The Birthers and Beckers Triumph Over the GOP

by: Chris Blask

Sat Oct 31, 2009 at 11:21:39 AM EDT

In what may well come to be seen as the culmination of the death throes of the Reagan Republican party, the first echoing retort shot across the media today as the cracks in the GOP began to give way to calving chasms and massive bergs sheared off the weathered cliffs.  The ability of Michael ("No, really! I'm, like, hip to your happening shizang my home young gentlepersons!") Steele and the GOP "leadership" (or is that "GOP" leadeship?) to maintain anything like coherency even among the reduced ranks of Republican membership is not only in retreat:

It's in hiding.

In the special election in the 23rd Congressional District race, Dede Scozzafava - the Republican candidate - quit the race today after hearing that she is being out-polled by the Conservative Party candidate that Alaskan blogger Sarah Palin is supporting.

Chris Blask :: The Birthers and Beckers Triumph Over the GOP
How much longer can the GOP pretend to be able to present a viable image as a serious contender for national leadership?  At this point, even as an opposition party it is questionable - representing neither the views of the moderate right (like myself and most righthanded Mooses) nor the Palindrome Constitutionalist Flat-Earthers who are driving its agenda.

Does anyone really think that the GOP will have reorganized itself sufficiently to be a real threat of taking control of the houses of Congress in 12 months?  Does it seem even vaguely reasonable to see the party rallying 50%+1 of the population to take the white house in a campaign that will need to start in 12 months?

This Moose doesn't think so.

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Really?! Dede dropped out? (2.00 / 4)
Wow!  I read at TPM that the RNC would declare victory if Hoffman had won over Scozzafava.  Actually, they would have declared victory even if Owens had won with under 50%.

It will be interesting to see what happens if Corzine and Deeds lose.  Deeds, barring some miracle, looks like he's destined to lose big.  Folks in VA say he's been a really bad candidate.  Corzine and Cristie are really close but folks say NJ always polls close and then the Dem pulls ahead in actual voting.  And, apparently, last night a Corzine aide/staffer was arrested on drug charges.  Not good timing.

I got a bit lost in the weeds but I guess my point was that Republican successes in these races could, while not necessarily really indicative of the overall state of the party, could at least make the Dems a bit defensive.

Can the Republican party hold together with Palin, Pawlenty (who is moving more to the right every day), Huckabee, et al as the standard bearers?  Will someone step up and say, "enough."  It doesn't appear Gingrich has the cache anymore.  Is there an "unknown" moderate who would be tolerable to the base while bringing back disillusioned Republicans?  I don't know.  Huntsman looked like a viable candidate but would he be willing to face off against his boss in the 2012 GE?  Somehow I doubt it.  Canter hasn't shown any leadership and he's made a couple of stupid comments in the healthcare debate.  Who else is out there?  With the primary season starting earlier and earlier someone needs to step up soon.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

Many here follow the broad spectrum more than I do, (2.00 / 2)
but I haven't heard even an echo of a clue that anyone else has a solid idea of what the GOP does to get out of this hole.

Is there an "unknown" moderate who would be tolerable to the base while bringing back disillusioned Republicans?

They're mutually exclusive.  No-one who would be acceptable to the base will be acceptable to, well, me.  And no-one I would vote for would be Fundamentalist Christian and Anarchic-Libertarian enough for the Palin/Beck Fan Club members who will be voting for the Conservative candidates who only succeed in electing Democrats.

It will be an interesting decade.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
So where will voters in your position go? (2.00 / 3)
If the Republican party sticks with the Palin type will someone switch to Independent in order to run on a more moderate platform?  Can they be successful?

Obama may not be left enough for many progressives but if he, and the Democratic Party, can attract enough moderates it makes is more difficult for the Republican party.  It doesn't seem to me that abortion or gay rights are the wedge issues they used to be.  Republicans haven't been able to offer a coherent message on the economy and, barring a terrorist attack in the next few years, they lose their edge on national security issues.  In fact, it seems to me the more Republicans attack the president over everything they lose credibility.  Obama's personal favorability, which is higher than his policy approval, doesn't help Republicans, either.  Rightly or wrongly, we want to like our presidents.

McCain might have made a bigger mistake choosing Palin than anyone thought.  Doing so not might have ignited that part of the base but it also brought the division of the party out into the open and gave her an opening to take advantage of it.  Palin may not hold another public office but she can certainly shape the Republican party; whether it remains a viable party or not remains to be seen.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Voters in my position stay where we are: (0.00 / 0)
voting Democratic.

Unless the Wing of the Left succeeds, in which case we vote candidate-by-candidate and hold our noses.  Right now we are presented with one party that is deeply pandering to an extreme we find extremely repulsive, and another party led by someone who everyone but the extremists in the other party see as a centrist.  If we saw extremists in both directions it would be much less certain where our votes would land.

IOW, listen to everything said at places like TalkLeft and you can help the GOP more than they can help themselves.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
One day the Democratic Party will have a similar problem (2.00 / 8)
maybe sooner than later...there will come a point where liberals in the party are not going to be pleased that we haven't reached the promised land. You see it already in the pity parties on DailyKos and OpenLeft, the healthcare bill process has beaten the shit out of the blogsphere. The once delusions of grandeur of a great liberal era have been shattered by...well reality...and now the blogsphere splits in those resigned to the slow process and those looking to regain their delusions of grandeur.
The former far outnumber the latter, but over time the groups will begin to meet in size until the latter overcomes the former (as is the case in the GOP at the moment)

It's that natural ebb and flow of democracy.  

[ Parent ]
True, though I would say "out shout" instead of "out number" (2.00 / 4)
When the extreme wing convinces itself that it is the majority because it is making the most noise, then it marches itself out into the desert to "show those wimps how it's really done!".


Insert your own image of a bunch of zealots marching into a barren wasteland.  I don't think that has ever worked out real well.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
I'm all for continuing to push the president and Congress (2.00 / 5)
but people sure are impatient.  Either the president is doing too much or not doing enough.  Why haven't we seen movement on financial reform discounting apparently that Congress has started addressing that very thing and the president gave a speech outlining his goals.  They also haven't passed EFCA, ENDA, a repeal of DOMA, or addressed DADT.  And they are just now getting started on climate change.  Oh, and the president is "dithering" on Afghanistan (which was just compounded by Abdullah saying he's boycotting the run-off).  A bunch of slackers all.  

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Oh, haven't you heard? (2.00 / 2)
the President's plan for financial reform isn't good enough.  

[ Parent ]
It is my sincere hope that the teabaggers (2.00 / 4)
repeat this performance in every congressional district in a blue state. Please, please, please, pull the party hard to the right. That could completely turn around the prospects of the minority party during the 2010 elections. Only a massive failure in 2010 and again in 2012 will get the party leadership to wake up.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

I agree. (2.00 / 1)
We really could use a second party, and that might be enough to shake the GOP.

It seems like so long ago, but only less than a year ago you had life-long GOP leaders saying that the party has a decade of rebuilding ahead of it.  All of the sudden the Democrats (or, more accurately, Left Blogistan) is bemoaning it's own downfall when in reality there isn't anyone else for most of us to vote for.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
I am a big enough a-hole to be loving this. (2.00 / 5)
I have watched the republican party pull this country so far to the right, since I returned to the US in 1979, that I am pleased as punch to see them beginning to implode. IMHO the radical left of the 1960's and 70's soured most Americans on liberalism and by association, the Democratic Party, that we were left out in the desert for the last 30 years.

I see the same thing happening to the radical right now. If the over the top insanity can cause a massive retching sound from the vast majority of Americans, I hope we can move the center to a true middle ground. Americans are more progressive than we give them credit for, and a sane and courageous liberal alternative can effectively redefine American politics for the better.  

I am years behind and decades ahead. ~ Somebody else, I am certain

I hear people saying this (2.00 / 4)
IMHO the radical left of the 1960's and 70's soured most Americans on liberalism and by association, the Democratic Party, that we were left out in the desert for the last 30 years.

but it doesn't really stand up to examination.

Nixon and Ford never had a majority in either house of congress. Carter had both houses. Reagan never had control of the House, although the GOP did hold the Senate for 6 years under Reagan. George H. W. Bush never controlled either house.

It is only when it comes to the last 2 presidents that the GOP has held any real power in Congress. Clinton only had 2 years with control of Congress and Bush had 6 years in the House and 4 in the Senate.

In the last 41 years, the GOP has only managed to control the House for 12 and the Senate for 12. Those overlap, but didn't happen in the same 12 years. It was far worse for the GOP in the 38 years prior to that.

Not exactly what I would call the wilderness.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
I was referring to liberalism being left in the desert. (2.00 / 7)
My reference point is the election of Ronald Reagan, as I was out of the country for much of the 1970's. Certainly while Reagan was in office the Democrats held the house and Tip O'Neil held sway with strong liberal beliefs. However, the republicans, under the auspices of such hacks as Lee Atwater (and his heir apparent, Karl Rove), have done an excellent job turning liberalism into a dirty word. No Democratic Presidential candidate claimed the "L word" since Mondale. Clinton was the "new way Democrat", a moderate blue dog if you will, and Gore chose Lieberman as his running mate in 2000.

The really bad stuff started happening in '94 when Gingrich won the House back and forced Clinton even more to the right. Some Democrats held onto liberal social views, whilst caving to the right on taxes and pocketbook issues. The right was able to pick off even more voters as neither party represented their interests, but at least the republicans agreed with them on "God, Guns, and Gays".

Howard Dean was the first Democratic candidate I had seen in my adult life take back the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. The media helped push him out by muting the sounds of the crowd, while Dean tried to be heard over the thunderous roar. To most Americans, he suddenly looked like a nut.

Dean paved the way and in 2006, Democrats made a comeback. It didn't hurt that bush II was an incompetent moron. For the first time in my life, I have hope that liberalism will no longer be considered weak and failing. And that the center will be moved back where it belongs, in the true middle.  

I am years behind and decades ahead. ~ Somebody else, I am certain

[ Parent ]
Great post. Double fierce. (1.83 / 6)

Just because they are posting on a progressive site doesn't make them progressives. - John Allen

[ Parent ]
Thank you Spaceman! (2.00 / 4)
No Halloween party for you my man? I am just sitting at home watching as many scary movies as I can;~J

I am years behind and decades ahead. ~ Somebody else, I am certain

[ Parent ]
don't know... (2.00 / 5)
much about this - but this is not good news for the politics of the US. for every yin there must be a yang. and the teabaggers and their grody ilk ain't either.

"I spend my days and nights pondering the meaning of life, the state of the universe, and the Home Shopping Network." -- Donald Roller Wilson

Actually the contraction of the Republican Party to the (2.00 / 7)
extreme right opens up a great opportunity for the Democratic party to return back being the party of the majority, as it was for the most of last century. It also opens up space for a third party to fill the void if they play their cards right.

If the Democrats do not play their cards to be inclusive of the moderates, then the moderates would be in wilderness for a while in this country till another party occupies that political space.

[ Parent ]
Ultimately the Dems are in the much stronger position, (2.00 / 4)
but as a moderate myself I more picture the worst case for the Dems is not having the moderates in the wilderness but having the Liberals joining the Conservatives in the wilderness.  Two camps of faux savages flinging poo at each other while the majority (moderates) observe them from the city.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Well in other democracies (2.00 / 4)
that's how it works and the moderates in the city side with whichever poo-flinging side has the better ideas for the nation at the moment.

Still, Joe Lieberman doesn't make me feel good about the term moderate...although I suspect he's more a bitter old man than a moderate.  

[ Parent ]
I don't think Joe is moderate at all. (2.00 / 3)
Not sure what to make of him.  Since I'm biased towards the current administration I have to try to subtract my emotional reaction, but all I can come up with is that he is an opportunistic mouth-breather.  He's certainly made himself the center of attention, which seems to be his primary motivation.  If "moderate" were to some extent synonymous with "pragmatist" it seems very clear you can't hang that on Joe - he doesn't seem pragmatic about anything other than his own career.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Lieberman and Specter are pretty much (2.00 / 3)
one and the same.  

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
Egocentric narcissist. nt (2.00 / 4)

[ Parent ]
Bingo (2.00 / 2)

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
I find it interesting that some Democrats look at what's going (2.00 / 7)
on with the Republican party and marvel that they can't see that the polling is telling them they are becoming a very small minority while decrying the reach-out to moderates by the Dems.  There have been folks who say we need to primary Obama from the Left.  Good luck with that; there are reasons Kucinich isn't electable that have nothing to do with the size of his ears.  The Dems really do have an opportunity to take advantage of what's going on in the Republican party.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
So glad you said that. (2.00 / 9)
I was thinking about it this morning.  I was a Kucinich supporter and everyone laughed at me saying he wasn't electable.  Hillary and Obama espoused pretty centrist ideologies during their campaigns.

Now that Obama is elected there are many Democrats who are shocked (shocked I tell ya!) that Obama is not behaving like Kucinich.  They demand he behave like Kucinich...or else!  Why the heck didn't those people just support Kucinich in the first place?  Because back then they knew that ideologues (Jimmy Carter was one) can't get their agendas passed even if they get elected.

When I switched my support to Obama, I knew I was switching to a guy who was a pragmatist, a realist, not an ideologue. As Obama says, the ship of state turns slowly.  He's right.

[ Parent ]
Well, the ears really are a problem... ;~) (2.00 / 4)
I like Kucinich.  Very honest and sincere guy, and he will never (ever) be president.  I could say the same about Ron Paul: he strikes me as a very bright, sincere, principled person - and hell itself will freeze over and be re-dedicated as a tourist attraction before he lives in the White House.

I find value in (virtually) every ideological argument that is put forth by sincere people.  Save the poor/whales/downtrodder?  Can't argue against that!  Protect freedom/liberty/individuality?  With my very life!


At the end of the day the universe is a wildly complicated place that doesn't take into account our wants and needs.  It is up to us to make complicated choices that have unforeseeable consequences, many of which will run counter to our own goals and interests and some of which will be the exact opposite of what our well-laid plans were intended to produce.  And we might still get run over by a comet no matter what we do (those things just happen).  

In this wildly imperfect world where no-one is in complete control of anything, I am more than happy to accept partial solutions - with moderate probabilities of not backfiring entirely - when it comes to politics.  

Demanding any more is completely mad.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Some of them did (2.00 / 4)
and are using the current situation as their "I told you so" PUMA moment.

One of those "you're all stupid, you should've voted for Kucinich, but you're all sheep" type of things.  

[ Parent ]
That's the point. (2.00 / 4)
Kucinich didn't have a chance.  These people know he couldn't win but now they're expecting the guy who did to suddenly morph into Kucinich.  I guess they are the noisy leftwing fringe.

[ Parent ]
No, I think they think he WILL win (2.00 / 5)
just everyone is afraid of giving him a chance because he's so "radical"

[ Parent ]
I think you are right. (2.00 / 6)
It's the same attitude Ron Paul backers had.

I am so looking forward to Tuesday night. Any way NY 23 turns out has to be good for the Dems. If Hoffman wins, the far right will push for more primary challenges to any moderate or moderate-right candidates. If he loses they will blame the GOP leadership and start a revolt. Either way, moderate Republicans in swing districts will be reluctant to put their names forward in a primary. Why put yourself through the grief that Scozzafofa just went through?

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
Excellent point. (2.00 / 6)
Why put yourself through the grief that Scozzafofa just went through?

I just hate having to put up with Palin for another 4-8 years.  But I guess I'll deal with it for the good of the country.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Alaskan blogger Sarah Palin's the gift that keeps on giving. (2.00 / 5)
She's like a thick blanket on a fever patient.  Raise the temp, break the fever and get it over with.

She will never, ever ever ever, work in the White House.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Best... (2.00 / 4)
Sarah Palin analogy I've ever heard.  Thank you Hudson Bay Company.

[ Parent ]
Exactly what has Kucinich (2.00 / 2)
actually gotten accomplished? I don't mean that in a snarky way. I just don't think I've ever seen anyone write about concrete accomplishments.

If I want a big time progressive who actually gets stuff done, I'd go with Bernie Sanders, or Sherrod Brown. Kucinch is all talk, no action as far as I can tell.

[ Parent ]
That's a good question. (2.00 / 3)
I sort of tuned him out in the same way I tuned out Ron Paul. Neither one was electable and neither one was influential enough to shape policies. Why pay attention to them?

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
Because they say things you like to hear (2.00 / 5)
doesn't matter if it's realistic or possible. Delusions of grandeur and all that.  

[ Parent ]
Nothing (2.00 / 5)
Like Paul, he's an ultra-Fringy perpetual "no" vote on everything.

Howard Dean is my guy. (in a strictly nonsexual fashion)

[ Parent ]
They are very much the same. (2.00 / 2)
Flip-sides of the same coin.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
Well if you look at Dennis Kucinich as Mayor of Cleveland (2.00 / 3)
epic fail.

How does a Democrat incumbent get ousted by a Republican for Mayor of freakin' Cleveland? You have to really suck to do that.  

[ Parent ]
He refused to privatize one of the public utilities. (2.00 / 2)
The city had a budget crunch and there was a proposal to privatize [can't remember which utility].  He refused as he said they would regret it later.  Now they love the guy because of that refusal.

[ Parent ]
Kucinich has some notions I could get behind but that aren't (2.00 / 5)
practical at least right now.  I understand the anti-war sentiment.  I'm not exactly pro-war myself but I understand the idea of drawing down and hoping that Iraq stabilizes.  Considering the Iraqi Parliament may be in violation of their Constitution as I understand it re: the January elections I don't know what's going to happen with the troop levels.  But I'd bet progressives will be pissed if a delay in the elections keeps more troops there longer.  Depending on the level of violence I might be one of those.

I'm getting to the point where I think we need to get out of Afghanistan but I'd prefer to do so in some kind of way that saves face somehow.

I'd love to get single-payer but I just don't think it is feasible; we're having enough trouble getting a decent PO.  

I'd love for the military to take a serious look at the overseas bases we have.  Are they really necessary or relics of the Cold War?  The problem Dems encounter is that they are seen as weak on national defense and closing bases certainly wouldn't help that perception.  Obama got a lot of flack for cutting the defense budget despite increasing it by 4%.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
24 Hour news cycle is devastating for rightwing. (2.00 / 6)
I suspect they've always pandered to the far right fringe but it hasn't gotten the air time it does these days.  

For decades they've been able to push a racist message to racists and a family values message to theocrats while at the same time telling the fiscal conservatives they're all about low taxes and small government.  

The Bush regime kept the media flooded with the talking points of the day which was basically pre-written copy.

Now these various factions are emboldened by getting air time.  Moderate republicans think the party has recently gone crazy but I don't think it's all that recent.

For the record, Scozzafava just endorsed Owens (2.00 / 7)
I don't know if it helps this late in the game, but whatever works;

Scozzafava released the following statement at 2 :06 p.m.:

I want to thank you for your support and friendship. Over the past 24 hours, I have had encouraging words sent to my family and me. Many of you have asked me whom you should support on Tuesday.

Since announcing the suspension of my campaign, I have thought long and hard about what is best for the people of this District, and how to answer your questions. This is not a decision that I have made lightly.

You know me, and throughout my career, I have been always been an independent voice for the people I represent. I have stood for our honest principles, and a truthful discussion of the issues, even when it cost me personally and politically. Since beginning my campaign, I have told you that this election is not about me; it's about the people of this District.

It is in this spirit that I am writing to let you know I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same.

It's not in the cards for me to be your representative, but I strongly believe Bill is the only candidate who can build upon John McHugh's lasting legacy in the U.S. Congress. John and I worked together on the expansion of Fort Drum and I know how important that base is to the economy of this region. I am confident that Bill will be able to provide the leadership and continuity of support to Drum Country just as John did during his tenure in Congress.

In Bill Owens, I see a sense of duty and integrity that will guide him beyond political partisanship. He will be an independent voice devoted to doing what is right for New York. Bill understands this district and its people, and when he represents us in Congress he will put our interests first.

Please join me in voting for Bill Owens on Tuesday. To address the tough challenges ahead, we must rise above partisanship and politics and work together. There's too much at stake in this election to do otherwise.

I would think that will do several things: (2.00 / 4)
1/  Make Democrats almost annoyingly happy. ;~)

2/  Make the Conservative/Birther/Wingers even more self-justified.

3/  Drive further wedges between the GOP and the Beckistanians.


John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Now Dede is backing that would make Birthers and Beckers happy... (2.00 / 4)
I can't decide to be gleeful at the discomfort of the GOP, (2.00 / 3)
who I rightly or wrongly see as my opposition these days, or to feel uncomfortable about the yawning vacuum of balance in the national political debate.

I guess if I stepped back and looked at the likely shape of the political curves over the next few years I'd feel better.  The wisest GOP elders forecast a many-year recovery, so it should be unsurprising that the first year or three of that will be dominated by futile efforts.  After a few years of radical stupidity there will be a reckoning and a coming to sanity: I'm willing to bet (a very small amount) that you can guess the shape of that new party from here.

In the meantime, the Dems are led by someone resistant to the excesses of his party's half of the political spectrum and reasonably respectful of the valuable arguments of his opposition (even when his opposition is not).  That should work out OK, all in all.

Sometimes I think the wildest deification of this country's founders is almost accurate.  Some pretty bright folks put this system together.  

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
if the birthers are in charge of the Republican party, then (2.00 / 3)
it would be a long wait for you before the birth of a more inclusive Republican party. I would rather put my wager for a more moderate independent party or the Democratic party to fill the void..  

[ Parent ]
I think Chris has got it right, or nearly so. (2.00 / 6)
If Hoffman wins or loses doesn't matter. What matters is whether or not the teabaggers will become energized by their ability to push the moderate Republican out of the race and to counter the wishes of the national party. That cannot bode well for the GOP.

IMHO, the only thing that will get the GOP to make the necessary changes within a reasonable amount of time to return to being a valid contender is if they take a beating in 2010. That could happen if the teabaggers get their way and prevent more moderate candidates from running in swing districts.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
That's kinda my thoughts. (2.00 / 4)
I hate to call 2010 for the Dems from this distance - and natural trends dictate otherwise - but if prevailing "logic" among the GOP or Birthers is that extreme conservatives must either run in GOP spots or run against GOP candidates it can't look good for the political right.  This could lead to a re-upping of the strong mandate for the Dems and a relatively smooth coast into 2012.  If the economy follows the logical path it will be better times next year than this or the last, and a return to stability by 2012.  Combine that with some moderate success with healthcare, reduction of involvement in Iraq and something that looks like a form of success in Afghanistan while the GOP is recovering from running Michelle Bachmann look-alikes in mainstream America and 2012 could be the final real repudiation of the Birther/Deather/AnarchoLibertarian GOP that is holding sway today.

Then, during the second Obama term, the GOP could begin to shake off the inebriating influence of the wild-eyed fringe and bring a new generation of results-oriented conservatives into the fold.  In 2016 they could run a reasonable contender and, win or lose, set the tone for the Next Gen GOP.

At least, that's a scenario that wouldn't surprise me too much.  A third party of some sort seems least likely, and by that point the Democrats will have held power for too long to be left unopposed by external forces, for their own good as well as for the good of all of us.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
The fact I think almost everyone is missing (2.00 / 4)
is that Democrats just don't seem to give a shit at the moment. I'm noticing a huge drop off in interest in politics since Obama was politics was the flavor of the month in 2008 and now no one cares.

That's the sense I get...last year my Twitter feed was on fire with "Obama" "Vote" etc, those were the top trending topics all year. Now the only time I've seen anything remotely political on my twitter feed was when Joe Wilson called Obama a liar.

Now it's all about the World Series, Football, and prime time shows.  

[ Parent ]
Furthermore (2.00 / 2)
Gallup today has the Republican polling at 44% in the generic ballot.

That's what they got in 2008

So the Republicans are gaining at all, Democratic voters are moving to undecided. It'll be fairly easy to move them back into the fold when the time comes.

The time hasn't come yet.

[ Parent ]
How many swing districts are left that Republicans don't (2.00 / 6)
already hold?  I'll have to do some investigating but I can't imagine a further swing to the right would bode well for picking up seats.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
My fear, and remember I am a liberal, (2.00 / 3)
is that we reach for too much too fast and fail. When I listen to those who rant about Obama continuing to reach across the isle, or not moving radicaly enough in regards to climate change or financial reform, it seems they have forgotten about the other 65 percent of Americans who don't agree with them. I don't believe its proper for one portion of the electorate to dictate to the majority what policy should be, I also don't thinks its politicaly wise. That ledge gets pretty narrow when you ignore all dissenting voices.

Problem (2.00 / 3)
they don't think the other 65% DOES disagree with them...they throw around the polls showing 70% want a public option or they trot out their polls showing how it's almost unanimous Americans hate big banks and that's the reason to let them fail or whatever.

Ironically, climate change and financial reform might be two of the easiest things we accomplish, because we're not overreaching. Oh, sure, the Kucinich pearl-clutchers hate it, but the consensus within the party is good enough that even Republicans are left to boycotting markups.

Ironically, after all the talk of accomplishing nothing so far because of bipartisanship or whatever, the Wall Street Journal of all things comes out and laudes progress;

[ Parent ]
65% disagree with them on what? (0.00 / 0)

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
There is equal or greater danger of moving too slowly. (2.00 / 2)
Not that I think they are moving too slowly so far. I'm only pointing out that it is a possibility. If the 2010 elections go as expected and the Democrats lose some seats then getting anything serious passed in the last two years of this presidential term are limited, to say the least.  

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
I think its a matter of degree. (2.00 / 2)
 I assume that political affiliations break down as follows: 25-35 percent liberal, 20-30 percent conservative and a big middle that is currently leaning strongly left. I havn't seen a poll recently, but I think I'm generaly correct in my assumption. Out of the liberal and conservative groups even a smaller amount actually drive the debate on both sides.
 I really wasn't refering to specific policys, more the notion that we have this liberal/progressive monolith. I listen to Ed Schultz get himself all riled up because we are not ramming legislation down republican throats and wonder if winning a national election by 6 points gives us that much more inteligence than those who disagree. It seems too easy to start believing your own spin.

Last thought, I think the left underestimates the angst of middle America on implementing cap and trade in economys with double digit unemployment.

[ Parent ]
Well (2.00 / 4)
Cap and Trade is evidently quite popular.


Though I'd be surprised if 60% even know what cap and trade is.

The thing is, I think most Americans are still in the "ok, let Obama implement his agenda and see where it goes" mode, but they're reprehensive about quick passage of these things. I get the sense it's because they feel that jamming legislation through indicates it's sponsors don't believe the legislation will fly if there is an extended debate on it or if the public knows what's really in the bill or what it does.

It's one of the things I argued back in July when the blogsphere was in a panic because we'd have to go the month of August without a bill...if the people want healthcare, they still will come Labor Day, if they don't, then they never did and Democrats would be punished, no matter what bill they passed...and as it were, after the August fracas, the people still wanted healthcare reform and the bill survived.

Same with cap and trade...if the people really want it, it doesn't matter if we pass it in three weeks or three months or even three years, if they don't want it, it won't matter. I am reprehensive about rushing to jam through legislation because it makes it seem like we're afraid of what the public will think if we have an extended debate on it.

[ Parent ]
Yeah. I think Americans (2.00 / 1)
are in a slowly but surely mode. It makes sense that Americans are apprehensive about the country changing too quickly, especially since some of the policy changes are complex and difficult to understand. I don't think the U.S. has ever done change quickly.  

[ Parent ]
This is what infuriated me about the netroots (2.00 / 3)
"THE PEOPLE WANT HEALTHCARE! but if we wait another month, it will die."

Well do the people want it or not? If they do, they'll still get it. I got the feeling that there were more than a few who didn't believe the people really wanted anything progressive, but pretended the people did to save face...if they really believed it, they would've been happy to take on the teabaggers in August, instead of running into the corner, curling up in a ball and pissing their pants like they did.

Sure telling how they reacted to that.

[ Parent ]
That about sums me up: (0.00 / 0)
The thing is, I think most Americans are still in the "ok, let Obama implement his agenda and see where it goes" mode, but they're reprehensive about quick passage of these things.

I support the heck out of Obama - I hope correctly - and I'm mostly waiting to see how the smart dude's ideas pan out.  But am I happy to see lots of moving parts and big expenditures during a really stressful and f'ed-up time in the national history?

No way.  Not happy about it.

I'm willing to cut him slack because there are arguments to be made in support of his ideas and he's a smart character.  But don't expect me to be happy for a year or two and only if it all works out.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
In the meantime (2.00 / 2)
he has to deal with a base that wants to see even more action.

He's getting hit by both sides at the moment and it's counterproductive.

[ Parent ]
I think he understands the dynamics of this better than most of us. (2.00 / 3)
That's why those of us in the middle are mostly OK with him doing his thing: the dude is wicked smart.  If he was representative of the breathless Leftosphere I think myself and millions like me would be completely freaking out, we only trust him because he isn't.  

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
It is ever thus. (2.00 / 2)
he has to deal with a base that wants to see even more action.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
And now we have blogs, social networking sites, (2.00 / 3)
and cable news channels to give plenty of venues to anyone with an opinion.  All with little transparency as to the motives and/or expertise of the blogger, commenter, or pundit.

I'm sure, though, we get frustrated much more than the president.  His frustration surely comes from having to deal with Congress.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
I'd stay away from Huffington Post today if I were you (2.00 / 6)
the top three diaries discuss the utter and complete failure of Obama as a leader.

She has no neuroscientist who wrote a diary saying Obama has presented himself as a failure of a leader for not taking tough stands or something, Bill Maher whines about "is this the best we're going to get" and Arianna herself takes the cake, describing this as, what is it, a "struggling presidency"

Whiners all of them, and ironically enough, both Maher and Arianna voted for Bob freaking Dole.

[ Parent ]
I'm telling you guys (2.00 / 4)
the left is going to sink him...when the time comes when he needs defense, they're not going to be there because of whatever petty grievence they had.

I have to say though, I'm surprised anyone would declare a President a failure after ten months. I mean what's going to happen if it turns out the rest of the country thinks he's an enormous success? Who's going to take them seriously then? Other than the whiney never-satisfieds.

Personally, I wouldn't give someone like Arianna the time of day anymore if I was in the White House. Why? She's already given up on us?

The smartest thing Clinton ever did was ignore the liberals who attacked him and pay attention to the ones advising him.

"You're a failure" is not advice.

[ Parent ]
This is the difference between the Industrial Left and the rest of it. (2.00 / 4)
"The rest of it" is you folks.  The "Industrial Left" is Huff, Maher etc.  These are the same people that drive me bats whichever side I'm supporting and who embrace without hesitation all of the cliches of Leftisium.

"OK, can we get a little more pout, dahling?  Good, now add some sneer.  Lion face!  Lemon face!  Lion face! Lemon face!  OK, now let's see superiority - I don't know as much as you!  I'm just a partially educated loser with a camera, you know you're better than me, show it!"

Being educated and smart doesn't make you correct.  Often it just allows you to be wrong at much higher resolution.  The criticism that the political left as a whole wholly earns is embodied in the condescending smirk that all too often plies the faces of both those folks.

I like Maher, he's a bright and funny guy.  I'm glad he has a platform to mock everything from - god bless fully free speech.  But he's not any more intrinsically correct than a random brilliant Jesuit priest, Cato researcher or, for that matter, sitting President.

Ariana?  I'm sure she loves her family and is a good friend and human being, but I've never been able to take her seriously.  Maybe it's the Zsa Zsa Gabor accent (I'd pay $10 to hear her say "I just adore a penthouse view.  Darling I love you but give me Park Avenue.") but whenever she speaks I picture her talking down to The Help.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
I would think the "Biden should resign..." (2.00 / 2)
piece probably sent her website further down the reading list for some poor staffer.  That and the screaming headlines.  I do like their photos of the first family.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
I held out for a few hours but my curiosity got the better of me (2.00 / 1)
and I took a look.  I guess it was too much to ask to just maybe feel good on the anniversary and criticize him mightily tommorow.  But David Plouffe had a nice rejoinder which was included in the blaring headlines.

BTW, Plouffe's book sounds really interesting.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
The framing of the question means a lot. (2.00 / 2)
Under a proposal called "cap and trade," the federal government would limit the amount of greenhouse gases that companies could produce in their factories or power plants. If companies exceeded those limits, they would either pay a fine or pay money to other companies that produced smaller amounts of greenhouse gases. Would you favor or oppose this proposal?"

What if the question was "Would you favor or oppose this issue if it raises your energy cost x amount a year?"

I admit that I'm not an expert on cap and trade or carbon taxes. I suspect it will cost us all money and at least initialy cost jobs, and I know a number of small business owners who think that way. If we ram through legislation without a expansive discussion, it will cost votes when the higher bills show up.

[ Parent ]
Cap and Trade is a complicated issue. (2.00 / 2)
I'm no expert on this issue either. However, I do know a bit about it.

First and foremost, it will reduce carbon emissions. We know this because the same mechanism has been used before and it worked.

Yes, it will cost some jobs at the worst polluters, but it will create jobs building nuclear powerplants, wind turbines, carbon scrubbers for coal plants, etc...

It will affect energy prices, but nowhere near the amount the Right-wing opponents claim. Not surprisingly, they are inflating those costs outrageously.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
John I agree with you on all of the above. (2.00 / 3)
 Since my first post I've read that the current house legislation will cost consumers $111.00 per year in utility cost. Thats not much unless your spouse just lost their job, or you lost yours. Did you get another extension on unemployment. Is your company downsizing in the near term. Your kids school is cutting $300.00 per head because of State budget cuts......etc.

What I'm saying is that if most people do not understand that their will be cost involved, (and I think a lot of people don't) you will have a lot of voters feeling a little snookered and the GOP/Palin/Limbaugh party will play on those fears.

I'm also wary of the job creation discussion, it would seem that thats a ways down the road.

[ Parent ]
We'll be concentrating on this issue pretty soon. (2.00 / 5)
Congress is starting to move a bit on it. I'm sure the country will have the same calm, rational discussion on cap and trade as it did on the health care issue.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
I hear you snickering.......nt (2.00 / 4)

[ Parent ]
Which is why this would've been easier eight years ago (2.00 / 3)
cap and trade will lead to short term job losses, long term job growth, which is fine when you have 4% unemployment, but not 10% unemployment.  

[ Parent ]
Eight years ago, (2.00 / 2)
the economy wasn't in great shape. The dotcom bubble had burst and 9/11 had just happened. We also had a Republican president and Congress. Before that, Clinton had to deal with a Republican controlled Congress. You do what you can when you can.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
It was in a lot better shape than it is now (2.00 / 1)
Unemployment was less than half what it is now, we could afford to lose some jobs in the short term when we have 4.5% unemployment.

[ Parent ]
Relatively better. (2.00 / 1)
Here's something from CNN in November, 2001
NEW YORK (CNNmoney) - The U.S. unemployment rate rose sharply in October, the government said Friday, as employers cut hundreds of thousands of jobs - the most in 21 years - in response to a sharp slowdown in the world's largest economy.

The data reflect the impact of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on an already weak U.S. economy and add pressure to President Bush, the U.S. Congress, and the Federal Reserve to find ways to stimulate growth and soften the blow.

Plus, I notice you didn't comment on the political reality of the last 15 years. By your reasoning, we should go back to the last time Democrats held the WH and Congress during a good economic period.

Let's see...

Bush wouldn't do it. Clinton was dealing with the Bush 1 recession in his first 2 years and after that had to deal with Republican control of Congress. Bush 1 sure as hell wasn't going to do anything about it. Neither was Reagan. That takes us back to Carter. Oh wait, Carter had a lousy economy. Well, how about Ford or Nixon? Ford had no real power and not enough time to really do anything. That leaves it up to Nixon.

So the only "good" time to pass such legislation would have been under Nixon or Kennedy/Johnson. Seems to me that they were dealing with other issues at the time and this one hadn't even been raised as a real national concern.

Now tell me again how we should have dealt with this 8 years ago.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
My argument was (0.00 / 0)
This was an easier sell during the 2000 campaign and in the first year of a potential Gore administration than it is now.

[ Parent ]
Ah, during the campaign. (2.00 / 1)
The one Gore lost. Woulda, coulda, shoulda is what I'm reading here.

This is the first real chance something can be done about it and it's still far from a slam-dunk. Of course, we could put it off until the economy gets better. Then we can put it off again because something else has come up. Then we can put it off again during Prez Palin's terms. Then we can put it off, and off, and off until it is too late to affect anything.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
I don't think we should put it off (2.00 / 2)
I think it's just going to be a difficult sell. I actually think it's gonna pass rather easily, but it's not going to be greeted with soars of approval. It's one of those meh things, and we have to be careful to see what it does to the job market.

If it costs, say, 30,000 jobs next year, that will do a lot more damage politically then it would have in, say, 2001.

Also, remember, the cap and trade bill isn't loved by progressives because it's nothing like what Kyoto would've done, so it's already been watered down to fit with our economic times.

[ Parent ]
You keep mentioning this (2.00 / 1)
If it costs, say, 30,000 jobs next year, that will do a lot more damage politically then it would have in, say, 2001.

But seem to be blind to the reality that it was an impossible sell in 2001 under Bush. The country went in the other direction for 8 years. What does this have to do with anything?

It is a heck of a lot easier to rake leaves in May than it is in October or November. Does that mean we shouldn't rake leaves in the Fall?

I agree with what you say here -

I think it's just going to be a difficult sell. I actually think it's gonna pass rather easily, but it's not going to be greeted with soars of approval. It's one of those meh things, and we have to be careful to see what it does to the job market.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
I'd like to believe it (2.00 / 3)
Especially with Hoffman's possible loss tonight, but I'm not sure.  Assuming that the Democrats have fallen out of favor by 2010/12, then Republicans may have a decent shot simply because they represent an alternative to the current regime.  I think tonight's elections show that the Republicans can succeed, even in this environment, under the right conditions and with the right candidates.  

That said, the Republican presidential candidate is going to have a hell of a time pleasing the Palinites without coming across as batshit insane to the rest of the country.  That person is probably going to have to do the whole "wink wink, nudge nudge" routine to get the crazies to the polls, but I can't think of any potential candidate that would be able to pull it all off successfully.  

Yeah, we'll see what the local dynamic ends up being, (2.00 / 2)
but the national picture I think is pretty clear for 2012.  It is inconceivable to me at this moment that the GOP could run a candidate that someone like me would vote for who would also get Palin's support (or vice versa).

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
What about Pawlenty? (2.00 / 1)
He seems like a nonfactor now, but he also is apparently dialing up the rhetoric.  To the extent anyone thinks about him outside of Minnesota, they probably consider him a moderate.  If he maintains that reputation while also sending the right signals, would he be viable?

[ Parent ]
Also take into account (2.00 / 3)
Bloomberg nearly got ousted in New York, despite Democrats losing two seats on the city council.

There just seems to be this anti-incumbent mood generally, yeah that might hurt Democrats next year, but it is what it is.

Might hurt Republicans too.  

[ Parent ]
Yeah (2.00 / 1)
but we also have to ditch unpopular Dems. Had Corzine not been the nominee, we would've kept New Jersey. Ugh, how I wish Obama made him Secretary of the Treasury now.  

[ Parent ]
No, not SoT (0.00 / 0)
Maybe an ambassadorship of Denmark or something similar. What do you bribe governors with besides cabinet positions?  

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
Well his name was tossed around for SoT (0.00 / 0)
I remember hearing that Obama wanted him to get out of the race. He knew Corzine was going down.  

[ Parent ]
His negatives have been pretty bad for quite some time. (0.00 / 0)
Governors always take the flak for a bad economy. Incumbents in general have problems in times like these. The ones in charge are doubly at risk. Good thing the economy is supposed to be better by next year. Things could get ugly if it's not.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]

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