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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:52 AM
Original message
The Return of the Lesser of Two Evils
What will happen to America if Republicans take the White House in 2012? What will happen to the World? Can we live with the implications if Obama loses reelection narrowly if liberal activists don't back him as strongly this time as we did in 2008?

It wasn't supposed to be like this. The change we let ourselves believe in last time was the end to lesser of two evil politics. In 2008 we embraced hope and voted with pride. Now fear returns as our motivator with guilt, again, the familiar prod. That says a lot. In some ways it says it all.

No I will not back Obama now as enthusiastically as I did in 2008, nor will I feel any guilt over that even if he loses and the world goes to hell and I become homeless as a result. Because I can not manufacture genuine enthusiasm where none organically grows. It runs counter to human nature to assume otherwise. Great words can inspire strong emotions, but those emotions drain away when the words themselves fall flat. Live by the pen, die by the pen.

Republicans are the masters of fear. they long ago perfected that game plan. Democrats almost always come up short when fear of the Republicans becomes our clarion call. The lesser of two evils at best is a staged retreat from our deepest held aspirations. Yes that is preferable to a total rout or complete capitulation. But it is nothing to get enthusiastic over.

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vaberella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
1. Obama is evil? Wow. ~sigh~ Just wow.
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 11:02 AM by vaberella
I'm really tired of listening to people's sob story. You're not into Obama, then don't push yourself to vote for him. It's better than listening to this hogwash. You're like the 4th or so person to say this same nonsense on the board. We got it already.

It's great you don't give a f* if you end up homeless and the world goes to shit. I don't care about you not caring. I care about the people who do bloody care. I care about keeping these freaks out and supporting the guy I helped to put in power currently because unlike you...I'm enthusiastic and motivated.

People act like Obama destroyed their bloody world.

If you can't fight for what's right. Then move out of the way. Don't whine and whinge about it. It's counterproductive and unhelpful to those of us who are positively willing to put in the energy and time and fight the bloody madness that is trying to control the nation.

Lame-ass post.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. You seem to have trouble with complex thought
At least three instances of that jump to mind from your reply.

1) "Obama is evil?" Many Fundamentalist Christians believe the Earth is 6,000 years old because they read every word in a strictly literal sense. "The lesser of two evils" is a logical concept, not a moral inquisition. It is widely known to mean choosing to back something not to your satisfaction because the alternative is even less to your satisfaction. I'm sorry that subtlety escaped you.

2) "It's great if you don't give a f* if you end up homeless..." I chose to bring up homelessness because that is a real threat to me that I care a great deal about. You took great liberty to conclude somehow that I don't give a f* about it. What I said is I won't feel guilty if my efforts on behalf of Obama this time fall short of what I was able to summon myself to do last time. I still care greatly.

3) "If you can't fight for what is right, then move out of the way". I'm 61 and I've been fighting for what is right all of my life and I'm not going to change now. I was stating a basic fact which is that enthusiasm can't be turned on and off like a faucet. Enthusiasm is an almost intangible force that often makes the difference between winning and losing. In the military they call it morale. Determination is another important force and when the stakes are high it can and should be tapped even when enthusiasm is lacking. But enthusiasm and determination are not one and the same and should never be confused with each other.

When I came of voting age the Viet Nam war was in full swing. It was essential that Nixon be defeated, each time. Each time he won. Being in the right never guarantees victory. Political struggles involve the human psyche as much as they do policy papers. Democrats tend to win when they tap into powerful positive aspirations for a better future and greater solidarity among neighbors and Americans at every level. That is when Democrats get most fired up.

Look around this board. Look at how often appeals to support Obama are cached in terms of we can not afford not to support him. That is a lesser of two evils approach to motivation. That is my point. Strategically it is a relatively weak rallying point. And that is my point. I support Obama I oppose any primary challenge to him. But you are shooting the messenger if you blame me for a fall off of enthusiasm for him among activists this time around.

I
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. Wind up homeless and you'll give a fuck about it, tough guy...
:eyes:
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Avant Guardian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. Translation:
'Lesser of two evils, 2012!'
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Translation:
I dunno what the hell you just said.....
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Avant Guardian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #17
32. OK, how about this:
'Vote lesser of two evils, 2012! Otherwise you will end up homeless!'

Count me in!
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #32
45. Right threre with ya.
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young but wise Donating Member (760 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #1
10. +1
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sudopod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
23. You would attract far more flies with honey rather than vinegar. nt
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vaberella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #23
44. I ran out of honey. Further more, people like the OP have made up their minds.
There is nothing left to attract.
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crim son Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
2. I think it's a return to reality
although I appreciate your point.
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
3. Why President Obama gave up on his base and decided to court former RepubliCONS who call themselves
Independents, or centrists, is beyond me.

He had such a huge win and he gave it all up to court a bunch of fickle, undecided so-called centrists. It's beyond me.

Yes, I'll vote for the DINO but I wont be out there dragging in people, calling everyone I know, volunteering at the local Democratic Headquarters, like I did when he was 1st elected.

Does he not realize that his base drags in the so-called Independents and centrists? Our enthusiasm brings them over to our side. But I'm not enthusiastic anymore. Just sad and suffering.
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ChiciB1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #3
42. You Speak For Me "fasttense" Because I'm Unwilling To Work OR Defend
him as I once did. However, he seems to have connected with many, many high rollers so he probably won't need us. I don't think he's breaking a sweat, even though he must surely realize that many Democrats will be FORCED to vote for him because of the "wackos" on the other side.

It's a real downer for me.
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emulatorloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
4. Lets's talk about your FEAR FALSE EQUIVALENCY a little
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 11:06 AM by emulatorloo
I want to talk about this a little:

"Republicans are the masters of fear. they long ago perfected that game plan. Democrats almost always come up short when fear of the Republicans becomes our clarion call. The lesser of two evils at best is a staged retreat from our deepest held aspirations. Yes that is preferable to a total rout or complete capitulation. But it is nothing to get enthusiastic over."

Tom, that is really a false equivalency.

Republican fear objects:

- US Muslims
- Gay People and Gay People Who Want To Get Married
- Mexicans
- Evil Socialist Obama

Basically Bogus Stupid Bullshit.

On the other hand we have Real Life Examples of Republican rule throughout the midwest, and yesterday we got Paul Ryan's draconian budget.

There are valid reasons to have concerns about Republican policy.

======

Additionally you assume there will be no positive themes coming from Democrats in the 2012 campaign. I don't think that assumption is valid.

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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #4
20. Concerns about Republican policies are extremely valid
I hoped that part was understood and already fully agreed to by all sincere members of this board.

So in this particular OP, one thread among many on one day among many, I wasn't focused on that. I was talking about what helps Democrats win and in the course of winning, thereby would make those concerns moot.

Here, let's throw out an extremely simplistic but still I think illuminating nutshell of how the two Parties now are projecting themselves on the public.

Republicans: Pro Freedom, anti-government.
Democrats: Pro Freedom, less anti-government than Republicans.
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emulatorloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #20
33. Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it.
You did explain/clarify your point further in subsequent posts but it was not clear to me in your OP. I think we are in agreement about what we would like to see from Democratic leadership.

However, I've seen this false equivalence brought up several times by other posters the last few days, and it has begun to bother me.

As to how the two parties are projecting themselves, I am seeing a sharpening of the democratic message since the 2010 midterms and certainly since the sociopathic Ryan budget was unveiled.

---

I always enjoy your OP's, they are thought provoking. As is this one.

I think you are mostly running into trouble with this one because of the rhetorical choices you've made.

You talk about the value of our deeply held principles, and then you appear to lack empathy for others when you state you won't feel bad about the consequences of Republican rule.

Obviously I know that you don't genuinely feel that way, but the way you choose to structure your OP could easily lead to that interpretation.

---

While I am babbling, I guess I will give you my response to your entire OP. It is rather practical rather than philosophical

- I vote in every election whether I am "enthusiastic" or not. I am not one to argue that you have to "be enthusiastic". Part of my calculus is what would happen if I didn't vote. That is also true with other obligations that I have that I may not feel enthusiastic.

- So if you don't feel enthusiastic, fine. Just try to refrain from inadvertantly discouraging other Democrats from voting.

- If you don't want to volunteer or donate, that's fine too. On the other hand you noted the importance of taking back the house. That's probably worth a couple hours or so of phone banking. Coat-tails, etc.


Best Regards
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #33
40. I agree that my OP hit meaningfully charged buttons using painfully nuanced phrases, lol
It's something I fall into sometimes, I'm very poor at black and white type thinking. So for example obviously it was easy for folks including you to take away from my OP the conclusion that I "won't feel bad about the consequences of Republican rule" if Obama loses.

But I really didn't say that although I will acceopt responsibility for making it easy for others to think that I said that. I said I won't feel guilty if I am less enthusiastic in my support of Obama this time and Obama loses. I would still feel awful about the consequences of Republican rule. That's why I will work for Obama anyway even if some of my enthusiasm for him is lacking now. I can make a good case for electing him to both myself and others, but not with the same enthusiasm that I had in 2008 and I do not feel guilty about that. It is just the way it is. Most recently Obama could have fired up my enthusiasm for him had he been more out front in his support of unionized workers in the coordinated assault against them. He chose not to for whatever reasons he had for staying at arms length away from that. But choices have consequences, and enthusiasm is one of those areas where consequences can be noticed.
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Cali_Democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:06 AM
Response to Original message
5. Obama and his team have successfully squandered much of the enthusiasm from 2008
Thanks to his capitulation to rethugs on issue after issue.

Now, primary motivation for 2012 will be to prevent the Republicans from taking office rather than enthusiasm about Obama. That's no way to win an election.

People want a candidate that will fight for them and stand up to the rethugs, not capitulate again and again.

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RichGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
6. I get that people are disappointed...
But to put Obama in the same catagory of EVIL that is the republicans and is just plan IGNORANT.

Obama hasn't done everything we want, primarily because he started out with a hopeless mess and has to deal with the republicans who say NO to anything he wants.

Bush destroyed the economy and got us into two wars. The next republican will destroy unions, social security, medicare, public education, etc...

If your having trouble deciding between these two 'evils'...then you need a serious reality check!

Make your list of pros and cons and when your "pro" list regarding republicans is complete...please share.

If you have trouble with Obamas "pro" list, go to Rachel Maddows site and get her LONG list of Obamas progressive accomplishments.

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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. I spoke to the "lesser evil" metaphor in reply to the first reply
Good Lord or Lordess or cloud of random electrons, I have no difficulty deciding between Obama or the Republicans, nor did I imply in any way that I did. What you said is very accurate and it completely supports what I said. You just made a very compelling argument about why we can't afford not to support Obama in 2012. THAT was a persuasive "lesser of two evils" argument.

Put it another way. One can tell that "lesser of two evils" persuasion is at work when the bulk of the points being made concern how awful it will be if the other guy wins. "Lesser of two evils" bu conventional usage doesn't even mandate that one party let alone both are acutally "evil". It means the debate is being framed in a way that starts out with stuff like "I get that people are disappointed..." and "Obama hasn't done everything we want..." follwed by the inevitable BUT the other guy will smear you with honey and bury you in an ant hill.

Lesser of two evils is an argument that flows from the premise that the person being addressed is not really happy with either of their choices, and takes it from there. THAT is what we are back to. I am not saying Obama is evil, he sure as hell isn't, and I'm not saying he isn't better than Bush, he sure as hell is.
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whatchamacallit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #6
13. IMO anyone comfortable wearing gloves of blood *is* evil
your moral milage may vary.
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. If you drive a car that uses an energy source that comes from the middle
east, you are as guilty of war mongering as anyone.

Be sure to wash your bloody hands after using the can.
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whatchamacallit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #16
24. Interesting
How 'bout you? Did you stop driving, or are you saying you've accepted how you get your gas?
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. I went without a car for the better part of 30 years,
I've had one for the last 10 months and will get rid of it during my divorce proceedings next month

Fuck me I loves my bicycle.

Don't give me any shit about being too old to do it. I'll be 60 this year and plan to ride until they stick me in the urn.

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whatchamacallit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #26
41. :)
Good on ya! I live and work in LA so... I too will one day soon abandon my car. :hi:
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Raine1967 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
7. I call bullshite.
If you believe that Obama was the lesser of 2 evils, I have to wonder if you consider yourself a democrat. You are correct about the Republicans being the masters of fear, but I would have to ask, Do you think the Democratic Party should respond with the same tactics? In other words, with Fear?

This is NOT the lesser of two evils. This is the result of how badly broken our Nation is. We cannot fix this in 2 years, or even four years, this started when Reagan took office. I still stand by my belief that this ship is going to take years to turn around.

The other reality is this: Obama has to work with the rules/laws that exist now, simultaneously, he is trying to change them in order to make things better. He can't do that without a legislative branch that has blocked him every step of the way. Before last November's election, we had at LEAST the House, now we are looking at an obstructive House and Senate.

Blame Obama all you want, but please keep in mind how the entire system works. He's the president, not a dictator.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #7
18. Try at least to GET my point before trying to refute it.
Look around you on this forum. Right here, in discussions among democrats, the frame for discussions about backing Obama now increasingly has become the very true argumen t that we can't afford to let the Republicans win. If you strip away the details and just look at the foundation of that argument, it is an appeal to fear, fear of what will happen if Obama loses. That is the simple truth.

It is also, in my opinion, true that we do have much to fear if the Republicans regain the White House and that America would be much better served by a second Obama Administration than by any the Republicans will offer up.

The messaging to appeal to activists has shifted significantly since 2008. I am hearing very little in public about the imperitive of retaking the House of Representatives from the Republicans in 2012 so that the obstructionists will cleared off the path of the positive Democratic agenda for America.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #7
30. The key is that this is an endless cycle -- And it shouldn't be
We are not at Square One.

Having been through several rounds of hope, sellout by Democrats, and disappointment over the years, I get really tired of this "change is going to take time" crap.

Bill Clinton had a golden opportunity to turn the country in a better direction from Reagonomics. But ultimately, he helped to further entrench Reaganomics and participatd in buiklding the machine that ultimately crashed the econpomy in 2008.

He also -- by choosing to be a corporate centrist -- undermined, rather than empowered the whole ideology of liberalism and progressive values and their connection to the democratic Party. As a result, during the eight dark years of Bush, liberalism and progressive vakluyes fell further and further behind, with no freal support from the Democratic Party.

Many people THOUGHT that Obama would at least start to break thius cycle,. But instead we are seeing a variation of Clinton 2.

It gets a little discouraging.



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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:23 AM
Response to Original message
8. "Lesser of Two Evils"
Appointed Elizabeth Warren to establish the first-ever Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Ralph Nader recently wrote an open letter to the President to appoint Elizabeth Warren to head the consumer bureau, which was made possible by the President's Wall Street Reform bill that Nader repeatedly denounced. In it, he didn't even get the name of the agency right.

Republicans are trying to repeal Wall Street reform and attacking Elizabeth Warren in the process.

"Lesser of Two Evils"

President Obama has also established a record as the most pro-regulation President in last 40 years:

"Lesser of Two Evils"

Health Care Bill Enhances Whistleblower Protections

As part of the anti-fraud provisions of the health care legislation passed yesterday, Congress strengthened the False Claims Act - one of the most effective whistleblower laws in the United States - in order to ensure that whistleblowers can expose fraud under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Lindsey Williams, Advocacy Director at the National Whistleblowers Center, explained the whistleblower provisions incorporated into the health care law: "The bill directly addresses the right of whistleblowers to obtain protection under the False Claims Act. A number of courts had significantly narrowed the interpretation of 'whistleblower' under the law, resulting in a chilling effect on employees' willingness to risk their careers to expose fraud against the taxpayers. The health care legislation passed by Congress contains a much-needed provision correcting these narrow, anti-whistleblower rulings."

The legislation also ensures that the False Claims Act anti-fraud provisions will apply to the "exchanges" established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act if they use federal funds. Additionally, the False Claims Act is strengthened regarding failure to return overpayments and includes greater anti-kickback provisions.

"Regardless of where you stood on the health care debate, this is a major step forward for fraud prevention and ensures that whistleblowers, who risk their careers to expose fraud in the new health care system and by large pharmaceutical companies, won't have their cases maliciously thrown out of court," added Ms. Williams.


Obama Signs Landmark Whistleblower Protections in Food Safety Act

Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.

"Lesser of Two Evils"

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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #8
14. Your response is more subtle and valuable, I appreciate that
You know one of the reasons why I write an OP like this today is because the heart and heat of the 2012 election campaign is still rather distant, though it won't stay so long. There is time yet to build real enthusiasm for the Democratic ticket, not just fear of the Republican one.

But Obama himself too often has functioned as his own buzz kill in that regard. He campained last time saying when workers rights were threatened he would be out there walking the line, and then he took the lowest profile possible when the shit hit the fan for unions in Wisconsin and other states. Just an example.

The Republican party made a conscious choice after the 2008 ekecion to go big picture. They elevated ideology to stage center on a pedestal. And they painted their ideology red white and blue and left out the colors after red when they painted the Democrats. This administration has turned the other cheek to that attack, highlighting instead nose to the grindstone work ethics for the American people and a willingness to reach out and negotiate reasonable compromises with the ideologically driven Republican agenda without ever challenging that ideology. And I believe that is the major reasosn why Democrats have primarilly fallen into a defensive mode since 2009 - allowing Republicas to define the issues.

There is still time to change that before the 2012 race begins in earnest.
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cottonseed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
19. Hey everybody! I don't care about anything!
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 12:17 PM by cottonseed
God I'm tired of whiners.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. Newflash dude
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 12:30 PM by Tom Rinaldo
This election is about you. And it is about me. And it is about the people who know and care about you, and those who feel the same about me too. And it is about the people who are reading this. And tho ones who won't see this. And the people who don't like me, yup them too. It is about all of us. And as soon as you start taking the position that because it can't all be about any one person, than you dangerously flirt with the position that what any one person feels or believes is irrelevent. And then you are no longer a Democrat at heart. Because Democrats believe that we all matter, even the least powerful among us matter.
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dionysus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #19
29. and you forgot "The Dems Suck, don't vote!"
;)
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mkultra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 12:16 PM
Response to Original message
21. return? When was democracy anything but.
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Life Long Liberal Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
25. If you are a Dem or progressive or a liberal, you have no valid choice except Obama.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. I agree
I also think it would be a big mistake for progressives to support a primary challenge to Obama.
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Life Long Liberal Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #28
34. I 100% agree. There is no way a challange would work and would hurt Obama......
Lets save it for 2016!
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dionysus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:18 PM
Response to Original message
27. then work to defeat him at all costs. save us!!1!!
:rofl:
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. I'm glad you got a laugh out of it.
Seems like you must have needed one. So if you laugh at someone like me, who opposes efforts to primary Obamma, who plans not only to vote for him but to work to help Obama get elected, I suggest that you contribute behind the scenes and not attempt outreach to undecided voters.
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dionysus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #31
35. i suggest you stay away from undecided voters. your OP says the dems suck and you don't care if we
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 01:31 PM by dionysus
lose.

"I will not back Obama now as enthusiastically as I did in 2008, nor will I feel any guilt over that even if he loses"

that attitude will sure help bring in the undecideds!

:rofl:
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. I think I will be much more effective convincing voters disappointed in Obama to suppport him
than you will be anyday. Seriously.

By the way, where did you see me say that part about Dems sucking?

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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #27
36. Oh don't be ridiculous
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
38. Do some people not understand the word "enthusiastic"?
Seems that way from what I'm reading. Conviction and enthusiasm are completely different things. Being sure of the best thing to do under the circumstances and being enthusiastic about it are two completely different things.

I pretty much can convince myself to do lots of things that I'm not enthusiastic about. I can even work hard doing something that I am not enthusiastic about. But at the end of the day it is always the same, I always work HARDEST when I am enthusiastic about what I am doing.

I am pretty sure that all of you know exactly what I am talking about it you just stop and think about it. When you strongly BELIEVE IN something you can tap into energy that you may never have known you had.

When I wrote that regardless of the outcome of the 2012 election I would not feel guilty for enthusiasm that I didn't feel during the campaign, it's because enthusiasm is essentially an organic response to something that excites you in a positive way. It's not just up to me when I feel real enthusiasm. Yes I will feel guilty if Obama loses in 2012 if I made little effort to support him. But there is always a qualitative difference in how support will manifests with or without the presence of enthusiasm.

Maybe you use words differently than me. Maybe you can suggest some better way to describe it. But Obama understood what I am trying to describe during the 2008 campaing when he compellingly infused so many of us with enthusiasm then.

Again, I will work to elect Obama in 2012, and I will oppose efforts to run primary opponents against him. I understand how important the race is. I just can't fake enthusiasm. Maybe you can.
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frazzled Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #38
47. Enthusiasm is always in the anticipation, the unknown: reality is always full of compromises
You are "enthusiastic" about getting married, about your wedding. You imagine a perfect evening and eternal bliss with a mate for whom your passion will burn brightly for the rest of your life. Then the wedding day comes, Uncle Harry tells embarrassing jokes and someone spills red wine on your wedding gown. So what. Over the next months and years, little things like leaving the cap off the toothpaste, and big things, like not enough money, start to accrue. Your perfect spouse loses their hair and starts to snore. It's not the bliss you imagined, but you love them just the same. For 40 years and counting.

You are "enthusiastic" about having a child -- an unknown entity onto whom you project all your hopes and dreams. You imagine the joy of giving birth, and focus on the Lamaze classes with utter dedication and hard work. You eat right and take your vitamins. And then the delivery comes and it's the worst damn thing you've ever been through in your life. The baby is wrinkled and you worry she has jaundice. She's adorable nonetheless ... but over the years there are certainly disappointments and difficulties. Worries and imperfections. Still, you love her, for 30 years and counting.

I'm just saying, it was easy to be enthusiastic about Wes Clark (I worked tirelessly for his campaign in New Hampshire, every day, standing out in the cold, attending VFW pancake breakfasts, doing visibility in subzero temperatures, canvassing door to door every weekend). It was only after it was over that I had to admit that he was not the perfect candidate and would not have been the perfect president. He was an aspiration.

It was easy to be enthusiastic about Barack Obama. I travelled hours to a different state to canvass, I donated money. I never expected him to be the answer to everything, not even most things. I think he's done a fairly remarkable job so far. His temperament is quite subdued, but I never expected him to be a firebrand. I learned that within months of moving here to Illinois, where I voted for him for Senator and met people who knew and had been colleagues of his.

What I am trying to suggest is that life is a series of compromises. So is politics and government. That's the way it goes. It doesn't mean we shouldn't always push and strive. But I'm old enough (and tired enough) to know never to expect my dreamiest anticipations to match with the hard facts of reality. I'm grateful for every day where things are not worse than they are. Which they certainly would be if I didn't have my wonderful but imperfect spouse, my wonderful but imperfect children, my wonderful but imperfect president.

I am imperfect. And I bet you are, too.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #47
48. Thanks frazzled! That's how I see it,
and you explained it beautifully. :thumbsup:
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #47
49. Elequent, important, and true. But it is not only that...
And I say not ONLY that because you are right that there is almost always some of that when the ideal is no longer new but has become tarnished through use. Thank you for your post. I too am most certainly imperfect.

But, perhaps as a result of aging, it has been a long time since I saw the world through starkly idealistic eyes. I expect compromises in politics and I have great respect for those who do so artfully, because the inability to do so inevitably leads to failure or a type of success that is achieved through force (of some type) alone and rarely one that lasts.

When the topic of health care reform rose on the agenda I can say that I was and am an enthusiastic supporter of single payer. Once perhaps that would have been the sole focus of my enthusiasm. But it wasn't this time. I still felt energized to fight hard, with enthusiasm, for a plan that included a robust public option open to all. As negotiations played out it became apparent that there would be no such robust public option, nor would it be open to all. But I adjusted to that landscape and remained energized to fight for virtually any public option made available to at least someone.

Those were hard nosed political compromises for me, and I stayed fully on board and engaged even though the change it seemed we could win looked increasingly quite distant from the idealized change I believed in. But it still represented a foot in the door for public health, or at least a big toe. And then the plan changed again as politics worked its way and that toehold was gone. And then I discovered my enthusiasm for it too was gone.

It's just an example, though an important one for me. Others I am sure had different experiences, some no doubt felt elated by a Democratic victory. Others felt more like me. And there are other examples that I don't want to pursue because it is not my purpose to do so. But even a pragmatist can discover that they have idealistic bottom lines below which enthusiasm begins to wane. The Republicans understand that well, which is one big reason why they take care not to overly discourage their activist base.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #49
50. If the issue of single payer or the public option were that important.....
you would note that in fact, Pres. Obama has cleared the way for state to start with such programs within their own ....that is more than anyone has ever done for health care in the realm that is preferred by most of us for a long, long time. Also, he increased community health center funding, medicaid funding, etc....

Bottomline is that if you choose not to see this part of that bill as advances where previously there were NONE (and not from the lack of trying), then you are making an analysis without the appropriate context.

Pres. Obama, as you know, never ran on Single Payer......just like no other candidate did, including the one you supported....so for you to start there to be able to count more Disappointments than there actually were is a bit desingeneious, IMO.

Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't have supported Single Payer....I'm just saying that you already knew it wasn't going to happen, so there should have been no real disappointment there. As for the Public Option, I still believe that the 2014 pools will be close to the PO, as the bargaining power will be much more than I think many are estimating. But for the public option, we needed 60 votes, and if I recall correctly, we more than that needed to pass something as opposed to holding out for nothing. Personally, I don't think we, as activists helped in the least. We sat there and laughted at the Tea Baggers, as they went on their rampage. They got hold of the microphone, and they never let go. They influenced public opinion, and we did Nada, other than throw rocks at our President.

And I'll tell you, sometimes I believe that the activist base (which I am part of....but not that part) was looking for a reason to be discouraged....kind of like the Teaparty currently wanting 100 billion in cuts, and not recognizing that what they are being offered is not something they would have gotten otherwise. They too aren't willing to truly compromised, and that is why I hopefully hope that they are handed their asses in 2012.

So in the end, if you are going to dissect any and all of the issues you found important, and notice that none of what we got was perfect, than you aren't discovering anything new......only that the art of the possible is not the art of what I want, otherwise I'm pissed. That's how the extreme opposing side look at things...but it ain't supposed to be how we see things.

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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 02:07 PM
Response to Original message
39. Tom.....
you are someone I got to know and who has earned my respect over the years,
and whom I have met in the flesh.

We both Supported Gen. Wes Clark during the 2004 primaries....
we both had great passion for what we thought a Presidency under him
would look like. However, I never believed that he was the panacea of
liberalism; I just believed that he would be a formidable opponent to Bush,
and that he had that gift for reasonability that all voters could admire,
while still extolling progressivism but also pragmatic values.

Then you supported Hillary during the 2008 primaries
and I supported Obama.

Again, neither ever represented a bastion of liberalism in my eye. However, that said,
I think we both had passion during those times for the candidates we supported.

But let me tell you were we part on our opinion;
first, I never, ever expected Wes Clark or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama
to give us even close to everything we would ever want...and certainly not in 2.4 years.
Neither did I see it as the lesser of two evils, and I don't believe that is our choice in 2012.

I would not have held Gen. Clark to the standard that somehow his job was to
make me feel enthused...once he won the presidency. I always have understood
that there are some large powers that one cannot fight against as President, and that
the status quo can be moved some, but that there isn't anyone person out there that
would be allowed to turn the entire system as we know it on its head just like that.

In other words, I always understood that whomever would be the Democratic President,
I wouldn't witness any political miracles where all of the sudden, all that I want,
I would get, and feel great about simply all. I always knew the media was corrupt, and that they affect public opinion as their fulltime job, and it is usually in favor of Republican ideology.

As desperate as I was in 2004 and in 2008 to make sure that Republicans never had another chance
to once again fuck up our world royally....that hasn't changed for me. It is still the driving
factor as to why I stay involved.

I will never, ever forget how I felt for 8 years under the Bush Regime. I will always remember that a Republican who had little regard for democracy is who got me active in politics.

I did not get active in politics for the love of any politician who would excite me into voting, and then believed that I would need to be rewarded for my vote, or else I wouldn't do it again willingly.

The enthusiasm for my vote comes for my concern for the future of my children and other children; not so much for myself. I vote for the future of this country, not so much for personal satisfaction. Not only have I voted, and will vote, but I do so while being enthused about it, because I clearly will never forget the deepest despair that I felt, when it was clear that this country was under great assault.

I know for a fact that a Republican candidate winning the 2012 election would put us back where we were in 2003 (and how I felt about it), and I have vowed never to let that happen again....and Tom, that's what keeps me motivated. You can call that fear. I call it determination and a good memory of the dangers that lie ahead if I do not only do what I need to do, but get others to do it as well. In fact, I find encouraging others to vote one the the best thing any citizen can do, and if we all did it, it would be a wonderful thing. Sad to say, your op doesn't do that.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #39
43. Hi Frenchie
While we worked closest together politically between 2004 and 2007 we did so with a delicious understanding of both the limits of our abilities to influence the direction of our nation through political activism AND an appreciation that citizens giving voice to our personal truths, as small a statement as any of those can be in a nation of 300,000,000 people, still truly matters.

We, and I mean now a much larger pool of activists than just the two or us or of all Clarkies then, I mean all political activists who decide to get involved since 2004 and to speak our minds about the future of this nation and the leaders who can take us in a positive direction, WE all found that we do have voices and our voices are most powerful when we ground them in our hearts as well as minds.

Yes I agree with your summary. Neither of us ever believed that Wes Clark or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would ever be the perfect mythical leader for America, they all would fail in some ways in each of our eyes, though in which ways they did might differ from eye to eye. We knew that the Democratic Party had to get back on track fighting for the true interests of the great majority of Americans, and from among the choices we seemed to have at any given time, both you and I made choices to support viable candidates we each thought would best help Democrats do that.

So this has always been about something larger than a single Democratic leader, potential or elected.

Here is the hardest part to put in words. By getting into the trenches and working our butts off we also learned that the influence we each have on the in flow of political thought in this nation is potentially much greater than we earlier had imagined. That was all part of the larger netroots awakening. Even when I was firmly inside Wes Clark's camp I knew that what I literally said or far more often wrote, would sometimes actually be considered by General Clark. Because ultimately he, just like you and I, is an individual who ponders various choices which, though all consistent with his overall values and beliefs, still could differ significantly, tactically if nothing else. Good leaders always need to hear the voices of those they seek to lead.

I support Barack Obama for President in 2012 Frenchie. I believe he is inherently a good man who always has our ultimate better national interests in mind, even when he is convinced for political reasons that it is not always feasible to move unswervingly toward them. But beyond that, and even more to the point. I think it would be a huge setback to the interest of most working Americans and the world beyond if Republicans are allowed to regain control of the Presidency at this time. And I am convinced that any effort to undermine Obama now by challenging him for the Democratic nomination would only increase the chances that a Republican will be President in 2013.

But though I support Barack Obama for President now without hesitation, I think it would be a mistake to go silent on advocating changes that I believe would be beneficial not only to our nation, but to the ultimate effectiveness of his time spent in office. I see no contradiction in that. To those who say "who are you to think your opinions on such weighty matters are worthy of anyone's serious consideration?" my answer is simple. I am a citizen in a Democracy. Clearly I am not a Presidential counselor, I don't carry much weight. But neither do the rain drops that carved the Grand Canyon.

I am a voice in a chorus that asks our President to speak more firmly, even confrontationally at times, for the values and programs of the Democratic Party at a time when the Republican Party has declared an all our ideological war against us. I may be wrong of course, but I believe his reelection will be made more certain if he does so, and he will find many more people moved to move mountains on his behalf if he does.
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FrenchieCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #43
46. What you have said is clear Tom, but......
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 04:50 PM by FrenchieCat
Initially, I was addressing the issue you raised in even labeling your Op; The Return of the lesser of two evils. That issue as I see it is mislabeled....as I do not see Pres. Obama as evil, so there is no return of two.....just one evil; the Republicans....and they have always kind of been there, although they are becoming more radical with each passing minute.

Let me say again the reason that I became political in the first place, and it had little to do with Democrats, and had everything to do with Republicans. I have always been one who wanted to keep them out of power, especially since Bush, than I was NOT so much into getting the most progressive President elected to do my bidding. Perhaps that is the difference between you and I, as well as with others...some of you were perhaps working to elect the most progressive individual, while I have simply working to work for the most electable Democrat who could actually win. Again, I didn't work on Wes Clark's campaign thinking he was soooo progressive compared to the rest of the candidates....but rather I believed that he could beat Bush, and for me, that was the enthusiasm I needed. In 2012, my goal is to keep Teabaggers and the other GOP blights away from as many political seats there are.....all over, and specifically the seat of the Presidency.

Some believe that I am enamored particularily with this President.....but they do not know me, and don't remember me back in 2003.....and in other forums, earlier....or personally in the 90s and through 2002. They don't know that I used to stay up all night listening to Ray Taliaffero, because there was no one else in the media that was saying anything that I believed; he did (not everything, but a whole lot). They do not know that I couldn't believe what I was witnessing as a country stayed pretty much silent as our democracy was yanked from under us, first by the wholesale trashing of Al Gore, and then by the election theft via the Supreme Court with the aid of the media. Surely they remember these things....but perhaps not as well as I. When one states that they need a politician and the things that a politician does to stay "enthused", that tells me that some have forgotten where we've been, and in fact, now appear willing to go there again. They will have to go there without me. I cannot go back; not for any lofty principle that in the end will work against me and those I care about. I'm not here to make a point, I'm here to win, cause that is the only tangible thing that makes any kind of difference in the end.
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