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Political

To Congressional Democrats: We voters know what we’re doing

Earlier in July, Jay Bookman wrote an opinion piece for the Georgia Recorder titled “If the America I love is going to fall to Trumpism, I want it to go down fighting.” I responded with a letter to the editor but never heard back from the publication. I’m publishing it here, with an additional message to Congressional Democrats following.

***

Jay Bookman writes a piece titled “If the America I love is going to fall to Trumpism, I want it to go down fighting.” The irony of the title is that he’s advocating for President Biden not to fight but to quit. And the disconnect in his message between what he proposes and it actually means continues throughout his writing.

Bookman believes that one debate performance is sufficient to force President Biden to step aside for ‘fresh’ blood. In his favor, he mentions Kamala Harris. He’s at least somewhat better than so many others who also want to skip Harris as candidate in addition to Biden.

Where Bookman fails is he watched the debate, rather than read the debate transcript. He allowed himself to be ruled by the optics of the debate, rather than the substance. Because if he had read the transcript, he could have seen where much of Biden’s ‘confusion’ and seeming weakness in the debate was less about Biden’s age, and more about Biden having to do the job of debate moderator as well as debate participant.

President Biden was forced to attempt to fact check the firehose of lies coming from Trump, at the same time he was trying to sell his own capabilities to the public. Add to this the fact that, unlike Trump who plays golf for days at a time between rally appearances, Biden also has to run the country and deal with several difficult situations throughout the world in the days leading up to the debate.

He was tired, and he wasn’t feeling well and he was trying to handle two things at once with every answer and it didn’t go well. And that is enough for Bookman to toss him under the bus. I have to wonder if we should do the same for Mr. Bookman when he has an off day?

Completely ignore the excellent job President Biden has done the last 3 1/2 years, and the excellent job he continues to do today, because the only thing that matters is a debate performance.

What Mr. Bookman, certain Hollywood rich people, some Democratic congressional members and way too many in the media all forget is that We the People chose President Biden. We chose him knowing his age and knowing the risk of electing someone who is older. We went into the primaries with our eyes wide open, and for many if not most of us, our choice remains the same: we choose President Biden as our Democratic candidate.

We felt comfortable making this choice because of VP Kamala Harris, as well as the excellent and now seasoned cabinet and staff that President Biden has put into place. We knew then, and still know now, that if President Biden can’t continue as President in the future (and there’s no reason to think this will happen), the country’s leadership will continue without a pause because of VP Kamala Harris and the existing staff and cabinet.

Many of us watched President Biden field an hour long press conference yesterday and he did so with strength, intelligence, and experience. Sure he flubbed a couple of names, but he wouldn’t be our Joe if didn’t flub up a time or two during a speech. Most of us are aware of his speech impediments, and frankly, most of us aren’t ready to jump ship just because of the media fixation on an accidental slip of the tongue, or a bad night at the debate.

How dare any of you take away our right to vote for the candidate of our choice. This is exactly what you’re doing—taking away our right to vote. And by doing so, how are any of you any different than Trump and his people in 2020?

***

Now, to certain Congressional Democrats currently lacking both courage and, in my estimation, intelligence, let me repeat what needs to be understood:

We, the voters who participated in the Democratic primary went into the primary with our eyes wide open. We weren’t somehow ignorant of President Biden’s age, either now or the age he’ll be in four years. How dare any of you treat us with such disrespect that you feel you have the right to countermand our votes based on your false belief in your ‘superior’ understanding of what we need to do for November.

All you are doing now, is costing us the election. I don’t why or what selfish or foolish motive there is to your telling we the people that we can’t have the candidate of our choice. If it’s because of wealthy supposed Democratic financial backers, to hell with them. If it’s because of some Hollywood celebrities who oddly enough happen to straight, white, wealthy men who have nothing to lose from this election, then to hell with them.

If it’s because you’re only concerned about your own butt this November, well, to hell with you, too. We may vote for you this November, but know that the voters you’re disrespecting now will do everything we can to make sure you never win a Democratic primary ever again.

After all, you’re trying to deny us our right to having our say during a  Democratic primary, it’s only fair to do the same to you.

 

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People Political

Biden is our President. Biden is our candidate. This isn’t going to change.

To whom it concerns:

Biden is the President of the United States. Biden has done. and continues to do, a good job as President of the United States.

Biden is also our pick as candidate for a second term as President of the United States. The people made this selection. Not some quisling Congressional members, and definitely not the media. We, the people.

Biden will be our Presidential candidate this November. This is not changing. You are either with Biden, or you’re supporting Trump.

Rebecca Solnit, The Guardian

I am not usually one to offer diagnoses of people I’ve never met, but it does seem like the pundit class of the American media is suffering from severe memory loss. Because they’re doing exactly what they did in the 2016 presidential race – providing wildly asymmetrical and inflammatory coverage of the one candidate running against Donald J Trump.

They have become a stampeding herd producing an avalanche of stories suggesting Biden is unfit, will lose and should go away, at a point in the campaign in which replacing him would likely be somewhere between extremely difficult and utterly catastrophic. They do this while ignoring something every scholar and critic of journalism knows well and every journalist should. As Nikole Hannah-Jones put it: “As media we consistently proclaim that we are just reporting the news when in fact we are driving it. What we cover, how we cover it, determines often what Americans think is important and how they perceive these issues yet we keep pretending it’s not so.” They are not reporting that he is a loser; they are making him one.

Joy Ann Reid, on Threads

‘As you think about the media and how as a collective my industry is behaving in this moment, it’s helpful to understand that other than purely infotainment media (like Fox, Newsmax or OANN) mainstream media only has two real biases: toward change and conflict. They will almost always lean toward a change agent, whether that change is hopeful and historic (Obama) or horrific (Hitler, Trump). And they will almost always lean into conflict, whether that means wars or internal political destruction.’

The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board;

At each stop there will be no margin for error. The media is tracking Biden’s every move with an obsession greater than the 2016 focus on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. The rules have always been different for Trump. Recall when seven members of Trump’s team used private email accounts, including his daughter and son in law, it barely caused a ripple.

A similar imbalance has taken hold in the coverage of Biden’s debate performance. For example, in less than a week, The New York Times published 70 news stories, 20 opinion columns, four podcasts and one editorial about Biden’s shaky debate. Cable TV and social media piled on as well, according to Heartland Signal, a digital news site in Chicago.
But little attention has been paid to Trump’s incoherent debate performance because he is often incoherent. Trump told more than 30 lies in 90 minutes during the debate like it was another day at the office.
In discussing abortion, he falsely claimed Democrats want to execute babies in the ninth month of pregnancy. Trump also claimed migrants were taking “Black jobs” and “Hispanic jobs” — whatever that means.
During a discussion about the environment, Trump — who rolled back more than 100 regulations and withdrew from the Paris climate agreement — said: “we had H2O, we had the best numbers ever.” Huh?’

 

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Political

We’re not just voting for Joe Biden, we’re voting for the Joe Biden package

I don’t watch debates solely because they all boil down to optics rather than substance. And last week’s debate demonstrated how true this is. If one watched the debate, you saw one thing. But if you just read the transcript of the debate you saw something else. Unfortunately, few media pundits read the transcript.

Some of these pundits are so caught up in the optics that they think Biden should quit, now, late in the game. Ian Millhiser, who is someone I have respected in the past, went so far as to write on threads:

I remain optimistic that Biden eventually does the right thing and drops out. It’s not reasonable to expect him and his family to process the grief they must be feeling right now in a single weekend.

I remain optimistic that Biden eventually does the right thing and drops out. It's not reasonable to expect him and his family to process the grief they must be feeling right now in a single weekend.

For which he got a great deal of pushback, leading to him having a snit:

I think I may be done with this website. The amount of Clap Harder, just ignore Biden’s senescence, magical thinking denialism on here is too much for me. The reason why Democrats are better than Republicans is that they’ve historically been the party that is in touch with reality. If folks around here want to turn America’s one remaining viable party into the GOP, I’m out.

I think I may be done with this website. The amount of Clap Harder, just ignore Biden's senescence, magical thinking denialism on here is too much for me. The reason why Democrats are better than Republicans is that they've historically been the party that is in touch with reality. If folks around here want to turn America's one remaining viable party into the GOP, I'm out.

What Millhiser and the New York Times and other big media companies and pundits forget is, it’s not just Joe Biden who is running for President—it’s the complete Joe Biden package that’s running for President. And if the person, Joe Biden, didn’t have a good debate, that doesn’t take away the good that Joe Biden and the Joe Biden package have done in the last three+ years.

Let’s start with Kamala Harris, the VP. She’s smart, she’s capable, and she has been kept in the loop about what’s what in the world. If something were to happen to Joe, Kamala is there. And if some people just can’t handle the idea of a smart and capable Black woman being President, well, all I can say is there are a hell of a lot of White guys who’ve done really crappy jobs and maybe it’s time for a change.

Then there’s Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. I don’t always agree with him, especially about Israel and Gaza, but I don’t know of anyone who has worked harder to keep this fragile world from imploding on a daily basis. Globally, the world is in one of the worst shapes it’s ever been in. But Secretary Blinken remains cool, calm, and importantly, present and involved. The USA is here, he demonstrates. And we’ll continue to be here.

How about Deb Haaland the first indigenous leader of the Department of the Interior? She has worked to expand parks, to limit gas and oil exploration on public lands, and to bring indigenous people into the decisions involving their land. Secretary Haaland has worked to preserve the beauty and the majesty of our country so we have something more than oil pumps and concrete for our future generations.

Then there’s Xavier Becerra. The Secretary of Health and Human Services has looked every which way he can to find ways for women to continue having access to the healthcare they need, all the while fighting red state governors who want nothing more than to deny healthcare to as many people as they possibly can.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has worked to implement so many of the projects funded through the Inflation Reduction Act. And he’s been there—a calm and caring presence—during all of the transportation-related disasters we’ve had the last few years, and there have been several.

(What’s ironic about the infrastructure projects in the Inflation Reduction Act is how many Republican Congressional members take credit for them back home, when they didn’t vote for the bill. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Buddy Carter, my own rep.)

And finally, I’ll mention Attorney General Merrick Garland. A lot of people are not happy with him because he appointed Hur to look into Biden’s classified document issue; especially after the obviously politically motivated and incredibly petty and sloppy report Hur wrote. And people feel Garland has not done enough to go after Trump.

But AG Garland realizes that the people of this country are fast losing hope and respect for our judicial system, beginning with the hacks Trump appointed as AG and now the Supreme Court, with its years of undermining rights, and eviscerating the government. We may not like what Garland does but the point he’s made is invaluable: No party owns Justice. Not under Joe Biden’s watch.

I could go on, but the facts speak for themselves: President Joe Biden has put together a solid team of people who are doing an incredible job with all the odds against them—including a House led by a Christian Nationalist who cares little about actually accomplishing the business of legislation, and a Senate where we frequently couldn’t count on two Democratic senators not to mention a Supreme Court issuing decisions that don’t have the thinnest veneer of a legal basis as long as it fits their agenda.

And look at how much the Joe Biden package has accomplished the last few years? We’ve economically recovered from the COVID pandemic. Though COVID is still a scourge, but we’re beginning to get it under control. At the least, we take it seriously. No bleach.

The government is working on lowering the cost of healthcare, especially medications. When the courts allow, former students are getting a break from onerous student loan debt. Inflation is under control again. People are working. Real wages are actually rising. The economy is robust. And yeah, even the number of people entering the country at the border is the lowest its been in years. At the same time, the Joe Biden package is trying its best to help the migrants who are here in the country—productive citizens who have integrated into the communities and whose contributions have helped this economy recover.

Most importantly, under the Joe Biden package, democracy still exists. Damaged in too many states, but it still exists. Don’t lose sight of this one.

So yeah, I have no problem voting for Joe Biden. I could give a damn how he does in a stupid debate. I care what he does everyday, and he does a good job. Because he built the Joe Biden package, and it works.

 

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Silent Sunday June 30 2024

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Media Political Whatever

Republicans are crazy and the media loves it

Today, more than a dozen publications were featuring a Herschel Walker event in Richmond Hill. He didn’t take his shoes off and start sucking his toes, so, for the most part, the media coverage is positive.

In the meantime, you can’t find one single story on Senator Warnock. Not on him, specifically. You can find several about him and Walker, both. But not about him. I had to go to his campaign web site to find out he’s currently in Atlanta.

That the media can impact the election with this grossly uneven coverage doesn’t matter, because to them, it’s all about eyeballs and clicks. Attention. It’s all about attention. And what generates attention?

Republicans and their never-ending show of crazies: the crazier, the better.

All Walker has to do is show up and he gets attention. Why? Because of the idiotic things he’s said in the past. My particular favorite was the one about bad air from China coming over here, and our good air going over there. I’m less fond of his demand that women obey him when it comes to our healthcare choices—particularly since his philosophy seems to be do what I say, not what I do.

Sure, you say. It’s good to expose idiocy in a Senatorial candidate. Except now, Walker’s minders have him sticking to the script and following the party line. So when he gets media attention now, the news folks can’t help but comment on the fact that Walker showed up, and he acted normal.

The same applies to JD Vance. To Mehmet Oz. To Boebert. To…well, you get the point.

And when the Republican candidates do the crazy, well, that’s OK, too. The media’s right there, except they aren’t. The Republicans do the crazy at audience-friendly pep rallies. And they do the crazy on friendly media shows, like Tucker Carlson’s, where there’s no real questions; never any pushback. In environments where the rest of the media might say, “Well, hold on now…,” the crazy gets put away.

So in rallies, Walker is against any form of abortion, no matter what. But in the studio or the debate, well, he’s no such thing. Whatever the GOP decides here is OK by him. And too many (not all, but too many) in the media just let it all slide…because after all, they’re fair and balanced. Right?

When the media chooses to go along with the Republican ploy—giving attention to the crazies and then normalizing their behavior when they behave—we all lose. We lose fairness in media coverage. We lose fairness in truth in reporting. And with so many Republicans being election deniers, we risk losing our democracy.

But hey, look what I did. I only talked about Walker. My bad. But since we’re talking about Walker and giving Walker attention, I think I’ll let Pastor Jamal Bryant have the last word on Herschel Walker.