(I told you folks I was going to tear it up this year. I’m not going to be pulling punches; I just expect everybody to keep it clean in comments.)
John Podesta needs to STFU, stop lying, and understand who exactly that newly revitalized conservative movement is made up of. Hint: it’s not progressives, and it’s not hard-core right-wing conservatives.
Washington (CNN) – John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress, can describe the state of Washington politics with a single word. And it’s not a nice one.
Asked in an interview with the Financial Times to comment on “the health of American political system,” Podesta responded: “Sucks.”
Podesta made the remark with a chuckle, but the man who chaired President Obama’s transition team expressed deep concern about the White House’s ability to pass big ticket items in the current political climate.
He blamed much of the gridlock on Republicans and a newly “strengthened” conservative movement.
Gridlock is coming from republicans when Obama’s team controls the WH and both houses of congress? As for that newly strengthened conservative movement; that’s just a majority of regular Americans waking up and letting the District of Criminals know exactly how upset we have been for years. DC is just starting to notice now.
“I think the president is trying to re-engage with Republicans, but quite frankly he is not dealing with the party of Lincoln, he is dealing with the party of Palin and the party of McConnell and the party of Boehner,” Podesta said in the interview, which was filmed and posted online Monday. “They have a political strategy, really, which is that fierce opposition, trying to say no to everything will endure to their political benefit, and so far it looks like that is working for them, so I don’t see them changing all that much.”
That re-engagement includes a newly rewritten bill (by the dems) being brought to the health care summit on February 25th? The White House is going to be posting that legislative draft online 72 hours before the “summit”. Give me a break, and stop spinning; you are making us dizzy.
Since this meeting will be most productive if information is widely available before the meeting, we will post online the text of a proposed health insurance reform package. This legislation would put a stop to insurance company abuses, extend coverage to millions of Americans, get control of skyrocketing premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and reduce the deficit.
But he also reserved a healthy dose of criticism for the Obama administration, which he said focused too much on the inside game of Congress during the health care debate, instead of communicating their broader goals to the electorate, particularly to independent voters.
What? A bazillion townhalls and speeches did not get the job done? Wake up John! Americans READ THE BILL! We know what’s in it.
“All the concentration was on working the inside legislative process and I think they paid a price for that, in my mind, the administration paid a price for that because I think the narrative was all about the deals and not what was in it, what the substance of what the legislation was and how it connected to the broader project” of improving people’s lives and strengthening the economy, Podesta said.
Podesta, who was also Bill Clinton’s final White House chief of staff, said he is optimistic that a health care bill can still be passed, along with new energy legislation.
“I’m not as despairing as all that to think that he still can’t move forward,” he said of the president. “He still has avenues open to him.”
What? Oh yeah, that’s right….those presidential executive orders that go around the congress and, more importantly, the Constitution. It appears John Podesta is a true progressive; the ends justify the means.
This will probably be more information that you folks want (again), but here it is because knowledge is power.
- President and CEO of the Center for American Progress
- Former Clinton Chief of Staff
- Former antiwar activist of the New Left
- Worked on the Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern presidential campaigns.
- Met Bill Clinton in 1970 through the antiwar movement
John David Podesta was born to an Italian-American father and a Greek-American mother on January 15, 1949 in Chicago. Podesta rose from a solidly blue-collar background; his father worked in a factory for 50 years.
In the 1960s John was introduced to the antiwar Left by his older brother Anthony. The two brothers worked on the Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern presidential campaigns in 1968 and 1972, respectively.
John Podesta first met Bill Clinton in 1970, when he and Clinton worked together on anti-war candidate Joseph Duffy’s unsuccessful Senate campaign in Connecticut. Podesta and Clinton subsequently worked for the McGovern campaign in 1972.
Podesta graduated from Knox College in Illinois in 1971 and Georgetown University Law Center in 1976. He landed a job with the federal government right out of law school, working as a litigator for the Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice from 1976 to 1977.
Podesta served on the staff of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) from 1981 to 1988. Leahy was an early advocate of circumventing the U.S. Constitution by gaining control over federal courts. Podesta assisted Leahy in pioneering the indiscriminate smearing and filibustering of any and all Republican judicial nominees — a practice previously unknown in Washington.
In 1988 Podesta teamed up with his brother Anthony to form the Washington lobbying firm Podesta Associates. One of their first clients was Michael Dukakis. John Podesta served as opposition research director — commonly dubbed a “dirt digger” — for Dukakis’ 1988 presidential campaign.
From January 1993 to 1995, Podesta worked as a White House staff secretary and Assistant to President Clinton.
He served as Counselor to Democratic Senate Leader Thomas Daschle from 1995 to 1996 and then returned to the White House, where he finished out the last years of the Clinton administration — first as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff (1997-98) and then as Chief of Staff (October 1998 to January 2001).
During his years in the Clinton White House, Podesta helped suppress numerous federal investigations into Clinton wrongdoing, and helped short-circuit the Clinton impeachment proceedings through backroom deals.
The Clintons recognized Podesta’s talent for scandal-suppression early. While still a mere staff secretary at the White House in 1993, Podesta found himself swamped with so many scandal clean-up assignments that he nicknamed himself, “Secretary of [Expletive].” “He’s good at it,” James Carville remarked to the Washington Post.
Podesta’s most lasting contribution to the leftist cause came through his promotion of a strategy that White House aides dubbed “Project Podesta.” This was a system that enabled the Clintons to push through unpopular policies that neither Congress nor the American people wanted. Its implementation marked a dramatic tilt in the balance of power, giving the executive branch an unprecedented ability to force its will on the legislative branch.
Project Podesta enabled the President to bypass Congress through the use of executive orders, presidential decision directives, White-House-sponsored lawsuits, vacancy appointments to high federal office, selective regulatory actions against targeted corporations, and a host of other extra-constitutional tactics.
In short, Podesta showed the Clintons that they could gain by force what they might fail to achieve through legislation. “Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kind of cool,” quipped White House aide Paul Begala to The New York Times on July 5, 1998, in response to questions about the Clintons’ growing disdain for the will of Congress.
When US News and World Report first revealed the existence of Project Podesta on November 1, 1999, two Congressional hearings convened to investigate the Clintons’ abuse of executive power. But the investigators issued no reports and took no action.
Regarding Podesta’s war of attrition against tobacco firms and gun manufacturers, even Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich warned fellow leftists in the January 17, 2000 issue of The American Prospect, “You might approve the outcomes in these two cases, but they establish a precedent for other cases you might find wildly unjust.… [T]hese lawsuits are blatant end-runs around the democratic process.”
Project Podesta reached its logical conclusion in Al Gore‘s effort to litigate his way into the White House in 2000. During the infamous 36-day, post-election stand-off, Podesta worked behind the scenes with Gore’s legal team even as the Clinton White House publicly declared its neutrality. Podesta bears personal responsibility for forcing the election into the U.S. Supreme Court.
Most of official Washington assumed that the election crisis would end on November 14, when Gore’s recount deadline expired and Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris would certify the winner. In order to reassure Americans that this would be the case, General Services Administration head David J. Barram held a press conference on November 8, 2000, at which he announced that he was ready to release the $5.8 million in presidential transition funds and to open the transition offices to whichever candidate was certified the winner on November 14. Barram repeated this promise several times via radio and television interviews.
However, on November 13 — the day before the recount deadline — John Podesta sent a memo to Barram ordering him to keep the transition offices locked and to withhold the presidential transition funds, thus giving Gore extra time to litigate.
Bush won the Florida recount, as expected. But the transition offices remained locked. Podesta’s unprecedented act stunned official Washington and plunged America into a constitutional crisis.
Four years later, when Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry announced his plan to mobilize a legal team of more than 6,000 attorneys for the 2004 election, it was evident that Project Podesta had changed U.S. politics forever.
Podesta was appointed President and CEO of the Center for American Progress (CAP) at its founding on July 7, 2003. He was hand-picked for the job by CAP founders George Soros and Morton H. Halperin, according to a March 1, 2004 report in The Nation by Robert Dreyfuss. Inside sources have described CAP as “the official Hillary Clinton think tank” — a media spin machine and policy generator designed to serve as a springboard for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential ambitions.
Podesta was a featured speaker at the March 2008 “Take Back America” conference of Campaign for America’s Future, where he declared that global warming was a “severe national security problem” that President Bush had failed to address in any meaningful way.
Over the years, Podesta has made campaign contributions to numerous Democratic candidates, including Al Franken, Edward Kennedy, Richard Gephardt, Tom Daschle, Hillary Clinton, Richard Durbin, Christopher Dodd, Barney Frank, Tammy Duckworth, Rosa DeLauro, Paul Wellstone, Maurice Hinchey, Harry Reid, Patrick Leahy, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Charles Rangel, and Al Gore. In 2002 Podesta also made a $1,000 contribution to the League of Conservation Voters.
AKA John David Podesta
Born: c. 1949
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Party Affiliation: Democratic
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Ex-Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff
Joined the staff of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) in 1979, his expertise are listed as “privacy, technology and information-gathering”. With his brother Tony he founded Podesta Associates in 1988, then joined Bill Clinton‘s staff, eventually rising to Deputy Chief of Staff. He served as one of Clinton’s point-men on the encryption issue. After the end of that administration he founded the Center for American Progress in Washington.
Brother: Anthony “Tony” Podesta (manager of John Kerry‘s Pennsylvania organization)
White House Chief of Staff 1996 Deputy Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton
Al Franken for Senate
Center for American Progress Founder
Center for a New American Security Board of Directors
The Century Foundation Trustee
The Constitution Project Liberty and Security Initiative
Energy Future Coalition Steering Committee
Hillary Clinton for President
John Kerry for President
League of Conservation Voters Board of Directors
New Leadership for America PAC
Obama for Illinois
Roosevelt Institution Advisory Board
Science Debate 2008
Women’s Voices. Women Vote.
- Think tank run by Hillary Clinton and former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta
- Helped launch Media Matters For America in 2004
The Center for American Progress (CAP) describes itself as “a nonpartisan research and educational institute” aimed at “developing a long-term vision of a progressive America” and “providing a forum to generate new progressive ideas and policy proposals.”
Robert Dreyfuss reports in the March 1, 2004 edition of The Nation: “The idea for the Center began with discussions in 2002 between [Morton] Halperin and George Soros, the billionaire investor. … Halperin, who heads the office of Soros’ Open Society Institute, brought [former Clinton chief of staff John] Podesta into the discussion, and beginning in late 2002 Halperin and Podesta circulated a series of papers to funders.”
Soros and Halperin recruited Harold Ickes — chief fundraiser and former deputy chief of staff for the Clinton White House — to help organize the Center. It was launched on July 7, 2003 as the American Majority Institute. The name was changed to Center for American Progress (CAP) on September 1, 2003. The official purpose of the Center was to provide the left with something it supposedly lacked — a think tank of its own.
Regarding the new think tank proposed by Soros and Halperin, Hillary Clinton told Matt Bai of The New York Times Magazine on October 12, 2003, “We need some new intellectual capital. There has to be some thought given as to how we build the 21st-century policies that reflect the Democrat Party‘s values.” She later told The Nation’s Robert Dreyfuss, “We’ve had the challenge of filling a void on our side of the ledger for a long time, while the other side created an infrastructure that has come to dominate political discourse. The Center is a welcome effort to fill that void.”
Persistent press leaks confirm that Hillary Clinton, and not Podesta, is ultimately in charge of CAP. “It’s the official Hillary Clinton think tank,” an inside source confided to Christian Bourge of United Press International. Robert Dreyfuss notes in The Nation, “In looking at Podesta’s center, there’s no escaping the imprint of the Clintons. It’s not completely wrong to see it as a shadow government, a kind of Clinton White-House-in-exile — or a White House staff in readiness for President Hillary Clinton.” Dreyfuss notes the abundance of Clintonites on the Center’s staff, among them Clinton’s national security speechwriter Robert Boorstin; Democratic Leadership Council staffer and former head of Clinton’s National Economic Council Gene Sperling; former senior advisor to Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget Matt Miller; and others.
In addition to the aforementioned individuals, CAP’s key personnel also includes Director of Media Strategy Debbie Berger, daughter of Clinton national security chief Sandy Berger; Sarah Rosen Wartell, who serves as Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and General Counsel; Mark David Agrast, Senior Vice President for Domestic Policy; and Robert O. Boorstin, Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy.
One of CAP’s primary missions is to carry out “rapid response” to what it calls conservative “attacks” in the media. To this end, CAP maintains more than a dozen spokespeople ready to appear on short notice on national talk shows to debate or respond to conservative commentators. Among CAP’s expert commentators are its own President, John Podesta; Eric Alterman, who claims expertise on the subject of media; and CAP Senior Vice President Morton Halperin, who offers to speak on national security.
On May 3, 2004, CAP helped to launch David Brock‘s Media Matters for America – which claims to serve as a “watchdog” organization monitoring “rightwing” media for ethics and accuracy. According to The New York Times, Brock conferred with Hillary Clinton, Senator Tom Daschle, and former Vice President Al Gore about Media Matters before embarking on the project. “Mr. Brock’s project was developed with help from the newly formed Center for American Progress,” notes the Times, and John Podesta “introduced [Brock] to potential donors.”
CAP posts daily “Talking Points” to guide the likeminded in their disputes with conservatives. The organization has also established an American Progress Action Fund as a “sister advocacy organization” that “transforms progressive ideas into policy through rapid response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing and advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders throughout the country and the world.”
The March 2004 Foundation Watch newsletter of the Capital Research Center reports that CAP raised $13 million in 2003. Part of that money came from George Soros, who had pledged $3 million, to be paid in $1 million increments over three years. Part came from Herbert and Marion Sandler, co-CEOs of the Oakland, California savings and loan holding company Golden West Financial Corporation (S&L).
Other donors to CAP include the Rockefeller Family Fund; the Irving Harris Foundation, the Philip Murphy Foundation, the New York Community Trust, the Overbrook Foundation, the Peninsula Foundation, the Robert E. Rubin Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, the Bauman Family Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Open Society Institute, and the Robert and Irene Schwartz Foundation.
After Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, CAP served as perhaps the most influential organization advising the new administration. Among Obama’s leading advisers were John Podesta and at least ten additional CAP experts.
An April 2009 CAP report stated that the United States had a moral obligation to spend massive amounts of money to help poorer nations deal with the effects of the “global warming” that allegedly was being caused by industrialized nations like the U.S.
In May 2009 CAP alleged that Americans’ “insatiable demand for electronics products such as cell phones and laptops” was at least partially responsible for fomenting the deadly war raging in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Said CAP:
“The violence in Congo is being fueled by a multi-million dollar trade in minerals — the 3 T’s (tin, tantalum, and tungsten) — that make our cell phones and other electronics function…. Congo’s mineral wealth should be a source of prosperity and stability for the Congolese people, not a source of exploitation and violence. As the primary end-users of the 3 T’s, electronics companies bear a responsibility for cleaning up their supply chains. Our cell phones should not be fueling violent conflict…. As consumers of cell phones and other electronics, we can change the equation for Congo. Demand that the biggest end-users of the 3 T’s – consumer electronics companies – COME CLEAN 4 CONGO and pledge to make their products conflict-free.”
CAP’s solution, in other words, was to have cell-phone manufacturers “stop using conflict minerals from the Congo.”