Friday, February 23, 2007

this isn't good...

powerful liberal bloggers turn their guns on moderate democrats.

Democratic leaders want their activists to focus on beating Republicans. But the grass roots and Net roots believe the political tide is shifting their way, and they can provide the money, ground troops and buzz to challenge Democratic incumbents they don't like. had two Bay Area chapters before the election; now it has 15, and they could all go to work against Tauscher in a primary. "Absolutely, we could take her out," said Markos Moulitsas Zúniga -- better known as Kos -- the Bay Area blogger behind the influential Daily Kos site.
um, settle down, beavis. what's the big deal?
Why are they going after Ellen Tauscher?

She has annoyed the left by supporting legislation to scale back the estate tax, tighten bankruptcy rules and promote free-trade agreements. She served as vice chair of the pro-business Democratic Leadership Council, which many liberal activists dismiss as a quasi-Republican K Street front group. And she voted to authorize the Iraq war, although she did so with caveats, and she was quick to express her displeasure with its execution.
um, news flash. not every dem-leaning voter believes in protectionlist trade policies, and it looks like she represents a pretty wealthy district that used to lean towards the republicans, and many of them probably own small businesses. it does NOT contain berkeley or oakland, which are far-left strongholds. her district is more suburban, more like the o.c. it seems. so why do the people in berkeley like kos want to get all up in her grill?
Tauscher territory is mostly soccer moms, software executives and Restoration Hardware stores. It also includes the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Travis Air Force Base and several farm towns. "Ellen's a perfect fit for that district," said Audrey Gordon, a local Democratic fundraiser. "We've got a lot of tough seats to defend this year; why on Earth would Democrats want to attack Ellen?"
seems to me that she's representing her demographic just fine. back off, kos.

*news flash*
for the record, if you're gay, and you did well for yourself, fight the estate tax. remember, the federal government won't consider you married anytime soon, so whatever breaks a surviving spouse would get doesn't apply to you. here's a discussion on that topic - scroll down to read the comments of those who know what they're talking about. also, if you're in a same-sex relationship in most states, you should work towards repealing the estate tax in your state, especially if your state has an anti-marriage amendment.

the estate tax in general, in my humble opinion, is a bunch of baloney and hurts the following people: working class people with union salaries and working professionals, especially those without surviving spouses. the super rich shuffle money around and get around it. upper-middle income working americans get screwed. and in the northeast and california, where the standard of living is ridiculously expensive, what is considered upper-middle income anywhere else is middle class, and the middle class in wealthy blue states gets royally screwed. i know the estate tax is already getting scaled back and will be gone in 2010, but (oddly) it comes back in 2011 with an exclusion of $1,000,000. gay activists, big labor, and pretty much all middle class people who were financially prudent during their lifetime should fight this tooth and nail. however, i don't see this as part of the democratic agenda, which surprises me.

okay, getting back to the kos crowd: listen, peabrains. independent, centrist voters handed the democrats the last election - not the party's left. the "thumping" of the republicans came from the middle - those who had originally voted for republicans. don't do something stupid by purging candidates that appeal to swing voters, or you'll see them swing right back the other direction.

pelosi, tame the far left! please!


emily1 said...

the estate tax didn't apply to the average inheritance. it basically applied to a few dozen extremely wealthy individuals who contributed nothing to society or the economy. they were just descendants of someone who did.

that bill was complete bullshit, and it directed tax relief at people who didn't need it and wouldn't stimulate the economy with that extra money. stop buying the the bullshit spin on it.

it is not a far left idea to direct tax relief to the middle class instead of a few dozen people who are wealthier than pretty much every single person that has ever existed in humanity's entire history on earth. i agree with kos. she needs to go. let her join the republican party if she wants to turn congress into an arm of the aristocracy.

the bankruptcy bill is also bullshit. the credit industry knows that their irresponsible lending practices are going to lead to an economic crisis and they wanted to make sure they could squeeze every last drop of blood out debtors they never should have lent to in the first place. it is not the government's job to protect businesses that deliberately make stupid decisions. a large share of bankruptcies happen because the person incurred large medical-related debts. i don't think they should become indentured servants to the credit industry because they got sick. again, i agree with kos. she needs to go.

if you feel that the rich need more tax breaks than the middle class, that all taxes everywhere are bad all the time except for the bottom 90 percent of the country and people get into financial trouble only because they are lazy, stupid, or irresponsible, then by all means register as a republican.

emily2 said...

point 1: the dems need to understand that they need a big tent to survive, and they cannot expel dems that don't adhere to party doctrine. this tauscher character looks like she's fiscally moderate (probably because of her affluent suburban voter base - hey, she needs to be elected) and socially liberal. she's pro gay rights and pro-choice. she looks like a democrat to me. stick her in jesse helms land and she'd be toast. but since she's right next to berkeley, to the people in berkeley, she just isn't liberal enough, despite the fact that she IS a liberal if you look at the entire country.

anyway, the independent voters handed the last election to the dems, and the dems should hang onto these voters is all i'm sayin'. it's arguable that sandra day o'connor was the most powerful person on the bench during the latter part of her tenure, because everyone else fell predictably when it came to social issues. the swing voter is the most powerful. remember that.

ain't no way i'm letting the swingers put another shrub and a shrub-following congress in office! that's what i'm afraid of. most places aren't like berkeley, cambridge, or chapel hill. they're full of undecideds.

point 2: the estate tax (45 cents per dollar) applies to very few people now, agreed. but it's coming back in 2011 with a much lower exclusion, and it will dig right into the middle class. real estate continues to appreciate. 401ks continue to compound, etc. my main irritation (no surprise), however, is that gay spouses who worked their butts off their whole lives and amassed a small chunk of money will be screwed.

okay, maybe i got a little too excited. i take back anything i said about the OUTRIGHT repeal of the estate tax. i think it should only apply to people with gross estates of $2.5 million or more, just like it is now. and in some states, it's way less than a million at the moment. i think that's too low, and the bar should be raised.

that way, only the "few dozen wealthy individuals who contributed nothing to society" would be hit, not the middle class. (but the super rich are still going to shuffle money around and avoid it. c'est la vie.)

in no way am i suggesting that people who don't succeed financially are/were lazy. some just fall on hard times because of downsizing, marketable skills suddenly not becoming marketable, etc. but just by observing what it takes to work, save, and sacrifice just to make it to a comfortable area in the middle class, i think those people who do achieve the american dream SHOULD be rewarded. the ones who put off immediate pleasure and loaned their way through med school, the ones who worked long hours running a deli in flushing or the bronx. sorry, my asian-ness is coming through, but hey, whatever.

as to "bankruptcy reform" - i don't agree with it at all. i think shit happens, and people should have a break. i guess i'm never going to find a pol i'm going to agree with 100% of the time, but who does?

anyway, i don't agree with kos at all. the EAST east bay is not berkeley, and if you pick someone too far to the left, the dems run the risk of tipping the tenth district to the republicans.

anyway, this post is too long. my point is, keep the center, dems - it's what keeping you alive.

emily2 said...

(oh and just to quantify what "middle class" means in the nyc metro area - the average cost of a decent one bedroom apartment in my neighborhood in new jersey is around $450k. if you want to house a family of four in a non-blighted area, be prepared to drop at least $750k. if you want to get a one bedroom in manhattan, that's around $750k now, and if you want a family... get a cabbage patch kid and put it on your couch.)

emily1 said...

a million dollars is not a small chunk of money. it's more than most people in this country will see in their lifetimes much less all at once. it's more than entire generations of families can dream of earning in less developed parts of the world. it's not a 'far left' concept that people should pay taxes on money they did nothing to earn except getting lucky in the genetic lottery.

however, i'm open to making the threshold higher than that.

there's also nothing far left about holding democrats to account for selling out the middle class and imposing ever more extreme financial burdens on them. a person who has a million dollars is rich, not upper middle class. a person who can afford property in a world class city like New York or San Francisco is rich by all reasonable measurements.

independents voted for democrats because of iraq. iraq was the issue that defined the last election and it will be the issue that defines the next one. democrats can have a big tent party without screwing the middle class and catering to the wishes of a small number of wealthy individuals. there is nothing extreme about any of this.

upyernoz said...

i'm with emily1 on this one.

oh, and kos is hardly "the far left." a lot of the frustration with kos in left blogistan is that he is basically a democratic party guy. he doesn't give a shit about issues like abortion and is willing to sell them out at a fairly bargain price.

emily2 said...

oh, and kos is hardly "the far left." a lot of the frustration with kos in left blogistan is that he is basically a democratic party guy.

hrm. you're right. i've unknowingly appropriated "blogistan" speak. perhaps i should think of a better term? economic left?

here, let me try to explain this a little better. you know that world's smallest political quiz, where they break up where you lie on quadrants?

1) economic-authoritarian / social-libertarian

2) economic-authoritarian / social-authoritarian

3) economic-libertarian / social-libertarian

4) economic-libertarian / social-authoritarian

and quite a few 3's voted democrat this time around - the "i don't want the church running my life, and although i don't want higher taxes, i really hate religion intertwined with government" crowd. and the "wow, iraq was a huge waste of money, and now we're an embarrassment in the global community, and why were the repubs wasting time on the gay issue?" crowd.

so the dems picked up the 1's, the 2's and some 3's.

the 4's are the guns, gays and god crowd (the segment of freepers i like to poke fun at) think that democrats are valdemort.

he doesn't give a shit about issues like abortion and is willing to sell them out at a fairly bargain price.

wow, he's just racking up the points with me. we all know how sensitive kos is to women's issues. ;)

that's another thing why he bugs me. basically, it looks like kos wants to appeal to 1 and 2 but if push comes to shove, will sell out 1 in favor of 2. and the 3's can just kiss his ass. this does not square well with me. and the fact that he's such a prominent advocate of the democratic party also bugs me.

and i've been reading some threads where his commenters basically hint that gays are a hot potato topic and that democratic candidates often "dodge bullets" when dealing with us.

i'll be frank. if it comes down to voting between a 2 and a 3, i'll vote 3. hands down. no questions asked. if it comes down to voting between a 1 and a 3, i honestly don't know what i'll do. i consider myself somewhere in the middle of 1 and 3. if a pro gay rights, pro choice, pro-get the fuck out of my life independent or republican is up against a pro-labor but "we won't do anything for gay people" democrat, i may hold my nose and vote for the former. i may feel traitorous, and i'll probably be compelled to lie about it in polite company, but ultimately, i would not vote against my civil rights. ever. it's a dealbreaker.

and with those "3" suburbanites out in the EAST east bay and other blue/red (purple?) pigmented areas, kos and his ilk should tread lightly if he wants to keep a majority. i certainly wouldn't be loyal to the democratic party (even though i have never voted for a republican in my life in a real election) if civil rights issues are put on the backburner (read: gay votes being taken for granted) and an independent or republican does something for us. and those suburbanites may not vote for a candidate that is too far to the left economically.

keep the center. you're good. lose the center. you're toast. simple.

emily1 said...

i may feel traitorous, and i'll probably be compelled to lie about it in polite company, but ultimately, i would not vote against my civil rights. ever. it's a dealbreaker.

it would be the same for me. civil liberties are more important to me. i can't knowingly vote for someone who panders to bigots when there's an alternative candidate who opposes them because i think civil liberties are a prerequisite for economic freedom and security.

i'll vote for a '1' if i like their policy ideas. i want a nationalized health care system that covers everyone, more government aid for higher education, a strong commitment to preserving social security, a clear plan for getting this country off fossil fuels, and some tax breaks for the members of the middle class who earn under 50000 a year. hell, that's under *my* annual income, so I'm practically volunteering to pay higher taxes to get the policies i want.

oh yeah, someone who promises to make it much easier for workers to join a union if they want and to punish employers for harassing those who want to organize a workforce would be nice too. unions have their drawbacks, but i've come to believe they're the best option for reducing the imbalance of power between workers and employers.