Blogging During a Democratic Administration

Several readers have written me or posted comments wondering what I'll be writing about now that the Democrats have won back the White House.

I was asked the same question a year ago during this interview.

Rob La Gatta: So far, TalkLeft – liberal leaning in nature – has lived its entire life under the presidency of Republican George W. Bush. What do you plan to do if, come January 2009, a Democratic president is sworn into office? Do you expect that under such circumstances, the content, mission or direction of the blog would change?

My answer is pretty much the same today as it was then, reprinted and expanded on below: [More...]

Jeralyn Merritt: TalkLeft won't change for quite some time. No Democrat running for office fully supports my position on criminal justice issues. Since the Democrats gained control of Congress in 2006, I've found plenty to criticize, particularly in their voting to amend the FISA wiretap law and not voting to cut off funding for the Iraq War.

The mission and direction of the blog is not so much to criticize, but rather to educate the public and encourage them to lobby our elected officials for change. For TalkLeft, that will be as necessary with a Democrat in office as it was with a Republican.

When we get a President who vows to impose a moratorium on executions, close Guantanamo, and try accused terrorists under the Code of Military Justice or in federal courts, who pushes Congress to abolish mandatory minimum sentences, put a lockbox on social security benefits and provide mandatory health care, including affordable and compassionate nursing home care for the elderly, and who has ended the war in Iraq and promised not to get us into other wars preemptively or under false pretenses, then TalkLeft's mission will be accomplished and I'll start a travel or food blog.

A few more of my positions: End the war on drugs and the war against the undocumented, reduce our reliance on incarceration as punishment, increase defense resources for the indigent accused, stop the mass-federalization of state crimes, oppose attempts to amend the Constitution, particularly for things like the Victims' Rights Amendment and banning gay marriage, stop treating sex offenders as pariahs, shorten prison sentences for all but the most violent crimes, repeal the Patriot Act, ban all forms of torture, and reject any new laws that would increase wiretapping authority or create new "narco-terrorism" crimes.

I'm sure there will be more, but this is a pretty full plate as is. The point being, there will be no shortage of things to write about even with a Democratic Administration and the election won't change my focus.

I'm only speaking for me, Big Tent Democrat and TChris will write about what interests them. If there are other topics you'd like TalkLeft to address, feel free to put them in comments. If we don't end up writing about them, and your views are similar to those of TalkLeft, I encourage you to e-mail me requesting diary status so you can write your own posts about them. We'll also continue to have a lot of open threads.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Nice to have such a problem for a change. (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by jerry on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:02:20 PM EST

    "When we get a President who..." (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by Finis Terrae on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:16:09 PM EST
    Then, I guess you won't be starting a "travel or food blog" any time soon. Thank God.

    Although, wouldn't a travel blog (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:20:09 PM EST
    be interesting?

    I thought exactly this earlier today. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Teresa on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:14:37 PM EST
    The mission and direction of the blog is not so much to criticize, but rather to educate the public and encourage them to lobby our elected officials for change.

    A poster suggested that maybe BTD should go on to a political blog or have a spin-off here and that TL post solely on legal issues now.

    I like the hybrid approach better. I started reading here before Scooter Libby was indicted because I wanted to understand his case from both a Democrat's perspective but also from a defense attorney's perspective. I thought I would get a more honest opinion here and I believe that I did.

    I'm not a lawyer but I read every post here. Posting on political issues is a bigger draw for non-lawyers but it exposes us to issues that we need to be more aware of. And hopefully, we follow through on the lobbying you mentioned above.

    me too (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Lil on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 08:51:35 AM EST
    You forgot about a very important.... (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by arguewithmydad com on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:44:24 PM EST
    issue.  Torture!  I will be watching the Obama administration to see how quickly they move to end torture and hold the people who authorized the torture accountable.

    you're right (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:25:58 PM EST
    I'll add that, since I've been writing about it for so many years and intend to keep writing about it. TL's torture graphic may be my all time favorite.

    What about fear mongering? (none / 0) (#21)
    by 1980Ford on Sat Nov 08, 2008 at 11:00:32 AM EST
    The lowest common denominator of all your points of interest could be fear mongering. Ever since Willie Horton the Right has found fear mongering an effective emotional ploy and BushCo merely adopted the same rhetoric in his War on Terror. Citizens recognize fear mongering in the international War on Terror now but do not yet recognize it on the national scale. Two sides of the same coin and until people recognize the similarities the Right will keep getting away with it and maintain power. I guess I'm suggesting an evidence-based slant to counter the fear, particularly when an evidence-based study specifically addresses fear mongering.

    Thanks! (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by JamesTX on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:09:52 PM EST
    That is, for planning to stick around! Anyone who thinks this battle is over is terribly confused. We have thirty years of some of the most illogical, hateful, twisted, and dangerous rhetoric in world history to deconstruct and lay bare for what it is -- a belief system designed to empower the rich and curtail dissent. It has been imposed on us by a well financed machine that has used think tanks and scholars to remove ideas they don't like from public discourse, to the point that those ideas now appear naturally awkward. Conservative beliefs have been deeply drilled into the soul of the culture, and valid alternative views have been suppresses and maligned. Today's Democrats fall largely to the right of Richard Nixon, and all seems normal to most people. There is a lot of work to do. In the words of KOS, it is not only time to move for more Democrats (we still don't have enough), but better ones. What we really need in leadership is still unelectable in the current environment.

    Peace on Earth (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by koshembos on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 05:19:05 AM EST
    Every administration makes mistakes in policy and judgment. Obama has not brought peace on earth; he just won an election. If he goes the bipartisanship way, like Broder and Nunn want, we are back to a right wing government this time sans a mean and moronic president. This leaves TalkLeft about where it was until now.

    Unless you are an organ of a party, there is always plenty to criticize and that can be a very constructive job in a Democracy.

    Nice to read this post (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by ericinatl on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 06:06:33 AM EST
    I agree with you on almost every issue and look forward to reading TalkLeft in the future.

    On the criminal justice issues.... (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 08:18:09 AM EST
    so many of us hold dear and are hoping for reforms, your voice will be just as necessary as it was under a Republican White House.  

    Hopefully the Democratic ears are more receptive, but with the next election always right around the corner, I doubt it.  We the electorate need to do a better job of making noise until we reach the point where not advocating for crimninal justice reform is political suicide, iow the opposite of the status quo.

    You go girl (none / 0) (#2)
    by Democratic Cat on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:09:26 PM EST
    I'm looking forward to continuing to hear your thoughts on these issues in future. And I don't think I'm speaking only for myself!

    jeralyn, you had me, (none / 0) (#7)
    by cpinva on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:00:34 PM EST
    up until this gem:

    put a lockbox on social security benefits

    what exactly is it that you think that means? are you suggesting that the laws be changed, and all funds collected be put into some kind of national piggy bank? perhaps you think they should be stuffed between two national mattresses?

    al gore opined that a there should be a "lock-box" for SS funds, not benefits, the two are different things. of course, he neglected to follow-up on that, and explain specifically what should be done with those funds.

    now if you mean a cap on SS benefits, that's easily enough accomplished, but a "lockbox on social security benefits" makes no sense whatever.

    I meant (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:20:02 PM EST
    I don't want my social security benefits to be reduced. I thought that's what Al Gore meant by a lockbox, that the Government couldn't decide to reduce them or give them away.

    i apologize for the harshness (none / 0) (#15)
    by cpinva on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 06:30:56 AM EST
    of my response, you didn't deserve it. i have been sick lately, and certainly tired of the nonsense spewed forth by the right-wingnuts, in their last few desperate days. i shouldn't have taken it out on you.

    what al gore was talking about was the excess social security taxes then being collected, over current benefits being paid, and stored in the trust fund, via the purchase of special gov't bonds. these funds were/are being loaned to the fed. gov't, supporting deficit spending.

    he said they shouldn't be used that way, they should be "saved" for future benefits payments, as though that wasn't what was being done with them already. he never got around to the specifics of how, exactly, they should be saved another way.

    but it makes a great sound-bite.

    what you're thinking of would be a cap on benefits. the two are entirely different, though related, things.


    The lockbox (none / 0) (#11)
    by Linkmeister on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 12:25:10 AM EST
    GORE: I will keep it in a lockbox. The interest savings, I would put right back into it. That extends the life for 55 years. I am opposed to a plan that diverts 1 out of every 6 dollars away from the Trust Fund. It would go bankrupt within this generation.


    I think what he meant was that he wouldn't let the SocSec Fund be raided by Congress and the funds be replaced by even more IOUs.

    The 1 out of 6 business had to do with Bush proposing to allow workers to put up to a buck of every FICA dollar into a private account held solely for that worker, rather than the entire sum going into one (locked away) pot.

    again, (none / 0) (#18)
    by cpinva on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 08:24:17 AM EST
    he never explained by what actual mechanism he planned to accomplish this.

    I think what he meant was that he wouldn't let the SocSec Fund be raided by Congress and the funds be replaced by even more IOUs.

    unless the funds were just going to sit there, unused, and then there would be no interest. from a financial point of view, his proposal made no sense whatever.


    keeping their feet to the fire (none / 0) (#12)
    by suzieg on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 03:35:31 AM EST
    We have to make them live up to their promises  because after only 2 days Pelosi, Reid and Obama are backtracking re: health care and focusing on immigration reform in the first 100 days which is a code word for amnesty - I feel we should look after our uninsured and underinsured before focusing on people who broke our laws!

    I cannot believe, after hearing heartwrenching stories all during the primaries and election campaign, that they would so cruelly put aside a major life threatening concern of the american people simply to reward LULAC and La Raza....

    Two issues that affect democracy (none / 0) (#16)
    by citizen53 on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 07:33:32 AM EST
    1.  Campaign finance reform
    2.  Media consolidation/Fairness Doctrine

    How about Cabinet appointments for starters (none / 0) (#20)
    by Aqua Blue on Fri Nov 07, 2008 at 09:34:23 AM EST
    My pitch:   Geithner, not Summers for Sec. of Treasury

    Summers was a major proponent of free trade, deregulation and free market-oriented policies, which have come under fire in recent months as the economy has spiraled downward.


    Summers was forced out as president of Harvard University after a series of statements that angered affirmative action proponents, environmentalists and feminist activists. The final straw was when he said that innate differences between men and women might be one reason fewer women succeed in science and math careers
    New York Federal Reserve Chairman Timothy Geithner saw the need for regulation before others did.  He is brilliant and right on!

    Possible? (none / 0) (#22)
    by allpeopleunite on Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 09:05:36 AM EST
    Your goals are honourable, however you must realise that no President could possibly make such concessions to the working class, especially in times of such deep economic crisis?