist boatbuilder??

    Have him read this post, if it’s not too much trouble. (No shit.) 

    Roger Williams was an anthropologist, too.
     

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  14. leftyrite

    I’m listening to something altogether different.

    I’m listening to the heartbeat of a culture

    from deep underneath its vest. 

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