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Monday, October 31, 2011

Plan B part 2

Thanks in large part to tribal politics, it is all but inevitable that Ron Paul will not get the nomination. We should not give up this hope but press for him to make the best showing possible in what will eventually become a a 3 candidate primary with Paul, Romney and a cultural conservative. These represent the 3 factions which make up the Republican Party, the libertarian, the global corporatist and the cultural conservative. The faint possibility of a game changing Palin type endorsement to shift enough cultural conservatives in Paul's direction is not likely to happen as back room deals are probably already afoot within the Romney campaign to get a Santorum in the VP slot.

We must now begin to encourage a real coalition ticket with top cabinet members like:
Vice President: Bernie Sanders
Secretary of State: John Huntsman
Secretary of Defense: Jesse Ventura
Treasury Secretary: Elizabeth Warren
Fed Chair: Jim Grant
OMB Director: Gary Johnson
Labor and Commerce Secretary: Dennis Kucinich
Attorney General: Andrew Napolitano
UN Ambassador: Cynthia McKinney
Secretary of Energy and Environment: Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Secretary of Interior: Sarah Palin
Secretary of Agriculture: Jim Hightower
Secretary of Housing, Health and Human Services: Ralph Nader
Secretary of Homeland Security: Stewart Rhodes
Economic Advisers: Peter Schiff and Robert Frank
Secretary of the Department of Education: Colin Powell

My point is not to name specific individuals but for Ron Paul to begin naming a true coalition cabinet which seats both progressives and libertarian in both domestic/economic and foreign affairs/defense cabinet posts. I understand his wish at this point in the campaign to attempt a libertarian coup of the GOP first, but he should certainly not wait too many days beyond the SC primary to shift his strategy. The sooner he gets progressives on board the better because he cannot win without a real coalition.

Blue Republican PR is nice and good hospitality will help but such a strategy without a commitment to a real coalition will be fruitless. I wish that more progressives would get on board right now but it ain't happening. The grip of our two party tribal politics is too overwhelming. The sooner his die hard libertarian supporters own up to this, the sooner Paul can move toward the only way any part of the libertarian agenda gets advanced.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Crisper Zings for the Next Debate

Just posted this here: http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?322920-Suggestions-Please-Ron-Paul-Soundbytes-and-One-Liners&p=3675916#post3675916

and here: http://www.dailypaul.com/183967/crisper-zings-for-the-next-debate

On the media blackout:
There are several reasons why you guys give Mitt/Rick more time for cat fights than you do the rest of us to discuss real issues.

On the charge of weakening our military:
I have more military personnel donating to my campaign than the rest of my opponents combined. I guess that means I am weak on defense.

On electability:
In poll after poll, I consistently do better than anyone on this stage in a head to head match up with the president.
I have by a wide margin the best ratio of media time to poll numbers of any candidate here.
I have the most small donors.
Mitt beats me in one area: the biggest money from banks and businesses taking American jobs overseas.
Obama is scared, as is everyone on this stage and most everyone in the MSM, about how well I do among independent voters and disenchanted Democrats.

On complimenting opponents:
What can I say good about my opponents?..well those two do have nice hair. As for the others, they do help me get ignored.

On fulfilling the GOP creed:
Seriously, who do you truly trust on the issues of less government and lower taxes?

On ability to govern:
Who else among these (besides Mitt on health care) truly knows how to work positively with independents and Democrats to craft something other than lowest common denominator policy?
I will continue to work with anybody regardless of party who wants more, not less liberty for all Americans.

On security, debt and jobs:
Let's end these endless wars that make us fewer friends, let Germany and Japan take care of their on defense, and bring our troops home to protect our borders and build an economy that works and puts all Americans who want to work back to work.
I want to cut spending by 4 trillion dollars and taxes by a trillion dollars over the next 4 years. I have a plan to do that, a plan that will get 60 votes in the Senate.

On ability to govern and make real change:
If we don't build constructive coalitions, we will continue the bipartisan corporatist catastrophe.

On values:
As a Christian I am concerned that our witness concerning the sanctity of all human life is dismissed when we refuse to obey the ancient Judeo-Christian wisdom of the just war tradition. As an American, I am concerned that our bipartisan obsession with violence is bankrupting us into greater violence still.

On the Fed.:
I'm glad my opponents are coming around to what I have been advocating for 40 years. Let's do audit the fed and I'll make sure it's a real audit with teeth.
Mitt Romney made x amount of money on currency trading the past y number of years. Most people don't have enough money to make that kind of money. At the least we can allow for currency competition within the ordinary consumer market place. That will make the dollar stronger and maybe Mitt won't have to send so many of his overseas.

On popularity of Cain:
I understand why people like Herman Cain; he has a much better sense of humor than brother Rick.

On values and how to bring Democrats on board:
Hating the president will get us nowhere in this election. I don't hate President Obama any more than his former supporters do. They don't hate him; they hate his actions, which have gained them, as well as us, more war and less jobs.
Here's how we reach those disenchanted Democrats who want to occupy Wall Street: Tell them, if you want to build a peaceful green economy,  then let's end the endless wars, stop fighting for people who don't want us to do what they can do for themselves, let Germany, Korea, Japan and the rest of those we spend trillions on for empire building and maintenance, pay for their own defense. We will pay for our own defense, bring the troops home and shift those resources to people like you who will build the peaceful green economy you thought Obama would build for all of us.

On who he is and what he's all about:
My name is Ron Paul, and I believe peace and liberty are the best policies to build security and prosperity for all Americans.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Now that Ron Paul has his budget, progressives can respond constructively if they wish...

Now that Ron Paul has put out a budget plan, progressives need to categorize it in 3 groups: 1.) cuts we agree with, 2.) cuts we would allow at least temporarily in exchange for equal cuts or revenue increases we prefer, and 3.) cuts we simply cannot support. We ought to be willing to try to find a way to a way to match the bottom line in terms of debt reduction and maybe even reduction in total expenditures. I would suggest that progressives construct a combination of spending reductions and tax reforms which moves 1 trillion dollars annually, half toward debt reduction and half toward domestic spending through funding the states.

Ron Paul's reduces debt by 3 trillion over 4 years. His budget plan also produces $2.6 trillion less revenue than President's. A coalition of Libertarians and Republicans ought to be able to get 1.6 trillion more in revenues but for the sake of  argument, let's say we can agree to 1 trillion in cuts and 1 trillion in revenue increases through tax reform which reduces the vast majority's tax burden while increasing the tax burden on the super wealthy. That would mean we have moved 2 trillion dollars away from militarism and corporatism. If Paul can agree to allow half of this to go to the states according to population, he can have a winning coalition.

It is encouraging that Paul has mentioned block grants. Such grants would put general limitations on how funds may be spent, which would be better than allowing Texas to use all of the funds to subsidize petro slurping. We might propose this one: funding of tax breaks must account for not more than half of the funds a state receives in a federal block grant. That would be great but Paul probably would not agree to it.

Paul wants an opt out for citizens age 25 or less. How much this would cost is unknown but it can safely be assumed that Paul wants all funds from reductions to go to funding only debt reduction, tax reduction and entitlements depleted by the opt out. I say give him a vote on  this proposal. We might be able to make a deal of a public option in exchange for an opt out. That would be a long shot deal. Most likely progressives would have to live without a public option under a Paul administration and Paul would have to live without his opt out dream under the coalition that elects him. Unfortunately things would not be any different under Obama 2.

I fear that neither side is willing to work this deal out, preferring instead dueling street theater. Paul has shared his budgetary priorities. Skepticism is much called for. However, let's not pretend that we are going to get a better deal under Obama. His budget will spend at least 600 billion more on militarism. If he would adjust his budget and match Paul's cuts in fake defense and false security, he would get my vote. I am still voting for Paul in the primary but I want to see who gives the American people the best deal in the general election. I would like to have that choice rather than doing the no-brainer to block a Romney clone.

Friday, October 14, 2011

for a second, think!

Romney nominated; Obama moves right. Paul nominated; Obama moves left. What should a progressive do?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How and Why: The Dirty Work of the Green Republican Strategy

The problem: Lots of things but chief among them is the stalemate between veto and filibuster that results in lowest common denominator policy. In order to get any bill signed into law it almost always requires 60 Senators voting for it. This is the reason, despite the Democrats 60 vote majority in the 2009 Senate, we never had any serious consideration of single payer and we did not get even the weakest version of a public option. In order for progressives to get done what we desire we need those 60 Senators on board with progressive bills.

The solution: So we work hard and elect 60 progressive Senators? That would be wonderful but it ain't happening and sadly, probably never will. The only viable remedy for this political reality is to elect a coalition of 60 Progressive Democrats and Libertarian Republicans. How do we get this? First we find electable progressives in states which have elected them already or are likely to nominate one in the next Democratic primary. If a progressive Democratic Senator is being challenged seriously by a politically viable blue dog Democrat, protect the progressive by voting for her or him in the Democratic primary. If the progressive candidate's nomination is secure and there are no serious contests down ticket between a progressive and a blue dog, use your vote more wisely by casting it in the Republican primary. Become a Green Republican for the next primary season.

How to vote as a Green Republican in the GOP primary: If there are candidates running for any office, but especially for the Senate, the House of Representatives and the President who are consistent libertarians and who are committed to significant reductions in wasteful and false security spending and willing to work with progressives to construct true coalition legislation for debt reduction and funding state and/or federal projects to repair, modernize and green our infrastructure, vote to nominate those candidates. If there are no such libertarians (or even rarer, clandestine progressives) running, consider voting for the most extreme right wing nut case available so as to increase the Democrat's chances of winning in the general election.

What this means for the presidential primaries: There are only two consistent libertarians running for the presidency, Ron Paul and Gary Johnson. Don't divide the progressive vote. Vote for Ron Paul since he is obviously the more viable of the two. We want Ron Paul's candidacy to be an opportunity not just to nominate him but to get us closer to the 60 Senator coalition we need to get anything significant done. Such a coalition would probably agree to massive cuts in empire building and maintenance budgets. It could also possibly find a way to reform our convoluted and regressive tax and revenue system. Robert Frank's progressive consumption tax http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/11/inequality_and_executive_pay and the raising of tariffs on non democratic and repressive regimes are examples of possible creative compromises this coalition could put together.

How to vote in the general election: This is a hard decision to make. One might believe that voting for Obama's reelection is the good thing to do because of the risk of Paul going purist and rejecting true coalition governance and because 60 coalition Senators allows for President Obama to act and govern like the progressive he truly is. In regards to the former concern, Paul has frequently proved that he will join forces with progressives to propose legislation which if enacted would advance the progressive agenda along with his own libertarian one. Furthermore, Paul is the rare species of politician who means exactly what he says and votes consistently according to what he promises.

In regard to the latter hope, judging from his record since becoming president, one could argue that Obama will keep his promises if they are politically viable and drop those promises quickly if he does not deem them doable. Progressives have much to be thankful for with Obama's record on cultural issues but on issues of national security and civil liberties, he has been as bad as Bush, if not worse. Furthermore, on economic issues such as dealing with the banks, tax policy, choices for how to reduce debt, and health care, he has been at best mildly helpful, and to some measure at least, counter productive.

What this strategy adds up to: A significant infiltration of progressive voters into the 2012 Republican primaries would noticeably disrupt the GOP's convention in Tampa Bay. A big enough number of such Green Republicans would severely punish the proto-fascist party, making 1968 Chicago look like a church picnic. Under such a scenario Republicans might defect and run an independent Romney/Perry clone ticket. Or they might do the only sensible thing and make nice with Paul and smile as they write someone else in at the polls in November.

How does Paul get enough votes to make this scenario a reality? He has to reach out deliberately and frequently with specific policy proposals to progressives. It is clear that Paul cannot win the nomination without an influx of at least 2 million progressive Democrats and independents. If he did that in a three way race, he can get a plurality of voters and a slim majority of delegates, enough to have Romney and Perry kissing on stage and who knows what happening on the streets of Tampa Bay as Paul's delegates walk out.

If on the other hand wiser heads prevail and Paul is politely allowed to have the nomination so the establishment neo-cons can prove that greed only gets elected if accompanied by hate and violence, we have a game changing general election. The debate between Obama and Paul will not be about Obama repeating the same tired cliches to prove he is just as strongly violent as the Republicans are and just as willing as they are to give out "targeted tax cuts"  while draining seniors of their entitlements.

Instead, we will have a debate in which the Democrat has the chance to say enough is enough with the endless wars and false security spending. We need to reduce debt and fully fund the building of a peaceful green economy and not give billions away to super wealthy while preying on myopic young adults and telling us all to fend for ourselves because voluntary organizations can take care of the needy.

Whether Obama makes that case in a debate with Paul, remains to be seen. However, it is all too clear that he stands a strong chance of losing to a neo-con, and that even winning against such a predictable candidate will probably not get him the 60 senators he needs to really be a progressive president. Instead of governing as progressive, he is more likely to govern as he does now. Make clever populist sounding speeches from time to time while adhering strictly to a culturally liberal version of the global corporatist agenda.

Obama II's strategy will go something like this: Compromise with Republicans by lowering marginal rates and closing loopholes in the tax code without limiting the total value of loopholes left open. Protect social security by raising the cap and the retirement age slightly. Reduce debt by cutting spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other domestic discretionary spending at least as much as (but probably more than)  one cuts military spending. Don't brag about spying on and killing American citizens. Tell the American people they are safer because you are more effective at killing terrorists than Bush was. Keep the banks solvent by not requiring them to lend money at affordable interest rates to small businesses and ordinary individuals and families. Allow drilling in generously selective areas on land and sea while doubling the number of wind turbines and solar panels at the same time you fund modernization of nuclear energy plants. Obama might even get unemployment near or below 7 percent by the end of his second term under such conditions. A Romney clone would do the much of the same with only slightly less green appeasement.

Of course it would not be all roses under Ron Paul. The best compromise under a Paul administration would be to leave most of the domestic budget untouched with maybe inflation rate increases while redistributing (Paul would not use that word....) to the states half of the savings on cuts from drug wars, body probes, aerial Muslim abortions and other such fully funded violence subsidies. We probably get the same reduction in unemployment by 2016 as we would under one or the other global corporatists because we would not use all of the savings from violence reduction coffers on government contracted jobs to build green infrastructure, hire more teachers to a better paid education work force and subsidize the production of safer, faster and energy efficient trains and planes.

If we could go all in on the progressive economic agenda to build the peaceful, green and truly democratic economy and culture, we would get the unemployment rate below 6 in 4 years time and below 4 in 8. Sadly,  not enough Americans have the courage and/or the wisdom to vote for such an ambitious agenda. Progressives must face this reality and hope and work towards better choices in 2016. 2012 has to be a year of deal making and compromises if we are to get anything progressive done over the next 4 years.  We need political and media leaders on the left to face this reality so we can all get on with the dirty work of an eventually real revolution. If not this strategy, what other? If not now, when?