Category Archives: Democratic Messaging

Interview with Kim Williams of Indie Media Weekly

Kim Williams during her U.S. Air Force days

Kim Williams during her U.S. Air Force days

Indie media mogul. How else to describe Kim Williams, who manages her own online network showcasing a growing roster of progressive and creative talent? Kim has had an amazing, sometimes bumpy, journey from the Reddest of states to the first Iraq War to her current position as curator of online goodness (disclosure: Messaging Matters, as well as the “Turn Up the Night with Kenny Pick” show for which the author is a co-host, are both featured at Kim’s Indie Media Weekly site). We recently caught up with Kim, and we were exhilarated by her accomplishments as well as her views. We think you will be too:

The solar energy explosion of 2015

Solar installation on Walmart store, Mountain View, CA

Solar installation on Walmart store, Mountain View, CA

Did you notice a lot more solar panels in 2014, on homes, schools, shopping malls, street lights, road signs, public lands and elsewhere? If so, you weren’t imagining things. Solar energy installations are taking off in the United States and elsewhere around the world, to the point where 2015 is shaping up to be the Year of Solar Power. Take a look at some of the recent growth in solar energy:

Republicans begin new year in extreme ways

Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise

Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise

Republicans, who won big in last November’s elections, have already trotted out extreme positions, statements and behavior for the new year. If this trend of GOP extremism continues, it could be one of the biggest issues of 2015.

High-water mark for President Obama and the Democrats

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama bring toys to support U.S. Marine Corps Toys For Tots

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama bring toys to support U.S. Marine Corps Toys For Tots

Take note of December 2014 as the high-water mark for President Barack Obama, the Democrats in Congress, and the United States itself. Starting in January 2015, when Republicans take over the U.S. Senate, life in America could get much worse.

Conservatives and liberals finally agree: they hate CRomnibus

CRomnibus opponent Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

CRomnibus opponent Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Conservatives and Liberals finally agree on one thing: they hate the $1.1 trillion continuing resolution of the omnibus federal spending bill (nicknamed “CRomnibus”) designed to fund the U.S. federal government through September 2015. However, conservatives and liberals oppose the bill for different reasons. Strolling through the Twitter hashtag #CRominbus, as well as reading and hearing statements from various quarters, is quite revealing.

President Obama’s stunning comeback on immigration

Rally for Immigration Reform, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2010

Rally for Immigration Reform, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2010

Americans might be calling President Barack Obama the Comeback Kid. After historic mid-term election losses for his Democratic Party just over two weeks ago, President Obama, with a 15-minute announcement last night, has now maneuvered himself into the position of (a) going on offense by taking action on immigration reform; (b) igniting the hopes and the hearts of millions of Latino Americans, who comprise one of the fasting growing voting blocs in the U.S.; and (c) making the Republicans look both lazy and mean at the same time.

The Democrats’ ticking time bomb

Hillary Clinton, 67, at Tom Harkin Steak Fry, September 2014

Hillary Clinton, 67, at Tom Harkin Steak Fry, September 2014

The post-election analysis of the Democratic Party’s massive losses has covered numerous factors, including Republican dark money, a lack of a unified Democratic message, and historic trends for the sixth year of a two-term incumbent president. Some pundits say “just wait until 2016″ when the Democrats will make a stunning comeback, winning the White House and retaking the U.S. Senate. However, few of these analysts mention a potential time bomb that could spoil the Democrats’ 2016 election chances. That time bomb is age.

An issue-based approach for Democrats and progressives

Wake Up and Vote for Democrats poster

Wake Up and Vote for Democrats poster

Mainstream Democratic and progressive voters don’t agree on everything, but they all seemed to agree on one thing after last Tuesday’s elections: the Democratic Party let them down. Democratic officeholders and candidates running for election ran away from President Obama and his agenda. One example was Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic challenger to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Grimes not only refused to assert that she had voted for President Obama, she was reluctant to tout the stunning success of the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky (known as Kynect), and instead began most answers by naming problems with the ACA that need fixing.

Running away from the President’s record in 2014 made no sense for Democrats, as President Obama’s agenda literally was the Democrats’ agenda. Every law that President Obama signed, from the Stimulus to the Affordable Care Act, was something that a majority in Congress, and certainly a majority of Democrats in Congress, first had to pass. Perhaps some Democrats need to go back and read their Constitution, or watch Schoolhouse Rock.

Framing the new Republican majority

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R)

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R)

President Barack Obama and other White House officials (such as Communications Director  Jennifer Palmieri and Press Secretary Josh Earnest) have been quick to characterize Tuesday’s Republican Election Night victories as the beginning of a period of Republicans being “partners in governing” the United States. For example, at his post-election press conference on Wednesday, President Obama said:

… So I look forward to Republicans putting forward their governing agenda…. I am very eager to hear Republican ideas for what they think we can do together over the next couple of years…. I’m looking forward to them putting forward a very specific agenda in terms of what they would like to accomplish…. And what we’re going to make sure that we do is to reach out to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, who are now running both chambers in Congress, and find out what their agenda is. And my hope is, is that they’ve got some specific things they want to do that correspond with some things that we want to get done…. They’re the majority. They need to present their agenda.

This is an important Democratic frame, because, up to now, the Republicans have acted as a minority party even though they held a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. However, President Obama tried this “shared responsibility” frame once before, after Republicans took over the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, and the frame did not stick. The question is whether Republicans will be held responsible for co-governing now that they will also run the U.S. Senate.

The nihilism election

Vote Nihilism

Vote Nihilism

Ve believe in nossing, Lebowski. Nossing. And tomorrow ve come back and ve cut off your chonson.
–The Big Lebowski, 1998

What to make of last night’s mid-term election? Democrats never articulated a positive unifying theme. Most of the Democrats’ endless fundraising appeals tried to scare supporters about the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove pouring millions of dollars into Republican campaigns. Republicans ran a national campaign on a unifying theme, but that theme — “President Obama is bad” — was also wholly negative. Most voters didn’t vote for anything.