Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why the GOP Is Going to Win in November

Because this is apparently the Democratic electoral strategy.

Color me stunned.

You get elected with a mandate for change, and then proceed to make minor, incremental changes that your political opponents use to cast you as a communist, fascist, Kenyan anti-colonial Muslim. Clinton had a more progressive record. Hell, Eisenhower probably had a more progressive record.

You withdraw, expecting blind support from your own side while leaving the debate to your political opponents, because you think if you are nice to them, they will stop acting like lunatics. You think that the American people will turn in disgust from their lunacy without you having to do anything, even though that flies in the face of every historical indication of American culture.

You allow revisions of the last 10 years of history to go unchallenged. Your administration embarasses itself by firing an official because some right-wing yahoo cuts and pastes video clips of her "racist" speech about overcoming racism. Then you allow the Democrats to throw Freedom of Religion under the bus because they are scared to stand for what is right against the onslaught of Republican demagougery. And that's just the politics.

On policy, you step back while the Pelosi/Reid situation in Congress gives us a politically disasterous, confusing and meekly submitted stimulus; a confusing health care plan that removes the majority of real progressive reform; Gitmo remains open, and the plan to actually bring the terrorists to trial has faltered; we double down in Afganistan without really doing what needs to be done to win that conflict; we leave 50,000 troops and a host of defense contractors in Iraq; some of the worst excesses of the drug war and the war on terror continue unabated. Don't Ask, Don't Tell, despite broad support for repeal, remains - even politically gamed to a defense spending bill.

Let me be clear - if I have to defend the Health Care Bill because it was originally a "conservative" idea, there's a reason your supporters aren't up for this go-round in November. Not a single one of your opponents voted for the bill, and yet it was their think tanks that proposed most of it. One of their Presidential candidates from the last go-round made something like this happen in Massachusetts with the help of their new Senator from Massachusetts. That was basically their bill, without disbanding Medicare and Medicaid to pay for it.

That means THEY got THEIR legislation passed while THEY were in the MINORITY and NOT A ONE OF THEM VOTED FOR IT.

Almost every time THEY have complained, this adminstration, with a majority in the House and the Senate, has backtracked. And you wonder why your own voters aren't motivated?

But at least we aren't torturing people for information anymore. Or so we hope. Not that anyone responsible for that repugnant behavior will ever be held accountable, we just chalk that up as another dark episode in America's history of dark episodes. Such is the price we pay for being the diminishing envy of the world.

On taxes, there is no urgency to revise the Bush Tax Plan to some reality-recognizing structure that may stop the government subsidization of the uberwealthy.

Our nation is facing fundamental challenges. Our economy has been unsustainable for nearly a generation now, and you're doing all you can to tinker with those changes so no one gets upset. That kind of consensus building might work when everyone is ready to accept reality and work towards real goals, but it absolutely fails when roughly half the electorate is foaming at the mouth to deny reality - and you entertain their concerns as legitimate while acting like your own supporters are the problem.

And on the Supreme Court you give us Elena Kagan. I sure hope you're right about that one, because I'm still scratching my head.

I'm not even ready to discuss the government reaction to the BP Oil Spill in any rational manner. My only solace in the administration's behavior regarding that situation comes from the deep faith that McCain/Palin would have made decisions far more destructive.

So, congratulations on being the least worst.

Did you actually believe that "Dear Leader/Obama is the Messiah" narrative that right-wing talk radio said about your supporters? Did you think we'd be happy just because you're you and your policies are a little better than Bush?

How does it feel that the majority of the electorate, in 2010, is going to go to the polls to vote directly against the "change" the vast majority voted for in 2008? How does it feel knowing the majority of your supporters will stay home and let the lunatics win the day? Maybe you'll think about that the next time you chose to leave your own supporters with their asses in the wind because you'd rather play ball with a GOP that wants nothing more than your destruction.

And you need to talk to those idiot Democrats in the House and Senate that can't understand the term "majority."

Don't get me wrong. I still support your administration. I knew you would deliver pragmatic reforms that would leave both extremes wanting. I recognize those changes you have made, and they are the Change I Still Believe In. I remain disappointed at the changes you have not made, especially the ones that should have been walks in the park. You've gotten an awful lot done in two years, but a lot of it isn't enough.

Thanks for the credit card thing, too.

You have to learn that there are political consequences to taking votes for granted. Don't worry, this has been a problem with Democrats for as long as I can remember.

You have to learn that there are political consequences to letting the other side control the debate, especially when their talking points have more to do with the Land of Make Believe and Playing Revolution than acknowledging reality. It only works when there are two competing narratives. Lunacy is only exposed when placed next to reality. You won this public debate resoundingly in 2008, so I know you know how.

And never, ever underestimate the majority eroding consequence of running ethically suspect Democrats for Congress.

But ignoring these political consequences by scolding your own supporters after the last two years, and telling us to "quit whining," is as tone-deaf and reality-denying as your most rabid opponents' wet dreams. Maybe when you wake up on that November morning to find your pragmatic, centrist agenda in ashes will you realize that ralling your own side isn't just something to do five weeks before an election.



(Update: Saturday, October 2. Welcome, Levees Not War readers. If I feel this way as a pragmatic, just-left-of-true-center Democratic voter, I can't imagine how y'all liberal Democrats feel.

Though maybe you're feeling better after Obama's Gen44 speech on Thursday night.

.

11 comments:

jerztronics said...

Someday in the future people come around to my way of thinking and realize if you're for the 'left', or the 'right', then you are in for a lifetime of disappointment. They are both corrupt and feed on each other to keep the current system in place and the masses at bay.

Sadly, true debate and solutions are few and far between and the sources of either coming from a Dem or Rep is diminishing to an exponential rate. And once the people as a whole can separate themselves from the attatchment they feel to their respective team, true debate is a far way off.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Let us not drift down the path of false-equivalency. Democrats and Republicans are disappointing, but they are disappointing for specific reasons.

Our society has a few fundamental flaws undermining it right now. While both parties actively participate in replicating those flaws, only one of the parties actually celebrates and markets itself as a vehicle for those flaws.

And there is, of course, the most disappointing statistic of all: the easiest way to roll back government encroachment, address these fundamental flaws, and force both parties not to be such disappointments is to get involved at the local and state levels.

Local and state governments hold far more power over your daily life than the characters in our national telenovela filmed in Washington.

We don't need to play revolution any more than we need to wait for a President to hand-deliver Hope and Change. Most citizens can do that themselves, without leaving their counties.

alli said...

I'm going to let Digby explain why it's important to vote for the Democratic Party, for the time being:

"I am from the Stephen Colbert 'Keep Fear Alive' school which says that this crop of looney tunes Republicans are the most radical throwbacks we've ever seen and that it's important to keep them away from the reins of power. That's as good a reason for voting as I can imagine, so I'm not sure what more it takes. I'm sorry that we can't all be ecstatically singing along to a Will.I.Am video this time, but these just aren't inspirational good times. Right now it's about stopping something very ugly and bad rather than feeling all gooey and good. And that's an important part of politics too. It isn't all Oprah and hugging strangers in crowds."

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

That's why it is so important to have a reality-based Republican Party expressing well thought, legitimate concerns with government. The current Looney Toons Version of the GOP allows the Democrats to govern with the least amount of effort and thought, and taking votes for granted because "look at the alternative."

Thing is, you don't win elections by being the least worst option. Every time the Democrats try that, they lose and the GOP moves further from reality. That dynamic has absolutely kneecapped effective government for a generation.

Dante said...

I'm not worried about the Looney Tunes Republicans. I won't vote for them, but we have a Constitution that prevents them from doing the things I keep hearing horror stories about. We have no such Constitutional protections against increased taxes, drunken-sailor government spending policies, and blind power grabs. For putting such stock in reason, you seem awfully afraid of the other side exercising power it simply doesn't have.

DADvocate said...

the government subsidization of the uberwealthy.

Just to be sure, tax breaks for the uberwealthy is not government subsidization of the uberwealthy. It's a lowering of the uberwealthy subsidizing government.

They are both corrupt and feed on each other to keep the current system in place and the masses at bay.

Amen, especially regarding the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Concerning the stimulus programs, it struck me, with all the talk of re-distributing wealth, that the stimulus attempts so far have just been redistributing money from rich people to other rich people. I sure haven't seen any middle class or lower classes getting any significant amounts.

For all the talk about Looney Tunes Republicans (such an insult to the great Looney Tunes cartoons), what's crazier voting for a woman who "dabbled" in witchcraft as a teenager and believes masturbation is sinful, like millions of other Christians, or someone who believes in "increased taxes, drunken-sailor government spending policies, and blind power grabs"?

Local and state governments hold far more power over your daily life than the characters in our national telenovela filmed in Washington.

Control at all levels is beyond what is should be. Dante mentions our Constitutional protections but creative interpretation is diminishing those.

patsbrother said...

Wait. What are y'all talking about? Is there an election this year?

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ Dante: we have a Constitution that prevents them from doing the things I keep hearing horror stories about.

I'll start by referring you here.

I'll continue by reminding you that the rights "guaranteed" by the Constitution have required constant agitation on the part of the people regarding their enforcement. We've seen several rollbacks of Constitutional liberty in our nation's history, so I don't put much stock in the "other side" simply throwing up their hands and letting the Constitution guide decisions on matters they are explicitly embedding in their platform.

Finally, after the last 10 years of watching executive branch lawyers brush aside Constitutional concerns against for abhorrent behavior on the part of the government, I'll take politicians at their word.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ DADV:

Just to be sure, tax breaks for the uberwealthy is not government subsidization of the uberwealthy.

When the government uses tax dollars to run roads, powerlines, water and sewer lines to real estate developments in the middle of nowhere so some wealthy developers can make some profit off land speculation, that's subsidizing the uberwealthy.

You make this point quite nicely:

the stimulus attempts so far have just been redistributing money from rich people to other rich people.

Which is one of the things that got me so angry about the stimulus, and that goes back to what I said about something being fundamentally unsound with our national economy: the "stimulus" was required to keep the uberwealthy from losing money so they'd keep spending.

Now, New Orleans got some good infrastructure out of that bill, to be sure, but a lot of that is to protect the investments already made here.

And based on past behavior, historical trends, and actual policy position papers, I have seen zero evidence that the attention-seeking, teenage witchcraft dabbling, anti-masturbation activist will go against the GOP's stated goals of hiding taxes, drunken sailor spending and power grabbing.

And while all levels of government are currently operating with too much power (on that, I think we all agree), local and state governments have a more direct affect on your day-to-day affairs, and can be most affected by your voice and activism.

Dante said...

"When the government uses tax dollars to run roads, powerlines, water and sewer lines to real estate developments in the middle of nowhere so some wealthy developers can make some profit off land speculation, that's subsidizing the uberwealthy."

Pat, as you're so fond of pointing out, this is largely a local issue. Our federal government builds Interstates and subsidizes US Routes but most roads, water, and sewer service is something local governments handle. That's where these sorts of backroom deals with land developers take place. What exactly does that have to do with their federal tax rates? Furthermore, what does that have to do with others making the same amount of money who make it by other means? The solution to this issue isn't a progressive tax rate. It's expecting land developers to pay the costs associated with developing their land. If it's not worth it for them to foot the bill for the necessary roads, water and sewage, then it's not worth developing the land.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

That one example is largely a local issue, but don't forget that Federal grants are issued for those types of projects as well. I can also run down the list of how government subsidization of certain industries and certain government contracting proceedures directly benefit the wealthy and well connected.

The theory behind the progressive tax rate is that those who have more are actually putting taxpayer funded infrastructure to use to make money at a greater rate.

If you're a lower-middle-class office worker, you use roads or mass transit to drive to a place of work to make money. The wealthy make far more money off the same roads when their company's trucks deliver goods to markets. While it is all connected, and in theory, everyone benefits (wealthy have to employ truck drivers, the lower-middle-class cats have to buy goods), a higher percentage of the money flows away from the bottom to the top based on that basic structure.

While I have no problem with the maximization of profit and return on investment, I also don't see unfairness arising from higher taxation of those who derive a greater benefit from the community investments. As long as that top marginal rate reflects a reality-based assessment, and we see a more robust return on tax dollars invested.

I still fail to see how a return to Clintonian taxation levels are this big of a deal.