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Mon Jan 23, 2012, 09:16 AM

Salon: When a party flirts with suicide

Monday, Jan 23, 2012 12:50 PM UTC

The last time GOP elites lost control of their nominating process, they got Barry Goldwater – and an epic landslide
By Steve Kornacki

Everything about Newt Gingrich screams “general election disaster.” He is burdened with far too much personal and ethical baggage, is far too prone to needlessly inflammatory and polarizing antics, and turns off far too many voters with his arrogance and unconcealed contempt for his opponents.

The three most recent national polls all show his unfavorable rating at or near 60 percent — more than double his favorable score.This mirrors what happened the last time Gingrich played such a prominent role on the national stage, when he claimed the House speakership after the 1994 election and promptly established himself as the country’s most despised public figure — the star of an estimated 75,000 Democratic attack ads in the 1996 campaign cycle. The more most people see of him, the less they like him.

So while it’s theoretically possible that Gingrich would somehow defy his reputation and overcome his worst tendencies in a fall campaign, George Will was probably on solid ground when he said in the wake of Gingrich’s South Carolina triumph: “All across the country this morning people are waking up who are running for office as Republicans, from dog catcher to the Senate, and they’re saying, ‘Good God, Newt Gingrich might be at the top of this ticket.’’

The good news for Will, who recently wrote that Gingrich “embodies the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive,” and other worried Republicans is that the former speaker’s breakthrough isn’t exactly unprecedented. Candidates widely seen as unelectable by their party’s elites have emerged during past primary seasons as threats to win the nomination, and the elites have generally managed to stop them. The question is whether they’re still capable of doing it in 2012 — or if the tricks they’ve mastered in the past few decades simply don’t work anymore.

Read the entire piece at Salon.com

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Arrow 43 replies Author Time Post
Reply Salon: When a party flirts with suicide (Original post)
City Lights Jan 2012 OP
jberryhill Jan 2012 #1
JoePhilly Jan 2012 #2
City Lights Jan 2012 #3
Responder3 Jan 2012 #43
russspeakeasy Jan 2012 #4
riverwalker Jan 2012 #5
Surya Gayatri Jan 2012 #13
Odin2005 Jan 2012 #42
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #6
tblue37 Jan 2012 #9
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #10
happyslug Jan 2012 #23
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #24
happyslug Jan 2012 #33
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #37
Doctor_J Jan 2012 #18
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #27
tblue37 Jan 2012 #39
MADem Jan 2012 #11
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #12
MADem Jan 2012 #14
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #17
Doctor_J Jan 2012 #19
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #22
MADem Jan 2012 #26
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #28
MADem Jan 2012 #34
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #38
Doctor_J Jan 2012 #21
MADem Jan 2012 #25
Doctor_J Jan 2012 #29
MADem Jan 2012 #30
Doctor_J Jan 2012 #31
MADem Jan 2012 #32
AnotherMcIntosh Jan 2012 #36
Kablooie Jan 2012 #7
WillyT Jan 2012 #8
blkmusclmachine Jan 2012 #15
DonCoquixote Jan 2012 #16
Doctor_J Jan 2012 #20
neverforget Jan 2012 #35
Doctor_J Jan 2012 #40
Odin2005 Jan 2012 #41

Response to City Lights (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 09:19 AM

1. Articles like this are just poking them with a stick


"I double dog dare you to nominate a crazy person"

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Response to City Lights (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 09:27 AM

2. I'm really enjoying George Will being upset about this ... after all, he helped cause it.

When the Tea Party suddenly appeared, each Sunday morning, George Will was on TV claiming that the Tea Party was a grass roots movement ... its wasn't the craziest and angriest of the GOP base ... no no ... it was a totally grass-roots movement of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats ... all of them sick of Obama.

He helped pump up the Tea Party nut jobs.

Now, those angry whack jobs are running amuck ... they love the angry, bitter, loudmouth Gingrich, because he's exactly like them.

Now the GOP establishment, which includes George Will, is flipping out.

Awesome.

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 09:54 AM

3. Yup.

I've stocked up on and for the remainder of this awesomely entertaining GOP primary season.

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Response to City Lights (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 02:33 PM

43. I don't eat popcorn but

 

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 10:11 AM

4. Well said, JoePhilly.

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 10:35 AM

5. exactly

the lunatics are in charge of the asylum, and George Will gave them the keys.

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 01:45 AM

13. Brilliant analysis of the Newt's appeal...

"Now, those angry whack jobs are running amuck ... they love the angry, bitter, loudmouth Gingrich, because he's exactly like them." BINGO!
SG

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Response to JoePhilly (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:22 PM

42. They created a monster, and it's fun to watch.

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Response to City Lights (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 11:19 AM

6. Getting someone like the opponent to Goldwater would be a good thing?

 

True, LBJ did some good things with respect to civil rights. But let's give JFK credit for his civil rights policies which ultimately were adopted by LBJ et al.

The problem with the Goldwater-LBJ comparison is that Goldwater was the real war candidate while LBJ, who was already engaging in military build up for the upcoming and planned Viet Nam war, expressly ran on a platform that he would not send American troops to fight on Asian soil.

We know how that turned out.

The problem with Gingrich running is that, even when he loses, it frees up Obama to any of the nutty things that Gingrich and the other Republicans want to the detriment of the country as a whole.

Please, name a policy that Obama adopted to the benefit of the country as a whole that the 1% did not want.

He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? That was originated in Congress by someone other than himself. His omission to oppose it did not mean that he was a moving force behind it.

Mandatory purchase of health insurance? That idea originated with Sen. Grassley, a REPUBLICAN Senator from Iowa.

He withdrew all troops from Iraq? All? Or all the uniformed troops?

What about recent activities, such as the approval (even if claimed to be reluctant approval) of Presidentally-approved assignations of Americans, indefinite detention with no recourse, silence in the face of the police brutalization of peaceful protestors exercising their First Amendment rights, etc. (Is it time for someone to pull out the list again?)

So he's not Gingrich? Please consider the lesson learned from the election of LBJ.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 08:13 PM

9. Obama *is* the Democratic candidate, regardless of whom the Republicans nominate.

Are you suggesting that we should not vote for the Democratic candidate (which would, of course, lead to the election of whichever awful candidate the Republicans finally nominate)?

Yes, Obama sometimes is not as liberal as one would wish, but I still think a lot of that has to do with the mess he inherited and obstructionism not just by Republicans, but also by supposed Democrats and that idiot Lieberman.

I do wish Obama would use the bully pulpit more effectively to push more liberal policies, and I also wish he would start from a better position rather than giving too much away at the beginning of a negotiation.

Nevertheless, he has accomplished quite a lot, and he will accomplish even more if we give him a stronger, more liberal Democratic majority in both houses (not that skimpy 59.5 in the Senate (Franken wasn’t seated for a long time) that included Lieberman and a lot of DINOs).

I would like to point out, too, that the LBJ you excoriate also signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which he helped push through Congress, and the Great Society programs that he deserves much of the credit for have done a lot for a lot of people.

LBJ and Obama are not the enemy, no matter how much some people might try to push the meme that they are. They are on our side, but not perfect and not perfectly effective.

Eric Alterman has a wonderful book, Kabuki Politics in which he describes the institutionalized aspects of our political system that make real change away from 1%-er goals toward 99%-er goals nearly impossible to achieve, even when a president really tries hard to achieve what the people of the 99% want. The answer is not to immediately cut our guy off at the knees when he doesn't give us what we want, but rather to elect more and more liberals at the lower levels (state and local), and to pack the two houses of congress with real liberals.

That takes time and effort. The right wing didn't win overnight. They played a long game, a decades-long game, to get where they are now. Even Ron Paul takes a long view. He knows he won't be president. He knows he can't even get media attention, no matter how well he does. But he also knows that he is starting a movement that will bear fruit in time.

We also need to take the long view and stop throwing away our best guy just because he is the best we have now, not the best we could possibly have if things were better in general. I would rather have someone like Dean, Clark, Grayson, Warren, or any one of a number of other true liberals shaping our policies--but my guess is that if we did have someone like that, he or she would be hamstrung by the system and its entrenched powers, and thus not able to do any better than Obama has done. In fact, most would probably not do as much as he has for us, simply because he is playing the long game.

Furthermore, the USSC is the reason why Citizens United is allowed to deform our politics even worse than it was before--and the next president will appoint at least 2 or 3 USSC justices. It is absolutely essential that we have no more like Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas on the USSC, so it is absolutely essential that Obama be re-elected. He is the only possible candidate to defeat whomever the Republicans nominate, so it is just wrong, wrong, wrong to strongly suggest that people shouldn't vote for him because LBJ escalated the Vietnam War. There are no other available choices: the next president will be Obama, or it will be some RW Republican yahoo who will appoint more like those guys to the USSC.

If we want someone more progressive than Obama to run and to have any chance of winning, then we must look to the future and lay the groundwork for such an outcome, the way Dean laid the groundwork for a nationwide race by contesting all 50 states, even though the Democratic establishment fought him tooth and nail over that plan and then rolled it back as much as they could as soon as they got rid of him as chairman. Abandoning our only presidential candidate in this cycle, as you seem to be suggesting, would not help us one iota in this cycle, but it would set us back enormously in terms of what we might achieve in future cycles.

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 09:23 PM

10. If you want a liberal candidate, you do not keep the candidate from knowing such views.

 

Of course, if you want a candidate to adopt a Republican-lite philosophy, you can keep quiet while the Republicans and tea-baggers make more noise.

Your reference to LBJ having "also signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964" is not new and does not add to the discussion. I already said that "LBJ did some good things with respect to civil rights." What he did with respect to Civil Rights does not excuse or rehabilitate his place in history with respect to the Viet Nam war. LBJ was wrong with respect to Viet Nam. Even up until recently before she died, his widow profited by being on the board of directors at Halliburton. As noted by the English press, "Lady Bird Johnson was Halliburton's largest individual shareowner after its merger with KBR (Boots and Coots) of Texas."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jun/08/dick-cheney-halliburton-supreme-court

LBJ did not get us into Viet Nam out of the goodness of his heart. He certainly rejected democratic principles when ran for office as the peace candidate and obtained an overwhelming victory over Goldwater and then engaged in a land war in Southeast Asia in a way that he said that he would not.

If you want a liberal candidate, you can either speak up or not. The choice is yours.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 02:25 PM

23. If you want to attack LBJ on Vietnam, get your facts straight.

Once it was decided to remove Diem from the office of the President of South Vietnam, the US was going into Vietnam with troops (Technically JFK never approved of killing Diem, but it was clear JFK knew that was possible and accepted that possibility). Even Ho Chin Minh saw that the US was going into Vietnam once Diem was killed (and Ho Chin Minh was the the President of NORTH Vietnam). The reason was quite simple, Diem was the only real political opposition to the Communists with any support among the peasants and working class people of South Vietnam. Without the support at least PARTS of those two groups, the Army of South Vietnam could NOT stop the Communists.

The US problem with Diem is his efforts to keep at least part of the peasantry and working class on his side, meant he had massive opposition from the money elites of South Vietnam who controlled most of the land which the peasants worked on. The money elites also owned most of the businesses in what was still an basically agricultural society.

In many ways the Viet Cong fight against the Government of South Vietnam was less a Marxist revolution then a traditional Asiatic Peasant revolt but this time lead by people who called themselves Communists. The fight for the support of the peasantry was more important then the actual fighting occurring, most of the fighting being the South Vietnamese moves to retake areas controlled by the Viet Cong, so that the South Vietnamese elite could collect their rents from the peasants (Who preferred to pay the much lower "Taxes" demanded by the Viet Cong). This continued after the US intervention, US Troops would go in, clear an area of the Viet Cong, and then the South Vietnamese Army would follow so that the Money Elites in Saigon could use the South Vietnamese troops to collect the rent NOT paid while the Viet Cong Controlled the area,

I give this background for Diem saw this as a problem and was addressing it, but in a way to make sure he received the support of the peasants for the change. Diem also knew (He was a Politician) that if he left US troops in, whatever he gave the peasants would be viewed as Diem's attempt to stop them from supporting the Viet Cong NOT as a grant of land to them from Diem. Thus Diem OPPOSED US Intervention, even as the Viet Cong was taking over more and more of South Vietnam. Diem knew that such gains were NOT important in the political game he was playing with the North, nor would re-taking such land help his long term efforts to hold onto South Vietnam.

On the other hand the ruling elites disliked the lost of income do to the increase in territories controlled by the Viet Cong. They wanted US intervention so they could retake those areas and get the money from the peasants working those fields. The US just saw the lost of control over huge sections of South Vietnam and wanted to intervene to prevent another Cuba (This is how Castro took over Cuba, sections by section of the Island of Cuba, but the real effort was to get the support of the peasants and working class people of Cuba, the taking over of sections of the Island was just a way to show the peasants and working class people that Castro was a SERIOUS threat to the controlling elite of Cuba).

Mao had done the same in China, i.e. take over sections of the Country to show he was a serious contender to rule the entire country. Mao imposed his plans for the entire country, more to show the peasants of China he was serious not just saying he supports what the peasants wanted. Survival and control over sections of the Country was just to show other CHinese Mao and his Communists were for what was best for the peasants and thus the peasants should support them.

Yes, if you understand Marxist revolutionary theory, the takeover of Cuba, China and later South Vietnam, were NOT Marxist communist revolts but traditional Asiatic peasants revolts. The problem was JFK and the CIA saw it as a Communist take over and demanded that any such revolt be smashed. JFK first choice was to use whatever local troops he could use, including any South Vietnamese force. That seems to have been JFK's position. Diem
s opposition to such intervention was the cause of Diem removal (and his assassination). LBJ seems to have been the only official in JFK's cabinet to understand what was happening in Vietnam and thus OPPOSED the coup that overthrew Diem. LBJ had been imposed on JFK as his VP in the 1960 convention and thus was the only non-JFK man in the administration but his advice was ignored.

Diem was removed form office days before JFK's own assassination, thus LBJ was left with the result of JFK's decision. The problem was as soon as LBJ was in charge, the situation in Vietnam started to go downhill. The Buddhist stopped their opposition (The Buddhists had been the excuse for the coup NOT the cause of the Coup, most were tied in with the land owning elite of South Vietnam) but the peasants working the land came out more and more for the Viet Cong. The Military situation deteriorated all during 1964, by 1965 it was clear, the US had to send in troops to stop the surge of the Viet Cong OR see the whole country under Viet Cong Control within two years.

Thus the worse case scenario that JFK had dismissed in 1963 was coming to pass AND when polls of Americans were taken, they supported sending in troops (The majority of Americans would support the War in Vietnam till the summer of 1968).

Thus in 1964 LBJ was caught between two hard points, he could NOT afford for South Vietnam to fall to the Communists, but the war in Vietnam had already been lost with the death of Diem. If LBJ left South Vietnam fall, the GOP would be all over him and the Democratic party for leaving another country fall to the Communists (It is forgotten now, but the GOP mantra of the 1950s was "Who lost China" pointing out the Democrats were in the White House when the Communists took over China, it was a constant attack on the Democrats as being in league with the Communists for the Communists to take over the US).

Thus LBJ looked at Vietnam as his albatross, he could NOT stay out, but it was sure to defeat him. All LBJ could do is delay the fall, hopefully till such time as the America People accept that Vietnam was lost after the Democrats had done everything possible to save Vietnam from the Communists. Thus the US pour money and troops into Vietnam because the American people not only support the war but demanded it, for the US was committed to stopping communism everywhere (going back to JFK's Speech on the subject). If Vietnam fell on his watch, the Democrats would take the blame. LBJ did try to work out a compromise, but Nixon in 1968 sent a letter to the then President of South Vietnam NOT to agree to anything, for if Nixon won the election, Nixon would give him better terms. Thus the negotiations stalled on ending the war in Vietnam (Nixon actually agreed to the same terms the North Vietnamese Government offered in 1968 in 1972, after Nixon finally forced the South Vietnamese Government to agree to those same terms).

Just pointing out, LBJ did all he could to make sure the Democrats did NOT get full blame for Vietnam. You may dislike how LBJ did it and disagree with him for doing so, but it kept the FDR Democratic Coalition together till Reagan (Humphrey would win Texas in 1968, the last time Texas went Democratic except for Carter in 1976). Diem's assassination approved by JFK had forced whoever was in power in 1965 to send in US Troops, be it LBJ, Goldwater or even JFK himself. Just pointing out the US was going into Vietnam as soon as JFK approved of the removal of Diem.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #23)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 03:20 PM

24. If LBJ would have stuck with Civil Rights and not reversed NSAM 263 w NSAM 273, no lengthy defense

 

of him would have been needed.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #24)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:50 PM

33. No way he would have forced Congress to pass the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 or the voting act of 1965

Yes, both were pushed through by their congressional sponsors (and a higher percentage of GOP Congressmen voted for both then Democratic Congressmen)m but LBJ guided the Government through the longest Filibuster in History. LBJ, with what was referred to as the "LBJ Touch" kept people on board and slowly worked his way to a 68 Senate Vote to end debate (Only 50 Senate votes was needed to pass the Act, it took 67 to get the 2/3rds vote to end the debate on the passage of the act, and the most credit should go to those Senators who voted to end the Filibuster AND then voted against the Act, the first vote was the one that counted, the second vote was to preserve their chance of re-election).

As to NSAM 263 w NSAM 273, neither really counted, the deterioration of the Military Situation in Vietnam during 1964 forced the US hands, either denounce JFK's promise to fight Communism anywhere and leave Vietnam fall, or intervene with troops to prevent that fall. With the Majority of Americans willing to send in troops to Vietnam to stop "Communist Aggression" no American President, even one with Nostradamus ability to "see the future" would have had to send in troops (i.e. whoever would have been President in 1965 would have had to send in troops even if he KNEW it would end in failure). That sad fact is what most people who attack LBJ's decision to go into Vietnam refuse to accept. LBJ was a victim of the US War on Communism.

If LBJ had left Vietnam fall in 1965, the GOP would have been all over him for NOT opposing Communism. His whole agenda, including ENFORCING the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would have been attacked as appeasement to Communism. The Great Society Program would have gone down in flames, along with any chance of any real enforcement of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

One way to look at this is the 1954 Supreme Court Decision to end racial segregation in 1954, Racial Segregation in the Public Schools was still alive and well in 1964 and would remain so till the Congress elected after Watergate finally decided to fund public school but only if their were NOT segregated. That decision, by Congress, killed segregation, NOT the US Supreme Court decision (which only said it was illegal, and it should stop if and when the local schools decide to do so).

This is the POWER of Congress, not the President. LBJ understood this and decided to make sure Congress was always on his side. The House is elected every two years, so the polls showing the Public Support for the War in Vietnam was important to such Congressmen and thus to LBJ. Thus the famous comment to LBJ by a Senator in or about 1966, declare Victory and pull out. The Support for the war was still they but declining. LBJ started to pull troops out as soon as the Polls show the Majority of Americans no longer supported the War. Thus "Vietnamization" (A term coined by Nixon the following year when Nixon continued the program) was started by LBJ in the summer of 1968 and I suspect LBJ would have Declared Victory that year and pull out, except it was an election year and LBJ was hoping Humphrey would win (and doing all LBJ could so Humphrey could win, including balancing the budget, something no President except Clinton (And then only once) has managed to do afterward).

Most people dislike what happened, for it is clear JFK's decision to remove Diem, lead to an direct increase in the support for the Viet Cong in 1964 among the peasantry. That support permitted the Viet Cong to increase troop levels, do to increase volunteers but also increase assistance in the form of rice from the peasants (i.e. more rice from their supporters among the peasants, meant increase ability to arm larger and larger forces in South VIetnam, prior to 1964 the largest units the Viet Cong had in South Vietnam was Company level i.e. 100 or so men (armed with small arms and maybe light anti-tank weapons), in 1964 they were able to form Battalions, 1000 or so men with heavy weapons, including Mortars, heavy Machine Guns and large anti-tank weapons. The situation in 1964 was getting out of hand as far was the South Vietnamese Army was concerned.

My point is quite simple, Diem's removal meant the US would have to go into Vietnam no matter who was President. LBJ seems to have accepted this unpleasant fact at the time of Diem's removal (and why LBJ opposed it), JFK should have known this, but wanted to remove anyone who would NOT fight the Communists like JFK and the CIA wanted them to.

This LBJ's action as to Vietnam was forced on him by JFK's actions. On the other hand, LBJ's handling of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 can only be contributed to LBJ. JFK did a better speech, but one on one with members of Congress no one was better then LBJ. Unless JFK would have left LBJ handle the 1964 Civil Rights Act (something most JFK watchers doubted even at that time) the Civil Rights Act would have been Filibustered to death (or compromised into something useless so to save JFK's face). The Voting Rights Act (which came out of the LBJ's leadership of the Civil Rights group within the White house) would never have even been proposed. As to the rest of the Great Society Program (including Medicare), while JFK supported them, was he going to waste Political Capital on getting them passed? Today it is assumed JFK would have, but in the 1960s many people doubted that but they had a disadvantage, they had dealt with JFK the President NOT JFK the martyred President (Of all of the Senators in the US Senate in the 1950s, the policies JFK went on record as being for and against most closely matched was Nixon's). In simple term, JFK acted in much of the same way Nixon would have acted (through without Nixon's tendency to view that everyone was out to get him).

I always like mentioning Madison's decision to declare War on Great Britain in 1812, not because he believed in such a war, but that Congress and the American people (outside of New England, New England opposed the war of 1812) wanted the war. The same with LBJ in 1965, he send in troops for that is what the American People wanted him to do, for the American People would NEVER have forgiven him, or support ANY of his other programs, if Vietnam fell to the Communists in 1965-1966. Whoever would have been President would have had to face the same demand of the American People, including JFK had he lived.

Do to the politics of the US in the 1960s, Vietnam was going to happen, no matter who was President.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #33)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 09:32 PM

37. Believe what you want. It's not convincing.

 

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 12:52 PM

18. the SCOTUS argument is specious

The Repuke Senate will filibuster any attempt to confirm a justice to the right of Scalia. So if you are voting just on that criterion, you're pissing into the wind.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:49 PM

27. You're right, the SCOTUS argument is specious. But if history is a guide, Reid will simply say that

 

the Republicans are filibustering when, as a factual matter, they are not. The fact that the Republicans can hold a sufficient number of Senators together to defeat a cloture vote under Rule XXII that would otherwise cut off a filibuster does not mean that any filibusters have been taken.

Reid could otherwise order the business of the Senate to continue while simply informing the Republican Senators that an interruption, however long or short, will not permanently interfere with the Senate's business. If there is not enough votes for a cloture, he could simply out-wait them. Instead, he will cave again. It's what he does.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 11:04 PM

39. Obama got Sotomayor and Kagan confirmed. nt

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 12:07 AM

11. You are pulling the string too hard. The comparison is as follows: Goldwater=Batshit Crazy.

They aren't trying to do a line-by-line, issue-by-issue, comparison. This is a macro look, not a micro one.

Our nominee has been chosen--his name is Obama.

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Response to MADem (Reply #11)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 12:41 AM

12. No. Obama WILL BE chosen. Obama WILL WIN the general election.

 

He has not been chosen at this time.

It does not matter which Republican will run against him. The general public will reject them all.

It does matter how far to the right Obama is going to go after the election. Until the time when he is chosen, he may actually listen to some of our concerns. Afterwards, he cannot be re-elected and he can do whatever he wants.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 03:50 AM

14. Six of one, half dozen of the other. He's the guy. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deep in fantasy

land.

Obama is going to do what he needs to do to win, I don't worry about that. He hasn't spent the last four years contemplating his navel. Many probably won't like this, but he's going to appeal to the great mushy middle, the majority of America. He's going to focus on middle-class issues, jobs, affordable housing, college, access to medical care, that kind of bread-n-butter stuff. He will not tack left to win this thing because he doesn't have to. He won't tack right because he doesn't need to do that, either. He's going to steer right down the middle, he's going to listen to the people who actually have a history of showing up at the polls, and of course people are going to be pissed at him for that, but he wants to win, not make points with niche elements.

What he does in his last term, though? That's his legacy. Give him a Democratic Congress and who knows what he can get done? He will know that the clock is ticking, and he only has so much time--so he won't, if he is smart (and I suspect he is) be wasting the time he has.

He had a hippie grampa, a free spirit mother, and a sensible granny. He wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, even though he went to silver spoon schools. He got a good education thanks to his smarts, and I'll bet he knows, as well as a Kennedy, that to whom much is given much is also expected. I think he'll do the right things in his last term. I think he will do more than most expect, but even at that, for some, it will never be enough.

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Response to MADem (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 10:33 AM

17. The "mushy middle" is a term of disparagement and contempt, not endearment or respect.

 

Obama has not used that term in public. Even Rahm Emanuel, who unhesitatingly showed his contempt for liberals, is not known for doing so. They are both smarter than that.

Is that your position that there is a "mushy middle"? Didn't you get the talking points? If you are a true believer and have been following Obama for some time, then you know that you are supposed to say that Obama is a Centrist. Instead of saying that he is appealing to the "mushy middle" when he takes action while rejecting the rule of law and the legitimate desires of the great majority that elected him, you are supposed to say that he is appealing to those in the center. And, when it is anticipated that the claim is obviously not persuasive enough to thinking people, you are supposed to also say something along the lines that "He didn't have enough votes from Republicans to do what he really wanted to do."

"Mushy middle"? There's no such thing. Although there are authoritarian fanatics on the right and authoritarian fanatics who claim to represent the left.

If you use the term "mushy middle" to refer to the great majority of Americans who are not authoritarian fanatics, you should know that the great majority favor the rule of law. And they favor doing what is right for America as a whole. They do not favor letting war criminals go free. They don't favor shifting public assets and the assets of themselves and future generations to the super rich. They don't favor appointing Republican hold-overs from Goldman Sachs or other Goldman Sachs personnel to high level positions so that the continued draining of wealth in favor of the super-rich can continue under another Administration.

You say, "Give him a Democratic Congress and who knows what he can get done?" We did give him a Democratic Congress. And, unless we are stupid, we know what he is going to get done. He's going to engage in further equity stripping to favor the super-rich at the expense of ourselves, our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren, ...

You want him to act like a Kennedy and, at this point, adopt a philosophy that "to whom much is given much is also expected"? If he would have done that earlier, he would now have a legacy as a foundation for his re-election. Now, many people supporting his re-election are reduced to arguing "He's not Gingrich" or "He's not Rmoney" etc. Some even suggest that those who want the rule of law followed are from the "far left" and, without thinking, want Gengrich or Rmoney to be elected. Good luck to you.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 02:03 PM

19. The "mushy middle" wants Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and probably single payer health care

also drivable roads, clean water and air, and so on. And so does everyone to the left of the mushy middle. We wish the president would appeal to those people.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #19)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 02:17 PM

22. We can agree without thinking of the middle as the "mushy middle."

 

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:10 PM

26. No it isn't. It's reality. There is a big mushy mess of people in the middle. They are not like

many of us. They don't have a "progressive checklist" that, if not followed, will doom a candidate to hell. They are liberal on some issues, conservative on others. They are independents. Some are liberal minded Republicans. Others are conservative-minded Democrats. They are the majority. They are the ones who elect Presidents. They are the Target Audience, and they are persuadable, and they can be moved.

They are the ones who need to be fed, otherwise their votes go elsewhere. Or worse, they stay home.

I never once suggested that "Obama" (never mind Rahm Emmanuel) used the term, so I don't really understand why you inferred that this was the case. The rest of your four paragraphs worth of imaginings about what I meant by "mushy middle" (and I did not mean "centrist, as in "He or she is a centrist Democrat"--so drop that argument, or non-authoritarians, or people who don't like the rule of law, or any of those other invented theories you spun out of the air) are just not accurate. And how you can imagine that someone in the "middle" can be a "fanatic?" Well, I don't know where you're finding this stuff. You plainly aren't getting it from me.


We didn't "give him a Democratic Congress." We gave him a slight Democratic majority, for a very brief moment, full of blue dogs and foot stompers with agendas, hamstrung by floor rules. There's a difference. Pretend there isn't if you'd like, but you'd only be fooling yourself.

FDR had a Democratic Congress. It's amazing what can be done with a solid majority and a little party discipline.

I don't want Obama to "act like a Kennedy." If he did, people on this board would be calling him a DINO and a sexist. I do, however, expect him to adapt that "public service" attitude (which wasn't invented by the Kennedys, but they did a superb PR number on the public to associate the idea with themselves in the public mind) in his final term, when he is less constrained by politics, because he won't be running for reelection and he has no clear successor.


You keep telling me how you think I feel, and what you think I think, and what POVs you think I have--and you're completely and overwhelmingly wrong. It might be better for you if you don't do that when you engage people in discussion. It certainly makes for an annoying and unproductive exchange if a person has to spend all their time saying "You are putting words in my mouth" and "I never said that" and "How in hell did you manage to spin that meaning out of what I said?" Less extrapolation would make for a better conversation. Say what YOU know--don't try to tell others how you think they 'feel' about something because you didn't get it right, not once.

If you don't "get" that the second term is the Legacy Term, I can't help you get that. If you don't understand the need for a pragmatic approach, I can't help you with that either. Go read some of the premier Presidential historians, though--they'll tell you.

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Response to MADem (Reply #26)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:56 PM

28. There's a good reason why you never suggested that Obama used the term "mushy middle."

 

It is a term of disparagement and contempt. He's smart enough to not refer to potential voters as being in the "mushy middle." You have no factual basis for saying that I inferred that you suggested that Obama used that term. My words clearly speak for themselves. You have no factual basis for saying that you believe that I said that.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #28)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:52 PM

34. Excuse me but YOU were the one who said that he never used the term "in public."

Which infers you think he used it privately. If you meant that he never used it at all, I should think you would have said so, unless you were trying to be deliberately obtuse.

It's not a contemptible phrase, anyway, no matter how often you repeat that assertion. That's in your head, and apparently you are easily offended. It is an oft-used term for people who can be swayed.

All it does in the context of an election is describe a very malleable central segment of the electorate, that can be moved to switch their allegiances if a candidate says or does something that appeals to them.

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Response to MADem (Reply #34)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 09:35 PM

38. Nonsense.

 

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Response to MADem (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 02:09 PM

21. He had a Dem congress his first two years

If you think he'll have greater majorities in 2013 than he had then, you're out of your mind. So whatever wonderful liberal things you think he might pass in his second term, they're going to require more fight than he's shown so far, by a lot.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #21)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 03:29 PM

25. People like you will make SURE he doesn't have a greater majority.

Those that can, do. Those that can't, go on the internet and complain.

I'm working to elect Elizabeth Warren.

What are YOU doing?

Go ahead and play the Debbie/Dilbert Downer game and tell me I am out of my mind. Why do I even bother to vote, since I've heard the Ultimate Truth from your negative, give-it-up viewpoint?

You're just a big old ray of sunshine, aren't you? And you wonder why the White House has never called you for that key staff position!!

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Response to MADem (Reply #25)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 06:20 PM

29. ah, yes, the familiar lament from the right - "Don't tell me the truth - it's too depressing"

now why don't you try another post that actually responds to mine? Here I will repost it

"There is no way the Dem majorities will be bigger next year than they were in 2009. Are you saying the president can't do anything with the huge majorities he had for those years? If so, it is you who have given up, not me."

I personally think that a president with 59 Senators and 260 Congress should be able to get some things accomplished. If you disagree, you're basically admitting that Obama is the weakest president in history. How Dilbert Downer of you. Why would I want a key cabinet post with a loser like you claim the president is?

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #29)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:06 PM

30. You are entitled to your flawed opinion. Repeating it doesn't make it any more true than it was

the first time around.

You can "personally think" whatever, all you want, but what you aren't considering is that people are involved, money is involved, lobbyists are involved, and things are not as simple as you want to make them. Just because someone has a D after their name, that doesn't make them automatically on Obama's team--ask Kucinich about that. Big tents have fringe interests on all sides.

Obama DID get "some things accomplished." Just because they aren't the things that you consider important, that doesn't give you the right to pretend, wrongly, that he hasn't done anything.

Obama is NOT the King, though you make him sound like one who hasn't used his power of decree to sufficient effect to suit you. It would be simpler for him if he were, but it wouldn't be all that good for democracy.

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Response to MADem (Reply #30)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:19 PM

31. So you are admitting that he won't have bigger majorities than he did the first time

and when you admit that, you are basically admitting that his 2nd term - his legacy as you put it - will be even less ambitious and more conciliatory than the first. You seem to be saying that the best "legacy" for him is to tack farther to the right, and get some moderate-right legislation with his name on it. My advice would be to actually LEAD on some issues and get a couple major accomplishments instead - things that would get the nation away from the fascists. On this we will have to agree to disagree. You sneer that I will never get a cabinet poistion because I would advise the president to lead on bank reform, health care for everyone, and the environment. I sneer that the president's vast approval from 2008 is gone because his cabinet is stuffed with appeasers like you.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #31)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:37 PM

32. I am not "admitting" anything. And you have a bad tendency to go on with the

"you seem to be saying" stuff, that you're pulling out of your behind, because I am saying no such thing. Pick up your straw men when you're finished, now.

Let me try that little tactic of yours on for size. You "seem to" want one of those pissy little internet fights. You seem to not want to really discuss anything. You seem to enjoy pontificating from an entirely negative viewpoint.

Go find someone who enjoys that kind of back and forth sparring because I've lost interest in this silly charade where you make up POVs and knock 'em down. I find you to be a rude name-caller (appeasers, how charming) with nothing but insult and no facts to back you up.

We can revisit this after the first Tuesday in November. We'll see where that "vast approval" is, then. In the interim, knock yourself out with the negativity and bashing. I actually have a life and no need to do any mindless, fact-free mud wrestling with frustrated strangers on the internet.

You're quite welcome to the last word.

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Response to Doctor_J (Reply #31)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 09:18 PM

36. Absolutely right. Well said.

 

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Response to City Lights (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 11:55 AM

7. I don't remember a Kornacki landslide back then.

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Response to City Lights (Original post)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 02:45 PM

8. K & R !!!


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Response to City Lights (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 04:00 AM

15. Gingrich, the perfect first abuser of Evidence-Free Indefinite Detention of US Citizens.

It's not who casts the votes, but rather those who count the votes, that matter.

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Response to City Lights (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 07:15 AM

16. One thing to never forget

The game is entirely different after Citzens United. Mitt is finding that out the hard way, as all of a sudden, thanks to Super Pacs, the funding advantage he enjoyed in Florida evaporated overnight. Simply put, there is nothign stopping the uber rich from dumping as much money as they need to make whatever they want happen, and not even have to account for it; this is something that couold not have happened before the 80's

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Response to City Lights (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 02:06 PM

20. We've been reading about the Repuke suicide for at least 15 years

all the while they been gaining voters while moving from center-right to right to far-right to what is now basically a ruling party in a banana republic. I despise these sort of articles.

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Response to City Lights (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 09:00 PM

35. You have to wonder what moderate Republicans are going to do if the right wing continues

on their purge of non-conservative politicians? Will they become Independents or will they just not vote? Moderates are increasingly not welcome in their party.....

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Response to neverforget (Reply #35)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 11:01 AM

40. Join them on the fringe - Exhibit A

Willard Romney

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Response to City Lights (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 01:20 PM

41. This batch of crazies would call Goldwater an evil socialist, today.

He hated the religious right.

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