Texan4Hillary offers his perspective as a movement progressive activist.

Humphrey speaks at 1948 Dem convention on civil rights:

This past January the media swooned for Reagan’s 100th birthday. Well this week we progressives are the ones recalling the 100th birthday of one of the greatest liberals of the 20th century: Hubert Humphrey.

Humphrey was known as the “happy warrior” because of his famous 1948 speech at the Democratic National Convention. He was 37 and mayor of Minneapolis at the time. The party was split over civil rights for blacks. He told the party:

“To those who say this civil rights program is an infringement on states’ rights,” he thundered from the convention podium, “I say this: The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.”

The motion carried. The Southerners walked out and ran Strom Thurmond for president. When Harry S. Truman won nonetheless, Democrats were on their way to becoming the party of civil rights. Hubert Humphrey catalyzed that change.

The New Deal liberal lost a brutally close 1968 election against Nixon for POTUS. Many say if given a few more weeks Humphrey would have won. Imagine how different this nation would have been had Humphrey not lost.

With his loss he returned to the Senate. He pushed for New Deal policies to get people to work. But some Democrats like Carter moved away from New Dealism. From FDR. Truman. LbJ. And so, faced with opposition from top DC Dems on jobs programs he tried another tact:

In 1976 he joined Representative Augustus Hawkins, a Democrat from the Watts section of Los Angeles, to introduce a bill requiring the government, especially the Federal Reserve, to keep unemployment below 3 percent ““ and if that failed, to provide emergency government jobs to the unemployed.

… 70 percent of Americans believed the government should offer jobs to everyone who wanted one. However, Jimmy Carter ““ a new kind of Democrat answering to a new upper-middle-class, suburban constituency, embarrassed by industrial unions and enamored with the alleged magic of the market ““ did not.

“Government cannot eliminate poverty or provide a bountiful economy or reduce inflation or save our cities or cure illiteracy or provide energy,” President Carter said in his 1978 State of the Union address, a generation before Bill Clinton said almost the same thing, cementing the Democrats’ ambivalent retreat from New Deal-based government activism.

And here we are today. Reaganism has brainwashed a generation. Reagan is Obama’s hero. From 1968 came Nixon, Watergate, Carterism, Reagan, and of course today’s moderate Republican Democrat Obama. We owe alot to Humphrey. He did so much.

Champion of the middle class Elizabeth Warren faced nothing but pure disrespect when she answered questions to GOP congressmembers. Right wing Congressman McHenry (R-NC) called Warren a liar. These men treated her like dirt, and Warren’s face said it all:

Hey- women are tired of being treated like garbage by the guys in our political system! In Texas the spirit of Ann Richards is alive and well among many. State Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Houston (D) had quite the event on the House floor this week. She:

…delivered a riveting speech condemning a flyer handed out on behalf of the Texas Civil Justice League that used a graphic picture of a child nursing at a woman’s breast to question whether pending legislation would create “a nanny state.”

In a session in which the House “has spent 30 to 40 percent of its time kicking the reproductive organs of women down the road,” Thompson took issue with lobbyists using a picture of a breast in calling attention to legislation.

“I am really disgusted,” she said. “I am really ashamed. Some of you may find these funny. I find these hateful. They foster violence and disrespect towards women. I am appalled that the Texas Civil Justice League would go so low to get at a piece of legislation.”…

Thompson pounded the podium as she finished her speech with an admonition: “Men, if you don’t stand up for us today, don’t you walk in this chamber tomorrow.” She received a standing ovation.

House Speaker Joe Straus, who by coincidence had scheduled a reception for the women lawmakers Thursday evening, said he “did a lot of listening” as women trickled into the event. “ He agreed the flyer was in “beyond poor taste.”

“I do think all of us need to be mindful of how we treat each other,” he said, adding that it had been an extremely stressful session. “People are away from their families for 140 days and we have worked hard with a lot of challenging tasks.”

Lee Parsley, president of the Texas Civil Justice League, apologized for the flyer, which he said was disseminated without his approval. “I am very sorry the offensive piece exists at all and that you had to see it,” Parsley said in a letter distributed to lawmakers.

We have video of her awesome speech :

The result? The formation of the Women’s Caucus in the Texas House. Top Democratic and Republican representatives will now join forces to try and put a lid on the defamation of women .

PPP partnered with Progressive Change Campaign Committee to do polling in key battleground states where Democratic senators face tough races. They polled in Missouri, Ohio, Montana and Minnesota. The results were the same in every state: touch Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security and the voters will punish you. Senator McCaskill in Missouri has been running around with a plan to slash the budget worse than Ryan. Wake up McCaskill and others:

In Missouri, a poll conducted by PPP, a Democratic-aligned polling firm, showed that cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security would be especially unpopular.

The poll in Missouri of 1,050 likely voters found that 19 percent would support reducing Medicare expenditures while 77 percent opposed Medicare trims.

The survey question was phrased this way: In order to reduce the national debt, would you support or oppose cutting spending on Medicare, which is the government health insurance program for the elderly?

A similar question on Medicaid found that 32 percent would support cuts to reduce the national debt while 63 percent would oppose them. For Social Security, 17 percent would support cuts; 76 percent oppose them.

Florida’s Governor Scott is boosting Dem fortunes in the state. Austerity never wins votes with the electorate. Last week red Jacksonville elected its first Dem mayor in 20 years, and to boot he is their first African American and the guy is also a former aid to President Clinton. Minorities poured out to vote, enraged by the cold hearted governance of Scott.

A new poll Scott at a 28pct approval rating. Yikes. Why? :

Scott’s approval rating cratered shortly after he was sworn in when the first-term governor pushed a plan to eliminate tenure for new teachers, and to tie pay to performance levels. By March, polls showed Scott — who won a nail biter last year by a one-point margin — losing a do-over election by a whopping 20 points.

The latest unpopular move by Scott is the budget he’s set to sign this week, one which will slash around $4 billion, including a $1.35 billion cut to education spending, and a $1 billion reduction in Medicaid funding.

In the poll, 53% of voters said they didn’t like the new budget, while just 24% said they did. And by a similar margin, 54% said that budget was “unfair” to people like them, while 24% said it was not.

The poll was conducted May 17-23 among 1,196 registered voters. It has a margin of error of 2.8%

Post partisan Obama should take heed from the poll as well. Take Ohio for instance:

58% of Ohio voters said they were less likely to vote for President Obama if he backed or signed cuts to Medicare, and 53% said they were less likely to vote for him if he altered the retirement age. Similar results were obtained in the other three states.

As Scott heads to single digits Democracy Corps polling finds the electorate shifting again, this time against the Right. The Dems now lead the generic congressional ballot and, if a redo could be done in all the governor races, the Dems would win them:

Disapproval of the Republicans in the House of Representatives has surged … to a striking 59 percent now. Disapproval outnumbers approval two-to-one; intense disapproval by three-to-one. For the first time in more than a year, the Democrats are clearly even in the named Congressional ballot– an 8-point swing from the election

The fickle indies, who aligned with the GOP to give the the House and control of key governorships, now regret their choices and are running back to the Democrats. Thanks Walker, Snyder, Scott and Kasich:

Among Independent voters, a group largely responsible for electing the Republican House, criticism of the work of the Republicans in Congress has jumped 15 points from February (now 60 percent).

Among seniors, we see a 14-point increase in criticism of Republicans in Congress, from 43 percent negative to 57 percent negative….

Beneath the surface, these Republicans are losing ground with independents. Nationally in 2010, independents gave Republicans a +19 advantage. In the five states above for which we have exit poll data (FL, IA, OH, PA, WI), the Republican won among independents. Yet in six of these eight re-do polls, independents now say they would vote for the Democrat.

The House almost voted to force withdrawal from Afghanistan and next time they likely will do it. Also they voted to prevent any funds from going to Libya for ground troops. Progressive John Conyers sponsored that amendment! More on the Conyers amendment, which:

… would prevent funds provided by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) from being used to send ground troops into Libya. The Thursday vote follows a Wednesday voice vote to accept an amendment from Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) that says the NDAA does not authorize further military action in Libya.

The Garrett language addresses the growing complaint that the Obama administration has yet to seek congressional authorization to use force in Libya after a 60-day period, as mandated under the War Powers Act.

Congressman McGovern almost succeeded in forcing POTUS to have a plan prepared to pull troops out in a rapid fashion:

In a close 204-215 vote, the House rejected a bipartisan amendment from Reps. James McGovern (D-Mass.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.) that would have required the Department of Defense (DOD) to develop a plan for an “accelerated transition of military operations to Afghan authorities.”

Twenty-six Republicans voted in favor of the accelerated transition, and all but eight Democrats supported the amendment, which supporters stressed was a plan to speed up the withdrawal, not an immediate requirement to withdraw forces.

Better yet was Congressman Welch’s amendment which would have given POTUS 60 days to get out of Afghanistan. It failed but it got much more support from some Repubs this time:

On a 123-294 vote, the House also rejected an amendment from Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) that would require the withdrawal of U.S. ground troops from Afghanistan and require DOD to submit a withdrawal plan to Congress 60 days after the measure becomes law.

Sixteen Republicans voted for this measure ““ twice as many as voted to remove troops in a 2010 vote that had previously been the high-water mark for Republican votes to pull troops from Afghanistan.

One wonders how much longer will the House sustain this war? Time is running out for sure.

I have to close on a exciting note. In Arizona’s Congressional District 1, currently represented by a frosh tea bagger, has now a progressive in the race. And not just any progressive. This could be one for the books:

Wenona Benally Baldenegro, a member of the Navajo Nation, announced today that she is exploring a run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Arizona’s Congressional District 1.

… “This is a critical time for Arizona and the nation. The Republican-controlled State Legislature is balancing the budget on the backs of our county and city governments. More than ever, rural Arizona needs a Congressional representative who will vigorously fight for federal funding to offset deep cuts made to essential government programs and services.”

Wenona was born in Gallup, NM and raised in Kayenta, a rural town on the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona. She is a Harvard-educated attorney who also received her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is an alumnae of Arizona State University and Barrett, The Honors College. For the past 10 years, Wenona has worked with a broad base of advocacy groups, policymakers and local nonprofits to advocate for the interests of low-income communities. “As Congresswoman for CD1, I will fight for solutions that help our working families and small business owners in this economic downturn while at the same time, protecting public health and the environment.”

Wenona’s candidacy is historic, in that she seeks to be the first American Indian woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, and the first American Indian from Arizona. “It is time for a new vision for Arizona and for the rest of the country. We need leaders who will stand up for the working poor and the disenfranchised and who will restore our image as proud Arizonans.”

She has landed some key endorsements as well and plans a grassroots campaign. First she will have to take out Ann Kirkpatrick, the Dem who held the seat for a term before being ousted in 2010. This one to watch.