Daniel Larison thinks that the GOP’s expectation that it will make huge gains in 2010 may be dangerous in more ways than one:
The danger of overconfidence regarding the midterm results is not just that it can make the GOP complacent, arrogant and deaf to the real concerns of voters. It creates unduly high expectations that will make even an average or decent election result seem more like a defeat. The more the GOP hypes its chances of retaking one or both houses this year, the more devastating the failure to do so will be. After GOP-friendly analysts and pundits have been telling the tale of 1974 or 1994-style losses for the presidential party all year, modest gains will make it feel as if the election is a third straight repudiation of Republicans, because their leaders will have made the election a referendum on their readiness to be in the majority rather than a referendum on the administration.
The psychology of this is simple but very important. As in anything else, if performance exceeds expectations the reputation of the company, party or individual improves much more than if the performance falls short. If Republicans succumb to the temptation to believe that they are going to do something that is virtually unprecedented in electoral politics, and if they begin telling themselves and everyone else that they believe this, it will do them no good after the midterms for them to say that they had set their sights too high. Declaring that they can win 40 House seats, as several members of the leadership seem to think they can, they had better win at least 30 or be considered complete failures. If they were wiser and set the bar much lower at 15 or 20 seats, 25 pick-ups would look much more impressive.
It’s always difficult to say what effect confidence-bordering-on-overconfidence has on elections, but my belief is that for every Martha Coakley hubris disaster, there’s two elections you win where you only had a good candidate because the prospects looked good. (That’s certainly been true for Democrats in New York State — Gillibrand and Dan Maffei are classic examples.) But right now, it’s true that Republican confidence may manifest itself as much in crazy teabag candidates as in strong candidates who wouldn’t have run otherwise.
On the idea that moderate Republican gains will be seen as “third straight repudiation of Republicans”, I think Larison is wrong. The rightgeist that governs Washington discourse will interpret any Republican gains as a victory for Republicans, a repudiation of Obama, and most likely a sign that Obama should move on to the V-chip/school uniform portion of his presidency. The real danger for Republicans is that this will encourage them to teabag that much harder in 2012 and thereafter.
The Rightgeist is the perfect phrasing for the pervasive right wing framing that drives the narrative in this country.
What, you mean only moderate gains won’t be good for John McCain? Well, from Larison’s mouth to god’s ear.
Anyway, dougj, is there something that would not encourage the republicans to “teabag that much harder in 2012 and thereafter?” I mean, I don’t see that they have any other strategy to get back into power, or to get money from wall street, than to run to Obama’s far far right. That being the case there is no situation that will cause even formerly sane republicans to ever work with Obama, or reconsider the total obstructionist route. Its not like this crew is ever going to wake up and decide to abandon homophobia, anti immigrant, anti muslim, anti science, pro corporatist views *and constituencies.*
You know, I’m starting to doubt that this would be dangerous for Republicans to do.
People are pissed and God knows the Democrats haven’t exactly been great this year at pointing the finger at the people we should be pissed at.
Letting the Republicans stew in the minority and letting them set the narrative and capture the unfocused anger of the people seems like a very bad idea.
As in President Palin bad…
All I freaking want from an election is a government that is fairly competent, responsive to the needs of me, my family and clients, that doesn’t crap all over me and is relatively efficient.
I don’t expect perfection, and know I can’t get it.
For me, the GOP is institutionally incapable of doing any of those things, and that springs from their current core ideology.
The difference between them and the Dems is that I’m pretty happy with Obama, less so with the Congress, but I know that a lot of them are making a good effort at it, and don’t have any philosophical lockstep planks keeping them from delivering.
Rightgeist. Lexicon. Now.
By the way, h/t to reader CC for “rightgeist”.
I’m going to add this – I hate the scoreboard metric on number of reps, perceptions of “a winner”, etc.
Had the conservative policies I slavishly supported for 30 years or so worked to make our lives better, I’d be happy. They didn’t, I was wrong, so I abandoned Sweet Baby Jesus and the Troops, and now want the terrorists to win, because I know just how gypped I feel about the bill of goods I was sold.
You know, I’m starting to doubt that this would be dangerous for Republicans to do.
When the tea settles in six years, Republicans will be looking at an electorate that’s a little less white and a little less affected the culture way bullshit. And they’ll have spent six more years not adjusting to his reality.
You’re exactly right. The better your prospects, the better the candidates you’ll get to run. The better the candidates, the more likely it is that they’ll win.
every day this site gets closer and closer to setting off my content filter.
Rightgeist. Great job!
I don’t have TV, so I have to ask, are GOP pundits really comparing 2010 to 1974? That was the sixth year, not the second, that the Republicans held the presidency, and the president’s party nearly always loses that year heavily — Clinton’s 6th year being the only recent exception, due to GOP overreach on the impeachment issue.
Furthermore: Richard FUCKING Nixon had just resigned six and half months earlier!
Unless the GOP thinks they can force Obama to resign using a credible impeachment threat within the next few months, there is no frickin’ comparison between 1974 and 2010.
What a bunch of jackasses.
Obama just needs to reach out more! another summit! More concessions! No plan can fail if you just try hard enough!
Sure, this is correct. But the Republicans appear to be willing to run straight over that demographic cliff. I’m not even seeing any skid marks or signs of braking–are you?
My big worry is that the Democrats aren’t capitalizing on their rising potential supporters. As long as we have a Democrat in the White House at least Republican attempts at voter suppression and disenfranchisement will be somewhat limited. But if those guys get back into power between now and six more years they are going to go right back to trying to disenfranchise Democratic voters. And I’m not sure it won’t work for them for a good long time to come.
Anyone have any idea how long before Arizona flips, demographically? Some states look like they will remain majority white/republican for a long time. That isn’t one of them, but what’s the evidence that Democrats are outregistering Republians there and solidifying their hold on new voters?
Mommy, have we reached Peak Wingnut yet?
No, son, infinity is bigger than anything.
@aimai: Hm. Long term strategic thinking.
Not sure anyone is doing that on either side of the aisle except the current occupant of the White House. Maybe.
My big worry is that the Democrats aren’t capitalizing on their rising potential supporters.
I have always looked at it this way, and I will go you one further in that I think they still would run the same playbook in 2016 since they will figure the WH is due them. Only then if they don’t win it will they take a look at what they have become.
Having said that I really think Obama is way in over his head (and I am being kind and really pulling punches on what I really think) and with the extremly strong assist by Reid and a not insignificant contingent of Dem Senators, I think there is a major chance they are in the process of fumbling it all away. I really think at this point the only thing that will keep Obama from being swept out of office in 2012 and the Dems with him (I don’t think they will loose either house this year) is to totally blow up the filibuster and all procedural roadblocks in the Senate at the end of the year after the election, and pass the best programs they can to run on in 2012.
General Winfield Stuck
The GOP base has near permanently shifted it’s central command to Rush Limbaugh’s pig sty in South Florida, with regional branches at Beck’s doom room and Malkin’s school of naughty wingnut cheerleaders. That is the GOP teapot currently and no tempest of Pollyanna moderate wingers is going to change that much in the short term. The tea baggers are the GOP Loyal Jurga now and they eat what they kill, and they like the taste of RINO meat.
And when the bell rings for this years campaign, no sane republican, if their are any left, will be able to tame the beast now with a puke funnel of wingnut corporate cash to play with. Ads with Obama with horns and a bone through his nose will not help the wingers win back much, though they will likely take some BD seats back in the deep south, where the restless natives live.
J. Michael Neal
Fuck. The problem with infinity is that you can’t even get assymptotically close to it. Are you sure that there isn’t a real value that measures peak wingnut, but that the function of actual wingnut is always increasingly towards it?
I think we’ve just found a new BJ Lexicon entry.
Sadly, that is a Republican move – to claim a sweeping mandate after losing ground in an election – and clearly not written in the Democratic stars.
Conventional wisdom dictates that losses this year will signify that Obama is hated and the nation is truly conservative, which means he should spend the last two years of his term capitulating to teabaggers.
And then when he loses in 2012 for Democrats in Congress not getting anything done, it will be a win for progressives because Rahm will be gone.
On one hand, I agree with the notion that the Republicans are getting overconfident and are bound to be disappointed with whatever they get. They’re too much time trying to find signs that this will be 1994 again rather than actually work to make it 1994 again. And I, for one, am not one to interrupt my opponent when he’s in the middle of making a mistake.
On the other hand, I also see most of these races playing on local factors, and adding up to an unpleasant mess. Reid being terribly unpopular back home. Bennett being untested. Very popular Republicans running in North Dakota and Delaware. And so on and so forth. But if that all comes to pass (which, by the way, I don’t think is nearly enough for them to retake either chamber), then hell, they’re going to misread it as a national trend, and continue teabagging. Which again, I won’t interrupt.
I think the Dems need to make sure they aren’t too confident either, particularly when it comes to the motivation of their base. If they think they can win the election by just saying, “Hey, we’re bad, but we’re not as bad as the Republicans”, they are fucked, because the Dem base will stay home.
I’m not buying it. I do not believe Republicans will make any substantial gains this election cycle.
I think their current strategy of nihilism and obstructionism is unsustainable. Sometime, somewhere, someday soon, a wave of realization is going to sweep across 3 out of 4 regions of the country and everybody who voted for Obama is going to remember why they voted for Obama. At that point sane Republicans will be looking for the Republican alternatives and all they will find is “Privatize Social Security and the word No.”
@bcinaz: The move is designed to undermine all incumbents, particularly the majority incumbents. The message in the fall will be “Congress can’t get anything done – put us in charge and that’ll change.”
So far the left seems to be buying it based on how many are blaming the Dems for everything.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
@J. Michael Neal:
I agree with that, and that is why they will be swept out of office in 2016. The US gave the Dems the steering wheel and told them to take charge and they have all but refused. You don’t get returned to power that way.
PS, I should have qualified my original post with if they pass HCR this year that will way cut back on potential losses this year, but I still think they have to totally blow up any roadblocks to getting things done or in 2016 the electorate is not going to be kind to them not getting any thing done.
The thing about possible big Republican gains this November that really scares me for the future of the country is that it will validate Nihilism as an electorally successful opposition strategy. Our system has so many veto points and supermajority requirements that such a validation of Nihilism could, by making the Nihilism routine, make the country essentially ungovernable, or at least make significant legislation impossible. This would then mean that we could never get health care to the 20% of out fellow countrypeople who lack any insurance or lack insurance they can afford and can rely on. It would make addressing climate change, or even merely overdependence on highways, completely impossible. It could signal the end of our country as we’ve known it.
Other countries deal with such unified Nihilism from the Opposition by giving the majority the power to govern until they next face the voters. In our system, the majority can usually only govern with the cooperation of the minority. If the minority learns that they can benefit from routinely and indiscriminately withholding that cooperation, we might be sunk.
Ditto to all kudos above, but then could we use FRightgeist when they go all booghaty booghuaty boo 9-11?
Even more awesome is that while the Democrats sit behind the wheel on the driveway not going anywhere, the Republicans have managed to convince much of the public that having them at the wheel driving us into a ditch is better — because at least they’ll take us somewhere!
I weep for the future.
“A new Washington Post/ABC poll Has good news both on Healthcare and Bipartisanship. Most people want Congress to keep trying on Healthcare reform and a plurality of people blame the Republicans for the lack of bipartisanship, or let’s face it, completely stonewalling of ANYTHING President Obama proposes. Join me below the fold for some surprising outtakes.”
“Nearly six in 10 in the new poll say the Republicans aren’t doing enough to forge compromise with President Obama on important issues; more than four in 10 see Obama as doing too little to get GOP support. Among independents, 56 percent see the Republicans in Congress as too unbending and 50 percent say so of the president; 28 percent of independents say both sides are doing too little to find agreement.”
General Winfield Stuck
@Warren Terra: I doubt many wingnuts know the definition of Nihilism, nor that it surely seems the strategy they’ve adopted. But in practical effect that is what we are seeing presented as a mainstream viable political strategy. It is scary, though as long as we have free and fair elections, I don’t think it alone would cause the country to implode and collapse, but could weaken it to that point if the wingers got back control of government and sabotaged the electoral system in their favor.
Wingnuts live by lizard brain, and they sense very well that demographics in this country are closing in on them as an electable entity. Add in the xenophobe factor and sense of white entitlement as being the “real” Americans, as well as an innate ideological break between northerners and southerners, then anything is possible. Economic prosperity, or the continued promise of it, even with a sour economy has largely kept the Union glued together with these disparate parts, so as long as that holds true, I don’t think the worst will happen in a big way, anyways. But who knows?
@bcinaz: I think their current strategy of nihilism and obstructionism is unsustainable.
Yeah, but their previous strategy of tax cuts and deficit spending is unsustainable too, and they’ve been running on that — and winning — since at least Reagan’s time.
So have we already accepted that America will be as dumb or dumber than Mass. this fall? *headslamondesk
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not thinking that this is a great long term strategy. Young people and minority voters (who won’t stay as minorities forever) definitely trend demographic. And Republicans will definitely be burning down their house of the future to stay warm now.
But short term, I can easily see them capitalizing on the general unfocused anger and winning some elections, even the presidency, if things go badly in the next three years or don’t improve for most Americans.
And, of course, that will give them more time to commit America to various endeavors that can outlast them for years to come, so future Democratic administrations will start with their hands tied.
I think two big dangers of getting too cocky are a) over-reaching to the point of alienating people and b) being so sure of your ground that you neglect to move out of the path of any on-rushing freight trains that might happen along.
The biggest danger to Republicans between now and the midterms is if they begin to believe their own bullshit that Americans really and truly DO want to get rid of Social Security and Medicare, and they actually start openly running on that platform.
Seems to me like it would be the death of the republican party, but clearly it’s beginning with Paul Ryan’s “throw (grand)momma from the train” budget. Hey, whaddoo I know. Maybe that’s what most American’s actually want, “death panels” and “keep your government hands off my medicare” to the contrary.
And in 18 years, the SoCon BS they rely on so heavily will start dying off with the Boomers, who are literally the last bastion of Social Conservatism in the country.
I’ll tell you one thing for certain: if Obama balances the budget within his presidency with a Democratic congress, it will be a stake in the heart of conservatism.
Intelligence really doesn’t have much to do with it. Most people don’t have the time or passion to devote themselves to searching out political information. They just know that they’re purchasing power seem to be shrinking every year, that they are worse off than their parents were at their age, that corporations seem to be trying to screw them over with pension defaults or TARP and act like privileged jackasses, that our debt is unsustainable in the long run, in short, that something is deeply wrong with America and the government isn’t doing anything to help.
And, that they might be out of a job at any moment, if they’re not already.
Out comes a party with a full on shrill media blitz saying it’s the other guys who are screwing things up, that government is the problem, that we need to love mom and apple pie and baseball again with a healthy side of freedom and security for all, and these people might start nodding along because they’re not getting a clear counterpoint saying what complete and utter rubbish that propaganda is.
Within the rightgeist, being President While Black is even more “aberrent” than being President While Caught. As far as The Village is concerned, that guy now sitting in the Oval Office is an anomaly who’ll be found out and rejected by the body politic almost any day now, just as they believe Watergate was a freak disturbance in the smooth functioning of the “normal” political discourse.
Not convinced in this electorial landslide the Republicans are supposed to win. I don’t think Independent voters are going to vote for a Sarah Palin, and without the Independents…it’s not the Sarah Palins that concern me, it’s if the Republicans realize running moderates will pull in Independents. THAT’S the danger.
However, I have complete faith in their inability to figure that out.
OT, but mr howell told me today that Jenny Sanford, with a complete lack of self-awareness as the First Lady of South Carolina, was on TDS last night extolling the virtues of unpaid prison labor.
Man o man, is this some country or what?
there is a very scary electoral climate. We really can’t afford to have the congress in stalemate much longer, and yet it seems that there is a good chance for California style stalemate.
That interview last night was so incredibly awkward. I think Jon was amazed that she could compartmentalize “Mark Sanford, the politician” and “Mark Sanford, lying scum-bag husband.” She seemed to act like Sanford was still a good governor because he advocated fiscal responsibility, blah blah blah; never mind that he also ran on family values.
Also, you’d think she or her four (?) children would be able to clean their dogs. Is pet care beneath them?
@gypsy howell: Sanford is a wealthy woman who bemoaned the fact that she lost the free labor of inmates who tended the garden and took care of her dogs. This deserves a post of its own.
A pretty good day for Obama pushbacks to Republican wackitude.
And, unrelatedly, just to bother 1990’s era Republicans, a discussion based on no particular news development, this:
Yes it’s so hard to merge facts with truth. The Republicans are masters of the opposite – separating Truth from Facts.
However, in spite of all our bitching, the Democrats have enacted more of this President’s first year agenda than any other President – ever.
And now, I think President Obama is pissed and when he gets backed up he’s liable to pull a Jeremiah Wright Speech out of his pocket and deliver it in Prime Time.
Did you know that only 26% of adults in this country are aware that their Democracy has been hijacked by the Tyrany of the Minority? The law professor might just have to explain to everyone how a 41-59 Republican Super Majority is not moving the country forward. I think Republicans are relying on the Ignorance of the voter – it’s pretty obvious the Teabaggers are.
I’m familiar with that feeling, from many many hours spent waiting for late-night subway trains in crappy NYC stations. Somewhere around 2 AM, after you’ve seen three trains go by on the wrong platform and none on yours, it’s soooooo tempting to just get on the next wrong one even though you know it’ll take you further away from home.
The Moar You Know
@jenniebee: With a two-front war and an economy teetering on the edge of a cliff?
This will not happen. I’d go so far as to say it’s not possible without chopping government services or raising taxes to a level that would incite riots.
@DougJ: When the tea settles in six years, Republicans will be looking at an electorate that’s a little less white and a little less affected the culture way bullshit.
General Winfield Stuck
@gypsy howell: just as we can and they the wingnuts can count on dems to form circular firing squads, we can count on them to believe their own bullshit and over reach to things like privatizing SS and “weaning” Americans of Medicare and SS. Both sides have been in political suicide buttons that nearly always get pushed, and I will agree with progs to this degree that a dem presnit can temper dem instincts to keep dem fratricide to a minimum and I think Obama is doing that more forcefully now, by focusing more on wingnut intransigence, that is in play now that they have their 41st vote. But I disagree that Obama can do much about left wing defections over his willingness to compromise with wingers. And it is only a matter of degree that counts, and the bulk of the progosphere will not accept Obama’s degree for the pragmatic progressive he is, because they are ideologues by and large, and not progressive in the least, to the true meaning of that word. This intra party war will go on, though Obama can bring some of the disaffected left on board.
I am an Obot and don’t know any better. OHmmmm!!
Would the PUMAs support this nomination? Or would they scream that Obama was trying to hide her in a black robe so she wouldn’t run against him in 2012?
(Personally, I think she’d be a great Supreme. She has certainly been an effective Secretary of State.)
OT but Sulli links to Harvey Mansfield’s attack on ‘progress’ and government against that Republican value called Liberty. I refuse to link to the original but if anyone thought the Burkean bells could not go any further go read that and weep. It is the same fucking libertarian bs bathed in the rhetoric of political philosophy. This from the guy who wrote a book on Manhood.
Shoot me now.
OT – Just got a really funny/disgusting email alert from the AFA:
It goes on from there, but I’m getting the sense that all the wingnut, culture war, teabag bullshit is sincerely aimed at old people. Now given the median age of commenters here, I don’t mean to be engaging in ageism.
I’m talking about old people, in the sense that old is their state of mind, and they are romanticizing a fantasy of the past that never was. (I see it in some people in my generation too. Ancient, dimwitted tribalism, and it all disgusts me. As a secure, straight male, I’d rather shower next to a gay man than a virulent homophobe given the choice.
Unfortunately, that sort of defeatism won’t help us much, will it?
We are doing nothing to change that. We are just typing on keyboards and whining.
I like typing on keyboards on blogs, but I think that many of us better had start doing other things too or we can assure ourselves of defeat and capitulation. In any case, even if we lose, why whine about it like the other side are such winners – ” they are at least going somewhere”…
Thats like saying I was hungry and saw some shit on the ground and thought I might as well eat it since it was once food…
If ever I read the perfect metaphor for the current political climate, that was it.
Actually, what I think you are reaching for here is the classic exchange from The American President:
Lewis Rothschild: People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.
President Andrew Shepherd: Lewis, we’ve had presidents who were beloved, who couldn’t find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.
@freelancer: ah, if we could only get similar levels of excitement over the showers that were shocking soldiers to actual death with ‘lectricity rather than teh gayness.
Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony
Not entirely. We are calling our Senate and Congresscritters.
OT. Acting President Goodluck Jonathan? I bloody love Nigeria some days.
You are right John. No doubt about it. But how do we move forward to try to accomplish anything if that defeatism is the place from where we start?
Don’t know about you, but its pretty hard for me to do anything if I think that its hopeless and the attitude that surrounds that is just death to energy, initiative and risk taking of any kind. We cannot hope to have our representatives, as weak as they already are, take any heart and fight forward if they sense we do not have stomach for the fight ourselves.
This is more of a lecture to ME than anyone else…
Conservatism, as it exists today, is a misbegotten creature of the 20th Century. That is why the demographics are against them, that is why they keep carrying on about things that ceased to be pertinent decades ago, and that is why their rallying cries make no sense to anyone under fifty.
I may be wrong, but I see this as a last gasp, the way a candle flutters to new heights… right before it goes out.
A tremendous amount of years and money and effort led to their peak of power; The W Presidency.
Think about that.
Yes, it was one of the most hideous travesties of human endeavor since the evolution of the frontal lobes. But it disenchanted so many people that we got our first African American president.
That’s some heads whipping around. They still feel a little dizzy. But I seem to remember Republican is such a toxic label that they still aren’t putting it in their mass media.
This is not a position of strength.
And if they are targeting old folks? Whose side will the old folks be on when they start being
weaned off their Social Security?tossed out into the snow?
Given the way your average Republican homophobe acts, he’s more likely to rape you than the openly gay guy, and twice as likely to claim you brought it on yourself.
that’s right. I think the demographic Rapture is gonna be too late to save anything or anybody.
I think this is a fair thing to be angry at.
If Obama compromises with Republicans to get them on board, AND THEY GET ON BOARD, this may piss off the left wing, but it certainly will not piss off the middle and the independents, because that’s exactly what they want to see. And like it or not, the middle/independents are important (even now, there are large segments of the population who think that both sides aren’t compromising enough).
But this should be differentiated from Obama making compromises within his own party–because that’s a necessary step (there IS NO MAJORITY if you can’t get it out of your own party). Anger is rightly focussed more on those Yellow Dogs, and efforts can be made to primary them, but you have to accept that you have to get unity (whether its by persuasion or cajolery) within your own ranks before you take it to the entire Congress, and there’s only so far you can go in steamrollering your own side.
@liberty60: Yes, Republicans are willing to kill off their voters, even when they don’t have extras.
It’s their nature.
One could wring some jokes out of that name, no?
first post since mass. debacle….can barely visit blogs.
What Obama has failed to understand, and what has been captured above as rightgeist, is that the media narrative is set by people that do not share the class concerns of most americans. they make americans feel dirty for feeling distressed about their station in the economic pecking order. The corporate media with their million dollar talking heads do not want an anger to rise in america that might lead to a more even distribution of the nation’s wealth. Just look at the rejection of the NLRB nominee … an absolute outrage. But you will see this discussed as a loss for Obama and not as a loss for working americans. They dont mind an anger that stops progressive changes — see baggers, tea.
it is not a fair fight two (GOP/Blue Dogs and MSM) against one (moderate Dem). it never will be.
I post political musings on my Facebook and actively engage anyone I know and anyone they know. I smack down the bullshit emails my parents forward me. I get into it with my conservative in-laws at dinner. I even got into it with my brother-in-law’s family (over why I think Glenn Beck is a snake oil salesman) last Thanksgiving. I try to set the record straight and do the job that the media isn’t doing.
But I try to do it without proselytizing. I try to do it with humor and facts. And for the people who know me best, my opinion matters, so they will listen to me (even if they don’t agree with me). This is what keeps me sane and from despairing too much in real life over this stuff. I suppose it’s a throwback to my upbringing as a Jehovah’s Witness — going “door to door” as it is and preaching the good word as it were.
I know that a lot of people shy away from this stuff with family and friends, but if YOU can’t convince them, then who can?
The perfect example I can think of for this, the moment it kind of crystallized in my head, was Stewart’s uncut interview with BillO.
They both know their audience, and it was blatantly obvious that O’Reilly, with his smug dismissals, lame attempts at humor conflated with putdowns, and general pessimissive approach toward Jon, that O’Reilly, and really the Fox Audience at large is aimed at a 90 year old, patriarchal holier than thou asshole mindset. How exactly is this ever going to be a growth-sustainable niche?
General Winfield Stuck
I think you mean Blue Dogs. Yellow Dogs in dem politic speak means something quite different. Blue Dog Democrat was taken from a fairly recent quip by a Texas democrat that Yellow Dog Democrats had been “choked blue” by liberal extremism. While Yellow Dog Dems originally referred simply to southern dems who would rather vote for a Yellow Dog than a Republican, that meaning is outdated, and converting Yellow Dog to Blue Dog is equaly dubious for being accurate to todays use of Yellow Dog Dem.
The italics part is why I sometimes refer to myself as a Yellow Dog Democrat. Just to clear that up for the current use of the term.
John S’s point is an important one. And I’d like to share my happy story. Three years ago–maybe three and a half–I started work renovating my house with a Republican contractor. Great guy. We spent the year and a half of the renovation arguing politics. He was totally for McCain (in theory) and had voted for Bush. He was a long term republican, in his fifties. We moved into our house two years ago but of course there are always little things and we’ve kept in touch, still talking politics. Yesterday we were talking on the phone for a couple of hours and he has moved so far to the left its just astounding. He ranted on and on about how angry he was with the Republicans, and how furious over their continued attacks on Social Security. And how badly he wanted not just health care reform but *single payer.*
Its not any one thing that moved him from being–as he shamefacedly admitted–the kind of guy who tells you we should get rid of social security because “I can handle my own money better than the government” to being the kind of guy who says “can you believe they think I’d let them take my retirement money and put it in the stock market just so their wall street friends can get a cut?” It was a lot of things. A lot of talking, a lot of reasoning, a lot of pointing him towards new places to get information–books, newspapers, NPR, Olbermann, Madow, etc…etc…etc… And it was the massive market crash, McCain’s bizarro world antics, and the selection of Palin.
Some people are going to move over to the democrats–some of them are going to swing all the way left. But we have to keep working with them and not disappoint them. That’s one reason why it ticks me off when I give a really good liberal/progressive answer to a political issue and he says “so why don’t the dems do that then?” Its true that I can explain to him all about the structural issues that make compromising with the republicans necessary. But people like that get tired of what they hear as “excuses.” Obama and the Dems have to call the Republicans out over and over and over again–louder and louder–so that our new voters understand just what we are up against.
I recall hearing that the average age of O’Reilly’s audience is something like 67 (seriously).
Not no, but hell no. I respect a lot of what Greenwald does, but he’d be as bad as Scalia, only on the other side.
@Elie: Where’d you get the idea that my comment was meant to be helpful? It was one of those things you say when a confusing/unpleasant aspect of life on this earth reminds you of some incongruous analogy. Some call them “jokes.”
If I really have to spell it out for you: I think there are plenty of Americans who don’t know much about what’s going on except that their train doesn’t seem to be arriving, and who are therefore vulnerable to the suggestion that they try the wrong train, even though that is obviously a really unhelpful thing to do… but if it is (for example) 2 AM in a dark cold stinky subway station, and you are (for example) drunk — conditions which unfortunately resemble the state of much of our public discourse — then sometimes logic is not well applied. Or it’s applied on a very short-term basis: unlike your turd-eating example, getting on the wrong train will actually make you feel a little better, because it’s got light and heat and there aren’t any rats, and you can always rationalize that a few stops down the line there’s a nicer station to wait in, even if it’s unlikely that you’ll remember to get out there.
It’s not that this is how I think or how I think other people should think, it’s just this is what happens, because people are only human. And the other side is absolutely counting on this. Just another way of emphasizing that we need to get the damn train running, because it’s not reasonable to ask people to wait forever.
Actually, I probably mean Dems on the very conservative side (I should try to be as precise as possible; as the health care debate has show, it’s very easy for people to go off half cocked and do damage that way).
(there’s another rant there, btw, about folks focussing on tactics over strategy—Big Pharma was certainly bought off, and there was a reason for that….)
This is really it right here. It doesn’t even matter what you write after that sentence, because you’ve already hit the nail on the head. Just look at how legitimately confused many Republicans were after Obama thoroughly embarrassed them during that Question Time segment the other week. They actually thought the guy wasn’t smart enough to walk into the room that day–SANS TELEPROMPTER?!–and wipe the floor with them. And then he did and they were seemingly bamboozled that such a thing could happen to them.
But these are the consequences of blowing your load so early in a test of wills like we find ourselves in. You spend the first year absolutely demonizing and caricaturizing the president and then when fire and brimstone don’t rain down…then what? Well, most times you end up looking like a fool (with your
pantsdreams of electoral success on the ground) and then your opponent can dispatch of you rather easily because you played your ENTIRE HAND during the beginning of the game.
For all the screw-ups, high and lows, trials and tribulations, I think you’re starting to see the Obama Administration reach a certain breaking point with the Obstructionist Assholes. A swift 1-2 combination between some well-executed recess appointments and another depantsing for the GOP at the HCR summit in a few weeks would go a long way towards correcting the tone of things going into Spring.
Actually, the real danger is that Republican candidates will pretend not to be Republicans in order to get themselves elected. That appears to be what worked for Scott Brown — not a single one of his ads identified him as a Republican.
Sure, people will be pissed off that they were fooled, but very few states allow recalls of US representatives and senators, so there won’t be much they can do about it.
But I’m watching the Saints Superbowl Homecoming Parade on NFL Network, and CNN actually has Mary Matalin, james Carville, and mary landrieu (WTF) all standing in Gallier hall watching the parade.
For ya’ll who don’t know, this the new Saints anthem, that was played at almost all halftime shows at the Superdome, and whenever anyone plays it, the crowd goes wild.
Halftime (Stand Up & Get Crunk)…Saints Remix
Smudge is unconcerned, but she’ll get her “mixed grill” regardless of what the Senate does.
@John S.: I love Aaron Sorkin.
Wasn’t that a scene in Stripes?
Oh, wait, that was men ogling their naked female co-workers in the shower, so it was a-ok! I guess it’s only bad to view your co-workers with sexual interest if it’s gay interest.
@Midnight Marauder: And not just the Answer Time, but the GOP leadership is getting killed on the undiebomber as well. They’ve been able to say whatever they want and get away with it in the media for so long, that they think they’ll never get called out. And when they do get called out, they get all whiny.
@arguingwithsignposts: Sigh. Smudge, still with the gorgeous eyes. She really looks like she’s purring in that photo.
I have been absolutely loving watching Susan Collins get embarrassed day after day after day. And sure, some of these events don’t seem like “victories” or anything to really be excited about now. But eventually, campaign season is going to swing into high gear, and after a 12-16 month period in which the GOP continuously makes unsubstantiated claim after unsubstantiated claim; keeps trotting out gross, malicious distortion after gross malicious distortion, there is just going to be too much ammunition for the otherwise hapless Dems to not go after them.
It’s admittedly beyond optimistic and borderline delusional, but I think the foundation is in place for the Democratic Party to come out swinging the rest of the way like Buster Douglas on February 11, 1990.
Real talk, son.
Supreme Court Justice Glen Greenwald?
You sure are living up to your handle today, mon Ami.
Which is why Obama played this card perfectly. He can stand there with the Joint Chiefs and assorted brass Warriors, all looking Presidential and solemn and grave, agreeing that its time to integrate the Armed Forces, and what is the Fox Nation reduced to?
Frantic email blasts about your son showering with the Village People.
Who are they converting to their cause? No one- they can only preach to the choir.
On this issue, they haven’t lost a battle, they have lost the war.
You bring up a good point in your comment — about “going door to door” and the durability and resilience that takes. Its a good thing to remember and maybe use as a template so to speak…you keep communicating and engaging with all you contact and in the work you do. Makes sense and is a positive way to think about hard stuff..
@Midnight Marauder: I haven’t bought the “GOP will win big in 2010” kool-aid. Hell, I haven’t even bought the “HCR is dead” kool-aid. I spent a whole lot of 2008 arguing that Obama has a better sense of political timing than anyone I’ve seen in my life. I still think so. IIRC, he wanted HRC done before August last year, and we can all see the reason why now. The GOP has taken its’ best shot, and we’re still standing.
I hear you Hob and fully understand. Its hard in a single comment to address all of the understandings necessary. I knew that you did not believe that (kind of giving in), but as much was trying to address our own individual awareness level of how simple, throw away statements can have more impact on our motivation and world view than we sometimes allow. And…I have to work on my own morale and positive thinking more than anything anyone else has to do.
Mike in NC
The winguts and their allies at WaPo will demand that Nobama embrace his Keynan roots, resign immediately, and place the office of POTUS under the caretakership of the former mayor of Wasilla, AK. After all, that’s how it works in the Real (White) America.
So right. so right.
@burnspbesq: I take that as a compliment, so thanks.
Daily Beast via El Cid:
Why? Obama wanted Clinton for State, and she seems to be doing a good job. I really wonder how some of these rumors even get off the ground, given how little sense they make.
I can see something like that maybe happening during the 4th-5th year transition period, but this year? That’s just silly.
The Village People will be over later tonight to take you up on that. Is nine o’clock too early? Please be sure to have enough clean towels available.
Actually, I agree with you, especially if that virulent homophobe is all paranoid about the possibility of another man looking at his body. He might either get violent or start weeping uncontrollably, neither of which would be all that pleasant to deal with.
Reality based community had a nice take on the enthusiasm gap a couple days ago. We just need to work hard…
After observing the Republicans for 20 years, I am certain of only one thing: deep into their solipsism, they will overreach and self-destruct at some point. The only question is how much damage they do in the meantime