Republicans Enter Wall Street Reform Debate Weighed Down by Luntz Memo

Latest Democracy Corps Poll Testing Messages on Reform

Republicans in the Senate decided to base their opposition to financial reform using a message developed by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, arguing that reform amounts to bailouts for Wall Street banks.

But our polling reveals this to be the weakest argument available to Republicans. This approach is 8 to 11 points weaker than the other messages against reform and 35 to 40 points worse than arguments in favor of it.

This Republican anti–reform message as framed by Luntz and parroted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — that reform provides for an institutionalized taxpayer bailout for Wall Street — falls completely flat. The latest Democracy Corps poll finds only 27 percent saying that hearing such a message would make them much less or somewhat less likely to support a reform bill. More voters, 46 percent, actually say this argument would make them more likely to support the Democrats’ reform bill, not less. And the Luntz message fails to win support even among the Republican base.

Republicans would have been better off supporting President Obama’s financial reforms and working with him on economic growth strategies.

As one of us recently argued, financial reform is a win–win–win situation for Democrats. First, it puts Republicans on the wrong side of a popular issue. Second, when Republicans fold (as they are already in the process of doing) it offers a major legislative victory accomplished through bipartisan support. And third, a strong bill will be good for the American people, protecting them from the abuses of big banks and avoiding future financial meltdowns.

This analysis is based on a Democracy Corps survey among 1,000 2008 voters (872 likely 2010 voters) conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research from April 17–20, 2010.

Source: Democracy Corps
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Elderly Gay Couple Forcibly Separated, Abused and Robbed

By county officials in California. This account is nothing less than horrifying and needs all the attention it can get.
I will quote it integrally.
This is shocking and outrageous:
Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place-wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.
One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold's care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other, placing the men in separate nursing homes. Ignoring Clay's significant role in Harold's life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf. Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold's "roommate." The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold's bank accounts to pay for his care.
What happened next is even more chilling: without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold's possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold's lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.
Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county's actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property.
Clay is now suing the county, the auction company, and the nursing home. This story should get as much attention as Constance McMillen's story. More attention. There should be protests outside the hospital and county administration buildings. And I think another phone call from the president is called for.
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Ten Questions for Lt. Dan Choi

Ten Questions for Lt. Dan Choi

Dan ChoiGay rights activist Dan Choi believes the leaders of his movement have been too soft on the President.

During his campaign, President Obama promised to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, the 1993 military law that bans gay troops from openly declaring their sexuality while in service.

But after delaying action on the issue for a year, the President has instructed the Pentagon to take another year and review the implications of a repeal.

In the meantime, the Pentagon has backed off from kicking out soldiers who declare they are gay. Lawmakers too have started conducting hearings about the repeal.
In an interview with, Choi explained why he decided to chain himself to the White House fence recently to demand an immediate appeal.

Read 10 questions for Dan Choi.
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C-SPAN's Brian Lamb

C-SPAN's Brian Lamb

Brian LambIn this week's episode of "D.C. Decoder," veteran Washington reporter Craig Crawford sat down with Brian Lamb, founder and president of C-SPAN.
They talked about the cable channel's new online video archives and how the channel screens callers on its news shows.
C-SPAN's screening also get renewed attention last week after a caller suggested the channel was letting too many black voters through on its phone lines.
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The Dumbing Down Of America

A recent example is a Harris poll that asked whether each of 15 statements about Barack Obama is true or false. In every single case, the less schooling people had, the more likely they were to believe that false things are true.

For example, 18 percent of Americans with high school or less education think that the president may be the Anti-Christ. That's right, nearly one out of five people who are eligible to vote, same as you, believe Obama is the bad guy in The Omen. But only 13 percent of people with some college believe that; and 9 percent of college graduates; and down to 4 percent of people who've had some post-graduate education.

It's the same descending scale with "He is doing many of the things that Hitler did." Twenty-four percent of high-school-or-less say yes; 20 percent of some-college; 18 percent of college grads; but only 10 percent of post-grads. "He was not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president": 32, then 22, then 21, then 7. "He is a Muslim": 43, 30, 24, 9. "He wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government": 37, 28, 21, 12. You get the idea.
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