Posted tagged ‘Democratic Party’

02.04.17 I’m a Democrat

February 4, 2017

I have worked on more Democratic political campaigns than I can count (starting with George McGovern in 1972 – that’s a picture of me at age 12 in Time Magazine, 9/25/72*). I even served as a precinct captain for four years here in Takoma Park, MD. I quit that post in 2006 out of disgust with Maryland’s machine politics and the pro-corporate Dems on the national scene. Notwithstanding my anger at the party, I continued to vote almost exclusively for Democratic candidates, because what choice did I have? (The exceptions are when I have written in “Mickey Mouse” in races where the GOP had no chance.)


Since 2006, I have called myself “anti-Republican,” rather than “Democrat.”

It’s 2017, that luxury is gone. All the fantasizing by Greens about a third-party’s route to salvation are out of touch with the reality of our rigid two-party system. Lefty calls for a political revolution to overthrow Wall Street Democrats may be noble, but may also be distracting us from our one and only task at hand: winning!

For those new to this blog, let me specify: I’m from the Bernie end of the spectrum. If I could, I’d kick the private sector out of all public services (starting with health care!), ban all guns, remove religion from the public square, confiscate excess wealth, and oppose US hypocrisy in foreign policy.

But, to insist on purity is to condemn the left (all of it) to minority status, on school boards, city councils, and statehouses across the country. I will henceforth call myself a Democrat and do whatever I can to help beat the GOP everywhere.  This will mean sometimes prioritizing a big tent over trying to topple elected officials who don’t always vote the way I want.

Yes, we should have internal debates in the party. Yes, we should support primary challenges to “bad” Democrats, but only when such challenges are not going to bite us in the ass that November.

It is the job of all people even moderately left of center in this country — just as it is the job of the most embittered Bernie (and Hillary) supporters – to elevate victory as a principle over purity.

The one thing Democrats can no longer tolerate: an incompetent party that rests on laurels, comforts itself in its own moral rectitude, and cedes the entire political system to the far right (which is now the only right in this country).

The Democratic Party, love it or not, is the only vehicle to take our country back. Get on board or get out of the way!

*That issue featured All in the Family and Sanford & Sons on the cover, under the headline “Toppling Old Taboos.” The bumper sticker I was holding at the rally in the old Cleveland Arena read “Nixon Bugs Me, Too!”

©2017 Keith Berner


11.23.13 Impeach Obama

November 23, 2013

Readers of this blog know  I am not suggesting impeachment based on Obama’s being a Muslim socialist who was born in Kenya. (Oh that he were a socialist!) My bill of goods against the president starts with his right-wing stands on civil liberties (and Wall Street) and ends with his complete, nearly incomprehensible incompetence.

Civil Liberties

Barack Obama lost my enthusiastic support in the summer of 2008, when he switched sides on telecom immunity. Until then, he had supported holding the telcos (led by the always-evil Verizon) accountable for  sharing customers’ private data with the government. Then he suddenly decided  these corporate behemoths were golden. I voted for Obama in 2008 and cried when he won. But I knew then that the man others would accuse of socialism was at best a tepid liberal and at worst a  bonafide right-winger.

Obama has gone on to be the worst civil liberties president in American history. Apart from ending torture (which, granted, is a big deal), this administration has taken nearly all of W’s extra-legal, barely legal, or it’s-legal-because-we-say so surveillance and detention tactics and expanded them. It has pursued a drone war that doesn’t discriminate between the guilty and innocent or US citizens and foreigners. And, of course, there’s the NSA, which has shown the big lie in Obama’s promise to lead the most transparent and open government ever. Obama’s obsession with secrecy has led to the highest number of prosecutions against leakers in history, along with truly frightening attacks on the press, the essential institution for holding government accountable and preserving freedom.

The extent of this president’s obsession is shown by his reaction to Edward Snowden. When Obama backed out of a summit with Vladimir Putin earlier this year, do you think it was because of Putin’s dictatorship, with its attacks on civil society or its encouragement of violence against gays? Hell no! It was because Russia had taken Snowden in. Then, the mere possibility that Snowden might be aboard the Bolivian president’s plane, as it transited Europe in July, was sufficient for the US to get pliant allies to ground the aircraft so that our agents could see for themselves.


After the GOP shut down the government and nearly forced the US to default on its debts this fall, prognosticators were reporting lowest-ever ratings for that party and predicting Democratic gains in 2014. Since then, it is Obama’s ratings that have fallen off a cliff and Democratic candidates are running scared across the country, as they try to figure out how to distance themselves from the president. The political world has reversed course in little more than a month!

The Obamacare disaster not only has the potential to set back the cause of health-care reform for a generation, but has also breathed new life into the right-wing extremists who own most of the land area of the country and one house of Congress. If the GOP takes the Senate next year, there will be one man to blame: Barack Obama.

No, it wasn’t bad enough that the president forgot to pay  attention to whether the rollout of his signature achievement was going to work. He had to compound that self-inflicted wound (a European friend of mine referred to  it as an “own goal” – when a soccer player scores one for the other team) by repeatedly, knowingly lying to the American people about their right to keep their existing policies. What did Obama think – that no one would notice?!

(Substantively, I have no problem with forcing the cancellation of policies that would undermine the whole system. It’s the lying about it that is the problem.)

So then Obama tried to undo the damage by announcing a “fix” that will allow people to keep these lousy policies. And immediately, analysts declared the fix unworkable. We are now learning day after day (thanks, Washington Post) about the details of the failed website: how the administration hired the wrong people to build it and ignored clear, persistent warnings that it wasn’t going to work.

The operational incompetence is stunning. The lying continues a long pattern of Obama political incompetence. It took nearly 3-½ years for the president to recognize that the GOP wasn’t interested in negotiating a deal, any deal – no matter how right wing. He kept negotiating with himself – publicly — continuously moving farther and farther toward GOP positions and getting nothing in return.

The Obamacare debacle began in 2009, when Obama abdicated all leadership on the matter to Congress, which – of course – was in thrall to the insurance industry and other corporate interests,  producing the complex mess that is teetering on the edge today. Obamacare – if it survives – will do at least as much to enrich private interests as to lower costs (higher than any other industrialized country) or produce better outcomes (worse than any other industrialized country).

In 2010 Obama (granted – with the complicity of spineless Democrats in Congress) ceded the entire political dialogue to the rising Tea Party and the likes of Sarah Palin. While talk of death panels dominated the media in summer and fall of that year, Democrats headed towards a crushing defeat at the polls. I’m not just referring to the loss of the House, but also the loss of statehouses, coast to coast. The GOP dominance in the states then produced the gerrymandering and voter suppression measures that will keep the GOP in power at least until the 2020 census, if not beyond. Much of this is due to Obama’s mind-numbing inability to use the bully pulpit, build effective political alliances, and buck up scared-of-their-own-shadows Democratic lawmakers.

Consider foreign policy. In a space of two years, Obama has taken the US from being a moral, human rights champion to being a realpolitik status-quo power that Henry Kissinger could love. Your blogger (who works for a human rights organization) is sometimes torn between idealism and realism in foreign policy. I get that this stuff ain’t easy. But to go from an embrace of Hosni Mubarak (a personal friend of Bill & Hill) to supporting the Muslim Brotherhood (who were, after all, the winners of a democratic election), to praising Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s thugs as if they were akin to Thomas Jefferson (why can’t John Kerry just shut his fucking mouth?!)?

The result is that everyone  in Egypt hates and distrusts us, even as we continue funneling billions of dollars to the brutal murderers who now run the place. For god’s sake: if you’re going to support a military dictatorship, at least do so in a manner that wins that dictatorship’s trust and respect! We learned this past week that al-Sisi is trying to negotiate closer ties with Putin.

The promised “pivot to Asia”? Gone south due to other distractions. The relationship with the European allies (who were practically drooling at the chance to start over following the horrific reign of W’s cowboy neocons)? Toast, because of our spying and a general sense of US fecklessness.

And then there are the “red lines.” Use chemical weapons, Obama says, and we’ll do something really, really bad to you. Except that we don’t really mean it. And so when we get a face-saving opportunity to back away from the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, we jump at it.

Whether or not to bomb Syria was not an easy decision – see my post on the topic. The problem was the stark declarations from Obama without, apparently, any consideration of what should come next. This administration doesn’t stop and ask: hey, what will we do if the other guy doesn’t respond the way we expect him to? There is no Plan B. Only destined-to-fail Plan As.

Facing Facts

Now hear this, Obama fan-boys and –girls: we are not comparing Barack Obama to W or Mitt. Of course Obama is better than any GOP alternative!

We ought to be comparing Obama to what he could have been and to what this country (and the world) need. We ought to be holding this man accountable for repeatedly handing our enemies (the Tea Party right) the rope to hang us with.

To those who say, “Well, being president is hard. What do you expect?” – I ask, is it too much to expect basic competence and a commitment to tell the truth (at least in our own self-interest)? Is it, really?

The title of this blog post is serious. I don’t expect it to happen, but I would be delighted to see Barack Obama resign or be removed from office. Let’s give Joe Biden a chance to see if he can get the basics of governance and leadership right.

The Obama administration is finished, kaput, done. All two-term presidents lose power as their lame-duck status grows. None has experienced a collapse of this magnitude at the very inception of the second term. None has faced entrenched, fanatical enemies like the GOP is today. Democrats and progressives would be smart to move on, to try something — anything — rather than sitting back and whimpering as this failed president sets the table for GOP victories to come.

©2013 Keith Berner

12.16.12 Guns: equivalent extremism?

December 16, 2012

Don’t you love when apologists for the right claim that the left in this country is extremist? Here’s a recent incident, from a very well respected Takoma Park opinion leader, excerpted from a community listserv:

I hope if there’s a national dialog about this, we can exclude the extremist rhetoric from left and right.

I served on the city Committee on Gun Violence umpteen years ago. It looked at this issue in great detail and I came away with three main conclusions.

First, the NRA and the gun-ban lobby both inflame passions about this because they all want to keep their jobs. Neither side has any interest in winning, just keeping the passions going.

Second, you can’t believe any statistics from anyone, except maybe the FBI, because even though the interest groups may use legit sources, they skew them to fit their views. For example, the anti-gun people cite the correct number of annual gun-deaths, but they don’t tell you half of them are suicides, instead leaving the impression they are all murders.

Third, there is common ground between pro- and anti-gun people.

And here’s my reply:

I am very disturbed by your claim of equivalent extremism on both sides of this issue. This reminds me of the highly irresponsible media who have spent the last decade trying to claim equivalence between starve-the-government, enable-the-plutocrats, global-warming-deniers, evolution-deniers, theocrats on one side and scientists and (mostly) moderate-center-lefties on the other. Sometimes, just because there are two sides on an issue does not mean that their claim to rationality or legitimacy is equivalent. Nor can one always adjudicate two sides of an issue by splitting the difference. Just because (for example) the GOP moves further and further to the right on issue after issue does not mean that the the split-the-diffference midpoint between them and the Democrats, which is dragged ever further to the right, is the place to be.

I am particularly disturbed by your claim that folks in the Brady Campaign (for example) are in this to protect their jobs and are not seeking solutions. That claim is truly offensive.

In the gun debate, one side: the NRA and collectors/sportsmen has owned all of one party and most of the other. The huge amount of cash they control has enabled them to completely out-gun the gun-control community (do you really mean to imply that both sides have the same firepower?). Though many of us in that community might love to ban guns entirely (indeed, I do), 95% of us have accepted that the the gun lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment has been upheld and is the law of the land. While one side refuses to discuss any restrictions at all on gun acquisition and ownership, the other is working to make marginal changes that would improve public safety. Equivalence? I think not. The Supreme Court has moved the midpoint much further to the right. I don’t like it, but it is so and I and the rest of the gun controllers are working in that new middle.

I get the home-defense part of the gun lobby, even if I would never place a gun in my house, knowing that they are most often used against those we know (including ourselves) rather than against unknown intruders.

As for sportsmen and collectors, I stand by my view: one person’s hobby or sport is not worth the loss of a single innocent life not involved in that “sport.” (Football players are welcome to maim each other: they all choose to be there.) Defense is one thing (however misguided). Hobbies are quite another.

And let’s not forget the part of the gun lobby that is made up of true right-wing extremists: those who claim that Obama and the UN are planning midnight attacks on American liberty. These folks are a not-insignificant part of the huge increase in gun proliferation in recent years. When those on the moderate right refuse to engage in common-sense discussions of gun control, they are enabling this extremely dangerous element.

There may indeed be common ground to be found between pro-gun and gun-control folks, but to claim equivalence between the two sides hardly helps us navigate the path to find it. It is like claiming that Democratic position in the “fiscal cliff” talks needs to come halfway toward the make-no-compromise-hold-the-country-hostage position of the GOP and the Tea Party.

©2012 Keith Berner

12.10.10 Evil & Betrayal

December 10, 2010

I’m examining my overwhelming feeling of rage against President Obama and the Democrats.

After all, it isn’t they who came up with the idea of putting the country in hock and stealing from the poor so that the ultra-wealthy could be even wealthier.  That idea is inherently evil, made more so by the lack of even theoretical claims (however misguided) that this radical redistribution might provide some benefit to the overall economy.  (In case you haven’t been following the analysis, giving more money to the ultra-wealthy doesn’t produce any stimulative effect on the economy, because the ultra-wealthy already have all the cash they need and won’t spend any extra influx, like the poor and middle class would.  And it is spending – not saving – that will create jobs and stabilize the economy.)

The full-time commitment to serve the wealthy and only the wealthy — as the highest priority in the land — was invented by the GOP and is nearly wholly owned by them (with some so-called “moderate” Dems joining in).  The GOP is evil from top to bottom and in between.

So why is my anger at the Dems often so much more palpable to me?

It’s like my feelings about Israel.  It would be very had to make an objective case that Israel ranks at the top of countries in terms of mistreatment of minorities, human rights abuses, and illegal hegemonistic agression towards its neighbors.  But my outrage about Israel is so much more present in my consciousness than is my anger at China or Russia (for example).  Partly, of course, this is because my tax dollars are paying for Israeli crimes.

But there’s something else at play here:  I expect Israel — supposed democracy, home to “my” people — to be better than that.  I’m also so overwhelmed by the magnitude of evil perpetrated by China and Russia — and by the shear size of those countries — that I can’t grasp it in my little brain.  My utter helplessness and hopelessness in the face of big evil makes me shove it out of my consciousness.

Back to US politics.  I expect — I need better from the Democrats.  It is a simple, immutable, HUGE fact of life that Republicans are evil.  It is Democrats who are supposed to stop them.

I’m realizing as I type this: betrayal is what sets off my very present, very conscious fury.  And I am furious with Obama and the Democrats again.  As usual.   These fucking idiots – these weak, cowardly, incompetent Democrats – consistently hand the rope to hang us to those who certainly will.  Giving away the store before negotiations have begun.  Failing to make clear convincing arguments to the American people.  Infighting.  Self-hatred.  Fearing shadows.

How bad is it?  Bad enough that Commander-in-Sellout, Barack Obama – the man who can speechify when it comes to campaigning but can’t say a coherent, persuasive, progressive word in office – has turned on us.  This utter failure as president has the gall to call progressives “sanctimonius”?!  With friends like this . . .

But, of course, Obama isn’t our friend.  Neither was Bill Clinton, whose own failures and flaws led to the GOP wave of 2004 and then spent the rest of his term pitching right-wing ideas and just plain enjoying the company of reactionaries better than that of liberals.

Of course, the reality is that Democratic betrayal is as expected and immutable as GOP evil.  Maybe I’d be better off trying to shove the Dems out of my consciousness.  But, then where would I turn?

Answer: nowhere.  Hanging on to the constant betrayers is all I have in this godforsaken political system.  It’s just extremely hard to hold on to any hope at all when betrayal is the best one can hope for.

©2010 Keith Berner

08.19.10 Obama the Coward, Obama the Fool

August 20, 2010

Last Saturday, I picked up the Washington Post and was greeted by the headline, “President defends plans for N.Y. mosque.” I’m a bit ashamed that the political animal in me responded before my moral being kicked in.  “Oh, shit!” I thought.  “The xenophobes are going to have a field day with this!”   But, I recovered quickly, as I embraced something that has been surprisingly, stunningly rare from Barack Obama: a courageous and unambiguous statement of principle.  I was happy to lose a few more votes from those who would most likely never vote for a Democrat anyway, if that were to be the price for doing the right thing.

Alas, I was celebrating too soon.  On Sunday, my morning paper put equally prominent  emphasis on a new development: “Mosque stance gets an asterisk.” It turns out that Obama was so stung by the completely expected hysteria from the right that a mere 24 hours later, he said (more or less), “Never mind.”  Or even, “I didn’t say what you plainly heard me say yesterday.”

So, it’s obvious that Obama is a moral weakling, providing another example of his administration’s incredible inability to take a courageous stand and fight for it.  (Yeah, I know he eventually won on healthcare, but the final bill had very little of principle left in it.)  This is disappointing enough.  It is sickening to see this supposedly passionate, articulate man descend into the depths of run-of-the-mill, scared-of-my-shadow Democratism.  Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, from whom one wouldn’t expect any better, outflanked Obama’s cowardice by declaring clearly his outright opposition to doing the right thing in Manhattan.

Yeah, the moral failing is disappointing.  What is just mind-numbing is how idiotic Obama’s flip-flop was, from a political perspective. It makes me want to tear my hair out (which is particularly unfortunate, in my case, since I don’t have any).

The major difference between Reid and Obama in this case, is that Harry Reid is smarter than the president! What is worse than taking the wrong side of a moral principle in order to pander to enemies?  You got it:  taking the right side just long enough to whip the enemies into a frenzy and then backing away from it.  You end up abandoning principle at the same time that you set your political edifice on fire. You end up looking exactly like the vacillating, morally bereft panderer you are. For gawdssake, can’t Obama at least get the political part of this right, even if he no longer has a moral compass?!

I still long for a president who is on the right side when it matters and who can teach the rest of his anemic party how to be courageous and win.  Since Obama is apparently incapable of this, I wish he would just shut up.

©2010 Keith Berner

08.02.10 Riemer Battered at Election Forum

August 2, 2010

Last Thursday, Progressive Neighbors and the Silver Spring Democratic Club sponsored a forum for the Montgomery County Democratic at-large candidates.  All the serious contenders took part:

  • Incumbents: Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal, and Duchy Trachtenberg
  • Challengers: Jane de Winter, Hans Riemer, Becky Wagner

The most interesting take-away of this lively and engaging forum was the shellacking Hans Riemer took from all the others on the stage.

Early on, Riemer beamed with pride as he announced a his shiny new innovation: six-year budgeting.  One after another, the incumbents pounced, pointing out that the council adopted this approach some time ago. Elrich scowled at Riemer and said, “You are not allowed to reinvent history.”  Riemer’s come-back amounted to: Well no one told me you guys were already doing this, so it still counts as my idea.

On public-employee union contracts, all the candidates pretty much took the same line: I’m pro-labor, but we just don’t have the money to promise full funding.  Riemer – who claims he will bring a fresh fiscal responsibility to the county and explicitly blames the incumbents for profligacy – joined this chorus. He described how intimidating it was to sit with union leaders and how he’d gathered the courage to stand up and tell them that budget reality might require contract adjustments.

Hearing that, Leventhal said:  “That’s not what you wrote in your response to the AFL-CIO questionnaire.”  Leventhal was right: it turns out that Riemer answered “yes” to the AFL-CIO’s question about full funding (see question 23).  Riemer, back on his heels, tried to take refuge behind the AFL-CIO’s yes-no question format: “there was no room for ‘yes, buts,’” he pleaded.  Elrich made clear that no one is forced by format to provide facile responses: he used another spot in the survey to communicate a commitment to honoring contracts, in principle, while stating explicitly that the money for full funding just isn’t there (see question 16). (This jibes with Elrich’s almost unique ability among county politicians to communicate nuance and avoid either-or conflicts. More on that in another post.)

Adding insult to injury, de Winter piped in: “I met with the same union leaders Hans did and didn’t find them so scary,” drawing laughs from the room.  Finally, Leventhal went after Riemer’s hypocrisy in riffing on a county that is out of control and mismanaged, while making unsustainable promises to the unions.  Riemer’s retort?  “Well, I was endorsed by the Post, nyah, nyah, nyah!”[“nyahs” inserted by blogger to properly convey the tone].  Leventhal — whose non-endorsement is clearly smarting — blustered, “That’s a right-wing, anti-union rag!”

What good theatre!

Every candidate on stage, incumbent and challenger alike, treated Riemer with open derision. Afterwards, one of them joked with me about Riemer’s claims to have “organized the opposition” to W’s social security privatization scheme, as if it were his finger in the dike that saved us.  It all makes me wonder about another of Riemer’s constant themes: that he has the power to “change the chemistry” on the council.  For some reason, I lack confidence in that outcome.

It has to be noted that Wagner is the other hypocrite on union contracts.  She, too, is running against the current council’s financial mismanagement and she, too, told the AFL-CIO she would commit to full funding.  What sets her apart from Riemer is that she is sophisticated enough not to highlight her disingenuousness in a public forum.  Riemer – notwithstanding his claimed deep involvement in politics – is clearly learning on the job here: he still doesn’t get that contradictory public statements not only can be compared, but inevitably will be.  If you’re going to pander to every audience, you have to know who’s watching.  Very amusing.

Here are a couple of other highlights of the forum. . .

Elrich has become is everyone’s best friend. Both of his erstwhile enemies, Leventhal and Floreen cited him in their opening statements.  And, when the topic turned to transportation, there was pushing and shoving to be first aboard Elrich’s acclaimed bus rapid transit plan for the county.

On whether they have established limits on contributions on corporate and developer funding:

  • 0% limit: Elrich, Trachtenberg
  • 30% limit: Riemer
  • No limit: de Winter, Floreen, Leventhal, Wagner

On what they think of Doug Duncan’s legacy:

  • Not a Fan: de Winter, Elrich, Riemer, Trachtenberg
  • Big Duncan Fan: Floreen, Leventhal, Wagner

In answering this question, Riemer said that “anyone could see” that Duncan had put us on an unsustainable spending path.  Leventhal retorted that Riemer only lived a year on MoCo under Duncan and doesn’t know a thing about him.  For my part, I first met Riemer in late 2005 at a meet-n-greet for then-gubernatorial candidate Duncan and Riemer was so publicly and ostentatiously obsequious to Duncan that several of us present remarked on it.

A final note on the substance of the evening.  Though I have been a consistent critic of Leventhal’s actions on the council, his forthrightness impressed me at this forum.  His willingness to takes stands (like support for Duncan) in front of an audience he knew would disagree was impressive and refreshing, especially with Riemer as the contrary example.  I wanted to be able to support Hans Riemer this year, but his performance has gone from disappointing to nauseating and there is not a chance he’ll get my vote.  Leventhal rose in my esteem on Thursday.  As a Progressive Neighbors member put it to me after the forum, many of Leventhal’s positions — especially on policy toward the have-nots — are attractive.  If only he weren’t so angry, divisive, and scheming on the council — if only he weren’t so tied to the developer community — it would be so possible to support him.   I really wish I could.

*     *     *

I have attended one previous at-large candidates forum this year, sponsored by the Kensington Democratic Club in May. Maryland Democratic Party Chair Susan Turnbull gave a truly embarrassing performance in moderating the event.  She attempted to combine, on the fly, multiple questions submitted on cards by audience members, resulting in nearly incomprehensible queries.  She then asked the questions to random selections of candidates, meaning some folks hardly ever got called on and some got passes on the most important issues. This reminded me of another Party-sponsored forum four years earlier where the “moderator” was Windbag-of-the-Night and his sidekick tried to time 45-second answer periods using a wind-up kitchen timer!

It is always wondrous to behold the utter incompetence of the Maryland Democratic Party!

Progressive Neighbors tried to make Q&A fairer by choosing audience questions at random and posing each question to every candidate.  The problem was that about half of the questions were on topics that aren’t under the council’s purview, things like Metro safety, Pepco responsiveness, and alcohol taxes.  This meant that more worthy topics, like growth and environment, factionalism on the council, etc. never got addressed.

I think that sponsors and moderators need to take responsibility for stage managing the questions at these events, rather than choosing completely at random.  But such management has to avoid bias and include coherence.  Sadly, I doubt the Party has the fundamental capacity to be organized and fair – I would never trust their hacks – er, officials – to select questions.  Ideally, third parties (League of Women Voters?) ought to run these things.

*     *     *

Here is how all Democratic County Council candidates (not just at-large) who completed the AFL-CIO’s survey responded on whether they would commit to full funding (question 23):

  • Roger Berliner* (District 1) – no
  • Ilaya Hopkins (District 1) – yes
  • Sharon Dooley (District 2) – yes
  • Craig Rice (District 2) – yes
  • Nancy Navarro* (District 4) – no
  • Valerie Ervin* (District 5) – no
  • Jane de Winter (At-Large) – no
  • Marc Elrich* (At-Large) – yes

Elrich additional explanation under question 16: “I want to comment on the question regarding funding contracts. I believe that if I enter into a contract I have a responsibility to fund it. That said, this recession/depression has left us unable to honor our contracts. We simply do not have the resources for the negotiated agreements. If I answer yes, it’s in contradiction what I, and all my colleagues, did last year will have to do this year. If I answer “no”, then it could be construed that I consider the agreements meaningless and without any weight. I find these budgets and choices very painful. I’m not voting to alter the contracts lightly. I regret that we have been forced to do this.”

  • Nancy Floreen* (At-Large) – no
  • George Leventhal* (At-Large) – no
  • Hans Riemer (At-Large) – yes
  • Becky Wagner (At-Large) – yes

*Asterisks indicate incumbency

If you count Elrich’s reply as “no” (which is the import of his explanation), it is striking that every incumbent refuses to commit to full funding of union contracts. Every challenger except de Winter says “yes.”  Guess who are the ones who have had to make the actual, excruciating budget decisions this past year?

©2010 Keith Berner

07.24.10 Charlie Rangel: Democrats’ Albatross

July 24, 2010

Not feeling sorry for the Dems right now as they face the upcoming corruption trial of disgraced Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), right before the mid-term elections.  Rangel’s penchant for stealing money, lying about his finances, and overall sleaziness has been readily apparent for years.  And the Democratic Party has not only tolerated it, but embraced it.  Now, even with the prospect of Rangel on the nightly news as voters are making up their minds this election season, only one measly Democratic member of Congress has called publicly for Rangel’s resignation.

The Democrats deserve every ounce of scum that the Rangel affair drips on them.

The sad part – as usual – is that the American people don’t deserve the results of GOP gains this November that result from Democratic cowardice and malfeasance.

©2010 Keith Berner