At Senate Democractic Outreach committee's invitation only progressive Media Summit meeting, 20 Dem sens spoke. Some are still saying "president elect obama" They still need to adjust to HAVING THE POWER. It's going to take them some time to get up to speed. Someone should be working on fleshing out all the possibilities their control of the house and senate and whitehouse have to offer. These legislators are lone wolves in many ways and they need to appoint a team of people to develop strategies and do research on past congressessional times and strategies to come up with ways to maximize how to get the most done as soon as possible.
Obama won his election because of bottom-up grass-roots organizing and an extraordinary bottom-up internet strategy. I spoke with a number of senators about "bottom-up" pointing out that it is an idea that Obama has talked about a lot, asking them how they see it being applied in their plans. The answers were very simplistic, usually talking about job creation or helping with mortgages. The fact is, the bottom up way of seeing is exploding as a manifestation of under-30 year olds' neuropsychology. People over 30 have a hard time getting the full picture of how bottom-up mind and bottom up approaches to problem solfing and projecs works. I suggested to a Democratic policy committee person that one of the big advantages the Democrats have is the fact that a higher percentage of Democrats are internet users. A lot of them are under 30's who see through Bottom-up eyes and when they don't see bottom-up approaches being taken, they see something wrong. The Dem leadership should develop an office, a committee, or at least fund a person who helps the party maximize its use of bottom-up approaches, within the party, in terms of making decisions, as well as in approaching legislation, government and solving problems.
Popular progressie DC Radio host Joe Madison came to the summit reporting that Senator Arlen Spector delayed Eric Holder's Attorney General confirmation for a week. Judiciary committee chair Leahy said it was unheard of, but within Specter's rights. Specter said something about doing it not so much for personal reasons but because of pressures from colleagues. Madison had just spoken with Holder, who asked him to get the word out that the Republicans were' doing this. Madison speculated that the Republicans are delaying Holder's approval to weaken him, so it is more difficult for him to tak on the job of prosecutin torturers, FISA abusers and Bush and Cheney. He called for the progressive media people at the summit to "get the word out." I spoke about it on my radion show which reaches Specter's hometown, Philly, last night and Thom Hartmann told me he'd be discussing it on his show. The thing to do is to call your senators, and Specter and let them know they are keeping the US from having an Attorney General-- someone whose job it is to protect us. They're literally harming US Security. My take is that the remaining right wingers in congress are now demonstrating how they will be sabotaging the congress, keeping it from getting work done. Yesterday Rush Limbaugh proved he's a traitor, saying he hopes Obama fails.
Harry Reid told the Progressive Media Summit Meeting that there will be funding for investigations, and that Carl Levin will investigate torture. Levin appeared please to hear that there would be extra funding. Reid also was confident that Al Franken will be seated. He thanked the progressive media for helping the Dems achieve the victories they've accomplished, but also said he knew that we would not always agree, and that's okay with him.
I had a chance to talk one on one with some of the new members of the senate-- Jeanne Shaheen (NH,) Mark Udall (CO,) Roland Burris (IL,) and Jeff Merkley (OR.) They're all most concerned with the economy and creating new jobs for their constituents. Burris is a funny guy. All of them promise to bring some progressive views to the table.
The meeting was chaired by Debbie Stabenow, who had some good things to say about moving forward on Universal healthcare. Ron Wyden addressed the differences between proressives who seek single payer and others, saying that we share a lot of common interests. Harry Reid and Debbie Stabenow both expressed confidence that this congress WILL get universal health care accomplished.
Senator Debbie Stabenow and Rob Kall
More to come.