Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The first president I was both interested in and revolted by was Richard Nixon. In 1968,

as the Democrats were engaging in political civil war, Nixon won the election. He lied about

a secret plan to end the Vietnam war, secretly bombed Cambodia, opened the door to China,

started the Environmental Protection Agency, covered up criminal activity, proposed a national

health care plan, and started nuclear disarmament talks with the then Soviet Union. I reacted

by voting against Nixon and for McGovern. Later, I voted against Jimmy Carter and watched

Ronald Reagan push his agenda through a Democratically controlled Congress.

In 1982, I was working in Congress when Reagan rolled up the Speaker of the House,

Tip O'Neill, like an old carpet and got everything he wanted. O'Neill was replaced by a

succession of not-ready-for-prime-time players including Jim Wright (sunk by a scandal

involving a book he wrote), Tom Foley (defeated in his home district), and Richard Gephardt

(who undercut the Dems by making a secret deal about supporting the use of force in Iraq).

The same held for the Senate, where the Democrats were led for awhile by George Mitchell

(who proved to be fairly ineffective) and then by Tom Daschle (who also couldn't get re-elected)

and now by Harry Reid who faces an uphill battle just to retain his seat and can't even control

Joe Lieberman.

There's a pattern here. While Republicans had Reagan, Bush 41 and 43, Gingrich, DeLay,

and Lott, the Democrats were led by such a weak and flawed cast of characters that they

resembled the Mets trying to compete with the Yankees. After a disastrous eight years of

Bush, two wars, lies, and financial disasters, and with the weak leadership from Harry Reid,

the Democrats are left with no leaders to rally around. Why?

The election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts has Democrats scurrying out of harms way.

You would think Brown's election gave the Republicans 58 votes in the Senate, rather than

the 41 they have. Democrats act as if they lost their majorities and then some. President

Obama is still making nosies about bi-partisanship, while Republicans vow to continue their

practice of non-cooperation. Republicans vow to oppose the new jobs bill. They plan to fight

any new regulations or oversight of their friends on Wall Street. Right now they are sending

out fundraising letters to top Wall Street firms promising to protect them from the Dems.

They have sided with the health insurance industry to derail healthcare reform and will fight

Obama's plan to cut taxes for small businesses, increase exports, and reduce corporate taxes

(issues they supported in previous Congresses).

Brown's election appears to be the equivalent of a grenade being thrown into the middle

of the Democratic caucus. The Democrats seem to be scared of their own shadows. News

reports claim Obama is so spooked that he isn't even going to nominate a progressive to fill

the Supreme Court vacancy at the end of the current term, when Justice John Paul Stevens

is expected to retire. Everybody expects the bills on climate change and Wall Street re-

regulation to run into trouble.

And how about student loans? The New York Times reports Obama's proposal to end

the practice of private banks lending money to students who want to go to college is in trouble.

On the surface it sounds like a good thing, that banks are willing to make loans to college kids;

but there is no logical reason for private companies to be in the student loan business unless

you are a banker. It's a scam and has always been a scam against the taxpayer. Unbelievably,

the government guarantees to protect the profits these loans generate, so there is no risk and

the companies make hundreds of millions in profit. All losses are subsidized by you and me,

the taxpayers! How sweet can a deal get? Obama would have the government lending directly

to students. The hundreds of millions in profits the banks receive could be used for more

loans enabling more families to be able to send their children to college. This makes sense.

However, intense lobbying by the private companies appears to have stalled the bill as

Democrats continue to weaken at the knees when faced with opposition of any kind.

The one Democrat to buck this trend of spineless, ineffective, easily intimidated, and

skittish leadership is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She pushed Obama's entire legislative

agenda through the House; only to sit and watch it all die due to a case of White House and

Senate vapors. Even she couldn't stand all the heat from Republicans. She was steamrolled

by Bush 43 as Democrats in the House voted to continue to fund the Iraq and Afghanistan

wars, give immunity to telecom companies who illegally spied on their own customers at

the government's request, and passed a bank bailout for Wall Street without provisions to

assure accountability for where the money went or how it was spent while leaving Main Street

to fend for itself. I'm not Pelosi's biggest fan; but the Democrat's performance is getting


Democrats have huge majorities in both houses of Congress. According to the pundits,

Scott Brown's victory was a statement from Independents that they don't like gridlock in

Washington. Yet, in sending Brown to Washington, the Independents have guaranteed more

gridlock. Brown's victory showed how unpopular Obama is and how dispirited his supporters

are especially when they see him courting regressives while ignoring progressives. Yet,

Obama's personal popularity is still high as the people blame Republican obstructionism.

It's time to play for keeps. In the House, pass a jobs bill which will employ hundreds of

thousands of Americans now! WPA-style projects to rebuild roads and bridges and clean up

cities and national parks. Jobs to replace an aging power grid and jobs to rebuild schools in

low-income neighborhoods. Employ carpenters and plumbers, laborers and engineers; and

give Americans between the ages of 21-35 first crack at the jobs because they have the highest

unemployment figures. Pass a real regulatory bill to control Wall Street. Lower taxes for

small businesses and fund community banks who can lend to small businesses in their

community. Let the Republicans vote against all of that and dare Democrats to do so as well.

In the Senate, it is time to actually force someone to really filibuster...no more can a Senator

just threaten to filibuster. They actually have to take control of the Senate floor and hold it.

If they can't, the filibuster ends. Propose a jobs bill, Wall Street reform, more money for

student loans, money for small businesses and healthcare reform; and make the Republicans

filibuster every one of them. Republicans will have to sleep in the Capitol and the American

people can see that their real agenda is to oppose Obama and not to lead the nation out of

perilous economic times. It's time to call their bluff. Stand up for something. We've had

eight years of Clinton and now one year of Obama and Democrats still run like scared children

at the first sound of danger or disquiet. So Scott Brown won. Shove it down the Republicans

throats. Make them oppose real solutions and let's stand up for what is right and needed.

I have no idea how the party of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Stennis, Russell,

Rayburn, Albright, Pell, Humphrey, and Teddy Kennedy is today run by Obama, Reid, Hoyer,

Stupak, Lincoln, Nelson, and Landrieu. Something has got to change. Someone has to stand

up and fight for progress. I don't have any nominees who leap to mind. Do you? What do you

think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals. Please send them to lionoftheleft@gmail.com


  1. Hi Bernie,

    I guess God didn't make us all the same considering the comment above. I am sorry that you are in prison - even if you are guilty, IMO the punishment far outweighs what you actually did. But what else is new in this frakken country of ours?

    As for the democrats or Obama getting a spine. I think a lot of it was pinned on Obama and he's turned into more of a spinmaster than an actual soldier "For the People". As each day goes by, he disappoints me more and more.

    I'm afraid this boat is going to sink. We'll still be alive - you in your prison, me on my disability checks. Barely getting by in the land of wealth and freedom. And who knows, we'll still be able to write and express our opinion, most likely ... I think it will be a decade or more before they can take that away and who knows ... maybe another leader of the American people will arise who actually does what he promises them ... instead of do what Obama has done ... much like Neville Chamberlain in the 1930s - approach the right with appeasement, and hope it works.

  2. Anonymous is vial forgive the low life. the real crime that Anonymous supports is the stealing of our nation by the top 5%. it is all about wealth and they get people to by in. Anonymous does not deserve the A R D in coward instead is just a cow and the prod is fox and down the shoot they are lead. on a more postive note ( sorry for the tyrad) the democrates need to go to the core of the their values and stand proud.
    your friend

  3. Obama makes his big HC announcement this week and seems to have left out the public option.

    I will never trust this president again. EVER.

  4. "Several hospital lobbyists involved in the White House deals said it was understood as a condition of their support that the final legislation would not include a government-run health plan paying-Medicare rates...or controlled by the secretary of health and human services. 'We have an agreement with the White House that I'm very confident will be seen all the way through conference', one of the industry lobbyists, Chip Kahn, director of the Federation of American Hospitals, told a Capitol Hill newsletter...Industry lobbyists say they are not worried [about a public option.] 'We trust the White House,' Mr. Kahn said."

  5. http://bit.ly/cUPllC

    This is the link to the article quote is from Bernie. We've been had by this two-faced fraud of a president.

  6. Bernie

    I just discovered this blog, today, and, I'm delighted that you still have an opportunity to share your observations. I wish you the best, under circumstances that certainly don't fall into that category.

    Keeping faith with, a seemingly caving, President Obama is becoming more, and more challenging. But, I wonder how that might be different if he had the backing of Democratic legislators with any spine, to speak of.

    Or, perhaps, it's the other way around. If the President had the Washington longevity of an LBJ, a "get 'em by the short hairs...their hearts and minds will follow," approach would be second nature.

    Democratic legislators have allowed themselves to be bullied by the GOP, for decades. I think that the GOP convinced Democrats that God is a registered Republican "somewhere," in the U.S., and it just MIGHT be in their state/district. Democrats began to adopt a "just in case," mindset.

    After 9/11, the GOP pulled the "patriotism" string, on the little marionettes, and there was little resistance.

    I believe that my party is a party of compassion and caring. But, I'm appalled at the lack of courage that MUST be in place to launch, and sustain, those principles.

  7. hi bernie
    great to have come across your blog. i listened to you on kgo since the first bush election. i learned a ton from listening to you, and am as disappointed in the current president and democratic party as you and most other progressives seem to be. thanks for these posts. hope your time passes quickly and best wishes.
    joe in concord.

  8. Another awesome post the best talk show host ever... Bernie Ward. Thanks for posting your insightfull thoughts Bernie... I hope to hear you on the radio again asap. Hang in there and do whatever you can to make the time go by fast.
    Best Wishes Bernie!!!!!!

  9. Hi Bernie,
    its so wonderful to be able to read your thoughts about the current events.
    you are truly the best talk show host i ever heared. you will be out again bernie and i cant wait to hear your knowledge on the air.
    the punishment outweighs the crime , if there was even a crime.but i believe in you Bernie.
    Ever since i saw you live at the Fairmont in San Jose i believed you are a truly wondeful and intelligent man.
    stay strong because you have a lot of supporters out here.
    as far as the current events, its just sad what has happened to the democrats.
    they feel intimidated.they are spineless and i dont understand why.
    the only person that i know who would not be intimidated so easy is Jesse Ventura.
    i think he would be wondeful.
    thats just my 2 cents.
    take care my friend.
    Mike from Gilroy