Notes from the Heartland (con’t)

First, a little catching up. Last August, the New Deal Progressives (NDP) launched.  Then from September to the December holidays, we traveled and listened to people across Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin.  We met almost 9600 people on college and university campuses, churches, town halls, people’s homes, and wherever people wanted to gather.  Not a bad number for only using word-of-mouth to notify people.

All the stories people told us were pretty much the same as reported here.  The economic depression we are in is very deep and there is no end in sight.  People want jobs and relief, but both Democrats and Republicans are playing their usual games to avoid doing anything constructive.

What’s becoming clear is that people are now blaming Obama and the Democrats as well as the Republicans for the mess they have made of the economy, and for not showing any leadership and progress on fixing it.

Any Democrat thinking they’re going to sail to victory in 2014 by campaigning on their record against Republicans is going to be in for a rude awakening.  Especially Democrats who have blindly fell in line behind Obama for supporting cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Are you listening Senator Durbin?  Over half the people we talked with said they will sit out the 2014 & maybe 2016 elections because there’s no reason to vote for Democrats anymore.

People are deeply disappointed in Obama.  “He’s all talk and no action.” was heard many times, as well as “he can’t be trusted”.  Many laughed off the notion that the country is in a recovery.  Looks like the Democrats may finally be reaping what they’ve been sowing since “New Democrat” (Eisenhower Republican) Bill Clinton.

In Illinois, Democrat Governor Quinn is up for re-election this year.  Last year, according to one national report, Quinn was the second most unpopular governor in the nation.  He didn’t help himself by cutting state worker retirement and pensions with the help of Democrat Speaker Mike Madigan.  Unions helped Quinn get elected in 2010, so understandably they feel betrayed and not very enthusiastic about him.  Quinn’s also known as corporations’ good buddy for engineering a tax giveaway that allows cash-hoarding companies like AMC Theaters, Ford, Mitsubishi, Chrysler (owned by Italian company Fiat), Continental Tire, monopoly Google, Microsoft, Navistar, Motorola Mobility and others to keep half or more of the state income taxes collected from employees; in other words, a veritable giveaway to big business.

Somehow, rank-and-file Democrats don’t seem very enthusiastic about their elected officials.  The one thing that might save Quinn this year is if mega mega mega rich financial investor Ayn Rand-worshipper Republican candidate Bruce Rauner wins the Republican nomination. He hates unions, loves charter schools and tax breaks for rich folk. If he wins, Labor will turn out in force to help the Democrat in the general election.

In Wisconsin, it’s becoming clear that Wisconsin Democratic Chair Mike Tate is trying to throw the election to Republican Governor Walker. Tate has unofficially endorsed his favorite moneybags Mary Burke, political novice and millionaire heiress of the Trek Bicycle family. Trek Bicycles are designed in Wisconsin, manufactured in China, and sold at premium prices here in the USA.  Chinese manufacturing workers make about $4.56 per day (57 cents per hour).

She’s another corporate Democrat who is not worker-friendly nor Labor-friendly.  Her political resume includes an appointment as Secretary of Commerce by former Democrat Governor Jim Doyle, and she bought a seat on the Madison School Board in 2012 outspending her opponent by a factor of 10x.  

Once again, Tate has given people a reason to sit 2014 out.  He’s overwhelmingly put more losers on tickets as Chair of the Wisconsin Democrats which has allowed the Koch Brothers-owned Republicans to take control of all three branches of state government.  And picking a fight with progressive Ed Garvey has not helped his cause.

Second, in 2014, we start to make the NDP an official party, with the goal of fielding state and national candidates in 2016.

The NDP is not a Blue party (but we do like Orange). We are not a corporate-friendly party like the Democrats have become. We represent the people of this nation, we are worker-friendly and Labor-friendly, and our politics are very progressive and in line with FDR and the New Deal.

Policy-wise there isn’t much difference between George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Obama proved in 2008 that you can boldly lie to people about your campaign promises and then do a 180-degree turn on the issues after getting elected.  He’s proven on issue after issue that he’s a “company man” masquerading as an agent of change, and like a good company man, he only delivers for his rich bosses, which means 99% of the people that voted for him are out of luck.

Last, after Democrat Obama’s two terms of doing nothing in office except pretending to be a facilitator between the Democrats and Republicans and defending the status quo, it’s always useful to remember what FDR faced when he came into office in 1933. The Republicans had run the country completely into the ditch. He took action and tried things, and the economy improved.  Contrast this to the current do-nothing Congress and the current do-nothing president.   Obama may give pretty speeches, but that doesn’t fix anything.  Since the measure of success is if things are better when you leave office, Obama’s legacy will be on par or worse than Bush’s.