Tuesday, June 5, 2012


When I was a boy, watching the 1956 Democratic Party Nominating Convention on a black and white TV with my "ward healer" father (i.e. Democratic Party chairman of our town who could get out the vote so well he could call the local election results almost exactly, and smart enough, despite only a seventh grade education, to do the same for state and national elections), when then Senator John Kennedy gave his nominating speech my father said, "He could be our first Irish Catholic president."  I asked him why he thought that and he said, "Because his father has enough money to make it happen."

It isn't always the case that money wins elections, but it's almost always the case. Today was one example. It looks like the huge amounts spent by the Koch brothers and other rightwingers in the Wisconsin recall election (eight to one compared to his Democratic opponent by most accounts) won Walker the right to stay in office and continue to carry out rightwing policies that favor the wealthy and hurt the working person. As my father also taught me, just because someone wins an election doesn't mean they're the best person for the job nor that the people who voted for them knew what they were doing.

If the Democrats don't learn the art of staying on message and keeping the message short and to the point and the rest of us don't vote or contribute to their campaigns, this doesn't bode well for the Fall elections. Since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision is what made it possible for these rightwing corporate behemoths to outspend those who threaten their interests the Dems have got to get a clear and simple message out, which is that yes, in fact we ARE better off than we were four years ago at the end of an eight year stretch of rightwing Republican policies being enacted and enforced, policies that destroyed our economy.

Of course, most folks, especially those who get their news from rightwing sources like Fox and Rush etc. don't even realize that under Bush/Cheney millions of jobs were lost and under Obama that was stopped and reversed and jobs have been created but just as fast as they're created the rightwing Congress folks and governors et. al. eradicate jobs in the public sector.  It's like they almost want the economic growth to be slow enough that they can call Obama a failure when he has actually succeeded where THEY failed. See, already that message is too nuanced and not simple enough for the right and the folks they have been able to sway with their billionaire backed ads.

Let's hope the center and the left get out and vote in the interest of all of us and not just the billionaires.


JIm said...
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JIm said...
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George Mattingly said...

Absolutely right on all counts.

We're living through a slow-motion coup, as described by Naomi Klein in THE SHOCK DOCTRINE.

And with the Citizens United decision it became clear that the U.S. Supreme Court, which we could once count on to defend our rights, is now an enemy of the people.

Thanks for a great post (and I love the story about you and your dad in the 50s).



Hi, Michael...very disappointing results in Wisconsin ...you're absolutely right about Democratic inability to stay on message etc....we Dems just don't know how to fight back...we are very good at analyzing situations but changing them is another thing altogether...too many times we just sit home and let the other guy go out and do the grunt work to win...

Lally said...

Your welcome George. And I agree with you and Michael. As a boy
me and my older sisters and brothers did "the grunt work" for our dad who got our town to vote Democratic for the first time and kept it voting that way for many years. He did it by using the larger "Democratic machine" he was a part of to respond instantly to what working families said they needed, from stop signs to getting a soldier home on leave for his grandmother's funeral etc. They coordinated all that with the Democratic Congressman etc. They knew who their constituents were and who they represented, not the wealthy but the working people who outvoted the wealthy folks etc.