Democrats & Liberals Archives

Grab the Mop, Hold the Bucket, or Keep off the Floor

Let’s not kid ourselves. The Bush Administration and the Republican Congress left a hell of a mess. Now, I’m not going to insult your intelligence by saying that the Democrats didn’t help make this mess. But one thing is true: we’re actually doing something about it. Obama’s new challenge to the right: help clean up the mess you made.

"Grab a Mop." Such a simple phrase. A challenge to come up with something different. Not merely to do what was making the old mess all over again, or commit actions that will undoubtedly make the mess worse, but instead to be helpful.

So much of the Republican's response to the Democrat's rise, including Obama's ascent, has been flat, predictable rejectionism. Has this helped them? No it hasn't.

The popularity picture tends to go like this: Obama scores better than Congressional Democrats, Congressional Democrats score better than Congressional Republicans.

Their party ID is the lowest it's been in a long time. Whatever the Republican Party's been doing to make itself popular, get people to identify with it, it's not worked.

I think it's fair to say that their rejectionism is about more than just Obama or the Democrats themselves. It's about denying that they're in a mess so nobody asks the leadership, the authorities of the Republican Party to step aside. To deny that you're in a mess at this point, you have to head-fake people into thinking that the solution to the problem is another, still worse mess.

So you take the bailouts, however distasteful, and you say, this is against the rules of the free market, we must allow the companies to fail. Never mind the harm that's guaranteed to do, we're just going to let the economy collapse so that the other banks learn their lesson. Same thing with the automakers.

But don't regulate, they say. They argue that regulations cause the whole mess. After they allowed the financial instruments that are the source of all the trouble to be thrown around and leveraged and hedged with, while banning any regulation of them, they would like us to believe that the problem is, the poor lenders were forced to lend to minorities, forced to sell more loans.

I wonder. If I had asked a Republican why so many loans were being made, and whether it was all too risky, I wonder what I would have been told. I also wonder if they understand that most lenders that caused this mess, who made the majority of the loans in that over-saturated, speculation-driven market, were not accountable to the law they choose to scapegoat the crisis with, the CRA. Those CRA loans, by the way, defaulted less than average, a strange thing to happen with a cluster of loans that are supposed to be the center of the mess.

I mean, let's not mince words here: Lenders made a killing until recently pushing bad loans on people, pushing refinancing. The news was replete with talk of Housing Starts propping up an otherwise lackluster economic picture, and the commercials were filled with a doughy, nerdy banker constantly losing loans to a certain company. The Bush Administration acted to pre-empt state laws that were tougher on Predatory lenders. Wall Street was allowed to do anything it wanted.

The Elephant in the room is that the Republicans were pretty successful in turning the paradigm of our government from favoring the consumer and the investor, the small over the big, back towards favoring the interests of big business over that of the smaller, the individual. The philosophy is simple: the rich, if allowed to get richer, will take better care of the less fortunate, which is most everybody. They'll invest, they'll deposit money the banks can use. They'll start up businesses, create jobs.

In fact this philosophy has become so much of a hallmark of Republican Politics, it's almost truly a shock to see conservatives turn against it. Democrats at least have a recent history of supporting progressive reforms, after a fashion.

The trouble is, the picture above is wrong. The rich didn't take care of the rest of us. They invested in their own investment, made money by driving up prices for the rest of us. Some of us enjoyed a rise in wealth as a result, but most of us paid the price instead. And when it all fell down, we paid the price again.

I'm adult enough that despite my distaste, that I recognized that propping up the banks and the car companies was better than the alternative outcome. But despite all that, I did not say that this was a populist outcome. I would not try to claim that this will help the average person that much, other than by preventing the economic hole from getting deeper.

Now that we're out of the emergency, or at least out of the heart-stopping screaming for the abyss part of the emergency, the Republicans want us to essentially go back to Bush-Era policies, give the richest folks more tax cuts. They claim this is the broadly beneficial thing to do. Never mind that it didn't change the trajectory of Bush's economy for the positive.

They want things back the way they were.

I believe that culture operates through pressure and tension, and that these forces build up until something, some event, liberates that energy. What happened almost a year ago in and three years ago on those election days was not unforseeable. The tension between the Republican's promises and their delivery, between what they thought was best, and people's experience of that supposedly better outcome was what drew voters towards the Democrats. It wasn't that the Democrats were pure, so much that Democrats were willing to work with the dynamic of American political opinion, rather than fight against it.

The Republicans are still trying to exploit the tensions and the dynamics of America as it was thirty years ago, when Reagan and others were exploiting the financial disaster of the seventies, and the anger some groups had against liberals and the like was much more considerable. The Demographics worked for them. The troubles and conflicts of the previous few decades created a pool of anxiety that the Republicans were well position to take advantage of.

But the America of 2009 is different from that of 1979, and in many ways, the differences are a product of Republican success, both good and bad. The Red-Baiting doesn't work so well in a country that's now twenty years past the fall of the Berlin Wall, where there are actually adult Americans who never knew a world where Soviet Communism was a threat. These same Americans also know nothing of Jim Crow, never experienced the struggles of the fifties, sixties, or seventies.

That Obama is President should scare Republican leaders, because it means that even now, when the Baby Boomers who once were the up-and-comers are the leaders, they can no longer make people worry enough by pushing the buttons they're most experienced at pushing. We all know how hard the Republicans fought to kill the Public Option. Yet, according to a number of reports, rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.

The Republican strategy of insisting on fiscal discipline as a means to distract people from their own lack of it may have also backfired as well, given how the CBO scored Robust Public Option Plans from Congress. Now, they might have to fight a program, which if the CBO is right (there's uncertainty in any long term projections of the kind the CBO does, even ones that favor our preferred policies) will actually cut the deficit. That's part of the irony of actually letting the government do its thing: it's cheaper than otherwise.

The Republican's rigidity runs against a well known principle in engineering: stiff materials tend to be brittle materials. In smithing and smelting the metal of our policies, a combination of strength and flexibility is often an asset. The Republicans could have had greater influence on the final product of healthcare reform, if they had chosen to participate. They could have removed a major source of tension between their party and a majority of Americans. Instead, it will be Democrats who pushed this, while Republicans angrily folded their arms and stood on the sidelines, heckling those who did do something.

This sounds like good politics on paper, but what is going to happen is that the Republican Party will build a reputation for hotheaded rhetoric, followed through with poor, tin-eared policy, when that substance is there at all. The Republicans dithered and rationalized the mess they made while they were making it, and now that it's time to clean up, they argue for letting the mess remain.

But for those who suffer with the various consequences of the Republican's policies, that is no argument at all, nothing they will accept as a valid, continued course of action for this country. Even if they can lead people to be briefly complacent, briefly scared to change, something else will happen to jog people out of their complacency, and it will be downhill again.

Now Conservatives and Republicans should not abandon their ideals, but they should recognize that their ideals, where and if they are applied, might not work as they wish them to. Then the question becomes twofold: can their values be expressed in a way that's truer to the desired result, which will leave people happy with the Republican style of problem solving, and if not, what then should be the rational position they will go with instead? Even Conservatives have to change, have to move forward. No one said, though, that in departing from previous conservative ideals, that they necessarily had to follow the liberals to the letter.

So if Republicans and conservatives want back in the game in a good way, they're going to have to admit their fault and get to work undoing the damage their policies inflicted, the damage that convinced people their leadership was no longer desirable. They cannot continue to stand aside, if they want to be players, and do nothing but complain and vilify those who are actually cleaning up messes, because all things considered, the folks who are doing something to put America's house back in order, who are taking actual action will at least be right some time, and they will get credit for that. If the Republicans aren't helping at all, if they stand aside and do nothing but occasionally offering token legislation, they will have no leadership put out there that will do them credit, and none they can take credit for.

Pick up a mop, Republicans, and start cleaning up your mess. Otherwise, expect to remain a marginalized party.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2009 6:07 PM
Comments
Comment #289612

S.D.
Your party is doing a pretty good job of screwing things up themselves so I wouldn’t be so quick to blame some other party for the shape of this country. Remember when you point a finger 3 are pointing right back at you.

Posted by: KAP at October 22, 2009 8:21 PM
Comment #289615

KAP can you be a bit more specific? After all Stephen has pointed out what he believes has been repub problems. Typical conservative generalities such as “Your party is doing a pretty good job of screwing things up themselves ” doesn’t work with most of us when trying to shift the focus to the dems when the article is about the repubs.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 22, 2009 9:58 PM
Comment #289618

S.D. & j2t2
The thread read Bush and the rep congress. That was true prior to 2006, then it was Bush and the DEM congress. Both parties have screwed this country up not just one party and it’s about time you Democrats admitted it.

Posted by: KAP at October 22, 2009 10:46 PM
Comment #289619

The Democrats control both chambers of Congress and the White House. Hence, there are two possible explanations for why they think that Republicans are the ones who need to “pick up the mop” that they apparently can’t pick up themselves.

1). They have no idea how to govern effectively but are now hitting the panic button and trying to govern the same way they got elected, by blaming somebody else. This won’t solve the country’s problems, but they hope and pray it will won’t get them bounced from the jobs they don’t know how to do.

2). They have no idea how to govern effectively but secretly believe that the Republicans do, and want to cede decision-making to the minority and take credit for it.

Either option is premised on the majority party not being able to get their act together and not knowing how to govern. Since option 2 seems unlikely, it must be option 1.

Posted by: Paul at October 22, 2009 10:57 PM
Comment #289627

SD
Thank you. It must be fun sit back and watch the pointless blather that proves you point come in.
Here is something BHO had to say about just how important health care reform is and why it has brought such an mountain of lies and distortions from the party of the vested interest, From Joe Biden.
If this fight were only about guaranteeing the choice of secure, quality, affordable care for every American, it would be worth everything we could throw at it. But as Barack reminded us this week, this fight for change is now about something even bigger: a test of whether or not “we as a nation are capable of tackling our toughest challenges, if we can serve the national interest despite the unrelenting efforts of the special interests; if we can still do big things in America.”

Posted by: bills at October 23, 2009 6:44 AM
Comment #289629

bills,

Only if we can climb over the mountain of elephant flab to get there.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2009 7:07 AM
Comment #289630

stephen

so we’re still stuck on the old “it’s the republicans fault” line of thinking eh. never mind the reality that this is now obamas economy. the stimulus thus far is an utter failure with unemployment approaching 10%. weren’t we told it wouldn’t go above 8% if this waste of tax money was approved? now they’re tossing around the idea of throwing away even more money on another stimulus. i guess we can print more money though, so no problem there. it’s getting deep on the left side of the aisle better put your hipboots, and get a shovel. or better yet a steam shovel. LOL!!

during the bush years after 911 when the economy was growing and jobs were actually being created. we were told they weren’t quality jobs, because they were low paying entry level type jobs. the unemployment levels were actually falling, but for some strange reason the media, and the democrats were bashing these signs of improvement at every turn. why was that?

now we have close to 10% levels of unemployment with the prospect of things only getting worse, and what do we hear? “the recession is over”, “this is a jobless recovery”. wow what a turn around! i feel much better knowing this, because i was almost sure we were totally screwed as long as the dems were running things.

your guys are in deep trouble stephen. you can deny it, but that is truely the 800lb gorrila in the room. obamas numbers are plummeting, and he can’t unify his own party. the titanic has hit an iceberg, and she’s sinking fast. we’ll see in up comming elections who the voters blame for this failing administration.

Posted by: dbs at October 23, 2009 9:00 AM
Comment #289632

Some of you just dont get it and continue to post nothing but opinions without any facts to back up your claims. The real question now is not, “whos mess is it?” as there is plenty of blame to spread around, the question we should be asking is “Whos doing something about it?”. Whether or not you support the policies of the democrates/Obama at least they have ideas on the table. What have repubs offered lately other than the same failed policies that didnt work when they were in charge? Anyone?
I can hear the tumbleweeds tumbling….

Posted by: The other Paul at October 23, 2009 9:48 AM
Comment #289636

I must give the writer an “A” in hyperbole for writing;

“Now Conservatives and Republicans should not abandon their ideals, but they should recognize that their ideals, where and if they are applied, might not work as they wish them to. Then the question becomes twofold: can their values be expressed in a way that’s truer to the desired result, which will leave people happy with the Republican style of problem solving, and if not, what then should be the rational position they will go with instead? Even Conservatives have to change, have to move forward. No one said, though, that in departing from previous conservative ideals, that they necessarily had to follow the liberals to the letter.”

Can anyone help me understand what this means? I read it as saying ideals should be replaced with new ideals that don’t have to be exactly the same as someone else’s ideals. I wonder how the writer would explain the meaning of the word…”ideals”.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 23, 2009 12:37 PM
Comment #289637

Let’s see…as soon as President Obama found out the depth of the recession, he made a plan for extracting us from it. In that plan, and in every speech thereafter, he stated that it would be a slow process, that it would be next year, and that unemployment might go over 10% before the end of this year, but that gradually we’d pull out, and be a stronger nation in the end. Then someone says that because everything is going according to that schedule the stimulus package is a total failure…wow!…someone has been listening to Fox News too much. Don’t y’all realize listening to that negative crap will rust your mind?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2009 12:45 PM
Comment #289638

Ideals…something to wish for, and something to strive for, but not something you cannot live without, and realizing that sometimes compromise is a better answer to idealism than boneheaded stubbornness.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2009 12:49 PM
Comment #289641

Thanks Marysdudee for your definition…doesn’t match mine. The Founders expressed their idealism in the documents they produced. I’ll stick with them rather than the pablum you’re peddling.

I am stubborn when it comes to protecting our country from those who would compromise it to a point at which it becomes a government tyranny.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 23, 2009 1:45 PM
Comment #289645

Today’s democrat party stands for nothing and everything. It’s a conglomeration of special interests, all clamoring for their piece of the government pie, which is tearing it apart.

Democrat’s have become the party of entitleitis throwing chicken feed at the hungry mobs who are told they are entitled to someone else’s possessions.

“We declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name…LIBERTY. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names…LIBERTY AND TYRANNY.”

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, 1864

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 23, 2009 2:46 PM
Comment #289646


Stephen, it appears to me that you are displaying a classic case of denial, both for past, present and future events.

Both political parties worked in unison to unleach the dogs of chaos and greed. Two or more of those dogs are currently Obama’s economic advisors.

There is absolutly nothing revolutionary about the way Obama is handling the current economic crisis that his and the other party brought down on the peoples heads.

This administration has demanded that the taxpayers bailout the culprits or else.

It is running up huge deficits, at taxpayers expense, to fix what the culprits did to us.

And, as soon as the economy shows a couple quarters of meager growth, the consumers are going to be socked with a huge round of inflation to bring those deficits down and reward the culprits with more profits.

Thank you very much, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Posted by: jlw at October 23, 2009 2:50 PM
Comment #289647

KAP-
1) I have never been shy about agreeing that Democrats helped Republicans set these policies.

2) But I also pointed out that Democrats followed Republican’s lead to do this, that they essentially agreed with the Republican’s paradigm, in order to avoid running afoul of the Republican’s successful demonization of big government, new spending, and industry constraining regulation.

3) I would also add that in the wake of the financial collapse, Democrats are more than willing to give their representatives and even their dear old President Obama a piece of their mind.

Whereas:

1) Republicans have been actively resisting any change in the way we approach our financial institutions.

2) They have decided that the more important Priorities are political purity and defeating the Democrats. The answer to any policy problem, rather than being a proposal, is get Republican back their majority. But all the policy they’re promising is the same policy we’ve had.

3) You say we had two years. Yet during those two years, we faced a Republican President who decided he had just found his veto pen, a Senate where we shared an even split with a Republican minority that set a record that almost doubled the previous record for its filibustering. Yet during that short time, we were expected to undo the reversal of Glass Steagall, re-regulate the banks, regulate derivatives, save the mortgage lenders from a hell of a lot of bad loans they had already made, and oh, remake the credit system in the country.

Yeah, Republicans would have gone for that. They would have let that happen.

Both parties screwed up. But The Democrats looks to be the party holding itself accountable and changing its direction, whereas the Republicans look committed to just stalling for time until people’s outrage dies down.

Paul-
It puzzles me how you can claim that Democrats are not picking up the mop themselves, when your party has been consistent over this past year in behaving as if it has been, and as if that is the worst thing in the world. Why all the claims of the horrors to come, if your side didn’t fear something was actually getting done? Why the Town Hall mayhem? Why the Histrionics on Glenn Beck, and the vitriol from Rush Limbaugh?

The Republicans are deliberately using every bit of power they have left to sabotage the works. And they wouldn’t be doing so unless they had a Democratic Majority ready and willing to legislate, and a President who got into office on the promise he’d make it happen.

Stop blaming us for the inaction you’re forcing.

beretta9
I think the point in time where you could just substitute lazy political insults for a productive answer to my questions has long since passed.

What’s your excuse? The Republicans have tried letting the market sort itself out, like it did for the most part after Enron. The consequences of all that arose in 2008.

One thing after another, Katrina, Iraq, the Housing Market- you folks gave the excuse, the rationalization for you inaction saying that the best thing to do was nothing.

Then, you folks did nothing, and things got worse. Now tell me, why should sane American Citizens agree to move on further with this peculiar strategy of inaction?

dbs-
The Stimulus shaved about 3 points off the drop in growth, and added hundreds of billions to demand already. If you understand the economics of the Government’s revenues, growth and recovery are better for a deficit than recession and a deepening of the crisis.

Folks underestimated how much of an MF’er this recession was going to be. That’s why we’re at a higher unemployment rate.

Your side has no reason to be smug at this point. The arguments had been made that the stimulus needed to be larger, for the reason I outlined above. A big chunk of our deficit was made by no program, but instead by the shear severity in the drops of revenues.

As far as unemployment goes, it’s getting under control. Under Bush, it was accelerating relentlessly. Under Obama, it’s slowing down. Obama’s admitting and openly saying that merely slowing down job losses and creating a recovery is not enough, and they’re thinking of going along with the jobs tax credit, or something like that.

As far as the rest? You know, it should occur to you that everybody’s in trouble right now, and that the Democrats, at least, look like they’re doing something. They’ll talk about taking measures to intervene, rather than yelling and complaining from the sidelines, but offering no alternative.

Royal Flush-
My thinking is that it’s one thing to think abstractly about what’s good, it’s another thing entirely to create or encourage policy to that effect that actually works, or works without serious side effects.

The Republicans have become so strongly invested in their principles and ideals, and in their rather exclusive vision of the world, that they’ve become weak about dealing with the real world. They insist on trying to bend the rest of the world to their will, but some things just simply don’t work like they want to. This isn’t merely bad for the rest of us, but bad for them.

If they want to do the most objective good, if they want people thinking that the words “I’m from the Republican Party, and I’m here to help.” aren’t a sign to run for the hills, then they’ve got to devote themselves to doing objective good for the rest of the country, and they shouldn’t rule out cooperation with liberals and Democrats to achieve it.

A political party cannot survive on political dogma alone. Politics in the abstract is thin gruel for those seeking long term power. There must be something real that the country can thank them for. Simply keeping the Democrats and Liberals from doing anything doesn’t earn them anything if all they’re creating is a vacuum of policy in a time where we need to get our act together.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 23, 2009 2:55 PM
Comment #289649

Stephen:

This is all a side issue. Here is the main event.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/10/23/for_obama_the_fall_below_50_looms__98829.html

Obama is getting pretty nervous and is starting to make some huge mistakes. Taking on Foxnews is a big one. The left is starting to get angrier and lashing out as the polls drop.

As long as you lash out at Republicans and Foxnews I expect this trend to continue. When you start racking up victories that make life better for average Americans the polls will change.

You have the power. Use it to change people’s lives and the polls will reward you. Health Care is way down the list of priorities for average americans. The economy is by far number one.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 23, 2009 3:36 PM
Comment #289650

>And, as soon as the economy shows a couple quarters of meager growth, the consumers are going to be socked with a huge round of inflation to bring those deficits down and reward the culprits with more profits.
Thank you very much, Republicans and Democrats alike.
Posted by: jlw at October 23, 2009 02:50 PM

jlw,

Doesn’t fostering an inflationary market act at varience to business. Perhaps I did not understand what I think you said…I understand that some folks make money (profit) during inflation, but have always understood that to be a rare thing, not something so profitable it should be a business goal. ????? Help me here, I’m kinda lost.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2009 3:43 PM
Comment #289651

>Health Care is way down the list of priorities for average americans. The economy is by far number one.
Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 23, 2009 03:36 PM

Craig,

I still don’t understand how you expect the economy to recover without bringing health care under control. When I was growing up, horses pulling wagons through town were a common sight. Those horses had blinders attached to their bridal harness in order that they not be spooked by autos and other movements in their peripherals. I’m assuming that modern day Republicans have had similar attachments applied?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2009 3:50 PM
Comment #289652

Marysdude:

I still don’t understand how you expect the economy to recover without bringing health care under control. When I was growing up, horses pulling wagons through town were a common sight. Those horses had blinders attached to their bridal harness in order that they not be spooked by autos and other movements in their peripherals. I’m assuming that modern day Republicans have had similar attachments applied?

Thank you for your response. The answer to your question is long term verses short term. If a horse is lame, you don’t add weight on it, you let it heal. Once it is well, then if you want to add more weight, that’s your call but of course the heavier the weight the slower the pace.

I agree with you that long term healthcare costs will kill the horses if not brought under control. Congress is about to add a trillion of additonal weight now.

Basically I think the answer to your question is short term verses long term.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 23, 2009 3:55 PM
Comment #289653

KAP your evasive response did nothing to convince me that Stephen’s party “is doing a pretty good job of screwing things up themselves so I wouldn’t be so quick to blame some other party for the shape of this country.”

Although the dems had the majority in Congress the last 2 years of the Bush administration what new laws did they pass in that time that screwed things up? If you will recall the repubs were the obstructionist party to the point that nothing got done in those two years.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 23, 2009 4:51 PM
Comment #289654

Mr. Daugherty writes about; “doing objective good for the rest of the country…”

What a liberal would describe as “objective good” may not be the same as that of a conservative and therein lies the difference.

I consider wasteful spending, huge deficits, growing entitlement programs, government takeover of private business and much more of the liberal platform as evil…not good, whether practiced by dems or repubs.

One can compromise occasionally, on non-consequential legislation, without forfeiting their principles or ideals. However on issues with clearly defined limits in our constitution there can be no compromise.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 23, 2009 4:54 PM
Comment #289657

J2T2
If you read farther into the post you would have read that I blamed both parties for the mess we are in, unlike some democrats who can’t admit to their own screwups and just blame the other guy.

Posted by: KAP at October 23, 2009 5:18 PM
Comment #289660

“This is all a side issue. Here is the main event.”

I have to disagree with you Craig. Stephen seems to be asking those on the right that supported the repubs at some time this past 8 years why it is they are not demanding from those they have elected to Congress to realize they have created a problem and will need to be involved in solving the problems created by their failed ideology. All we seem to get from most repubs is the more of the same.

“Obama is getting pretty nervous and is starting to make some huge mistakes. Taking on Foxnews is a big one. The left is starting to get angrier and lashing out as the polls drop.”

Once again Craig I have to disagree. Taking on the far right propaganda machine is long overdue. It is the incessant pressure caused by the likes of Fox (and others) that has created an atmosphere in Congress that has the repub leaders unable to do anything but look stupid when they do try to help solve a problem.
I also think the reason Obama is falling in the polls is because he has not went after a single payer health care system, which has disappointed many on the left. Further he has continued to insist on bipartisan legislation while many of us see the repubs in Congress as intentionally obstructing any legislation at all in order to gain political points with the extremist on the right. The polls aren’t dropping because those on the right that never did favor him are upset. Some that after the recent all repub government called themselves independent and lean to the right may be disappointed in his administration but isn’t that due in part to the constant misinformation many of us hear from the talk radio conservatives and well… from Fox news.

Perhaps with the recent actions of Rep. Alan Grayson and now to a smaller degree the white house, we are seeing the beginnings of a modern version of the end of the McCarthy/conservative era after WWII. Instead Murrow’s broadcast highlighting the inconsistencies, half truths and outright lies that started the downfall of McCarthy’s brand of conservative totalitarianism today we have the start of Obama highlighting the inconsistencies, half truths and outright lies of Fox News and the talk radio conservatives.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 23, 2009 5:28 PM
Comment #289663

Royal Flush-
The Republicans have a tendency to look off into the ideological future. They envision that their policies will do people good, but are willing to let a lot go haywire in the here and now in the meantime. And after twenty or thirty years of their policies being on the rise, the greatest successes and triumphs have come, in my opinion, as a result of technology improving the way we do business. The greatest failures have come because they expect people to play fair, particularly the rich with the middle class and poor.

There’s got to come a point where you take off the ideological glasses, and start examining things through other lenses of understanding. By itself, political perspectives can become rather stagnant ponds of uninformed opinion, where to borrow some Yeats’ line, the best lack conviction, and the worse are full of passionate intensity.

Moderation for me comes best not from some political muddling, but from a balanced, informed perspective that grounds itself not in political realities, but the realities of the day to day world itself.

Politics is a head game, and it’s very difficult in my view to get anything good done if you’re playing it only in your head. Positive results are a must, and they can’t merely be what your side sees as positive. The one fifth of America that still calls itself Republican might cheer and raise the rafters if Healthcare reform is defeated, but what do the rest of us think?

The Republicans need to start solving problems instead of apparently keeping them going, or they will be continued to be seen by everybody else as a problem themselves. And is that a positive position for a Political Party?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 23, 2009 5:45 PM
Comment #289665

hen will Republicans stop their blockade, allow simple majorities to pass legislation? You cannot stand there deriding a failure to score victories on behalf of the average American, and then cheer on the very political chicanery that places such a high threshold on the ability to pass that legislation.

As for where different problems are on a list of priorities?

First, the government employs enough people and legislators that it can focus on multiple problems on multiple levels.

Second, healthcare is a financial problem. It stands to become 20% of everything we spend. It stands to become a huge fiscal burden we cannot allow to manifest itself. It stands to become a burden on entrepreneurs, and the employees they hire.

And for what? So we don’t even get better healthcare in the bargain? There’s no good in a philosophically pure approach that doesn’t deliver on the promises of that school of thought.

As for taking on FOXNews being a mistake? I guess they’re saying that, and you’re repeating that. But who is he really ticking off that isn’t already royally ticked off to begin with, who wasn’t hiring reporters like John Stossel to go to Tea Parties, which they covered religiously.

Apparently, after years worth of coverage defamatory to Democrats and biased towards Republicans, they’re saying that when Obama doesn’t give them their entitled respect, he’s burning bridges.

Yeah, says the people with the torches in their hands.

You have things reversed. If you would accept or look through any other point of view than the insular POV of the Right Wing, you could understand this. But Republicans are locked tight in a parallel universe where the Nation’s future is under threat from what the Democrats are trying to do.

The reality is, it’s the Republicans who have done a collosal amount of damage, and everybody else is marvelling at the Republican’s ability to shift the blame and deflect the accountability elsewhere.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 23, 2009 5:55 PM
Comment #289667

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “Second, healthcare is a financial problem. It stands to become 20% of everything we spend. It stands to become a huge fiscal burden we cannot allow to manifest itself. It stands to become a burden on entrepreneurs, and the employees they hire.”

That makes me laugh out loud. Government is “THE” financial problem.

It is disturbing that some believe that spending a trillion or so is saving money. Only a liberal could put that lie together and believe it.

The dems haven’t changed since the days of FDR. That horrible little man did more to destroy our Republic than anyone I can think of. I believe Mr. Obama, given a little more time, could even outdo him.

One can never get a liberal to agree that the vision of our founders was centered on the rights and freedom of individuals without interference from government. The rights granted in our Constitution are “individual rights” and not the “collective rights” that FDR and all the liberals since him imagine.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 23, 2009 6:46 PM
Comment #289670

RF,

Do you recognize the following?

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union (union, not groups of individuals), provide for the common defense (common defense is defending all, not groups of individuals), promote the general welfare (general means for all, not just groups of individuals), and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity (ourselves and our posterity, is again all of us not just an individual)…


First the Constitution to regulate the state (all citizens), then the amendments to protect the individual against abuses by the state.

The Constitution covers a lot of territory, but its main function was then and always has been to FORM A UNION, and to join the population of nations in the world. First and foremost to FORM A UNION. That is truly what our Constitution was about. Our founders realized that any government unharnessed might begin to infringe on individuals, so they added the amendments, but please remember that their priority was to FORM A UNION.

The Constitution in its original form condoned if not encouraged the ownership of slaves,but the same Constitution has been flexible enough that today, a descendant of one of those slaves is the First Lady of the land. Even for INDIVIDUALS the Constitution is flexible. It is not the Bible wherein no one may challenge it. Please quit trying to club people over the head with one of our most important founding documents…it was written for ALL of us.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 23, 2009 7:41 PM
Comment #289673

Royal Flush,
Note the first words of the Constitution:
“We the people…” Marysdude quotes the preamble at length. Note the repeated use of the third person plural, and nouns referring to the “people”:
“We.” “People.” “Ourselves.” “Our.” “Common.”“General.”

Continue reading the body of the Constitution, and the first ten amendments, also known as The Bill of Rights. There is such a thing as a philosophy promoting the primacy of the individual. It is not the philosophy presented in the Constituion.

Here is the 9th Amendment:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Note the last word of the amendment. Rights belong to “the people,” not to “individuals.”

Again, note the last word of the 10th Amendment:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

“The people.” The phrase occurs again and again, from the first words of the preamble, and again and again throughout the document.

Posted by: phx8 at October 23, 2009 10:04 PM
Comment #289674

“FDR. That horrible little man did more to destroy our Republic than anyone “

Note the ad hominem nature of the attack on a person 65 years beyond defending himself. Hmm, message not messenger. Your message is stupid, based on nothing, as evidenced by your lack of any specific complaint.

On the opposite side, “Can anyone help me understand what this means?” It’s Dermot McCarthy talking to QE1.

Posted by: ohrealy at October 23, 2009 10:06 PM
Comment #289675

Phx8 & Marysdude

“the people” really doesn’t have much meaning. Did you stand up and support all the policies of “the people” when they elected mostly Republicans and a Republican president back in 2004?

We are working through the political process that manifests the “will of the people”. The Dems have predominance. If they cannot do the “will of the people” or if they misinterpret it, there will be another election in 2010. It was cute that the liberals really thought things would change big.

It never ends. One political season follows another. The season of Obama is turning faster than anybody thought. We are learning that he is not the man we thought he was. Unfortunately, we are getting exactly the Nancy Pelsoi and Harry Reid we thought.

Posted by: Christine at October 24, 2009 12:28 AM
Comment #289678

Chrisine,
“The people” and a democratic majority are not necessarily synonomous. As a term, “The people” represents all of the people, not just the will of 51%. Rights reside in the people as a whole, not just among the majority in power.

You write: “It was cute that the liberals really thought things would change big.”

Cynics are often right, but they are never rewarded for being correct. Optimists have the occasional pleasure of being rewarded for being positive, and believing in something.

It would not surprise me if the Obama administration is one spent in mopping up after the disasters of the conservative Bush administration; for example, if job creation instantaneously returned to the pace of the Clinton administration, replacing all of the jobs lost since December 2007 would take until 2017! The years of conservatism did that much harm.

As for whether the Democrats will prove to be totally feckless, well, the jury is still out. Obama remains extremely popular. While his overall approval rating is between 55% - 57%, when broken down regionally it is sky high in the northeast, and very high in the west and midwest. Only in the south is it low- very low. I will let you draw your own conclusions about this phenomenon.

Posted by: phx8 at October 24, 2009 1:59 AM
Comment #289679

I suspect, but have not researched it, that the South is where corruptors like Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Coulter, et al find their most receptive audiences…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 24, 2009 5:31 AM
Comment #289682

I like when liberals throw out the term “WE THE PEOPLE”. Liberals sure didn’t use the term this past August during the town hall meetings when WE THE PEOPLE were speaking out, or when a majority votes against a liberal agenda. As I wrote Dems are quick to blame the other guy when things don’t go their way or start with the name calling as in the town hall meetings this past Aug. As I said BOTH PARTIES created this mess, it’s time for DEMOCRATS to take a share in the blame instead of passing it off.

Posted by: KAP at October 24, 2009 7:43 AM
Comment #289685

phx8

There are no group rights. “The people” is a general definition. If you and I and everyone who writes are components of the people. Tell me how to protect all of our rights by collective actions and I will acknowledge them. The rights enumerated in the bill of rights apply to individuals. You and I as individuals have a right to free speech. If “the people” have such a right but we don’t, that is tyranny of the worst sort.

Our form of government works because it is based on the principle of majority rule and protection of individual rights. If all the people of the U.S. vote to kill me w/o due process of law, it is still illegal and I can hold my individual right above the group rights of 300 million people. Similarly, we cannot all decide to deprive anyone of his/her other individual constitutional rights. That is precisely what the Constitution guarantees.

It is predictable that the party in the majority emphasizes the will of the majority, while the party in the minority stands up for rights. It is good that we have both.

Re the politics of the majority – politics is how we determine what the people want. It is imperfect, but we cannot lapse into some mystical idea of “the people” w/o referring to politics. That is precisely what dictators do. Hitler said that he represented the “volk,” the people, and it didn’t matter what elections might show.

Re economics – this is another interesting turn around. A few years back, liberals argued that the economic downturn that started in March of 2000 and manifest itself in 2001 was all Bush’s doing. They didn’t seem to take into account the carry over and trends from previous years and also (wrongly) asserted that almost everything that happened in the economy was due to the president’s economic management. Now we hear that president Obama’s policies may take years to have an effect. In other words, until good things start to happen, it is Bush’s fault.

I have not changed my understanding of economics based on politics. The early downturn in the Bush administration resulted from natural economic swings (mostly) and the policies of the Clinton Administration. The current downturn started in the late Bush times (with a Democratically controlled congress, BTW). Obama is actually luckier in the timing.

If you look at the broad swings in the economy, it is hard to tell the difference between administrations. The only thing you notice is that DEBT spiked up under Obama.

IMO – the wasteful and panicky spending of the Obama administration will cause a weaker recovery.

Re Obama’s popularity – he is now in the range of most presidents at this time in office. All indications are that Obama is going to be an average president. His decisions so far have not been impressive.

Posted by: Christine at October 24, 2009 9:59 AM
Comment #289686

“The season of Obama is turning faster than anybody thought. We are learning that he is not the man we thought he was.”

You are right Christine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l-JbSF_mLo

Well maybe not all the far right extremist have learned that he is not the man we thought he was.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/09/mccain-palin-rally-attend_n_133240.html

Really Christine do you actually believe that those on the left thought he would solve all this countries problems, brought on by years of applied conservatism, in such a short time?

Posted by: j2t2 at October 24, 2009 10:03 AM
Comment #289687

“Though we may say with confidence, that the worst of the American constitutions is better than the best which ever existed before in any other country, and that they are wonderfully perfect for a first essay, yet every human essay must have defects. It will remain, therefore, to those now coming on the stage of public affairs, to perfect what has been so well begun by those going off it.” —Thomas Jefferson to T. M. Randolph, Jr., 1787. ME 6:165

Lets face it guys even the founding fathers knew it wasn’t perfect, but an excellent start.

“We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” —Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816. ME 15:41

Posted by: j2t2 at October 24, 2009 10:16 AM
Comment #289688

KAP,

I can tell one thing from your entry about Town Hall Meetings…you did not attend even one of them. Take your nose out of the Fox News reports and attend one next time…while there keep your mouth shut and watch what the others are doing. It may be that you will change your mind about what has been going on out there.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 24, 2009 10:26 AM
Comment #289689

>Re Obama’s popularity – he is now in the range of most presidents at this time in office. All indications are that Obama is going to be an average president. His decisions so far have not been impressive.
Posted by: Christine at October 24, 2009 09:59 AM

Christine,

His decisions have been impressive to those in the world who can help make a positive difference down the road. It seems the only ones who are not impressed are those who would not be impressed even if he did walk on water…they’d call that a Democratic political ploy…and Rush/Glenn would say he was just a Socialist who was afraid of getting wet…then they’d blame it on Clinton and say Cheney/Bush did it first.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 24, 2009 10:37 AM
Comment #289690

Marysdude & Phx8

Re the South - I am not a southerner, but I recently spent a week in Alabama and traveled through Georgia. This is not my first or only visit. I have been to every American state except Alaska and Hawaii. On average, my observation is that the people of the South are the most friendly in America. I really dislike the tired old images.

I understand that liberals dislike the way many southerners vote and cannot believe any person of intelligence and goodwill could disagree with the liberal line. But this frequent attack on a whole region of the U.S. is a type of bigotry.

If you disagree with people, argue the points. Don’t demonize the opposition.

Many of us worry about the fantastic increase of debt and the expansion of government under Obama, Pelosi and Reid. The argument that is it necessary because of past Republican sins doesn’t mitigate the fact that we are spending more now in absolute terms than any other time in our history and approaching WWII levels in relative terms.

Meanwhile, jobs are being lost to a greater level than Obama promised and there has already been monumental fraud in many of the programs, such as the first time home program and contractors.

You guys trust Obama and the congress to take care of all of this behind closed and locked doors. I am less trusting of politicians. It is not because Obama is black, Pelosi is from California or Reid is white man.

Posted by: Christine at October 24, 2009 10:46 AM
Comment #289692

Marysdude

Which decisions are most impressive? What results have you seen?

Posted by: Christine at October 24, 2009 10:47 AM
Comment #289693

Marysdude

Sorry for the quick postings, but I have to share an old joke.

The press didn’t like Ronald Reagan and cut him a lot less slack than Obama gets in a very similar economic situation (unemployment was higher back then and Reagan “inherited” a deeper recession). This is the joke.

Ronald Reagan walks on water across the Potomac. The headline in the New York Times the next day:
“Reagan can’t swim.”

Posted by: Christine at October 24, 2009 10:51 AM
Comment #289694

“Meanwhile, jobs are being lost to a greater level than Obama promised and there has already been monumental fraud in many of the programs, such as the first time home program and contractors.”

Fraud by whom Christine? Has the government defrauded the individual homeowners or has the individual homeowners cheated on their taxes by claiming to be first time homeowners? Why would we lay the blame for those that cheat on the government program? Contractors cheating the government or government cheating the contractors? Exactly what do you mean when you say monumental fraud? 90%, 10% ?

Posted by: j2t2 at October 24, 2009 10:53 AM
Comment #289695

Christine,

First things first…I AM from the South, and ‘friendly’ hides a bunch of negatives, one of which is an unwillingness to see out of the funnel.

Second…Ronald was not called the Teflon Ron for nothing.

Third…one of the many things he’s decided to do is join the world of nations instead of alienating them…his decision to pursue his grand scheme instead of shuffling off to Crawford for a bit of axe wielding, and many more. It is actually hard for me to see how he could have possibly accomplished much more than he has in this short a time.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 24, 2009 11:02 AM
Comment #289696

Phx8

People and special interests have defrauded the government. We are hearing about multiple loans made to kids and dead people. When you pump so much cash in so fast, w/o reading bills btw, people go into a feeding frenzy.

“The rich” also benefit a lot from government cash. Think Goldman-Sacks. It is a symbiotic relationship. The government gives big bucks and then is shocked and outraged when people - predictably - grab it.

Marysdude - I thought you were from Texas.

Anyway - Obama’s decision to engage the world has resulted in … The Europeans are helping about as much in Afghanistan. The Russians are still not helpful. Hugo Chavez is as much an asshole.

The Obama policy seems to be based on the idea that we can all love each other if we just talk. I got news for him. Some world leaders actually want different things. Some of the things they want are NOT things we want or that we want to give them.

There is not really a misunderstanding between us and Hugo, Vlad, Mahmoud or Muammar. They want to diminish the U.S. We are not in favor of that.

Luckily, Obama’s REAL policy has been pretty much the same as the 2nd Bush term. His talk has been enough to impress some Norwegians, but actions have not followed. That seems to be the Obama pattern. He is the perfect Hollywood president.

Re the South - I don’t know what they are hiding deep in their hearts. All I know is that people are friendly, open and cooperative. Frankly, I don’t care what they “really” think. That is not my (or your) business. We can only judge people by what they DO.

Posted by: Christine at October 24, 2009 11:45 AM
Comment #289697

Dude
Typical liberal BS, no I didn’t go to one because my congressman is a chicken s—t liberal democrat who didn’t want to answer to the people he represents although I did e mail him what I thought. As far as keeping my mouth shut, I DON’T THINK SO, if I don’t like what I see or hear out of this government I WILL RUN MY MOUTH ALL THE WAY TO THE WHITEHOUSE IF NECESSARY. Liberals like you have still got a long way to go before you can shut5 me up.

Posted by: KAP at October 24, 2009 12:27 PM
Comment #289702

Shut you up? No one wants to shut you up. I mentioned keeping your mouth shut so you could hear the nonsense the right is putting out at these things. Obviously what I said fell on deaf ears…hmmm…just like at the townhall meetings. Go figure…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 24, 2009 4:33 PM
Comment #289706

Dude
People want answers and they ain’t getting them from your side. What happened to the transparancy BHO was supposed to have? What happened to posting bills on the internet? Is your side affraid to let the public see what they are trying to pass in congress? Why the closed doors?
Right or left I don’t care I don’t go for a leadership who wants to ram bills through unread. Even your own party is divided. It’s a sad state of affairs in DC. Democrats and Republicans both have screwed up and created a mess that my Greatgrand children aren’t even going to be able to clear up.

Posted by: KAP at October 24, 2009 4:58 PM
Comment #289707

The legacy of the horrible little man…FDR…

a federal government that has become a massive, unaccountable conglomerate. It is the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider and pension guarantor.

A writer above apparently believes that the “WE THE PEOPLE” referred to in our founding documents doesn’t confer individual rights but rather, collective rights. And, in this interpretation, has no problem stating that our constitution calls for socialism.

To refute this infantile understanding let me simply refer to The fourth amendment which reads;

“The right of THE PEOPLE to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects…”

And, just the few first words of the fifth amendment which reads;

“No PERSON shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime….”

It would be absurd to think of these rights as being collective rather than individual.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 24, 2009 5:22 PM
Comment #289708

Royal

I agree re individual rights.

I cannot think of ANY group rights that would not stem from the individuals involved nor would I want any.

Rights by definition protect the individual FROM the oppression of the larger group. The majority doesn’t need to protect its rights. It makes the rules.

I am really disappointed with many liberals. They appear willing to dismiss expressions by people they don’t like and some even support making enemies lists of the most popular cable news network (i.e. Fox).

I would ask both liberals and conservatives to practice the simple test of substitution. Change the names.

“Bush says that because of Rathergate, CBS is not a legitimate news network and he advises others not to follow their stories.” If you think this is okay, then at least you are consistent supporting Obama’s anti-Fox Jihad.

Posted by: Christine at October 24, 2009 5:51 PM
Comment #289711

KAP & Christine,
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were revolutionary documents. They reflected movements by the people against monarchies & aristocracies. These documents were products of their times. The ensuing decades brought about The French Revolution, the European revolutionary fervor of 1830, manning the barricades in Paris and waving red flags in 1848 (as well as in Germany and elsewhere), utopian communes in the US, socialism, communism, and Karl Marx-
NOT Ayn Rand and libertarianism.

The Constitution and Bill of Rights mean what they say. They refer to “the people” again and again. In the Bill of Rights, they refer to the rights of individuals for specific instances of property ownership and housing of armies in private residences.

Unhappy with the Constitution? Want it to reflect your own personal philosophy? I suggest you write your Congressman.

On another note…
Fox is not a news station. It is a 24 hour propaganda outlet for the GOP. I’m not even talking about people like O’Reilly and Beck and Hannity. I’m referring to the so-called news portion. If Fox wants to pursue the same journalistic standards pursued by other news networks (and let’s be clear, we’re talking about the news segments, not the pundits), then Fox will have cause for complaint. Until then, there is simply no reason for anyone to provide Fox access to anything.

There are many specific examples of Fox news crossing the line into advocacy. Fox is welcome to do so. No one is preventing them. However, no one owes them any cooperation, either.

Posted by: phx8 at October 24, 2009 9:36 PM
Comment #289713

phx8

It seems that your interpretation of the constitution is much out of line with others. In fact, I don’t recall ANY serious analysis that indicates that the rights in the bill of rights are collective, not individual rights. Do you have any? The Supreme Court disagrees with you. That is the law of our land. If you don’t like it, I suggest you write your congressman. Of course even if congress wants to change it, they cannot do it w/o the due process of the law. Sticky thing, the rule of law.

BTW - the Constitution does not reflect MY philosophy, but as a good American I have grown up with the Constitution and it has BECOME part of my philosophy.

To paraphrase what Lincoln said about God, I don’t know if the Consitution is on my side, but I hope that I am on the Constitution’s side.

The problem with what happened after the American Revolution was precisely that it went down the path of collective tyranny. That is why the French revolution went from a beautiful idea to a nightmare. That is why the communist collectivism killed tens of millions.

The collectivist interpretation of “the people” is just … wrong. A majority of Americans may well have voted against almost any minority rights. I really cannot believe that you are advocating it. I will assume that I have misinterpreted your intent and hope you don’t dig yourself in any deeper.

Re Fox – I watch Fox News Sunday as well as the other Sunday morning programs. It is a good program. So it Special Report. But it doesn’t matter. It is not Obama’s right to judge news organizations. He has no right to use the power of the presidency against them. That is a type of tyranny. Of course, he doesn’t have to talk to Fox. But attempts to freeze Fox out have hit the wall of journalist ethics. As you probably have heard, other networks have refused to cooperate with the Administration power grab. Good for them.

Obama will lose this one and will back down. Fox is delighted with the attacks. It is getting them ratings. Obama is already starting the climb down, so you might not want to get too far ahead of fearless leader, since when you look back he won’t be there. That is the way he operates.

I don’t have anything against Obama, BTW, and I support him as my president. I see him in realistic terms. I suspect that a year from now, I will like Obama better than you do, since my opinion will remain realistically similar, while liberals will be disappointed. There is nothing worse than a lover scorned.

Posted by: Christine at October 24, 2009 11:28 PM
Comment #289715

Royal Flush:

It is the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider and pension guarantor.

Many of these things were true well before FDR. In fact some of these things were true 200 years ago.

Posted by: Warped Reality at October 25, 2009 12:03 AM
Comment #289716

Christine,
I don’t particularly care if the words of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are intepreted differently by others. The words are right there on the page and their meaning is clear.

The authors of the Constitution were radicals by the standards of their day. They were revolutionaries. Having said that, they were like anyone else, in that “the people” they so frequently mentioned and claimed to represent were limited to white, propertied men; “the people” did not include women, blacks, or indigenous human beings.

Again, look at the preamble of the Constitution. Read the words:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

While the concept of collectivism was probably foreign to the authors of the Constitution, the establishment of rights for all citizens of a country- “the people”- is a step in that direction.

Note this preamble is not an enumeration of individual rights or a declaration of freedom for individuals from a new American government; in fact, no mention of the establishment of individual rights occurs until the 4th and 5th amendments in the Bill of Rights.

Did communist collectivism kill millions? Did the French Revolution create a nightmare? Really? Let’s put that in context. As I recall, the preceding monarchies of France & Russia were not exactly models of enlightenment; and the capitalist policies pursued by colonialists & imperialists killed far more than communism, particularly when it came to the robbery and extermination of indigenous peoples.

That is a pretty typical focus for a conservative, by the way, citing the injustices of the French Revolution as a reason to condemn movements by the poor, by “the people”, while ignoring the even greater injustices inflicted by the then existing ruling structures of the moneyed intersts and the aristocracies. The history of humanity really is the history of class struggle. We shake our heads at the thought of thousands of innocent aristocrats carted away to the guillotine; but it never enters our heads to consider the conditions of the French slums and countryside in 1789, the large scale crop failures and mass starvation of the poor.

Check your talking points. Fox News has seen a slight decline in ratings, not an increase. There is nothing tyrannical about calling Fox News out for being GOP propagandists rather than journalists. Fox refused to televise a presidential address to a rare joint session of Congress. That is Fox’s right. Fox has been caught promoting political events, namely tea parties, and repeatedly reporting inaccurately on the numbers of people attending such events. Fox News has repeatedly shown pictures of corrupt Republicans and placed a (D) under the picture- not just once, but repeatedly. There are many many examples, and while Fox has the right to advance a political agenda, and Fox has the right to free speech, they do not have the right to pretend that the rest of us have to accept them as a news organization. Fox News is political advocacy masquerading as news, and it should be treated as such.

“There is nothing worse than a lover scorned.”

Better to have loved, and lost…

Posted by: phx8 at October 25, 2009 12:57 AM
Comment #289718

phx8,

Isn’t the election commission responsible for assuring that individuals, groups and PACs are following the guidelines for donations to those running for office and POLITICAL PARTYs? I wonder if all the money Fox spends for the Republicans is a violation…hmmm…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 25, 2009 4:04 AM
Comment #289724

As the far right continues to dwell on the past I start to wonder why. Then I see that Newt has written a new book about our founding fathers, George Washington this time and realize that it is better for the conservatives and repubs to focus our collective attention upon the past and the heroes that created our constitution and country than it is to focus our attention upon the current group of conservatives and repubs that have done so much to destroy our country.

Whether the rights declared in our constitution were originally collective or individual is not important at this juncture of our nations history is it? After all these rights now include all of us collectively whilst protecting us individually.
The important thing to remember is that through out the course of our nations history the constitution has been amended to include all of us collectively and individually, thereby improving upon the original constitution that did not include people of color and didn’t give all of us the right to vote. Our founding fathers knew their work was imperfect and would need to be altered by future generations.
Conservatives use this ruse that the constitution was written in stone, never to be altered because they have the need to hide behind this ruse for political gain today. We need to remember that conservatives consistently blame all others for what they are doing themselves.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 25, 2009 10:26 AM
Comment #289725

Phx8

So you want YOUR interpretation to be THE interpretation. Excuse me if I am not impressed and do not feel constrained to act upon this.

The framers of the Constitution were indeed revolutionary, although if you go to James Madison’s house you will not really think you are in the presence of a radical “man of the people.” BUT radical in those day meant that you stood up for the rights of individuals over the collective rights of groups. Group rights are embedded in feudalism. The kings, despots and potentates didn’t recognize individual rights. Our revolutionary framers wanted to overthrow this ancient and oppressive system and they did.

There was a reaction against freedom. Marxist revolutions were retrograde in that they returned to the old idea of group rights. Related philosophies such as fascism and corporatism similarly slipped back. I think your problem is that you have a linear view of historical progress. Just because something comes sequent to something else doesn’t mean that it has evolved from it or that it is better.
And let me say a word about revolutions and history in general.

It is not an either or proposition. The choice need not be between the Czar and the commissar or the king and the terror. In the case of both the French and the Russian revolutions, the initial phase was moderate. But they were subverted into tyranny by organized minorities and evil geniuses such as Robespierre and Lenin. There is no such thing as destiny. This did not HAVE to happen. That is the tragedy. The people of Russia and France paid in blood for generations.

Revolution may be necessary in some cases, but it is always dangerous. Most fail to achieve goals of making things better. The American Revolution was one of the few successful revolutions. We were very lucky to have a group of revolutionaries who were also practical and in to a great extent self denying. Washington stepped down. That was extraordinary. Even Adams refused to use war hysteria to ensure his election in 1800. Jefferson accepted Federalist office holders and allowed his government to be limited by the decisions of a court led by his political adversary John Marshall. This was a truly extraordinary period. The Russians, French, Chinese and most others failed the test because it is hard.

So I don’t think you have much of an argument, historically, legally or morally. But we disagree and I don’t suppose you will see it this way.

But there is a trump card that I will play – reality. The Constitution and defenders of INDIVIDUAL rights are strong enough to sweep aside the whole idea of collective rights. We have been doing that for more than 200 years and staving off some of the worst excesses and pretty much avoiding revolutionary socialism in the U.S. and defeating it abroad. Someday, maybe freedom may falter, but not today. I can still defend my freedom … and yours, from collective tyranny. You don’t have to thank me.

Marysdude and Phx8

Bring it on. Let the election commission investigate Fox. It is the pattern for leftists to make accusations they cannot sustain. Obama is mostly mad because Fox spanked Acorn and probably put that crooked organization out of business for all practical purposes, but even he fears to defend them. We win this one, boys. Freedom wins this one.

Posted by: Christine at October 25, 2009 10:26 AM
Comment #289729

“The kings, despots and potentates didn’t recognize individual rights. Our revolutionary framers wanted to overthrow this ancient and oppressive system and they did.”

Christine, the only rights that this group of kings, despots and potentates recognized was their own individual rights and not the collectively rights of all people. Many kings would have you believe that their right to rule was a god given right for them alone, an individual right if you will, and not a collective right of the people for self rule.

I always thought the Marxist were for only 1 group of people and not all individuals collectively. The same as Capitalist are for only 1 small group of people and not all individuals collectively , which makes both of them no different than the kings, despots and potentates you mentioned.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 25, 2009 11:02 AM
Comment #289730

j2t2

Not true. The whole history of the early modern period is one of kings trying, unsuccessfully, to assert their absolute rights over those of other collectives.

Societies were organized according to guilds, classes etc. Your rights were dependent on your group affiliations. Merchants had different rights from peasants. Societies were very complex and high context.

I agree that Marxism just dictatorship in practice. But all the revolutionary socialist systems, including communism, straight fascism and Nazism, exult the rights of groups (economic, racial or national) above those of individuals.

Capitalism is a problem, since there is not comprehensive theory of what it SHOULD be. Much of what we think of as capitalist theory was developed by its enemies the Marxists.

What we have in America is a free market system. That doesn’t mean that ONLY free enterprise is needed. Government has special roles to play in setting priorities and regulating markets. It is just that when government manages too much, it ruins things. The word freedom applies. Government is by its nature coercive. If we allow freedom to opt in or out, government will not be managing most markets most of the time.

The biggest danger to freedom are these fuzzy ideas of collective rights, where individuals cannot opt out of the collective.

The analogy for government is the head of a household. A strong man who can provide for his family or abuse them … or both. He says he speaks for everyone in the house, for the collective. Does he?

Posted by: Christine at October 25, 2009 11:37 AM
Comment #289733

” Group rights are embedded in feudalism” Absolutely, corporatism (group rights) is a remnant of feudalism, and must be rooted out.

“some of these things were true 200 years ago.”

No, The Bank of the United States wasn’t set up on Wall Street to sell bonds to pay debts, and Andrew Jackson never complained about indebtdeness to foreigners, and most of the economic activity in our country wasn’t foreign owned until WW1, because we’re writing a revisionist soap opera, and historical details that don’t fit into our current complaints are irrelevant.

Posted by: ohrealy at October 25, 2009 12:01 PM
Comment #289735

I have enjoyed the discussion above regarding our founders intentions concerning Individual or Collective Rights. Thanks to all for their contributions.

The American Founders recognized that the moment the government is authorized to start leveling the material possessions of the rich in order to have an equal distribution of goods, the government thereafter has the power to deprive any of the people of their equal rights to enjoy their lives, liberties, and property.

At that point, the “WE THE PEOPLE” (if rights are collective) decide who has rights in things. Any power given to government to take from one to give to another automatically cancels out the principle of guaranteed equal rights.

When the Communists seized power in Hungary, the peasants were delighted with the “justice” of having the large farms confiscated from their owners and given to the peasants. Later, the Communists leaders seized three-fourths of the peasant land and took it back to set up government communal farms. Now, the peasants howled in protest about their “property rights”.

Those who howled too loudly not only lost their land but their liberty and if they continued…lost their lives.

Many writers on these blogs have advocated taking from the rich and giving to those who have less. Unfortunately, they fail to understand where this leads. At some point, they will loose what they have as well. Be very careful about coveting another’s property lest you loose your own property, life and liberty.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 25, 2009 12:32 PM
Comment #289736

Christine,

“Bring it on!” Wow, you sound just like Cheney/Bush…take the chip off your shoulder and get a grip. While I seriously doubt Fox having a News Branch, because the News Givers sound way too much like their pet Shouters, I wasn’t being serious about the PAC business…hmmm…but, if you took it that serious, perhaps there is a grain…nah…???

Posted by: Marysdude at October 25, 2009 12:39 PM
Comment #289738

RF,

I’ve stayed out of this one partially because I have been busy but also there are some involved in the discussion I’ve decided aren’t worth the effort in discussion anymore…

BUT, don’t let any of them make you think they are talking about what the constitution means when they offer up arguments that are exactly counter to the words of the founding fathers themselves.

I have seen comments regarding what the meaning behind certain phrases of the constitution ‘means’. And none of those people have gone and actually looked up what the writers of those words said that they meant when they were written, they are just reading what they want to in the words and then trying to convince others that their ‘interpretation’ is the correct one. I posit that the WRITERS of the words are the best authority to what those words mean, and in that regard, the ‘collectivists’ are not on solid ground at all.

Liberty and Freedom are specific ideals that have specific meanings, not to be re-interpreted to mean other things in order to try to further opposing agendas. You can’t have Freedom or Liberty when the government is putting a gun to your head and telling you how to spend your time or your ‘money’, which is just a representation of your time, of your life, of your worth on your own body…

Anything else is slavery, which is what, in the end, the ‘collectivists’ are offering.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 25, 2009 12:44 PM
Comment #289739

Rhinehold wrote; “I’ve stayed out of this one partially because I have been busy but also there are some involved in the discussion I’ve decided aren’t worth the effort in discussion anymore…”

Rhinehold, I am pleased you took time to write a little on this issue. And, I believe it is necessary and worthwhile to help those who have become corrupted with false notions about our founders intentions for the Republic they established.

I just finished reading, again, Thomas Paine’s “COMMON SENSE”. One of my favorite quotes from this writing is;

“Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.

Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerable follows, that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.”

Anticipating that some readers of the quote by Paine may read security to mean something other than security of individual rights; I suggest they give it a thorough read before ascribing some other intention to his words.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 25, 2009 1:13 PM
Comment #289745

There are a lot of intersting comments, but I will address just one for now:

“The Constitution and defenders of INDIVIDUAL rights are strong enough to sweep aside the whole idea of collective rights. We have been doing that for more than 200 years and staving off some of the worst excesses and pretty much avoiding revolutionary socialism in the U.S. and defeating it abroad.”

The success of the revolution of Americans against the British monarchy and the survival of the US government was mostly a matter of geography, not the superiority of the underlying philosophy.

In France, the French Revolution gave rise to Napoleon. Once again, we are trained to view ensuing events as a reflection of Napoleon’s charismatic hold over the French people and his superb generalship. We are trained to ignore the fundmentally revolutionary message that motivated the French troops:

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

Liberty, equality, and brotherhood gave the French troops a fervor and motivation which none of their opponents ever matched. The success of Napoleon could be attributed to this fervor as much as his personal abilities. It took the combined monarchies Europe to defeat him at The Battle of Nations in Leipzig, and again at Waterloo. The forces of counter-revolution won for the time being…

The US faced no counter-revolutionary forces due to geography. The French willingly sold the Louisiana territory, and later Spain sold Florida. The War of 1812 was about as close as the American experiment came to failure, when British burned the capitol and forced the president to hotfoot it out of DC. There was simply no competitor to deny the American conquest of indigenous peoples. or to prevent the US from taking territory away from the Mexicans by force. Quite simply, we stole more, faster, than almost any empire in history, and we benefited a great deal from it. Ideas like freedom, liberty, brotherhood, and so on had little to do with the success of the American experiment. In its history, in terms of class struggle, America found a target rich environment for exploitation like no other country ever experienced.

The true success of the country, and what we can really be proud of, are the instances when revolutionary forces overthrew the status quo in the name of “the people,” movements such as The Civil Rights movement and Women’s Suffarage. It is worth noting the conservative & anti-revolutionary forces opposed these movements at every opportunity.

Posted by: phx8 at October 25, 2009 2:47 PM
Comment #289747

Phx8

It took the combined allied armies also to defeat Hitler, who rolled through more of Europe even faster than Napoleon. Surely you do not equate goodness with martial prowess. But the French Revolution had failed before Napoleon anyway. They even have a word for the dictatorial high jacking of a revolution that the Marxist (ironically) use – Bonapartism.

I think America is a great place, at least compared to everyplace else. I understand that it is not perfect, but I have never seen a place more perfect and the attempts at perfection lead to massive deaths.

Your examples of women’s suffrage and civil rights, they were all about the rights of individuals. The problem was that a black man would not be treated the same way as a white man just because of his race.

Beyond that, these “revolutions” were accomplished using and adapting the existing rules of law. I know you like to give your own meaning to established word meanings, but we would more accurately call these evolutionary changes and that is usually the way good things happen. Violent revolutions usually produce little good except cool music and interesting stories.

We were indeed blessed by geography. But our revolution is one of the few that didn’t go too far. It was moderate and that is why it worked. If the French had stopped with the Tennis Court Oath, we would have got more freedom in less time with less bloodshed. If the Bolsheviks had been unable to seize power from the provisional government, we also likely would not have had seventy years of dirty tyranny. Unfortunately, once you release the demons, it is hard to control them. Notice demon and demos have similar roots.

Posted by: Christine at October 25, 2009 3:11 PM
Comment #289749

>I’ve stayed out of this one partially because I have been busy but also there are some involved in the discussion I’ve decided aren’t worth the effort in discussion anymore…
Posted by: Rhinehold at October 25, 2009 12:44 PM

Wow! I’ve used almost the exact same words here a couple of times in the past…go figure…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 25, 2009 3:49 PM
Comment #289750

Royal Flush,

Have you read Paine’s Agrarian Justice?

Posted by: Warped Reality at October 25, 2009 3:59 PM
Comment #289751

“there are some involved in the discussion “

There are very few people involved in any discussion here, but it’s pretty annoying when people keep changing their names to disassociate themselves from their own prior comments.

“what the writers of those words said that they meant when they were written”

They meant to keep the franchise in the hands of people who were once called “forty shilling freeholders”, or people owning at least 4 acres of land, and meant to exclude tenants, laborers, and such riff-raff, varying somewhat from one state to another, except as necessary to recruit them for the national defense in time of war.

200 years later, we have the result that a rich Australian, or any wealthy foreign person for that matter, can come here and claim that free speech gives them the right to use the public’s airwaves to promote a political viewpoint which promotes the aristocracy of wealth from which they benefit.

The people only have the right to work for them, as long as they don’t attempt to organize themselves, or to owe money to them, and the government must be organized to protect the accumulation of that wealth to the exclusion of all else, and must repay any losses caused by the vicissitudes of the marketplace, from the public treasury, even to the extent of borrowing it from foreign countries.

Posted by: ohrealy at October 25, 2009 4:20 PM
Comment #289753
but it’s pretty annoying when people keep changing their names to disassociate themselves from their own prior comments.

Ohrealy, if you know that this is occuring, let the managing editor know as it is against the rules of participation here.

When leaving a comment, a valid email address for yourself is required.

One handle or name to be used for comments. Using multiple names is not permitted. If you wish to permanently change the name you use on WatchBlog, please email the manager with the request to do so.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 25, 2009 5:19 PM
Comment #289767

i keep hearing how nervous the democrats are. mcconnel, and faux news, the same evil commentators. and as far as this dem is concerned we are not. actually, almost feel like running, skipping, and clicking my heels.

you see, you can spew your faux opinion, it doesn’t change the fact we are on our way to helping millions of americans w/no health care. where did the repubs stand? firmly against this plan. it will pass - lives will improve and repubs will be on the sideline again on the outside.

you have other repubs saying “he’s like a kid w/their parents credit card”. that is a veiled attempt to call the president young, fiscally irresponsible, and uninformed about the “real world”. well the real world is watching. they know that there was a huge debt, 2 wars, unemployment, financial crisis BEFORE president obama.

the same old talking points are growing old. much like the repub party. you are like a bunch of old white people wandering around muttering “death panels”. your talking points are weak. sure, you did stoke fear (which i am sure you are proud of) in the elderly this summer. yelling at every town hall meeting, picketing with guns, marching in washington. then, repubs just really started to look and sound crazy. palin standing behind the death panel stance. old woman yelling at barney frank calling him a “nazi”. picketing the children of a school, rather than the school board. crazy.

i agree w/stephen. you need to come clean. you need to separate yourselves from bush and his baggage. admit that you let that leader screw america. admit that his financial “plans” were wrong, that your party left obama this mess to clean up. have some courage. you are not a party of courage, you are a party of crazy. so, you have proven you can rile the crazy, big deal. you can scare the elderly, big deal. that changes nothing. that improves nothing.

talk is cheap. we have heard why you oppose the dems, now what are you doing to improve this nation? nothing. just your leader mcconnell saying the credit card thing for the 4th week in a row.

the way i describe the repubs: old, white, crippled, orange, insane, and loud. and they are against young, black, healthy, smart, thoughtful, and actually planning real change in america.

i have warned the repubs for a very long time in this site - you will go the way of the federalist. you are in big danger of being extinct. i am warning, the gop elephant is on the endangered species list. now, pick up a mop and help clean up.

Posted by: bluebuss at October 26, 2009 11:00 AM
Comment #289772

bluebuss wrote; “we are on our way to helping millions of americans w/no health care. where did the repubs stand? firmly against this plan. it will pass - lives will improve and repubs will be on the sideline again on the outside.”

The Senate Finance Committee bill includes a broad provision taxing all manner of medical devices. This tax includes such frivolous luxuries as pacemakers, stents, artificial heart valves, defibrillators, automated wheelchairs, mechanized artificial limbs, replacement hips and knees, surgical gurneys, laparoscopic equipment and the like.

I wonder if bluebuss could help me understand how this will “improve lives”?

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 26, 2009 12:34 PM
Comment #289775

Royal,

There are several proposals out there, can we wait to see which one comes out of the House and the one from the Senate before we get worked up? And, then see if the Joint Committee (why do I always envision a group of middle aged hippies, smoking dope and ..well, never mind?) can make some adjustments before sending a good bill to the President. I know you don’t like the IDEA of health care reform, but sniping before the bill has been cleaned up seems a little like overkill.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 26, 2009 1:27 PM
Comment #289776

KAP-

Liberals sure didn’t use the term this past August during the town hall meetings when WE THE PEOPLE were speaking out, or when a majority votes against a liberal agenda.

Hypocrisy. Blatant, unmitigated hpocrisy. They were speaking out, yes. They were speaking out loudly, shouting down those who didn’t agree with them, who were trying to have their say. And W the People? Some of them. But not even a large minority.

Yes, they had the right to speak out. But their comments do little to earn their views respect. First, they did not respect other folk’s right to speak. Second, they didn’t come up with these talking points all by themselves. They had significant help and organizational aid from groups that claimed grassroots origins, but were really begun by Washington Special Interest groups, and thinktanks organized by billionaire energy magnates.

They provide no constructive alternative. At a rally where a significant gathering of Tea Partisans were, I shouted out a question to them as they they said “Just say no!”

“What’s your yes?”
Or, to put it another way, what was their alternative policy, their alternative solution to the problem of healthcare costs and quality?

Simple, loud rejectionism that seems to only serve a badly dysfunctional status quo, does not deserve respect or praise in my book. I would respect what these people say considerably more if they had a workable compromise to substitute, if they were willing to deal with the problem.

Instead, the points seems to be changing the momentum of the political game, trying to regain the power of the majority, without dealing with any of the problems that lost these people their power in the first place.

The Democrats deserve some blame for the policies, but who was glorying in the credit for the deregulation that produced the problem. Who was unashamedly, unapologetically supporting these policies, and who, does it seem, would still want to continue or even enhance the strength of that policy?

My critiques, going back some time, are not merely about where the Republicans have been, but where they seem to be going. And the Republicans seem more intent on vindicating themselves and their policies, rather than admitting something went seriously wrong because of them.

Democrats, on the other hand, at least recognize that the policies they once voted for (if they did in the first place.) were part and parcel of what went wrong, and that change was necessary.

Nothing is more symbolic of the dynamics of the situation than the fact that Obama was talking about the problems and dealing with them, while his rival in the campaign, John McCain, claimed the fundamentals of the economy were sound, right up to the point that economy collapsed.

Nothing is more symbolic of the deficiency of this leadership and the lengths Congressional Republicans went to rationalize what was happening that they refused to do the bailout, a move that prefigured the fall of the stock market, and the worsening of the Bank’s problems. This after candidate McCain supposedly suspended his campaign to help the Senate deal with the problem.

The die-hard right-wingers are ticked off that they’re not getting their way. In the space of the last three years, they’ve gone from having the White House and both Chambers of Congress, to having neither. They’ve gone from daydreaming about a permanent majority, to worrying about a permanent minority. Desperation, humiliation, and paranoia about the other side are never a good mix.

Christine-
The right to assembly, by definition, is a group right. It is also an individual right. The right of free speech, free religion, and free press, are also all individual, as well as collective rights.

We the People is both you and I together, and you and I apart. Together, we can start a church, assemble peaceably, sign a petition together, run a newspaper or a blog together. Apart, we can attend the churches of our choice, the meetings of our choice, run a blog by ourselves, afix our name to a petition as an act of individual protest.

I believe the will of the people is a very tricky thing to nail down, and nothing to every be complacent about. We ignore undercurrents and overtones at our own peril in politics.

As for the early downturn in the economy during the Bush Administration? You forget the engineered energy crisis, the widespread corporate fraud and misbehavior. The questions about excessive or inappropriate corporate compensation, I recall, came up after Enron, and all that BS. We decided to kick that can down the road, along with the questions concerning the way hedge funds and financial operations were working. After all, according to the party in power, it was best to let the market make the correction. Several years later, of course, we’re back in a pickle, and its a worse one than we left. And that, could have been prevented.

All that is going to be Bush’s responsibility, whether or not Obama takes action. Obama need to do something wise, something smart, but if he fails to so something, that failure will be his; you cannot transfer Bush’s responsiblity, given all the decisions he in fact made, to Obama. The responsibility for those decisions are his.

We have to acknowledge a certail level of causal sequence, of people doing certain things, and those things having consequences, and the line of responsibility following that sequence, rather than simply being a matter of when the outcome finally turns sour.

The debt spike you talk about is a good example. Only about ten percent is all Obama, of which his Stimulus is seven percent. The rest is either the recession, by about a third, the Bush Administration’s policies, by another third, and about twenty percent worth of Obama-continued Bush policies.

If we want to be fair, we should match those who advocated for policy, those who pushed and authorized policies. Thus, Clinton bears some responsibility for the repeal of Glass Steagall, as does his treasury secretary. But so does the Republican majority which obviously wanted it, and the Democrats in the minority who also voted for it.

Republicans ran record-breaking deficits for years during the Bush Administration, and criticized people for pointing it out. Then, suddenly, having been defeated, and relieved of actual responsibility for the spending and budgeting and taxation, they start making out like it’s all Obama and the Democrat’s fault now. I can’t tell you how deeply annoying and highly hypocritical I find that turn about.

IMO – the wasteful and panicky spending of the Obama administration will cause a weaker recovery.

What’s your basis for this conclusion? Estimates already are that the funds bought us three percentage points of growth, or easing of recession. As for panic?

I recmember how Bush and others tended to respond to problems. Our economy was heading downward fast when Obama was elected, and when he took office, and signed off on the Stimulus. Claims of waste seemed to be claims either based on erroneous readings of the policies, outright fabrications, or some belief that if it isn’t something the Right Wing considers important, then it’s waste. Science and Tecnology grants, or replacing cars and retrofitting buildings with green technology, were among the things considered wasteful.

In two or three years time, we’ll be able to tell the difference between the path we took, and that we didn’t take.

The question you should ask yourself is why you already consider Obama to be average to middling, though he is three quarters of the way through his first year.

Royal Flush-
Like I said with the other guy, collective vs. individual arguments with this kind of thing are fairly useless. Many of our rights encompass freedoms that can be exercised both collectively, and as individuals

I would think that your attitude towards socialism is what leads you to reject collective aspects to our jointly held rights. It’s this same kind of ideological bias that leads some religious conservatives to ignore Christ’s commands to show mercy, charity and kindness to others, as they oppose laws and positions that would aid in this.

We must be careful not to reason with labels and a laundry list of forbidden policies and positions.

As for the Government? It’s want we want it to be, so long as we put our mind and our will to work on it. The question, the catch, if you will, is whether the government we intend manifests itself as the government we create. In politics today, the art of correction of such policy has been set aside in favor of rhetorical exploitation and campaign position consistency.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 26, 2009 1:29 PM
Comment #289777
Or, to put it another way, what was their alternative policy, their alternative solution to the problem of healthcare costs and quality?

This is the best ‘argument’ that people like Stephen like to put out there, you have no plan! (nevermind that they borrowed it from the Republicans circa 2004, but hey).

They do this while forgetting (conveniently) what happened when Whole Foods CEO John Mackey presented an alternative plan (one that I had been supporting for over a decade now). A company that was seen as a great example of how to treat employees and provide alternative foods to people was seen immediately as ‘the enemy’ was was (and still is) boycotted for their troubles.

That’s what they get for daring offer up alternative plans… I wonder why more people don’t do that?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 26, 2009 2:03 PM
Comment #289778

Rhinehold-
I do not envision the government as something separate from me, something alien to me. The people who serve in it are my equals, fellow citizens, accountable to me as elected officials. They can’t tell me, or others like me, how this money will be spent, unless others like me or myself tell them they have that authority. And if what they do displeases us, we can dispose of their incumbency, and that will be that.

This individualism vs. collectivism argument is meaningless, in real terms. People can speak together, or speak for themselves. They can march with others, or alongside them for their own sake. They can function as they wish, and people are free to think in terms of whatever interests they care to, collective, or individual.

I wish people were smart enough, and had enough time to learn everything and anything they would need to know to be able to manage all decisions for themselves. but in the real world, even the smartest people nowadays knows but a sliver of all human knowledge, and is trained to deal with only so many situations. Additionally, there are some institutions and infrastructures that have little real justification, apart from collective need. We could all take the time to do our own water treatment, to do our own sewage treatment, to do our own health and fire inspections of the places we frequent and the places we go. We could decide the traffic laws for ourselves, according to our needs, and so on and so forth.

Except we can’t do all that and still have time to learn and do what we’re supposed to do.

We can make grand pronouncements about this system being slavery, or we could realize that this is the kind of system we need for people to be free to take their own path, seek their own glory, at least in part. Only when that water comes out of the faucet pure, can we worry about our kid’s grades rather than their chances of being poisoned or infected by something in the water. Only when we can move freely and efficiently in traffic, can all of us get around to do what we’re really supposed to do.

Only when our stockbroker makes and is obligated to make decisions in our best interest can we sit back and only occasionally have to look over our shoulders. Only by a system which, by collective behavior and order allows a kind of benign neglect of other parts of the system on most people’s part, can we all get around to doing what we want to do, rather than be forced to each take on a generalist’s role, taking care of every decision pertinent to our feeding, our drinking water, our waste, our homes and so on and so forth.

And yes, there is a tension between having freedom and this kind of delegated separation and responsibility.

Hence, Democratic Republicanism. We offload some of the complex decisions of government off ourselves, but we reserve the right to change the nature of that delegation, the who, the what, and the why.

That’s the tension. Now people have tried something of what you suggest, and they’ve rejected that, together, and as individuals, as is their right. That is the shape of our liberty, and the shape of our freedom.

Folks want investment and credit to flow. But as a market, how many people are going to be willing to buy in, or able, if the system doesn’t have rules that prevent people from getting chewed up as marks in a con game? So, to optimize our commercial freedoms, to make it actually work, between all of us, not all of which are conversant in the arts and sciences of equities, derivatives, and bonds, we have to have rules that keep the knowledgeable and powerful from taking advantage of others who have given them their trust in order to maximize their profits at their expense.

People want food and drugs to be safe. Since we can’t necessarily see what’s on our food or in our drugs, since most of us don’t understand pharmocology or biochemistry, we have to delegate that, or endure a system where we eat and medicate ourselves at our own risks.

So on, so forth. Liberalism for me is not about some preference for collectivism, it’s about the recognition that we must act together, sometimes, in order to serve our common interests. We can’t go it alone, or tell each other we’re on our own, and expect all positive outcomes to just develop from thin air.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 26, 2009 2:09 PM
Comment #289779

http://wholeboycott.com/ is an awesome resource to see the mindset I speak of… Great gems like:

John Mackey used his powerful platform as CEO of Whole Foods to negatively influence the healthcare debate with insurance industry propaganda and to push his far right wing ideology.

His ‘far right wing’ ideology is Libertarianism. Which is far closer to Liberalism than what conservatives offer…

Whole Foods pays low wages and offers inadequate healthcare coverage to its employees.

This is especially hilarious. The company has one of the highest employee satisfactions, they allow the employees to vote on the offerings that they are going to have, not just take what the company decides they are. The company also pays 90% of all healthcare costs, something very rare in this time frame.

John Mackey claims healthcare is not a right and stands against the public option and universal, single-payer health care.

Apparently, there are some litmus tests that the left have… not surprising.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 26, 2009 2:17 PM
Comment #289780

Rhinehold-
Until there is serious anti-trust reform of the insurance industry, I don’t think opening up state lines is going to do much good. I believe in competition, but I believe in sustained competition, where the incentives are not to take over those doing better than you and create a bigger, less customer-friendly conglomerate out of it, but rather to keep costs down and quality up so that your customer doesn’t go to the other store.

They tried deregulation on energy prices here. Did things improve? No. Why? Because the market wasn’t set up to penalize inefficiency or overcharging. People cycle generators off and on, overload powerlines, fail to keep the power at its most efficient phase and loads.

It is the character of the market that makes competition work as a means of filtering out the bad and keeping the good.

As for litmus tests?

Good heavens, man. You as a libertarian should know what you have every right as a CEO to express your opinion, and your customers have every right to react negatively to that, if they so choose. He’s running a business, not a blog, and there are consequences to ticking off the DFHs that eat your granola and grok your organics.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 26, 2009 2:27 PM
Comment #289782

Stephen,

I never said they didn’t have the right, but I have the right to point out their partisan mindset and use that example to point out further that there ARE alternatives out there. Disagree with them, fine. But suggesting that no one is providing alternatives is not factual and remember, while everyone may be entitled to their own opinion, they are not entitled to their own facts. Something that many on the left AND right are very forgetful of.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 26, 2009 2:41 PM
Comment #289783

Marysdude admonishes me by writing; “sniping before the bill has been cleaned up seems a little like overkill.”

The senate version of health care reform calls for tax increases on medical devices which I enumerated above. I guess I am guilty of “pre-sniping” here and, why wouldn’t I wish to snipe? Post-sniping presumes that I and millions of other American’s will have the time to read, digest and snipe in leisure rather than in haste.

I wonder what marysdude’s feelings are towards these tax increases on medical devises mostly used by our senior citizens. Favorable or unfavorable?

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 26, 2009 3:03 PM
Comment #289784

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “Additionally, there are some institutions and infrastructures that have little real justification, apart from collective need. We could all take the time to do our own water treatment, to do our own sewage treatment, to do our own health and fire inspections of the places we frequent and the places we go. We could decide the traffic laws for ourselves, according to our needs, and so on and so forth.”

It is obvious Mr. Daugherty is confused over “individual rights” versus societal activity; and between “rights” and “needs”. Societies with individuals having rights bestowed upon them, not by government, but by God; as our founders believed, band together to accomplish works that can not be accomplished alone. These are “needs” not rights.

This cooperation of members of a society to accomplish a common goal has no relationship or bearing on individual rights. Collective rights, if such a thing even exists, stops at the border of individual rights. If this were not true, we could safely believe that individual rights would disappear.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 26, 2009 3:26 PM
Comment #289785

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “It is the character of the market that makes competition work as a means of filtering out the bad and keeping the good.”

Amen to that, this is a true statement and one with which I agree wholeheartedly. Market…not government drives competition. Government regulation exists to keep the playing field level and not to decide who is rewarded or who is punished.

When government actively intrudes in the market by using taxpayer funds to keep some afloat and denying funds to let others fail it has gone to far. When government uses taxpayer funds to affect outcomes in business and commerce it has gone to far. When government cuts deals with doctors, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and others to purchase agreement with its policies it has gone to far. When government targets some as enemies and others as friends it has gone to far. None of these activities are the business of government.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 26, 2009 3:39 PM
Comment #289789

Rhinehold-
There are alternatives. But the Republicans in Congress aren’t offering them. They are offering only a barrier to anybody else dealing with the problem in a way they don’t like.

A majority is fifty percent, plus one person, on any committee, in any chamber of Congress. Republicans would need only eleven Democrats to cross over in the Senate. If they could get that, that’s a majority. It gets more complex when you add in the committees, but fifty percent plus one member gets you through those.

But do we see real legislation out there? No. The Republicans aren’t putting together robust, sensible alternatives. They’re playing parliamentary tricks to try and stall the Liberal agenda.

Royal Flush-

It is obvious Mr. Daugherty is confused over “individual rights” versus societal activity; and between “rights” and “needs”. Societies with individuals having rights bestowed upon them, not by government, but by God; as our founders believed, band together to accomplish works that can not be accomplished alone. These are “needs” not rights.

The “individualistic” argument, in certain respects is obvious, and must be. Certainly, unless people started fusing into single bodies ala some horror show creature, turning into a hive mind like Star Trek’s Borg Collective, or achieve some kind of wierd spiritual resonance that makes their minds one, then the law has to deal with people’s rights with them as individuals.

But if we define collective less strictly, and accept that some rights and some rules have effects on the broader scale that don’t necessarily show up on the smaller scale, then we can define collective rights according to those effects and those phenomena that are not possible from just an individual’s useage of those rights.

Corporations, for example, are collective entities, composed of many employees, entities that are persons in the eyes of the law, able to sue, be sued, make money, pay taxes on that money, and both obey and break laws. Can we not call the rights of a corporation collective rights? Can we not say that they exercise their right to free speech collectively, their right to due process collectively?

If a CEO embarked on a strategy that was damaging to profits, the shareholders, collectively, would have the right to remove that person, or at the very least veto that strategy.

Even you and I can exercise our rights collectively. if we join a political party, we practice our right to free assembly, a right that by implication must be collectively practiced. Any first Amendment right we have can be practiced with someone else, with the interests of the organization being emphasized over that of the individual.

When we practice a shareholder’s rights, who enforces those rights? The courts, the Justice Department, the SEC, among others. Would you prefer if shareholder’s rights were not enforced? Would this actually be a good idea?

I think this collective vs. individual rights argument is a clumsy rephrasing of the argument between capitalism and communism. What it misses is that there’s always been a balance of collective and individual rights in America, and the rest of civilization.

It’s what kind of collective rights which are defined that’s important.

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “It is the character of the market that makes competition work as a means of filtering out the bad and keeping the good.”

Amen to that, this is a true statement and one with which I agree wholeheartedly. Market…not government drives competition. Government regulation exists to keep the playing field level and not to decide who is rewarded or who is punished.

It is the character of the market, that is the nature of the market, that I am talking about. A free market with one or two companies taking up most market share doesn’t have real competition. A free market where most companies improve their profits by dishonest accounting, dangerously risky derivatives trading, and cheating customers doesn’t have the right kind of competition at work.

Government’s role is not to level the playing field. It’s to create the playing field in the first place, to make the rules on what are acceptable transactions, enforceable contracts, and to create the rules for incorporation, the offering of stocks and bonds, and other such rules.

Competition must be allowed, but it must be encouraged in such a way as to encourage truly economically beneficial behavior, rather than just a whole bunch of cheating, compulsive gambling thiefs and con artists. And yes, the rules sometimes cramp our style, but most of the time, good honest growth at a slower rate is better than feverish growth that depends on lies and deception to keep from turning into catastrophic loss.

As far as your last paragraph goes?

Look, if we didn’t bailout the banks, the economy would have cratered even worse. If we didn’t talk with the interested parties, wouldn’t that be an arrogant thing to do? And as far as enemies and friends go, You might want to tell the Republicans that having a functional government is more important that them getting their way. The Republican’s scorched earth tactics, and their willingness to watch America’s fortunes burn to further their own is what should be seen as reprehensible.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 26, 2009 5:41 PM
Comment #289791

S.D.
I didn’t need any organizatios or groups telling me congress was going to fast on health care reform. We cannot reform health care with a hastily put together bill, it takes time and thought and input from WE THE PEOPLE not what our representives in D.C. think we need. As I commented to Dude, people want answers that they are not getting from your party, why the closed doors? you democrats have something to hide? It seems that way. You might want to add your own party to the functional government statement seeing how neither party is acting in a functional manner these days.

Posted by: KAP at October 26, 2009 6:01 PM
Comment #289792

>The Republican’s scorched earth tactics, and their willingness to watch America’s fortunes burn to further their own is what should be seen as reprehensible.
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 26, 2009 05:41 PM

Hear Hear!

Posted by: Marysdude at October 26, 2009 6:08 PM
Comment #289794

THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT’S SCORCHED EARTH TACTICS, AND THEIR WILLINGNESS TO WATCH AMERICAN’S FORTUNES BURN TO FURTHER THEIR OWN IS WHAT SHOULD BE SEEN AS REPREHENSIBLE.
That’s the way it should read. You see I’m an equal opportunity basher.

Posted by: KAP at October 26, 2009 6:20 PM
Comment #289795

Mr. Daugherty wrote in his long answer to my post;

“Look, if we didn’t bailout the banks, the economy would have cratered even worse.”

It is the only part of his post that is worth addressing as the rest is worthless to me.

How does Mr. Daugherty know that without bailout’s of banks (and other private entities) that the economy would have been worse? Government rushed into bailouts with no measured plan and no reasonable expectation of the results. The attitude of government was to just throw money at a problem. That is thoughtless and usually doesn’t work very well. A class of high schoolers could have done as much.

Would we have been better off without government intervention? No one knows for certain, but I believe the answer is yes. Many of the companies that I hear the left complain about nearly every day were rescued from failure by government intervention. Many of the reason for the bailout would have been eliminated if left alone. The very vices denounced by Mr. Daugherty when he wrote;

“A free market where most companies improve their profits by dishonest accounting, dangerously risky derivatives trading, and cheating customers doesn’t have the right kind of competition at work.”

would have been eliminated. Now, since the government rescue it’s a return to business as usual. We’re just treading water until the next big scandal because the market wasn’t allowed to work. This “too big to fail” mentality is abhorrent to me. Is Government Motors now to big to fail? Is government banking now to big to fail? Will government health care become to big to fail? Such an attitude merely guarantees continuance of the very things that Mr. Daugherty claims he despises.

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “If we didn’t talk with the interested parties, wouldn’t that be an arrogant thing to do?”

I will assume that here he is talking about the administration bribing members of the medical industry to sign on to their idea of health care reform. Talking isn’t arrogant…bribery is. When government must bribe members of an industry to enact reform it is a most certain indication that the reform will fail.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 26, 2009 6:33 PM
Comment #289796

hear, hear, hear!

oh, and royal flush - just like a republican, find 1 thing and beat it to death. no suggestions, no improvements, just trash what the opposition brings. don’t forget to bring up the kid w/the parents credit card too. and, i believe that those items have been taxed for quite some time. nothing new.

Posted by: bluebuss at October 26, 2009 6:51 PM
Comment #289799

royal flush - if you are so certain the health reform will fail, why not let it? it is a democratic venture anyway right? we are as town hallers have pointed out the only ones who think reform is needed, so let us go on with our plans, and if it fails it is all on us. BUT, if it succeeds, then we enact a health reform voter registration drive. those who sign up for the changes, also sign up to vote. that way, if it fails, the ones it does fail get to vote the reformers out. BUT, if it improves american lives, those americans get to vote for the reformers. this is where we are at. it’s the bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, 2 outs, and our slugger, our beloved captain is at bat. you walk him, you lose the game, you pitch to him, he knocks it out of the park. your pitchers don’t have the stuff to strike this kid out. what are you going to do? really. what are you going to do? i think the beloved slugger knocks it out of the park. with your ace pitcher mcconnell standing on the mound head down and shoulders slumpped. once again, president obama will be mr. october. get on board or get out of the way.

Posted by: bluebuss at October 26, 2009 7:02 PM
Comment #289806

Excuse me! Wasn’t the house and senate controlled by the democrats during the Bush Administration? Who’s mess is this really? Sure the Republicans can grab a mop and help clean up but it would be a lot easier if the democrats would stop turning over the mop bucket.

Posted by: Jim at October 26, 2009 9:07 PM
Comment #289812

Stephen

I consider him average because he has done an average job so far. You are right that he is only a year into his job, but with such overwhelming support among the media and complete control of the Senate and House, which actually accomplishments (instead of talk and promises) are you so impressed with?

Re Bush’s and Obama’s first year – if the problems of Obama’s first year are the responsibility of the last administration, how can the problems of the Bush first year not be attributed to the same inertia and carry over? Stop thinking like a partisan for a minute and think logically about time on task. Economic policies take a little time to have effect. About this time in 2001 we were BEGINNING to see some of Bush policies take effect. Just as about this time we are beginning to see some Obama policies make some difference.

Our new president has shown a lack of leadership. He talks pretty but follows through little EXCEPT in politics. He doesn’t have time to go to Berlin for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and he cannot make it to Copenhagen for the Climate Talks, but he CAN go to Copenhagen to front for his Chicago friends and he CAN find time to take part in 26 partisan fund raisers (Bush only did 6 in his first year).
Now try to understand your biases. Just change the names in the above paragraph from Obama to Bush and vice versa. Had Bush done (or not done) what Obama did, how would you judge that?

Over and over again, all I ask you to do is do the simple fairness test. Over and over again, you just tell me how bad it used to be. Just do the substitution and tell me what you think of the people involved.

Let me do if for you. Bush in his first year does nearly five times as many partisan fund raising events as his predecessor. He avoids meeting world leaders at important anniversaries but has no trouble finding time for his pet projected that might help his friends. During his first year in office, unemployment spikes by a couple of percentage points ABOVE what he promised. Karl Rove picks a fight with a major media outlet. Bush refused to engage in his own major policy initiatives, instead leaving the planning to his party members in congress, while he makes vitriolic attacks on opponents.

If Bush had done these things, what would you say? If changing the name back to Obama changes your answer, you might be partisan.

Posted by: Christine at October 26, 2009 9:35 PM
Comment #289824

Wow!! Gallup came out with a great poll today. Twice as many Conservatives as Liberals in America!!

More Conservatives than moderates for the first time in years.

It appears Obama is remaking America by creating Conservatives!!!

It will get harder and harder to govern from the left as Americans shift to the right in response to liberal policies.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 26, 2009 11:56 PM
Comment #289825

Christine,

It has been a long time since a Democrat over here has defended the Clinton second term…with the exception of the impeachment imbecility. We know that NAFTA was not as well thought out as it should have been…we know the signing of GLB was foolish at best. We admit the economy may have been wavering when Cheney/Bush came to power, but we know the country was in a hell of a lot better shape when Cheney/Bush took over than when Obama took over. Please give that part of it a rest. Obama is not trying to fix the Clinton problem except to the degree that Cheney/Bush did not do so and then continued the decline for eight agonizing years.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 27, 2009 12:04 AM
Comment #289839

bush did all those things and more. we were attacked under his watch. lies lies lies.

as far as i am concerned, we made it past september 11th, with no attack, and that makes obama a far superior president already.

christine - we really see the bush administration differently. your no fault “leader” is a war criminal to me.

Posted by: bluebuss at October 27, 2009 10:19 AM
Comment #289846

Craig,

I have no idea whether the poll is correct, or even if you read it correctly. What I do know is that if conservatives are gaining converts, it’s likely the weak willed and scared populace (those who listen to scare TV folks like Hannity/Beck, and scare radio personalities like Rush) that are the gain. When all is said and done, your party will be made up of those who will take advantage of the weak, and the weak…whee! Good luck with that.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 27, 2009 11:25 AM
Comment #289855

the 2 million faux news followers are crazy and scared. now normally for halloween, that makes for pretty good mixture. but in the horrifying world of politics, it is not. the repubs will soon reap the rewards of the culture they have created. soon when one hears republican they will equal it to palin, king, buchmann, mr. orange, mr. really old, and mr. really-really old. not going to win the young vote that way. so, all your polls can say whatever. and you can basically find a poll to say anything (leading questions - aren’t you afraid of obama’s death panel?). anyone who happens to flip by cspan and watch the republicans at midnight talking acorn realizes these people are nuts. oh yeah good ol’ wholesome vitter of la. nothing like a married senator paying for a prostitute.

you know, maybe you shouldn’t worry about how your candidates look on tv. maybe you should find ppl w/substance. and ones not released from a looney bin.

Posted by: bluebuss at October 27, 2009 1:23 PM
Comment #289861

KAP-

I didn’t need any organizatios or groups telling me congress was going to fast on health care reform.

No, but that “We The People” you were talking about weren’t the spontaneous mass movement your folks made them out to be. It’s organized by special interests and economic elites.

As for going too fast? You know, we’ve spent over half this year debating this issue. We’re not going to let Republicans stall their way to the mid-terms just so they can complain we’ve done nothing. The Democratic Party is working for the American people right now, moving forward on actual plans. As for this:

THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT’S SCORCHED EARTH TACTICS, AND THEIR WILLINGNESS TO WATCH AMERICAN’S FORTUNES BURN TO FURTHER THEIR OWN IS WHAT SHOULD BE SEEN AS REPREHENSIBLE. That’s the way it should read. You see I’m an equal opportunity basher.

If you’re an equal opportunity basher, then you’re just being a superficial critic on the matter. Let me put this in a little context for you: when the Democrats set the previous record for filibuster threats, the two Congresses that tied on the matter were the 106th, and the 107th. They had fifty-eight apiece.

The 109th Congress, previous to this one, saw one hundred and twelve filibuster threats. Almost as much as both of those Congress’s put together. More than the two previous Congress’s combined, during the worst of the Bush Administration.

They are blocking just about every selection Obama makes. The Republicans went “nuclear” on just having five judges held up, yet they turn around, and block almost the total roster that the Obama administration is backing.

The Republicans have sold you a bill of goods, and the sad thing is that you’re still buying, whether you realize it or not. You’re still making excuses for them, however much you dislike them.

Royal Flush-

How does Mr. Daugherty know that without bailout’s of banks (and other private entities) that the economy would have been worse?

Because I read the news accounts, and am familiary with Depression Era history. A failure of the banking system was part of what made that economic calamity so damaging to the economy. We founded the FDIC, in fact, in order to successfully unwind the financial matters of dying banks so that people wouldn’t once again see their savings disappear, and folks wouldn’t run on the banks.

Fact is, we need credit to run the economy, especially now. We need folks getting the money to start new businesses, hire new workers. If just about all the capital in the country goes down a black hole, we have to recover from that.

Look, I’m thirty years old right now. Within my lifetime, I’ve seen the market fail in 1987, the junk-bond market collapse, the Savings and Loan Crisis, the Dot-Com bust, the Enron Debacle, the other Corporate financial scandals, and so on and so forth until last year, with the Housing Market collapse and the subsequent shockwaves through the financial sector.

You folks assume folks aren’t going to cheat in the market, or that they’ll be punished before they become a problem. But people are smart and people are deceptive, so we don’t exactly get told right away when somebody’s screwing us over, raiding their company, or whatever else, so we can react rationally and appropriately.

Deception and tomfoolery of this kind is a chronic feature of the system. The main question is, how much of this dishonesty and cheating do we tolerate and look the other way on? Do we have a culture that encourages or discourages people from that kind of behavior?

What I am hearing from my sources is that the Democrats are looking into reforms that would force financial institutions, like the ones that are too big to fail, to come up with plans for what happens when they do fail, so the company can be unwound without triggering a great depression.

The question is, do the Republicans either have the sense to let this reform by, or the smarts to come up with a workable alternative that’s not simply another industry gimmee?

If not, then this is simply more nihilistic obstructionism, more politics for its own sake.

Jim-
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. Look it up, it’s called a fallacy. Just because the economy collapses during the 109th Congress doesn’t mean the actions of the 109th congress, particularly the Democratic majority are responsible.

The causes of this include legislation and actions by Executive branches that go back at least a decade or two. Our economy did not just suddenly get to this pickle just within the first two years of the Democratic Majority.

But wait, wasn’t Enron blamed on the Republicans? Well, here’s where you can prove the argument anyways. The false argument is that the Enron debacle is the Republican’s fault simply because they were there. If we, however, instead focus on rule changes concerning energy trading, derivatives, energy deregulation, among others, though, then we find the smoking guns, the real reasons to make the argument that Republicans policies are responsible, wrong, and needed to be changed.

Christine-
Don’t play this game. You’ll only lose. The people feeding you these talking points are saying whatever’s expedient at the moment, and it’s not going to do you a lot of good.

You said Obama’s doing immense damage to our diplomacy. Yet this is the guy who just got the Nobel Peace Prize, and managed to get everybody on board against Iran. He’s also working things over in Afghanistan, trying desperately to bring a positive resolution out of that, while avoiding sticking us in another fruitless quagmire.

Compare him to Bush, by all means, Bush who alienated the top European powers, who, having called three countries the Axis of evil, failed pretty much to stop them from doing whatever they wanted. Compare him to Bush, who essentially demolished our standing in the middle east and everywhere else.

Compare him to Bush, who openly opposed the Kyoto treaty.

Go ahead, call Obama lazy. But wait long enough for people to forget that you folks were floating the notion that he was trying to do too much, rushing things through.

Go ahead, criticize the lack of Obama follow through. But make sure people have first forgotten that Obama is the President, who can’t pass legislation, only execute it, and then take your criticism to your Republican friends in the Senate, who are consistently running party line head counts to prevent any kind of forward progress on the legislative front, who are filibustering and putting holds on almost Obama’s entire slate of appointments.

I remember, Christine, the summer of 2002. I remember Bush’s consistent, daily pushing of the Republicans on the campaign trail. I remember the way Rove and the others played their politics.

Because I remember, I do not lose any sleep over what Obama’s done. I don’t have to purposefully narrow the scope of my attention and my recall in order to make the claims your sources are making.

It just bugs the **** out of me to hear this stuff, to see this attempt to turn around criticism of the Bush Administration onto Obama. We had substantive reasons to make these points. Bush had earned his low regard. This is Republicans trying to artificially inflate opposition to Obama by claiming hypocrisy on our partys, by claiming equivalence between Bush and Obama.

But when we said to them what they implicitly acknowledge now by using these kinds of tactics of comparison, they flatly rejected it.

The Republicans are engaging in a free-floating style of politics, unmoored by the obligations of substance, but also made weak and ephemeral by that lack of grounding.

Find some other line of argument. Comparing Obama to Bush is a losing game for Republicans.

Craig Holmes-
Obama’s at 57%. Your party’s at 20%, in terms of ID, lowest since 1983.

The problem gets worse if you look into the details on your survey. Your party is overwhelmingly conservative, whereas independents and Democrats are substantially weighted towards the moderates. And what is producing this? Mostly a lack of results on the policy front, a fear of the unknown stoked by a cynical Republican party that’s done little else this year.

The Republicans can’t let up. They can’t relax or relent. Yet even as more people identify as conservatives, less people identify as Republicans. You talk about a center right country, but why is the Republican Party losing in a center right country?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 27, 2009 2:45 PM
Comment #289873

Stephen
I wish one time that you admit your Democratic party is just as bad as Republicans. You bash one when yours is just as bad. You have no unity within your party, you have liberal, moderate and conservative all rolled into one group. All the Republicans are waiting for is your party to screw things up on their own Then there is only one party to blame YOUR DEMOCRATS.

Posted by: KAP at October 27, 2009 4:26 PM
Comment #289878

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “We founded the FDIC, in fact, in order to successfully unwind the financial matters of dying banks so that people wouldn’t once again see their savings disappear, and folks wouldn’t run on the banks.”

Yes, that’s true. And, when banks failed they were taken over by the FDIC until a private buyer could be found. FDIC is funded by the banks themselves and not the taxpayer directly. Big difference between FDIC and government bailouts of billions.

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “Yet even as more people identify as conservatives, less people identify as Republicans. You talk about a center right country, but why is the Republican Party losing in a center right country?”

Wow…what an admission. I admire your honesty. Not surprising that the R’s are not gaining…the party is not conservative. It’s the philosophy that counts for me…not the party label. I switched from D to R to I in that order. Perhaps it surprises you that I was a demo at one time. But, at one time the Democrat party was moderate leaning conservative.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 27, 2009 4:46 PM
Comment #289880

>But, at one time the Democrat party was moderate leaning conservative.
Posted by: Royal Flush at October 27, 2009 04:46 PM

Royal Flush,

Are you talking about HST’s Democratic party as he integrated the Armed Forces, the JFK Democrats that spent a gazillion dollars getting us to an unpopulated moon…or the LBJ Democrats who opened up America to black people, created welfare and started work on Medicare? When did you say you belonged to the Democratic Party?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 27, 2009 5:03 PM
Comment #289884

Well Marysdude, at my advanced age I can’t rely on my memory but I think LBJ was the turning point.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 27, 2009 5:29 PM
Comment #289895

Stephen

There is none so blind as he who will not see. When Obama does something it is admirable. When Bush did something similar, it is odious, according to you.

You remember Bush playing politics. He did six fundraisers in his first year. Obama has done 26 - so far.

You remember Bush taking vacations. Obama has taken more time.

You remember Bush spending too much. Obama has tripled it.

The idea that Democrats - especially you - have been selling is that what Obama does is just good. This is selling less and less well with independents and fair minded people in general.

As for the Republicans being less popular than any time since 1983, remember what happened in 1984? Politics shift.

Posted by: Christine at October 27, 2009 7:49 PM
Comment #289925

Royal Flush-
The FDIC is still a federally administered program TAKING OVER banks, effectively NATIONALIZING THEM, that doesn’t allow the free market’s natural consequences, that is the flight of capital from the banks and the loss of money of those who chose the wrong bank to deposit their savings in.

And why? Because letting full failures of this kind occur is worse and more costly than intervening.

We just lost a significant chunk of our GDP to this financial crisis. That has secondary effects that will punish people who did no wrong, who ran their businesses right, so on and so forth.

I think Bush’s failure to create a stimulus package and failure to expedite the bailouts, and his reckless willingness early on to let things unfold without considering the consequences magnified the costs of dealing with it now. Early, strong, robust intervention by people not afraid to use government’s power to cut these things short would have saved time and money.

But Republicans, unfortunately, think that their responsbility is more to the moral character of folks in this country than to the actual welfare of folks overall. The lesson you want people to learn is lost in the desperation of trying to make ends meet and survive the disaster your folks inflicted on everybody.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2009 9:09 AM
Comment #289935

Christine-
None so blind, eh? :-)

I wish Obama would be tougher on business, more willing to knock heads and screw over those trying to screw him. I wish he would recognize that bipartisanship in spirit is worthless without bipartisanship in fact. Which is to say, I wish he would recognize that Republicans aren’t genuinely interested in compromise, and that it should be up to them to come to us, not us to them.

As far as fundraisers go? I seem to recall Bush relentlessly campaigning for Republicans in the 2002 elections. Every day that summer, I would see him on the trail, making that same darn stump speech.

Obama’s a party builder as well, so I don’t know why anybody should be surprised that he’s an active fundraiser.

But what pissed me off about the way Bush played politics wasn’t his fundraising. It was his willingness to let bad policy and bad results get worse in an effort to try and slip past the consequences of his actions. It was the willingness to let the tail of the regulated wag the dog of the regulator, with disastrous results for most Americans.

As for Vacation time? Bush spent about a year of his administration, over its course, at his ranch, cutting brush. Obama, by contrast, has taken much less time off, much less frequently. We’re talking objective measures here.

What’s ironic to me about such charges is that just a little while ago, Republicans were complaining that he was trying to do too much at once. And of course, there’s the constant complaint that Obama’s moving too fast on things like Healthcare and the Stimulus. I mean, he allowed the healthcare debate to drag on extensively over the summer, for the sake of the possibility of getting a few Republicans on board, and at the expense of letting that townhall tumult take place, but hey, he’s moving too fast.

As far as Obama goes on the spending, first we must realize that a little under forty percent of the deficit is a result of reduced revenues, which are in turn a result of the economic downturn. That couldn’t have been avoided by introducing nothing new. Bush’s spending accounts for about a third of the total deficit. Programs and wars Obama continued from Bush constitute about twenty percent, and the remaining ten percent is Stimulus and new spending.

Much of what Obama continued were the bailout plans and the wars. I doubt Republicans would not have spent for the wars, they have a particular blindness to defense spending. Obama, on the other hand, has included the costs of the war in the budget, one reason why it seems to have grown so fast: your government stopped treating it as if it were just a separate matter. Obama also budgeted two hundred billion for disaster relief, while Bush did something like that, and pretended it wasn’t being done.

Obama’s spending more, but a large part of that is short term emergency spending to get the economy back on track.

You say, oh, don’t do it then. It’s a legacy and a cost our children will have to bear. But it doesn’t break down so simply. If the economy well and truly tanks, entitlement spending goes up, revenues go down, economic growth is undermined. The balance that is having to be struck here is not between doing nothing, and leaving a better legacy, and doing something, and leaving a worse. It’s more three way: on one hand, you can spend excessively, and despite the short term burst saddle yourself with long term deficits and liabilities, on the other, you can fail to intervene properly, and leave the kids the same kind of deficits and liabilities.

Or, you can properly balance emergency spending and fiscal responsibility, helping to reduce the burdens of fiscal irresponsibility and economic downturns.

What bugs the hell out of me is people thinking that it’s somehow clever and relevant to bring up something Democrats charged Bush with, and throw that charge at Obama now that he’s in charge. The trouble is, as imperfect as Obama’s numbers and circumstances are now, Bush is objectively worse on most fronts.

More to the point, there’s quite a bit of hypocrisy and irony in using Bush’s foul reputation as a President as fulcrum for the sake of leverage against the new President. If all the people doing that had acknowledge that things were going that poorly and they were being that irresponsible at the time, Republicans might have been able to bring pressure on their people to do better.

But instead, we get this reflexive fallback on Republican leadership, despite how much its failed, and how little they’ve changed their policies from the failures that lost them their offices in the first place.

Despite the recent bad numbers for Democrats, I think the stage is hardly set for a Republican comeback, at least a lasting one. Republicans will waste no time in reminding people why they kicked them out in the first place. Only now, they’ll be using the mess they created as a bludgeon against their enemies, as they blame people for simply being in the same place and time as something bad happening.

We’ve had our share of disappointments with Obama. It’s not that people aren’t somewhat disillusioned with Obama. But when they look at the Republicans, the Republicans scare them, and frustrate them, with the way they’re still unwilling to admit the depths of the problems this country has. Every time Obama gets up on that stage and clarifies some matter, states what his policies are, he enjoys a boost in popularity. Why is that?

Why do people like what they hear from him? The Republicans can create short term fear, drag people back to the default anxieties and grudges, but at the end of the day, they’ve gotten out of shape in terms of actually exercising good judgment and planning in terms of policy. The Republicans can sow hate, fear, and controversy, but can they really settle the arguments in their favor, with this kind of status quo?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2009 12:08 PM
Comment #289950

Stephen:

What I sense is that America is in the process of rejecting both Republicans and Obama. America is not going to go the Liberal way, not with liberals only 20% of registared voters.

Obama right now is weak in popularity for a first term president. He isn’t “rejected” in that he is still over 50% but America certainly has sent Obama a warning shot. Basically voters have Obama on a short leash.

If you put away the Republican approach as dead and buried, and you hamstring Obama’s approach, where does that leave us? Common sense middle right.

Americans want fiscal conservativism back. They want practicality that they can understand. They want the federal budget back under control.

Obama tacts to the right or will continue to be hamstrung. He may win a second term because there really doesn’t seem to be much leadership from the right. If that happens I think we see Dems loose power in Congress. It might not be the majority (again America does not see Republicanism as the answer), but Republicans are useful in keeping Obama’s radicalism from law. So I think the left is at the zenith of it’s power.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 28, 2009 2:49 PM
Comment #289953

Where the hell is this common sense middle right you’re talking about? If there’s one thing I see little enough these days, it’s actual moderate Republicans willing to act like them.

Instead, we have a party of hardline ideologues. You can’t really get one of them to budget on the important issues. They’re too cowed by the extremists in the party. Hence the decline for the Republicans. They simply don’t represent anybody but the extreme right-wing.

But that doesn’t keep the Republicans from making a lot of noise and controversy and twisting the public discourse with false charges and vicious defamations.

They are useless. No, worse than useless, because they’re actively causing harm by restraining needed government action. They were unwilling to act in time to prevent what came about in 2008, and now, to avoid sinking in the infamy of that, they’re going to hamstring the Democrats in their attempts at reform.

When are you going to realize that the worst thing in the world is not Democrats wielding their duly elected power, but Republicans creating a vacuum of leadership in a country that badly needs it, whatever kind it is?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2009 4:04 PM
Comment #289956

Craig Holmes-
Oh, and if you ask me, we’re not at the Zenith of our power, not even close.

I don’t assume that just because we have strong majorities that we’re at the height of power. Numbers aren’t what matter so much as implicit assumptions.

The implicit assumptions right now are at an inflection point. There might be some rises and falls in the numbers in Congress, but what’s important is that for Republicans, they’ve lost the default status as the authorities on matters like defense, fiscal responsibility, and economics. All they’ve managed to do is cloud people’s thinking on that matter, to turn things from outright antipathy to confused distrust.

But Republicans are not back. They won’t be back for some time now, and never at the strength they had with the beliefs they did.

I mean, you could once sway people with calmer rhetoric, but now your people have to go all out, run around with their hair on fire. They’re having to mount a huge filibuster campaign against the results of two lost elections. They’re making wild charges, and fighting tooth and nail. But without it, they couldn’t stop Democrats from passing healthcare reform, or much of anything else. The filibusters are their last vestige of power, and they are in trouble if it takes any longer than the next election to get results.

And even if the next election gives them what they want, they have a whole generation of people who’ve been poisoned against the Republicans by the party’s actions, by the Bush Administration. So logically, unless the Republicans compromise and soften, any resurgence would be a false alarm in terms of being out of the wilderness.

The Republicans are digging their own grave if they think they can force the rest of America to take them back this way. With their policy mindset being the way it is, they will do nothing but remind people why they discarded them in the first place.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2009 4:52 PM
Comment #289963


Centrist Democrat = corporate associate—- associate = > Walmart associate.

Posted by: jlw at October 28, 2009 5:55 PM
Comment #289967

S.D.
I see both parties digging their own graves. In the future I think we will see more and more independents and persons breaking off from the 2 main parties. People are getting tired of the horendous BULLS—T from Democrats and Republicans.

Posted by: KAP at October 28, 2009 6:54 PM
Comment #289973


Stephen, the liberal agenda is virtually the same as the conservative agenda differing only in kinder and gentler (except when it comes to their own workers) vs who’s the boss.

Posted by: jlw at October 28, 2009 7:43 PM
Comment #289983

Found an accomplishment - CBS’ Mark Knoller—an unofficial documentarian and statistician of all things White House-related—wrote on his Twitter feed [Saturday] that, “Today - Obama ties Pres. Bush in the number of rounds of golf played in office: 24. Took Bush 2 yrs & 10 months.”

Yes he can … play golf much more and faster. There is also a lot of basketball.

He also managed to attend 26 partisan political fund raising events. Bush had only managed six by the end of his first FULL year. And I hear he bought a dog, that recently celebrated its first birthday.

So all those things you remember disliking about Bush goes MORE than double for Obama. You can have your own opinions but not your own facts.

My father was wrong. He always told me that you cannot build your reputation by what you are gonna do. In our faster and more efficient modern age, the glory and credit for accomplishments comes before their actual completion or even inception, not only instant but anticipatory gratification. It is like a credit card on steroids.

Posted by: Christine at October 28, 2009 10:35 PM
Comment #290001

Props to BHO for going to Dover last night. See, I said something nice about him!

TWW s6 The Dover Test

Posted by: ohrealy at October 29, 2009 11:50 AM
Comment #290005

jlw-
I’m pretty much a centrist myself. But I define my center in terms that relate less to being halfway between a Republican and a Democrat, and more towards having a school of thought that leaves both liberal and conservative options open- that is, so long as they’re practical.

I believe that the word moderate should apply to those who study the facts and the way the real world operates, and lets those things moderate whatever their favored school of thought is.

KAP-
I think what people are tired of is a Washington Elite that are deaf, dumb, and blind to the needs of the average American.

Contrary to what most Republicans are doing, Democrats are well aware of their problem, and taking steps to remedy the situation.

Christine-
You have a poor appreciation for what I really dislike about Bush. Like I’ve said before, how does it wash that the Republicans accuse him of being lazier and more frivolous than Bush on one hand, and the month before criticized him for taking on too much work. Which is it? Lazy, or a workaholic?

What I disliked most about Bush was his tendency to let bad situations spin out of control, just so he wouldn’t take political flak for admitting he was wrong. He seemed like a person who couldn’t stand the heat in the kitchen, but didn’t have the decency to get out of it, who fought to gain and keep power, but acted as a roadblock to the correction and reform of bad policies when he had the chance to redeem the issues.

Meanwhile, Obama’s Stimulus plan has contributed to growth, and may indeed have helped end the recession.

Obama would do more, if he were allowed, if there weren’t this pulmonary embolism of a blood clot in the Republican Minority, taking all the oxygen out of the blood for further economic aid to America’s troubles. Obama’s done more, much more than Bush has done so far, and he’s had Bush’s failures on his back to boot.

I don’t see much of what I disliked about Bush in Obama. And it’s not because I’m biased, it’s because it’s not there. Obama’s better spoken, actually has some kind of intellectual life beyond partisan politics, he’s patient, he’s acknowledging America’s problems rather than trying to sweep them under the rug, he’s hard-working, he’s got a heck of a lot more humility, he’s actually clear on the concept of diplomacy, so on and so forth. I find the Bush comparisons by those on the right to be a weak and unimaginative tactic employed by those who would rather hang the albatross of the Bush Administration around somebody else’s neck, rather than admit that they were fanatical in their defense of an absolute failure, that they rationalized his fiascoes when they had the opportunity to cut them short. Republicans should have been the ones to get Bush on a leash, rather than enabling the fellow to do more damage with their Rubberstamp Congress and Loyalty Oath signing apologetics.

The Republicans are playing a losing game, comparing Obama to Bush.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2009 12:57 PM
Comment #290007

Stephen:

It depends on how you measure power. The numbers of people saying they are liberal and moderate are falling, and the number of voters saying they are conservative are rising.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/120857/conservatives-single-largest-ideological-group.aspx

In addition Obama has suffered through the biggest quarterly drop in approval ratings since the 1950’s.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/123806/Obama-Quarterly-Approval-Average-Slips-Nine-Points.aspx

Right now Americans are more likely to agree with Republicans on nearly every issue.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/trust_on_issues

Liberalism can’t run our country with only 20% of the population identifying itself as liberal. Obama ran as a moderate but is leading as a liberal, thus his fall in the polls.

Whatever way it happens congress is moving right. It might be that the Democratic party attracts conservatives and has it has done recently. But America is going right.

People like Democrats more, but agree with Republicans more in the issues.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 29, 2009 1:57 PM
Comment #290009

Craig, please give it up…can’t you see that even if you win, you lose? Going back to the dead air of Republican control spells disaster more emphatically than moving forward with reform. So, if you are right and the President is losing ground, you lose, and if Republicans re-surge, you lose. Right now your best bet is to back the current reforms, and work to make them less costly and perform better.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 29, 2009 3:08 PM
Comment #290010

Marysdude:

Thank you for suggesting that I give up!! We are in a pickle

Currently over 70% of REPUBLICANS believe their own party has lost touch with THEM!!

At the same time Democrats are following the Republican lead and self distructing. Right now on Intrade.com the early money is for a substantial Republican pickup.

Basically both parties look very much out of touch.

Take a look at this!!

http://www.gallup.com/poll/123491/Approval-Congress-Falls-21-Driven-Democrats.aspx

You guys have lost 18% approval in the last month alone!! So first we have Obama dropping like a rock, (Largest quarterly decline in history) and now Congressional Dems falling hard this month.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 29, 2009 3:24 PM
Comment #290012

Craig Holmes-
If we merely relied on liberals, the way Republicans relied on hardcore conservatives, yes, we would be in trouble. Fortunately for us, though it complicates responding to the Republican’s record breaking obstructionism, we’re not a party that’s all one political faction.

This self-identifying labels are tricky. Okay, people call themselves conservatives. But what do they define as conservative? Is it the far right policies of the Republicans, or something much more moderate?

Additionally, you have to consider that a significant fraction of people are moderates, a group that the Republicans appeal poorly to. And Democrats, unlike Republicans, have fewer problems with folks being moderates. It puts them at a bit of a disadvantage with Republicans who have distilled themselves down to a pure core, but look at where their purity has got them. Apparently, about twenty percent of the folks in this country, out of the forty percent who call themselves Conservatives, find it hard to identify with what’s supposed to be the main Conservative party.

Is it that the Republicans haven’t gone far enough right? No, it seems that they’ve gone extremely far right, with talk of death panels, and having people like Beck and Palin speak for them. They’re calling people socialists and big government freaks left and right. Literally.

The Republicans are maintaining a record breaking campaign of obstruction against the Democrats and President Obama, which is supposed to be a wonderful thing, as far as conservatives go. They’re doing everything they can to stop the Democrats.

Could you entertain, then, the possibility that to maintain their power, the Republicans have actually made the mistake of going far too the right of the conservatives in this country, or that the word Conservative has become so broadly and vaguely defined, and Liberalism so successfully demonized, that trying to distill support for the Right’s current behavior from all this, the trends and everything, is problematic?

Back in 2007, Rasmussen did a Poll, and looked at the net positives and negatives of different ideological labels. Progressive was the term most favorably seen. But given the fact that Progressive overlaps Liberal fairly well, we have to consider it very possible that Republicans and Conservatives have been more successful in demonizing the term “liberal” than in demonizing the policies and attitudes. So, when you take that Liberal and call them a Progressive, all of a sudden, support jumps!

I take the polls in the context of a never-ending campaign of demonization on your people’s part. It’s easy to push down numbers with never-ending negativity. But look at what the numbers say when they’re asked about who can be trusted on the critical issues of the day! It’s not you. Obama beats your people by twenty points, even after you’ve called him every name in the book.

Do you know what an inflection point is? It’s the point in a curve where the slope goes from negative to positive, or vice versa.

I think we’re at an inflection point. I think we’re at a point where your party’s efforts are only just holding back the Obama administration and the Democrats, where the Democrats are still dealing with the legacy of a party that was adapted to win elections in an era where Reagans influence was still substantial in politics.

But now things are changing. Naturally, there will be resistance from those who have vested interests. But look at where the Democrats are now, as opposed to where they were during the Clinton years. There are actual bills being put together, and a great likelihood that even the most compromised bill will included substantial reform.

We’re not finished, Craig. We’re only getting started. Do you think your party can maintain its obstruction forever, that Democrats will allow themselves to remain compromised, unable to use their power forever?

Your party is fighting tooth and nail, and what has it to show for that? Historically low approvals, and a complete lack of trust on the part of the public on the issues they’ve bashed Democrats the most on. If the Economy recovers significantly during the next year, what happens to all your precious poll drops? What happens when people realize they’re now better off than they were?

Your party is once again missing the chance to do something for the people that folks can be grateful for, in the vain belief that you can give people nothing but doubts and fears and gain their trust and loyalty once again.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2009 4:17 PM
Comment #290013

The wait for the Republican Alternative: 134 days and counting.

This isn’t merely about the Republicans creating an answer to the Democrat’s politics, but there handing Americans an alternative that can suit the political direction they claim for the country. The Democrats are pushing their plans through, on this and other things. If the Republicans cannot offer policies in answer that can garner the support of enough people, then what use is their obstruction, other than to deny the majority of Americans the legislation they were promised?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2009 4:38 PM
Comment #290016

S.D.
Time to get out of your fantacy world. Democrats are falling like a rock. I don’t think they do know how to fix their problems because they are to much into themselves.

Posted by: KAP at October 29, 2009 5:11 PM
Comment #290019

“By the People,” documentary about BHO from the campaign to the WH. The graph on his popularity doesn’t show up on the website. He got a solid 4 point bump from the Nobel to 56 from 52 after the CPH trip, but his negatives have increased steadily, IMO, indicating that people who were neutral about him (13) have been trending negative, down to 7, but people who approved of him have been more dissapointed than even the people who were undecided about him, from 68 down to 56.

Posted by: ohrealy at October 29, 2009 5:46 PM
Comment #290020

Stephen:

It’s not the republicans that are falling in the polls, as they are already down there. It is you, liberals and Democrats that are doing your level best to do the same thing as the Republicans did.

It is your president that has fallen faster than any president Gallup has ever measured. And it is your Democrats in congress that have fallen 16% in a single month.

You are the ones with something to loose, and inspite of three years of Democratic rule in congress barely a third a third of Americans think we are heading in the right direction as a country.

I don’t see where you are in much of a position to lecture the Republicans as you yourself are falling so rapidly from favor with most Americans.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 29, 2009 6:24 PM
Comment #290021

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “This self-identifying labels are tricky. Okay, people call themselves conservatives. But what do they define as conservative? Is it the far right policies of the Republicans, or something much more moderate?”

Nice try at explaining why libs are loosing in the polls. I don’t buy it. Loosing support is just that. It will go somewhere and is doubtful if it comes back to the libs since they continue to do the things that lost the support in the first place.

Please convince me that declining poll numbers means the dems policies are gaining traction. If their polling numbers were rising would you not use the same explanation? In the liberal world of make believe a rise or decline in polling numbers means the same thing I guess.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 29, 2009 6:25 PM
Comment #290025

Craig,

Your reasoning would be sound only if the Republicans were getting a corresponding lift as the Democrats fall. Actually the obstructionism and negativism may very well kill the entire system, and where will the Constitution be then?

I’ve been over this with Royal Flush in another thread, and he called me nonsensical. But it is not nonsense when you allow for no flexibility. Drive us down if you must, but please have something positive to replace us with.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 29, 2009 7:41 PM
Comment #290029

KAP-
The Democrats are not falling like a rock. How long, pray tell, has Obama been in the high fifties? And from what level did he drop? The Democrats in Congress score in the low to mid forties. Wishful thinking and selective memory about the polling does not an argument for descent make.

You got to ask yourself a question: what happens when the Republicans either let up, or their act gets old? The real fantasy land is where the people who just reject and reject and provide no alternatives live.

Craig Holmes-
Oh, quit with the “Falling in the polls”. The numbers stabilized a couple months ago. Obama is not hemorrhaging support like you’d like to believe. He’s hit his floor and come back up a bit. People like his positions, most of the time, better than yours, they trust him better with many issues, and they just plain like him better than your folks.

And why not? Your party has seemingly flipped out. It’s gone on a rampage of scenery chewing, of radical political incitement and demogoguery the likes of which the country hasn’t seen for years, and just when think things can’t get any funkier, you guys roll out the next outrage.

Has it occured to you that your party is now less popular than it was when Bush was in office, that somehow, despite devoting the better part of a year to destroying and bringing down the Obama administration, that somehow, he still enjoys majority support in most polls, and your people, even without the Albatross of Bush, still are more unpopular than ever?

It is a success in that he and the Democrats are less exalted in the polls. It’s a failure in that the Republicans are still massively unpopular, with little in the way of any real gain from the Democrat’s losses.

Yes, we have something to lose. That’s better than in being in the position where your party could only be less popular if it splintered. You’re down to the loyalest of the loyal. At best, you can wallow in the mud and laugh at us when your muck hits one of us in the face. That’s your triumph.

The Republicans aren’t going much of anywhere until their policies can appeal to more than just their base. But until their base stops being so jealously insistent on getting its way, the GOP won’t be able to make the compromises or soften the positions, and so will be hard pressed to take advantage of any loss of prestige among the Democrats with a popular set of plans.

It’s puzzling to me that you think you’re in a position to gloat.

Royal Flush-
Words are tricky things. You ignored my reference to Rasmussen’s poll that said that Progressives (who tend to be Democrats, just like Liberals) Outpoll Conservatives.

That’s something for you to consider. If Liberalism is such a putrid philosophy to most, why would it not smell so sour under another name? You folks have succeeded in giving “Liberal” a strong negative connotation, but a more neutral, less loaded term like Progressive wins against conservatism.

Would you not admit that not everybody who might identify as conservative is a hardliner? Neoconservatives don’t qualify as conservatives to the fiscal and religious conservatives. Fiscal conservatives don’t necessarily equate to religious or social conservatives.

Why is it that you rely on one such vague measure of ideology?

My way of looking at things is that these labels are often slapped on top of much more complex people than the labels would give them credit for. I also believe that sometimes people are more flexible and less partisan than some would think they could be.

You want the liberals to be down in the mud with your party. You see that as a vindication. But the vindication would be at best that we would be as ineffective as you, and the upshot would be that people could turn to you because everybody just sucked, so it wouldn’t make a difference.

That’s your big plan.

I can’t say that I envy anybody being a Republican or a Conservative if that is their ambition, nor that I am so much worried about my party if that is the limit of the Republican appeal. All we Democrats have to do is get something done, and if you look at the economic indicators, you might find that what we’ve already done may have helped turn things for the better.

In which case, your party is screwed. That is, unless it starts helping. But that would be a bridge too far for many, the need for the rivalry with the Democrats being so intense.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 29, 2009 9:24 PM
Comment #290031

S.D.
The democratic congress approval rate is 21%. I don’t know what comic book your getting your figures from but I think you need to change. Republicans are in the same boat. BHO approval rate fell faster than any other President in his time in office. Facts are facts get out of your comic books.

Posted by: KAP at October 29, 2009 9:34 PM
Comment #290038

Stephen:

First of all no one that I know is gloating. I am sure not!! The economy in number one on the nation’s mind, and you are working on health care. That is why you are dropping in the polls. It has very little to do with Republicans.

Americans are having a very difficult time finding someone to lead on issues they care about.

Democrats in Congress have only recently fallen in the polls. Your remarks indicate an admission that you have fallen.

You would have a hard time finding where I have defended Republicans. Actually over 70% of Republicans feel their own party has lost touch with them. The Republican party isn’t even popular with Republicans!!

That doesn’t translate into Democrats being the answer. Only a third of Americans think we are heading in the right direction. That is after three years of Democratic rule in Congress. Why is that? Why are Americans loosing trust in your party? Why is Pelosi about as popular as George Bush?

You guys on the left are so busy trying to win healthcare that you don’t see that America is pulling away from you. No they are not moving toward Republicans.

What does that mean when both parties are bankrupt in the eyes of Americans? We will know because we shortly will be there.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 29, 2009 10:53 PM
Comment #290040

Stephen/Marysdude:

Let me put it another way. It has been SEVEN YEARS since a majority of Americans thought their country was heading in the right directions.

Right now the right track wrong track polls are in decline meaning that a year after Obama Americans believe we are still moving away from the direction we should be heading.

What does it mean when we go so long in the wrong direction?

Yet anther way to look at our dire straights. I only know of one national figure with a positive approval rating that has any power and that is Obama. Everyone else is below 50%. Reid, Pelosi, Biden, Democrats in Congress, Republicans in Congress etc etc. Obama is at what 52%? And he is the highest.

What does it mean when we go for years and years with low approval of our elected officials? It means that our elected officials are not doing what they were elected to do. This now means Democrats. Right now it means Democrats are not accomplishing what they were hired to do. Of course the remedy is to through the bums out, just like the Republicans were thrown out until finally someone will do the will of the American people.

It’s not happening now!! If it were you wouldn’t be tanking in the polls.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 29, 2009 11:31 PM
Comment #290042

Craig.

I’m still puzzled by your ability to separate the economy from rising health care costs. What makes you think that work on health care is not work on the economy? I’m sorry, but until you can open your vision and see the relationship between our current inflationary cost of health care and our downward spiral of the economy, and the future you are so worried about…this whole discussion seems rather futile. I’m not saying I’m right about everything, but I am absolutely certain that unless health care costs are contained, our economy will never recover, and your precious ‘future’ is a dead duck.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 30, 2009 2:38 AM
Comment #290044

marysdude - maybe you can get through to them. i said the same thing 2 weeks ago. we will all be working for healthcare. many of us are now doing so. and the bankruptcies? largely healthcare related. but nothing needs to change. that is truly a scary halloween thought - allow w’s laws to remain status quo. change nothing.

had a dream last night. the orange man spoke, and he scared me. then i realized i left the tv on. happy halloween. boo. scream.

Posted by: bluebuss at October 30, 2009 8:23 AM
Comment #290054

KAP-
Thirty Eight, actually, according to a recent cnn poll. The Republicans, on the other hand, score thirty three in the same poll. And unlike the Democrats, they’ve never been above fifty.

Democrats beat Republicans in every poll, even after a year that’s worn down their approvals.

Congress is popular when it’s seen to do something. When it’s a gridlocked, or off on its own little tangent, it’s not popular.

Let me put things plainly for you, so there’s no misunderstanding between us. It’s not enough to drive down your opponent’s poll numbers. You have to change places, become more popular. Where’s the leverage for the Republicans to do that? What would they do to encourage people to turn out for them, and discourage opposition?

The Republicans have not shed the burdens that are keeping them down. They’ve only messed things up for the Democrats. I know Republicans enjoy doing that, consider it a duty, but the trouble is, your party can’t simply be about stopping liberals. What benefit will people actually gain, rather than lose from having Republicans in charge?

Don’t answer fiscal sanity until you’ve actually worked in Congress to actually reduce the deficit. Don’t answer the economy until you can restore people’s trust in Capitalism, and not merely destroy their trust in any alternative to your version of it. Don’t answer defense until your party develops a bench of players who can actually win friends and influence people, rather than alienate and repel them. Your party used to be famous for that. Now they’re famous for people who think the UN is the tool of the Anti-Christ.

I can be optimistic, because I can trust in one thing: the Republicans are going to do, before the next election comes along, something to self destruct. The Republicans have come to despite not merely liberalism, but moderation as well. The only real upshot the Republicans have at the moment is that Democrats don’t entirely have their act together. The trouble is, you’re either going to see the Democrats get their act together, or they’re going to start punishing those who don’t, so over time, they come back with folks who are better Democrats.

Democrats will not tolerate continued mediocrity.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 30, 2009 11:54 AM
Comment #290055

ATTENTION Mr. Daugherty and others…I am a registered independent voter with a conservative leaning in both economic and social issues. I have stated before my transition from D to R to I.

What the polls reveal is that many folks, like me, are abandoning party labels in favor of political philosophy. It was clear in the last election that a good number of Dems’s won traditionally Rep districts by being the more conservative candidate. The liberal wing of the Dem party hailed this as defeat of Republicanism in those districts while knowledgeable folks hailed it as a triumph of conservationism over liberal theology. Want proof of this statement. OK…just listen to the liberal howl over so-called Yellow-dog democrats. My friends, get used to it because you will see even more of it in the future. I will vote for any democrat, republican, or independent candidate who most closely matches my philosophy in governance and so will our ever increasing numbers of free-thinkers.

Politics is in some ways like religion. The basis of politics is power and the basis of religion is God. Within both bases are many variations all competing for adherents.

The swing to independent voters denies both party labels and instead concentrates on basic core values carved from tradition, history, and individualism. Independent voters refuse to run with the pack and have values obtained by original thinking and not party pap and propaganda.

In 2010, 2012 and beyond, independent voters will increase their numbers as the major parties decline in numbers. Independents will not form a new party, but rather pick and choose those candidates from the traditional two-party system. The parties will, by necessity, both move towards the center where the votes are most numerous.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 30, 2009 12:07 PM
Comment #290056

Craig Holmes-
Remind me whose policies and whose politics led us to such pessimism about the current direction.

Let me ask you a personal question: how’s that roofbeam in your eye? You pick at the dust in my eye, but you got this huge fricking log in yours, and it’s called the near universal unpopularity of the Republican Party. All you folks have succeeded in doing by your belligerence, is making EVERYBODY look bad. Maybe it’s not such a loss for you to convince everybody that the Governemnt’s no good, but that’s only because your party already was seen as terrible at governing the nation.

You should really read Marvin Minsky’s the Society of Mind sometime, particularly the part of what happens when two conflicting impulses are fed into a system. What typically happens is that a mind chooses a third alternative instead that they’re not conflicted about.

The Real trouble for the Republicans is that they don’t realize that with the power the Democrats have, that unless they join with the Democrats and get some good done, they won’t profit much from their efforts to sink Democratic numbers.

And yes, it took their efforts. Democrats were sky-high. What has sunk those numbers is a continued campaign of harsh, venomous partisanship, of doubts sown without regard to fact or validity of logic.

Congratulations. People think government can’t do anything. They don’t trust it. But not because you guys have shown smaller government can work. No, because youv’e shown that any kind of government, big or small can’t work.

That’s not a victory for you, because the minute either some other party swings into power, or the Democrats find their footing, and something good happens, the minute that impotence is recognized for the myth it is, folks are going to wonder why they bother with the Republicans.

Sooner or later, Republicans have to remember that at the very least, Government is a necessary evil, and that if they fail to use their part in it correctly they’re not going to be seen as a necessary evil themselves. They’ll be seen as an obstacle to real progress.

That’s why I insist on taking the polls with a grain of salt, and not indulging the kind of pessimism that you hope to inspire. This country needs help, needs leadership, not folks more worried about keeping their numbers up or their rival’s numbers down in the polls, absent of real accomplishments on their part.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 30, 2009 12:08 PM
Comment #290059

Stephen:

Let me ask you a personal question: how’s that roofbeam in your eye? You pick at the dust in my eye, but you got this huge fricking log in yours, and it’s called the near universal unpopularity of the Republican Party.

I agree with you that the Republicans have a huge beam in their eye. Actually most Republicans agree. Remember over 70% of REPUBLICANS believe their party has lost touch with them.

And scroll up their and find any place where I have defended Republcans.

But here is the rub, Republicans bad does not equal Democrats good. We are clearly to the point where it is both Republicans AND Democrats bad in the eyes of Americans. We both have Roof beams in our eyes. The difference between us is that you can’t see yours, but Americans can.

We are in a very dangerous time in our politics, where it has been seven years (nearly half of it with Democrats in control of Congress) since Americans felt that our country was heading in the right direction.

Of course it’s time to throw the new bums out. That does not mean Republicans win. It might be different Democrats. It certainly means different Republicans than we had before with different ideas.

An agent of change is coming.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 30, 2009 1:46 PM
Comment #290061

Stephen:

And yes, it took their efforts. Democrats were sky-high. What has sunk those numbers is a continued campaign of harsh, venomous partisanship, of doubts sown without regard to fact or validity of logic.

Democrats never engaged in this sort of thing.

Do you want to go back and talk about Log’s in one’s eye?

How about your party leader saying “I hate Republicans and everything they stand for.”

The reason you are dropping in the polls is because you are not addressing the issues Americans care most about. You are addressing issues that YOU care most about.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 30, 2009 3:22 PM
Comment #290062

Stephen:

Let me give you an example:

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/budget_priorities

Number one on America’s mind of the President’s priorities he listed last winter is reducing the deficit. However two thirds of Americans believe that is unlikely to be achieved.

So if you have a party in power, and two thirds of voters believe their number one priority will not be achieved, then obviously you will loose enthusiasm for that party.

So Voters are saying “Reduce the Deficit” and you are saying “We are passing health care reform!” Now you know why you are dropping in the polls!!

As James Carville so apply has said “It’s the economy stupid.”

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 30, 2009 3:31 PM
Comment #290067

Once more, Craig, the two (health care and economy) are inseparable…this is the last time, I promise…keep the blinders on if you must, and be as negative as you must, but the two are still inseparable.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 30, 2009 7:07 PM
Comment #290070

PS:

All I did was key in ‘projected health care costs’, and took the very first entry, and did not go further. I have no idea if this report is slanted left or right, and it goes no further than 2015, but there is no doubt of the outcome if the conservative status quo continues.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 30, 2009 7:19 PM
Comment #290071

PPS:

Then I forgot to paste the link…fat old men…:)

http://www.kff.org/insurance/snapshot/chcm050206oth2.cfm

Posted by: Marysdude at October 30, 2009 7:20 PM
Comment #290072

Craig Holmes-
Can I be blunt? Your party members essentially told people outright that their purpose is to bring down Obama’s polls.

That, they’ve done. They’ve thrown out so much flack and BS, so many zombie lies that still walk after you’ve pumped shotgun shells full of facts at them, that it’s incredible that Obama’s numbers are not worse.

But is it some screw-up on Obama’s part that’s making things bad for him?

Well it seems like his worse mistake has been trusting Republicans to stand up to their party and actually get useful legislation out of there, much less the approximately two hundred Obama Administration appointees that your party has filibustered.

The only disaster that has drug Obama down is the Republican Party. The only problem for you, Craig, is that it’s not managed that nice, neat trick, of not dragging itself down further with those it’s targeting. It’s immolated itself, burning the Obama Adminstration at considerable expense to its own reputation and standing.

If you want to obsess about polls, go ahead. But understand this: polls are not what makes political successes. Policies are. And there is next to no policy coming out of the Republican side. All we’re getting is just more and more demagoguery aimed at appealing to fear, frustration, and hatreds that are ironically the result of your policies gone wrong. I mean, how twisted is it that the Republican Party is using the unpopular nature of the bank bailouts which were necessary to keep our financial system from collapsing, to push against reining in the bad behavior of another industry and sector whose behavior is already inflicting another crisis on us, bound to get worse.

America needs help right now. It needs a change in policy, from what’s come before. If you start now, maybe you can come up with a way to deal with the entrenched corruption and irresponsibility that plagues so much of business nowadays, and yet is consistent with some kind of conservatism.

Or, you can keep on playing the pointless, nihilistic game of turning people against reform of a system going wrong, by engaging the frustrations that arise from the disaster of another system whose reform you opposed.

See, my fellow Democrats understand that sometimes you have to compromise your principles somewhat, not merely act out your ideology blindly. Yes, we want to keep those banks from collapsing in a way that would pull the rest of the economy down with it, even if the means to do that aren’t the ideal under our philosophy.

But maybe, after we’ve weathered the first hours of the storm, so to speak, we can turn to the question of how not to be in this position again, we can turn around and say to ourselves, if we’re going to have to lend these people money to keep things going, what strings do we attach, what behaviors do we discourage?

Let me give you an example of what logic drives me up the wall: Somebody argues that it’s socialism or fascism of some kind to demand paycuts and the denial of bonuses to those folks who are borrowing huge sums of money from the government to keep their businesses running. They ask for our money, for this government to socialize their losses, spread them all around to us Americans, to hand our children the legacy of the debt we’re handing them, and then, not to keep these people accountable, not to reduce their compensation in line with the fact that their company is on our dime? And this is supposed to be your idea of free market capitalism, of good government spending?

But that’s the kind of populism, the kind of disingenious, false populism your party sells people. You vilify the big bailout, but you defend the corrupt abuse of that bailout money by people who still are unclear on the concept of the fact that they’re on the taxpayer dole. Why is it that under the Republicans we saw more audits for people on the Earned Income Tax Credit, where the cheating cost taxpayers little, than for big corporations robbing the government blind, forcing other Americans to pay billions in their stead?

Why is it that the Republicans go years denigrating the entitlements, and then turn around, and not only burden the taxpayers with more entitlements, but make it impossible at several key points for the taxpayers to save money, where they’ve saved money before with other programs?

The phrase “in the wilderness” is often applied to American political movements that have fallen out of favor. The Republicans fail to appreciate that like the Israelites, their own behavior is to blame for their fall from power. But more importantly, the Republicans are not appreciating the price they will pay if they get back into power, and start behaving the same way they did when they had it before.

Democrats are very conscious of this, and you’ll find them cheering on ethics investigations into their own people, and fighting the corruption in their party. Go read Daily Kos, and tell me they have any great love for the folks who sell them out. Go read TPM Muckraker, and you’ll find the muck gets raked on the Democrats in Congress, as well as the Republicans.

But Republicans? Some say that the whole party is corrupt, but they still vote for them, just to oppose the Democrats. Others wholeheartedly defend their corrupt officials, calling the charges attacks from the Liberals. Point is, Republicans don’t hold their own accountable.

So why do you guys deserve to come back? Where will you admit mistakes, where will you change your ways? Your party is running of the fumes of its partisanship, and even if it’s successful, is it going to do anything else but reaffirm the wisdom of its previous removal from power?

What’s your plan after you win elections? What’s your plan for what to do instead of what the Democrats are trying to do now?

And what are your plans for what to do after that? I mean, what has been your party’s contribution to fixing the economy, rather that to it’s continued downfall?

Or, in short, why are Democrats supposed to take advice from Republicans about what will make them politically popular, and what policies will be successful. What exactly have the Republicans done lately to deserve their crediblity, other than cast aspersions at the Democrats, stereotyping and vilifying them? What else do you have to offer the country than pessimism and despair about your rivals? What are people supposed to be inspired about by the return of the Republicans?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 30, 2009 7:30 PM
Comment #290079

S.D.
Congressional approval rates for the past week. RCP average 24.8% NBC/Wall st. 24% Fox 24% CBS 22% the only high one Assoc. Press 33% Gallup 21% I don’t know where you get your numbers from but I can bet they are from a very liberal source, polling liberal voters. Your Democrats are tanking like the Republicans. Like I said people are fed up with both major parties.

Posted by: KAP at October 30, 2009 8:51 PM
Comment #290088

You will note that many of the conservative bloggers here are falling away from the Republican party and are forming up as ‘Independent’ politicos, but that the Democratic bloggers are staying in the Democratic camp. There is a huge difference between being somewhat disappointed in what an administration is doing or the way it is going about doing it, than dropping out of a political party in favor of something in shadowland. Those of you on the right…stop right now, and tell us what your new platform is…other than being against the Democratic administration or its leader. Remember, don’t hold your hand up unless you know the answer.

The difference??? We Democrats have always been mixed up a little about how we feel about our platform and leaders, and are used to that feeling. We’ve always been a mixed bag. You who were Republicans have become ashamed of your leaders and party and are deserting it (as opposed to trying to CHANGE it back to what it once was), and the mixed feelings are foreign to you, so you become the ‘rats from the ship’. Leaving a bad party gives one that ‘holier than thou’ feeling, as though turning your back on bad is better than staying with the good…wow!

Posted by: Marysdude at October 31, 2009 5:01 AM
Comment #290089

My thing is, and it really bugs me, that although these people repudiate the national Republican Party when you ask them, they still buy into the same Right Wing Media myths, and still push the same policies they did before.

They have this big opportunity to be truly independent, and they waste it because they do not realize how much the conservative media is a creature of the Republican Party power structure.

Listen up folks: if you’re going by what FOXNews says, you’ll still be pushing the same dumb policies and the same radical politics and obstructionism that got your party in trouble in the first place and likely alienated you. The Liberal Media myth’s entire raison d’etre is to put you in a position where you reject news and opinions that reflect negatively on the Republicans, and the trouble with that will always be that you can only correct mistakes if you know about them and can recognize them as such. And that’s the last thing the advocates and the pundits on the right want. They don’t trust you to form an opinion from balanced, responsible reporting of the facts. They go with what they think will lead you to react a certain way.

If you don’t stop letting these people push your buttons, if you don’t think for yourself, rather than take it for granted that the policies and politics of your party right, you will never really recover from the damage your leaders did to your former party. Those who don’t learn from their history are doomed to repeat it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 31, 2009 10:26 AM
Comment #290091

Stephen:

I understand that the left is trying to do a good thing. Trying to get health for everything is not a bad thing. Trying to get prescription drug coverage for seniors is a good thing.

I think the reason you are getting hammered in the polls is timing. You were “hired” to fix the economy. Now we hear reports of each car in the cash for clunkers program costing $24,000. And figures as high as $160,000 per job created with the stimulus money.

When you are not doing what you are hired to do, of course you will be less popular.

I also understand that you have to do politically what you are doing. You must go against the people’s wishes and tackle health care first because if you pause and wait a year or two you wont have the votes. You are pushing health care now, not because the voters want you to but because if you don’t act now, it might not get done.

So Democratic leadership made a decision that political expediency was more important than focusing on fixing the economy. It is very parallel to Bush with Afghanistan and Iraq. We needed to go into Afghanistan, but Iraq was a war of choice. We could have chosen to take out Sadaam anytime.


So now here we are, with the jobless rate near 10% and still climbing after spending all this money, and all of the attention focused on your war of choice health care. And now you are paying a price and blaming it on Republicans. Republicans are racist or whatever. Or it’s all Bush’s fault. Now Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are to blame. Always an excuse.

It’s your party’s decision to divide their energy between the economy the wars and add the issue of health care that is taking you down in the polls. Had you focused on finishing the wars and fixing the economy and left health care for another day you would not be in this situation. No American would not be living through another period when the majority believe we are heading down the wrong path and we have yet another set of bums to kick out of office until someone will listen.

It’s the economy.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 31, 2009 11:42 AM
Comment #290094

I said the last time would be the last time…but…well…just once more…there can be NO economic recovery WITHOUT health care reform. Health cost inflation is going to stop ANY economic recovery, no matter what else is done. If the administration was in it for political points, it would be doing the opposite. It would drop health care reform and pretend, like the last administration, that it is on the right track, by hiding its head in the sand. Please be aware that you said the American people were falling away from my party BECAUSE we are attempting to get health care reform. How in the world could we then be doing it for political points? PUHLEEEZE!

Altruism is one good reason to pursue reform in our health care system. After all, thinking even little people need good health care is noble in a way. Another good reason is to escape the possibility of contagion. Unhealthy people in closed in areas tend to spread diseases fast. But the economic meltdown is another good reason. We must put ourselves back on firmer economic ground by addressing the reasons for the meltdown, but no matter what else we do…no matter what steps we take, unless we bring health care costs under control, we’ll never recover economically.

Craig, it does not matter if the Democrats are popular or not, it does not matter if we hold the majority or not. If we don’t solve these seemingly impossible problems, being in the majority won’t amount to a puddle of spit. Being in the majority in a failed country…what for?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 31, 2009 12:40 PM
Comment #290098

Craig Holmes-
And what exactly was this magic thing that we were supposed to do to fix the economy, that wasn’t the stimulus package your party so thoroughly blasted?

And what was your party doing?

We’ve got three precent growth now. We’re unofficially out of the recession. That’s a good start. Democrats would love to do something more about the economy.

But if it’s not a tax cut or a subsidy to a big corporation, Republicans consider it a waste of money.

We’re taking care of Healthcare now because whether the public is convinced it’s top priority now, it makes no sense to wait until we’re hip deep in the **** before we do something about it. If Republicans better understood complexity theory, they might better understand the virtue of acting now on matters like Global Warming, Healthcare Reform, taking care of problems in a war early on, rather than waiting for matters to develop into something that has people’s full attention.

Democrats already put through an almost 800 million dollar stimulus package. We got that out of the way almost immediate, and without much help from your side of the aisle.

So you tell me: what should we be doing that we haven’t already done? Quit talking about perceptions, and tell me what REAL things we can do.

The Republicans have decided that the Budget deficit and the economy will fix themselves, or simply required the scrapping of the whole economic safety net. They’ve decided, that though major tax cuts have perpetually failed to generate the Return on investment that they claimed would come, the answer to every economic problem is a tax cut, preferably for the rich.

They use the Budget deficit, which didn’t come back until they had dominance over most of the Country, to bash any attempt to use government spending to stimulate the economy, shore up infrastructure, and create the new markets and economies of the future.

And yet, you ask us what we’re going to do with the economy. We’ve done a lot. Problem is, your people basically have been shouting everybody else down all year about how it’s all socialism and big government and this and that. We saved the damn economy from a Great Depression, fighting us every step of the way, and are turning around to ask us why this country isn’t better off.

Well, look in the mirror, Republican Party. You’re the number one barrier to this country moving on from the worst eight years in recent history.

What has the Republican Party done for this country lately, other than divide Americans against each other and undermine efforts to repair this nation’s fortunes? I know it’s not what most of you intended, but it’s been what’s come of all this political brinksmanship this last year.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 31, 2009 3:13 PM
Comment #290104

Craig,

If you are right and the Democratic party falls off like the Republican party has…what then? An Independent party? Which one? The Anarchists? The Greens? The Whigs? The Bullmoose?

Gloat about our failing numbers all you want, but remember, YOU also have to live with the results. Those buffoons at Fox don’t see it, the RNC doesn’t see it, the minority leadership don’t see squat, but someone had better see it…and soon.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 31, 2009 7:19 PM
Comment #290108

Marysdude:

Gloat? hmmmm don’t feel very “gloatful”. I do think I am right that Democrats are falling apart like Republicans did and for the reasons that are parallel. Let me give you an example:

When Bush became president he was hit with 9/11. Instead of focusing on solving the problem, and invading Afghanistan, Bush and company over reached and invaded Iraq. Basically they were over their heads managing two wars at one time. Then when Katrina happened of course they had been over extended and it became extremely obvious that the rest of the country was being neglected. In addition fiscal discipine went out the door and the Republican congress spent like you Democrats usually do!! Also, arrogantly Republicans passed the prescription drug bill by cramming through Congress over the strong objections of Democrats.

So how are we parallel so far? Well here Obama comes into office with an agenda. The problem is that the reason for his strong win was not his agenda exactly but because the economy collapsed in September and October. You can see it in the polls. As the stock market tanked so did McCain.

So Obama’s agenda has been hijacked in a way that is parallel to Bush. This next point is going to hurt a but, but the left is every bit as over confident as Bush and company were after 9/11. Your “war of choice” is health care.

Let me give you an example. Where is the margin for error when your Katrina hits? You guys are flat out extended as far as possible with no margin. But guess what? Katrina’s happen.

Now all of the unintended consequences are going to start to come out about your handing of the economic crisis. I’m not throwing a barb here. It’s normal for unintended consequences. What are they? For one Obama says that he has saved or created a million jobs. Of course now there is going to be “an issue” of counting. But even if you take the high count the cost per job is going to be over $100,000. In other words, waste and fraud are about to be in the press for a long time. You know bridges to no where. There is no way an emergency bill can be passed like it was last year without fraud and waste.

By the way, I am not comparing Iraq and health care directly. don’t want that debate. My only comparison is that the timing of BOTH was the president’s choice. Obama could have also went before the public and said he was going to delay health care reform and concentrate on the economy.

What helps you is that Republicans do not offer a viable alternative. You may suffer through and learn and stay in power. I will say you look to me to be very vulnerable.

If you are a praying man, you should pray there is not Katrina. What would your Katrina be? Well something overseas of course! A new war. While you are distracted on domestic policy, a terrorist attack.

No I am not gloating. We need a successful Presidency. This has gone on too long. Obama needs to be successful. I have a son who is in the Navy. But I fear you have over extended yourselves and have left the country vulnerable.

What is most frightening to me is that the left doesn’t see it. There is way too much confidence. It lookes like you believe you are superior in intellect and abilities to your Republican predicessors. That is called arrogance. At the end of the day, we may have the same taste in our mouths about Obama that we have about Bush. That is what happens with over reach when it all comes crashing down.

If you read above, you will see it’s all someone elses fault. It’s the Republicans fault for getting us into this mess. It’s Bush’s fault. People who criticize are racists. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are evil men who are manipulating events and want Obama to fail.

With those thoughts I think you are ignoring to your own peril what the polls are telling you, and thus making it all the more likely you will fall. Instead why not listen to what to citizens are telling you through their opinions and don’t try to rationalize around them.

It’s very much like the left needs to protect and defend the perfect. It’s like to admit mistakes are being made, is to admit failure. You are a long way from failure, but I think you are heading toward failure if you don’t stop and listen to the polls.

Clinton listened, but it was when Congress went Republican and the Bond market went south. If he would have kept his pants zipped or at least not lied about it, he would have gone down as one of our greatest presidents. But Clinton did listen and changed course.

I think you are wide open and vulnerable politically. And I think the left is bringing it on themselves with over reach . They look a great deal like the Bush whitehouse.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 31, 2009 11:13 PM
Comment #290121

>They look a great deal like the Bush whitehouse.
Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 31, 2009 11:13 PM

Except for the lying even when the truth would sound better…usurping of the Constitution…war mongering…failure to act in chrisis…outing CIA agents for political purpose…leaving finance houses to guard the finance houses…leaving the health care system to totally take over the economy…leaving the economy to fold up like a newspaper…my fingers are tired, but these examples merely scrape the surface in difference from Obama and Cheney/Bush.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 1, 2009 12:03 PM
Comment #290130

Marysdude:

Well both parties have had their scandals. Let’s see, which former President cannot speak before the Supreme Court?

I think you will have a hard time saying that Bush was corrupt and Democrats are not.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/29/AR2009102904597_pf.html

Most of those in the House of Representatives being investigated are Democrats. So Democrats are very familiar with corruption as are Republicans.

Back to your question about what do we do if Democrats fall?

Another part of “our” joint problem is that the parties are moving away from each other politically. More and more they are led by the far fringes of their party. It is harder and harder to be bipartisan.

What that means is that leadership in both parties becomes more and more isolated from the best thoughts of the other side and ends up making decisions only with the knowledge at hand. In other words we go to our corners, talk among ourselves and then come out and shout at each other.

This of course set each President up for failure.

Right now we are still moving apart so I’m not short term optimistic. Usually there is a crisis and a tipping point that starts the process back the other way. Might be an independent candidate winning the presidency or something like that. In the mean time we are stuck with shouting at each other and trying to destroy the other side in order to regain power, until the voters finally have had enough.

Obama right now looks to me like a one termer. He might make two, but only because I really don’t see much that looks like Presidential material from Republicans. There just isn’t much leadership on the right right now.

If someone were to point a gun at my head and tell force me to predict the future, I would predict that Americans will try to keep both parties on a very short leash meaning that who ever has the majority after 2010 it will be a small one. The odds on intrade of a Republican take over are in the 30s range but rising. That sounds about right to me.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 1, 2009 4:15 PM
Comment #290148

Well, Craig, you’ve condemned us to that ‘dire’ future you like so much…thanks…:)

Posted by: Marysdude at November 2, 2009 3:16 AM
Comment #290151

Craig Holmes-
We got attacked by terrorists in the Reagan Administration. The Bush Administration. The Clinton Administration. The Second Bush Administration. The Bush Administration wasn’t able to stop several major terrorist attacks, nor to prevent the insurgent destabilization of Iraq with their policies.

Should we hand Obama this situation, and then expect that we won’t get hit by terrorists?

No President can guard us completely against the spectre of terrorism, not even if they take us in the nightmare direction of authoritarian government, of a police state.

We need to look at our policies for their effectiveness, not for our faith that getting tough will keep us safe. Bush believed torture would protect us. It didn’t. It blackened our image, and enraged the populace of a country that we were supposed to keep stable. Bush believed he could keep a lid on matters in Iraq if he attacked the media to create a chilling effect on criticism, kept the soldiers at their current numbers, and simply chased the insurgents around creating high body counts.

He was wrong. And the effect was a hike, not a cut in al-Qaeda recruiting. It wasn’t until we started working smarter that we made progress on either front.

I believe people see through the BS of those in Washington a lot easier than they think. Unfortunately, people have gotten use to mediocrity, absorbing the Republican’s pessimism about government, about taxes and spending.

We’re not in the position we are in today because of some coincidence. There is not enough will to make the spending cuts, and the well has been poisoned on taxes, so we just spend money we don’t have as a matter of course. Every Republican who gains leadership pushes this line, and with every Republican Administration, we see a surge in Deficits and the National Debt.

Why do you think the Democrats, particularly Obama are so concerned about being Deficit Neutral? Because they are a party kept in check by other elements within their party. They are not so doctrinally pure that they can just go wildly, politically speaking, in one direction or another. You may consider stimulus that way, but do you remember how bad it was at the beginning of the year, how fast unemployment was rising, how big the chunks coming out of the GDP were?

I know my party isn’t pure on this, but that’s not the point. I know how politics works. Some people will do the right thing because they should. Some, though, will do the right thing because they know that if it gets out that they did the wrong thing, they’ll be out on their asses. I am fully willing to do what it takes to encourage both to do the right thing.

What about your party? I think sometimes Republicans are so busy defending their party that they don’t stop to think who’s worth defending. Your people do things the rest of the country finds outrageous, tasteless, even downright scary, and you cheer them for it.

They engage in the blatant hypocrisy of abusing the filibuster at record levels they once said they would destroy with the nuclear option, since it was so important that the matters before the senate see an up and down vote. Now little of great significance does, and there’s little that can be done with the Republicans to compromise, so that the legislation the majority of the House and Senate Members were elected and re-elected to to push forward would have its day on the floor.

It used to be somebody used the filibuster, not as a blunt force instrument to knock down everything the other party put forward, but as a means to eliminate sticking points. The Republican party could have been perfectly fine with watering down Democratic Party legislation, and they’d have something to show for it.

But instead, the Republicans have essentially ground everything to a halt. Ten months into Obama’s term, and literally hundreds of his appointees still remain in legislative limbo, awaiting confirmation.

Now you can say that we have sixty, but that means nothing if even one of those sixty doesn’t cooperate, and years of Republican dominance have left a few Senators in there who are willing to do just that, believing that the Republicans represent America’s center, even after two massively lost elections.

The Republicans have decided that the Government will be a far right institution, no matter what the rest of the country has to say. This is not because they are evil, but because they are stuck in this feedback loop that leads them to believe that they are entitled to swoop in and save the rest of America from itself, even if the majority disagrees with their extreme, radical policies.

Your party needs to become normal again. It needs to start drawing from the center to create its base, not rely on only the most fanatic, committed opponents of the Liberals, because most Americans are not so opposed to a progressive agenda.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 2, 2009 8:24 AM
Comment #290165

Marysdude:

It does look dire at the moment. That is the Word that the Congressional Budget office uses. Not so sure it’s a word I “like”. But it is the correct word for America’s future until we change course.

The best times America had in my lifetime were when we had a Democratic president and a Repubican congress.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 2, 2009 2:36 PM
Comment #290167

Stephen:

Thank you for your response.

We’re not in the position we are in today because of some coincidence. There is not enough will to make the spending cuts, and the well has been poisoned on taxes, so we just spend money we don’t have as a matter of course. Every Republican who gains leadership pushes this line, and with every Republican Administration, we see a surge in Deficits and the National Debt.

You have an argument pre Obama, but Obama has promised no tax increases for those earning under $250,000 a year. Then in addition he has a huge social agenda. So the result is that he has left Reagan and Bush II in the dust for deficit spending thus the alarm of doom.

They engage in the blatant hypocrisy of abusing the filibuster at record levels they once said they would destroy with the nuclear option, since it was so important that the matters before the senate see an up and down vote. Now little of great significance does, and there’s little that can be done with the Republicans to compromise, so that the legislation the majority of the House and Senate Members were elected and re-elected to to push forward would have its day on the floor.

We seem to be in this death spriral between those how enjoy Moveon.org, and those who enjoy Rush Limbaugh each self justifying to move the bar further and further. The language you just used can be used to justify the nuclear option in the Senate. When Democrats use the nuclear option of course the right will feel that they have been vindicated that you on the left are in fact evil. And then we will look for the next escalation in this war between you and the far right.

You and your party needs to become normal again, you are acting way too much like what you hate. You are becoming what you hate. This weeks election should show you that you don’t have all the answers and Americans don’t view Republicans as you do. This week should be a huge wake up call that your poop does indeed stink and America wants you if nothing else held in check.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 2, 2009 2:46 PM
Comment #290168

Stephen/Marysdude:

Here is some pretty good polling data from Gallup.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/121883/Most-U.S.-Want-Healthcare-Reform-Vary-Urgency.aspx

Ironically, if this were the plan, (incrementalism) there would be broad Republican support.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 2, 2009 3:02 PM
Comment #290172

wow - craig where to begin. first of all, yes, as individuals, all of us have flaws. no man/woman is perfect, in fact, all have sinned. this is not my congressman has sex w/16 year old boys, but yours hides $90,000 in his fridge. and, if it did come down to that $90,000 in freezer isn’t so bad.

just do me a favor, never compare bush 43 w/any other president. repub or democrat it is an insult.

repubs want to say “don’t look back” when referring to bush or we are the “party of the future” but they send the same old players out like newt. i mean is it 1996? the world has changed - the only thing that hasn’t is the republican party. i watched the gop convention. there were like 3 black people, and they were on the tv constantly. look around. i mean, really look around. look at the next generation. it is a mixed bag. everyone understands this but republicans. they are predicting that the white ppl will be the minority by 2030. have you secured your future by including ANYONE? my take is no. i still find it hilarious that reagan legalized immigrants - and you only won 2 elections from that move. 2. you should have secured the latino vote FOREVER! and you thought you had done just that. thinking they would always just be eternally grateful for legalization. but, turns out they are americans like the rest of us. working class or poorer, and repub policies only punish them.

continue to say no. continue the half circle of old white hairs surrounding a microphone - speaking out against democrats. ppl are waking up and saying “you are not bringing anything to the table”. they are now realizing that those commercials are paid for by big businesses like wellpoint, bigpharma, etc. and what grandma needs is affordable medications. to think you are “gloating” over obama’s polls. he just won the nobel peace prize. funny, you have a very short memory of positives for obama, but a wealth of memories for the slant against him. oh and by the way, that dreadful gov’t run cash for clunkers didn’t work? how bout a 1 billion dollar 3rd quarter for ford. shame that program didn’t work, shame it was a total disaster.

and what is the republican take on global warming? or climate change? still not real. check out the weather channel. hundreds of record breaking this or record shattering that. but nothing needs to change. kind of like health care right? tune into reality.

you rock stephen, way to keep your cool. marysdude, he pushed my buttons the wrong way too.

Posted by: bluebuss at November 2, 2009 4:13 PM
Comment #290173

Craig Holmes-
I think I already addressed this issue. Most of the deficit is either inherited costs and programs from the Bush administration, or due to the fall in revenues created by the recession. Ten percent of the deficit is new spending by Obama, seven percent of it being Stimulus package money, which is arguably doing its job, but which also isn’t a permanent feature of the budget.

97% of this legacy you blame Obama for comes from Bush, the glorious leader your party is still in denial about.

The Alarm of doom is about scapegoating a Democrat for a Republican’s spending. It’s about blaming a Democrat for an economy that is largely the result of regulatory and economic policies pushed by the Republicans.

Yes, I know, Democrats hopped on board. But in that time, if you were honest, you would likely have seen the Republicans jump to take credit for the policies that are now considered the cause of much of our economic troubles, and they would would have called their Democratic Party colleagues bipartisan and reasonable for the support of the policies.

But now, your people hide behind them, as if to say, “Everybody was doing it!”

Your people were the trendsetters in politics. Operators like Bill Clinton were working with a paradigm that very much factored in Reagan’s influence on the electorate, and that only became more pronounced when the Republicans took over Congress.

We started out moderate here. We started out very much aware that our party was working with centrists and former Republicans. Republicans, though, insisted on a return to the politics of the campaign, seeking to divide the country, and carve away the support of independents and Republicans.

Look at the election in NY-23. Your people forced out Moderate Republican who worked well with the district, and knew it, in favor of a guy who calls Glenn Beck a mentor.

Where’s your party going? How much more purification can it stand before it completely alienates everybody else but the folks who think The 5,000 Year Leap is classic literature?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 2, 2009 4:45 PM
Comment #290175

Craig,

I’ve pointed this out before, but I’ll try again:

Assuming that everything you say is true, i.e., Democrats are failing in the polls, and a dire future is in store for America if we do not somehow conform to a path you draw for us. How long would it take to change course, and how do we know your course would not be as unpopular as the one we are on? You keep saying we should moderate…moderate what? Drop the health care reform in favor of what? Work directly on the economy without including health care reform, how? We have an administration that is trying to solve several very large problem. Those problems are large because administrations previous have not dared approach them because it was not ‘politically expedient’. If not now, when?

Posted by: Marysdude at November 2, 2009 4:58 PM
Comment #290179

Marysdude:

I think you should have stayed focused on the economy and passed some a more modest health care reform bill and take up more health care in a few years.

If you look at the Gallup poll, Americans want health care reform, just not the one the democrats are pushing right now. It’s too much too soon. There are all kinds of medical issues that you could get bipartisan support on that you could pass fast and stay focused on the economy.

I know you have said that you can’t take on the economy without taking on healthcare reform. You are talking long term. I am fully aware that without bending the curve we are bankrupt. But please be equally aware that when a person is loosing their job or loosing their home they want you focused on the shorter term picture.

In terms of “if not now when,” that comes up because the left wants fundamental health care reform. It’s important to you. It’s not all that important to the rest of America. IF you are not liberal, there are many priorities that are as high or higher.

This is being pushed now, not because America is demanding it, but because politically the left feels (rightly) that if they don’t push it now, they wont ever have the votes to get er done in the future. Problem is that as tomorrows elections will show they are bringing it one themselves.

You might see a huge change after tomorrow. Blue dogs will see the results, and the health care debate could be changed, dramatically toward where the people are which is something smaller with broader appeal.

I think there are just about as many people in America that would rather have no Health reform this year, than support the democratic plan.

The political landscape changes tomorrow anyway. Right now moderates in your party are playing a weak hand because of Obama’s victory. With a near GOP sweep tomorrow, moderates in your party will have every reason to say to the left, listen to us or risk loosing the majority in 2010.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 2, 2009 6:33 PM
Comment #290181

Stephen:

NY-23 is suppose to tell us what? The Democrat is loosing and a conseravative candidate is winning!! So Republicanism is on the ropes because the most conservative candidate is winning. I’m missing your point. If Democrats win tomorrow then I accept your point as valid.

The lest is really holding on to the past, like the Republicans did with Clinton. Hold on to our hatred as long as we can. The problem is that elections are about the future and right now the future with the left looks too scary. So the world looks like it is going to change tomorrow, and I think for the better. Blue dogs in your party will be far more worried about 2010 than they are today.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 2, 2009 6:41 PM
Comment #290183

Well, the way I see it, it all boils down to we must remain status quo in order to fulfill your prophesy. Isn’t that what got us here in the first place? Thanks for nothing…

Posted by: Marysdude at November 2, 2009 10:18 PM
Comment #290186

Craig Holmes-
If, last year, we had put five hundred billion into the economy via a stimulus package of some kind, we might have avoided a great deal of economic trouble, and kept up the demand in this country, instead of letting it plummet.

Sometimes, you can’t wait until the public comes around to do something. You have to do it now.

Healthcare costs are going up another ten percent this next year. Yet you say, wait! Well, when everybody really wants it, how bad will things be?

Bush always waited until he had no other choice but to do something, until he had no choice but to take another position. Result: many of the problems we now deal with at great expense, and with great risk of failure.

The Republicans want to maintain Bush’s strategy it seems, not dealing with a potential crisis until it’s actual. Problem is, at that point, it’s difficult, if not impossible to undo the damage.

The Left is very eager to leave the past behind. Very eager to change this country. They’re not at all happy with the stalling of the Obama agenda. They want action. Some don’t, but they’re mainly on the right of the party. They’re the ones flirting with, if not threatening joining a Republican filibuster.

The ultimate thing, though, is that the right is fighting tooth and nail to keep things from changing. What else is this Tea Party stuff about? Why else are even mainstream Republicans helping to maintain the political blockade?

What makes NY-23 significant is that you’re seeing a moderate Republican tossed aside by the party for a literally Glenn Beck loving tool of the far right. Literally, a tool; the guy’s a carpetbagger in the district, backed by outsiders through a third party.

Now tell me, do their politics, the politics that have come to dominate your party, sell well to the average American? With your party experiencing 20% identification in recent pollings, I don’t think so.

Democrats won 2006 and 2008 by being generous in their allowances for the politics of their candidates. Some of that’s come back to haunt us a little bit, but despite that, we are still very likely to keep our majorities with that mix, because we don’t just appeal to our base.

What’s more, you can gradually move people closer to the base’s politics, if you’re patient. So, a robust mix is a good long term strategy.

The Republicans have decided to purify the party and maintain a dogmatic orthodoxy for the party in general. Eject the moderates, the liberals of your delegation, replace them with Far Right Friends of Sarah and Michelle.

That’s your plan. That’s how you’re aiming to reach independents, disaffected former Republicans, and Conservative Democrats: intensify the partisanship of a party that’s already seen as too far right for eighty percent of Americans.

But I do agree Blue Dogs are not going to do well, if they keep their current course. Their fundraising has dried up, and neither side likes them. They’re the prime targets for replacement by Republicans, the low-hanging fruit, and for the Democrats, the low hanging pinatas, the people they can blame for the slowing of Obama’s agenda.

But really, by making them the determining votes, Republicans put them in that position as it is. Either way, the Blue Dogs are bound to see more attrition than any other part of the Democratic Delegation.

Republicans put them on the spot, and not in a good way, and not at a good time.

What they should have done was cultivate relationships with them, perhaps made a few moderate Republican converts. Negotiate, rather than try and steal the whole pie. Republicans instead decided that they wanted everything back.

I would tell them, nows not the time. You got to let people cool off, forget. Let time heal the wounds, and meanwhile, get back into practice at being good at policy. Politically forced outcomes like this rarely work out well, because people still want the same things, at the end of the day, that led folks to dump your party in the first place.

Republicans must learn to deal with the dynamics of political persuasion, and learn to deal with it by doing substantive good, rather than employing this endless spin approach, with optimism fed by unwarranted optimism about the party’s chances.

If you’re going to elect folks like Hoffman, prepare to see a long slow Recovery.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 3, 2009 12:33 AM
Comment #290193

the neo-con’s have chosen hoffman to run. he is not even living in the district if reports are correct. there is a major difference between republicans, and neo-con’s, and holmes i believe you understand this. everyone else does.

republican stratigist are listening to talking heads. drug addicted talking heads. they have forced the moderate out. after spending millions of dollars on her, they have replaced her. i feel i am watching this party self destruct, although i am enjoying it, it is very puzzling. how do you go from funding/supporting a candidate and 6 months later force her out? just seems like too many back door meetings have taken place - too many secretive discussions - too much nonsense.

nonsense: virginia foxx stated obama health care is worse than terrorists. on a day where america was introduced to a ship built w/steel from wtc, “obamacare” is worse than the terrorists that destroyed those buildings. once again repubs are out of touch w/reality.

and, for those who crossed party lines to vote for obama in primaries - you reap what you sow. he could have never done it without your support.

Posted by: bluebuss at November 3, 2009 11:04 AM
Comment #290195

and, in 2 years, we will hear from repubs that the economy was “turning around” when obama took office. that he had done nothing, that bush had already put in measures to secure the country and it’s economy. spin spin spin. you see, get it out there before it is too late, obama may get credit for something. nip nip nip it in the bud.

Posted by: bluebuss at November 3, 2009 11:37 AM
Comment #290201

Stephen:

You consistently present politics as an either or proposition. Either we are with you are Rush Limbaugh. The country is with neither you (liberals) or Rush Limbaugh.

Right now the country is fighting you and liberals because you are bringing the country too far left and too fast. Just as the country was fighting against Bush and the Repubican congress a few years ago.

So it is likely that if you keep the house and the Senate in 2010, Obama will be a one termer. The dial is being moved right not because they want conservatives in power instead of you, but because Americans want the balance of power closer to the middle. So while you are fighting an either or battle with Rush Limbaugh, America is playing both of you off against each other depending on the voters needs.

Right now the voters want the budget deficit to come down and a more modest health care proposal than is currently in the house and senate. Because you are saying “we have the power, and we wont have this opportunity to pass what we think the country needs” instead of saying “this is what the country wants and we work for them”, you are going to be loosing power over the next few years.

The battle between yourself and the far right is your battle not mine, so I don’t need to respond to the “Repubulicans are the devil themselves” mentality. The left is not better than Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck it is just diffent names, and a different media, as in moveon.org and acorn.

What do you do with a far left and a far right that is in a death spriral? keep them both on a short leash and do your best to play one off against the other. You and the left have been useful in firing George Bush. Now it’s time to fire Nancy Pelosi!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 3, 2009 1:38 PM
Comment #290205

you don’t need to respond at all. you have that right. no one is forcing you to log on.

as for firing bush? what do you mean. his term limit expired. thank God!

stephen is not far left, i am.

Posted by: bluebuss at November 3, 2009 3:54 PM
Comment #290206

bluebuss:

Thank you for responding. America doesn’t have to accept the premise of the current political debate. I listened to Rush Limbaugh’s rant about the New York race. It’s some proof of his point somehow.

I think the political needle has gone too far left. I also think most voters think so as well. So right now Conservatives will win over liberals for a while. Where Rush is wrong is that conservatives are the sole area of all truth.

America is center right. Actually I’m center right. For instance I’m pro gay rights but opposed to Gay Marriage. Shoot me. I’m for health care reform but against the plans currently in Congress. Shoot me.

The best times we have had in my lifetime where between 1995 and 2000. We had a Democratic President and a Republican Congress. We balanced the budget, and got some incremental things done.

In order for America to do well, we need to get the political needle back toward the middle.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 3, 2009 4:10 PM
Comment #290208

Craig,

1995 - 2000…isn’t that when GLB was passed into law? You may have enjoyed those years, but you are paying for them as we speak. Our current President is trying very hard to fix this thing before it is too late, and you still advocate slowing down. Nothing ever gets fixed in the ‘slow down’. Status que just ain’t cuttin’ it.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 3, 2009 4:28 PM
Comment #290210

we are not going to slow down. we are not. we will push forward and try to CHANGE america for the better.

as for shooting you, don’t own guns, don’t like guns, but not trying to take your guns either. so, you can tell everyone to stop buying all the bullets, no one is touching your guns, grandma, or bible.

Posted by: bluebuss at November 3, 2009 4:33 PM
Comment #290212

Marysdude:

Yes there were problems from 1995 to 2000 like gridlock for one. Yes GLB was passed and signed by Clinton. Also welfare reform!! Nafta was passed in 1993.

On balance Republicans would not allow a democrat to spend. Republicans have no problem letting a fellow republican spend. Also, Clinton would not allow tax cuts. So basically over time the budget got balanced.

So in terms of preventing what the CBO calls “dire”, a split government is the best formula that I know of to accomplish such a task.

What is your best idea??

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 3, 2009 6:35 PM
Comment #290213

bluebuss:

You are trying hard to make America a better place for liberals. Last I checked the American people are not with you anymore on your agenda. At least they are moving away very quickly.

I do think you will press ahead no matter what the American people want because you have the votes, or think you do anyway.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 3, 2009 6:37 PM
Comment #290215

Marysdude:

Here is what I am talking about:

Perhaps most striking – though simply confirmatory of national polls – were views on the economy. A vast 90 percent in New Jersey and 85 percent in Virginia said they’re worried about the direction of the nation’s economy in the next year; majorities, 55 percent and 53 percent, respectively, said they’re “very” worried about it.

In Virginia, voters who expressed the highest levels of economic concern supported McDonnell by a very wide margin, 73-26 percent. Moreover, 46 percent called the economy the single top issue in their vote, far and away No.1, and those economy voters favored McDonnell over Deeds by a 10-point margin in preliminary results. (An additional 14 percent called taxes their top issue – and those voters went for McDonnell by a far broader margin.)

A full ninety percent are focused on the economy and Dems are focused on healthcare.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 3, 2009 8:22 PM
Comment #290227

Obama is in trouble:

Meanwhile, a new CNN poll found Obama’s approval rating dropping from 58-40 percent in September to 54-45 percent now. The 45 percent disapproval figure ties the previous high recorded in late August.

On health care, where the current bills promote massive abortion funding, Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the issue by a 57-42 percent margin.

That is the lowest total the CNN poll has recorded since the health care debate began and is a dramatic shift from the 51-47 approval rating Obama had on health care in mid September.

The CNN poll found the number of people who say Obama’s policies have been too liberal is up to 42 percent, its highest recorded total yet.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 4, 2009 9:27 AM
Comment #290248

Craig Holmes-
I would settle for you rejecting Limbaughs politics, even if you maintain your principled objections to mine.

Politics isn’t merely about your positions, it’s about how you compromises, for compromise people must. I utterly oppose a politics that leaves no room for compromise on its side, but demands endless compromise from everybody else.

Right now the country is fighting you and liberals because you are bringing the country too far left and too fast. Just as the country was fighting against Bush and the Repubican congress a few years ago.

That’s what you claim. But then how do you explain Hoffman losing to Owens in NY-23? And how is it that a party that’s not throwing lifelines to its moderates expecting to win back all the seats it’s lost, in the Senate or the House?

And just how is a guy polling over fifty percent in trouble? Even in the states where yesterday’s election supposedly represented a repudiation of Obama, Obama still polls a majority in both places.

You’re acting as if everybody who could vote did. They didn’t. You’re acting as if everybody knew exactly what they were voting for on the other side. They didn’t. And lastly, you’re acting as if this is all a reaction against Obama. But none such reaction exists.

Personality plays a role in Virginia, but so does the fact that Creigh Deeds more or less failed to thrill the Democrats in that state with his abandonment of the national party’s priorities. Significant amounts of his Demographics just stayed home.

And New Jersey? Well, Corzine wasn’t very popular at that point, polling in the thirties. Not every part of a vote is a referendum on the party. Sometimes people just can’t stand the candidate in question.

It would be dangerous, therefore, for your people to assume that these represent a Watershed moment, especially since both national special elections, for Ellen Tauscher’s district, and one that went Republican every election since the Civil War, went to us.

As far as Healthcare goes, I will repeat what I’ve said: Obama should handle this before it becomes top priority. This and the other potential fodder for national crisises. Because it is the typical, wrongheaded political approach to wait to resolve these problems until something fails, until the problem gets out of control.

We waited on bailout and stimulus for the economy, and the problem got bigger. We waited on Healthcare reform from when we tackled it last in 1993. Problem got bigger. We waited on dealing with the direction on strategy in Iraq until the problem was intolerable. We waited to do something about conditions in New Orleans until it was a national embarrassment.

Wait, wait, wait, wait. That’s all I hear from Republicans nowadays in terms of dealing with things. Has it occured to you that waiting until these problems become huge is what makes it so damn difficult to settle for moderate remedies to head them off?

Problem headed off in time are cheaper problem than those left to fester, and Republicans, loath to apply big govenrment solutions, just let things fester. So pardon me if I don’t follow that advice on Healthcare. Pardon me if I don’t ask my president to gut his party support, and the support for the folks in Congress, by failing to pass Healthcare reform.

As for the economy?

1) We’ve already done something, and the Stimulus bill will continue to give things. The only problem may be that it was too small.

2) We can always do something additional later, especially given the fact we don’t have ideological roadblocks on the matter.

3) We can always easily make the case that Republicans are doing less than nothing on the matter, that they’re blocking things. Then where does the economic question go.

Obama is more popular at this point than Clinton was. I know you mean well, but quit with the prophecies of doom. I’ve seen bad, and this isn’t bad yet.

And what the hell is this?

On health care, where the current bills promote massive abortion funding, Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the issue by a 57-42 percent margin.

Where are you getting this crap from? NO bill promotes massive abortion funding.

I think the Republicans are tinkling in the pool, and then asking why the water quality isn’t great. The whole point of the past year’s politicking is to force inaction and then blame Obama for it, forcing down polls.

But then what? What is your party’s plan? What will it do to improve things, and thereby relieve whatever tensions could put them right back where they started? You have people’s attention, and you’re creating doubt, but you’ve got nothing for them to truly put their faith in, and that is the fatal flaw in your plan, because we can come back and defend our plan, expand our policies, and push an actual something people can see, instead of just monkeying around in the world of political rhetoric.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 4, 2009 4:22 PM
Comment #290252

massive abortion funding, death panels for grandma. come on. doesn’t it even get old for you to keep prattling on about these scare tactics. is this all you have? what are the solutions? where is the right? these are valid questions, america is asking (not to mention stephen, and marysdude).

it is time for obama to grow a pair, and call these blow hard repubs out. he’s a little too nice for me. i guess that’s why he won the peace prize, and i didn’t.

regarding the election. dems picked up seats in washington. that is what counts to me. nj and va’s gov does not affect me or my life. so, this massive obama revolt - not so much. the way i look at it, it is a clear signal from americans that they do not want republicans in dc. it’s ok for them to lead the state, but to send them to dc is not happening.

Posted by: bluebuss at November 4, 2009 5:08 PM
Comment #290261

Stephen:

Where are you getting this crap from?

From CNN. That is pretty funny.

On Rush Limbaugh, he doesn’t speak for me. Don’t want the far right to control things either. However I will say that I hope conservatives increase in number to provide a better balance.

What I took out of last night’s vote was a confirmation of something I have been saying in our debates. That the country is fixated on the economy while you on the left are fixated on health care. And that it is hurting your chances of staying in power.

As for the NY race, it is obvious Democrats won because Republicans were divided. But the broader picture shows the electorate moving away from the left. The exit polls showed deep concern about the economy in the next year or two. Also deep concern about intrusion of government.

Indirectly it was a referendum on Obama. It’s classic Obama. “We like Obama but we don’t want big government”. So while Obama remains in the 50’s the approval of his policies is in the 40’s and falling.

Do you know that now almost as many Americans blame Obama as blame Bush for the economy?
You knock Rasmussen polls but they were pretty accurate last night with NJ!!

Here are the poll numbers:

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/october_2009/49_blame_bush_for_economy_45_blame_obama

So although Obama is still in the low 50’s overall, he is in the 40’s on his signiture issue health care as reported in a CNN poll.

The biggest issue in the eyes of the voters is overwelmingly the economy, and your party rightly or wrongly is nearing equal blame.

You made a comment about my being opposed to your policies. You used a nice term “principled objections”. thank you.

I don’t think your beliefs about the role of government are right or wrong in and of themselves. I’m not opposed to health care for all for instance.

At the root I don’t think most Americans want government as big as you and the far left do. The left is comfortable with a far larger role of the federal government that voters want. Now in a crisis they want big government (Katrina), but they want an exit strategy.

I have a question for you. You may not accept the premise of the question, and that is fair and fine.

I think last night changes a great deal in what you can get through Congress because of fear that what happened in VA and NJ will spread and Democrats will loose large numbers of seats next fall.

Do you think Democrats will choose to “strike while the iron is hot” and get as much through as they can, or moderate and pivot away from key issues (for the left) like climate change and health care, and move more to the middle and try to protect against losses in 2010?


Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 4, 2009 7:18 PM
Comment #290264

bluegrass:

You have asked a very fair question.

First of all the abortion quote was from CNN. I am not making a point on abortion but rather that Obama is in trouble because his approval rating is below 50% on his signiture issue health care.

Because of the economic crisis we are in, I think the best course is to table comprehensive health care reform and instead pass a series of bills that have broad bipartisan appeal.

I think it very unwise to raise taxes in these times. As important as health care is, it’s a trillion dollar tax increase that we can’t afford right now. I understand Obama says that it is to be deficit nuetral. But that isn’t good enough when he is planning already to have deficits that are not sustainable.

We have to bring the fiscal budget back into line first then look at Obama’s agenda and see what we can do.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 4, 2009 7:47 PM
Comment #290284

fixated on healthcare? oh, so cash for clunkers that was healthcare? extending unemployment, bailing out companies we do not want to, i guess that is healthcare too.

it is nice that the talking points of the repubs this week is now the deficit. pointing out “obama’s deficit” is very self serving for the repubs. we all know that this is w’s mess.

dems: we need a public option healthcare for uninsured americans.

repubs: they can’t run the programs they have now. there is rampant fraud, waste, and overbilling.

dems: we will cut fraud, overbilling, and waste.

repubs: they want to cut benefits to seniors.

me: continue banging head against wall.

Posted by: bluebuss at November 5, 2009 9:57 AM
Comment #290291

bluebuss:

Must be frustrating. Right now Independents are moving right for some reason.

What do you think the reason is?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 5, 2009 12:54 PM
Comment #290294

i don’t think independents are moving to the right. i stated above that voters are willing to give local jobs to repubs but to the national posts, those are still going to the dems. that would mean a split tix, and those are moderates, or independents. assuming, that repubs and dems are voting straight tix.

Posted by: bluebuss at November 5, 2009 2:57 PM
Comment #290299

bluebuss:

Here is the latest polling data from Gallup:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/120857/conservatives-single-largest-ideological-group.aspx

Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 5, 2009 3:42 PM
Comment #290335

Craig,

You keep trying to sell me on how my party is falling in the polls, and failing in policy changes. It is because some of the policy changes are unpopular that the polls are lagging. It takes strong leadership to maintain headway under these circumstances, but the changes are necessary if we do intend to make headway. There can be no economic recovery without health care reform…I don’t care how unpopular that is, it is still the necessary political action. Your party has shown its cowardice in its inability to do what is right for the American people. The future will pay the price if you succeed in stalling us. It’s a petty ploy in a serious war for the survival of our nation, and that is why the same polls you refer to do not show a bounce for Republicans…pettiness is not pretty.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 6, 2009 9:11 AM
Comment #290409

that is right marysdude. why is craig trying so hard to sell us on polls? i speak to many americans daily, and they are not w/the loud town hollers, many find them distasteful. they know healthcare needs reformed, their own families are facing the effects of out of control healthcare industry. the veil is lifting. americans on both side see the need for reform.

baffling us w/brilliance? no at all. so don’t fill us w/bulls*&t either. democrats are quite content on the changes we are making. we know we may take hits in the polls. but we are pushing on. we know ppl are resistant to change, but we will continue to do what is right for america.

gov’t takeover? no, it is now gov’t protection. they are protecting the weak, and ill. and someone should. no morals from the “moral majority”? did those run out in 1996 - i see right drop that schtick all together.

Posted by: bluebuss at November 7, 2009 12:56 PM
Comment #290459

bluebuss,

Craig and the others are at a loss… they don’t want to admit they were wrong about the economy, they don’t want to admit they were wrong about health care reform and its affect on the economy, and they don’t want to admit the free market system without at least a little restraint is not really a free market. That’s a lot of being wrong to swallow, but swallow it they must, or they will fall out the bottom. It is a shame too, because we need them as a balance to our exuberances, but not at the cost of failing the country, and THAT seems to be what they really want.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 8, 2009 4:06 PM
Comment #290485

marysdude - you are so right. i am with you in thinking that they really want the u.s. to fail. not just obama, but all of america, and americans. republicans have allowed us to be attacked, lead us into wars on known lies, bullied our democrats in congress, bullied american ppl who did not agree w/bush. laughed at us, and stolen our 401 k’s.

are these the actions of an american political party? maybe conservatisim = communism. sure doesn’t sound like patriotic americans. or hell even someone on americas side.

Posted by: bluebuss at November 9, 2009 8:51 AM
Comment #290500

Yeah…they have attacked Social Security and Medicare at every opportunity and on every front…then they holler as loud as they can and as often as they can about how these two wonderful social programs are failing…go figure…

Posted by: Marysdude at November 9, 2009 12:18 PM
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