Time to Unsubscribe from Organizing for America

If Obama insists on unsubscribing from us, we can unsubscribe from him.

Well, that didn’t take long: it’s only nine days after the election, and Obama is back to insulting his base.

It’s not clear whether the Axelrod interview is actual policy or just a trial balloon; I certainly hope it’s the latter.  If it’s the former, it reflects the White House moving into the Mother of All Defensive Crouches; with the biggest megaphone on the planet, Obama doesn’t think that he can blame the Republicans for holding middle class tax cuts hostage.

What to do?  First, you can sign the PCCC petition, here.  Second, as soon as you get the next fundraising letter from either the Obama campaign or Organizing for America, unsubscribe with a message explaining why.

In a perfect world, we could organize an “unsubscribe” day, where hundreds of thousands of people would unsubscribe at the same time.    In this world, we can still send a signal: Mr. President, we can also play this game.

All right, Mark: get out your pom-poms.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

17 thoughts on “Time to Unsubscribe from Organizing for America”

  1. OK Democrats, this is how it works. Pay attention now!

    You are at this moment in control of both houses of congess and the White House.

    1) House of Reps passes bill reupping tax cut for under $250,000 income and not billionaires.

    2) Senate dares Republicans to vote against tax cuts for working americans.

    3)a]Republicans whine and wail and stomp up and down and then cave and Dems win.

    b]Republicans whine and wail and stomp up and down and then vote against tax cuts for working americans and Dems get to beat them over the head till the cows come home.

    c]Republicans whine and wail and stomp up and down and Dems back off and show american voters what hopeless wusses they are and everybody remembers in two years and Dems lose all the marbles and america sinks below the waves never to be heard from again.

    p.s. Obama could actually save his presidency if he would actually not stand on the sidelines like a clueless loser.

  2. The "White House" also ran on a platform that included a bunch of stuff they simply lied about. There has been a whole lot of caving going on for the past 22 months. How cheap is their talk, Mark?

  3. In addition to checking out the PCCC petition, let's not just whine here — let's email the White House directly.

  4. Okay, I signed it. It's not very well-written, and I don't know who those people are — why is there no "who we are" page?

    But it's better than nothing… I feel marginally better now… thanks!

  5. The problem I see is that I don't think we'll be able to pin this on the Republicans. There are too many Democrats in both houses who would defect. In fact, I'm concerned that not only would there be some defections, I'm afraid that there would be so many that any bill brought to the floor would be amended to be include tax cuts for the rich, and it would end up being the bulk of the Democrats who either have to vote against tax cuts or let it pass with the Republican position.

  6. The real problem is that a bunch of conservative Dems in the House will vote with the Republicans. It's unlikely that we will ever get an up-or-down vote on extending tax relief for incomes under $250k. But that's merely reality; beating up on the President is much more satisfying, for those with unresolved Oedipal issues.

  7. Mark: I think you're missing the thrust of the demand for presidential leadership, which could and should be used to sway conservative Democrats, not just Republicans—especially since so many of the former won't be coming back in the next Congress.

    That is: Obama could threaten to *veto* any bill that permanently extended the tax cuts for the wealthy, or that coupled them with the rest. (That would allow, as a compromise, extending the top tax cuts for a year as a stand-alone matter, forcing conservatives of both parties to take responsibility for tax cuts specifically for the rich.) This is in fact what he implied he'd do a few months ago, until he changed his mind.

    Obama is, for once, in an excellent bargaining position–since if the conservatives don't support a bill that can get his signature, all the cuts expire–and he should exploit it.

  8. I love it when Dems go into their traditional circular firing squad formation.

    This will be an interesting game of chicken if Dems try to move on this during the lame duck. Even if D's have the votes, I think R's simply filibuster it to death in the Senate. Then the question will be who is holding which hostage to what? If I were a Senate R, I'd be happy to take my chances.

    Fact is Dems probably wouldn't have the votes in either House, as Mark suggests.

    More to the point, R's cannot allow decoupling. That would be the ultimate sucker play and a true cave as far as its base is concerned. Why cave when the dynamics totally change on January? Even moderate R's aren't that stupid.

  9. Redwave72: The reason the Republicans have reason to cave is that the cuts expire at the end of the year. To get them back in the new session they'd have to pass a new bill through a Senate filibuster and a Presidential veto. And the necessary number Democrats wouldn't go along with the Bush formula if starting from scratch.

  10. R's have no reason to cave. If Dems don't agree to a two year extension of ALL the current tax rates, R's should simply allow them to expire, calling D's bluff. D's will not let that happen since that will mean a tax increase for everyone, even middle and low income taxpayers. If D's actually decide to kick the can to the next Congress, they will find that R's plus moderate D's will combine to pass the two year extension. Obama will have the tough call on a veto. I would predict he would not veto, but if he does, he and the D's can take "credit" for the increases that will be in place.

    My point was that R's should not agree to any deal that involves decoupling, such as extending the high income tax rates for two years and the rest of the rates indefinitely. That would allow D's to go through the same expiration dance in two years, but do it successfully since it would take a bill to restore the upper income rates.

    So, it is a game of chicken, but one where R's have a great advantage since it is simply not to their advantage to blink, but D's will probably have little choice. You "progressives" will howl and scream when the administration blinks, but reality says this is the way it will go down.

  11. D's stand firm on not extending tax cuts for the rich. If the R's allow them to expire, fine. Those of us who still have jobs will be paying the same taxes we did during the Clinton years. So what? Most families are in lower tax brackets now than they were then in any event, and for those 2% who ARE better off, well, they're the ones who have benefited the most from the tax cuts all these years anyways. The lower income brackets should be happy to see all the tax cuts expire – it means the rich will be paying a little more of their fair share, and the government will have more money to preserve the safety net. It is in our collective interest to let the tax cuts expire, and to extend unemployment and initiate job programs.

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