The Stakes

I’ve always liked Joe Biden, but the descriptive words that come to mind when I think of him are words like “decency” and “competence.” He’s an essentially understated man; unlike with Obama, the word “eloquence” is not the first word that comes to mind in connection with him.

His speech this week on democracy, however, was nothing if not eloquent– and heartfelt. It was also an accurate and important reminder of where we are right now in this experiment we call America.

I’m linking to the transcript of that speech, and begging you to click through read it. Completely.



  1. By all means, VOTE……VOTE BLUE like your lives and the lives of your loved ones depended on it.

  2. I’m not liking this “America is an experiment” thing. The founding fathers didn’t say, “Hay, let’s TRY freedom of speech for awhile and see how that goes.” No, it’s a plan, a map, a commitment. It’s a vow and a promise, and I’m all in just like John Adams who pledged his life and property to the cause. All or nothing!

  3. Theresa, right there with ya.

    If I could vote in the midterms I would. The only vote I can cast is for POTUS and you bet I’ll travel to the embassy in Manila and do so.

  4. Barack makes great speeches…that’s his schtick. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also makes excellent speeches.

    Sadly, they are just words and have fallen on deaf ears. The problem is the lack of action and excuse-making of the Democratic Party once elected. They promise progressive achievements but deliver for their donors. Time and time again.

    Call it the Lucy effect. The Democrats are highly paid charlatans with a messaging and delivery problem. That’s a bad combination in 2022.

    Will they refocus after defeat this Tuesday? Doubtful.

  5. If current events have not been enough to wake up the voters I do not know what else could do it. There are enough people who register as dems that if they would show up and vote they could overcome the gerrymandering and voter suppression that has been engineered by the GOP in this election, but if they don’t do it now I fear that the next opportunity will be a long way off, and will follow much unnecessary suffering.
    Remember the words of the odious Lindsay Graham: “If we let everyone vote we will never win another election.” So, let’s make it a prophetic statement, and everyone vote.

  6. I reached a web site to subscribe to the New York Times with a post that I have reached the end of my free subscription. Disappointing to say the least, I had hoped to be able to print it out to reference later. Guess I forgot “There is no free lunch.” or NYT articles. Being deaf and relying on closed captioning makes it difficult at times to keep up with speakers and these are vital times when every word is important; one reason the loss of local newspapers is a true loss. But; thank you Sheila for posting it.

    Watching Ron Johnson’s speech, along with others such as Walker, Graham, Oz, et al, brought a thought to mind. If Trump would suddenly pull out of the presidential campaign probability; it would be like destroying the out house building and leaving the contents behind. All the more reason for the words coming from those trying to save us from his evangelical, White Nationalist MAGA party coup which began long before January 6th insurrection and continues full force today.


  7. I don’t subscribe to the NY Times, so all I get when I click on the link is a screen wanting my money. The same thing happens if I click on a link to articles in the Washington Post. I’ll look a transcript of Pres. Biden’s speech elsewhere.

  8. I think for the first time is quite awhile, I agree with Todd… did I just type that????

    Democrats do have, “a messaging and delivery problem.” and that IS , “a bad combination in 2022.” And he is right that they will not “refocus after defeat this Tuesday.” For starters, whomever devised the plan to prop up ($$$) those batshit crazy Rs in the primary should be banned for life. I suspect we will hear a lot of “experts” say that this ‘always’ happens in the midterm, blah, blah, blah… just don’t tell there couldn’t have been a better closing message on the economy.

    And if you want to know why I think the “Democracy is at risk” closing message is just plain dumb, go to CNN and watch Fareed Zakaria’s interview with Bill Mahr (which aired yesterday). He nailed it when he essentially said that people don’t realize something like Democracy is “at risk” if they had NO CLUE that they “had it” in the first place.

  9. Voted early at an education center in Lawrence. The line was short, but constant flow of citizens. The early voting center was amply staffed with pleasant well trained volunteers. No surprises. Voted a straight blue ballot return. The process well organized and orderly. No drama. The way it should be.

  10. “465 billionaires have pumped at least $881 million into the 2022 federal midterm election – 27 times more than billionaires contributed before the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision in 2010. Meanwhile, the New York Times reported last week that the nation’s top 1 percent of donors, measured by income, has given 38 percent of the total spent in federal races this year.”

    2010 right? The birth of the Tea Party, now the Freedom Caucus. What a coincidence!

    Can votes beat $? We shall see…

  11. I voted; I wrote and mailed out 300 postcards to NV, NC & CA; I put out campaign road signs; I have emailed friends several times reminding them of early voting; I announced early voting at my “Y” classes.

    I want to be able to tell my grandkids that I did all I could do to help save our Democracy.

  12. Most lawyers and politicians are very skilled at presenting either side of any issue. They are flexible about which side but tenacious once one is assigned and eloquent in presenting why their assigned side is compelling. As lawyers, they are limited to the truth when it counts, in court, but as politicians that restriction is lifted.

    As both lawyers and politicians, they also are skilled at performing in front of an audience. They develop charming and most of all compelling personalities.

    Of course, that is all based on a foundation of the law they are licensed as lawyers to deal with which is also true for politicians if they are actually going to craft law as compared to just performing for their audience as some politicians do.

    Unfortunately, as politicians, their stage has become crowds of people all of the time so instead of juries of just a few, they can put on their act for millions. Also as politicians, they enjoy trials without judges to maintain decorum and due process.

    What’s new about all of this and apparently ruinous is the loudspeaker of media.

  13. I am really tired of all the commentary about Democrats having such poor messaging.

    Nobody should require a message to see what is going on around them every day. Who is working to even the playing field for most of us?? Who is working to protect our right to vote, to have affordable healthcare that doesn’t go away if you loose a job, to access reproductive healthcare, to love who you love, to provide for gender healthcare, to get paid fairly for work, to stop the usurious student loan process, to stop the subtle or often violent intimidation of the “other”?

    Gas prices and daily expenses are up. Look around and see who is making the profits. The President doesn’t set prices for fuel or food.

    Curiosity is a lost art. Imagination went out with the advent of 24/7/365 entertainment/social media. Empathy ended at the front door. NIMBY is now the order of the day. Conform to religious values or else. Can the second Inquisition be far behind?


  14. its end of my road workin season,gathering with like minded workers,im still that Bernie liberal. but feel my conversation may have gained some traction. everyone on deer hunt open,respected my driveway to the back 3000.. waved with all five fingers. I had to pry open a few minds,(usually with freash BBQ) but when the past history where their welfare,er farm bill,who wrote it and who supported it back in 1990. diffrent colour horse now, seems they got reminded. i dont expect NoDak to flip blue,but im looking to the local legislatures more in depth. (i cant vote,seems manditory minnimum federally imposed eneded that,just for growin pot.)so i make the habit to fact base and set others to a clearer picture,in our own blue collar specialized vocabulary.
    best wishes ,i hope we flip the impossible in a midterm, that alone would speak volumes/
    thanks to all here who gave me talking points and views.

  15. I’ll rephrase for JD, the Democrats are good liars, but they don’t deliver. This is a messaging problem. They expect to win your vote because they aren’t Republicans. This is pretty much the same philosophy as the Republicans.

    Why can’t they see the issues all Americans agree on and present policies to address them? Once elected, implement these policies.

    The Democrats can’t do this because they work for oligarchy – mainly the financial, pharma, tech, and MIC. Addressing economic inequality issues would hurt their donors, so all they can do is make promises they can’t deliver. Lying to voters repeatedly is not a good strategy. Bringing out Obama after he told BLM and Antifa to shut up isn’t wise. For good reasons, the entire anti-war and anti-oligarchy crowd is fed up with Obama/Biden/HRC. Using them as spokespeople or leaders shows how out of touch they are with reality.

    All the above equals a messaging problem.

  16. When your $ “own” the campaign coffers, the state legislatures and the courts, votes seem to be a small matter…watch the PA results…

    [From last week] Pennsylvania currently requires voters who mail in a ballot to sign and date the outer envelope. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that any mail-in ballot with an incorrect date or no date written at all on the return envelope would not be counted.

    Friday night, several groups in the state, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed suit in federal court. Their goal is to have these votes count, even if they do not have the proper dates written.

    Their argument is that votes should not be disqualified over what they call a trivial paperwork error, saying these ballots are otherwise valid.

  17. Instead of donating $ to political parties or candidates, I give to the ACLU, IYG, and other organizations that consistently support my values. When elections roll around, I vote for those who most closely align with those values. That why I’ve been voting blue for the last 3 decades, ever since it became clear to me which way the Republican party was headed. Due to gerrymandering, my $ has probably been more effective than my vote, but that doesn’t mean I stop trying. VOTE BLUE

  18. We are experiencing long lines in my county for early voting in Tennessee–we are a suburb of Metro-Nashville. (Mt. Juliet, TN) I am hoping that is a good sign. However, I live out in the country surrounded by “F@ck Biden” flags, Trump flags, and Dodge Ram trucks with their ‘Let’s Go Brandon” bumper stickers and hanging ‘balls’ from their trailer hitches and so will see.

    Vote Blue!!

  19. I do not agree with Todd’s both-party evaluation and prediction of the outcome of tomorrow’s election though, as always, that outcome will depend upon the arithmetic of turnout, which I am informed is good for Democrats among early voters. Messaging can always improve in retrospect, of course, as Todd suggests, but as between the parties and the messaging leading up to the election tomorrow I’ll take the Democratic messaging however flawed over the Republican messaging of “Let’s do fascism,” “Soros funds those big spending socialists,” and “Let’s politicize social security, Medicare et al., so that we Dobbs lovers can cut or end such programs and have more money available for tax cuts for our campaign contributors.”

    As for the silent superrich oligarchs who allegedly fund the campaigns of the parties, I see that the Hungarian dictator Orban was recently a keynote speaker at a right wing Republican conclave here (speaking of fascism), but that the Hungarian Soros was a no show for all such Democratic meetings. I also see zero evidence that Soros is involved in any such campaigns and (since the Supreme Court has unleashed corporate bribery) tons of evidence that Koch and others among the superrich are involved in a quid pro quo: “Here’s the money and our corporate tax counsel’s list of amendments to the Internal Revenue Code.”

    Business as usual. . .

  20. Getting real….at least in NC…

    “the sheer scale of industry spending on North Carolina legislative races. Raleigh’s big business lobby spent well over $5 million on direct contributions to Republican politicians in the legislature. (Bear in mind, this data only includes numbers from the 41 biggest state PACs – there are dozens, even hundreds, others, which give in smaller amounts.) [79% GOP] By contrast, they gave a much smaller proportion to Democrats. This mostly reflects the fact that Republicans hold majorities of both chambers, and thus the power to move lobbyists’ favored legislation.

    Another important caveat is that these figures represent only the tip of the iceberg of total political spending. Many entities – like the NC Chamber of Commerce or Duke Energy – also spend in much higher amounts on “dark money,” or ads that are separate from their formal, directly linked PACs. Those two groups alone were rumored to have spent roughly $6 million in the 2020 election cycle on TV and mail political advertising, mostly attacking Democrats.”

    Who are these PACs? Banks, big healthcare, big energy, real estate, etc…

    SURPRISED? Check out your state!

  21. Mea culpa > I forgot to mention in my earlier note that I have voted absentee in Florida, that I have received notice that my vote has been received and counted, and that Herr DeSantis would not be happy with my choices.

  22. Yes,

    Vote vote vote vote vote!

    But what are you voting for?

    Just looking at the amount of money being spent on the Ukraine conflict, instead of engaging the Russians and blowing them out of that particular country, our government is spending billions upon billions upon billions of dollars! Throwing good money after bad? The games being played with money, our money, is untowardly at it’s very best.

    When we went to Knoxville Tennessee a couple of months ago, the middle of September really, the amount of people lined up and milling about across the street from the homeless mission, was astounding! Hundreds of tents, sleeping bags, underneath the viaduct you couldn’t squeeze a rat in. Mountains of trash, oceans of misery and yet? No facilities being built for the homeless. No health Care, no dental care, and the only thing waiting is a pauper’s grave!

    It’s the same in Washington dc, the same in chicago, the same in San Francisco the same in New york, the same in setattle, will government help you when you’re living in a tent or under a bridge?

    When a political organization or party is in control of its government, do they show they really are concerned about the least among us? No, the battle is for votes, the homeless don’t vote. So, they are disposable! Illegal immigrants don’t vote, so they are disposable. If you are a different sort of politician or political organization, then prove it!

    The president could declare martial law, he could say that there is a de facto allowance that is also de jure for the POTUS!

    But alas, talk is cheap and easier to forget! I haven’t seen any of the public servants, at least they claim to be public servants, put their neck on the line for the public!

    I looked through my email today, hundreds of financial requests from?, God knows where! But, they tell you that your contribution will put them over the hump, who’s ever hump it is, or who is humping who, lol!

    Therein lies the rub? Rub a dub dub what is that rub? You are! Do you trust that bub not to snub the rub in favor of his or her club. Could they sub the club in favor of the rub? Have they ever? When one says they’re in lies the rub, does the Bub flub the rub in favor of the club? Every single time, the rub is stubbed in favor of the club! Remember all of you rubbies, you are just a commodity, or a chess piece or a game of bid whiz!

    Don’t look for compassion, don’t look for empathy, don’t look for help, because there is none! There is so many different outcomes it can take place next week, the scenarios are endless, but, will any of it make anything any better? If no one had the stones to correct the problem by now, the only ones that have stones will be the ones making it worse!

  23. The Trumpskis have distracted us from the larger issue of burgeoning Conservatism worldwide. Funding bleeds into our own Conservative movement from elsewhere on the globe. Our ambitious gov. DeSantis gave an hour-long to the enthusiastic attendees of Conservative Conference in Miami recently. Rubio was also a guest speaker.

  24. All remember….there is NO right to vote in the US Constitution. (Too bad with the gang of strict originalists in…)

  25. Lester – just a reminder
    1998 Election
    Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY) spent $24 million
    Charles Schumer (D) spent $16.3 million
    D’Amato lost

    Sharon Miller – While I’ve supported the ACLU my entire adult life, if the Republicans control the country and finish stacking the courts, the ACLU will be right on the law, but lose in court because the Trump/McConnell appointees won’t care about the law, only power.

    I voted; I contributed to candidates, and I will be working on election day to help my favorite candidates. I don’t know if it will be enough, but I least I am trying and not saying “they are all alike”

    One last item

    They have such refined and delicate pallets
    That they can discover no one worthy of their ballots
    And then when someone terrible gets elected
    They say: “There, that’s just what I expected.”
    Ogden Nash

    Instead – Vote Blue!

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