Marc Platt's Politics: I'm a Lefty

Oct. 13, 2014

"It's time Congress got its priorities straight."
Mitch McConnell

Never have truer words been spoken by such an important figure IN the Congress.

If I were Alison Lundergan Grimes and I had the chance to blast Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell face-to-face, this is what "I" would say to him:

  • Senator McConnell, you  LOVE to tie me in with the President and his policies. I do NOT work in Washington DC.
  • Senator McConnell you keep calling the Affordable Care Act a "Failed Obama Policy" when hundreds of thousands of our fellow Kentuckians have health care for the first time BECAUSE of Obamacare.
  • Senator McConnell I am the elected Kentucky Secretary of State and I support my constituents. I live in Kentucky full time and take care of the needs of MY people here at home, can you say the same thing.
  • Senator McConnell, instead of supporting our President on the night of his first inauguration, you and your Republican cronies conspired to OBSTRUCT everything OUR President was going to try and do.
  • Senator McConnell you and our OTHER elected Senator were caught on camera during the government shutdown reveling in the shutdown, despite the fact that it cost us taxpayers $24 Billion.
  • Senator McConnell maybe the President and his policies aren't the problem in Washington DC after all. Maybe it's the men and women doing their best to stop the inevitable progress America could be great for once again.

I won't have that chance, but Alison Grimes WILL and should ask these tough questions.

Oct. 10, 2014

(Excerpt from 2015 eBook "Political Time Bomb (Playing the Presidential Race Card")
By Marc Alan Platt

In 1980 Ronald Reagan was in need of another Primary victory in South Carolina after losing to George H.W. Bush in Iowa. His political operative for that South Carolina primary was seasoned conservative southern political operative Lee Atwater.

Atwater was a down-and-dirty political operative who understood the changing racial climate in America. Atwater was a firm believer that the “Tone” had changed, but not the sentiment among southern white voters. Atwater focused on gathering a base of Southern White Democrats and bringing them into the Reagan camp with the “New Reagan Southern Strategy.”

That strategy would be refined throughout that 1980 primary season.

In South Carolina, Atwater was worried about John Connally in that primary and so he leaked a story that Connally was trying to “Buy” the black vote. That is code for white voters to rise up and stop this threat by coming out to vote for Reagan. Reagan wound up getting 55% of the vote in that primary and would go on to gain the GOP nomination for his party.

Atwater went to the old southern playbook of pitting white voters against “a black threat” in states to build a coalition of voters friendly to the GOP. It wasn’t beneath Atwater to walk into a room full of writers and make up poll results. This was back in the day when it was more difficult to verify these claims. Many of Atwater’s un-truths made it into the press as sourced-material.

In 1980, candidate Reagan gave a speech seven miles away from the town (Philadelphia, Mississippi) where 16 years earlier three Civil Rights  workers (Chaney, Schwerner & Goodman) were murdered. Reagan campaigned in that southern state of Mississippi discussing “States Rights,” which is a major “Racial Code Word” in racial politicking and exactly what white voters wanted to hear in that region. It was politically expedient to have that view in the south for a Republican candidate.

Ronald Reagan was no stranger to political expediency. Even though he was originally a “Liberal Hollywood Democrat” dating back to the 1940s, his political and personal views on Civil Rights didn’t mesh that way pretty much from the start.

When Reagan shifted to the GOP in 1964, he immediately railed against both the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

We all know that Richard Nixon began to shift the south away from the Democrats in 1968. Reagan courted these Southern White Democrats from his 1964 entry into politics all the way through his 1980 Presidential campaign.

He was not friendly to the Civil Rights movement as California Governor and this strategy later paid dividends when he ran for President. By the time he hooked up with the young 29-year-old Lee Atwater, Reagan had already developed coded language saying things like Confederate President Jefferson Davis was "a hero of mine." When opponents accused him of being a racist, he would act offended. He successfully got the message across to the good ole boys and gals that he was one of them.

Another Reagan example happened when ‘food-ransom’ went to poor and minority communities during the Patty Hearst SLA kidnapping in 1974. Then-California Governor Ronald Reagan joked, "It's just too bad we can't have an epidemic of botulism."

Roger Ailes, a major 1984 advisor of candidate Reagan, started his career as an operative developing Nixon’s Southern Strategy in 1968 riling up white voters who were still upset about the recent Civil Rights laws.

Racial Politics was front and center for the GOP from 1968 right through today. Ailes has had a long and prosperous career as a political operative and has spent the last several years guiding Fox News.

Fox News is the right-wing “Bubble” of GOP punditry. The Rupert Murdoch-owned conservative news gathering operation is infamous in their hatred for all things Obama and Clinton.

Karl Rove has worked off and on for Fox News and is often interviewed there. Rove was mentored by Lee Atwater and achieved his claim-to-fame as George W. Bush’s “Brain.” Rove and the younger Bush BOTH were mentored by Atwater in Sr. Bush’s 1988 Presidential campaign. Is it any surprise that Rove and Bush Jr. would go on to successfully win two close Presidential races together using the “New Reagan Southern Strategy” as well?

Is it any wonder that Murdoch would use Ailes to run his conservative network?

How could the country have possibly elected a black man to reside in the White House with this long and proven “Southern Strategy?”

The answer to that question is simple…

Demographics and technology; The Obama Machine successfully utilized the changing social media and census data to build a new coalition of voters. This is mostly a coalition of women, blacks and Asians. In previous elections (Clinton, Gore & Kerry) democrats did well with black voters, where Barack Obama was able to lock up several groups of minority voters.

The Republicans countered by focusing on state legislatures to legislate their anti-abortion and anti-voters rights agendas. These are two hallmark agendas the GOP have been able to hold onto during Obama’s administration.

Part of the country thought there would be great movement in Civil Rights and the other part of the country did everything in their powers to divide the country all the more, ceaselessly accusing President Obama of being the divisive actor in this bad play.

The interesting thing to note in all of this is President Obama’s admiration for Reagan in certain aspects: "He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like, you know, with all the excesses of the 60s and the 70s, and government had grown and grown, but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people just tapped into -- he tapped into what people were already feeling, which was, we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”(© 2008 New York Times)

Obama understood that the times dictated the actions. Reagan could get away with calling America that “Shining City on a Hill” and Americans would believe it. The messaging is everything even though Reagan, Ailes and Atwater would distort the message with racial-coding and the Bushes would carry on with Willie Horton ads in 1988, which was a Lee Atwater production to destroy the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign. Rove found more subtle ways to message in the early 2000s.

In the 2000 Presidential primary season, Karl Rove was singularly responsible for smearing Senator John McCain, who had just won the GOP New Hampshire Primary for President. Does this sound familiar to 1980 and Reagan’s woes? Rove circulated a story about McCain’s adopted black daughter being his own illegitimate daughter during the (you guessed it) South Carolina Presidential Primary.

Here is where Rove’s devious racial genius comes into play. He had political operatives circulate polls in South Carolina with questions like “Would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain...if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?" This is right out of the Lee Atwater playbook, only a more advanced version to fit the times of 2000. It worked. That was the end of the road for John McCain in that election cycle.

That brings us to 2008 and the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama primary season battles and a racially-motivated campaign incident that involved former President Bill Clinton and candidate Obama.

You won’t believe this, but yes it was after Hillary Clinton came back to win the Democratic New Hampshire Primary and was campaigning in…South Carolina it happened. Bill Clinton made a statement that would ramp up the racial playbook, but seemed to be misrepresented by the Obama-friendly press and pundits…

Bill Clinton: “Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen," said Bill Clinton on Obama’s portrayal of Hillary Clinton’s Iraq war stance. This is an instance of overreaching by the media insisting that the former president was using racial politics. This was not racial by former President Clinton, but it would end up damaging Mrs. Clinton in the South Carolina primary. The race had shifted once again in that politically volatile southern state.

The real racial-coding came in the general election when Republican Nominee John McCain’s campaign fell desperately behind Barack Obama and started comparing him to Paris Hilton in what are now known as the “Celebrity” or “Paris Hilton” ads. The coded message was that Obama was nothing more than a “Black Celebrity,” not a leader. These ads backfired.

The Lee Atwater Playbook was starting to run out of steam by 2008. Barack Obama used race in his favor with minority voting blocks that didn’t exist before his 2008 campaign. He built very strong voting blocks in urban areas. He completely ignored “un-winnable red states” all together and focused on urban areas with likely women and minority voters, the very voters the late Lee Atwater would have scared white southern voters into rising up to defeat.

Sep. 23, 2014

"I will look after the security of the people. That is my job as your President."
President Obama
(Clinton Global Initiative 9/23/14)

by Marc Platt

We DON'T know what President Obama knows. Yet we endlessly listen to talking heads and politicians try to spin. Spinning is what makes the social media world go round and round within seconds. 

We literally live in a 24-hour-newscycle more so than ever before. A story can change instantaneously in front of your eyes so fast, you can't even put context and perspective in real time.

So we turn to our "Trusted" pundits on CNN, MSNBC or Fox News. We read our in-the-bubble publications like Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal and/or Drudge Report, depending on your leanings.

The bottom line is these "News" organizations know NOTHING. Really! They only know what they tell each other.

The only people who REALLY know are sworn to secrecy. We know what the White House Press Secretary tells us, or the President (and surrogates). 

Here's the deal. They cannot tell us what we NEED to know. They only tell us what they need us to know.

There are fantastic news gathering news organizations who have gathered information on Khorasan and ISIS months ago. It wasn't until the bombing in Syria started that the cable outlets started talking about them. The information on Khorazon has been out there for months.

The "Spin" that Khorasan was planning homeland attacks perked up the cable news outlets to start talking about them. President Obama knows about these threats months and sometimes years before we do. It is supposed to be that way.

If we knew what was really going on ALL THE TIME, we would be scared shitless. 

Just know that this administration is doing the best they can to handle multiple threats all the time. Be glad that you and I don't have to stay on top of all this stuff. We have capable elected officials working in the White House, unlike the chickenshit congress who had to go get re-elected. 

The House Republicans set their working calendar for 2014 for 114 working days...That is correct...114 working days.

How many days in 2014 do you think the President works? Even when he is on holiday, he takes calls with Putin and manages crisises.

So I repeat.."We don't know what HE knows." That is a good thing.

Aug. 24, 2014

What a strange coincidence that this is the 50th Anniversary of LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Only HE could have ever gotten that done, if you know anything about his style of politics.

The Civil Rights Movement got a kick start a few weeks back when Michael Brown was gunned down on the street by a cop and left in the streets for more than four hours like a dead animal hit by a car. The only difference is this 18-year-old African American was unarmed and brutally shot six times by a man who was supposed to protect him.

Obviously we don't have all the facts. We don't know what happened when Brown approached that police car. What we do know (from 4 different eye-witness accounts) that Brown had his hands up in the air and was yelling "Don't Shoot!"

The city, state and country (in some ways) went ballistic in the days and weeks following and in the age of social media has come to life. Civil disobedience and social media seem to work a lot better than in 1964 when the cops used water hoses and dogs.

It was disconcerting to watch tear gas used and armored vehicles and military-looking police with military weapons. Is this America?

The difference in THIS Civil Rights Movement is the immediacy information is distributed by both sides. 

Attorney General Eric Holder went to Ferguson and the racial turmoil seemed to slow down, but the citizens of Ferguson and the rest of the country want action.

We have a black President and he has to walk a fine line in his racial rhetoric. This inflames the liberal base who went all out in two elections to get him elected and re-elected. It is a very difficult assignment for a President who KNOWS that a great segment of his country hates him and his black family who reside in "The White House."

What we are learning is having a black President is divisive politically and that it is really up to the citizens to demand the change they want.

Does our country want to regress to pre-1964 America when shop owners could segregate? Are we really willing to undo all the gains?

Technology is great, but why do police departments need to look like our armed forces? Why are THEY armed with assualt rifles?

I constantly go back to the 2nd Amendment. "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the  
right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall notbe infringed."

It has debated, torn apart and then dissected time and time again. The 2nd Amendment does not mean the "POLICE." It was intended for "US" to be able to stop the tyranny of the government.

Our country has gone crazy with the ammassing of a lot of guns by a very few people. These guns get sold and re-sold and end up in the wrong hands. Crazy guys and gals get hold of them and shoot innocent people. The not-so-innocent folks on the streets of Ferguson could have really inflamed that situation if they had started shooting cops and innocent people during the demonstrations after the Michael Brown shooting.

The main lesson we are learning from Ferguson is that the citizens are armed with cellphones and they are filming every little thing. Some are tring to profit, others are trying to help.

2014 Civil Rights are more a product of technology and the use of that technology on many levels. The one disconcerting thing I noticed was the media and how the people played to the cameras. The media apparently had a bad attitude pushing the citizens around and on the other hand, used the media to make their point.

It is all about who and how to use social media.

Aug. 5, 2014

"What we have here is a failure to communicate"
(Strother Martin in "Cool Hand Luke")

Sometimes I believe that the political press corps in the U.S. have little understanding and could care less that President Obama and his administration have a lot on their plate all the time. Reporters don't cover EVERYTHING, they cover what their bosses tell them to cover.

When a reporter is covering foreign policy and start snooping around to get a scoop, which is their job, they shouldn't get too upset when the administration doesn't go out of their way to help them. It has been that way since the beginning of our republic.

Obama has the added problems that social media and advanced 24-hour news cycles have evolved during his tenure. There are far MORE outlets, which means there are a lot more people snooping around trying to make a name for themselves. This is the nature of both sides.

It is true that President Obama has not helped his situation with the press corps by shutting them out and not giving them access, but the nature of his job has changed since even the days of Bush and Cheney. That administration ramrodded two wars down our throats and the Press Corps COVERED the story instead of properly VETTING the story in real time. The press did not do a good job calling this adminsitration en masse when they KNEW this administration was up to no good.

This gives me a clear understanding of Obama's disdain for the press corps. They call him arrogant behind his back. The tone of the press corps is very interesting when it comes to Obama. The press covered The Tea Party and never really QUESTIONED The Tea Party's motives and subtle racism.

The press corps haven't really even covered the fact that The U.S. Senate have overtly blocked so many of Obama's nominations, including so many State Department nominees. This is a HUGE story, but to this press corps...No big deal...

Obama has not helped himself by chiding the press "Off the record" on plane trips and then punished leakers. No wonder they think he is arrogant, BUT my belief is the press corps, as well as the GOP have lost the necessary respect for "The Office of President."

The country, the media and the world were quick to characterize George W. Bush as a dummy, a puppet of Dick Cheney. In real time, the press failed to do it's job on the lies that administration got away with costing America thousands of lives for OIL and money. Cheney and his cronies, including the Bushes got a lot richer by the time they left office. They tortured people, they ruined countries and NO ONE went after them for their obvious crimes, including the Obama administration.

Bush has kept his mouth shut, while Cheney has run around like a jilted wanna be Prom Queen. Obama rarely has said anything negative directly about the previous administration and the press corps have followed suit. THAT is a crime in my opinion.

So...To sum up...Obama is crappy when it comes to his handling of the press and the press is wrong in their handling of THE OFFICE of President. Both sides have two years to fix this problem.