Reading the latest on the possibility of yet another government shutdown, and the pretty good chance that the Supercommittee isn’t going to get anything done, I’m wondering just how an incumbent Republican Member of Congress in a swing district is going to run for election.
In the long-ago, pre-TP days, no matter how little Congress got accomplished, the Republican gameplan was a simple 1-2-3:
- Early in the campaign, before your lesser-known and less well-financed opponent gears up, lay down a smokescreen of innocuous-sounding positions, so you sound like the reasonable guy in the room at the local Kiwanis or Rotary.
- Bring home a ton of pork, and get it written up in the local paper.
- In the last month or so of the campaign, use your financial advantage to run a barrage of scare attack ads, focusing on how your opponent will either raise taxes or cut Social Security.
It really used to be about that simple. If you hadn’t fucked anything you shouldn’t, and avoided saying anything monumentally stupid, incumbency was an incredible advantage. Your opponent had to squander a good portion of his precious TV budget on 30-second, soft-focus intro ads showcasing his or her lovely family, which didn’t leave a whole lot in the bank to rebut your attack ads. He or she wouldn’t have brought home millions for a bridge or a high-tech incubator at the local college, so his or her theoretical claims about helping the district had to be stacked up against the millions of real government dollars you brought home.
Incumbency is still an advantage, and maybe there’s a plan B, but the average tea-curious Republican has already defined himself with hard-edged positions, denied himself the real benefit of earmarks, and is in a bind with Social Security and cutting taxes on the middle class. That would probably be OK if Congress had done anything, but every incumbents’ voting record is full of votes for stagnation rather than progress. I’m sure the RNCC is working its latest bullshit gameplan, but it sure isn’t going to be the tried-and-true recipe that worked pretty well in the past.
The House under Republican rule is proving that government is the problem. That is playing into their base so it’s a win, win.
I guess the strategy will have to be to get the winger core voters angry and hope that the differently-hued voters don’t show up. This means even more fear-mongering, racism, and lying than usual. If you can imagine that.
comrade scott's agenda of rage
Where are these Republicans in swing districts? There’s probably just a handful anymore.
@comrade scott’s agenda of rage, what are you talking about? The 2010 takeover, like any takeover, was all about winning swing districts. You can’t have a House majority without holding lots of swing districts.
Also, “Reëlect me so I can keep fighting the good fight in Washington against the evil powers that are oppressing us,” i.e., Democrats, socialists, Muslims, Negro presidents, etc.
Mistermix: “Incumbency is still an advantage, and maybe there’s a plan B, but the average tea-curious Republican has already defined himself with hard-edged positions, denied himself the real benefit of earmarks, and is in a bind with Social Security and cutting taxes on the middle class. That would probably be OK if Congress had done anything, but every incumbents’ voting record is full of votes for stagnation rather than progress. I’m sure the RNCC is working its latest bullshit gameplan, but it sure isn’t going to be the tried-and-true recipe that worked pretty well in the past.”
This will only be a problem for those Republicans who can’t successfully run on ‘protecting Social Security’ and ‘ending the evil ponzi scheme’ on alternate days.
They are going to run with the “message” that they formed an effective bulwark against the Democrat’s out of control, unconstitutional spending.
And the low-info voters will lap it up.
Their plan is to count on Dems and libs not rising to the occasion. It’s a pretty good plan.
@Barry: Some local media is actually smart enough to challenge that kind of bullshit, and so can decent challenger candidates.
I really think it’s easier to lie to the DC media than some local media. (While granting that most local media are merely mediocre stenographers.)
There’s a n*gg*r in the White House!
This IS basically what happened in 2010, which pitted a highly motivated, very high turnout GOP base vs a disillusioned, much less motivated democratic base, too many of whom didn’t turn out. Actually, it isn’t quite this simple: the GOP also did a far better job of getting rightward-leaning independents to show up and give them a try than the democrats did of getting moderately progressive-leaning independents to show up.
Truthfully, the democratic congress’s performance was, for all the things that were accomplished (rather than focusing on the many that should have been but weren’t)…still a disillusioning, disappointing sight. But the lesson here should be that punishing your own side for their highly imperfect nature by staying home is a recipe for handing victory to your far more malevolent opponents, rather than an effective recipe for whipping elected officials into progressive purity discipline.
I think their plan is to disenfranchise anyone with less than a million in the bank and/or a skin tone duskier than Orange John.
Huh? The game plan will be exactly the same as what led to the GOP success & sweep in 2010. Why try anything else?
They will claim success in limiting the size of our oppressive socialist government and the bad mean evil black man in the WH and his communist czars.
comrade scott's agenda of rage
Bah. Both sides have spent the last 2-3 census cycles gerrymandering the vast majority of districts into “safe” ones. Here in Misery, when we had 9 districts, gee, every one was a “safe” district. The only time that differed was if you had a long-serving House member from a party and his district simply changed over time, helped along by the opposite party controlling the state legislature to nudge it from competitive to red. Ike Skelton was a poster child for that.
During the most recent redrawing, all 8 districts are solid one-party districts, 6-2 for Repups. It might not be that blatant in every state in which the Repups control the map but it’s damn close.
Truly, and I mean truly, competitive congressional districts are few and far between.
This seems to be the plan currently in operation. Either to directly disenfranchise them through new ID hoops, or play games with districting and electoral votes to stick the gooper thumb even more firmly on the scales.
Since 2006, the voters have been doing the only thing they can do–throwing the bums out. Today’s NYT, reporting from north-central PA (where I spent a couple weeks a month for 18 months, working in Bradford County):
we have competitive districts now in CA.
Davis X. Machina
@comrade scott’s agenda of rage: 30 or so. The difference between the majority they have now, and the majority they had prior to ’06. Wave elections create marginal seats, by definition.
Everyone’s got the Cook PVI for each CD memorized, right?
@xian: Good, long term, but in the short run, I’ll bet some formerly safe Democrats get knocked off because they can’t campaign worth a shit. They tend to get pretty atrophied.
@comrade scott’s agenda of rage:
The last “wave election” led to a number of swing districts held by the GOP, not to mention blue states (WI, MA) with GOP Senate wins.
Voters are being offered a choice between rightists and centrists who are either corrupt or disconnected from reality, or both. All they can do is vote out the incumbent until they get someone who gives a fuck about the country, and operates in a reality-based policy framework.
Redistricting, many of those districts won’t be swing districts next year.
@jayackroyd: Does Mr. Bonifanti realize he’s had three Congressman in five years?
Davis X. Machina
@mistermix: Bi-partisan. The incumbent re-elect rate for House members hasn’t dipped below 80% in my political lifetime.
Why do you think the Teabagger freshman aren’t going run on the traditional GOP formula?
These aren’t people, who are shy about saying whatever they can get away with and then some, in order to get elected.
They won’t shy away from bragging about the pork they brought to the district, while talking about subverting government from within.
These aren’t folks, who are easily shamed.
This “both sides” storyline from the media about the looming shutdown is driving me crazy. No, the House has not done its job by passing its version of the bill and going home. Part of the job is passing the final bill. If the House can pass its version and go home and then the Senate is obligated to pass that, why do we even have a Senate?
If this GOP tactic is successful, then what’s to stop the House from controlling everything? They can just pass what they like, complete with insane Republican riders, and adjourn, leaving the Senate with no choice but to pass the House’s version. This must be stomped on, hard.
From the NYTimes, we learn that “Flood Victims Getting Fed Up With Congress.” And then the story goes on to tell us how “Congress” is the problem. Not the republicans in Congress. Both sides do it, donychaknow.
the person above who said their plan was to disenfranchise anyone they think won’t vote for them is on point.
When you’re a nihilist, nothing is your whole platform.
B W Smith
@jayackroyd: I get what you’re saying about choices. If the choices are limited, where does the fault lie? We can sit back and complain about the lack of real progressive candidates or we can invest the time on the local level to recruit them. Really what does bitching about a centrist choice or a president that doesn’t meet expectations accomplish? As much as I hate what the tea party stands for, they at least ignored party establishment and chose folks to run for congress. Some won, some lost but they didn’t wait for a top down solution.
They’ll take a page from South Park and Blame
“We’ve been blocking the evil Dhimmicraps as best we can, but there’s still work to do! Put me back in, and I’ll help tea-bag the liebrul agender, and take back our cunttree!”
@gene108: I’m sure the TPers will run on the usual formula. Most of them seem to really believe it. The question is, can it work? My guess is that a lot of voters at the margins in those districts are displeased enough with what they’ve seen this year that it probably won’t, or at least not as well outside the 35-40% who vote GOP reflexively. Our host here is an extreme example, but my Dad has been die-hard GOP at least since Eisenhower and now thinks most of the people running under that label are unacceptable clowns.
@OzoneR: That’s my point.
All voters can do is vote out incumbents. They have no other way of saying “you’re doing it wrong.” The huge democrat majority in 2008 led to…….fuck all. All the things people actually care about–jobs, affordable health care, their retirement, the value of their homes, their kids’ future–got short shrift from the Democrats. Those democrats were voted in because Bush and the GOP had completely fucked everything up. And then the Democrats came in, and continued the program of stupid wars and bailing out banks instead of creating jobs, establishing a health care system as good as the rest of the OECD and reversing fraud in real estate markets.
So the people like him voted out the Democrats. It’s all they can do. It made things still worse, yes. But the alternative is insurrection. I expect them to do it again–a GOP president, a GOP senate, a Dem House.
Davis X. Machina
@B W Smith: The impact of the Tea Party, and its ability to successfully primary moderates, was basically restricted to Senate races.
Defeated in 2010 primary:
Lisa Murkowski [I] (Alaska Senate)
Arlen Specter [D] (Pennsylvania Senate) — party switch, irrelevant.
Todd Tiahrt [R] (Kansas Senate)
Robert F. Bennett [R] (Utah Senate)
Michael N. Castle [R] (Delaware Senate)
Parker Griffith (R) (Alabama District 5)
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D) (Michigan District 13)
Alan B. Mollohan (D) (West Virginia District 1)
Defeated in primary runoff:
Bob Inglis (R) (South Carolina District 4)
@B W Smith:
Yep. Marcy Wheeler said exactly that last night at Virtually Speaking. We need to stop obsessing about presidential politics, and, instead, get shit done first at the local, then at the district, then at the state level.
This is my hope. My district was represented by a Blue Dog for 10 years, who voted as progressively as this district will tolerate. He retired shortly before the election, and there wasn’t much time to recruit a strong Dem. The guy that got in seemed fairly moderate, but has been straight-ticket tea-party since he got in. I keep calling his office and saying that this isn’t a tea party district, and there’s no way he can get back in if he follows Paul Ryan off the cliff, but he’s so scared of a primary from the right, he doesn’t really have a choice. He posts a lot on Facebook about freeing us from regulations, and gets plenty of dissenting comments back, so even his fans see another point of view. I’m hoping we’ll have a stronger Dem running and make him a one-termer, because this really is a moderate district in a conservative state.
Davis X. Machina:
In 2010, the House takeover by Republicans was basically a gimme. So Tea Partiers put their efforts into the Senate.
Granted, those efforts may have actually cost the GOP the Senate, between the losses of Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell. But to extent that the TP had greater success in Senate primaries, it’s probably due to greater effort.
If you really think that’s what MHP was saying, you might try reading again — this time for comprehension rather than ammunition. Because whether or not you agree with her, that is not what she wrote.
There are a lot of conservative think tanks working on this issue, ” How do you sell a smelly vaccuous policy?” They will come up with some more lies,repeat on all news media without contradiction and There you have it!
I don’t see any other way to interpret that. Can you perform some helpful exegesis?
You can build a campaign on nothing if you sell it as stopping a much worse Something from coming to pass.
B W Smith
@JGabriel: I agree with your characterization of the outcome of 2010 but I would take the point further. As I said some won, some lost but the point I was making is that they got out there. Tea party candidates were vocal and they drove the discussion right. We need progressives to do the same in the opposite direction on a more local level. Winning hearts and minds shouldn’t start with the presidency. Nor should local progressives make the race about disagreeing with the President. Keep it about what progressive policies can accomplish for district voters.
@B W Smith:
Agreed — though it’s not out of bounds to do both, because you’ll definitely be asked about the extent to which you agree with the president on Issue X. Just get used to saying things like “While we don’t agree on every issue, I think the president is doing the best he can under the circumstances. And our campaign is about changing those circumstances — by improving life in Anytown, Somestatia.”
Except what did they even get in the Senate? Did they have any winners at all, except Rand Paul? He won by walking back the crazy and playing moderate exactly 24 hours after he won the nomination. 2010 was the backlash midterm every election analyst predicted, except that Teabag candidates got their asses handed to them in anything but a very local election.
And @jayackroyd is a fine example of how all the things the Democrats have actually done the nihilist Ultra Left pretend didn’t happen. If we’ve got a messaging problem, it’s at the bottom, not the top.
@jayackroyd: Well, for starters, being pissed off with Obama about something isn’t the same as abandoning him. Maybe you can take it from there.
Yes, and I don’t think there’s one person quoted in the article who really understands that the Republicans are to blame. It’s deeply depressing. They are all low-info voters, and the reporter also doesn’t do anything to correct the impression.
@jayackroyd: And I suppose if Hillary had followed a similar path, it would be sexism.
That is really toxic.
It’s the policies, folks. Not necessarily personal.
@B W Smith:
That’s why Elizabeth Warren matters–and why this guy does: http://bit.ly/nhe1Pe
@ jayackroyd: If you cannot find any other interpretation of that passage, you are not trying very hard. Or you are trying very hard to interpret it your way.
Is it? When you have people saying that Obama is as bad as Bush, and they’d just as soon sit out the election and let a Republican get elected (or actively support someone like Ron Paul), is it really about the policies? Is it their honest belief that they’d get better policies from Paul or Bush? Because either it’s not about the policies, or people like that are completely delusional.
Really? I don’t understand. Seriously. Can you explain?
This drove me crazy when I read the story this morning. It was full of “Congress this” and “Congress that”, which, while technically accurate, is collectively nonsense. This is entirely driven by Republican actions, so for the story to actually inform its readers, it has to say “Republicans block Democrats from delivering disaster aid” rather than “Congress blocks disaster aid.”
You shouldn’t make comments like you do when you clearly filed to read (or comprehend) the “The Nation” article upon which your linked article opined.
@TooManyJens: 90% of us, even the tea partiers, are not getting the policies we need from either party. And it’s getting pretty desperate for a lot of us. Voters are furious and flailing because the credit of politicians, of all stripes is in the toilet.
You know, we are not where FDR was when he confronted the Depression. His trials and errors showed us the way. Why ignore the elephant, and I don’t mean the Republicans. WPA would resonate with almost all Americans. CCC. All those alphabet agencies showed the way. They are dismissed without even being proposed.
@Stefan: Actually the Senate passed a bill before the House. The MSM is just ignoring it.
It’s true that, for instance, Glenn Greenwald or Marcy Wheeler say that wrt civil liberties issues, that Obama is continuing bad Bush policies. But that’s true, isn’t it? And you won’t find them saying that in those blanket terms.
Here’s what Avedon Carol said:
I didn’t realize Avedon Carol was a lying asshole. Noted.
This needs to be tattooed in phosphorescent ink on the inside of the eyelids of every idiot leftist tempted to stay home or vote third-party because the Dems aren’t liberal enough for them.
@Mino: Can you really look at the performance of Congress since 2010, or (especially in the Senate) since Obama was elected, and not see the gulf between what Republicans want for this country and what Democrats want? Can you see no difference in rhetoric, in voting patterns, in preferred policies?
No, we’re not where we were when FDR took office. We have a Congress that is more dysfunctional than, quite possibly, any time since the Civil War. We have institutionalized bribery on a mass scale, disguised as campaign finance. Yes, both parties are implicated, but one is far, far worse. It does no good to pretend otherwise. It matters to those 1 million people under age 26 who have health insurance who wouldn’t have had it without HCR whether Democrats or Republicans get elected. It matters to people who are getting unemployment benefits that otherwise would have run out whether Democrats or Republicans are elected. It mattered to the people in New Orleans in 2005 whether Democrats or Republicans got elected — or do you think Al Gore or John Kerry would have just let people die because they appointed an incompetent crony to run FEMA?
I do think that electoral politics can only take us so far when we have an ignorant, actively misinformed electorate and poor grassroots organizing on the left. We can’t expect elected officials to be more progressive than the polity — absolutely everything is stacked against that outcome. But who gets elected still matters to a hell of a lot of people, TODAY.
The other thing that Republicans believe, according to Jonathan Cohn, is that they are going to grab an unprecedented share of the Hispanic vote by the simple expedient of nominating Marco Rubio for Vice President. On this scenario, all of those freshman Republican Congresscritters cruise to re-election on Rick Romney and Marco the Cuban Savior’s coattails.
Just like Sarah Palin put them over the top with women!
B W Smith
@jayackroyd: Two excellent examples of folks progressives should be fighting to get elected. I live in the very red state of Georgia. Progressives by and large don’t even try outside Atlanta. The Democratic party has shriveled and become weak. Nine times out of ten if there is democratic opposition, they are conservative-lite. I think we have a message for folks even in Georgia, there’s just no one willing to fight to get it out.
@TooManyJens: Oh, I really hope they do. Anyone who actually thinks this will work demonstrably does not understand the difference between Cubans and Mexicans. Or the diversity of hispanics in general, for that matter.
Outside of teabaggers, Marco Rubio appeals to precisely one kind of person: aging conservative Cuban exiles like his parents. Even in Florida, that’s a vanishingly small demographic.
@TooManyJens: You haven’t replied to my point. It’s not personal.
To old-fashioned liberals like myself, we seem to have the choice of a sane New England Republican Party and a group of insane grifters and bed-wetters. That’s a choice we don’t like much. But I’ve not seen much from our side that would be recognized as indisputably coming from the Democratic Party. Doesn’t mean that most of us won’t vote for the ershatz Democratic candidate. Just stop telling us to shut up. You want everyone to forget what a Democrat used to stand for?
You mean because I didn’t refer to nonsense like this “His record is, at the very least, comparable to that of President Clinton, who was enthusiastically re-elected.” you think I didn’t read the whole thing?
Unemployment is twice as high as it was then. Obama has taken ownership of incredibly unpopular, really bad policy of bailing out the banksters. The US is in two really unpopular stupid wars. There’s no way that you can claim Clinton’s performance is comparable to Obama’s.
And I do not see any other way to read MH-P than to say that she believes the reason movement liberals are upset with Obama is because he is black, and held to a higher standard despite great accomplishments. Is that also what happened to David Patterson? That he really was just as good a governor as Mario Cuomo, but he was held to a higher standard by racist white liberals?
[thinking a bit]
Now it is a true that there was a great deal of enthusiasm and hope when he won. There was spontaneous dancing in the streets in my neighborhood when the election was called. Robert Kuttner wrote a book about the opportunity Obama represented–that he could follow in the footsteps of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, LBJ in moving the country forward. I hosted a netroots nation panel on that very theme. So I’d be more partial to an argument that expectations were too high–that the corrupt Senate Dems would stop any real change–than to the argument that he has met expectations, but white liberals want more than that.
I’d be even more sympathetic to that argument if he hadn’t run on precisely the theme of real change.
Watch the will.i.am video again. Remind yourself of how those expectations were set.
On the difference between “being pissed off at” and “abandoning”: OK, so you’re pissed off at Obama. Do you defend him against lying attacks? Do you work to support him on those issues where you agree? Do you intend to vote for him next year, at the very least because he’d be better than Rick Perry or Mitt Romney or whomever? If yes, than you have not abandoned him. You are not who MHP is talking about.
@B W Smith:
What’s frustrating is that in places like Georgia, a populist message would work really well right now. But the party’s leadership is dominated by people who think Harold Ford was a great candidate.
I’m hoping that Warren and candidates like Waltz can show that a populist, liberal message is a winning message at time when people are furious with their elected officials.
@Mino: Who am I telling to shut up? Seriously, who? Advocate for better policies — that’s what we should be doing! But we should do it from a position firmly grounded in reality. And we shouldn’t mistake imperfect allies for enemies.
I just want us to be smart, for the love of fuck.
Some Democrats would propose it, polls would be in its favor, then the deficit-hawk/spending-averse Democrats would pooh-pooh it, no Republicans would be for it, and it wouldn’t happen. “Resonating with almost all Americans” isn’t converting into “Yes” votes anymore. That’s a tremendous problem in need of fixing.
@FlipYrWhig: Yes. Exactly. People need to realize what the fuck we are up against and aim their outrage accordingly if they want to actually get anything done.
I don’t really see how that is different from “pissed off.”
And I don’t see how Harris-Perry can say this:
Black support plummets
Obama is plummeting in the polls because he adopts dreadful, unpopular centrist policies that are doing real, long term damage to the country. Not because racist white liberals hold him to a higher standard than Bill Clinton was held to.
Well, it’s a good thing Bill Clinton never did that. I’d hate to see where we’d be if he had, for instance, repealed Glass-Steagal. And NAFTA was super popular and progressive.
@jayackroyd: I think you can get a lot of mileage out of a _populist_ message — but IMHO we shouldn’t mistake populist for liberal. It’s easy to imagine a Tester/Webb kind of candidate making a run in a deep red state, but there’d be a pretty good chance that such a candidate would be an unreliable ally on, say, reproductive rights or same-sex marriage or immigration.
B W Smith
@TooManyJens: This is kinda the point I have been trying to make in working toward activity on a more local level than presidential politics. Elizabeth Warren has been given the opportunity by the media to blast the President on more than one occasion. Luckily, she has not fallen for their trap. She has kept the message positive and about progressive policies. Honestly, does anyone believe that if President Obama received more progressive legislation, he would veto it? Progressives have forgotten how to build from the bottom up. It doesn’t help to always be shouting up. It makes us weaker.
Republicans understand this. When their grassroots sent them folks that were further right, they moved with them. Someone upthread asked what difference the Senate tea party winners made. This is it. They moved all those complacent older Reps to the right – out of fear for their seats.
@B W Smith:
And I love her for it.
I think they’d say that he would work behind the scenes to torpedo more progessive legislation because he doesn’t really want it to pass. I mean, I hope I’m wrong about this, but I honestly think that Greenwald, for instance, thinks of Obama as a crypto-right-winger. Daft as a button, but there you are.
I think you overestimate the logic behind what makes a person “strongly favor” a candidate. Do you think people who used to favor Obama and no longer do so would cite, to oversimplify a bit, what he’s _done_, or what he hasn’t been able to do?
yeah, it’s called, “barack obama is a considerably finer and more effective liberal president than clinton or carter (and this cannot be objectively argued against), and you should work to reelect him with overwhelming enthusiasm.”
@ jayackroyd again
avedon carol (whoever he/she/it is) is clearly a racist, leftist loon.
president obama is not “leading america back to the 13th century.”
and this is stone cold racism. name the “black leaders you’ve watched,” you fucking coward. and never call the president “dumb, cowardly, incompetent, and indecent” (by extension) ever fucking again. jay, that you would link this and support this take, reveals much.
One more thing. Harris-Perry uses polls that ask about favorability to define “abandonment.” If that is your definition, then I have indeed abandoned the President. I would not answer “strongly favors” on a poll, or, ftm, “favors.” It’s interesting, as well, that Harris-Perry compares Obama’s poll numbers with Clinton’s reelection vote totals. Not exactly apples to apples…..
B W Smith
@aisce: Just one of the reasons I have become able to laugh at your role on this site. You play both sides of the fence very well.
Indeed. And the same people who are angry with Obama now were angry with Clinton then. Still angry with Clinton, ftm.
@FlipYrWhig: Agree completely. George Wallace was a populist.
@mistermix: I didn’t say it was an unalloyed good for Democrats, just that the California delegation next time won’t be full of safe-seated punks (from either side).
We also now have open primaries with the general between the two top vote-getters, regardless of party. We may actually discover the mythical lost moderate Republicans this way.
If not, we’ll have 2/3rds Democrats in the leg soon and will be able to tax our way to prosperity, whoopee!
I would agree that that’s a big flaw with her thesis. As a subjective matter, I feel that there’s been much more of people acting like Obama has betrayed them personally and threatening to take their ball and go home than there was with Clinton. Objectively, I’m not sure if I could put hard numbers to it.
On the other hand, there demonstrably are people bashing Obama by saying that he’s so much worse than Clinton was. I consider that ridiculous, and I think you have to ignore much of the record of both men — not to mention the circumstances in which they governed — to make that claim.
I’m sorry, the only “ftm” acronym I’m familiar with is “female-to-male”, and I’m reasonably certain that’s not what you’re saying. :) Could you clarify, please?
It is not all that difficult to build a campaign based upon nothing. Very eligible voters pay any attention and do not want to pay attention. Many know what they want to know: nothing. So, yes, it is easy to run a nihilist campaign.
There are not all that many ‘swing seats’; gerrymandering has seen to that.
But, the GOP can lose Congress and the WH with a smart and motivated campaign. The party leadership will have to figure out how to that.
But, that is politics. Which is not governing. Governing is writing and passing legislation that actually solves problems. Which is much more difficult than winning an election.
Flag-burning, partial-birth abortion, and gay marriage.
This has been another edition of Simple Answers To Simple Questions.
@jayackroyd: From your link:
They’re all the same, both sides do it, blah blah. Oh Rly? Go Cheney yourself, you petulant moron.
While Republicans will gain an advantage as many have mentioned due to redistricting, I agree that it used to be about bringing home the bacon (pork). The big difference between the Republican-controlled Congresses of the late 90s/early 2000s, was that while they decried pork, they fed off it insanely. The new austerity means they are screwed. Then again, maybe Dems are too…they aren’t bringing it home either, since no one is. Let me be clear, while I use the CW term “pork,” I personally see a lot of good done by earmark projects (hospitals, community centers, roads, stop lights, infrastructure, disease research, open lands, etc.)
@TooManyJens: Interesting. Most will agree that Tea Partiers cost the Republicans the Senate. It also scared the shit out of the old bulls. The party moved right.
Liberals primaried Blanche Lincoln with a candidate who at least gave lip service to labor. Blanche was toast before any primary, anyway. Democrats turned on their base. Oh, labor wasted all that money that other Dems might have used. So don’t tell me no one is saying shut up.
@henrythefifth: Agreed. The ideological turn of contemporary Republicans has been, apparently, _away from_ pure naked self-interest. If they stood for nothing but that, there’d be some talking to them. But they’ve become something else entirely, and the usual mechanisms — the old “logrolling” and such — just don’t work anymore, and it’s taking a long time to figure out how to handle it. To use the overused hostage/ransom metaphor, if there’s nothing they want more than causing the hostage pain, they’re just sadists, and you can’t negotiate with sadists, because what’s supposed to be the basis of the bargain, avoiding pain, means nothing to the other side.
At the end of the day, the insurgent candidate has to get more votes. Arkansas Democrats had a choice, and picked Lincoln. It seems the Arkansas “base” liked her better.
@jayackroyd: lol, you know nothing about Georgia. I live here, and in the sticks they loathe liberals and any policies remotely considered liberal.
I know it is progressive dogma that “OUR MESSAGE WINS, IT IS ONLY TEH MESSANGER THAT FAILZ!” but, sadly, no.
Here’s a thought regarding the portent of a strategy or preconception guiding the TeaOP’s behavior on the CR.
Nothing (a.k.a. 0/zero) is less evil than (-9.4%).
Nothing (a.k.a. 0/zero) is less evil than $15.2 trillion.
In other words, in a campaign premised on “reasonableness” and “lesser-of-two-evils” framing, the GOP is trying to mark its rhetorical territory.
Remember, Obama’s not the only debating society enthusiast cum lawyer involved in electioneering. Paraphrasing Cicero, there’s always a counter-argument. The question is always, are you (the advocate) brave (read: ballsy) enough to make it?
I’m not suggesting the GOP is brave, in fact I’m suggesting the opposite – for both the national GOP and the President. If the President was actually Barry Braveheart, he’d have long ago pitched the U-Chicago/Friedmanite econ and anti-labor jargon for a true “counter-argument”. Instead, he’s not only stood-by the mutinous Timmeh!, the haughty prevaricator Summers, the inept team of Petraus and Panetta and the slimy Salazar he’s simultaneously thrown progressive/liberal champions over-board. There’s no blaming the GOP for Barry’s decisions regarding his inner-circle.
I’ll bow to your local knowledge, but I can’t help but double check. You’re saying that not just message, but an actual program of job creation, of real infrastructure development for instance, would be rejected by rank and file rural Georgians as too much government?
On the substance, thanks so much for sticking with this. I’m not here to win arguments, I’m here to figure stuff out.
Last night, at Virtually Speaking (we had avedon and emptywheel on the regular sunday program) we talked about this. Avedon said that one thing that was different under Clinton is we had no venue for expressing dissatisfaction–that the blogosphere didn’t yet exist, and the unhappiness with Clinton’s NAFTA program (which I supported, wrongly, IMO in the event) and repeal of Glass-Steagall (which I opposed) had no forum to express itself.
But those of us (and, again, I am not sure I was part of “us” in 1996–at the time I was a good government centrist voting 3rd party who was later radicalized by W) who are angry, and abandoning Obama were just as angry at Clinton. I’d claim Obama is worse, but only because he inherited a foreign policy regime he did not have the guts, or worse, the conviction, to change.
The larger, deeper, and I fear intractable problem is that the Democratic party is controlled by “centrists” who believe in a model of public-private partnership that is antithetical to the basic premises of movement liberalism, of the New Deal.
That the response to my saying that is “You’re a racist.” is deeply disturbing. It’s an attempt to shut down debate, to set policy critiques out of bounds based on Obama’s historic blackness. That is just as wrong as setting policy critiques of Hillary out of bounds because doing so is sexist. We should have these policy debates in a full throated, reality based framework. I don’t believe the president would like to have the debate there, and I think that has nothing to do with my racist ass.
I think it has more to do with serious problems with his policy positions. There is no way to justify what he did to HAMP, why we are permanently in Iraq, domestic telecom surveillance, a crappy (really crappy) “historic health care” bill. Their response to criticism of bad policy is “STFU get on board” or, now, “otherwise you’re a racist,” is not what I signed up for.
All this is the best that you are going to get. There is no basis for very much of anything else, as there is no real incentive to change course.
What you are going to get is dithering and tinkering.
There are times when economic and social forces compel large and significant change. This is not one of those times; some people may think that it is. But it isn’t.
People may be afraid and angry, but that is a short term thing. It won’t last.
@77 “Never call the president “dumb, cowardly, incompetent, and indecent” (by extension) ever fucking again”
OK, I won’t. Obama’s dumb, cowardly, competent, and indecent (I happen to consider jokes about predator drones indecent, but YMMV.
Obama’s been extremely competent at shielding the banksters from prosecution for accounting control fraud.