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Brown Town

With the election of Scott Brown to the United States Senate it appears that the Republicans will get what they have wanted – nothing.  The 59 votes will not be enough in the Senate to pass the health care reform legislation over the 41 conscience-driven Republicans who will be willing to filibuster. 

I have said it before and if you read this blog you really should go on Amazon.com and purchase Nixonland.  The lesson is that the last time a Democratic President tried to push forward a sweeping and needed social agenda – middle class white anger rose up to deliver monstrous losses in the midterm elections.  Lyndon Johnson won big in 1964 and then watched most of his congressional gains disappear in 1966.  And LBJ had the advantage of not being a confident black man in an era of constantly streaming information and misinformation.  Perhaps if Don Draper were running a 24 hour-a-day campaign against the Civil Rights Act and the country had a troubled, centuries-long relationship with Texans then LBJ would have known what Obama is up against.   Seriously – if you have not read Nixonland you are cheating yourself at a chance to predict the future.

What would the Tea Partiers (and their co-voters) have thought of LBJ? "He's bad, buuuuuut it could be worse..."

Martha Coakley certainly ran a poor campaign, which hurts even more given that she is a Williams Eph.  However, just 9 years after George W. Bush took office, I am hearing “Scott Brown drove a pick up truck” and “Coakley didn’t know who Curt Schilling was.”   This stuff still matters? 

Republicans are taking the country to Brown Town.

The Republicans have become the party that cheers when a perfect game is broken up.  Sure you can’t win, but in a sense neither can the other guy.  And that is now our politics – since when did every single piece of legislation of any meaning require 60 votes in the Senate – oh right, 2009.  I don’t remember liberals like Ted Kennedy fighting George Bush on No Child Left Behind – W.’s signature act in his first term not related to unjust war or tax cuts for wealthy people (until Bush underfunded it).  But Scott Brown is coming to town on a “no cap and trade,” “no health care reform” platform.  The health insurance industry has spent $100 million fighting health care reform to convince people that it is a fundamental threat to our society, second only to Islamic fundamentalism.  The Democrats bent to pro-life concerns and to Joe Lieberman and still not one Republican came over.  Republicans have become a party of hypocritical (really – how can you buy the Republicans as the party of populism in practice – it would be like believing those Exxon commercials where their “workers” talk about helping to create fuel efficient vehicles) obstructionists, which I guess if you consider environmental protection and expanded health care coverage the “wrong direction for America” then you probably think these guys are just voting their consciences.

And I was out there calling Obama a little arrogant during the campaign (because he seemed to have a few moments), but claims that he is acting arrogantly from some voters I think is coded language and false.  The man was elected with the most votes in United States History and has tried to push an agenda (and will likely fail) reflective of that mandate.  These folks might as well say uppity because I think that is part of what some of the backlash is about, at least in terms of the speed and intensity with which it came.  I don’t think it is a coincidence that in our country’s history there has always been a middle class white backlash following massive strides for black people.  After the Civil War and Reconstruction came the Compromise of 1877 which ceded the South to Democrats (the old pre-Strom Thurmond Democrats, the ones that hated Lincoln) and Jim Crow; The Great Society which yielded The Voting Rights Act and The Civil Rights Act gave way just a few years later to sweeping middle class white anger spearheaded by Sarah Palin’s uglier, smarter, better educated and more paranoid predecessor, Richard Nixon; and then the election of Barack Obama gave way almost instantaneously to zealous anger.

Furthermore, in a society of iPhones, blackberries, YouTube, etc. people say they want change, but are no longer conditioned to wait for it.  As George W. showed, fear from terror makes people loyal to you (at least for a time), but when people’s wallets are hurting it’s every man and woman for themselves.   Our lack of patience is another factor that has led us to Brown Town. 

Of course now most Democrats are running for the hills at this point because the only thing more important in DC than doing what you think is right in the face of manipulative lobbying campaigns is holding on to your power.  So unfortunately, we are all headed to Brown Town soon.

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Despite The Nobel Peace Prize, The World Needs Obama…

In light of President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize I must encourage him to engage in a newer and more muscular form of international and domestic governance.

(warning – you need a working knowledge of the first two Godfather films to fully appreciate)

Afghanistan

New plan that should satisfy everyone.  After consulting my advisers (NY Times, my uncle, my mother, history books) I have come up with a plan.  Several years ago a jingoistic and bellicose colleague of mine at the Bronx DA’s Office had suggested nuking the entire Middle East because you could not reason with that part of the world (most likely save Israel, lest his parents become upset with him as a military advisor) And I thought he was nuts, primarily because invading a country that you had no business invading (Iraq) and then claiming them to be unreasonable savages when they fight back is hardly conclusive proof of a people’s inability to use diplomacy.

But Afghanistan has proven a clearer quagmire (giggity giggity) if that makes any sense.  They attacked us and we half-assed fought back because Bush and Cheney had dumber and/or greedier ideas.  My advice to Obama is simple on Afghanistan.  I believe that is the real front on terrorism and that leaving it alone will only foster another 9/11 perhaps 10 or 15 years from now.  But at the same time the corrupt leaders of Afghanistan are more than willing to talk out of both sides of their mouths, letting America fight for it, while badmouthing America and all the while not preparing and securing their country as best they can.  So my solution is simple.  We leave.  Pack up everybody. 

But at that point Obama should play Vito Corleone to Hamid Karzai’s Barzini, Tataglia, Strattchi and Cunio (seriously, who the fu-k was Cunio?).  We will denounce their heroin production as a dirty business which Karzai will insist on keeping among the dark people because they are animals anyway.  But then on to more serious matters – this Bin Laden business.  Obama should just stare at Karzai chillingly and tell him we are leaving and will let them do what they want, but if any harm comes to the United States in any form; if we should be attacked by terrorists finding safe haven in Afghanistan;or if our troops are harmed in another part of the world; or if Americans are struck by a bolt of lightening then this we will not forgive.  And we will literally erase Afghanistan from the map (I’m talking nuclear), or at least blow it into the 12th century, which may actually be an improvement in some respects.   But until that day we swear on Bo Obama that we will not be the ones to break the peace. 

Perhaps we need some measure of Corleone diplomacy.
Perhaps we need some measure of Corleone diplomacy.

The Senate

The Senate, except for a few members, is a group of whores and prostitutes.  They have been turned out by corporations and industries and are no better than the women who date investment bankers (I feel the crack whore stereotype needs to be updated).  Health care reform, gun control, environmental legislation and a myriad of other issues are blocked, not by the minuscule consciences of the Senators, but by their corporate pimps.  So, what the country needs now is term limits for Senators.

Someone once wrote to me that we do have term limits; they’re called elections.  Not when we have allowed money to infect and dominate every part of the process we don’t.  The longer you stay in the Senate, the more corporations want your ear because of your seniority and influence.  The corporations buy your money and then give you more money to keep it, which allows you to advertise more and gain a stronger and stronger foothold for re-election.  Your constituents gain from your seniority in the form of small pork projects so they remain pacified.  The cycle continues until you are a big, bloated fat (sometimes both literally and metaphorically) whore of a Senator.  The ironic thing about men like Ted Kennedy was that he was able to be a champion of the people because his money and legacy did not come from, or at least was not reliant on, an industry pimp.  He did not rely (though I am sure he used) the wealth of soulless companies and lobbies to get him re-elected so he had the rare luxury of actually prioritizing people over companies. 

Would the NRA really be the biggest lobby if Senators could only serve 12 years?  Think of how much more would get done for people if the Senate was not a de facto lifetime appointment. 

Needless to say this might require more of a Michael Corleone approach, more aggressive than the diplomatic Vito.  After all, Michael put Senator Pat Geary of Nevada in his place, so if Chris Dodd or Max Baucus wakes up in a sorority at Oregon State with a dead co-ed, I assume Joe Biden will be there to assure them that they are lucky it happened there because that’s President Obama’s Brother-in-law’s place.

Get tough with the Senate President Obama.
Get tough with the Senate President Obama.

Saturday Night Live

Make a call to Lorne Michaels and have Fred Armisen removed from impersonating you.  Yesterday I received a call from my brother.  My 2 1/2 year old nephew had seen a picture of Obama on the computer and said, “Uncle J-L”.  One of three things is possible:

  1. My brother has shown my nephew my YouTube clip way to many times.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAyUoDEX0GE
  2. Obama is leading a double life.
  3. Fred Armisen needs to step aside.

I think the answer is #3.  Make the call President on all of these things.  Especially the SNL thing.  Lorne Michaels, I think you know what happened to that producer Woltz.

Noooooooooo! Not Keenan Thomspon's head! Nooooooooo!
Noooooooooo! Not Keenan Thomspon's head! Nooooooooo!