Guppies Eat Their Young

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wrote a forehead slapper on December 3 entitled:

The media treats Biden as badly as — or worse than — Trump. Here’s proof.

Paul Krugman had a similar message in his piece:

The Bogus Bashing of Build Back Better

Biden has accomplished so much already, even in the face of the blistering torrent of lies and an unrelenting negative attitude by pundits and faithless politicians. Plus, don’t forget that Biden hasn’t been caught in 16 lies per day. nor has he been caught doubling down on any lie. That should count for something, but clearly, it doesn’t. We’re left to wonder where that negative media coverage comes from.

Numerous examples of Biden bashing have arrived in my Inbox since Milbank’s post (that’s on top of the many that arrived before then) to reinforce the message. Here’s a headline from The Economist’s email listing of their stories this week:

The article effectively calls President Biden an Omicron wimp, but that just doesn’t make sense. Our scientists are working every day to learn what we need to know to deal with this variant. At this point they believe Omicron is far more transmissible but likely less lethal than the Delta variant. That’s better news than had been feared, but why the hatchet job on Biden?

There is a lot of talk about inflation now and the woe it’s causing workers. But economists have shown that those same workers are actually better off because of rising wages, even with inflation. Nevertheless, Biden is taking a bashing over the economy. It seems to me that this is common, not just for the media, but even for Democrats and Progressives themselves.

Long time readers of these posts have endured my regular bashings of Democrats for their world class ability to produce terrible communication. Here’s the contrast: Republicans deliver snappy, compelling bumper sticker slogans (“Stop the Steal!”) while Democrats issue three pages of shades-of-gray treatises that not even their authors can remember 10 minutes after writing them. Republicans get in line with one voice and a clear message, while Democrats cheer their big tent under which they are pummeling one another in a chaos of conflicting messages and undermining the Democratic president in the process.

Don’t believe it? Just look at the craziness over the Build Back Better Bill.*

Sausage making is always ugly, but, to mix metaphors, it’s only Democrats who hang their dirty laundry to flap in the public breeze. It’s only Democrats who publicly criticize their own tribe. Meanwhile, the Republicans are saying and doing reprehensible, hateful, anti-democratic things and their leadership can’t seem to utter a word of correction. But at least they aren’t confusing everyone.

Perhaps you’d like to help Democrats with their messaging – they surely need your help. Try your hand at writing a bumper sticker, a slogan that will ring with validation for the true believers and be compelling to the fence sitters. Give it your best shot and then send it to the DNC (click here for their Contact page). Post it in the Comments section below, too.

When you send your offering to the DNC be sure to include a note letting them know that they need to smarten up their communication because they’re boring an entire nation and its democracy to death.

And tell them to turn the lights off while they’re infighting over the sausage. Nobody but the opposition wants to see their ugly.

In an effort to be clear about this and to mix metaphors yet again, only Democrats eat their young – just like guppies.

Now, that’s a bumper sticker!


In 1993 there was catastrophic flooding throughout the Midwest. It was early spring and much of the ground was still frozen. Then came torrential rains and every major river and every little creek rose way past flood stage. The Mississippi, the Illinois, the Missouri – all of them breached their banks, as rain water flowed across barren fields and into the rivers much faster than the water could flow downstream to the Gulf of Mexico. Dirt levees collapsed one after another. Indeed, I recall seeing Harry Smith on assignment near a levee as a section of it behind him collapsed into the torrent of water.

Just days later I had a business appointment in Nebraska. I am a pilot and had an airplane then, so I took off for my meeting. My course took me over the Mississippi River, over Des Moines, IA and past the Missouri River. The Mississippi was so far beyond flood stage that I was unable to determine where its former banks had been. The river now covered corn and soy bean fields miles wide. Flying over Des Moines I saw the entire downtown area under several feet of Des Moines River water. Looking to the north, the tree tops stuck out looking like heads of broccoli where the river had become an inland sea. The Missouri River was like that, too.

I tell you this so that you can understand what I realized on that flight. No matter the skill of the camera personnel, no matter the eloquence of reporters on the ground, the TV screen cannot begin to communicate the magnitude of the devastation caused by floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, nor can it make real the depth of the human suffering.

Think about that as you take in coverage of the 275 mile long path of last Friday’s super tornado and the 49 other tornadoes that night as they ripped up parts of six states. Think about what they have done to thousands of our fellows. Unless we’re there, we really don’t get it and it’s way worse than we think. Here’s a link to a way you can help those beaten up folks in Kentucky.

BlizzardsBlizzard3 - NOAA.jpg

Republicans continue to provide a blizzard of cover for Trump, the insurrectionists and the members of Congress who were complicit in the attempt to overthrow our government. The prominent snow job currently underway is to prevent Mark Meadows from being criminally charged for contempt of Congress. But here are the facts and the real deal.


  1. Mark Meadows received a legal congressional subpoena to appear before the January 6 Committee. Subpoenas create a legal obligation to comply.
  2. Meadows refused to appear and has promised that he will not appear. That is to say, Meadows has knowingly, intentionally broken the law.
  3. “Subpoena” means “under penalty.” That means that there is a price to be paid for breaking the law.
  4. If this is to be a nation of laws and not a nation designed to serve only the select few, Meadows must be referred to the Justice Department with a complaint of criminal contempt. And Merrick Garland’s Justice Department must mount a vigorous prosecution of this obviously guilty man. The same must apply to all who refuse a subpoena. They must be held “under penalty” for their lawlessness.

The Real Deal:

We don’t need any more right-wing snow jobs. We need justice.

Must Read of the Week

Read Bart Gellman’s cover story in The Atlantic, Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun. Better: buy a copy of the January/February 2022 issue at a newsstand and subscribe. That’s how we keep journalism – and especially investigative journalism – alive.


* Sens. Manchin and Sinema are the primary obstructionists to passing the Build Back Better Bill and two voting rights bills. That prompts me to wonder how Lyndon Johnson would have handled these road blocks. He was well known both in Congress and as president as a guy who knew how to get things done, like the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. There was enormous opposition to both, but he got them passed. Here’s how.

He horse traded. He cajoled. But most of all he twisted arms way past the “That hurts!” point and senators got in line.

I don’t know what leverage President Biden has available to him to persuade Sens. Manchin and Sinema to see the light, but he better find it and use it fast. This is no time to be Mr. Nice Guy if we’re to keep the anti-democracy crazies out of power.

Read this.


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