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Friday, September 30, 2016

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy,” the narrator is conveyed to the gates of hell, upon which he finds a sign: “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”

This city is not hell. But a case can be made, as the Democratic Party convenes here to nominate Barack Obama to a second term, that the same admonition applies. Abandon hope.

And change.

Hope and change, of course, were the promises by which Obama swept into office four years ago, heralding a “post partisan” era in which Republicans and Democrats would work together in solving the nation’s problems. We all know how that turned out. The GOP lurched further to the right, driven by a “tea party” that scorned compromise, the ordinary horse trading that defines politics, as traitorous and weak.

There was an element of fanaticism there that one watched with a kind of awestruck horror, unable to believe that what you were seeing was really real. But it was. They actually did take the economy hostage, actually did vote down their own major bill because the president supported it. They actually did declare war on objective fact, bow to a ludicrously rigid anti-tax pledge, abridge the religious freedoms of Muslims, commit acts of voter suppression, require Latinos to show their papers. The great Clint Eastwood actually did stumble through a dialogue with an empty chair that was supposed to represent the president. And yes, they actually did call that president “uppity,” a “boy,” and a “secret Muslim,” actually did question his birthplace and academic credentials, actually did accuse him of being a radical socialist out to destroy America.

They actually did.

Three years ago, a distraught woman at a health-care protest cried out, “I want my country back!” Better she should demand her party back. The party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan doesn’t seem like a party at all anymore, but a cult.

Yes, that’s just the sort of observation you’d expect from a liberal hack, Democratic Party shill and assorted other epithets by which GOP true believers routinely ward off questions about their true belief. But let them note that similar concerns are being voiced by GOP stalwarts like former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

  • It is admirable to desire hope and change. After the election of 2008 most of the excited somehow believed that they had done enough. After all they had voter for the first African American president. What’s next is hard work…very hard work to ensure the progress is not reversed. Certainly vote in November, but that is when the real work begins. It should be clear even to Americans who don’t pay attention to politics that Washington in unable to accomplish much these days. We the citizens have to push them into doing our bidding. That starts by informing them of our wishes at the ballot box. We can’t complete with the billionaires who are fronting so many of todays politicians. All we have is our voices and our votes.

  • bcarreiro

    With Obama there will be stability …. but with romney the percentage of wealthy americans will stay the same and the middle class and poor will never have an oppurtunity to prosper.

  • The party that gave us the emancipation of slavery (Lincoln), protected the environment (Teddy Roosevelt), built the national highway system (Ike), and was determined to protect our safety net (Reagan), has been replaced by people who believe the that only those who already own most of our financial wealth deserve tax breaks, that dismantling regulation designed to protect workers, protect our environment, and preclude Wall Street abuses are needed to achieve economic stability, a party whose members engage in voter suppression, blacklisting, paranoidal claims of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration, denial of rape and women and minority rights, and a party that favors austerity for the middle class to ensure the wealthy can continue to accumulate wealth. The Grand Old Party has been transformed into a Grand Ole Plutocracy determined to destroy America to save it from itself.

    • sigrid28

      Dear friend, these truths are, indeed, self-evident. However, since I tried to skip writing for a few days and become a volunteer here in Iowa, I have found myself in the Democratic Party’s unique circle of the Inferno.

      In our town, the assistant for Senator Tom Harkin (answering his phone) cannot waste his time talking to prospective volunteers. He says he’s paid by the taxpayers, I guess to do more worthwhile things than spend five minutes talking to constituents. Maybe he’s calling the select few local Democratic Central Committee members so they will join the senator marching in the Labor Day parade. But more on that later.

      So I volunteered at the Obama for America office, after the receptionist at City Hall gave me the telephone number. There is no listing anywhere in the yellow pages under Democratic.

      At the OFA office, there were a half a dozen or so college-age workers and a few others my age (eternal) making calls. I made calls for two hours, and offered to come back the next day (who wants to get called after 8pm?) . They said they didn’t need me until evening, yet they took over calling themselves at noon the next day to get voters out to the President’s speech last Saturday, September 1st. I was told I lacked the skill to make these calls. I was also told that 95% of voters were already registered in the state, so not to worry.

      So I got the phone number of the state director for OFA, with whom I talked for awhile. He confirmed the 95% number. He said he didn’t know about TruetheVote, but would have OFA lawyers look into it. I volunteered to help elsewhere. He said he’d get back to me, and . . . nada.

      Saturday, I received a curious, new voter registration card, under the heading “Voter Information and Check-in Card.” When I called the telephone number on the card, it said election sites would be open May 29th, 2012, all day. I left a message with a question. When no one called back on Tuesday, I called. I asked, “Do I show my old voter registration card to vote or this new one on Election Day?”

      “You don’t have to show a card at all,” the polite person said. ” Just show up and vote.”

      “Well then, can I use the registration card to check-in at the Holiday Inn? Why does it say check-in?”

      I find out that this county joined with five others “to save money on printing,” and other counties DO require the new registration cards because they have bar code readers at voting sites. I still do not know if they can vote with their old voter registration without bar codes, or no card at all, just as we can in this county. My guess–confusion reigns.

      No types of oppressive voter ID laws have yet to be passed, but voters have been confused at the least and required–maybe or maybe not–to show new registration cards under the false excuse of informing people of new polling sites. “Voter Information and Check-in” in Iowa is just a sly pass at voter ID. To their credit, the auditor’s office said they would put an article in the right-leaning local paper to clear up the confusion.

      I left a message for the statewide director of OFA. No response, so far. I called the
      local office, asking if they knew about the new voter registration cards. It was news to them, they said. I offered again to help, but the workers were organizing parties to view the president’s speech Thursday. I offered to bring over pop or eats to stock the volunteer refrigerator, when they said it was full from the Democratic BBQ on Monday after the parade. I asked, were all Democratic volunteers invited? They said they were only called for the picnic at the last minute.

      “Called by whom,” I asked.

      “The Democratic Central Committee.”

      I got the name for its director, a local person. On speaking with his wife, I learn that lowly volunteers and OFA workers were excluded “by mistake.” She says the OFA workers are from out of town and don’t understand how things work here. They keep calling voters too much, and people are getting tired of being called.

      “But there are lists with which we keep track of calls to avoid duplication?”

      Her husband still has not returned my call. It is clear to me, however, that the local “Democratic Central Committee” is working at cross purposes against OFA, the work is being duplicated, and this committee doesn’t want some parts of the Democratic Party in Iowa to walk with them (and elected officials, I guess) in the Labor Day parade. Boy, do we have work to do in Iowa. I wonder if the grassroots ground game is so disorganized and polarized in every swing state.

      • Wow, I hope what is happening in Iowa is an exception to the rule because if that sort of thing happens in every state we are in big trouble. That may explain why a party with a pathetic performance record, calls for a sequel and economic plans that ought to scare the daylights out of every middle class person remains competitive.

        • sigrid28

          Dear friends (I’m seeing you both in the photo),

          It is even worse than I thought. I’ve learned that the local leader of OFA (paid Obama for America workers) told me a different name and phone number of the state OFA head than did the local leader of the Democratic Central Committee. And neither of these purported OFA state leaders, where I’ve left voice mail messages, has returned my call.

          If OFA has no accountability and is run by underpaid college students who lie to would-be volunteers and are taking days off (you can’t talk to the same person twice), what are they getting paid for? Aggravating voters by duplicating calls with the local Democratic Central Committee? Ditto canvassing door-to-door?

          I think we need more calls in the western part of Iowa where the vote is more Republican. I can call anywhere in the nation for the same rate, so why can’t I get OFA to set me up with a calling list for somewhere where my calls won’t be senselessly duplicated?

          The Democratic Central Committee would be unable to manage such a cooperative thing. This group only wants the help of locals like themselves, appointed to membership (I get the feeling that minorities are not welcome).

          OFA workers seem to find work only for volunteers like themselves. What are they like? They are underpaid (so a little lazy), college-aged young adults; unfamiliar with local voting patterns and specialized needs; dismissive about learning about them; and disrespectful to those who think there is some urgency about winning this election for Barack Obama in this swing state. The state leadership of the OFA acts the same way.

  • SaneJane

    Have hope and change really failed? I don’t think so. Maybe we didn’t get the whole ball of wax but we definitely moved forward. We just need to keep pushing in that direction. Is it an American trait to consider something a complete failure if you don’t get everything your heart desires? Where are the grown-ups?

    • Major changes in direction, such as ACA, can only be accomplished incrementally and accepting that reality does not mean we have failed. I believe this election remains close because we have not articulated in a clear and concise way what the GOP has in store for the middle class, without using hyperbole and based strictly on the plans they have made public. For example, Romney’s tax plan calls for significant reductions in income and capital gains tax rates with the caveat that those reductions must be revenue neutral and offset by eliminating unspecified deductions. It does not take a genius to figure out which deductions Mr. Romney plans to eliminate: mortgage, college expenses, healthcare, perhaps the “married filing jointly”…
      Along the same lines, Rep Ryan’s plan calls for the privatization of Social Security, a long term GOP goal, and the dismantling of MEDICARE, starting with moving contributors younger than 55 from the system. In addition to not providing specifics on the voucher system, it also neglects to mention how MEDICARE will be funded after contributors younger than 55 are removed from the system. Along the same lines he proposed repealing ACA, without telling us what he plans to replace it with.
      Romney promised he will create 12 million jobs if elected, again, without providing specifics and in spite of a record of job and benefits reductions, plant closures and outsourcings.
      It is easy to promise pie in the sky goals, what is not so easy is telling the public what sacrifices they will have to make to achieve those goals, let alone the negative impact of some of those proposals on the middle class, the elderly, students, and the poor.

  • howa4x

    Obama has to run also against a do nothing congress. One of the speakers said it best last night when he stated that during the worst crisis to hit America since the great depression, the republicans did nothing except to hold hostage any relief program of the president so that they could continue to give tax cuts to the rich. The republican hatred of Obama over shadowed their ability to help solve this crisis. They threw road blocks at everything Obama tried and in their most cynical way blamed painted him as a do nothing president. There was not one idea put forward by them to help struggling Americans. They fought Dodd-Frank regulations on the banks after the biggest meltdown since the great depression, and borderline criminality by Wall st players. When 32 million remained uninsured and 80% of health care dollars are spent in the last year of a patients life, instead of joining a national conversation on how much resources should go to the terminally ill, they started screaming death panels. Even the heritage foundation idea of buying private insurance, which was the congressional plan the republicans walked away from their own idea, and stirred up the population against it, and had the tea party storm troopers cut the debate off at the local level, which was the trimuph of ignorance. They now trot out a remake of Bush II and try to sell it as a new ideas. Bush floated the baloon of privatization for social security and here it comes again out of Ryans mouth, Romney wants to cut taxes for the rich, same as Bush.
    What Obama really has to do is tie Romney/Ryan to Bush/channey, and continue to show that all their ideas are the same as before, and bash congress when ever he can. Show the public that they worked against them for party loyality. He or surrogates need to detail what a Romney presidency would look like through Romney/Ryan words. Now its the Democrats turn to kick some ass

  • I wish I could remember which analyst on MSNBC said this last night, but it bears repeating…he said, “The GOP have become the new party of ‘hope’ and ‘change’….they ‘change’ their policies and ‘hope’ you don’t notice”….LMAO 😉

  • Whydoyouask2dogs

    Yes, Leonard tha Pitts JUNIOR is a liberal hack, but very weathy and smart. He knows when things get tough and his liberal hacking ain’t working, he can always play the race card…which he has done on many occasions.