Thursday, October 17, 2013

Michelle Nunn, extortionist Fellow Traveler, can't tell Georgia voters the truth.

The Government shutdown and the Democratic US Senate candidate Michelle Nunn's response to it was the straw that broke this Teamsters back so to speak.

Straight out of the gate the Nunn campaign was hyping up Fix the Debt talking points. But what was worse was in the middle of the #GOPshutdown Nunn decided to side with the hostage takers.

I caught three things today which reminded me that Nunn's style of politics---to poll test ones way to 50% + 1 of the vote is a failed strategy for Georgia Democrats which will undermine our efforts to reach out to and gain support from rural areas of Georgia. This is an area of Georgia which Democrats lost over the past 3 decades due to the Democratic Parties tactic of aligning with Wall Street rather than an economic populism that puts a strong economy for all, before the needs and interests of the 1%.

First Krugman writes that the Fix the Debt crew is still beating a dead horse on the debt even after the shutdown. A horse that was rode into the ground by Ted Cruz and his Tea Party crazies...

Extortionist Fellow-Travelers - 

Alec MacGillis attends a Fix the Debt event, and is awed to find everyone still saying the same old things:
Fix the Debt officials spoke as if they have had no role in bringing us to this point – as if, to the contrary, we arrived at this point precisely because we were not listening to them. Compared to them, the second-guessing Republicans on the Hill Wednesday were models of candor and self-awareness.
Actually, it’s even worse than he says (a line I find myself using a lot these days.) Fix the Debt didn’t just help create a climate of crisis with its fearmongering over the deficit; the fiscal scolds actively cheered GOP hostage-taking in 2011, and were still lending support to hostage tactics this time around.
Furthermore, neutrality is not an option here. If one political party attempts to defy due process and extract concessions from the other party by threatening financial and economic catastrophe, and your response is to condemn partisanship in the abstract and suggest that both sides are equally to blame, you are in effect lending cover to the hostage-takers.
In other words, Fix the Debt isn’t just ineffectual in its pursuit of a Grand Bargain, it’s an actively malign force in our politics, in effect acting as an ally of the extortionists.
When push came to shove in the middle of the crisis; Nunn didn't have the integrity to call a spade a spade and acknowledge to Georgia voters that the Tea Party fringe had hijacked the governing process.  Nor focus on the unemployment crisis we face in the state.

I've been impressed with the willingness of Dr Rad to engage conservative voters and get through some of their frustration so that they can see that he's fighting for them.  It takes listening and time.  It takes engagement; and I'm convinced Dr Rad is willing to do the hard work to win over many of the Tea Party ilk in Georgia.

Nunn's public relations model of politics just finds a position conservatives approve of; rather than tell them something they might not like to hear--that a radical fringe in Congress is to blame for the current crisis we face.  We don't face a debt crisis, we face a political crisis, and Michelle Nunn is making our problems worse by lying to voters; she is undermining the long term efforts to rebuild trust and faith in the capacity of Government to Govern.

Next along these lines I caught Barry Ritholtz who basically laid out Michelle Nunn's arguments to voters if she truly cared as much about the deficits as she claims but was willing to be upfront and honest with voters.  But you won't see her campaign to raise taxes and cut spending any time soon--"leadership" and volunteering are easier to talk about.  Platitudes are the easy way out; but voters need and deserve the truth...

The Truth about Deficits:
If you are truly concerned about deficit, then what you must do is (eventually) raise taxes and cut spending — that is how you balance the budget.
Current deficit is now ~$550B, down from over $1T.  Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote “We are baffled by the idea that the pace of deficit reduction needs to be increased, given how rapidly the picture is improving already.”
If the tax cuts from 2001, 2003 were repealed, half of that deficit goes away.
If the FICA cap is lifted from $113k and allowed to rise to $250k or $500k, SS is solvent for 75 years.
If the US no longer spent the equivalent of the next 20 countries COMBINED on Defense, a huge chunk of the deficit goes away.
The US now spends 2X what most developed nations spend on healthcare. If you are concerned about the long term debt, than you must develop a system that radically lowers US health care costs, bringing them into line with what other industrialized nations spend.
You cannot tax cut your way to fiscal solvency in a weak economy any more than you can spend your way there in a slow recovery. However, you can make the deficit worse with poorly timed tax increases or poorly timed spending cuts.
My read of the current situation is that it has nothing to do with the deficit. The past votes of the current Deficit Peacocks reveal that it is not important to them. Unfunded tax cuts (2001, ’03), expensive wars of choice (most recently, Iraq), and unfunded entitlements (Medicare Part D) reveal that most of the people currently clamoring about the deficit have precisely zero interest in reducing it. They are merely using the deficit as a tool to pursue their ideology.
The current debate has revealed two things: Some people very much want a MUCH smaller government, including much lower taxes. But, they know that is very unpopular among the broad public when you start specifying what to actually cut. It is an ideological goal with which most of the country disagrees. So, the argument that appears more reasonable is to come out against deficits.
Have a look at Center of American Politics – Statistics and Numbers on American Politics from Esquire. While there are some areas of overlap, its pretty clear that the Tea Party is so out of step with most of the USA.
Want to fix the deficit? Then make the hard choices to cut spending and raise taxes (even if you implement this in later years).
Want to have a much smaller US government? The way to do that is not with the deficit or the debt ceiling or other misdirected tactics — instead, try having an honest debate on the subject, and see if you can convince a majority of your fellow Americans to that view . . .
 Ezra Klein reminded me of something, its not going to require manipulating public opinion to get just enough "conservative" street cred to win a US Senate race.  Democrats if they want to get serious need long term education and engagement with rural voters not a public relations campaign that takes advantage of the political momentum Democrats appear to have at the moment:

The shutdown probably won’t matter in the 2014 election. It definitely won’t matter in 2016
First, basically nothing matters in elections. Once you account forpartisanship, the economy, presidential approval and incumbency, there's very little vote left to swing. The main mistake the political class makes about elections is vastly overstating their volatility. But partisan preferences are overwhelmingly stable, and the voters who don't have strong preferences tend to be pretty checked out of day-to-day political events.
 No no, we shouldn't sacrifice the truth in order to win a US Senate race.   Sorry Team Nunn manipulation is not a winning tactic.

Nunn's campaign is dead in the water for any honest Democratic primary voter.  There is too much at stake.

We have two choices.  Invest in a candidate willing to out organize Nunn and donate to Dr Rad, someone willing to be open and honest with Republican voters and work real hard (I'm a monthly sustaining donor).  Or draft a name that can run a pro-gun economic populist campaign vs Republicans and can "win" against Nunn on the name recognition front.  Since the 1% have the Georgia Democratic primary on lockdown I'd argue you do both and see which gains steam faster with the demos, because letting Nunn out of the primary is not a viable option for Democrats.
Lets call this the all of the above Strategy.  None of us deserve Nunn on the ballot come next November.

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