Tag Archive: Barack Obama

Messaging Maxim #8: Don’t use the other side’s labels

Protesters opposing Arizona anti-immigrant law

Protesters opposing Arizona anti-immigrant law

Republicans and conservatives, which are curently one and the same, love to come up with short, catchy labels for things. Here’s a list of popular Republican political phrases. Those labels and phrases are always loaded, either in favor of the Republicans, against the Democrats, or both. So, if you’re a Democrat, a liberal or a progressive, why would you ever use those Republican labels, making them even more popular so they get taken up by the mainstream media and become part of our vernacular? The answer is, you shouldn’t. But plenty of Democrats, liberals and progressives are making this mistake lately. Here are a few examples of Republican-loaded phrases that Democrats, and thus the mainstream media, are using all over the place. Hopefully, these will serve as a reminder to cut it out:

The Democratic Party of Yes vs. the Republican Party of No

Ku Klux Klan march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL

Ku Klux Klan march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL

Last Saturday’s event at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, marking the 50th anniversary of the civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, was a jarring reminder of how the Democratic Party has become the party of “Yes” while the Republican Party stands in the way of progress as the party of “No.”

On issue after issue, including voting rights, marriage equality, affordable healthcare, equal pay for women, diplomacy instead of warmongering with Iran, tackling climate change, comprehensive immigration reform, sensible gun safety laws, high-speed trains, stopping police violence, renewable energy and more, the Democrats are the party of “Yes” while the Republicans define themselves by being against these things, and especially, being against whatever President Obama is for. Republicans now pathologically say “no” to things even if, as is the case with the Affordable Care Act, repairing America’s crumbling roads and bridges, and executive action on immigration, Republicans previously (even recently) supported those very things.

Republicans on a losing streak

Republican Presidential hopeful Scott Walker in London

Republican Presidential hopeful Scott Walker in London

If someone had told you that, in the months after the Republican Party’s historic 2014 Congressional election wins, Republicans would suffer one self-inflicted defeat and embarrassment after another, you might have told that person that he was nuts. But that is exactly what has happened to the Republican Party since last November’s elections. Here are some of the highlights, or more accurately, lowlights:

President Obama’s striking town hall meeting on immigration

Protester at 2010 immigration reform rally

Protester at 2010 immigration reform rally

Yesterday, President Barack Obama participated in a town hall meeting on immigration, hosted by Jose Diaz-Barlart of Telemundo network and held before an audience at Florida International University in Miami. The Obama town hall meeting, broadcast on Telemundo and MSNBC, was striking for several reasons:

First, Diaz-Balart (who was shrill and seemed to be yelling much of the time) and some members of the audience displayed a shocking lack of knowledge about how the United States government works. They need to reread their U.S. Constitution, or at least watch Schoolhouse Rock. For example, Diaz-Balart seemed exasperated at the Obama administration that a federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked Obama’s recent executive action on immigration (which would suspend many deportations in order to keep families together) from taking place. Diaz-Balart asked Obama:

How long will it take?  Because a lot of people are asking.  They said, we were 24 hours away from registering for the expanded DACA and just months from DAPA.  This happens 12 hours before.  What’s going to happen now? How long is it going to take?  And, again, a lot of the questions are, was the President caught by surprise?  And why is it taking so long?  This is what we’re getting, Mr. President.

Anatomy of Rudolph Giuliani’s racist fail

Caricature of authoritarian Rudolph Giuliani

Caricature of authoritarian Rudolph Giuliani

The age of rapid political blowback, helped along by social media sharing, is upon us, and Rudolph Giuliani‘s racist remarks against President Barack Obama are the latest example. Here is a rough timeline of how Giuliani was hoist with his own petard:

Social media and the fall of Brian Williams

Brian Williams as Willi Vanilli

Brian Williams as Willi Vanilli

Chris Cillizza wrote a short Washington Post piece last Friday entitled “Who had the worst week in Washington? NBC’s Brian Williams.” Cillizza’s op-ed described how NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was taken down by social media. In particular, Williams was placed on six months’ unpaid suspension, and may lose his job permanently, as a direct result of a Facebook comment by helicopter flight engineer Lance Reynolds, who disputed Williams’ oft-repeated story about being on a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire during the Iraq War. The social media takedown of Brian Williams was a keen observation by Cillizza, but social media are responsible for much than just Brian Williams’ job status. The Brian Williams debacle might be remembered as the moment where social media, and the Internet itself, overtook  television.

Disneyland, measles vaccines and the illusion of choice

Disneyland crowd

Disneyland crowd

“I went to Disneyland and all I got was this t-shirt” is now a good thing, given that Disneyland in Anaheim, California is considered Ground Zero for the current U.S. measles outbreak. This outbreak of measles has now spread to 14 states with 102 reported cases as of January 30, which is double the pace of reported cases from last year. Experts agree that the measles outbreak at Disneyland and across the United States is a result of people who have not been vaccinated. In California alone, scores of parents at some schools have refused to vaccinate their children by signing a “personal belief exemption,” which is also available in a number of other U.S. states. Some of these so-called “anti-vaxxers” unfortunately have fallen prey to thoroughly debunked false information alleging that vaccines cause autism and other scary problems.

Republicans making mischief with Israel PM Netanyahu visit

John Boehner and Republicans at September 2013 rally to shut down federal government

John Boehner and Republicans at September 2013 rally to shut down federal government

Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner‘s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vividly demonstrates that, after winning both houses of Congress in last November’s election, Republicans have no desire to work with President Obama or the Democrats for the common good. Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu is Republican political mischief-making in the extreme.

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.

Illegal on the Internet, or just stupid?

Angry Internet posting cat

Angry Internet posting cat

Elizabeth Lauten‘s resignation and a case pending with the U.S. Supreme Court regarding Facebook posts give us a good reminder about what’s stupid, if not outright illegal, to post on the Internet.