Open Thread: “Scott Brown, Tea Party Patriarch”


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From Noah Bierman at the Boston Globe’s Political Intelligence blog:

A day after a Republican video mocked Democratic US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren as the “Matriarch of Mayhem” for claiming significant credit for the Occupy Wall Street movement, a Democratic leaning political action committee has released “Scott Brown: Tea Party Patriarch.”
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The liberal video uses similar production techniques as the conservative video — splicing images of Brown, a Republican senator, making sympathetic comments about the Tea Party movement, with footage of the movement’s most radical elements played over ominous music…
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The video is being released by American Bridge 21st Century. Its president, Rodell Mollineau, said in a statement that the video is “a warning that unfair, inflammatory, and inaccurate attacks will not go unanswered.
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The dueling videos, a year ahead of the 2012 Senate election, suggest the campaign is already getting rough. Two interest groups have already paid for television ads attacking Brown’s environmental record.

Emphasis mine. Props to American Bridge 21st Century, because fighting back makes me Proud to Be a Democrat!

Since Brown has also volunteered as a spokespod for the Contractor Tax Cheat Protection Bill, there will be no lack of ammunition for our side…








Doug Rubin on Elizabeth Warren: That Was Before She Hired Me!

The Boston Globe is, so far, cautiously pro-Warren, but that takes second place to tweaking a former hireling of the competition:

In a former life, after he was Deval Patrick’s campaign manager and chief of staff but before he took leadership of Elizabeth Warren’s US Senate race, Doug Rubin worked part-time as a columnist for the Boston Herald.
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Drawing on his experience in Democratic politics, including working against Republicans in a state that picked a member of the GOP to be governor for 16 consecutive years before Patrick, Rubin offered uncommon perspective about the happenings on Beacon and Capitol hills.
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He tapped that network and expertise in June to issue a pointed warning: Democratic officials in Washington should cease carping about the lack of a high-profile candidate to challenge US Senator Scott Brown as the Republican seeks reelection next year…
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“The speculation from D.C. hurts the existing (Democratic) field, which is already filled with strong, talented candidates. It keeps donors who are loyal to the party on the sidelines, and forces some very important grass-roots organizers to hold off from making a commitment to a candidate. It also creates media stories about the supposed weakness of the field, which is a disservice to those candidates who have chosen to run.”
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Two months later, the candidate who was the focus of much of that D.C. affection and entreaties – Warren – left Washington and the Obama administration and returned home to Massachusetts. One of her first acts? She hired Rubin to advise her as she weighed a Senate campaign.
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Last week, during an interview with the Globe’s Joan Vennochi, Rubin disputed that Warren was the Beltway creation against which he warned, and which he feared would be so harmful to the democratic process…
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“What I was railing against was the guys in D.C. coming in and anointing a candidate, and I think Elizabeth Warren has done the opposite,” Rubin said. “She was taken her campaign to the living rooms of Massachusetts, which is exactly what I was advocating for.”

It’s a pretty fair article, despite that, and Rubin’s correct that there’s a difference between “Don’t daydream about a Great Democratic Savior being air-dropped from the Oval Office” and “Okay, now we’ve got a sterling candidate with a proven record, as opposed to a half-dozen well-meaning individuals whose combined name recognition factor hangs in the single digits even among Mass-based political junkies.” But it won’t be the last of the concern-trolling about how flashy media darling Elizabeth Warren cruelly broke the cherished dreams of Setti Warren (no relation), Andrew Massey, Alan Khazei, Tom Conroy, Marisa DeFranco, and Herb Robinson.








Open Thread: “The Wrong Turning Point”

Steven Benen at the Washington Monthly smacks around Joe Nocera‘s uncharacteristically silly defense of Robert Bork:

… Nocera’s larger point, in fact, is that mean ol’ liberals are largely responsible for the toxicity and breakdowns in Washington. “The next time a liberal asks why Republicans are so intransigent,” the columnist concludes, “you might suggest that the answer lies in the mirror.”
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It’s hard to overstate how remarkably wrong this is. Indeed, nearly every paragraph in Nocera’s piece includes a fairly significant error of fact or judgment.
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The columnist argues, for example, that Bork was an intellectual giant who was unfairly labeled as an “extremist.” I suppose it’s a subjective question — an extremist to one is a moderate to another — but I’d note for context that Bork had endorsed Jim Crow-era poll taxes, condemned portions of the Civil Rights Act banning discrimination in public accommodations, and argued against extending the equal protection of the 14th Amendment to American women, among other things. Nocera may be comfortable with Bork’s ability to justify these positions as a matter of legal theory, but considering Bork’s conclusions as “extreme” seems more than fair.
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Indeed, as recently as last week, Bork was still arguing that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to women…
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There have been plenty of modern turning points that have created the breakdowns of our political system. The Gingrich Revolution and the far-right takeover of the Republican Party seems like the big one to me, as do the unjustified impeachment of a Democratic president, the dubious legitimacy of the 2000 presidential election, the Bush White House’s post-9/11 strategy of dividing the country for GOP gain, the Republicans’ scorched-earth strategy of the Obama era, etc.
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But the bipartisan opposition to Bork is the real culprit? Please.








Wednesday Evening Open Thread

Via Greg Sargent, Vanity Fair has a long, very positive piece on Elizabeth Warren, “The Woman Who Knew Too Much“:

… At a time of record corporate profits, a time when 14 million Americans are out of work, when millions have lost their homes and, according to the Census Bureau, the ranks of those living in poverty has grown to one in six—that Elizabeth Warren could be publicly kneecapped and an agency devoted to protecting American consumers could come under such intense attack is, ultimately, the story about who holds power in America today.
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When the C.F.P.B. was first proposed to Congress, in early 2009, the Chamber of Commerce, the leading business lobbying group in the country, announced that it would “spend whatever it takes” to defeat the agency. According to the Center for Public Integrity, from 2009 through the beginning of 2010, it would be one of the biggest spenders among the more than 850 businesses and trade groups that together paid lobbyists $1.3 billion to fight financial reform…
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According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2010 the financial industry flooded Congress with 2,565 lobbyists. They were financed by the likes of the Financial Services Roundtable, which, according to the Center, paid lobbyists $7.5 million, and is on its way to spending as much or more this year. The Chamber of Commerce spent $132 million on lobbying Washington in 2010. The American Bankers Association spent $7.8 million. As for individual banks: JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in TARP funds from taxpayers, spent nearly $14 million on lobbying during the 2009–10 election cycle; Goldman Sachs, which received more than $10 billion from taxpayers, spent $7.4 million; Citigroup, which was teetering on the brink of insolvency and received a $45 billion infusion, has paid more than $14 million to lobbyists since 2009. And none of this money includes the direct campaign donations these organizations, and their surrogates, made to members of Congress.
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The banks “do not like to lose,” says Ed Mierzwinski, of the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups, which was part of the grossly outmatched consumer coalition that managed to scrape together a paltry $2 million to lobby in favor of reform…

And on the other side of that race, Glen Johnson Alex Katz at the Boston Globe informs us that Scott Brown’s campaign is so poverty-stricken, it has to “recycle” old quotes from Elisabeth Dole.

How are the battles proceeding in everyone’s neighborhoods, tonight?








Walker On The Clock, Tick Tick Tock

Wisconsin Democrats are gearing up to toll the bell for Gov. Scott Walker’s recall effort.  Here’s what they are up against:

Wisconsin’s recall law requires that officials have held office for at least one year before being recalled. Since Walker was just elected in 2010, that means the petitions cannot be turned in until early January 2012. In addition, the Dems will have a lot of leg-work to do, if they hope to recall him.

In order to initiate a recall, signatures of at least 25 percent of the number of voters in the previous gubernatorial election must be collected in a 60-day window, within a relevant district (statewide, in this case). Calculated from the 2010 election results, this means the Dems will need to collect 540,206 signatures — more than 9,000 signatures a day, statewide — plus some significant buffer that campaigns routinely collect in order to protect against signatures being disqualified over one imperfection or another.

To wind up the spring for the recall, Wisconsin Dems want to raise $540,206 by Nov. 15th in order to kick off the petition drive then.  Good luck to them, and I’ll be following the efforts, well, like clockwork.

Handy puns aside, putting Walker out of a job is something that a number of liberals outside Wisconsin should be aiming for.  Outside of John Kasich, no Republican governor has been more relentlessly anti-middle class and pro top 1% with continuous efforts to remove collective bargaining rights, remove voting rights, and remove accountability.  As in Ohio, there are efforts to fight back by putting the agenda before the people.  In Wisconsin, that means putting Walker himself up for another vote.

Good for Wisconsin Dems.  They understand the keys to all this GOP power lie in statehouses across the country.

[UPDATE]  You can learn more about helping this effort at wisdems.org.