Ron Fournier, ladies and gentlemen, on the DHS shutdown nonsense:
The leaders in both parties are pandering to their bases, which makes compromise and common sense almost impossible. The Democratic Party is getting more liberal. The Republican Party is getting more conservative. The open-minded middle of American politics is growing bigger—but also increasingly disillusioned, silent, and marginalized.
The fact that both sides are wrong doesn’t mean they are equally wrong. Most voters are likely to conclude that Republicans are a bit more culpable than Democrats. “As we learned during the last government shutdown,” according to NBC’s First Read political analysis, “the side that’s using government spending to demand changes to existing law or directives is going to be the side that gets blamed if the government (or just part of it) shuts down.”
After the 2013 government shutdown, Republican approval ratings plummeted, and yet that searing example of government dysfunction was all but forgotten by the time Republicans stumped Democrats in the 2014 midterms.
In 2013, voters viewed the GOP as the worst of two bad choices. In 2014, the coin flipped and Democrats were the most-worse option. If DHS shuts down this weekend, it almost doesn’t matter who get blamed in the short, medium, and long terms. Both parties will be failures. Again.
So, to recap:
- America is in the middle and they are tired of both sides.
- Americans in the middle blame Republicans for a DHS shutdown because Fournier admits both sides are not equally wrong here.
- But what Americans in the middle actually think doesn’t matter at all because Fournier is a mighty pundit, and lo…
- …Both sides do it.
Perhaps what Americans are really tired of is false equivalence and High Broderism bullshit like this.
I don’t see this changing as The Corporation consolidates and hardens, like poop resin.
Fournier’s true calling was probably meteorology. Some of the models are predicting snow. Some aren’t. Both are wrong! (But yes, it’s gonna snow.)
He’s right about one thing: voters will reward the GOP no matter what.
The party line was that Republicans in the new Congress would demonstrate that they are capable of governing. Most pundits are now backtracking from that deeply absurd position, a few (e.g., Krauthammer) are going for the nuclear option. So, what else is new?
What I’m really tired of is being told that I’m just like conservatives. Those tired old farts of every age who want to go back to the 50s, no matter what century you stick in front of that. I lived in the 50s, it wasn’t all that great and grand. I want to move forward, although I don’t have that many yrs to do so at least I’d like to be doing that. Not fighting against going back to a time that was worse for most people.
Both sideism: I haven’t lost the argument as long as my side thinks he did.
@Ruckus: The right wing “intelligentsia” like to recall the 80s rather than the 50s. Taps right into their Back To the Future/Star Wars/Atari nostalgia. Not to mention Reagan
Fournier is a Republican who was a huge fan and friend of Karl Rove and thought about being John McCain’s press secretary in 2008. His “both sides” is really a way of mainstreaming the Republican talking points he gets from Karl and his corporate friends.
I would pay for pizza for anyone who breaks off a tire iron inside Ron Fournier’s head.
The reason that Republicans did not pay a price previously is that Democrats were poorly prepared to remind the electorate about what happened and why. We are just not very good at doing elections and drop the ball when it comes to pinning the tail on the donkey at the right time. I am hoping that Ms. Warren can help party leaders to rectify that failing and improve our messaging for coming elections.
“As we learned”?
What do you mean “We”, white man?
I’m tired of hearing how “The People” want the GOP to do what the GOP’s been doing. As if they won 100% of the vote in 2014. Where’s Cruz’s protest of the “tyranny of the majority” now?
Interesting to note that the beltway wisdom at this point is that the House Tea Party caucus is 100% irrelevant, and that Boehner will pass a clean DHS funding bill with Dem support.
I SO wish that were true, but manifestly, it’s not.
Glenn Beck this morning said that his first act in the Oval Office (whatever that might mean) will be to snip out the star on the flag that represents Kentucky.
As someone wise once said, there is such a thing as bullshit.
My conviction that his is about mainstreaming Republican talking points as the “sensible middle” is confirmed on reading the whole column which starts off blaming Obama and the Democrats for not passing immigration reform in 2009-2010 and then he just throws out an opinion/lie that they did so because they wanted to keep it as a political issue. (I think the reason is that without a compromise with Republicans with some cover, there was not enough Democratic votes in the House or the Senate for a bill to get through, and of course we know that the Republicans gave the Michael Corleone answer to on every compromise proposal by the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats during this this period. “The answer is “No.”” He then keeps on blaming Obama pretty much through the whole piece.
What did Kentucky do to piss off Glenn Beck?
Mitch McConnell apparently has decided to compromise by separating out DHS funding from immigration reform.
@Sherparick: That’s because Obama is no “leader”.
As a prediction of voter behavior, Fornier is right, and that’s the sense IMHO he meant. However, to the extent he means blame for which side is actually more responsible, that would not be correct, and would indeed be Broderian in it’s “both sides do it” obtuseness and stupidity.
@debbie: Attention is shifting to the House, and poor, helpless little John “Boo Hoo” Boehner:
@debbie: Glenn Beck should definitely run as a third party candidate. That will show Mitch and the other repubs.
Not sure, but I’d guess it was re-electing that traitor Mitch McConnell — as opposed to electing, say, Matt Bevin.
@JPL: Agreed. I love to see the AM radio crazies rise up to oppose the squishy Republicans in positions of actual power. Unfortunately, they almost always walk the uprising back before elections. I’m sure it has nothing to do with their corporate sponsors.
Two things. 1) All spending bills are required to originate in the house. 2) If the house and senate pass different versions, the bill goes to conference committee. The budget act of ’74 limits Senate debate on budget bills coming out of conference to 10 hours, ie, no filibuster, no 60 votes required to proceed.
That’s why Reid said the Senate will be happy to vote on the clean version of the bill after the house has passed it.
I don’t listen to all of his show (I haven’t the stomach), but he just might be leaning towards doing that. Especially if Cruz or Walker don’t end up being the nominee.
But I’ve never been that lucky before.
“Both sides do it” is the norm people have come to expect.
Honestly hammering the Republicans for their one-sided obstruction to progress would shock people. People have become so demoralized, with regards to what they expect out of government they do not think either part will make a difference, which is why you have such low voter participation rates in this country, which are at 35% in off-year elections and between 50%-60% during Presidential elections.
Driving home last night I heard Sen. Richard Sheby (R-AL) complaining about the Democrats filibustering the DHS funding bill and being obstructionists. I think I scared the guy in the car next to me when I laughed maniacally.
Anybody catch the finale of Parks and Recreation? It was a nod to Billy Pilgrim (and a little Frailty thrown in) with time travel and such, but it struck me through all the nostalgia that the concept of governance is now mythology that can only be expressed/interpreted by comedians…and clowns like Fournier.
I know, that shark was jumped long ago.
Given that I’m in the “I’d like a functioning government, please” faction, pander away.
My “total BS follows” detector went of when I got to “The Democratic party is becoming more liberal”. Richard Nixon was more liberal than the Democratic party today. Probably Eisenhower too, who was a Republican – despite all the right wingers calling him a communist sympathizer. Both parties have moved to the right, but the GOP engaged warp drive about 30 years ago while the Dems are still on impulse power.
Possibly the only accurate part of Fournier’s rant.
In short the wisdom of John McCain is required to cut this Gordian Knot–someone is needed to lock both sides in a room and tell them to “cut out the bullshit.” Remember how well that was going to work in Iraq?
@MattF: Hope Krauthammer gets his way for two reasons: one, amerikans deserve the asswipes they vote into power; and second, the whole idea that the senate can be controlled by a minority is fundamentally wrong (and frankly, I feel was created by southerns trying to protect slavery.)
@JaneE: Nixon was not more liberal. this is some bizarre, game of telephone like, misunderstanding of a few key issues. Nixon did sign into legislation some stuff that was veto proof thanks to a more liberal congress. That’s it. He was not in any way or shape “more liberal” than modern Democrats.
My read is that the 2013 shutdown was forgotten because it immediately followed by the Obamacare website fuckup. Which, despite being pretty predictable, given the complexity involved in that website launch, was treated by the media as the most apocalyptic screwup ever.
@Mustang Bobby: Remember, when the GOTea does it, it’s not “obstruction” but “restraining out-of-control Big Gubmint overreach and overspending.” Totally different thing.
/snark (and /snarkier as I get older, apparently)
@aimai: It’s one of things that was started by Republicans to demonstrate that Democrats had no real reason to dislike tricky Dick, they were just unfairly attacking him. Then people who either were too young to remember him or not politically engaged enough at the time came to accept the Republican spin.
David Broder couldn’t help it. He was a boob. He was a boob’s boob. He was such a gigantic boob, I used to suspect they photoshopped the nipple on the top of his head out of his picture on his columns.
Fournier, however, has managed to figure out how to get paid for trolling from the imaginary center. Centrist trolling seems like a contradiction in terms and, indeed, it’s only possibly by pretending the right isn’t dominated by nihilistic authoritarians.
And then WV steps over TX and LA as the most bass-ackward state in the nation…
From the link:
“Might be”, says the lawyer. Might. From a supposed legal expert. Chew on that, fellow ambulance chasers.
Read this diary on Kos which contains excerpts from the speech by Barbara Boxer. This is the type of message that Democrats should be pushing every single day to counteract the idea that “both sides do it.”
@aimai: Nixon (from what little I know) was as conservative as he could afford to be and still have a functioning government. Modern Teahadists are as reactionary as they want to be and fvck functioning. We may not like the Not-A-Crook, but at least he believed the federal government had a positive role to play other than presiding over its own demise.
Iowa Old Lady
@Amir Khalid: Maybe Beck is ticked the KY embraced Obamacare? Who know what goes on in that fevered little head.
Doesn’t West Virginia have, like, a state counsel’s office or an attorney-general to advise on the constitutionality of proposed legislation? In particular, on the constitutionality of blatantly unconstitutional proposed legislation?
Villago Delenda Est
Surely there is someone, somewhere, who can accidentally drop a 16 ton weight on Ron Fournier and bring a satisfying resolution to at least one small part of the Villager bullshit that is “both sides do it.”
It’s true, both sides really do “do it”.
Democrats pass health care reform, allowing millions who were previously denied to access health care, while at the same time slowing the ever increasing costs of health care..
Republicans pass tax cuts.
See? Exactly the same.
Boehner has no choice but to pass a clean DHS funing bill and send it back to the Senate. The only question at this point is when. He may let this drag out until early next week, declare victory and put it to a vote.
Which raises the question of why the Obama Administration subcontracted exchange software construction to a fuckup outfit instead of bringing the folks at Google and Apple etc. on-board from the get-go. Who would have been far more likely to have built it correctly from the ground up. The software development practices of the original outfit were sketchy even for a fledgling computer science student doing a basic project
@Citizen_X: The press stopped covering the shutdown and the sequester as serious problems and so people simply stopped thinking about htem and their results. Two years is too long in voter memory. We are crazy to expect that “people” in general will remember anything tha thappens in washington, or when or why or by whom. For most people this is all inside baseball. People have motivated memories, not generalized political memories, and in modern america with the exception of fox news there is no organized institutional memory pushing media. So fox news watchers never forget anything–hell they are still shrieking “Nancy Pelosi said we’d have to pass the bill in order to know what was in it” because this factoid is repeated for them every day by their news shows. But the rest of the country is receiving news that is not so targeted or motivated. They are awash in random facts and histories depending on what sells that day on CNN or NBC or whatever. And that offers them no consistent narrative on which to vote for the Democrat.
Villago Delenda Est
@debbie: The fact of the matter is, Democratic candidates for House seats got more aggregate nationwide votes than Rethuglican candidates did.
However, thanks to gerrymandering, the Rethugs won a historic number of seats.
So the notion that the “country” wants the GOP in power is bullshit.
The same way Bush had John Yoo around to tell him about the constitutionality of torture.
Sure Nixon was more liberal that your average right-wing Republican these days. But so was Ronald Reagan.
That doesn’t mean that Nixon was more liberal than your average Democrat though. Which is the claim that aimai was rebutting.
Nixon was mostly interested in bombing the crap out of Asians, so he would bargain with the Congress on their domestic issues as long as they let him bomb the crap out of Asians. That this gets him a reputation for liberalism is kind of disgusting.
Republicans wouldn’t beat Democrats so much if the Dems had dinner waiting on the table when they got home.
Clearly both sides are at fault.
This whole notion that Democrats are becoming (or have become) Republican-lite or 1950’s era Republicans forgets basic things like Richard Shelby was a Congressional Democrat, when Bill Clinton was first elected President.
Hell, look at how DADT became law. Bill Clinton wanted gays to serve in the military.
Sam Nunn, a Democrat, opposed gays serving in the military.
DADT was a compromise that made it legal for gays to serve in the military:
If anything the consensus on a lot of issues amongst Democrats, in government, has gotten more liberal over the last 20+ years.
I do not understand why people are intentionally ignoring this.
Villago Delenda Est
@NonyNony: That’s a bit unfair to Nixon. He didn’t have bloodlust for killing Asians the way that the modern teatard wants the brown to suffer.
He was, however, most interested in foreign policy, not in domestic policy. Which meant that he’d concede a lot of things to the Dems so he could concentrate on his passion for making foreign policy things happen. Some of that did involve bombing the hell out of Asians, but he did go to China, which was a huge step that brought him under fire from the then equivalent to the teatards, the Birchers.
Let’s just say he was oblivious to the suffering some of his overseas actions caused. Doesn’t make him any less evil or criminal, of course. Might make him more so with his obvious callous, deranged indifference.
@aimai: I think it’s true in a very narrow sense. Nixon was economically mainstream. The economic mainstream in that era was WAAAAY to the left of where it is now.
If inflation upticks tomorrow, literally nobody, in either major party, is going to recommend wage/price controls. That’s something Nixon actually did.
He also seems genuinely to have believed that deficit spending could boost a lagging economy, and seems to have done exactly that to generate a little boomlet in time for the 1972 election. That’s something that some Democrats still believe, but I wouldn’t say it’s the party position.
Also, too in 2008 then Presidential candidate Barack Obama opposed gay marriage. Going into the 2016 Presidential election, I doubt any Democrat running for President will have a problem with gay marriage.
This is classic Mitch. In his heart of hearts, he does want to govern responsibly (because that was where he came from, and he was a pork king during the earmark era), but is stuck with the ‘tard caucus and no longer has goodies to dole out locally.
@Bobby B.: And the ’80s were themselves the golden age of ’50s nostalgia.
It had started ramping up in the ’70s, of course: Grease, American Graffiti (which was actually set in the early ’60s, but it was effectively the same collection of images), Happy Days. All these people who had been teenagers in the 1950s were starting to make movies, plays and TV. But Reaganism was consciously an attempt to turn some idealized image of the 1950s into reality, without, of course, the high taxes, infrastructure investment or strong labor movement.
The only things anybody thought about politics during the month’s run up to the election were ‘ISIS’ and ‘ebola’, pushed relentlessly by the press. These topics, which drive Republican turnout and depress Democrats, disappeared after the election. Especially ebola.
Make of that what you will.
EDIT – @Botsplainer:
Mitch is an old-school Kentucky gentleman. No, he’s not crazy, but never underestimate how much he hates The Negro and how much it galls him to see one as president.
A lot of it has to do with right-wing domination of the media. When people are getting fed a steady diet of reasons to justify Republican (mis)deeds and excoriate Democratic actions, people tend to lose focus on how crazy Republicans are.
I still remember Sean Hannity pushing a talking point of the NO mayor not shipping people out on school buses before Katrina hit, and thus absolving Bush & Co. for their lackluster response. I remember a lot of right-wingers running with that talking point to the exclusion of all else.
It’s hard to overcome such a one-sided advantage.
President Obama supported civil unions for same sex couples, which gave them all the legal rights heterosexual couples had, but avoided the religious entanglements that had always stalled progress. Nevertheless, he fully supported same sex marriage before his term was over, and has done more for the LGBT community than all the previous Presidents combined.
I do not know if they were more liberal. Nixon was before my time and I was a kid, when Reagan was in office, but I think the Republicans of yore dealt with reality somewhat head on.
If the facts in evidence suggested people’s water supply was killing them, they would find a way to fix it.
If sulfur dioxide emissions were causing acid rain and killing trees, they would find a way to solve it*.
Today’s Republicans have a faith based doctrine of governance, with absolutely no regard for facts and figures. Taxes must always be cut. Regulations on business must always be loosened. Regulation on reproductive rights must always be tightened.
* Cap-and-trade to combat acid rain was an actual conservative idea that worked.
True, but more importantly, he was a Southern Democrat, the last of a dying breed that finally went GOP when Reagan was elected. From the end of the Civil War until the 1980’s, the Democrats ruled in the South because the Republicans were the ones who beat them in 1865. You couldn’t win a statewide office in the South as a Republican. But they were as conservative, as racist, and as Jesus-shouter-y as the GOP base it now.
Our Republican pals today like to remind us that Democrats voted against the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, leaving out the little detail of the “Southern” adjective. LBJ famously noted that signing those bills wrote off the South for Democrats for a generation, and we now know he was off by two or three. And I’m pretty sure a number of Republicans voted for those laws just to stick it to the Southern Democrats.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@Amir Khalid: Of course (as already suggested by a flyover country old woman above) KY Connect is a disguised medicaid expansion as provided by the ACA, so that could be an irritant for the asshole. He was also a radio shock jock there in an earlier incarnation. There’s an older Atlantic article about it.
Did I mention that Glenn Beck is an inflamed, toxic, and contagious asshole lately?
…in hindsight it was kind of amazing that American Graffiti was able to wax nostalgic about a vanished era just 11 years in the past. It would be like, today, making a misty-eyed period piece about the halcyon days of George W. Bush’s first term, when we were innocents.
Fournier’s correct that Repubs are not held accountable for their misconduct. I’ll give him that.
If Fourier wants to waste his time on micro-posturing nonsense, that is fine with me.
He’s shown no sign of being able to actually write anything useful, so this kind of thing may be least harmful thing he can do.
@Josie: Barack Obama was really good at doing elections. But he was never able to parlay that into a movement for doing anything other than electing him, and he seemed to be trying at times.
@Matt McIrvin: The Big Lebowski was six years after the time it was set it.
Haven’t I heard somewhere that Pelosi will give support, but only AFTER Boehner gets a majority of GOP reps to vote for the clean bill?
@aimai: What about the “secret plan”? Did we ever find out what the “secret plan” was?
@Mike J: Hmm… The Big Lebowski never registered to me as being a fundamentally nostalgic movie, but maybe it was.
George W Bush was also good at elections, even worse at getting things done.
Republicans have had a lot of fun adding poison pills to bills over the last six years, as long as it was perceived that Obama and the Democrats were swallowing the poison. Now that they control both houses and confronted with the DHS hostage crisis, Republicans are finally realizing they are being forced to swallow they own poison. McConnell is now gagging on the poison, and catching hell from the Tea Party-types because of it.
Apparently McCain’s secret plan to get Bin Laden was have Obama elected and go after him. Successfully.
@catclub: I doubt it. Didn’t happen with the “fiscal cliff”, didn’t happen with the debt ceiling. There’s no real upside to forcing the Republicans to say they voted to keep DHS open.
@catclub: No one ever gives that crotchety old man enough credit for his long game.
Yeah, Senator Boxer’s smackdown of Republican obstructionism was an epic rant, to be sure:but I’ll repeat my comment there as to how it will probably be treated in the media – since the framing is likely to follow the usual Village formulation:
A) “Republican Senator takes firm stand against partisan obstructionism” or
B) “Democratic Senator makes shrill attack on GOP”
Richard Nixon – especially as President – was in no way whatsoever a “liberal”: but he did have the habit of occasionally co-opting “liberal” programs or ideas (such as establishing the EPA) to try to get in front of popular opinion; mainly on peripheral issues…
Nixon was our last liberal president. OSHA, NOAA, EPA, Federal Affirmative Action, indexed SS, created SSI, Title IX, 3 of his 4 SCOTUS appointments voted for Roe v. Wade, imposed price & wage controls. Wanted a guaranteed annual wage & s-p healthcare, but Teddy’s ego was too big so he had to settle for Mr. Kaiser. Dems today are just a vague echo of the guy.
Obama’s ‘surge’ in Afghanistan was a three-peat of Kissinger’s ‘decent interval.’ Just like his predecessors ‘surge’ in Iraq. If it weren’t for drones and GPS-guided bombs, you’d be seeing B-52s dropping bombs and dead GI’s on TV all over the 5 or 6 countries Obama is at war with.
Racism. A major element of bigotry is that moderate level bigots can afford to be kind and generous to their lessers if they feel completely in charge. As the demographic and cultural timer has ticked along, they’ve gone from ‘anxious’ to ‘desperate’ to pathological’. For a lot of them, they’re living in a nightmare world where a black man is president, miscegenation is common and accepted, women fight back, gays can marry, and saying Jesus made you do it is not a publicly accepted virtue. They want to stop this slide at all cost, and have nothing left to lose.
It always amazes me (although it shouldn’t) that it didn’t pass 50% acceptance until the mid-late 90s.
Nixon was not more liberal
Those wage and price controls didn’t originate in Congress — pure statist Command Economy, comrade.
But really, I agree — RMN was neither liberal nor conservative in the sense of the modern tribes. Certainly his paranoia, self-pity, resentment-driven personality, and lust for revenge aligns him with today’s Tea Partiers, as does his bigotry; and his scheming subversion of the Paris Peace Accords would align with the neocons. But he wasn’t Christofascist, not a theocrat, and he thought that Koch Sr. and the Birchers were nutcases (and he was correct).
Once problems start being tackled what are you going to do?
The way I see it, there were a fuck ton of problems caused by the industrial age that were ignored until they could not be ignored any longer and Nixon was the President when the issues came to a boil.
Also, people do not give Clinton credit for liberal accomplishments like the Brady Bill, the Assault Weapons Ban*, and s-Chip and seem to gloss over Obama’s re-regulation of the financial sector, and creating a viable pathway to universal healthcare.
Anyway, I do not know if Nixon was liberal or not, but rather had problems to deal with and dealt with them.
* One reason gun control will never happen. Liberals just do not care about it. Liberals were all over Clinton for NAFTA, for example, without giving him any credit for gun control. Gun control is a losing proposition for politicians, because one side will vehemently fight you, while your would-be supporters just do not care enough to notice.
Villago Delenda Est
@shortstop: The “secret plan” was to wait four years and then do something about it.
@srv: Nixon was not a liberal. Sheesh dude, he didn’t give a crap about domestic issues and thought that signing legislation would get Democrats off his back so he could work on foreign policy. And he reversed position on lots of things- Affirmative Action, for instance- in the second half of his presidency. This is like calling Clinton a conservative. Presidents don’t exist independent of the eras they were elected in.
Did we ever find out what the “secret plan” was?
1. Elect Nixon
2. Bomb the holy shit out of SE Asia, almost indiscriminately. That’ll teach ’em!
The Democrats have not become more liberal, but the Republicans have become vastly more conservative…
5. Accept the peace offer that was already on the table in 1968.
@gene108: He went beyond just agreeing to tackle problems, he wanted a legacy. That awful ego of his could have gotten us single-payer HC if Teddy had cared more about the rest of us than holding out for his non-legacy.
Besides some of LBJ’s stuff, he made no effort to dial back the New Deal. He was fine moving on. He spent more on social programs than defense. Oh, and I forgot China, ABM, SALT, yada yada. Shit got done and he was slightly more of a crook and egomaniac than JFK or his McCarthy buddy RFK.
In contrast, we get Carter and Clinton the deregulators.
I wouldn’t even call it more conservative. I’d say the Republicans have become more right wing radical.
The Tea Party is a proto-fascist movement.
@C.V. Danes: I think the definition of liberal has changed and been refined based on past experience (which is what liberals do- revise our opinions based on new knowledge). I mean, price controls? No thanks.
They are fighting a losing battle on all fronts.
@SatanicPanic: From what I read about Nixon, he literally did not give much of a damn about domestic policy. It was bread and circuses to keep the rubes happy.
Maybe Kennedy made a mistake in not cooperating more with Nixon on health care reform, maybe not. But Nixon was the kind of guy who did not really care. When Nixon had to come up with a new healthcare policy measure, and a guy comes into his office and says, ‘we got a scheme here we can sell to the rubes where they get less care and pay more money’, Nixon said ‘That sounds great, forget all this reform crap’.
Nixon saw himself as a world historical figure who did great feats in foreign policy.
So, I agree with you, not a liberal. He was president in times when the domestic initiatives had a lot of popular and Congressional backing, and Nixon mostly said ‘fine, whatever…” where it did not get in the way of things he thought important.
Snarki, child of Loki
I just really hate it when Democrats pander to SANE people.
The gall of it!
thank you Aimai. Nixon was a friend and political ally of Joe McCarthy. He went along with some popular issues, like the EPA, because there was strong public and political support for them, but he was always a rightwinger.
@jl: I admit to getting a little bit irrationally annoyed with the idea that Nixon was a liberal, like all those Silent Generation people didn’t know or have some idea of what they were voting for. How could anyone who initiated the Southern Strategy a liberal?
If Nixon was President today, Cliven Bundy would be in a cell.
Just as Romneycare did not actually have a damn thing to do with Romney. As much fun as it was to needle him over it during the election, it was passed by a Democratic supermajority over his veto.
I’d go with that. and the “proto” is shrinking in relation to the “fascist’
@Mike J: IIRC, in a poll a few years back it still hadn’t passed 50% among Mississippi Republicans.
From what I heard about the issue is Teddy was holding out for single payer, while Nixon wanted to build on the existing system and neither of them compromised.
What’s your problem with micro-brews? That’s part of Carter’s deregulation legacy. Clinton screwed up big-time with regards to the financial sector, but was actually working towards getting the U.S. to contribute to solve global warming, despite Republican opposition.
Clinton downsized the military and continued reducing our nuclear stockpile. Carter got the camp David accords done.
Clinton got the IRA / Northern Ireland conflict moving towards peace.
Liberals have an eye for finding faults with our purported leaders, leaving many blind to whatever accomplishments they have had.
How could anyone who initiated the Southern Strategy a liberal?
Although Nixon was himself a bigot, that wasn’t the motivation for the Southern Strategy.
Rather, it was a pure political calculation — “if we throw red-meat rhetoric to these disgruntled racists, we can construct an operational majority of the electorate.” Nixon and Mitchell and Co. never foresaw that the loonies would completely take over the levers of power in the GOP — the intent was to use racism, like abortion, as a wedge issue that would permanently cement tribal affiliation, because nothing would ever get done to effectively address the complaints of the racists.
Given that swimming pools were closed in the 60’s so that the races would not be mixed in a pool, I am impressed that it happened by the 90’s.
@Calouste: I think the recent poll in which a majority of Republicans think the US should be officially a Christian nation is more appalling.
@Joel Hanes: I get why it was done, I just don’t think that anyone who would use that kind of calculus could be called a liberal.
@Joel Hanes: I was referring to McCain’s secret plan for capturing bin Laden, so reminiscent of Nixon’s secret plan for Vietnam. McCain’s got a special talent for continuing to put his hand on the hot stove.
@SatanicPanic: Particularly when the end game for that calculus was to elect more Republicans.
Oh, well, that convinces me he was a bad guy. I suppose I could chalk it up to complete ignorance that you don’t know who Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s god-father was? Or who dated Eunice or Pat? Derp.
Nixon wasn’t friends with anybody.
@shortstop: lol, no kidding.
@gene108: @Jay C:
You both make very good points, but I don’t think Democrats do all they can to push back on the Republican framing. If, for instance, every progressive blog (including this one) front paged Boxer’s rant and followed it up with other examples, it might get picked up by other news sites and make a dent. If every Democrat did the same when they get near a microphone, someone might hear the message.
@catclub: But remember, if our LGBT brothers and sisters would just be more humble and win over doubters’ hearts and minds, we wouldn’t have all this corrupt judiciary overturning the will of the voters who put those same-sex marriage bans in place.
Says every present-day bigot whose parents (or, in the older ones’ cases, themselves) used the identical rationale for denying civil rights to people of color and marriage rights to interracial couples.
In which Oval Office and on which planet? Now Beck in any White House would make an interesting horror/sci-fi flick. I'd watch it.
@catclub: That whole thing about swimming pools is SO WEIRD. Why did people give such a shit about swimming pools in particular? Was it the state of undress? And “lunch counters.” Why were there all these ways to serve particular foods in particular places in particular businesses? White people in the ’50s and ’60s were weird.
I see a flaw in your theory.
@Frankensteinbeck: So what are they going to do when a human with female parts gets into the White House? I’m semi looking forward to 8 years of anti-women rantings.
I think Nixon was a unique figure who could have left a decent legacy if not for his extreme paranoia and criminality.
I think it is also difficult to categorize politicians from previous eras using today’s very warped version of the liberal / conservative divide.
If, as srv write, not wanting to dismantle social security is a sign of liberalism, then Eisenhower and Ford were liberals too.
But by today’s standards, most successful and prominent figures in US history held a number of policy positions that could be labeled as ‘liberal’ by today’s standard, going all the way back the George Washington.
We don’t really have a conservative (in the old fashioned Tory sense of the word, and they are even very rare in UK now).We have radical reactionaries who are tangled in a confused web of radical free market economics that is used dishonestly to sell crony capitalism, racial identity politics and the losing end of a culture war.
I think most attempts to categorize prominent figures in US history using today’s reference points on the political spectrum will just result in confused arguments.
@FlipYrWhig: Lol, exactly.
You misspelled “racist douchebag Ron Fournier.”
@Josie: and @FlipYrWhig:
Endemic. A party that cares about the truth, effective government, and helping people will always be pulled in different directions because we will disagree on what the best path is. Republicans value only winning and simplistic dogma. They don’t need to be led, because they all want the same thing.
Transportation, communication, and population density issues were vastly different back then. Who needed to eat under what circumstances held different values, so naturally so did the nature of restaurants. As for the swimming pools, the answer is basically ‘cooties’. Remember, the racist doesn’t hate blacks as equals, he sees them as inferior and subhuman. In this case, dirty, dangerous… ‘cooties’.
My local paper today ran a column (can’t recall who the pundit was) equating Giuliani’s “Obama doesn’t love America” with Howard Dean’s “Walker’s lack of education should disqualify him from being President”. Because apparently pointing out a fact about someone is exactly the same as making shit up about someone’s beliefs.
Good question! They see blacks as natural criminals, so Obama terrifies them and they act in desperation against an existential threat. Absolute, uniform opposition to everything they believe he stands for, with no compromise allowed.
They see women as natural victims, and will attack her as vulnerable and worthy only of contempt. Misogyny is also not as ingrained a ‘you must maintain plausible deniability’ issue. I’d say she will face much less obstructionism, but you’ll see a level of open honesty and directness to their insults that make the Obama experience seem civil. In particular, the insults will be undeniably gender-specific. They won’t have the awareness that they can’t say ‘nigger’ holding them back to mere comments about being ‘unAmerican.’
EDIT – They will continue attempting to repeal Obamacare, and undo everything Obama has done. The classic racist motivation will be to salt the earth and make it as if Obama had never existed, and anyone who remembers him does so as a stereotype – failed, stupid, childish, selfish, cowardly, dishonest. The media will back them up on this 100%, but history books won’t.
That gave me a chuckle!
I was yelling at my radio a couple weeks ago and definitely scared the guy in the car next to me.
Well … Fournier is trying to explain the puzzling fact that after the GOP completely screwed up Congress, shut down the federal government multiple times, stymied almost all legislation and generally did a horrible job at governing at both the federal and state levels … the American public still went ahead and awarded them with more power in the election.
Because the GOP was successfully able to pivot, and blame “government” for the dysfunction, and present themselves as the solution rather than the problem.
But Fournier is totally missing the “how” on how the GOP was able to pull that sort of pivot off, and get enough people to buy into it. I think the answer is that in addition to the massive amounts of dark money that sloshed through this election cycle, the GOP has their own hyper-partisan base that LISTENS to messages like this, BELIEVES it, and then shows up at the polls in great numbers, with high motivation to vote.
@jl: Absolutely, politicians of different eras have different baseline assumptions about what the nation should be like. About the only thing you can say is that some were in favor of progress and others were in favor of the status quo, and even there you run into problems, because what is progress? Eugenics, banning alcohol, housing projects were all “progressive” at one point.
@gene108: Nixon lost two of his brothers when he was a teen. I’d think that would be a defining point in anyone’s life. There were no Republicans (even his cabinet) who supported his healthcare plans. So this idea that he didn’t care about domestic issues is bunk. He cared more about some FP and some domestic issues.
My memory is he wanted expanded medicaid, s-p/direct subsidies for uninsured/unemployed in a pool and HMOs for corporations. It was more direct than ACA, but not quite Medicaid for everyone unemployed. Teddy wanted all s-p, no HMOs and didn’t have the votes. The compromise was more ACA than s-p but it was a first step. We’d have had s-p in the 90’s if we’d had Nixoncare in 1972.
Nixon was all for compromise (the AMA called it socalist), we don’t know how it would have worked out because Teddy walked away under labor pressure. Nixon had no one to dance with on either side and then Watergate.
Agreed. I make this point every time there’s a post about Fournier’s latest fake non-partisan word vomit. He’s playing his part in the right’s distortion network. Just like David f’n Brooks, Jon Karl, and that 60 minutes correspondent who tried to catapult Benghazi propaganda from that platform. The “sensible” “mainstream” and/or “nonpartisan” pundits know not to foam from the mouth spewing unhinged Obama hate like the talk radio assholes, but they are no less committed to discrediting him, his presidency, and his political party than they are. Their most tried and true strategy is to create fake “both sides are to blame” narratives to let the GOP slink away from the scene of their latest arson without taking the blame they richly deserve. Which makes future arson more likely and less dangerous. And on it goes. Friend of the blog driftglass is the go-to source documenting these atrocities, as most of us know.
@Frankensteinbeck: I doubt they’ll be keen on compromise with the next white Democratic president.
Along these lines, I remember reading some commentary during the 2012 election about how the Democrats did some focus group polling of the well-established Romney/Ryan positions on the safety net, particularly Medicare, and the voters simply did not believe that it could be accurate because it was so extreme and needlessly cruel.
The fact that that election was as close as it was highlights that some of this was going on. Obviously the blue hairs had issues with “that boy” and were convinced he was robbing them of their hard-earned Medicare and giving it to shiftless young bucks and all that, but if they had truly understood the GOP/Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver position on Medicare, I really don’t think they would have swung so hard into the GOP column in the past few cycles. But they don’t believe it, or aren’t informed of it, or prefer to view Obama as the scary one for more saddening reasons.
@Josie: Why aren’t more Dems making these kinds of pasionate speeches all over the place? TV, newspapers, websites, etc., should be plastered with Senator Boxer’s commentary and similar pronouncements. I hate how it often feels that President Obama is on his own and no one has his back.
@srv: Maybe somebody can point me to info that is different, but from histories I’ve read about how Nixon thought about domestic issues, he cared about them as instruments to keep the voting public quiet enough so he could work on things that he thought important. He didn’t have many principles or ideals he wanted accomplish domestically. He was pragmatic.
Sometimes that meant he accomplished very worthwhile legislative goals. But that kind of amoral pragmatism also meant that if a healthcare policy that allowed corporate interests to extract more money from the population at large in return for providing less medical care worked politically, that was just great as far as he was concerned.
Even at his best in domestic policy, I think Nixon was a very ambiguous figure, in terms of ideals, principles and beliefs. He was very pragmatic, with few fixed principles.
@NonyNony: Not sure I wasn’t agreeing with aimai, and I don’t think that I suggested he was at all liberal or anywhere Leftward of modern Dems. But it’s worth remembering that the GOP has gone from Government is A Solution through Government Is The Problem all the way to Nearly No Government Is The Solution. In their zeal to move Rightward they’re actually running for the Anarchist edge: Obstructionism is only a milestone on that path. My point was that Nixon, whatever his philosophical stripe, actually believed government getting things done was an important principle: I sure as BLEEP wouldn’t want him for President again, but I want any one of today’s GOTea for public office even less.
Shit. Do we need to send y’all to rehab to cure your Fournier addiction?
What is it about this idiot that makes him irresistible? He has nothing to say, and doesn’t say it in any sort of creative or entertaining way (in that regard, he’s even worse than Pierce, who can at least turn the occasional phrase).
I honestly don’t get it.
Especially if the next Democratic president doesn’t have any functioning Y chromosomes.
There’s ‘not keen on compromise’ and there’s ‘fanatical obstructionism’. Look at the metrics on filibusters and blocked appointments. There’s never been anything like the level of opposition Obama’s faced, by a large margin. Hillary will face a lot of shit (assuming she becomes president), but it won’t be the pathological Cleek’s Law primary-anybody-suspected-of-compromise level of obstruction. Instead, I expect, oh, public comments about her sex life from national elected Republicans. Possibly including rape threats.
We’ve come full circle in the media. When print media was king, late 18th century until the advent of radio broadcasts, each Party had their own newspaper or someone with strong connections to a Party had a news paper and used it to influence public opinion.
Then news started to be carried on wavelengths and the government regulated it as a public good, so there was a move away from political parties controlling media outlets.
That began to change in the wake of Watergate, when rich Republicans wanted to strike back and retake control of government from the decades of progressive legislation they suffered with, so they started up think-takes, such as Cato, AEI, and the Heritage Foundation, as well as setting up newspaper and magazines, such as The American Spectator and The Washington Times.
This was enough that by the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the right-wing media machine fed talking points to the MSM and the MSM, assuming they were dealing with actual news organizations, ran with those stories as being news worthy.
There are no liberal billionaires. Or even billionaires, with a liberal policy position to grind, who are willing to blow a few million dollars into controlling news ventures.
Therefore the news media will not carry Democratic pronouncements. Democrats can make all the speeches they want, but when you are speaking to an auditorium of 1,000 people at a time, with no or little mass media coverage, you are effectively silenced.
The game has changed. If you want to get your points across you need your own media outlets. And no one on the Left has the money or inclination to fund these to large enough extent to make a dent on the right-wing
That’s the general theme of many biographies and when put in the light of carpet bombing NV and the war protests I have to wonder what the hell those biographers were smoking. Did Dick think that was going to keep the hippies in the communes, or what?
At the height of the protests, Nixon never lacked a majority in the polls for Vietnam. He was willing to put up with huge domestic protests for what he considered the greater good.
Everyone sees this as ‘bad’ pragmatism now. But courtesy bombing Libya/Yemen/Syria/Iraq/Afghanistan/Somalia are all ‘good’ pragmatism. Why can’t it just be realistic pragmatism? Dick is always amoral, JFK/LBJ/Clinton/Obam are always moral, even if misguided.
I think it comes from bias. There was no way the US was going to just up and walk away from VN in 1969. That debate tore the left apart and they would have lost anyway. We can’t even do that today in the ME. Yet Nixon’s actions are seen as monstrous in comparison to LBJ.
And snark aside, I never said Nixon was liberal (by today’s standards, he probably was), but he was the last Liberal President.
@Frankensteinbeck: If the Dems get a woman elected president, I think there will be a disgusting blizzard of misogyny, some of it so overtly offensive, that it will appear in BJ snarkily labeled as ‘GOP outreach’.
A lot of it will be almost subliminal concern trolling. Look for the return of concerned discussion by white ignoramuses of the supposed feminization of US political culture, where feminization is defined as anything other than use of violence, force. Health care, education, mass transit, environment? Feminized subjects. I look forward to the day when science and technology is dumped on as being feminized because it gets in the way of GOP obsessions.
But, all the famous Founders would be sad castrated feminized leaders by that standard of feminization.
And lots of talk about dangerous to have woman leader because the male alphas from other countries will want to test ‘her leadership’. More BS. I would think the example of Thatcher would have laid that BS to rest. But it won’t if loons like Mornin’ Joe and Matthews are still on the air.
@srv: I don’t understand what you mean by
‘liberal’ versus ‘last Liberal President’ unless you mean to distinguish between policy goals and principles of a leader and what was accomplished during their term, regardless of what the president’s personal beliefs and principles are.
I for one do not excuse all of (of what I think may be) Obama’s pragmatically driven policies as ‘good’ pragmatism. I do not think Obama is consciously lying to us about some of his anti-terrorist policies. I was too young to follow or understand what Nixon was doing in real time. From what I read he did consciously lie about his policies wrt to Vietnam War, so there is that important distinction.
@jl: I think Nixon could have accomplished more liberal things than LBJ and the country in 1976 could have been moving in a direction other than towards the Reagan Revolution. If he was just triangulating like Clinton, it’s a huge difference that he was triangulating towards more liberal policies and Clinton was triangulating in the opposite direction.
Nixon the man was complicated, but we’re fed a “lying, sniveling, evil” caricature of him. He was absolutely passionate about HC, he had no allies and no reason to push for it from his own party. Yet he’s still being amoral about it.
I kinda see Carter a amoral hawk in comparison to Nixon. Nixon wanted to get out of a war, disarm, while Carter was pro: Nimitz carriers, Trident SLBM, Trident sub, Neutron bomb, ALCM, GLCM deployments, MX – fuck if it had a nuke, he had a boner for it. And then he was dumb enough to let Reagan get credit for all that. Fuck, at least find a camo sweater or one with an American flag on it.
Some, but not all? When Obama declared Mission Accomplish at West Point when we pulled out of Iraq, did you buy that? It’s pretty scary if Obama did, and then he deserves some of the blame for ISIS. When he said “no boots on the ground” did you believe that too? Is he happlessly naive or a calculated liar? Or it’s good to be open minded when you say “no” but later say “yes?” He’s lying, we know it, he knows it, but he’s gotta say what is pragmatic. But it’s OKIYAD.
Yes, ‘some, but not all’. I think you are picking and choosing pretty arbitrarily about what Nixon and Obama really want and intend to do, and what they are forced to do because of political realities.
I had never thought about contrasts between Nixon and Carter in overall defense posture. As I said I was too young to follow what Nixon was doing in real time, and to some extent Carter. I will look for info on that.
@Mustang Bobby: Dems should remind the GOP that not one southern republican in Congress (using the CSA as the map) voted in favor of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. There were only eleven of them, but not one voted aye. Eight southern democrats in Congress voted aye.
If DHS shuts down this weekend, it will be a huge win for America.
The DHS needs to get shut down permanently. The DHS started out as a worthless unnecessary unconstitutional American Stasi, and has now morphed into an even more worthless and corrupt gaggle of corporate copyright cops.
Shut down the DHS. Shut down the TSA. Shut down all the worthless useless anti-American “homeland” stasi and let their employees get real jobs.
We can argue ‘both sides do it’ or who will get blamed until the pink unicorns come home. The simple fact is when November rolls around the 30% who support the GOP turnout enmass and the 70% who blame the GOP for the country’s trouble stay home.
DING DING DING! And we have a winner for “most perceptive post” of the thread. Yes, indeedy, Hillary will get pushed by DINO far-right “Democrats” like Joe Biden to embark on more endless unwinnable foreign wars, more harsh drug crackdowns, more unconstitutional panopticon surveillance of Americans, more illegal kidnapping and torture and execution of American citizens by their own government without a trial or even charging them with a crime.
And if Hillary pushes back against this far-right DINO agenda, she will of course get slammed as “too feminine,” “too soft,” “weak and helpless,” and all the usual litany of misognyistic smears used as a cover for crypto-fascist authoritarian crony-capitalist stratokakistokleptocracy.
(BTW “stratokakistokleptocracy” means “rule by the militarized worst for purposes of theft.”)