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Where did this divisiveness start?

American politics is always been a contact sport. Heck, even the founding fathers didn’t agree on many things and that’s what caused the original founding party to break up but what we’re seeing today is a little bit different. It started with Richard Nixon. He learned the art of divide and conquer. He used in California politics in the late 40s and again in the 60s. He used it to get elected to Congress in the early 50s. He was able to use the Vietnam war and patriotism to get elected president in 1968. So, I can think of no better expert to talk to than Rick Perlstein, author of the book, Nixonland. It was Nixon who taught Ronald Reagan. More correctly, Ronald Reagan learned from Richard Nixon.

I decided to post my interview with Rick Perlstein, again. It seems we needed the perspective after the elder former President Bush decided to personally attack Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. This wouldn’t be any big deal if the President wasn’t calling for civility not five minutes before attacking them. What I find most reprehensible is not that he questioned the reporting or their delivery of their commentaries or even their shows but instead it was a personal attack. “There are a couple of sick puppies.”

I think you’ll find this interview informative and enlightening. Enjoy!

By |2009-10-20T21:16:43-04:00October 20th, 2009|Party Politics|Comments Off on Where did this divisiveness start?

The Errington Thompson Show 8-1-09

My guest is Joan McCarter (“McJoan”) from the Daily Kos. Joan is a great blogger and former Capital Hill staffer. Dr. Andy Coates is a national leader of Physicians for a National Health Program who teaches at Albany Medical College and practices Internal Medicine.

I opened the show with a discussion about the healthcare “debate.” First of all, I don’t think there’s been much debate. Republicans are basically saying no. They’re saying no to single-payer. They’re saying no to the public option. Democrats, on the other hand, are putting forth these reasonable arguments and the only response they get is no. Somehow, this has become debate.

I get the feeling that some progressives are becoming disheartened because we have both houses of Congress and the White House and we’re still not really getting what progressives would consider to be liberal legislation. I think there was a sense that after the election we could put our government on autopilot. Nothing could be further from the truth. If we don’t speak up and remind our elected officials what we’re thinking then the only thing they will hear will be the Republicans saying no. We have to be there to push back. We have to remain active.

I take the opportunity to point out how Republicans try to distract us from reality. This was mentioned wonderfully in the book by Rick Perlstein called Nixonland and in Thomas Frank’s book The Wrecking Crew. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama played into some of this by commenting on the Professor Gates incident up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The mainstream media picks up on this diversion. Therefore, several news cycles are taken up with a discussion, with no point, of racism. We got to meet the police officer that arrested Professor Gates. We got the president to come out and “clarify” his comments. We have the local police union supporting the police officer yet, there’s no substantive discussion on race or racism. All the while, we should be focused on healthcare because we’re not going to fix the race problem by beating up (figuratively not literally) the police officer or Professor Gates or both of them. I won’t even mention Glenn Beck and his inflammatory comments although I do play the clip.

Our first guest is Joan McCarter from the Daily Kos. She’s been blogging a lot on healthcare. I asked her are we going to get a public option. She agrees with me that we need a strong progressive movement to push Congress toward a public option. I talk about the lack of leadership for strong public option in the Senate. It is unclear to me what Harry Reid is doing but I hope he’s not getting paid to lead. We talk about the current state of legislation in the Senate and the fact that Senator Max Baucus does not appear to be representing what progressives want. Senator Jay Rockefeller has stated that although he is on the Senate Committee on Health, he has been shut out of the legislative process. Finally, we discussed the fact that it appears that President Obama has not closed off any options. Everything is still on the table. Joan points out that we’re far enough into the process, everything should not be on the table.

My second guest is Dr. Andy Coates who is a national leader of Physicians for a National Health Program. He points out how he came to the decision that we needed to have some sort of national health program. It is the inequity in health care. The disparity is not just about black versus white, but also urban versus rural and rich versus poor. As far as our national “discussion” goes, it’s unclear how we began to talk about national insurance when what we need is a discussion on national health care reform. We talk about the anonymous amount of money that we’re spending on healthcare now and Dr. Coates points out that the money we’re spending needs to go to care. What a concept! Healthcare dollars going to take care of patients. Single-payer could save us, SAVE US three to four trillion dollars over 10 years.

Why is healthcare in the US more expensive? I explain.

This is an outstanding show. Enjoy.

By |2012-05-07T14:49:10-04:00August 22nd, 2009|Congress, Healthcare, Obama administration, Podcasts|Comments Off on The Errington Thompson Show 8-1-09

Odds and Ends

  • Man, I’m tired. You know when you leave your home before 7 am and get home after 7 pm, you’ve had a long day. I was just about to finish one thing, but two others were demanding my attention.
  • John Edwards did what? Can someone put a dunce cap on that man? He wanted to be president more than almost anything but apparently not more than getting a little something on the side. I thought that an Obama administration would have to make room for John Edwards as attorney general or HUD secretary, but not any more. It is both disappointing and bewildering.
  • I’m sorry, I’m just not jazzed about the Olympics. I’m just not. First of all, it is in China. Second, President Bush was at the opening ceremony. Even more, some guy (Michael Phelps) is going for eight gold medals. Eight! I’m just not whipped up. Take a look at the video below. The guy is not doing it for me. He is smug, isn’t he?
  • The Bush Administration decided to put on these show trials to gain Senator John McCain some momentum and they are turning into a yawn.
  • Russia and Georgia are coming to blows? Why?
  • The stock market is not filling me with warm fuzzies. It’s up 300 points today but was down over 200 points yesterday. Why is this happening while the price of oil continues to drop? Aren’t the market forces the same as they were a month ago or two months ago? We’re being milked. Anyway, back to the stock market, this kind of volatility can’t be good.
  • Tomorrow, I have author Rick Perlstein on my radio show. Be sure to give me a listen.
  • Did Senator John McCain call Senator Barack Obama the antichrist in his last ad?

By |2008-08-08T20:51:20-04:00August 8th, 2008|Bush Administration, Economy, Election 2008, Foreign Affairs, Sports|Comments Off on Odds and Ends
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