Closing 2014 election arguments against the Republicans

The 2014 elections are only 16 weeks away. That means you’re going to be hearing all kinds of noise in the media — from kids with Ebola to Benghazi to lawsuits against President Obama. The Republicans will do everything to distract from the real issues on which they are vulnerable. So it’s time for Democrats to focus.

We already suggested back in February of this year that the Democrats needed a positive unifying theme for the 2014 elections. You can judge whether the Democrats came through. But now it’s time for the flip side as well: the Democrats need a unifying attack theme against the Republicans that they can focus on for the next four months. Here is our simple two-part suggestion:

Boehner lawsuit against President Obama backfires big time

Sad John Boehner

Sad John Boehner

Last week, Republican House Speaker John Boehner confirmed that he plans to file a lawsuit against President Barack Obama for Obama’s use of executive orders. The reaction to Boehner’s lawsuit threat has been a combination of derision and ridicule for Republicans, and more money for the Democrats.

Conference call with Senator Harry Reid on getting money out of politics

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Last night, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) held a conference call featuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, about efforts to pass a Constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions which have flooded our elections with “dark money.” Also on the call were Rob Weissman of Public Citizen, Marge Baker, who is Executive Vice President of People for the American Way, Larry Cohen, the President of CWA, and Bob Master, CWA’s District 1 (Northeast) Political Director.

The Neocons’ Iraq War is like that awful movie ‘Battlefield Earth’

With Neocons hitting the airwaves to promote another Iraq War, you might be reminded of the movie “Battlefield Earth” (2000):

Did video help defeat Eric Cantor?

As we said over three years ago in Messaging Maxim #3, There’s an Invention Called Video, some Republicans (older white male Republicans in particular) seem to have trouble grasping the fact that statements they make on video are forever, and can come back to haunt them. This week, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor may have been hurt by the video maxim in a different way: being overly cautious about what he put on video.

Republicans are the party of “EXCEPT”

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Republicans “support the troops” EXCEPT Bowe Bergdahl.

Republicans are “pro-life” EXCEPT once a baby is born, then he’s on his own.

Republicans believe in “law and order” EXCEPT when it comes to keeping guns away from violent criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill.

Republicans believe in the “sanctity of marriage” EXCEPT between gay couples.

Republicans believe in “family values” EXCEPT when GOP officials are caught cheating on their spouses or frequenting prostitutes.

Republicans believe in “smaller government” and “lower spending” EXCEPT when a Republican is in the White House.

Republicans are “pro-business” EXCEPT when it comes to helping business by repairing America’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Republicans “believe in the Constitution” EXCEPT when federal law requires grazing fees on federal land.

Republicans are “tough on crime” EXCEPT when it comes to white-collar crime by bankers.

Republicans “fight terrorism” EXCEPT when it’s right-wing domestic terrorism.

Republicans believe in “free speech” EXCEPT when it comes to revealing genetically-modified foods, donors to right-wing dark money groups, or information women need when they’re pregnant.

Photo by Pargon, used under Creative Commons license. http://is.gd/G4VJ4w

The Obama White House message on climate change

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On Wednesday night, Organizing for Action (OFA), the grassroots organization that pushes for President Obama‘s agenda, held a conference call to discuss the Obama administration’s proposed new Environmental Protection Agency rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The call featured Rohan Patel, who is special assistant to President Obama and White House Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Patel spoke about what the Obama administration seeks to accomplish with the new EPA rules, as well as the White House messaging on climate change.

For climate change reality, watch the insurance companies and local officials

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley speaks at Maryland Climate Change Summit, 2013

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley speaks at Maryland Climate Change Summit, 2013

The Obama Administration’s latest move to battle climate change — new Environmental Protection Agency rules designed to cut power plant emissions by 30 percent — will likely set off a Republican response not unlike their response to the Affordable Care Act. We can expect lies, delays and lawsuits from Republicans and their Big Coal corporate backers to block the EPA rules. However, while many Republicans have the luxury of being climate change deniers to score political points, insurance companies and state and local officials do not have this luxury. Even insurance companies run by Republicans, and Republican state and local officials, will have to deal with the actual effects of climate change, such as an increase in claims by homeowners and business owners for damage related to rising sea levels, storm surges and fires, increased health care claims, and state and local budgets depleted by disaster response and rebuilding. That’s why it will be important to watch what these insurance company executives and public officials do.

The media frenzy over the UCSB shooting frenzy

Gun play

Gun play

The University of California Santa Barbara killings by Elliot Rodger should have unleashed a unified national outcry to break the mental illness/gun accessibility chain, as exhibited by Richard Martinez, father of one of Elliot’s victims, Chris Martinez. Instead, some feminist writers have gone off on a tangent that has led to a separate media frenzy. From slamming so-called “pickup artists” to blaming the shootings on Seth Rogen/Judd Apatow movies, these articles appear to glom existing feminist theories onto a tragedy, or worse, as Judd Apatow tweeted about Ann Hornaday‘s Washington Post article, “She uses tragedy to promote herself with idiotic thoughts.” In this case, such theories are woefully off base, and threaten to drive a wedge between men and women on an issue on which we all should agree.

CNN’s harvest of shame

CNN‘s desperate attempts to raise its flagging ratings have led to actions that can be viewed as either sad or comical. CNN spent months devoting the majority of its coverage to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, MH 370, beyond all reasonable proportion given that there were no new developments for days on end. The result was hours of cringworthy speculation, including the infamous moment where Don Lemon asked:

[W]hat if it was something, fully, that we don’t really understand? A lot of people have been asking me about that, about black holes and on and on and on, and all these conspiracy theories. Let’s look at this, ah, Noah says, ‘what else can you think? Black hole? Bermuda triangle?’ And then Deji says, ‘Huh? Just like in the movie LOST?’ It’s also referencing the Twilight Zone, which is a very similar plot. That’s what people are saying…  is it preposterous…?

Now that even CNN has had to curtail its MH 370 coverage due to lack of any news, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker recently gave some hints as to his plans for CNN’s direction. What emerged is an audience-driven format that seems to bear little resemblance to actual news coverage.