Tag Archive: infrastructure

Fighting for Amtrak, transportation and good government

High speed trains in London

High speed trains in London

The recent Amtrak derailment in Pennsylvania has once again exposed America’s embarrassing train transportation system. Parts of this system are up to 150 years old, and it’s falling apart. Yet, when Democrats, including President Barack Obama, propose to modernize our train system and build high-speed trains, Republicans oppose these plans.

Predictably, after the Amtrak accident, in addition to the horrible optics of simultaneous Republican budget cuts, we are hearing the usual Republican talking points about America’s train transportation system. Here are the main GOP talking points, along with some possible responses:

Good roads come from good government

 

Route 66 in Flagstaff, AZ, where the highways meet.

Route 66 in Flagstaff, AZ, where the highways meet.

Route 66, America’s “mother road,” was built in large part by the federal government. This includes funding going back to the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 and the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921. In the 1930s, Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt put thousands of unemployed young men to work completing Route 66. Likewise, America’s Interstate Highway System was constructed pursuant to the 1956 National Interstate and Defense Highways Act envisioned and signed by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. All of this federal highway construction has brought about tremendous benefits for Americans, from commercial to recreational, and it could not have been done without politicians from all sides participating in Good Government for patriotic reasons.

What we’d like to hear at the Congressional town hall meetings

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) at 2010 town hall meeting.

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) at 2010 town hall meeting

Congress is about to take a paid vacation for the entire month of August. During this time, many members of Congress hold town hall meetings where they take questions from their constituents. Here are some questions we would love our Republican friends to ask their Republican members of Congress:

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

Messaging Maxim #7: You get the legislation or you get the issue

Thor's hammer, San Diego Comic-Con 2011

Thor’s hammer, San Diego Comic-Con 2011

Once again, Republicans in Congress have shot down a good proposal from the Democrats, this time a federal minimum wage hike. Instead of being dejected or just complaining about the “party of ‘no,'” Democrats should recognize that they have an important weapon, and it’s the hammer of having an issue on which to run.

President Obama on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Last night, President Barack Obama gave an impressive interview to Jay Leno on the Tonight Show. Obama was perhaps as confident and comfortable as he’s ever appeared as President. Why does this matter? Because, in politics, optics matter. Style as well as substance matters. The Tonight Show still gets strong ratings, and viewership across the country soars when President Obama sits down with Jay Leno. So let’s check out what Obama said and how he said it:

The Democrats’ three-word slogan for 2014

The run-up to the 2014 Congressional elections is in full swing. You can be sure that Republicans are sharpening their talking points for the upcoming campaigns. We’ll likely be hearing all about a supposed lackluster economy, tepid employment picture, and that demonic “Obamacare.” Now is the time, therefore, for Democrats and progressives to hone their arguments and talking points to counter those of the Republicans and, better yet, to drive the conversation from the get-go. Here are the three words to use against the Republicans: