Monthly Archives: September 2010

Time To Do Over. Again.

It’s starting to be clear to me now that no matter what the result of the election is, the Anti-Bush coalition is breaking up. The Obama administration has been accused of dispiriting its “base.” It seems to me that what was widely identified as symptomatic of the break up of the last Democratic coalition—interest group politics—was not resolved, but merely suspended by Bush.

These groups haven’t done well under Obama. The unions did not get EFCA. Greens didn’t get a vote on cap and trade (though there was some stuff in the ARRA). We haven’t heard anything about blacks; I guess a black President is supposed to be enough. Haven’t heard much about women’s issues since early 2009. Single-payer folks were never even at the table. Doves are unhappy about Afghanistan even though the phase-out of the Iraq mission has gone mostly according to plan. Civil libertarians object to the secrecy state and growing apathy towards criminal rights.

But the LGBT community seems to be ready to abandon the Dems at this point. Man, are they pissed. Routine DOJ defense of existing laws, including DOMA and DADT, has sparked outrage in a community used to getting its few victories in the courts, even while tough losing votes were taken by the Dems in Congress to repeal these laws legislatively.

None of these groups understand what the Democrats are supposed to genuinely be about. Their hijacking of the post-LBJ, pre-Clinton Democratic party is largely responsible for Nixon and Reagan. The Democrats are supposed to be the party of the middle class. That means when there is 10% unemployment these groups take a back seat. Shut the fuck up for a minute! It truly is “the economy, stupid.” Every single time Democrats forget that, or buy into bullshit Republican “economic theories” (i.e. kleptocracy) they lose.

This is the worst economic climate in 70 years; despite that Obama and the Democrats presided over the most productive legislative session in that same amount of time.Even though none of these groups got their preferred spoil, all of their issues were in fact addressed and progress was made on all of them. (Not to mention the smooth installation of two young Supreme Court justices that will defend all of us on these issues for many years to come.)

I am surprised we’re having this fight less than two years since Bush left office. I figured it would probably come about at the end of Obama’s second term, the way it did in the Nader/Gore fight of 2000 and the current purity war in the Republican party.

If the damage in this election is bad, the Democrats need to figure out a set of principles that they stick to in all situations the way Republicans do to issues like tax cuts, even if it means cutting a few people lose (but only if they are in the minority to begin with). We’re going to have to figure this out starting now. What will the Democrats of 2016 be about?

DADT Repeal: It wasn't the Dems' fault.

The usual suspects are throwing rotten tomatoes at Senator Reid and President Obama for failing to clear the DADT repeal through the Senate. But let’s remind everyone: (1) a majority of the Senate did vote for the repeal—only a GOP filibuster prevented its passage; and, (2) not a single Republican voted for the repeal.

Not much from Rachel Maddow or Michaelangelo Signorile et al. directed at the Republican leadership.

Is this why the Dem leadership is afraid of taking this kind of vote? The stigma of losing seems to come back on them instead of going where it belongs: on the people who won’t even permit majority votes. If the prognosticators are correct, the Dem majority in the Senate will be reduced, and it appears that this is largely due to the Dem “base” being unsatisfied with the progress made under Obama.

I share that sense. But this is no longer the time when our choices were between people like Bob Dole and Bill Clinton. The Republican moderate barely exists anywhere in the federal government and has zero input with the Republican leadership. At least five of the GOP senate candidates are so extreme that they make George Bush look moderate (and—gasp!—intelligent).

And this is how the Republicans have worked for a long time. They keep pushing the window so far to the right that their right wingers look “moderate” and “centrist” and even the most milquetoast Democrat is a “liberal.”* And they are able to do it with people that are so crazy that they are dismissed as unelectable, like Ronald Reagan, like George W. Bush, like Sarah Palin, and like Christine O’Donnell. This has been dramatically successful on the Supreme Court as well, where there simply aren’t any liberals at all anymore even though 4 get called that, they are, in fact, centrists by historical measure; but they are in the mix with one center-right justice and four extreme hard-right justices.

How many articles or tweets have you seen lately from liberals (it was common during the “Ground Zero Mosque” furor—was that in 2010?) that they missed the relatively moderate Bush II. I know they were being tongue-in-cheek, but when you are calling for a return to the “relatively sane” era of that man, things have gone completely wrong.

No, it’s not the Dems’ fault on this. Nor will it be if the Dems fail to pass the Obama tax cuts for everyone on their first $250k of income. It’s the Republicans’ fault. They are the cause of these troubles.

Staying home in November won’t wake the Dems up—they aren’t asleep, and this kind of vote proves it. No, all that will do is give them less to bargain with. Fortunately, the electorate seems to be getting that. They don’t seem to want more phantom impeachments, government shut-downs, plutocracy, or corruption and it looks like the majorities might hold. Barely.

* In this, though, the Democrats have routinely capitulated and offered nothing but tar and feathers for those who have tried to move the window to the left. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton moved the party dramatically to the right, and I don’t see Obama having moved it to Clinton’s left at all, despite what is claimed. Neither Obama nor Clinton moved the Supreme Court to the left, though Obama will have the chance to if he’s reelected.

Also.

Dems might use this whole “Bush tax cuts” thing to remind people that TARP was Bush’s too, more spoils for the rich. It might help people distinguish between the banker bailout and the jobs for everyone stimulus.

#justsayin’

Palin / DeMint 2012

Both liberals and the establishment are suffering from severe denial about Sarah Palin and her plans.

Anyone who thinks Sarah Palin can’t win the 2012 GOP nomination is not seeing the forest for the trees. It would be no historical anomaly. And she has quite a few political actors that owe her a chit or two now, even if they don’t get elected to Congress or the Governor’s mansion. She was always going to run in 2012. Why do you think she undermined without completely sabotaging the McCain campaign?

Remember Todd Palin telling people to “keep their powder dry until 2012during the 2008 campaign? (A link to Newsweek there, not some mere blog.) People were all farklempt by her resignation from being Governor of Alaska. Well, she just wants to cash in on book deals. No. Quite wrong. It’s that she couldn’t be tethered to Alaska while getting ready to run for President in 2012. She couldn’t go try to stop the Democrats she had put bullseyes on in the lower 48. Many of the people she supported in the primary elections won.

I didn’t issue this robocall because I thought it would be funny for my liberal friends to hear. I did it because I knew for a fact that there were folks out there who hated McCain but who loved Sarah Palin and would “keep their powder dry until 2012.” And I knew that would help Barack Obama.

She was always running in 2012. Duh.

From the minute she became Governor of Alaska, she began using that power to settle personal scores and get trinkets. From the second she became the Vice-Presidential nominee in 2008, she wanted to become American royalty and run for President. And settle some personal scores (as Lisa Murkowski about that).

Now, there are those who believe she is so far beyond the pale that the American people would never elect her President. I happen to be one of those people. Unless something has gone extremely wrong before the election, I can’t see her doing anything other than suffering Goldwater’s Doom. But things could go wrong. Unemployment is not abating. There could still be yet another financial scandal. What about a major terrorist attack? Things could happen. You are counting on the sanity and calm judgment of the current Republican party to keep her from getting nominated and you can’t do that.

People said these things about Goldwater, about Ronald Reagan, about Christine O’Donnell, and George W. Bush, too. There are so many articles in a Google search asserting that Palin is no Reagan that I think the comparison must be apt, otherwise so many people wouldn’t see the need to knock it down.

Speaking of which, I think there is a huge dose of “screw you” out there underlying all of this. I think people are saying screw you to pollsters, at the ballot box, and in the media. I don’t think you can take it very seriously. I don’t think in a calm moment so many people think we should do some of the things the pollsters say they should do. I also don’t think they really believe people like Palin will be good rulers. I just think they don’t care. I think people left right and center are exhausted from scandal, fear, and failures.

The “government sucks” meme is powerful enough to undergird a lot of this, and even mostly smart, most helpful actors on the political stage have been proven unable to fix a lot of the big problems. We can disagree on why, but it isn’t inconsistent with the current state of affairs.

Oh, and about history. We’d love to believe that these people go away, but they don’t. Yes, Goldwater got his ass beat, but only after launching the biggest political movement of the last 50 years from which our country is still suffering. Yes, Reagan was somewhat tempered by a Democratic controlled house, but his Supreme Court nominees continue to damage our country, to say nothing of the general zeitgeist he established.

Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Cabot Lodge, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush—that kind of Republican no longer exists. And even if they do exist, they are required to act like they agree with Sarah Palin by their mobmarshalls Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, and Palin, or else they get the boot.

Anyway, I’m leaving the country if she gets elected (or installed) as President. I can’t raise my kid with that.

Retardism in defense of liberty is no vice?

The current batch of Republicans suffering from black-man-induced psychotic breaks makes Goldwater look like a statesman in the Founding Father mold.

The Democrats are masters at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. They could still lose big, but if they are smart they will sew fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the extremism of the GOP candidates using their rogue’s gallery of senate candidates to nationalize the campaign. This is their chance. People love an underdog and the Repukes have been measuring the drapes in the Speaker’s office for a year now.

I think in the end the hold well in the Senate and barely hold the House, or, at least get close enough for a Special election here and there to flip it back.

Turning Meme?

Republicans are evidently pulling out of Delaware with the nomination of Conservatron anti-Beet the Meatles cartoon Christine O’Donnell. The simple arithmetic is that this has turned one likely Republican pick up back into a Democratic hold — and the Dems will likely get a House seat out of the bargain.  But there is something that separates  O’Donnell from other “TP” anti-Republican establishment candidates like Rand Paul, Ken Buck, Sharron Angle and that Alaskan guy who looks like he participates in speed pork rib eating contests.

Delaware.

Unlike the western states or the far Appalachian Kentucky, Delaware is smack dab in the middle of the New York/DC media saturation zone. While Paul may have some pseudo-intellectual muffin head street cred along with his daddy’s name rec, and the semi-Alaskan rib eater seems right out of the Palin woodwork, and Ken Buck looks like an annoying Woody Paige style Coloradan, and even Angle’s treasonous lunacy about “second amendment solutions” has a certain Yosemite Sam style Western tang to it; O’Donnell is a not-ready-for-prime-time loon, who is already a known loser in Delaware politics, and will forever be indelible for this mid-90′s culture war shenanigan. Not only is the topic, uhm, not exactly senatorial, but she gives the bedroom eyes to her fellow anti-lust preacher at about 1:05.

So O’Donnell is a goof city sideshow spouting a ridiculous opinion on an off the beaten path, somewhat touchy,  and double entendre rich topic right in the Big Media’s maw. Perhaps some  proximity-facilitated examination of this entertainment will led to a careful perusal of other like minded Conservatrons and the “meme” may change from “Anti-Incumbent Route” to “who are these belligerent anti-self actualization people.”

Patty Murray has pulled ahead in Washington State recently, likely because her opponent, Dino Rossi, is already a known, loathed quality amongst Democrats. If Democrats in other states get a sense of what they will be getting if they stay home or switch, then they may be able to avoid a route.

Burning Quran vs. Park51

The difference in a nutshell: the “mosque” is not at “Ground Zero.” The dude in Florida actually is going to burn a Quran.

Rights aren’t rights if they are subject to other people’s approval and permission. The proper authorities in Manhattan approved Park51. I doubt very much it would have been built at Ground Zero or even facing the World Trade Center site. Your right to build anything on any property is subject to zoning and environmental laws, yet even those are subject to the Constitution.

So how is the Quran burning different? It’s a pretty clear cut case of speech, yet even pure speech has limits; it can’t incite a riot, for example. The only reason there is this potential is that the media is running with this. I’m pretty sure people burn things all the time. Hell, even our own army flushed pages of the Quran down the toilet at Abu Ghraib.

But people are so screwed up when it comes to talking about rights versus good ideas. I think that this atmosphere of intolerance is getting out of control, but I don’t know that stopping this one asswipe in Florida will do any good. People will do it. How you exercise your rights says a lot about who you are.

A cross in front of Auschwitz, a mosque actually at Ground Zero and burning the Quran are all extremely bad ideas. Only two of those are actually being contemplated or done.

P.S. The ADL’s silence on the Quran burning is deafening.

The Best One Term President in History?

I have to say, I’m getting the feeling that Obama will be the President who reformed health care and brokered a peace deal in the Middle East, but may not get reelected.

Why? I’ve said before that I think he may have overlearned the lessons of the Clinton administration. I had to shut up when HCR passed, but now doesn’t it appear that what Clinton did right—”it’s the economy, stupid”—far outweighs what he did wrong?