Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘let's go change the world

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Appeal

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a stay against the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell injunction after an earlier judge refused to do so. This is a case where the Obama administration’s betrayal of its base seems simply brazen: according to Clinton administration Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, backed up by Newsweek, the White House is in fact under no obligation to defend Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell if it doesn’t want to. Indeed, the Clinton administration refused to appeal a similar court decision that invalidated a law requiring the military to discharge HIV+ service members, and it was only just last month that a court ruled that California was not required to appeal the decision overturning Prop 8. Why then are they bothering with appeals at all, much less aggressively seeking to reinstate a policy they claim not to like? Obama’s rhetoric on this point is completely at odds with his administration’s actions, and unlike other issues there is no one on whom he can deflect the blame.

UPDATE: Ted Olson: ‘It Would Be Appropriate’ For Administration Not To Appeal DADT Injunction.

“It happens every once in awhile at the federal level when the solicitor general, on behalf of the U.S., will confess error or decline to defend a law,” said former George W. Bush administration solicitor general Ted Olson, who is leading the legal challenge of California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state attorney general have both declined to defend the law in court.

“I don’t know what is going through the [Obama] administration’s thought process on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” Olson said. “It would be appropriate for them to say ‘the law has been deemed unconstitutional, we are not going to seek further review of that.’

The Eternal Struggle

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Hoping to shape the narrative around the expected loss of Democratic congressional seats in the fall election, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka argued on Tuesday that the lesson learned from the past two years will be that Democrats were too timid with their legislative ambitions.

“Those battle-worn Democrats will understand that they faced tough races not because they did too much but because they did too little,” said Trumka.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 5, 2010 at 11:38 am

The First Nine Months

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The Obameter takes the temperature of Obama’s first term a year after his election and finds 52 promises kept, 7 promises broken, 14 each compromised or stalled, 133 “in the works,” and, uh, 294 not yet rated.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm

The Tina Fey Hegemony

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The verdict is in: another Republican political career has been destroyed by contact with the mind of Tina Fey. This time it’s Bobby Jindal, who I don’t think will ever recover from this Kenneth the Page thing. (Not that he did so well on the merits, either, as Steve Benen handily demonstrates in a series of posts. “Volcano monitoring”? What, pray tell, is a “volcano”? Even Fox News lays the smack down.)

Meanwhile, in other political news, Ezra Klein looks back on the eventful first month of the Obama administration. That pseduo-State of the Union sounded pretty ambitious; let’s go change the world.

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February 25, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Popularity Is Political Capital

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Seventy-six percent of Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Wednesday said Obama is a strong and decisive leader.

“That’s the best number an incoming president has gotten on that dimension since Ronald Reagan took office in 1981,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. “The public’s rating of his leadership skills is already as high as George W. Bush’s was after 9/11 and easily beats the numbers that both Bush and Bill Clinton got at the start of their first terms in office.”

A lot of people are linking to these numbers, but best-in-show goes to TPM’s Eric Kleefield, who writes: “A new poll suggests that Barack Obama’s high ratings aren’t just your average political honeymoon, but could effectively be the same as when the people rally around their leader after a disaster.” Only I wouldn’t say it’s “effectively the same”—that’s exactly what it is.

Confidential to the Obama White House: popularity is political capital. Use it, or you lose it. Let’s go change the world.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 31, 2008 at 10:57 pm

On Obama

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As a community organizer in Chicago in the ’80s, Obama had been influenced by the teachings of Saul Alinsky, a radical with a realist bent who once wrote, “Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people.” Obama knew he had a knack for finding non-threatening ways to make people accept change—to begin with, his own skin color. As Jarrett recalled, Obama insisted that he wanted to run a grass-roots campaign because he had seen it work as a community organizer, and he wanted to try to take the model and go national.

Part one of Newsweek‘s exhaustive “How He Did It” is now up.

As a side note, I noticed while tagging this post my old “we need a revolution in this country” tag; as the above excerpt indicates, in a very real sense, we just had one.

The annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in Des Moines on Nov. 10 was a crucial beauty pageant before the real contest, the caucuses on Jan. 3. Obama’s Iowa organization made sure to pack the hall and drown out the supporters of all the other candidates. Because the candidates were not allowed to use teleprompters, Obama spent hours memorizing the words and perfecting his delivery. The speech was a good one, ripping George W. Bush and taking down Hillary (a little more subtly), and it built into a crescendo as Obama told the story of how, on a miserable morning when he faced a small, bored crowd in Greenwood, S.C., a single black woman in the audience had revived his flagging spirit by getting the crowd to chant, responsively, “Fired up!” “Ready to go!” Slipping from an easy, bemused tone to a near shout, Obama egged on the overflow crowd at the J-J dinner. “So I’ve got one thing to ask you. Are you FIRED UP? Are you READY TO GO? FIRED UP! READY TO GO!” The Washington Post‘s David Broder, the Yoda of political reporters, was watching and understood that Obama had found the Force. The speech became Obama’s standard stump speech, and in the weeks ahead it never failed him. Broder described the effect of Obama’s thumping windup: “And then, as the shouting became almost too loud to hear, he adds the five words that capsulize the whole message and sends the voters scrambling back into their winter coats and streaming out the door: ‘Let’s go change the world.’ And he sounds as if he means it. In every audience I have seen,” Broder reported on Dec. 23, a week and a half before the Iowa caucuses, “there is a jolt of pure electrical energy at those closing words. Tears stain some cheeks—and some people look a little thunderstruck.”

Written by gerrycanavan

November 6, 2008 at 1:24 am