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Breaking News: Eric Cantor And Jethro Bodine Separated At Birth!

5:34 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Bodineism started as a way for me to highlight the nitwittery of the Republicans in the 111th Congress. They say and do really gob smacking things and I post about comparing them to that gormless but loveable hillbilly Jethro Bodine. But I have to wonder if I have actually, through some unintended and accidental sorcery called this disease into reality (I’m probably taking too much on myself with that, still)?

It is one thing to misinterpret the Constitution, it is open for interpretation and people can be honestly wrong, but it is quit another for a Member of Congress in a leadership position to propose action that is completely outside the boundaries of the Constitution. Which is exactly what Eric Cantor is doing.

He is proposing and will force the House to bring to a vote a measure he is calling the “Government Shutdown Prevention Act”. What this Act will say is that if the Senate does not pass a budget measure by April 6th, then HR 1, the Republicans draconian and job slaughtering bill (which, by the way the Senate has already voted down) will become the law of the land.

I hear you all going “But, but, but… Doesn’t the Senate have to pass a bill and the President sign it for it to be law?” Why, yes, yes it does. It seems that the raven haired, square jawed Virginia Republican who is the House Majority Leader does not understand how the body he has been part of for a decade now works.

If there were an “All Time Jethro Bodineism Award” it is certain that Rep. Cantor would be earning himself a place in the nominees. It is easy to dismiss this as insane and a stunt, but I see a bigger picture emerging among Republicans nation wide.

The lawless behavior of Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin has shown that he and his Republicans have a shocking disregard for the laws of their state. They have broken and bent the rules to pass their union busting bill and have even defied a court order in the implementation of the law.
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Okay Democrats, Let’s Talk About Our Failure And What Next

5:43 am in 2010 election, 2012 election, Elections by Bill Egnor

Okay, we got beaten. We did, there is no getting around it. What is important is why did we get beaten? Is it a repudiation of liberal policies? No. Is it that the nation is center-right and wants government to be that way too? No, else the voters would not have put the Republicans in the driver’s seat. The reason we lost as a party is a political failure on our part. We did not excite our base and the Republicans did excite theirs, it really is that simple.

In the last four election cycles the party with the most excited base won. 2004, 2006, 2008 and this cycle all saw the base of the party who won turn out and that swept along the low-information independents. I am not talking about folks who have left one party or the other but still vote for them, but the real independents. To quote Blazing Saddles, simple farmers, the common clay of the New West, you know, morons.

Originally posted at

This group of folks will flock to the banner of whatever party has the most energy coming from their base. They will be like folks who never pay attention to sports then root for the presumed front runner as soon as the play offs start. They don’t really know which party is doing what; they only know what they see on TV and make their choice accordingly. There is no point getting mad at these folks. They are not going to change and the way to win them is to win your base.

We, as Democrats, failed to fire up our base. Our elected Dems spent too much time trying to woo Republicans and failing to put a headlock on our Blue Dogs. We did not talk about the 300 billion in tax cuts that everyone (okay almost everyone) in the U.S. got from the stimulus. We did not talk up the benefits of the stimulus in real terms, but instead went for the “less jobs lost” meme which is too easy for Republicans to dispute.

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“Punishing Democrats” A Bad Move All The Way Around

6:34 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

There are a lot of angry people in the American electorate. There are the Tea Party folks who think that there has been some kind of revolution and they are in danger of losing their country (even though the country they imagine they were part of never really existed). They are fired up and they intend to vote for some of the most radically reactionary candidates in decades. They have helped nominate folks like Sharon Angle who believes that unemployment insurance is a bad thing, and thinks that it is not a huge problem if conservatives resort to so-called “Second Amendment remedies”, basically armed insurrection.

Then there are another group of angry folks, this time on the Left. They were the ones who suffered through eight years of Republican lawlessness and were inspired by the promise of change the Obama campaign offered. Many feel betrayed by the fact that change has not been as intense as they imagined. They point, with good reason, to the promises made by the President on issues like Health Care reform and the reality of what the legislative process gave us. No public option, lots of compromise and a bill that while it does good things for some is not the kind of transformational change that the Left (myself included) wanted.

I always thought the change meme was a dangerous one. It suffers from a lack of operational definition. If you say change to ten people you will get ten different expectations of change. If you say “we’re going to have a change from the past but not a radical one” you still get different views of what that is. This led to wide and high expectations from many people (again myself included) and was always going to make the failures and compromises seem more galling than normal.

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November 2010: Looking Into The Abyss

10:00 am in 2010 election, Democratic Party, Elections, Government, Legislature, Politics, Republican Party by Bill Egnor

Nietzsche said:

“When we look into the abyss, searching for monsters, the abyss looks into us as well.”

Right now we are staring the abyss in the face and there are indeed monsters there. This abyss is the elections this fall. The chance that radical Republicans will take over the House and perhaps the Senate has grown. The affect of constant lies from Fox News and Talk Radio have energized the Republican base. The limp leadership from the White House and from Majority Leader Reid has demoralized the Democratic base.

The passing of many of the Lefts long term wish list items, barely and with tons of ridiculous and galling compromise has created a situation where the Right is fired up and the Left is angry at its own leadership. The conditions are in place for a wave election and the wave is not likely to go the way that we Liberals are going to like in any fashion. . . .

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Creeping Jethro Bodine-ism In The Republican Party

7:00 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

It is easy to think of Members of Congress as corrupt, this is particularly true of the Republicans who seem hell bent on doing everything they can to go against what polls show time and again is the will of the people. Since they are the avowed party of business and they have so many multi-millionaires and billionaires in their ranks the circumstantial evidence is pretty strongly in favor of this idea.

However I’d like to offer an alternate theory; namely that a large percentage of Congressional Republicans are not evil or corrupt, they are merely sack-of-hammers-dumb. Call it the creeping Jethro Bodine-ism of the Republican Party.

It is a dirty little secret that we don’t like to talk about, but there is no really requirement for being intelligent and being a Senator or a Congressman. Sure, we love to think that the voters of this nation will make an informed decision and not elect an obvious fool to one of the most powerful offices of our nation, but the evidence just does not support that wish.

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Democrats – Listen To The President. Don’t Quit

7:00 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Last night the President did one of the things that he does better than almost anyone else, he gave a great speech. Taking the tone of confidence without arrogance, being willing to face the Republicans and put them in box by either applauding him or failing to applaud their own proposals, even by chiding them for their recalcitrance and stance of know nothingism. While it remains to be seen if he will push for the follow through which his speech called for it is interesting that the end of his speech was a political trope that should be dear to every politician.

"Originally posted at"

My Father taught one primary lesson to me as a child – sometimes you get beat, but you only ever lose when you quit. This has lead to a life time of being beaten, but it also has lead to a set of victories personal, professional and public. This is the lesson the American people get, whether they had a father who harped on it or not. We intuitively understand that having a dumb faith in ourselves, an inability to see that the mountain is unassailable and that we would be better off if we just packed it in that is central to our experience.

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Call The Democrats In Congress, Tell Them Not To Panic

7:00 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

In Douglas Adam’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the little electronic book has printed on it in cheery yellow letters the phrase “Don’t Panic”. This is good advice in all situations in life, but in the new environment of the post Massachusetts Special Election, it is particularly true. We have seen the signs of panic from just about the entire leadership of the Democratic Party in one fashion or another. Whether it is Speaker Pelosi whistling past the graveyard saying we will pass this bill, or Sen. Webb saying that nothing should be done on HCR until Senator Elect Brown is sworn in or whether it is the contemptible Sen. Evan Bayh, (Chickenshit, IN) saying the whole reform effort should be scrapped, they are all engaging in panic behavior.

"Originally posted at"

This is not to say that some in the base are not engaging in it too. I had a long day yesterday processing and getting his head around the new reality. It is not the different from the old reality, when you take the time to look at it, but a loss combined with the behavior and statements of our elected officials it easy to get into a funk.

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Tell The Senate: No Bill, No Recess

9:00 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

So now the House of Representatives has passed a bill. It has some problems, starting with the odious Stupak Amendment. Still there is a lot of reason for mild happiness. We are closer to comprehensive health insurance reform than we have been in my life time. All the details aside, this is a very good thing, as it means we are significantly more likely to achieve real reform than we have been before.

The next hurdle is, of course, the United States Senate. We have already seen Sen. Lieberman lining up to prove that A) he is not a Democrat anymore and B) that he is the biggest obstructionist asshole in the history of obstructionist assholes. Not only is he putting himself in the way of reform, he is making it easier for other lily-livered Democratic Senators to do the same.

On the Republican side we know what we will hear “Slow down”, “It costs too much”, “Government take over of health care!!!!”. The main tactic of the GOP has been to delay the process in whatever way they can. In the Senate, there are many ways to delay any process. We have seen the Republicans do it with Executive Branch appointees, we have seen them do it with the Stimulus bill, we have seen this on the extension of Unemployment benefits, and we have seen them do it with the Health Care Reform Act.

They will use every procedural tactic they have to stretch this out as long as they can. From their point of view it is a good tactic. The longer it takes the Senate to pass their bill the more time there is for weak-kneed Democrats to be wooed away from doing what their constituents and the nation wants them to do. There is also the issue of other things needing to be done. The time for fooling around with Health Care Reform and nearly nothing else is over. There are budget bills that must be completed and passed. There are other issues like the illegal torture programs of the Bush Administration, which need Congressional investigation. There are all of the oversight responsibilities of the Congress in our wars and perhaps most importantly there is the need for a jobs stimulus bill, which has to be in place soon if the Democrats are going to be able to make a case, they can run the economy better than Republicans in 2010.

All of this means the Senate is out of time.

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