Monday, September 27, 2010

The Global Netroots/Grassroots Has To Fill In For The President

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of th...Image via WikipediaThe presidency of the US is the most powerful political office that was ever designed in the history of humanity, but it also comes with severe constraints. But if you believe in rule of law and the basics of democracy, if you believe in the need of a US president to primarily answer to the American electorate, then those constraints are welcome constraints. I did not volunteer for Obama 08 envisioning a Genghis Khan in the White House.

The netroots/grassroots that put Obama in the White House has to realize its enormous power when it comes to the green revolution in Iran. If that netroots/grassroots can put "a skinny kid with a funny name" into the White House, that netroots/grassroots can get rid of clowns like Khameini and Ahmadinejad. That netroots/grassroots is sufficient upon itself to bring down autocracy after autocracy.

I am for harnessing the power of the global netroots/grassroots for the cause of democracy. All the political work that needs to be done, all the money that needs to be raised, all the exposure that the green movement needs, all that can be provided by the global netroots/grassroots. We are not at the mercy of politicians in power, or at the mercy of old media. We have what it takes.

If the global netroots/grassroots will do all it can do for the cause of democracy in Iran, somebody like the President Of The United States could make just the right moves at just the right times to tilt victory our way. I can't imagine the guy being for the other side. But we the netroots/grassroots do have to exhibit governance literacy, power literacy to be able to tap into the powers of our guy who is the top guy on the planet when it comes to political power.
Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...Image via Wikipedia
He is on our side, he is with us, but he has the constraints of a political office. There are options he has. There are options he does not have. We the netroots/grassroots do not have those constraints. There are things we can do that he can't. There are things he can do that we can't. We have to do the things that we can do to make it possible for him to do the things that he can for the cause of democracy in Iran.

We need to work it for the top guy. But the power was and remains at the grassroots and the netroots.

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The Shah Is For Secular Democracy, Not Monarchy

Coronation of the Shah of Iran in 1967, offici...Image via Wikipedia
National Post: Bringing Democracy To Iran: At 50, Mr. Pahlavi dismisses talk of restoring the monarchy in Iran and says his life is now dedicated to creating a non-violent, democratic revolution there.
The Shah of Iran could not make it clearer. He is for a secular democracy in Iran. He is not for restoring monarchy in Iran. We similarly have to reach out to Iranian groups that might have picked up weapons against the current regime in Tehran in the past. If the Shah can ditch monarchy, these groups can ditch violence.

We have to build a broad coalition of Iranian groups for the cause of democracy in Iran.

In The News

BBC: Iranian Court Bans Two Leading Opposition Parties: Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Islamic Revolution Mujahideen Organisation .... Both supported opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi ..... In recent weeks, Iranian security forces have stepped up attacks on opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mr Mousavi, with attacks on their homes and offices..... Scores remain in prison.

New York Observer: Malcolm Gladwell Compares Twitter Activism To Civil Rights: he's wrong to imply that a network of weak ties can't accomplish serious change. One could argue, for example, that social media played a crucial role in electing our first black president, a historic moment in our nation's struggle for equality.

Foreign Policy: Obama's Freedom Agenda: The freedom section of President Obama's address to the United Nations General Assembly .... the most extensive, fulsome, and compelling defense of human rights and democracy of his presidency, and it strategically placed political freedom in the context of economic freedom and development. ...... s a number of nations that are in tyranny's crucible, and whose citizens may find the possibility of freedom within their grasp. Sometimes this grasp can be aided by presidential attention or even a few strategic gestures that tip the scales...... and perhaps even recapture some of the charismatic appeal that has since his inauguration been strangely absent.

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Towards More Robust Iranian Diaspora Organizations

Civil Rights March on Washington, leaders marc...Image via Wikipedia
I have been calling people up, I attended one rally, I have been emailing people, I have been building up a mailing list, I have been calling people up. I had a long chat with an Iran democracy activist out there in California last night.

Some of my suspicions have been confirmed. The general hostility to the ideas of raising money and creating an umbrella organization tell me there is much work that remains to be done before the Iranian diaspora organizations can provide concrete help to the next wave of democracy movement work right there in Iran.

The first wave of democracy protests in Iran tried to reform the existing system. Hopefully by now people are convinced that that is not an option. This system can not be reformed, it has to be ditched. A new system has to be built.

Could we build 1,000 Iranian democracy organizations in the diaspora? Could we build a few umbrella organizations? Could we have people meeting in person on a regular basis and using social media as well? Could we raise meaningful sums of money? I am for raising millions of dollars eventually.

I am not a member of the Iranian diaspora. I am a member of the global netroots/grassroots. My interaction with the Iranian diaspora organizations will be as a member of the netroots/grassroots.

I might adopt a few Iranian diaspora organizations to work more closely with. That might also allow me to stay in better tune with the other organizations like them.

Basic organizational work is what is needed.

I am for building "cells" among the Iranian Americans. These would be small groups of perhaps 10 people who have the option to meet each other in person. The leader of each such cell would be networked with one or the other organization all of which would be members of an umbrella organization. All raising and spending money would be transparent within the organization. All members would have a right to know.

Organizations need to prove by raising and spending small sums of money that they can be accountable. The first few rounds of fundraising might have to happen among members before we can approach foundations for big sums of money.

We have to do all necessary homework in the diaspora before we summon people to the streets in Iran again.
New Yorker: Small Change: Why The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted.: High-risk activism, McAdam concluded, is a “strong-tie” phenomenon...... Even revolutionary actions that look spontaneous, like the demonstrations in East Germany that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall, are, at core, strong-tie phenomena. The opposition movement in East Germany consisted of several hundred groups, each with roughly a dozen members. Each group was in limited contact with the others: at the time, only thirteen per cent of East Germans even had a phone. All they knew was that on Monday nights, outside St. Nicholas Church in downtown Leipzig, people gathered to voice their anger at the state. And the primary determinant of who showed up was “critical friends”—the more friends you had who were critical of the regime the more likely you were to join the protest. ....... There is strength in weak ties ... Our acquaintances—not our friends—are our greatest source of new ideas and information. The Internet lets us exploit the power of these kinds of distant connections with marvellous efficiency........ “The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change” ...... Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice. We are a long way from the lunch counters of Greensboro........ the civil-rights movement was more like a military campaign than like a contagion ...... Possible locations for activism were scouted. Plans were drawn up. Movement activists held training sessions and retreats for would-be protesters...... When the sit-in movement spread from Greensboro throughout the South, it did not spread indiscriminately. It spread to those cities which had preëxisting “movement centers”—a core of dedicated and trained activists ready to turn the “fever” into action. ...... a challenge to the establishment mounted with precision and discipline...... a carefully demarcated division of labor, with various standing committees and disciplined groups. ...... Facebook and the like are tools for building networks, which are the opposite, in structure and character, of hierarchies. Unlike hierarchies, with their rules and procedures, networks aren’t controlled by a single central authority. Decisions are made through consensus, and the ties that bind people to the group are loose....... Wikipedia is a perfect example. It doesn’t have an editor, sitting in New York, who directs and corrects each entry. The effort of putting together each entry is self-organized. ...... Car companies sensibly use a network to organize their hundreds of suppliers, but not to design their cars. ...... establish central leadership, trust, and camaraderie through regular, face-to-face meetings....... if you’re taking on a powerful and organized establishment you have to be a hierarchy ....... Even the White Citizens Council, King later said, conceded that the carpool system moved with “military precision.” By the time King came to Birmingham, for the climactic showdown with Police Commissioner Eugene (Bull) Connor, he had a budget of a million dollars, and a hundred full-time staff members on the ground, divided into operational units. The operation itself was divided into steadily escalating phases, mapped out in advance. Support was maintained through consecutive mass meetings rotating from church to church around the city....... The moment even one protester deviates from the script and responds to provocation, the moral legitimacy of the entire protest is compromised....... a town where ninety-eight per cent of the black community could be reached every Sunday morning at church? The things that King needed in Birmingham—discipline and strategy—were things that online social media cannot provide

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Sarah Palin: Palin 2012: Rogue

Palin is gearing to run for president. That part is obvious. This is going to be the first serious run by a woman not a former president's wife, although Hillary is a big talent in her own right. I hope more women - in political size - like Palin emerge on the progressive side as well.

I have a feeling it might be Barack versus Palin in 2012. I am on Barack's side, of course. Barack will win by a Reagan landslide.

The word for McCain was maverick, the word for Palin is rogue. It was not mere coincidence Palin ended up on the ticket. Maverick-Rogue is a ticket.

If she runs for president in 2012 - I am certain she will - and loses - I am certain she will - she is over. She can't run for president again in 2016. She can't not run in 2012. There will have been too much build up.

At the end of the day, Palin will have made her mark not as a politician, but an an entrepreneur. I find her inspiring. I want to make a few millions doing political work myself. (Selling 5% Of Nobel For 50K)

Palin's political rise and shine shows the pro anti choice life thing no longer defines the gender debate in America. That is settled. Abortion is legal. And it will stay that way. Palin is running on the fulcrums of faith, family, work, small government. Progressive women have to run on faith, family, work, agile government. Gender talk is now co-opting the men of their very non gender specific issues. That is Palin's contribution to gender.

How Sarah Palin Is Winning the War With(in) the GOP: mirror-still Lake Lucille ..... what she terms the "lamestream media" ...... Her "rambling resignation speech should take her off the political map for the duration of the Obama era," wrote conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat .... "It is not clear what her strategy here is by exiting the governorship 2½ years through the term," Karl Rove said on one of its shows. He pronounced himself "perplexed" by her rush for "the national stage that she may not yet be prepared to operate in." ...... She has earned an estimated $9 million by talking and writing ..... she has just wrapped a reality show about Alaska (pocketing $2 million for the effort) ...... the most famous and charismatic Republican in America ..... Palin denounced the "old boys' club" ...... like a hunter knowing where the bear is — without knowing precisely how she knows — her gut veered further right a year ago. After flirting with Washington, she retreated to Alaska and became more involved with, and a de facto leader of, the Tea Party movement..... She cyber-brandishes her power directly to her followers via a stream of Facebook posts and tweets ..... he likes being unpredictable: in many cases, her endorsements take even the candidates themselves by surprise ..... she seems politically sure-footed, riding the Tea Party wave like a skilled surfer

After Alaska: Sarah Palin's Year of Living Large: Knee deep in financial troubles, embroiled in ethics complaints and in the middle of a nasty, public he-said-she-said fallout with team McCain, the Thrilla from Wasilla traded in a modestly paid government spot for the chance to "fight for what's right" without any fancy title. One year later, Palin finds herself $12 million richer, the "Mama Grizzly" of America's Tea Party movement, a buzzed-about 2012 presidential hopeful and front and center in the nation's political stage. ....She taunts Obama supporters, asking, "How is that hopey-changey stuff working out for you?" .... Obama's days of "big government ... big debt" are over. "We're not going to sit down and shut up," she cries, adding, "It's time to reload!" ....... backing a host of Tea Party candidates, including Nikki Haley (for South Carolina governor) ..... 55% of the nation views Palin unfavorably and 71% still think she is unqualified to be President.

How Palin Is like Clinton
Attn. Media and Politicians: It's All About Palin: she can dominate the news cycle with a single tweet and generate three days of coverage with a single speech ..... the mistake you are making is to assume that Palin needs or wants to play by the standard rules of American politics. Or that it even occurs to her to do so. ..... The past 22 months have been replete with situations in which Palin has refused to adhere to the conventional playbook of presidential contenders and party honchos. ...... All of you are certain she can't win the presidency — and as of today you are right. But the nomination is another kettle of salmon

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Protest Rally At The UN

I showed up at the Iran protest rally. Guess what, I got to catch a glimpse of Barack. Had not seen the dude in a while. I got to see him. He was being driven out of the UN. Traffic had been blocked. And of course they do it in a way that you can not guess which particular car he is in. But he waved. I saw.

I created a Facebook page right before I headed out for the event, and I collected a bunch of email addresses of activists while I was at the event.

It was a smallish event. But then so were the Nepal events back in 2005.

I came across some predictable attitudes. People are opposed to raising money for the cause. I am for raising big money, I am for a resource rich, sophisticated movement. People are opposed to creating an umbrella organization or two. There are so many disparate groups. There is much "sectarianism" among Iran democracy activists, as someone pointed out.

My role is going to be digital. And that can happen 24/7. But there is so much you miss out when you don't meet people in person, when you don't talk to people on the phone. You have to approach the movement from many different angles.

I learned the primary Iran diaspora action is in Europe, not the US.

September 23 Iran Democracy Protests NYC

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Barack Obama: Big Deal

Competing With Hillary Now
The Madonna Of Global Politics
BERLIN - JULY 24:  Presumptive Democratic pres...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Google News turns eight The 2008 election of President Obama takes the cake as the biggest news story since Google News was born. (Google News)

See I told you, Barack Obama is kind of a big deal.

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Selling 5% Of Nobel For 50K

@sethpriebatsch Read NYT piece on u. Buy 5% of my Nobel Peace Prize for 50K (Tweet)

I must not have a knack for collecting many small dollar donations. Yet another proof that I am not exactly a politician. I am extremely political. But I am not a politician. For one, I don't seem to enjoy hanging out with the herds of them. I am more comfortable with people emailing back, tweeting back.

This guy calls himself Chief Ninja. I call myself a digital ninja/commando. (Claiming A Netroots/Grassroots Leadership Role With Iran Democracy Movement)
Just Manic Enough: Seeking Perfect Entrepreneurs: a hypomanic episode..... symptoms include grandiosity, an elevated and expansive mood, racing thoughts and little need for sleep.... He can work 96 hours in a row. .... a thin line separates the temperament of a promising entrepreneur from a person who could use, as they say in psychiatry, a little help. ..... just crazy enough .... “If you’re manic, you think you’re Jesus. If you’re hypomanic, you think you are God’s gift to technology investing.” ..... Instead of recklessness, the entrepreneur loves risk. Instead of delusions, the entrepreneur imagines a product that sounds so compelling that it inspires people to bet their careers, or a lot of money, on something that doesn’t exist and may never sell. ..... Next Zuckerberg Syndrome — the urge to find another Mark Zuckerberg before he starts another Facebook. ...... He does not socialize. He no longer reads books, nor does he watch TV or movies. He works from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., seven days a week. ....... Jobs is also routinely described as a despot and control freak with a terrifying temper .... He is a gifted software engineer but a terrible driver. (“I hit things,” he says.) He’s perfectly at ease negotiating with V.C.’s, but has had just one girlfriend .... “I want to build the game layer on top of the world.”

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My Man Barack Is FDR, Not Carter

Walter Mondale as U.S. Ambassador to JapanImage via WikipediaThe 2010 mid-term election is like FDR's mid-term election of 1938.
Wall Street Journal: The Carter-Obama Comparisons Grow: it's time for the president "to get rid of those teleprompters and connect" with voters. Another of Mr. Obama's clear errors has been to turn over the drafting of key legislation to the Democratic Congress: "That doesn't work even when you own Congress," he said. "You have to ride 'em." ..... Mr. Obama, like Mr. Carter in his 1976 campaign, "promised a transformational presidency, a new accommodation with religion, a new centrism, a changed tone." .... Pat Caddell, who was Mr. Carter's pollster while he was in the White House, thinks some comparisons between the two men are overblown. ..... the president's ability to pull himself out of a political tailspin is hampered by his resistance to seek out fresh thinking. ..... Democrats need no reminding that Mr. Carter wound up costing them dearly in 1978 and 1980 as Republicans made major gains in Congress.
"Walter Mondale himself sees a parallel," starts the Wall Street Journal article. Now I know who to listen to. Mr. Reagan Landslide.
Wall Street Journal: Summers to Step Down:Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner appears to be the last of the top "economic principals" who came into the White House with Mr. Obama.
GOP, Tea Party Unity Spells Defeat For Obama: Tea party voters have been incited to political action by the policies of the Obama administration and the Pelosi-Reid Congress. These include a heretofore unimaginable federal spending spree, a failed package of stimulus programs, a government takeover of our health-care system, and the Democrats' insistence on raising taxes, particularly on job creators, even though job creation is our country's greatest need...... Sen. Lisa Murkowski lost the GOP primary in Alaska to Joe Miller. Now she's launched a write-in campaign to get re-elected.
Top Republican Cites Concerns for GOP's Senate Chances: while Republicans could seize control of the U.S. House, "the chances of a [GOP] majority in the Senate may not be that great .... Bill Clinton said the tea-party's popularity is understandable in this environment. The movement "reflects the feeling of a lot of Americans that they're getting the shaft"
Primary Shows Divide Among City Democrats: Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Queens Democrat, said Ms. Saujani "built a campaign on being pro-Wall Street, and I think the problem was that's not where citizens are. Even New Yorkers understand it's in their best interests to reform Wall Street.''..... According to internal polling data from the Maloney campaign, 20% of residents in the district said the financial industry was their primary source of household income. Yet the same polling found that 75% felt the industry needed more effective regulation.
The Onion: Poll: 1 In 5 Americans Believe Obama Is A Cactus

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 23 Iran Democracy Protests NYC

Say No to Ahmadinejad's presence at UN General Assembly September 23
Ahmadinejad does not represent the Iranian people

September 23, 2010

September 20, 2010

Union for Advancement of Secular Democracy in Iran (UASDI) is planning protest actions against Ahmadinjed's presence at UN General Assembly.

Schedule of the Events


1. Rally @ UN: Caravans from several cities have been organized to arrive at the UN on September 23rd to protest Ahmadinejad's presence at UN General Assembly. We are calling on all freedom loving Iranians in North America as well as freedom loving Americans to join our protest of Ahmadinejad's appearance at the UN General Assembly and join us in calling for the establishment of a secular democracy and abolishment of all forms of discrimination in Iran. [1]
Date: September 23, 2010
Time: 2:30-5:30 PM
Place: 47th Street and 1st Avenue

Rally media contact: Farid Ashkan 718-309-1996

2. Sept 23 Presentation of collage to United Nations asking for end to torture and execution in Iran.
When: Sept. 23 @ United Nations annual assembly
Where: 47th St and 1st Avenue
Agenda: 2:30-5:30 keynote speakers and presentation of 3,000 plus signatures from citizens of US and Canada
Who: Thousands of citizens of US and Canada rally to protest violation of human rights in Iran during Ahmadinejads visit to the U.S.
Demands from United Nations to be read aloud in front of United Nations building, as stated below

On sept. 23 thousands will gather in front of United Nations building (47th St. and First Ave.)
We call upon Secretary Gen. Ban Ki-Moon and High commissioner Navatnam Pillay to take urgent measures to protect human rights of Iranian citizens:

• To appoint special Envoy for fact finding mission on the condition of political prisoners to investigate claims of torture and cruel conditions in Iran's prisons.
• Meet with Members of Bar Association in Iran investigating their restrictions and inability to defend their clients.
• Transmitting urgent appeals and communications to the Islamic Republic of Iran to release all political detainees.

Collage media Contact:Negeene Mosaed 760-217-6001

3. Aerial Advertisement: A small airplane will carry a banner against the Islamic republic and Ahmadinejad along East River (New York City] from 5-6:30 PM on September 23rd.
Media Contact: Kourosh Parsa: 203-570-6964

4. Rally @ Hilton East Hotel: Ahmadinejad and his entourage are staying at this Hotel.
Date: September 23, 2010
Time: 7-8 PM
Place: 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue
Across Hilton East Hotel
Rally media contact: Kourosh Parsa: 203-570-6964

5. Promotion Video: While the 6 minutes promotion video is in Persian, it portrays the human rights violations in the Islamic Republic in the past 31 years. The 6 minutes video is a human rights violations indictment of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Video production media contact: PanteA Bahrami: 1-646-575-3690

6. Mobile Billboard: A truck will be driving through New York City downtown area on September 23rd between 9 AM-4 PM to publicize our campaign against Human rights violations in Iran. Call our media contact for truck route in New York City:
Mobile Billboard media contact: Mehrab Z. Dero 404-483-0256

7. Petition: UASDI is asking the delegates from different countries at the UN General Assembly to refuse to honor Ahmadinejad's presence at the UN by boycotting his speech to the General Assembly.
Contact: Jaleh Behrouzi 703-340-7726

8. Campaign Website:

9. Facebook Link:!/event.php?eid=122700294447032&ref=mf
Union for Advancement of Secular Democracy in Iran (North America)
(The Union is composed of Iranian-American and Iranian-Canadian organizations and groups from across North America, who have a shared belief in, and advocate the principles of democracy, the separation of religion and state, and the full implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Iran.)

For more information on upcoming actions in New York City, Please call 404-483-0256
Media Contact:

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Shout Allah O Akbar From The Rooftops Every Night 10-10:30 PM

I believe this has to be the next big grassroots push for the democracy movement in Iran. Urge people to shout Allah O Akbar from their rooftops every night from 10-10:30 PM. We have to do this until we hear the shout from most homes in all towns and cities across the land of Iran.

Then it will be high time to ask people to come out into the streets all over again.

But before we do that, we have a lot of political homework to do. A revolution needs a purpose. A revolution has to have a goal. A revolution needs an action plan.

The Iranian diaspora has to get organized. The global netroots/grassroots has to get organized. We need to raise money, lots of money. There are enormous logistical details involved.

Mousavi has to come around to the new goal. The goal no longer is to hold again the fraudulent elections. The goal now is regime change. This Iranian regime has to make way for a new interim government that will hold elections to a constituent assembly. That is the new goal. The Iranian diaspora has its political work cut out to rally the Iranian diaspora around that new goal. The political organizations inside Iran have to come around to this new goal.

There is no point in calling the people out into the streets before this basic political homework is done. Maybe even the shouting from the rooftops can wait a little while. Let's get down to the political work. Let's get it done.

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To: The Ayatollah

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pelosi Should Pass Election Reform To Keep Job

The Huffington Post: Election Reform As A Way To Put Republicans On The Spot: pass the Fair Elections Now Act, which likely to be voted out of committee next Thursday .... 165 co-sponsors and at least 40 more supporters, would give matching money to candidates who agreed to raise only small donations. It even has three Republican co-sponsors. ...... So far in this election cycle, House and Senate candidates have raised $1.2 billion dollars, and the money arms-race only grows. ..... Under the proposed Act, a candidate who raised small donations from at least 1,500 small donors contributing no more than $100 each for a total of at least $50,000 could get matching money, at a 4-to-1 ratio ..... As much as $3 million in public financing would be available -- enough to be competitive on most House races. The money wouldn't come from tax dollars, but from a special levy on the auctioning of broadcast spectrum
Of all things Pelosi could do between now and the November date, this would top the list. This is smaller than immigration reform and bigger than doing nothing. This is just the right size thing to do.

And with Charlie Rangel sleep walking to jail time after Bill Clinton sent out a robocall on his behalf right before the September 14 primary, the Dems badly need something that shows they stand on the side of politically clean. This bill would be it.

Pelosi can't do the stump speech thing that Obama does. That we should leave to Obama. But this House thing is Pelosi territory. She can get this done just like she got health care reform done and she got finance reform done.

The Dems need this bad.

The fear is not that the Tea Party might out think Obama. They have no plans to out think. Their plan is to numb the American people to not think anything. Their plan is to use racially coded language and imagery to get the American people to think that perhaps the guy in the Oval Office is not one of us.

If the Dems can turn this into an election about ideas and the future, that will lead to victory.

Obama does not need a victory in November. The Dems losing in November puts him in a better situation to win reelection in 2012. It is the American people who need Obama to win, who need Pelosi to be able to keep her job. And this election bill will help.
The Huffington Post: Obama Challenges Tea Party: 'Specifically, What Would You Do?': Obama, in no uncertain terms, accused the movement's members of refusing to talk in specifics. ..... We had two tax cuts that weren't paid for, two wars that weren't paid for. We've got a population that's getting older. We're all demanding services, but our taxes have actually substantially gone down." ..... What you can't do, which is what I've been hearing a lot from the other side, is we're going to control government spending, we're going to propose $4 trillion of additional tax cuts .... Obama does seem to operate at his best when facing inherently adversarial questions (recall the positive coverage he received for going to a Republican conference in Baltimore during the height of the health care debate).

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