Keystone Progress: Politician against EFCA admits he didn’t read bill

by matttbastard

I believe this is what the kids refer to as ‘EPIC FAIL’:

PA State Senator Mike Folmer (R-48) was featured at an anti- Free Choice rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on March 31, 2009. After the rally, Keystone Progress asked him what he knew about the bill. His answers clearly showed he didn’t understand the bill or he was simply spouting the official talking points. He admitted that he hadn’t read the bill.

Watch it:

Related: In a must-read guest post @ Feministe, Sarah explains why the Employee Free Choice Act–and labour organizing overall–should be recognized as a vital feminist issue.

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Joe Six-Pack in PA

by matttbastard

h/t cleek in ObWi comments.

Update: Dana Milbank, on the road with the McCain-Palin campaign, quotes Lehigh County GOP Chairperson Bill Pratt at yesterday’s McCain-Palin rally in Bethlehem:

“Think about how you’ll feel on November 5 if you wake up in the morning and see the news, that Barack Obama — that Barack Hussein Obama — is the president-elect of the United States,” Platt said. The audience at the Lehigh University arena booed at the thought of it.

“The number one most liberal senator in the United States of America was, you guessed it, the ambassador of change, Barack Hussein Obama,” he added. “This election is about preserving America’s past and protecting the promise of its future.”

The sage Platt had more information to disclose. “Barack Obama refused to wear an American flag on his lapel,” he said of the man who, at the presidential debate the night before, was wearing a flag pin on his lapel. The audience booed. “Barack Obama, a man who wants to be president of the United States of America, removed the American flag from his chest because it was a symbol of patriotism. Perhaps Barack Obama doesn’t put country first, but he puts fashion first.”

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

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What’s the Matter With America’s Progressive Intellectual Backbone?

by matttbastard

Joining in on the dead horse flogging previously initiated by my esteemed co-bloggers Kyle, tas and Dustin, Chet Scoville examines how the reaction in some quarters to, in the words of Joe Gandelman, Senator Obama’s “politically flat-footed” comments re: small town voters exposes the failure of the American liberal intelligentsia to adequately lay down intellectual foundations that progressive politicians can later safely build upon without fear of blowback like what Obama is currently facing:

If the American left were at all functional, and if the American media worked the way a free media is supposed to, [Thomas] Frank’s analysis [of why some people vote against their interests, outlined in his book What’s The Matter With Kansas] would be as well known in the public arena as Grover Norquist’s anti-government paranoia on the other side. And it would have been picked up in liberal journals, discussed, debated, fleshed out, corrected. The Democratic Party would have had analysts examine it, do some polling, some focus-grouping, some framing and marketing. And the analysis, newly corrected, would have found its way in palatable form into the campaigns, in a way that placed the blame squarely where it belongs: on the Republican politicians and their corporate bosses who have crafted the paranoia for their own purposes. This, as Bill Bradley noted three years ago, is essentially what the GOP has been doing for thirty years, to great electoral success.

But that’s not what happened. Instead, the candidate has picked up the analysis without any of that other, necessary work being done. Furthermore, he made the capital mistake of deploying this argument during a primary campaign and not the general, thus inadvertently* implying that his fellow Democrats (in this case, Clinton supporters) were paranoid and unthinking.

Scoville points to this post by Bob Somerby, which, though contextually focused on Obama’s race speech, is also (IMO) right on the money in this instance:

It’s dangerous when we put our White House candidate out in front on such issues, making him lead a risky parade (Just as it would have been dangerous to have Candidate Gore deliver those “courageous” speeches about global warming.) But let’s state the obvious: Our “liberal intellectual leaders” don’t lead in any way.

[…]

For better or worse, “courageous” doesn’t typically win elections. “Courageous” is good for liberal thinkers, of whom we have very few.

Fair or unfair, the lack of impact progressive thinkers have had on American political discourse over the past several decades has left Democratic candidates all-too-vulnerable to “gaffes” such as this. Once again, I point to Sara Robinson’s three part series on how the USian liberal left can work to overcome the idea deficit. Until that happens, I’ll grit my teeth in dubious anticipation of future teapot tempests, all-but-guaranteed to be stirred up by a lazy, vacuous press corps wholly contaminated by 30 years of movement conservative propaganda.

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