Posts Tagged ‘Democratic Party’

The Election of 1856

November 20, 2016

The election of 1856,may have been one of the most important elections in American history. The country was beginning to tear itself apart over slavery and wise, tactful leadership was needed to avert a civil war. Unfortunately the political generation that had produced such legislative giants as Henry Clay and Daniel Webster had passed away the candidates of both major parties, the Democrats and the newly formed Republicans in their first presidential contest, were mediocrities.

The Compromise of 1850 had only delayed the inevitable clash between North and South over slavery. Although the immediate issue of whether the territories won from Mexico would be slave or free territories, the provision that the territories themselves would make the choice to permit slavery through popular sovereignty effectively repealed the Missouri compromise and made future conflicts over the expansion of slavery more likely.

The Compromise of 1850

The Compromise of 1850

When the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska and permitted popular sovereignty on the slavery question, pro and anti slavery settlers poured into Kansas and began fighting a miniature civil war, foreshadowing the greater war to come.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act

The Kansas-Nebraska Act

The Democratic National Convention was held in Cincinnati on June 2. The delegates declined to nominate President Franklin Pierce for a second term. Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, the author of the Kansas-Nebraska Act seemed to be a strong contender for the nomination, but he was passed over for James Buchanan of Pennsylvania. Buchanan was very well qualified to part the job of chief executive, at least in theory. He had been serving as American ambassador to Great Britain at the time he was nominated and had previously held the posts of Secretary of State under President Polk, U S Senator from Pennsylvania from 1834 to 1845; where he served as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Ambassador to Russia under President Andrew Jackson from 1832-1833, and Congressman from Pennsylvania from 1821-1831. Buchanan had also served as a private in the Pennsylvania militia during the War of 1812. Despite his long career of service to his country, Buchanan was not particularly distinguished as a leader and the most likely reason he was nominated was because he had been out of the country during the controversies surrounding the Kansas-Nebraska Act and Bleeding Kansas. Buchanan was not known to have said anything about the issue of slavery that would upset the South and although he was a Northerner, he seemed sympathetic to the South and its peculiar institution.

For Buchanan’s running mate, the delegates selected John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, who had been a Congressman from 1851-1855. Breckinridge would have preferred not to be nominated as Buchanan’s running mate, as he had supported Pierce and the two men did not get along, but he acquiesced. The Democrats went on to adopt a platform of popular sovereignty on the slavery question and support for the Ostend Manifesto which called for the acquisition of Cuba from Spain.

The Republicans met for their first national convention in Philadelphia of June 17. The Republican party  was formed from a coalition of former Whigs, Free-Soilers, and anti-slavery democrats to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act and was formally launched at a mass meeting at Jackson, Michigan back on July 6, 1854 and quickly began to win elections throughout the North that fall. The Republican Party was an explicitly anti-slavery party, but they didn’t call for the abolition of slavery where it existed, only for slavery not to expand into the western territories.

The Republicans chose the famous explorer and military hero John C. Fremont to be their presidential candidate. Fremont was known as “The Pathfinder” for his expeditions in the west and had captured California, during the Mexican War and had briefly served a contentious term as military governor there. After the was, Fremont had settled in California and served as one of the new state’s first Senators from 1850-1851. Fremont was not particularly well qualified to be president, but he did have a catchy slogan, “Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Men, Fremont”. The Republicans went on to pick former New Jersey Senator William L. Dayton as his running mate.

 

There were other parties who ran candidates in this election, the most notable being the anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic American Party. The American Party was as much a secret society as a political party and because its members answered. “I know nothing when asked about its activities, the movement became known as the Know-Nothings. The American Party had managed to win a few elections, chiefly in New England. At their convention in Philadelphia in February 1856, the Know-Nothings nominated former president

 Millard Fillmore as their candidate, even though he had not been a follower of their movement and was, in fact, out of the country. They selected Andrew Jackson Donelson as their Vice-Presidential candidate.There were also the remnants of the Whig Party which met in Baltimore in September, They also nominated Millard Fillmore.

Along with the debate over slavery, there was the usual nineteenth century campaign hoopla, with parades, mass meetings, speeches, and political clubs. The Republicans did not run in the southern states, which were expected to vote for Buchanan and the Democrats,  so most of the campaigning was in the North and West. The Republicans opposed the extension of slavery into new territories and appealed to western farmers who did not want to have to compete with slave labor and eastern businessmen who supported high tariffs to protect American industry and fund internal improvements. Mainly of these businessmen supported the Democrats, however, fearing possible economic disruption if the Republicans won. The Democrats appealed to racism, calling their opponents “Black Republicans” and warned that the South would secede in the event of a Republican victory. They also claimed that Fremont was secretly a Catholic. Oddly, this did not help him get the Catholic vote, since the Catholics somehow believed that he was connected to the Know-Nothings.

In the end, the people of the North decided that they feared disunion and civil war more than they disliked slavery. Buchanan got 1,836,072 popular votes (45.3%) and 174 electoral votes, sweeping the entire South, California, and Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey in the North. Fremont did not do too badly considering that this was the Republicans’ first national election. He won 1,342,345 popular votes (33.1%) and 114 electoral votes, winning the rest of the North. The American Party also did surprisingly well with 873,053 popular votes (21.5%) and they won the state of Maryland with its 8 electoral votes. The fact that the results were divided upon sectional lines was more than a little ominous, as were the Southern threats to secede if the election wouldn’t go their way.

The Election of 1856

The Election of 1856

 

At his inauguration, President James Buchanan spoke of the nation’s bright future of economic progress and territorial expansion. About the slavery issue, he only said that he supported popular sovereignty in the territories and hoped that the upcoming decision by the Supreme Court on Dred Scott v. Sanford would settle the matter once and for all. Just two days later, the Supreme Court rendered its decision declaring that Congress had no power to regulate slavery in the territories, and all hell broke loose.

The Election of 1844

October 5, 2015

Slavery was once again the issue that no one wanted to talk about during the presidential campaign of 1844. What people did want to talk about was the territorial expansion of the United States all the way to the West Coast. Manifest Destiny were the words on everyone’s lips, the destiny, nay duty, of the United States to take in as much of the North American continent as allowed by Divine Providence. This expansion could be accomplished in two areas. In the South, the expansionists wanted to annex the Republic of Texas, which had gained its independence from Mexico only a decade earlier and was eager to become a state of the Union. In the  North, there was the Oregon Territory with its disputed border with Great Britain’s Canadian territory. The more ardent expansionists wanted the United States to gain all of the Oregon territory under the slogan “54-40 or fight” referring to the latitude of the northernmost boundary of the territory and Russian Alaska.

800px-USA_Territorial_Growth_1820_alt

Although no one wanted to mention slavery in connection with the territorial expansion of the United States, in fact much of the impetus for expansion was due to the desire of the slave holding South to expand the territories open to slavery. The Missouri Compromise had restricted slavery to territories south of the latitude 36º 30′with the exception of the state of Missouri. Since most of the states that could be carved out of the territory gained with the Louisiana Purchase were North of this line, eventually the free states would outnumber the slave states, upsetting the careful balance that had been maintained between the number of free and slave states. Already the northern states with their greater population had more seats than the slave states in the House of Representatives. An imbalance in the Senate would give the North control of both houses of Congress. President John Tyler had submitted a treaty for the annexation of Texas in April 1844 but he was unable to get the two-thirds majority in the Senate that was needed for ratification, largely because because of opposition from anti-slavery Whigs. Tyler simply resubmitted the treaty as a joint resolution of Congress requiring a simply majority in both Houses, making annexation the major campaign in the election of 1844

There was no question of either party nominating the incumbent John Tyler for a second term. Although he had been a Whig as William Henry Harrison‘s running mate in the previous election, Tyler had been a Democrat before breaking with Andrew Jackson back in the 1830’s. Tyler had never really been a strict party man and while president he had managed to offend the leaders of both political parties. Tyler did make some effort towards building a third party of his supporters, but nothing came of it and he eventually agreed to drop out in favor of the Democratic nominee.

The Whigs met in Baltimore on May 1 and nominated their long time party leader and 1824 presidential candidate Henry Clay. Clay had initially opposed the annexation of Texas as he believed that any such action without an agreement with Mexico would surely provoke a war between the United States and Mexico. Clay also understood that the annexation of Texas would only increase the sectional tensions between the North and South and might well split the Whig Part and the nation. This stand was not particularly popular in the South and Clay almost immediately began to backtrack, stating that he would support the annexation of Texas, even in the absence of an agreement with Mexico provided both North and South supported it. Then, he changed his mind again, and finally stopped talking about annexation altogether, campaigning on domestic issues. It didn’t work.

For Clay’s running mate, the Whigs nominated Theodore Frelinghuysen, a Senator from New Jersey. The Whigs felt that the devout, Northern Frelinghuysen would provide a nice balance with Henry Clay, the Kentuckian who had become notorious for his drinking, gambling, and dueling. Frelinghuysen was perhaps too devout as his Evangelical Christian faith led him to oppose slavery, he wanted to send them all back to Africa, and Indian removal. Neither position was apt to win him support in the South and West. Frelinghuysen also happened to believe that Catholics should be encouraged to convert to Protestantism, which cost the ticket votes among the small but growing Catholic population in the North.

Martin Van Buren was, at first, the prospective nominee of the Democrats, who met at the Odd Fellows Hall in Baltimore late in May. Van Buren lost his support because of his opposition to the annexation of Texas. There was no other front runner for the Democratic nomination until the little known James Knox Polk was introduced on the eighth ballot. Polk had been Speaker of the House from 1835-1839 and governor of Tennessee from 1839-1841. He had acquired a reputation for being quietly competent and had made few enemies and this along with his strong support of the annexation of Texas caused Polk to be nominated on the ninth ballot. The Democrats, at first, had wanted Silas Wright from New York as Polk’s running mate, but Wright was a supporter of Van Buren’s and declined the honor. Instead, the Democrats nominated Senator George M. Dallas from Pennsylvania.

The election of 1844 had the usual amount of personal abuse which was becoming common in American presidential politics. The Democrats had ample material to denounce Clay for his loose morals, declaring him unfit to lead a Christian nation like America. The Whigs found it difficult to reply in kind, since Polk had apparently done nothing fun in his entire life. Instead, the Whigs emphasized Polk’s lack of prominence in national politics, implying that he lacked the experience to be president. The Northern Whigs tried to portray Polk as slave trader and a creature of the Southern Slavocracy. For his part, Polk cleverly linked the annexation of Texas with the Oregon Territory dispute, making the question one of national expansion rather than the expansion of slavery. In the end Polk won by a fairly narrow margin. The Democratic ticket gained 1,339, 494,  popular votes, or 49.5%, against the Whig’s 1,300,004 votes or 48.1%. James G. Birney of the anti-slavery Liberty party got 62,103 votes or 2.3% of the popular vote, enough to have made a difference in some Northern states. In the Electoral College, Polk got 170 electoral votes, winning states both in the North and South. Manifest Destiny proved to be a popular platform. Clay won 105 Electoral Votes, winning his home state, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and a few Eastern states, including New Jersey, North Carolina and Massachusetts.

The Election of 1844

The Election of 1844

The United States formally annexed Texas in March 1845, just before Polk took office. As expected, The Mexican War broke out the following year. Despite the bluster of the expansionists with their cry of 54-40 or fight, Polk was not so foolish as to fight both Mexico and Great Britain at the same time and negotiated a compromise with the British over the Oregon Territory extending the border at the 49th parallel to the Pacific Coast. As for Polk, he served one term, during which he worked very hard, to the point of exhaustion. He declined to run for a second term and died within three months of the end of his administration.

Blue on Blue

February 1, 2015

MoveOn.org is not too fond of Rahm Emmanuel.

Dear MoveOn member,

This month in Chicago, there’s a battle going on over the heart and soul of the Democratic Party.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel perfectly embodies the pro-Wall Street corporatist wing of the Democratic Party. In the 1990s, he fought against labor and environmental groups while pushing NAFTA through Congress.1 In the 2000s at the DCCC, he was known for recruiting conservative Democrats and building the conservative “Blue Dog” caucus.2

And in 2009, when MoveOn members held those same conservative Democrats accountable for blocking a public option in health care reform, Emanuel called us “f***ing retarded.”3

When he was elected mayor of Chicago in 2011, his first actions were to cut vital public services across the city, closing dozens of mental health clinics and provoking the first teachers’ strike in decades. He then proceeded to close 50 public schools in low-income communities, while championing private schools in wealthy neighborhoods and diverting tax dollars and public resources to favored corporations.4

In just four weeks, Mayor Emanuel will need to answer to Chicago voters for his right-wing policies. Polling has consistently shown him to be in serious trouble, and MoveOn members in Chicago have just voted overwhelmingly to endorse his progressive opponent, Cook County Commissioner Jesús “Chuy” García.

Defeating Mayor Emanuel will not only improve the lives of millions of people in our nation’s third largest city, it will also send shockwaves through the national political establishment.

Can you chip in $3 today to MoveOn’s first endorsement of 2015—Jesús “Chuy” García?

Yes, I’ll chip in.

The key to defeating Mayor Emanuel will be to unite and mobilize all of Chicago’s diverse communities in a massive get-out-the-vote effort. That’s why MoveOn has hired a full-time local organizer to mobilize the 75,000 MoveOn members in Chicago and help send Mayor Emanuel packing.

It’s also why we’re asking MoveOn members across the country to chip in today. Every dollar we raise will help the García campaign pay for signs, literature, hand warmers, and everything else the thousands of grassroots volunteers will need to get out the vote in their neighborhoods.

With just a few weeks to go until the February 24 election, we have a huge opportunity to hand “Mayor 1%” an embarrassing defeat. 

Because so few other major progressive races are happening right now, progressives can focus our resources and make a massive impact on the critical first major election of 2015.

Will you chip in $3 to Jesús “Chuy” García’s grassroots campaign today?

Yes, I’ll chip in to defeat Mayor Rahm Emanuel and elect a progressive champion.

Thanks for all you do.

–Matt, Milan, Joan, Ilya, and the rest of the team

There has been a lot of talk in the mainstream media about the fight between Tea Party extremists and the Republican establishment, but I wonder if the divide between the more pragmatic Democrats and people like MoveOn.org isn’t much greater. I do not know much about Chicago politics and the Wikipedia article on Rahm Emanuel is not particularly enlightening about his performance as Mayor of Chicago. He was President Obama’s Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2010, so he could hardly be described as a conservative. He does seem to have a knack for making enemies, especially with people who hold that defending progressive principles is more important than real accomplishments in enacting policies. There is this gem in the article.

He has a reputation for his no-holds-barred negotiation style that involves “his share of shouting and cursing”. Ezekiel Emanuel has written, “The impatient, pushy Emanuel style is so well known that during a recent job interview I was asked, point-blank, whether I had the level-headed temperament the position required….. [A]s obvious to our flaws are to others, it’s difficult to recognize them in ourselves.”[5] At a closed-door meeting in the White House with liberal activists, Emanuel called them “fucking retarded” for planning to run TV ads attacking conservative Democrats who didn’t support Obama’s health-care overhaul. In February 2010, Emanuel apologized to organizations for the mentally handicapped for using the word “retarded.” He expressed his regret toTim Shriver, the chief executive of the Special Olympics after the remark was reported in an article by The Wall Street Journal about growing liberal angst at Emanuel. The apology came as former Alaska Governor and conservative activist Sarah Palin, on her Facebook page, called on President Obama to fire Emanuel.

In other words, he is kind of a jerk. Still, his description of the activists were were planning to oppose Obama’s healthcare policies on the grounds that weren’t liberal enough is essentially correct. I wouldn’t use quite the same terminology as Emanuel did, but those people, and moveon.org do not seem to be able to deal with political realities. Emanuel seems to have governed Chicago pragmatically with some idea of controlling municipal spending. Moveon.org would prefer a solid progressive who won’t win and would run the city into the ground. And they think that Tea Partiers are unrealistic extremists.

The Election of 1828

November 10, 2014

The election of 1828 was a rematch between the two major candidates of 1824, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Jackson believed, with good reason, that he had been cheated out of the presidency in the last election and he was eager for revenge. For his part, Adams had not had a particularly successful presidency in part because of the irregularities of his election and the continuing hostility of Jackson’s supporters. Adams couldn’t imagine that a man like Jackson could possibly be competent to be president.

But you mustn’t think that this contest was nothing more than a personal quarrel between the two candidates. This election was nothing less than an epic struggle to determine who would rule the new republic, a small moneyed elite based in the East or the sovereign people, as least according to Jackson’s supporters. Adams’s people viewed it as a battled for control between rule the respectable stakeholders in the country and rule by an ignorant mob. The United States was becoming more democratic. In the election of 1828 only two states, Delaware and South Carolina still had their state legislatures choose their electors. Everywhere else, the Electors were chosen by popular vote.

The second party system was still developing and both candidates were theoretically of the same party. There were no caucuses this time. King Caucus was finished. The two candidates were nominated by state legislatures and special conventions. Vice President John C. Calhoun opted to run with Andrew Jackson so John Quincy Adams selected his Secretary of the Treasury, Richard Rush as his running mate.

As President, Adams had favored a more centralized government with protective tariffs to promote industry, a national bank, and federal support for internal improvements such as building roads and canals. Adams also believed that the federal government should promote education and science. In this, he was, perhaps, ahead of his time. Many of his countrymen did not see any use for such frivolities. Adams did come across as rather too intellectual for many Americans at the time, who valued the practical wisdom of a man like Jackson.

It was a little harder to determine what policies Jackson favored since he didn’t have much to say, at first. In general, he seemed to prefer a more decentralised Union with a smaller government closer to the people. Jackson tended to oppose using the federal government to sponsor internal improvements, believing this to be mostly a duty of the states, though he did agree to using surplus federal revenue to help the states fund such improvements. He believed the government should live within its means and not borrow. He passionately opposed the idea of a national bank.

If Jackson was a little vague on the policies he preferred, he was not at all uncertain about the means to win elections and obtain office. He understood that the key to success in politics was organization. Jackson did not share his opponent’s, and the founding fathers’, disdain for political parties. He believed that parties were essential to preserving democratic rule and liberty. Immediately after the election of 1824, Jackson and his supporters began to build up a party organization to oppose Adams in Congress and prepare the way for Jackson’s campaign in 1828. This party organization was first called simply the “Friends of Jackson”but before long they began referring to themselves as the Democratic Party. Thus was formed one of the two great parties that have dominated American politics.

This new Democratic party began promoting Jackson’s cause with partisan newspapers, parades, rallies and all the paraphernalia of what came to be American presidential campaigns. They referred to Jackson, the war hero, as Old Hickory and carried around hickory sticks. They made much of the corrupt bargain that had placed Adams in the White House against the will of the people.  Jackson was a man of the people against those East Coast Elites championed by Adams, another emerging theme in American politics. Jackson was not as educated as Adams, who knew his Greek and Latin, but he had the practical common sense of the common man. It might be fair to say that Jackson was the first truly American politician.

John Quincy Adams and his supporters tried to fight back. They overcame their dislike of parties and organized themselves into the “National Republicans“. They had their own newspapers, parades, rallies, etc, but somehow they couldn’t match the enthusiasm of Jackson’s supporters. They relentlessly attacked Jackson’s character and supposed wartime heroics. Six men who Jackson had had hanged for desertion were transformed into martyrs who had served their time and only wanted to go home. Jackson was said to have indulged in gambling, cock fighting, slave trading, drunkenness, theft, lying and even murder. Jackson’s mother was a prostitute brought over to America by British soldiers. Once again the  irregularities of Andrew Jackson’s marriage to his wife, Rachel, were brought up, and Anti-Jackson newspapers referred to them as a “convicted adulteress and her paramour husband”. Rachel Jackson died soon after the election and Andrew Jackson was convinced that these slurs had killed her. He never forgave his enemies for that.

The election was not a close one. Jackson received 642,553 popular votes (55.9%) and 178 electoral votes. Adams got 500,897 popular votes (43.7%) and 83 electoral votes. Jackson swept the nation except for New England, Maryland, Delaware,and New Jersey which went to Adams. New York’s Electors were split 20 to 16 in favor of Jackson.

The Election of 1828

The Election of 1828

 

Andrew Jackson got to be president, but there is no need to feel sorry for John Quincy Adams. He went on to have a distinguished career in the House of Representatives where, among other things, he fought the good fight against slavery.

Fifty-Seven States

September 4, 2014

I just got another e-mail from the Democrats.

Friend —

There are 57 binders on a shelf outside my office — one for each state and territory, D.C., and Democrats abroad — so that we can keep track of the latest data on every race we’re watching in this election. Because there are only 62 days until Election Day, we have to know at a glance whether we’re up or we’re down, where we have the resources to win or where we need a big infusion of organizers. Those details can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Here are just a few of the polls that just came across my desk — and guess what, they’re great news for our Democratic team. Take a quick look, then chip in to help these Democrats and all our great candidates win.

  • PA Governor: Tom Wolf (D) 56%, Tom Corbett (R) 25%
  • GA Senate: Michelle Nunn (D) 45%, David Perdue (R) 43%
  • MI Governor: Mark Schauer (D) 45%, Rick Snyder (R) 43%
  • NC Senate: Kay Hagan (D) 45%, Thom Tillis (R) 43%

Ok, so what do all these numbers mean for you and me? The big races this year range from blowouts (see you later, Tom Corbett!) to nail-biters — and most are somewhere in between. You can absolutely guarantee that Republicans like David Perdue in Georgia and Rick Snyder in Michigan are going to be doing everything they can to make up the two or three or four points that will put them ahead in the polls and into the winner’s circle on November 4th — and we have to be ready to fight back.

Whether Democratic candidates win or lose is entirely in your hands. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to pitch in your $3 or more, this is it.

If you’ve saved your payment information, your donation will go through immediately.

QUICK DONATE: $3

QUICK DONATE: $10

QUICK DONATE: $25

QUICK DONATE: $50

QUICK DONATE: $100

Or donate another amount:

https://my.democrats.org/Elect-Democrats-2014

Thanks for all your help. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as we get new numbers here at DNC HQ.

Raul

Raul Alvillar
National Political Director
Democratic National Committee

So that’s what Barack Obama meant when he said he had visited all 57 states. He didn’t misspeak. He was just adding in the territories and Washington DC.

My Friend Barack Obama

March 16, 2014

I got an e-mail from the president himself yesterday. He is a friend of mine.

 

Friend —

The top Republican in the House said Americans should judge them not on how many laws they pass, but on how many they repeal.

The top Republican in the Senate said his top priority wasn’t to create jobs or expand opportunity, but to beat me.

I want to work with Congress wherever I can to do the job the American people sent us here to do — but it turns out Republicans and Democrats have some very different ideas about what that means.

Let me level with you: The only way we’re going to achieve our goals is by electing more Democrats in 2014.

Chip in $3 or more to help elect Democrats to a Congress we can all be proud of:

https://my.democrats.org/Elect-Democrats-in-2014

Thanks,

Barack Obama

 

All right, it is just a fund raising form e-mail, but I still feel special.

 

Personally, I think that the best thing Congress could do would be to take a year or two off from passing laws and working on repealing a lot of the obsolete, stupid, redundant, or useless laws we already have. They should then use the following year to go through every single federal agency, department and bureau and get rid of the ones that are no longer needed, not doing any work, or are redundant. They could start with an audit of the IRS, followed by a determination whether or not the surveillance done by the NSA has actually prevented  any terrorist attacks. As far as I am concerned, the fewer new laws, the better.

Official photographic portrait of US President...

 

I also think that the best way to create jobs or expand opportunity would be for Barack Obama to get out of the way. The best way to keep him from doing any more damage would be to make sure a lot of Republicans get elected to Congress so we can have more gridlock. For this reason, even though Barack Obama is my friend, I cannot, in good conscience, contribute $3 to help get more Democrats in Congress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Awkward Holiday Debates

December 20, 2013

Once again, the Democrats are ready to help out with those awkward holiday political debates. This time the Truth Team has sent some talking points to use against that conservative relative.

David —

We all have that one relative — we won’t name names — who just loves to argue about politics.

It’s like clockwork — every year, the same conversations. And you just know that health care is going to come up this year — this time, make sure you’re ready. There’s a lot of good news on our side.

So here’s an extra large serving of truth, in the form of must-read Obamacare success stories from news outlets across the country.

Check them out and pass them along:

— Got a relative railing about health care costs? Well, according to The New York Times piece, thanks in part to Obamacare and its cost-control measures, “the slowdown in health care costs has been dramatic.” Not only that — according to the Times, the biggest savings might be yet to come. (Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter)

— Here’s a great round-up of a few success stories from the Los Angeles Times your relative probably missed, including this great quote from a new enrollee, “If not for the Affordable Care Act, our ability to get insurance would be very limited, if we could get it at all.” (Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter)

— A personal enrollment story featured in The Huffington Post from a self-employed blogger, including how much he loves his new coverage, and what he thinks about the push-back from his conservative friends. (Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter)

— A great story from a recent health care enrollee in North Carolina featured in the Raleigh News & Observer — and how easy it was for her to sign up. (Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter)

If you have a good talk about health care this holiday season, be sure to share your story with us — funny, inspiring, or even challenging, we’d love to hear how your conversations are going.

Last, but certainly not least — I want to say thank you for being such a champion for health care this year. You’ve been critical in helping get the good word out about Obamacare — and supporters like you will be all I’m talking about with my family this holiday season. You are inspiring. And you’re why I know that no matter what special interests throw at us, they won’t beat what we’ve got.

Have a healthy, relaxing holiday — don’t worry, there’s more truth coming soon.

Erin

Erin Hannigan
Health Care Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action

I certainly hope they won’t start naming names. It might be slightly creepy, in a Orwellian sense if Organizing for Action knew which of my relatives liked to argue about politics. Actually, they probably do have access to NSA files. Anyway, it seems to me that the best way to have a healthy, relaxing holiday might be to avoid getting into debates about politics with your relatives. Besides, who wants to turn into this guy?

Douchey-Obamacare-Guy

Not me!

 

Emails from the Democrats

January 17, 2013

I had thought that my friends in the Democratic Party had forgotten all about me since I have hardly gotten an email from them since the election. I am happy to say that this is not this case. They need me to stand with Barack Obama in his fight against the nefarious NRA.

Breaking Washington Post Headline: “NRA planning ‘the fight of the century’”

friend — Today, we have the momentum to take monumental steps toward reducing gun violence.

But the NRA and their army of lobbyists are working to tear any proposal to shreds. If we don’t stand up to the NRA immediately, they will destroy our chance to stop gun brutality. But the window of opportunity is so small that I need you to act right now so it doesn’t slip away.

Sign the petition and denounce the NRA immediately. Stand with Democrats who want to reduce gun violence. Let’s get 100,000 signatures by midnight tonight!

The NRA will do anything to demolish common-sense gun laws. They even released a repulsive ad that calls President Obama an “elitist hypocrite,” and uses his children as political pawns.

If we want to reduce gun violence, we must stand united against the NRA. Add your name right away so we can reach 100,000 grassroots supporters by midnight tonight.

Thanks for your support,
Guy Cecil

I can think of many other groups that have armies of lobbyists and at least the NRA doesn’t pay for their political action by taking money from people who are compelled to be members as the labor unions do. In any case the reason the NRA is so politically powerful is not so much because they hire so many lobbyists but because so many Americans happen to agree with their position on the second amendment.

I have not seen the NRA ad, so I do not know if it is repulsive or not. President Obama is using other people’s children as political pawns so he is hardly in a position to complain. He does indeed come across as a elitist hypocrite by denying parents the same right to protect their children as he enjoys. The president’s children are in more danger than others of having some harm come to them because of who their father is and I am sure that no one begrudges them their protective detail from the Secret Service. However, other people’s children are in danger and if parents feel that their children would be safer with armed guards in their schools, the same privilege that all the students at Sidwell Friends School and other elite private schools enjoy, why shouldn’t they be permitted to have armed guards?

I also got a message from Jim Messina.

David —

Yesterday, President Obama announced his plan to protect our children and our communities by helping reduce gun violence.

We won’t stop every violent act like the one in Newtown, Connecticut. But if we can save the life of even one child, the President believes each of us has a responsibility to take action.

People like you spoke out and demanded action. Your input, along with ideas from leaders and policymakers across the political spectrum, went into the President’s plan.

Learn more about the plan, and say you stand with President Obama in tackling this critical issue.

Most gun owners use their guns safely and responsibly, and the President believes firmly in protecting our Second Amendment rights.

But common-sense changes can go a long way in keeping our streets and our schools safer — and there’s too much at stake to stand by and wait for action.

The President will not wait. Yesterday, he signed 23 executive actions to start moving our country in the right direction. And he’s calling on Congress to act on four legislative measures — closing background check loopholes, banning military-style assault weapons, making our schools safer, and increasing access to mental health services — right away.

Take a look at the President’s plan to reduce gun violence, and stand with him in support:

http://my.barackobama.com/Gun-Reform

More soon,

Messina

Jim Messina
Campaign Manager

Obama for America

I thought the campaign was over. This idea that if we can just can just save one life we should do it is truly dumb. There is no consideration here of any sort of cost/benefit analysis. The question to ask  is what benefits we gain from an action at what cost and if the benefits are worth the cost. There are a great many things we could do that would save lives. We could pass a national speed limit of 20 miles per hour. We could outlaw, not only all guns, but knives, clubs, and every sharp object. Setting up a North Korean style police state could save many lives. None of these measures would be worth the cost in freedom and difficulty of enforcing them.

This may seem like a cold, hard hearted way of looking at things, but each individual human life is not of infinite value. Anyone who has been responsible for creating safety measures knows that you have to balance the number of lives potentially saved against the increased costs that such measures will produce. Environmental regulations cannot be designed to remove all traces of pollutions but can only reduce the amount of pollution in the environment to acceptable levels. A policy that saves only one life is probably not the most effective policy.

Now, of course, to every parent, their children are of infinite value. That is understandable. Policies, however, ought not to made by emotional appeals and quick action but by carefully considering what works best with the most acceptable costs, in other words, the exact opposite of what President Obama and his supporters are doing.

The Grownup

August 14, 2012

 

Here is a clip of that dangerous Tea Party extremist Paul Ryan explaining to Barack Obama that given the fact that we can’t afford our current entitlements, adding a huge new entitlement program like Obamacare might not be a good idea.

 

Obama clearly doesn’t like what he is hearing. It is a strange world we live in if asserting that 2 plus 2 does always equal 4 gets you labeled as an extremist.

On that note, the latest edition of the Truth Team deals with the lies that Paul Ryan has been saying.

#1 Ending Medicare as we know it
Romney and Ryan are committed to a plan that would end Medicare as we know it. They would create a voucher system that would increase seniors’ health costs. Ryan even proposed a plan, which Romney endorsed, that would increase costs for seniors by $6,350 a year. To cover for their own plan, they have been distorting the President’s record. They have labeled the $700 billion that Obamacare saved from trimming excessive payments to corporate insurance companies as “Medicare cuts.” That’s false, as Paul Ryan should know — he includes these savings in his own budget. Check out this video of Florida voters responding to the Romney-Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it to pay for a tax break for millionaires and billionaires, and share it with others:

Medicare is going to have to be ended as we know it or it won’t be there at all. Right now the program is unsustainable in the long term and even in the medium term. If action is not taken soon the money to fund it just won’t be there. The Chinese have problems of their own and won’t be willing or able to lend us money we can’t pay back forever. If the Democrats don’t like Paul Ryan’s plan, then where is their plan? At least he has a plan. The Democrat controlled Senate hasn’t even passed a budget in three years. There are few Republicans willing to face the fact that we are headed toward the abyss. So far, I haven’t seen any Democrats at all who are willing to acknowledge the problem and act like adults to solve it. Instead, they just make commercials showing Paul Ryan throwing an old woman off a cliff.

It would be nice to have two parties trying to solve our problems.

 

Farce

July 12, 2012

That is the subject line from the latest email I received from the Democrats.

David —

If Republicans take over the White House and Senate, yesterday’s health care repeal vote by House Republicans won’t be a farce.

They’ll be unstoppable. They’ll tear apart Obamacare and every piece of President Obama’s agenda.

Mitt Romney just outraised President Obama for the second straight month, and progressive Senate candidates are being outspent 3-to-1. If we don’t act today — not tomorrow — we let them win in November. Can you pitch in $5?

Guy Cecil
DSCC Executive Director

Well, I certainly hope they tear apart every piece of President Obama’s agenda. His policies have been a disaster for us and the sooner he is retired to private life, the better. My fear is that the Republicans will wimp out, as they so often do.
 


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