Friday, February 26, 2010

Just What Is The Republican Message To The Average American?

Just What Is The Republican Message To The Average American?

Yesterday in The White House Healthcare meeting the Republican Party revealed that it is a danger to every American citizen who is not making a fortune.

“Start Over” and “piece by piece”, incremental step-by-step are all code words for management for healthcare corporate interests and a royal screwing of the vast number of Americans. Candidly; the Republican Party ought to be totally destroyed and removed from every office in this land.

They no longer have any relevance when it comes to values, integrity and fiscal sanity.

They are the root and rot of the evil that has infected this land!

If you disassemble a complicated problem into a seriatim approach of solution you can never resolve the interrelationships in the problem/issue because you have avoided the linkages leaving, often times, a greater mess than was originally on the table.

The name of the game in avoiding any comprehensive packaging is create as many legislative negotiation opportunities to gain advantage for the bastards who own you and provide time for your speech writers and spinmeisters to provide some seemingly plausible explanation for your latest raping of the American people.

These people who want desperately to manipulate the process in this way have NO PLACE IN Congress, have no business in garnering a single vote in an election in this nation, when, in fact they need to be in jail, or driven into the destitution of homelessness and the despair that they visit upon other without blinking an eye and without a single twinge of conscience.

Sarah Palin's Mixed Messages On Being A GOP Leader

Some Say She Wants To Run For President, But She Has Become One Of The Most Polarizing Politicians In The Country

Posted February 25, 2010

Sarah Palin continues to delight her fans, unsettle her adversaries, and perplex independent voters who aren't sure what to make of her. Through it all, the former Alaska governor remains one of the most polarizing politicians in the country, which is saying a lot, given how divided and hostile the political world has become.

Several recent events have prompted a renewed focus on the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. Next week, Palin will be on Jay Leno's Tonight Show. Last week, Palin attacked the portrayal of a cartoon character with Down syndrome on the Fox animated comedy series Family Guy. In a Facebook posting, Palin called it "another kick in the gut" and asked, "When is enough enough?" Her youngest son, Trig, has Down syndrome, and Palin has always been ferocious in protecting him and other people with disabilities. Earlier this month, she criticized White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for describing some liberal activists as "retarded" (for which he apologized).

Palin's stand on this topic is a reminder that she gave birth to Trig even though she knew in advance that the baby would have Down syndrome. Her supporters see this as an example of how Palin lived up to her moral position against abortion. And even though she is now a paid commentator on Fox News, in the case of Family Guy she took on the entertainment side of the Fox empire, one more demonstration of conviction.

Another Palin event, however, contained a mixed message. In a recent appearance at the tea party convention of conservatives and populists in Nashville, Palin got strong approval from the crowd with her anti-President Obama speech, in which she mocked Obama's 2008 campaign themes by asking, "How's that hopey, changey thing working out for ya?"

But what caused the fuss was Palin being captured on camera referring to notes she had scrawled on her palm to help her get through a question-and-answer session. Her critics pounced, arguing that Palin is an intellectual lightweight who isn't ready for the presidency, a job that many grass-roots conservatives want her to seek in 2012.

She also seemed to get in former Vice President Dick Cheney's cross hairs. Appearing on ABC's This Week,Cheney was shown a clip of Palin talking about how Obama could toughen up his image on national security. "If he decided to declare war on Iran," she said, "or decided really to come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do, if he decided to toughen up and do all that he can to secure our nation and our allies, I think people would perhaps shift their thinking a little bit and decide, 'Well, maybe he's tougher than we think he is today.' "

Cheney offered some veiled criticism. "I don't think a president can make a judgment like that on the basis of politics," he said. "The stakes are too high, the consequences too significant to be treating those as simple political calculations. When you begin to talk about war, talk about crossing international borders, you talk about committing American men and women to combat, that takes place on a plane clear above any political consideration."

Yet Palin continues to animate many conservatives with her homespun charm and her anti-Washington, anti-Obama rhetoric. Some Republican strategists say she appears to be trying to become, at minimum, a leader of the tea party movement and a power broker within the GOP.

But she has done little to reassure centrists that she is presidential material. As a celebrity politician, Palin can draw enormous crowds and presumably could raise lots of money from conservative donors for a presidential campaign if she decided to run. But her fortunes have declined with the general electorate. Seventy-one percent of Americans don't consider Palin qualified to be president, and 55 percent have an unfavorable view of her, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

"Sarah Palin is a performer," says a prominent Republican who has advised two presidents. "She has star quality, but she's content free. Her audience consists of the 25 to 35 percent [of Americans] who are totally disaffected, totally disenchanted." Palin defenders, however, say that she has much more potential than her critics think and that she realizes she needs to learn more about issues.

So far, it's clear that the former Alaska governor knows how to push the hot buttons of the right. The question is whether she can, or wants to, broaden her appeal to the center, where most presidential elections are won.

Published on Friday, February 26, 2010 by The Washington Post

Coffee Party Activists say Their Civic Brew's a Tastier Choice than Tea Party's

by Dan Zak

Furious at the tempest over the Tea Party -- the scattershot citizen uprising against big government and wild spending -- Annabel Park did what any American does when she feels her voice has been drowned out: She squeezed her anger into a Facebook status update.

The Coffee Party is not so much a party or movement as a slow-drip ripple through online nano-politics. Within the past 10 days, its Facebook fans rose from 3,500 to more than 9,200, which is far more than the 5,900 fans of the central page of Organizing for America, the DNC-funded group supporting President Obama's agenda. (

let's start a coffee party . . . smoothie party. red bull party. anything but tea. geez. ooh how about cappuccino party? that would really piss 'em off bec it sounds elitist . . . let's get together and drink cappuccino and have real political dialogue with substance and compassion.

Friends replied, and more friends replied. So last month, in her Silver Spring apartment, Park started a fan page called "Join the Coffee Party Movement." Within weeks, her inbox and page wall were swamped by thousands of comments from strangers in diverse locales, such as the oil fields of west Texas and the suburbs of Chicago.

I have been searching for a place of refuge like this for a long while. . . . It is not Us against the Govt. It is democracy vs corporatocracy . . . I just can't believe that the Tea Party speaks for all patriotic Americans. . . . Just sent suggestions to 50 friends . . . I think it's time we start a chapter right here in Tucson . . .

The snowballing response made her the de facto coordinator of Coffee Party USA, with goals far loftier than its oopsy-daisy origin: promote civility and inclusiveness in political discourse, engage the government not as an enemy but as the collective will of the people, push leaders to enact the progressive change for which 52.9 percent of the country voted in 2008.

The ideas aren't exactly fresh -- Tea Party chapters view themselves as civil, inclusive and fueled by collective will -- but the Coffee Party is percolating in at least 30 states. Small chapters are meeting up, venting frustrations, organizing themselves, hoping to transcend one-click activism. Kind of like the Tea Party did this last year, spawning 1,200 chapters, a national conference and a march on Washington.

"It's like trying to perform surgery in the dark," says Park, 41, a documentary filmmaker. She's exhausted, overcommitted, passing whole days on Facebook, not collecting a paycheck, hopping between conference calls, sending e-mails at 4 a.m., smoothing out conflicts over strategy. She has been swept up in this project, and so have others. Within two weeks of forming, the Los Angeles chapter produced a five-minute video in which citizens yearn for sensible progress and lament obstructionist truth-twisting.

Progress is patriotic, they tell the camera. Wake up. Espresso yourself. Something is brewing, America.

Need something to wash down that heaping helping of American angst? Tea or coffee? (Must we choose?)

Deep down, underneath the Tea Party's Revolutionary War garb and the Coffee Party's faded HOPE stickers, they seem to want the same thing. To save America. Which raises the question: "From what?"

The easy answer is "each other," when really their complaints are similar and eternal: The political system is broken, elected officials ignore the people, and the media warp truths and pit sides. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that two-thirds of Americans are "dissatisfied" or "angry" with the federal government," the highest level in 14 years, and many have sought solace in social networking. The Coffee Party, whether it grows or fizzles, is the latest effort to turn virtual disenchantment into real-world results. Its members are incited by Tea Party tactics, which they believe obstruct reform and discourage thoughtful deliberation, and the Tea Party -- well, the Tea Party has not heard of the Coffee Party.

Says Robert Gaudet, 40, a software designer in Shreveport, La., who "We don't see cooperation with the government. We see ourselves monitoring the government. . . . As for shouting and obstructionism, absolutely not. The media is trying to define a movement and not being able to put their finger on it. There's common-sense solutions we're asking for: fiscal responsibility, free markets, limited government and lower taxes."

Says Dave Henderson, 48, an automotive service adviser in Denison, Tex., who found the Coffee Party on Facebook: "The political mood right now is 'blame Obama for everything.' The Tea Party is overexposed but organized, and they have a poster child in Sarah Palin and Fox News. I'm extremely anti-establishment, and the thing that appealed to me about the Coffee Party is it is very grass-roots, there's no official organization, and individuals can participate as individuals without having to see eye-to-eye on everything."

The Coffee Party is not so much a party or movement as a slow-drip ripple through online nano-politics. Within the past 10 days, its Facebook fans rose from 3,500 to more than 9,200, which is far more than the 5,900 fans of the central page of Organizing for America, the DNC-funded group supporting President Obama's agenda. What does that mean, though, when nearly 100,000 Facebook users have joined the Tea Party Patriots Facebook page and 1.5 million have joined a joke page titled "Can this pickle get more fans than Nickleback?"

"I don't really understand what they're about other than 'we don't like the Tea Party' and 'we're for a better process,' " says Michael Cornfield, a political scientist at 720 Strategies, a D.C. grass-roots advocacy firm. "The Tea Party has something more going for it in its name. It has a historical echo, and means these guys are self-conscious rebels objecting to a government who taxes them without representation."

"So what are we doing here? What's the objective?"

Alan Alborn, a retired executive and former Army officer who voted for both George W. Bush and Obama, crosses his arms over his maroon sweater and leans back in a Manassas cafe last Friday. With him are Park, her boyfriend and fellow filmmaker Eric Byler, and Elena Schlossberg, who co-writes a blog focused on Prince William County politics. The quartet, first united by their involvement in the county's fiery immigration debates in 2007, discusses Coffee Party talking points, staying positive and coming up with a marketable phrase. Maybe "What does America really think?"

"And we need a big idea that's separate and stands alone," says Alborn, 61, who appreciates the basic tenets of the Tea Party but can't subscribe to what he views as its stonewall strategy and jumble of church and state. "We need to find people who will pledge to be one-term candidates, so that we get citizen politicians."

Later that night in Woodley Park, Tea Party member William Temple -- pastor, artist and historical reenactor from Brunswick, Ga. -- receives praise in the Marriott lobby for his starring role in "Tea Party: The Documentary Film," after it screened at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Temple sounds like he and Alborn have drunk the same beverage.

"There is a synergism between people who realize we've got massive corruption," says Temple, 59. "We want citizen legislators, people who know about sacrifice. Get the career politicians out of here."

The next evening, Fox News pundit Glenn Beck paces during his keynote speech at the conference. "It is still morning in America," Beck tells the crowd. "It just happens to be kind of a head-pounding, hungover, vomiting-for-four-hours kind of morning in America. . . . What is it that has caused the problem? And if you say 'Obama,' it's too simple of an answer because it's not Barack Obama." He writes "progressivism" on a chalkboard. "This is the disease."

On Sunday afternoon, Stacey Hopkins, a 46-year-old mother of five who lives in Hapeville, Ga., speaks on a conference call with a half-dozen organizers of the Atlanta Coffee Party.

"You're dealing with a nation that's jaded, paranoid, distrustful, broke, angry -- it's like they just woke up from an eight-year meth binge," Hopkins says. "We've become so polarized. Once we say our political affiliations, everyone goes to their corner and then comes out swinging. . . . A lot of people have the same goals and desires."

When Park was 9, her family emigrated from Seoul to Houston. She studied philosophy at Boston University and political theory at Oxford, was a nanny in New York until she got a job in strategic planning at the New York Times, moved to L.A. to pursue filmmaking and, in 2006, came to D.C. to work on Jim Webb's Senate campaign, which led to a documentary project on the immigration debates in Prince William. She views the Coffee Party as an extension of that desire for conversation instead of closed-mindedness, as an evolution in wiki-government, where technology enables fuller citizen participation.

"We have to relearn how to talk to each other, to deliberate," says Park, driving west on I-66 to the Coffee Party meeting in Manassas. "It's also about regaining confidence that we can come together, that we can come to the middle and agree on things."

The Coffee Party believes the middle is consensus. The Tea Party believes the middle is the Constitution.

"People are scared on both sides about the financial stability of the country," adds Temple, the Tea Party activist, on the phone from Brunswick. "There are people who get angry. I remind people, 'Hey, settle down. The sky's not gonna fall.' . . . We need to reassure them that there's hope. We're not about to launch a French Revolution here. We can vote and we can talk and we can do it civilly."

The parties continue to post videos and recruit fans of all ideological stripes. On Sunday, a handful of San Antonio Coffee Partiers joined a small rally to counter a Tea Party event. Coffee meet-ups are planned for this weekend in the District and Herndon, and there's talk of a conference or march in the summer. On Saturday, there will be 50 Tea Party rallies around the country to mark the first anniversary of the movement, and hundreds more are planned for tax day on April 15.

So: Tea or coffee? While the movements are at different points in their life cycles, both view themselves as silent majorities who have found their voice, as sleeping giants who are now awake, caffeinated on activism, ready to persuade or react to the other side, if there are sides at all.

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