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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:21 AM
Original message
Time Mag points out Dems toppled after 40 years, GOP falls apart in 12
Edited on Sun Oct-08-06 11:36 AM by Bucky
They're trying to establish a historical trend using only two data points. Not good social science, not even good math. Is there any other reason why the Democrats took 40 years to build up such a calcified leadership and the Republicans got to the "so corrupt the people get disgusted and vote them out" stage in only 12 years? Well, you know there is or I wouldn't be posting this.

But before I get to the punchline, let's look at a couple of more data points. The Democrats took control of the House in a big way in the 1932 elections. They actually won control of the House of Representatives in 1931 through vacancy elections, but 1932 is generally regarded as the "realigning" election because of the scope of that year's victory (an over 90 seat gain for the Democrats). House Speaker Cactus Jack Garner rode FDR's coattails to a supermajority called the New Deal Coalition (farmers, poor, labor, urban voters, liberals, and government reformers).

Time Magazine's "40 years" thesis is really talking about a coalition that ran Washington for 62 years. Republicans briefly and barely regained the House twice in those six decades (elections of 1946 and 1952) but always lost control to the resurgent New Deal coalition after only one term in power. The political logic of the have-nots using the power of government to better the country's overall economic situation (combined with relatively little economic competition from other parts of the world) made too much sense to be denied.

Late in the 20th century that coalition crumbled in parts--in large part due to the growth of the middle class (the largest voting block excluded from the coalition) and the deft political exploitation of social wedge issues by the conservatives. The biggest stumble came in the 1980 "realignment" election. But it wasn't a real voting realignment in Congress. Democrats held onto the House and, while Republicans did win control of the Senate, Democratic candidates for the Senate collectively won a majority of the votes. It only happened that the Republican votes tended to be cast in smaller states, while Democratic votes were wasted in big state races in California and Ohio (Republicans won New York that year, but with less than 50% in a 3-way race). Six years later the Democrats regained the Senate.

The Democratic coalition didn't fully come off the rails until the 1994 election. That, unlike 1980, was a true realignment--they won 55% of the House vote. Why? The world was at peace, the economic logic of the former have-nots all sticking together was decimated by the New Deal's success in equalizing the benefits of America's economic success, and the Republicans' Contract with America campaign brilliantly and consistently highlighted the abuses of power (even if they were tame by 2006 standards) of the Democratic House leadership. The socially more homogenous Republican Party's media presence was able to develop a strong core message and stick to that message in a more disciplined, lock-step presentation on tv and on the stump. Their domination of talk radio was virtually unchallenged. They honed their core message on social wedge issues to a fine art.

Compared to the six decades of control by the Democrats, the Republican revolution is falling apart at the seams after just 12 years. Considering the relative passivity of the Democratic opposition (four weeks out from the election, we're still debating how to pitch our core message and that core message is only apparent because their leaders were protecting a child predator) the Republican coalition is bleeding by its own hands. The answer why our side's coalition lasted five times longer than their side's coalition lies not with Democratic strengths, but with Republican weakness.

The New Deal coalition and its Fair Deal-Great Society-Economy Stupid successors had an inherent logic to them. The core message was always (1) build quality jobs, (2) create equal opportunities, (3) sustain our way of life, and (4) strengthen the economic infrastructure of the country. Most GOP wedge issues tend to fall into those four categories (welfare programs are really about economic infrastructure, gays in the military is really about equal opportunity, OSHA and EPA exist to sustain the health and safety of Americans as part of our way of life, affirmative action fits in all four messages). When the coalition lost steam in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, one major cause was that the major points of the Democratic agenda had created success and stability for most voters. The Democratic Party in Congress successfully implemented its agenda.

The Contract for American coalition crumbled after 12 years in large part because they failed to live by their agenda. The Republicans, simply put, didn't mean what they said to get elected. They promised to clean up government; instead they wallowed in lobbyist donations and governed by special favors. They promised to balance the budget; with a Democratic president leading the charge they did, but under a Republican president clearly didn't care to. They promised to limit the power of Congress; instead they used their power to bully opponents, shake down interest groups, increase pork barrel legislation, seek special favors, and line their own pockets. In the end they were undone by the same rub-my-back politics they ran against.

In subsequent years the coalition took on other issues that their leaders did not believe in. They campaigned on morality but took bribes, covered up for sexual predators, and embraced torture. They ran on limiting government but launched assaults on the Bill of Rights worse than the Alien and Sedition Act, ceased all serious oversight of the executive branch, and supported a string of activist/interventionist judges. They ran on honesty but supported a war based on fabrications and selective facts. They ran on security issues, but have more than doubled the strength of our terrorist enemies while weakening our alliances and alienating the rest of the world. They ran on responsibility but have run up a mountain of debt with spending they simply will not control.

The Republican agenda was a sham almost from the start. They fixed a few institutional abuses in Congress that needed fixing in the mid 90s. Since then it's just been an orgy of kleptocrats and power mongers who know how to scare voters and coif their hair. Time Magazine says that the cycle of reform and abuse is increasing in speed--Democrats for "40" years, then Republicans for 12, maybe this time Democrats will only be back in power for four or six or eight years, if that trend holds.

Or maybe that's not the trend at all. I suggest the trend is that the party that has a genuine platform that it works toward and sustains will take longer before it starts abusing its power. I suggest that a ruling coalition that bases its agenda on the needs of the people it serves, the people that it works for, will have a longer run in power so long as it's actually meeting those needs. Republican rule by wedge issue has always been a hollow foundation. Encouraging people to fear and loathe their neighbors can get you reelected, but it doesn't really give you much to do once you hold office. Without a genuine core mission, the temptation to use high office for personal gratification is too central to ignore.

Sincere, if misdirected, reformers like Newt Gingrich always give way to cynical plunderers like Tom DeLay. Every revolution comes down to a choice between its Trotskys and its Stalins, between its Jeffersons and its Burrs. Do you seek power to address issues or do you address issues to seek power? The Republican class of 1994, like the Bolshevik class of 1917, decided its paramount need was to gain and enjoy power.

But the real problem for the Sons of Newt was that the so-called Revolution of 1994 was never a revolution to begin with. They didn't effect an agenda because they didn't have an agenda. Unlike what Jefferson called the "Revolution of 1800" and what nobody dared to call the Revolution of 1932, the current crop of Republicans entered office with very few important issues needing to be addressed. My grandma, a compulsive needlepointer, used to love that adage about idle hands being the devil's workshop. Besides their ruinous tax cuts and their wilful neglect of executive oversight, the Sons of Newt have had little they want to do for the country's problems. They have far too much idle time upon their hands--and now they have the devil's handicrafts to show for it.
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
1. Gasbags Only Party nt
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MrScorpio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. God's Own Perverts nt
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #2
10. Grease Our Palms
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ChairmanAgnostic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. groping old pederats
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
3.  True. K&R.
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
4. There's no honor among thieves. - n/t
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burythehatchet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
5. I will NEVER vote for a bad hairpiece. n/t
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
6. Marvelous and Well Timed too. Sending Sashimi w Wasabi, Smoked ribs, Lobst
Crabs, Freash Salmon, Salted Salmon, Hula Girls, Sword Dancers, Musicians, poets, Rock Bands, the Fire Walkers, Fine wine, Good bourbon, Sake, Shitake Mushrooms, and 2 swimming pools.
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. "And 2 swimming pools"!! Thanks, Mr Abramoff! How do you want me to vote?
Sadly, I am easily bribed, too :evilgrin:
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #8
16. Ya did good my friend, ya did good...thanks for your effort in
ridding America of a serious BLIGHT

I can only hope all of our efforts contribute to the downfall of this King Bushesque shit...they are doing the same things as King Louie and Antoinette were doing...ignoring History and the COMMON PEOPLE

Come, we go Prep Le Bastille....wear BLUE
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Mayberry Machiavelli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
7. Unfortunately it hasn't happened yet, and no guarantees either.
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Schema Thing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
9. Great analysis; I'm going to share this one
Nice to see it coming from a Clarkie :)
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Thank ya. Share freely, but please
cite DU who donated the webspace, and vote to K&R this bad boy. It took me a long time to write it!
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
12. If you build on sand and lies
the house must crumble.
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. Apparently the next crumble will be a second sex-with-pages scandal
I'm praying it's a Republican--does that make me wrong?
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
14. K&R
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militaryWife Donating Member (105 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 12:06 PM
Response to Original message
15. amazing insight
I bet it did take you a long time to complete. I would love for my republican father-in-law to read it, but he would consider it torture. Thanks for the hard work and insight.

mw
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Thanks MW. Feel free to torture your GOP FIL. They believe in it. But also
Also thank your militaryHusband for keeping me safe. Us Democrats are doing our damnedest to return the favor.

Plus... Welcome to DU.
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 12:26 PM
Response to Original message
18. K & R good rebuttal. I've love to see them print this in the ltte pages.nt
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. It's a little too long for an LTTE, but as mentioned below, I'll submit it
to my local paper.
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Good! Let us know if they print it. nt
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mcscajun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
19. Great work! It's rare that I read a post of this length, as most
aren't written so well as yours. :)

K&R
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Mind_your_head Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
21. K & R ..... This would be great to see in some LTTE pages
or possibly someplace like Time magazines "guest editorial" page that they used to have every week (although I don't know for sure that they still do that page b/c I stopped reading Time some years ago).
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Because of you and a few other people's urging, I'll go ahead and do that
I have a friend of a friend who sits on my local paper's editorial board. I'll fix up the partisanship and submit this as a guest column this week. Thanks for all the suggestions, folks
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gristy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. Yes. Excellent.
This is a very good article.
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Mind_your_head Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:19 AM
Response to Reply #22
34. Fantastic! Let us know how it all goes....
....this is a great piece! :-)

Best of Luck,
M_Y_H
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liberalla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
25. K & R
This is really good! Thank you for your time and analysis on this.
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Stillwater Donating Member (18 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 06:53 PM
Response to Original message
27. 12 Years?
The same amount of time as the Third Reich.
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Tatiana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
28. This is awesome, Bucky. I like how you articulate the fact that Democrats
actually implemented their agenda. To take that point a little further, the "middle class" which was built on union and Democratic initiatives, after benefiting from those policies, decided they no longer had to vote their economic interests, but instead could vote their religious or personal interests.

Labor laws (including child labor regulations), family medical leave, minimum wage (though atrociously low, consider what the going rate for similar work would be in sweatshops overseas)-- Americans have forgotten exactly how Democratic control of the Congress has benefitted them. What I think will really force those independents and "middle class" voters (who decided to vote for Republicans in previous elections) to vote Democratic is having Republican-style governance hit them directly in their household and pocketbook.
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Jade Fox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 07:46 PM
Response to Original message
29. Trying to turn back the hands of time....
doesn't work that well. Neither does trying to control peoples' personal lives. Or using them as cannon fodder in phony wars.
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PATRICK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 08:52 PM
Response to Original message
30. Excellent
This see-saw margery daw that some political wisdom(that loves the Tweedledee-Tweedledum image of corporate bipartisanship) keeps trying to superimpose upon political reality needs a serious jolt. Your post is instinctively on target. Why the Gilded Age GOP descended into Scrooge presiding over the glum Depression is important. With accidental(TR) and rebuffed reformers(Populists were at first former GOP) they hardly looked back. Even now GOP defectors are a a constant bleeding away of genuine public servants, genuine moderates, genuine thinkers. The Dems may be a hodge podge lurching oddly in the right direction on all the right things and a few dangerous ones but the soul pinched GOP is an even odder array of the corrupt and the seduced and the not too bright- hardly healthy for a sound business style party.

FDR made only one difference to the GOP. they turned completely, anti-democratically(small d) rabid for power. If the Dems became entrenched, lazy and tainted the GOP took anything that worked to ruin them. The little they had to offer were all phrased in negatives and selfishness, the mirror of their desires. The seduction of their business base was the core, that civil government and sharing restrained them. The pitiful corporate giants of today have some bizarre re-translated dream of being like their robber baron forebears, skipping over business per se and getting right to the cheating and robbing and immorality needed to sustain dangerous power. This is much deeper than the Yankees versus the Red Sox, patterns and cycles and other mystical beliefs based on a mere two centuries of extremely different, changing circumstances.

Bluntly, the GOP- whatever its currently insane make-up is consistently headed to the toilet. The real battle is for the default people's party open to ALL the influences. The question has always been hidden. How will the future politics be formed? new parties? Faction within(the start of course)? A redemptive salvaging or total makeover of the GOP to preserve appearances, the party of Lincoln and the considerable local hardcore base that is yet untouched by the national party madness they were loyal to? We are not even close to sanity yet. TIME doesn't get it. In time we hope they do.
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WI_DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 08:52 PM
Response to Original message
31. Also, The GOP manipulated the electoral map in an effort to keep
their majority for decades by gerrymandering districts and if they lose the House in November it will be even more of a electoral repudiation because of that advantage.
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Andrea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #31
40. Excellent point
We will win in spite of the fact it is anything BUT a level playing field.
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
32. Bonus Army March and emcampment of 1932 elected FDR
Edited on Sun Oct-08-06 09:22 PM by EVDebs
and FDR admitted as much.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAbonus.htm

and see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonus_Army

and the book version

http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,021105_Bonus...

The march eventually resulted in the GI Bill

This American version of China's Tienanmen Square forced Americans to look down the barrel of the gun pointed at them, as they knew during the Depression that the fate of those ex-soldiers could just as well have been their own.

We've reached that point today. The economy sucks, especially for new college grads and unskilled workers. Employers would rather cut benefits and hire H-1B visa holders.
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eviltwin2525 Donating Member (269 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 11:53 PM
Response to Original message
33. Brilliant analysis
The difference between the two can be summed up quite easily:

Publicans believe that power exists to benefit those who have it (and whose fitness to have it has clearly been ordained via the station of their birth, of course). Conservatism is about -- has always been about, will always be about -- conserving the power of the "great houses."

Democrats believe power exists to benefit all, and that in a republic the question of how to use power is best determined by who is most effective at using that power to benefit those who have little or none.
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Andrea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #33
41. Really great pithy summary
Thank you, I will use this in arguments.
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nicknameless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 01:56 AM
Response to Original message
35. Clinton balanced the budget IN SPITE OF rethugs in Congress.
Not one single rethug voted in favor of Clinton's plan to balance it.

Dean cited that fact in a 2004 speech:
http://dean2004.blogspot.com/2003/03/transcript-deans-c...

So this line isn't accurate.
"... They promised to balance the budget; with a Democratic president leading the charge they did ..."

Rethugs are all talk.
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Anarcho-Socialist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 03:38 AM
Response to Original message
36. An excellent piece, and recommended
It is of high journalistic standard with a well-explained and coherent analysis. Thank you for posting.
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Gwerlain Donating Member (516 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:15 AM
Response to Original message
37. K&R, but also
I'd like to note that China has apparently overtaken our manufacturing ability, and Russia seems to be sitting on a pretty good chunk of the remaining oil, after we went into Afghanistan to get territory for a pipeline that it's looking less and less like will ever be built. A friend said to me, "China has one of our balls, and Russia has the other."

What have we got? What are we gonna do about this? And when is the Democratic party going to start talking about it? Truth be told, we needed to be doing something about this last decade. We've got a hell of a lot worse problems coming in this country than the Reprehensibles, although it looks as if they've been fiddling while Rome burned.

And when are we going to realize that we're about to be beat in an undeclared economic war that the Reprehensibles have just made worse by encouraging outsourcing, by ignoring China, by ignoring Russia, and by making all their friends who sit on the boards of directors of corporations happy? They aren't going to do anything about this stuff; it's probable they don't really see it coming, or don't care. But what guarantees are there that the Democrats are prepared to deal with this situation, either? I see nothing from them that tells me they recognize it as a problem. I think it's time that someone in Party headquarters started talking about this, and started talking about what we need to do about it. Because otherwise, it's gonna get bad. Real bad.
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0rganism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 04:53 AM
Response to Original message
38. great except for one thing....
"the Republicans got to the 'so corrupt the people get disgusted and vote them out' stage in only 12 years"

two things:
1) Until November 8, you're missing at least one important data point; while I hope to see evidence confirming your ideas, you didn't exactly phrase them as a hypothesis. Don't get me wrong, I can admire certainty, but I'm nervous about this election, maybe even afraid to hope if only to be disappointed again.

2) "You can't vote out what you didn't vote for in the first place." Whatever else you may say about them, the Republicans have succeeded phenomenally in corrupting the machinery of elections at every level of government. If a voter pulls a lever in a booth, and ES&S says he didn't pull it, do we still live in a democracy?

If Dems don't wise up and figure out a way to address the basic problems with elections and improve candidates' image in the adverse corporate media, the 12-year Republican nightmare you describe might just turn out to be a thousand-year reich, for reals this time.
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Irreverend IX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 06:03 AM
Response to Original message
39. Good analysis.
It's also worth noting that their party's foundation is made of sand. A lot of their politics consists of emotional appeals, and emotions change like the tides--the naive soccer mom who voted for Bush to protect her children from terrorists in 2004 is probably up in arms about Foley now. Christian fundies are another large portion of their base, and this group is highly erratic in their political behavior. If you string them along and mention God a few times in every speech they'll be with you for a while, but even they're smart enough to see what you're up to after the first few times you leave them and their death-for-sodomy ambitions out in the cold.

The only stable element among the Republican base are the rich, who understood all along that the Republican revolution wasn't about chasing ideals but about filling your pockets. But you can only guzzle from the public trough so long until the public figures out what you're up to. The Republicans' time is up.
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The Stranger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:29 AM
Response to Original message
42. If this GOP season of Hell is over with, I promise to be grateful and not
to complain (too much) in the future, no matter how bad we fuck things up. Nothing can be this bad.
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Andrea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
43. Excellent! K&R
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stepnw1f Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
44. Well Thought Out and Written
I have thought this but without most of the info you provide. I wonder if there is a book out there talking about this.
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