About That Big Tent Party

You know the thing that I find most amusing about the NY race is that what they are basically telling every moderate Republican across the country is that it doesn’t matter if you’ve been a loyal Republican for decades, it doesn’t matter if you know the district and the people, it doesn’t matter if you fit the district, and it doesn’t matter that you have given decades to the party. It just doesn’t matter. If the teabagging wingnuts and the shrieking lunatics like Malkin don’t like you, high profile crackpots like Palin and Dick Armey and others are going to swoop in and back some clown who doesn’t even live in the district and then shit all over the area’s voters, telling them their interests are “parochial.”

Now that is how you build a sustainable party!






130 replies
  1. 1
    cleek says:

    GOP: Now featuring the purest carpetbaggers evah!

  2. 2
    Josh E. says:

    We have those types on our side as well. Seen OpenLeft recently? The difference is ours aren’t organized enough to even run a candidate.

  3. 3
    Lavocat says:

    Tuesday should be interesting. Apparently Dede is now telling all of her suporters to vote for the Dem. Good for her! Hell hath no fury like a moderate Republican woman scorned! I guess revenge is a dish best served with an appetizer of FUCK YOU!

  4. 4
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Now that is how you build a sustainable party!

    Every vulnerable Blue Dog is praying for the teabaggers and Armey of Dick to target his/her district in 2010.

  5. 5
    CaseyL says:

    Yup.

    Thing is, there is a largeish number of people for whom government is supposed to be nothing more than an apparatus that enforces a specific and narrow ideology, and rewards the followers of that ideology. These people agree with Armey that local interests in “good governance” are parochial and irrelevant (irrelevant in that they don’t care about “good governance” any more than they care about a “general welfare”).

    Since Reagan first took a wrecking ball to “good governance” nearly 30 years ago, many of the obvious, visible benefits of such governance have in fact withered and vanished. (We used to actually have vigorous public health clinics, f’rex, and a Federal grant-to-cities program that funded infrastructure improvements). So voters under age 40 have no active memory of the era when government had worked for the average person for so long that you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a good thing government had done or people.

    Plus, at some point in the last 2 or 3 decades, schools apparently stopped teaching civics at all. So people under age 30 have no idea how government works, and are therefore open to the propaganda that government works only via patronage, cronyism, and corruption – and that is normative.

    All of which makes it easier to sell the notion that government can’t and shouldn’t do anything for ordinary citizens; which in turn makes it easier to sell the notion that government is an ideological/cronyist spoils system and nothing more.

  6. 6
    Dan B says:

    This is also the second special election in a row here in NYS where one of the candidates didn’t actually live in the district they sought to represent (Tedisco didn’t live in NY-20 while he ran against Murphy). I wouldn’t mind seeing that residency rule changed, to be honest, although no one really makes an issue of it.

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    This episode can be summed up as Sarah Palin hunting the New York Republican party into extinction. Scozzofava’s voting record in the state legislature was slightly more conservative than that of her average Republican colleague. By NY standards, she was no RINO. However, that wasn’t good enough for the Glenn Back crowd, and now they have a situation where Scozzofava is urging her remaining supporters and union backers to vote and work on behalf of the Democrat.

    Hoffman may win on Tuesday (I think he’d be taken out next year of that happens), but this will make it much harder than it already was for a Republican to succeed statewide. All those nice suburban matrons who would gladly vote for a Scozzofava type Republican will grab their kids and lock their doors if the teabagger types come to town. This is good news for Gillibrand.

  8. 8
    CaseyL says:

    Yoiks.

    This sentence:

    So voters under age 40 have no active memory of the era when government had worked for the average person for so long that you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a good thing government had done or people.

    Should read:

    So voters under age 40 have no active memory of the era when government had worked for the average person for so long that you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a good thing government had done for people.

    Sorry!

  9. 9
    beltane says:

    @Josh E.: They run candidates in Vermont under the banner of the Progressive Party, which expends most of its energy in attacking Democrats. This is why we have been stuck with a Republican governor ever since Howard Dean stepped down to run for President.

  10. 10
    asiangrrlMN says:

    You summed it up very nicely, Cole. Hey, batshitcrazies, turn the lights off when you leave. It’s clear that no one is home.

    @Josh E.: The other difference is that the purest of the pure (craziness) on our side don’t run the party.

    How many New Yorkers from that district do we have here? Care to weigh in on the situation? It’s just totally bizarre to me.

  11. 11
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @beltane: Hm. Did not know this. So in some states they have traction, but not federally. Got it.

  12. 12

    Excellent comment, CaseyL — this is also the explanation, I think, for the Obama bashing we are seeing: a perception that running a government and passing legislation is just ideological, so as long as the “right” ideology is “in charge” then everything else should just fall into place.
    Even Bush had this perception — he thought all he had to do was give a speech, and everything would fall into place. Presidentin’ is hard work!

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    @asiangrrlMN: They have traction in isolated pockets within New York State. They do not have traction statewide for any kind of office.

  14. 14
    Sly says:

    The thing I find most amusing is that upstate NYers generally detest it when those of us from downstate interfere in their local politics. I can scarcely imagine what they’re making of Hello Kitty Arctic Governor getting involved.

  15. 15
    valdivia says:

    David Plouffe thinks the same and is laying it all on Palin. Worth checking out what he thinks is happening to the Rep party is definitely driving it off a cliff.

  16. 16
    Redshirt says:

    I’m enjoying this so much. It’s a clear sign of the end of the GOP in the NE. This has been going on a while, but this will hasten the process.

    Just to illuminate those of you to the true extent of this re-alignment, realize that states like VT and ME never voted for a Democtratic Prez candidate until Clinton, and even then, only barely. It is really only relatively recently the GOP has been getting flushed out of the region.

    NY-23 – bless it – makes it apparent to all what’s going on. Forces of sanity versus forces of insanity. Who will win?

  17. 17
    beltane says:

    @beltane: Never mind. I was responding to the wrong comment. However, I could envision a scenario where the Progressive party took votes away from our Rep., Peter Welch. Our Senators are pretty well untouchable (though the progs. claim that both of them are corporate sellouts).

  18. 18
    bellatrys says:

    Even Reagan ran to the middle to appeal to moderates, or at least not scare off the centrists, back in the day.

  19. 19
    Max says:

    OT – but sweet jesus, I think Shannon Sharpe is wearing a burgundy velvet suit on CBS.

  20. 20
    jwb says:

    @CaseyL: “So voters under age 40 have no active memory of the era when government had worked for the average person for so long that you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a good thing government had done or people.”

    That argument might make sense, except the last time I checked the demographics of the teabaggers are rather older than that.

  21. 21
    Brachiator says:

    Of course, if the Republican candidate wins, or even makes a good showing, this will be perceived as a vindication of the new “tiny tent” orientation of the GOP.

    And, of course, the GOP dissing of moderates like Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter was an early indicator that the new message of the party is that moderates need not apply.

  22. 22
    jwb says:

    @beltane: I should say that it is rather likely that whoever wins on Tuesday will lose the election in 2010. Though I would say Owens’ chance of holding it are slightly higher, I would definitely bet against both.

  23. 23
    Perry Como says:

    This episode can be summed up as Sarah Palin hunting the New York Republican party into extinction.

    That would make a great political cartoon. Palin and Dick Armey hanging out of a helicopter, shooting at moderate Republicans.

  24. 24
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Need more popcorn..

  25. 25
    Incertus says:

    @jwb: Yeah, but the people just older than I am–I’ll be 41 in a week–are the ones who learned in their teen years that Reagan was White Jesus (as Uncle Ruckus would say) and their memories are flooded with images of Jimmy Carter and the end of the Vietnam war. You get hit with enough of that shit as a kid and get fuckheads like Limbaugh reiterating it for the last 15 years and it’s no wonder you’re convinced that government is always the problem.

  26. 26

    Teabaggers to Republican voters = Shut up and let us do the Baby Jesus’ work!

    Right now they’re trying to produce Bush Administration II – The Congressional Boogaloo.* Applicants must be able to convincingly repeat the party line about evil homosexuals and abortion. If the constituents don’t necessarily want that, it is proof they’re DFHs and can be ignored.

    Besides, this stratergery worked so well in Illinois a few years ago. Heh.

    And if they get their asses back on a nice silver platter … it will prove that ACORN rigged the election.

    This episode can be summed up as Sarah Palin hunting the New York Republican party into extinction.

    Dream big.

    We have those types on our side as well. Seen OpenLeft recently? The difference is ours aren’t organized enough to even run a candidate opener.

    Fix’d. If the Dems ever allow the radical (or at least loud n’ whiny) members to have a say in jackshit, we’ll deserve 1,000 years in the desert.

    *Or they’re just after the donations. Duh.

  27. 27
    NCReggie says:

    Isn’t this good news for John McCain?

  28. 28
    Comrade Darkness says:

    After all, local issue are parochial. So said Dick Armey whom Hoffman (weirdly) brought along as a baby sitter to his interview with the local paper.

    It didn’t help that Hoffman brought along former House majority leader (and staunch conservative) Dick Armey with him to the editorial board meeting — Armey called the local issues “parochial” and said the editorial board ambushed his candidate. Hoffman also says he opposes pork-barrel spending, the kind of federal cash infusions a rural, economically depressed, military-heavy area like the North Country depends on. –link

    The guy is a puppet and is too stupid to even attempt to hide it. No wonder Palin loves him.

  29. 29
    geg6 says:

    I am finding this whole development fascinating. It’s a dream come true for a political junkie to watch this all come down. Especially as, for once, I’m watching from the other side. There is, perhaps, no one whose political mind and abilities I admire more than David Plouffe. And David Plouffe agrees with our bloggy master. It’s serious amounts of popcorn time!

  30. 30
    Scott H says:

    Looks, to me, like a political version of football hooliganism. I wonder if Steele has the nerves of to put these apolitical vandals out before the tent is burned to the ground.

  31. 31
    Reason60 says:

    I left the Republican Party in the mid 90’s for this very reason; the party that used to (in my opinion) represent a reasonable alternative to classic liberalism had turned into a caricature of itself.

    What is maddeningly ironic, is that for all the screaming about the Marxists, there really isn’t anyone on the political spectrum who is even as “liberal” as Truman or Eisenhower.
    Today Ike would be drummed out of the party- or had piles of fake dog poop delivered to his doorstep.

    The party I knew, that proposed a reasonable alternative to classic New Deal liberalism, vanished about the same time New Deal liberalism did.

    The ideas that once had a serious purpose and meaning- resisting the Communist advance and defense of the virtues of a free market- have been hollowed out and turned into a cargo cult.

    There really isn’t any coherent thought in the Tea Party- it is a collection of random thoughts, platitudes without any connecting tissue of philosophy- most of the positions are flatly contradicted by others-
    Fierce libertarian defense of gun ownership and fevered nightmares of FEMA camps, together with a wholeseale embrace of the Security State and approval of warrantless wirteapping and suspension of habeas corpus;

    Demands for fiscal conservatism, married to demands for yet another war, yet another tax cut.

    Sneering at identity politics, yet always, always, the truculent surly victimhood of white Christians.

    There is reason to worry- this is the politics of inchoate rage, of protest, of spite, and as such is immune to reason or compromise.

  32. 32
    NCReggie says:

    what komrade reproductive vigor said… if the Hamshers, Sirotas and the prez is worse than bush crowd have their way the dems won’t win a seat or race outside of their safely gerrymandered progressive districts and we can all be sure of moral purity when the candidate goes down to a flaming ass kickingl

  33. 33
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    If the Republican party is a big tent circus, are Palin and Beck, Kristol and Armey ringmasters or clowns?

  34. 34
    The Raven says:

    Whigs. 1852. Croak!

  35. 35
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @NCReggie: We’ll see. He did well in the polls until he let himself be a puppet of the wingers. So, this is a validation test of whether McCain made the right concession or not, politically.

    —————
    By the way, the crazy up on youtube is stunning. Shorter DillonX: “Yeah, we are the American Taliban. Fuck you and the constitution you rode on in.”

    DillonX (4 days ago)

    Doug Hoffman is what the nation needs because —

    He opposes pro-choice women & is against all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest

    He’s for a strong Biblical Government with ALL schools starting with prayer & NO instructions on evolution & NO marijuana legalization

    He is against the disgusting fags & opposes ALL gay marriage.but does support gay re-education camps

    He knows that labor unions are communistic & destroying the country

    We MUST have him as our Party Leader

  36. 36
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Max 1:03 pm

    Hey, nothing wrong with burgundy velvet suits. I own a very pretty burgundy velvet suit. Of course, I only wear it to parties during the holidays.

  37. 37
    jwb says:

    @NCReggie: Isn’t everything?

  38. 38
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @JSF 1:16 pm

    Yes. And if we’re lucky, trapeze artists with no net, tightrope walkers with no pole, lion tamers with no chair . . . .

  39. 39

    I wonder if Steele has the nerves of to put these apolitical vandals out before the tent is burned to the ground.

    Doesn’t matter. The Repubs think listening to Das Base is the only way back to their glory days. If he tries to restore something resembling order, he’s gone.

    They’d probably replace him with Palin, at which point I will be dead of a massive, prolonged and ultimately fatal orgasm.

  40. 40
    Brachiator says:

    @CaseyL:

    Since Reagan first took a wrecking ball to “good governance” nearly 30 years ago, many of the obvious, visible benefits of such governance have in fact withered and vanished.

    I don’t think that’s quite it. As jwb points out, teabaggers skew old. Some of them are rural, small city types (or imagine that they are), others had moved to the suburbs years ago.

    They benefited in general from a growing economy and good governance, but never gave a rat’s ass about public health clinics because they had private health insurance — or Medicare. And a lot of the grants-to-cities programs were irrelevant to them because they didn’t live in the big cities (and they saw a number of these projects accomplish little or nothing). They don’t see any of these programs as doing squat for the average person, as they see themselves.

    Plus, at some point in the last 2 or 3 decades, schools apparently stopped teaching civics at all.

    Competence in teaching has declined for all kinds of sad reasons. And sadly, even some liberals are suspicious of civics teaching, fearing that it will breed conformity or over-emphasize the achievements of dead white males. Sometimes you have to be careful of what you ask for.

    So people under age 30 have no idea how government works, and are therefore open to the propaganda that government works only via patronage, cronyism, and corruption – and that is normative.

    Uh, that ain’t just propaganda. On the other hand, millions voted for Obama with the hope that the government could be more than a crony machine. Some teabaggers, however, were blind to the cronyism because they loved the ideology that the Palin wing of the GOP is pushing.

  41. 41
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @Reason60: Interesting. My perspective on this is that the republicans didn’t change at heart, but they learned sociopathy (how to present an acceptable face when need) and that allowed them to take over, a la Gingrinch. (Mostly, Newt’s rant about welfare causing men to beat their wives to death stands out has a major point of slippage for him, but no sociopath can be perfect.)

    Aye, and my other post is in moderation hell. I haz a sad.

  42. 42
    Perry Como says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Agreed. The owner of my local watering hole is a Jets fan and my wife will be wearing her Miami jersey.

  43. 43
    ruemara says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    Then those douchnozzles better support a strong public option and cap & trade. Maybe I’ll stop wishing giant anvils drop on their evil pinheads.

  44. 44
    Max says:

    Watching the live stream of Obama at the Corzine rally.

    They are rocking out to a great rendition of “Love Train”.

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/.....-camden-nj

  45. 45
    Violet says:

    @Scott H:

    I wonder if Steele has the nerves of to put these apolitical vandals out before the tent is burned to the ground.

    Doubt it. I was driving somewhere late last week and happened to catch Steele on Hannity’s radio show. Steele was trying to say, “It’s local politics and in this district in NY, the Republicans aren’t hard right nutjobs. STFU and get out of the way, Sean, or we’re going to lose another seat.” But he didn’t have the cojones to say that.

    Hannity was beating him up with questions like, “How can she be a Republican? Look at her voting record! She’s for ___. She’s a liberal! How can you support her?” And again Steele was trying to tell him to STFU, but he knew he couldn’t speak that way to one of the heroes of the teabaggers. So he didn’t.

    It was kind of a fascinating exchange. I kept listening to see if one or the other would back down, and essentially Steele was the one who gave in and kind of blathered platitudes.

    It’s going to take more than Michael Steele to rein in the teabag crowd.

  46. 46
    Jay C says:

    @Comrade Darkness:

    We MUST have him as our Party Leader

    Umm, is that “Party” or “Partei” ????

  47. 47
    NCReggie says:

    the repubs might be screwed after all. All that pandering to the fringe has paid dividends… for the fringe since the establishment republican party is in such a weak position right now with voter id and grassroots malaise. The Tea Party Crowd (really a bunch of Ron Paulites that the GOP has attached itself too out of sheer desperation) might end up calling the shots now. Unsurprisingly at Kos there is actually a small minority who wishes the progressives would do the same to the Dems and feel that the TP people should be applauded for their purity purge and that progressives should aggressively emulate their example.

  48. 48
    kay says:

    @Josh E.:

    We have those types on our side as well. Seen OpenLeft recently? The difference is ours aren’t organized enough to even run a candidate.

    Amen. It’s disconcerting that the “fact-based, rational” Democrats aren’t pointing this out. It’s bugging me that we’re going to jeer at the tea baggers and not look at our own.
    There are 52 Blue Dog Democrats in the House. Democrats had a 235-199 majority in 2006, and they increased that 21 seats in 2008.
    There would not have been a stimulus had we insisted on ideological purity, and not had the Blue Dogs, and without the stimulus, the GDP would be 3 points lower, and unemployment would have hit Orzag’s “tipping point” and we might have gone to 25%, and Obama’s Presidency would be effectively over. That’s what Romer said yesterday, and I believe her.
    There’s an dumb arrogance to insisting that every House district in the country is the same, and should be co-opted for some grand National Scheme, whether it’s teabaggers doing that or liberals doing that. They’re not all the same, and we can’t jam them into a template.

  49. 49
    calipygian says:

    The Watertown paper nails it (via Sully):

    This rural district depends on the federal government for an investment in Fort Drum and its soldiers, environmental protection of our international waterway and the Adirondack Park, and the livelihood of all our dairy farmers across the district, among other support. Our representative cannot be locked into rigid promises and policies that would jeopardize these critical sectors of our economy.

    For a member of Congress, there may be a time to promote reform in Washington, but there is also a time to work within a system that best serves the people you represent.

    It is frightening that Mr. Hoffman is so beholden to right-wing ideologues who dismiss Northern New Yorkers as parochial when people here simply want to know how Mr. Hoffman will protect their interests in Washington.

    Cows, Fort Drum and the St Lawrence Seaway. All dependent on federal spending. Which the Tea Baggers hate.

    Can’t see how this circle is squared.

  50. 50
    superdestroyer says:

    Of course, another way to look at it is that a moderate Republican in a very Republican district could not get 20% of the support when there was any alternative.

    The moderate Republicans are just selling something that very few people really want. If people want a big spending, socially liberal person who will support the nanny state, they can always vote for a Democrat. If they want any form of conservative, they why vote for the RINO?

    In the long run, it will not matter since the groups that would support either a RINO or a conservative are shrinking.

    A better quesiton is what will happen in NY-23 is a few years when the Republican party no longer exist.

  51. 51
    valdivia says:

    @NCReggie:

    and
    @kay:

    what you both said.

  52. 52
    MattF says:

    This is so full of bad for Republicans that it’s hard to know where to start. Note, for example, that Scozzafava is on the right with respect to most NY Congressional Republicans. Also, voters in NY-23 might note that if Hoffman gets elected, he’ll owe his seat to Palin, Armey, Malkin, etc. I’m really unsure who to cheer for here. But– let the voters decide.

  53. 53
    sparky says:

    @Incertus: actually, i think it’s the younger folks. IIRC nobody in the 1980s ever took Ayn Rand seriously, for example. the problem today is that the people under 30 have no memory of leaner days (that is, non-ginned-up GOP froth days).

  54. 54
    sparky says:

    @kay: um what are you talking about? the complaint with the “stimulus” on the “left” was (1) it was TOO SMALL and (2) too much of it was directed to tax relief, which doesn’t stimulate much of anything except the GOP.

    can we avoid revisionist history here, perhaps?

  55. 55
    kay says:

    @valdivia:

    I didn’t say it well. This guy did, and he’s right.

    “They’re trying to bang 435 elections across the United States into the same mold,” said James Ellis, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party. “It’s a detriment to democracy.”

    People don’t like to have what they consider a local election co-opted by activists who don’t live there. I don’t know why that wouldn’t apply to across the board, to Republicans and Democrats.

    The Lamont-Leiberman race was beautiful to me, because it respected Connecticut voters. That’s a blue state. There’s no reason they should be represented by a conservative like Leiberman, so they challenged him. That sort of primary challenge makes sense. If we’re going to extend that, and pretend that Bayh in Indiana is Lieberman in Connecticut, well, that’s delusional, and it ignores Indiana voters.

  56. 56
    jwb says:

    @sparky: Ah, what’s your evidence that the younger people are supporting the wingnuts in large numbers? The demographic of the teabaggers is quite old.

  57. 57
    NCReggie says:

    @ Kay
    I know! That’s what really frustrates me about the FDL and Open Left crowd. Hell even the Huffington Post and its Drudge like headlines acting as if we can just rule by fiat and not recognize their are substantial differences from district to district. Now I’m in Walter Jones district here in NC, good guy, turned against Iraq and Rumsfield when it became apparent that the 1st was a clusterfuck of epic proportions and the second was also a clusterfuck of epic proportions. Now the guy is conservative as is eastern NC in general, running an OpenLeft candidate would only annoy Jones and to boot they’d probably spend most of their time bashing the democrat in the race to boot. You can’t run people without realizing that candidates have to be tailored to the district and just showing up calling everyone corporate shills don’t play well everywhere.

  58. 58
    beltane says:

    @calipygian: Exactly. Hoffman is promising not to bring federal money to the district. Not so good if you’re a dairy farmer. If he wins Tuesday, I expect him to be tossed out next year.

  59. 59
    NCReggie says:

    Its looking more and more like Washington’s warning about political factions and parties is becoming more and more prescient. And whats the endgame for the TP crowd once they get in power?

  60. 60
    kay says:

    @sparky:

    um what are you talking about? the complaint with the “stimulus” on the “left” was (1) it was TOO SMALL and (2) too much of it was directed to tax relief, which doesn’t stimulate much of anything except the GOP.

    can we avoid revisionist history here, perhaps?

    Oh, I know. I even agree with you. How many GOP votes did the too-small stimulus get in the House? Replace the Blue Dogs with Republicans and start counting.

    Here was your choice: no stimulus, or the stimulus you got.

    It would have been ideologically pure and probably more effective to have a bigger stimulus. Granted. It would have been catastrophic to have no stimulus, and that’s what the GOP wanted.

  61. 61
    Redshirt says:

    Some great comments in this thread. Special shout outs to Reason60 and CaseyL.

    I’ve often felt I’m supposed to be a republican — I really, sincerely do believe the government should run a reasonable budget and avoid pork spending and all manner of corruption, AND the government has no place in social realms as long as the activity poses no harm to the greater good. Guns, religion, drugs, sex, do what you want as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else.

    It also seems to me the majority of Americans believe something along these lines.

    Well, the GOP has not come close to offering any version of that vision since Ronny Raygun, not even close, though they’ll tell you they are. So add lies to the failure — something I realized long ago, but many of my fellow citizens are only now seeing. I wish eyes were opened earlier, but better late than never.

  62. 62
    sparky says:

    @jwb: no, sorry, wasn’t trying to make an argument about the median age of those people. i was making a different point, merely that if you are under, say 35, you have no experience of the US as anything other than a self-inflating paradise. till now.

  63. 63
    kay says:

    @sparky:

    It also makes me laugh, because the people who love Howard Dean the most completely ignore what was his actual strategy.

    The 50 state strategy didn’t mean you get a Pelosi in every district. It meant you run a viable candidate in every district. It meant you don’t completely ignore statehouses for twenty years, which is what Democrats did, because they somehow decided state law didn’t matter. It meant you go to red districts and fund the grassroots minority and start from the ground up. Dean was looking ahead 50 years. His fans look no further than the next cycle.

  64. 64
    sparky says:

    @kay: well, yes, i agree with your last sentence. but that’s been the GOP playbook for some time now, maybe since Goldwater, and frankly, until it finally drove the US off a cliff it worked pretty well for them. i don’t see any reason why they should give it up now. i am talking about power, not about doing the right thing, however defined.

    as for the lefty side of things, it’s pretty clear that the Ds will go along with their corporatist paymasters as well. so it’s not clear to me what the problem is with jumping up and down and screaming sellout, when appropriate. getting screwed by the Ds on fake health care reform isn’t any better than getting screwed by the GOP with fake healthcare reform.

    another way to put this: everyone talks about being “pragmatic” but without something that it is in the service of, it’s just making deals for the players at the table. is there a danger in overreach, or the perfect being the enemy of the good? sure. most of the people who comment here hope that’s what the wingnuts are doing. but it is also true in the US system that you are guaranteed to get nothing if you don’t ask. on the left side, most of the “reform” is so far from what that word means that it’s nothing but a sad joke. kinda like Bush calling logging programs “healthy forests.”

  65. 65
    sparky says:

    @kay: i am not aware of any significant, organized group calling for the same kind of purge that the Redstate crowd seeks. which is not to say that any large political party will not have some proportion of rigid ideologues. so what? i just don’t see any evidence that the people on the “left” are causing any serious damage to the Ds. if i am wrong please enlighten me.

  66. 66
    burnspbesq says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    If the Republican party is a big tent circus, are Palin and Beck, Kristol and Armey ringmasters or clowns?

    I don’t think those are mutually exclusive.

  67. 67
    kay says:

    @sparky:

    as for the lefty side of things, it’s pretty clear that the Ds will go along with their corporatist paymasters as well. so it’s not clear to me what the problem is with jumping up and down and screaming sellout, when appropriate. getting screwed by the Ds on fake health care reform isn’t any better than getting screwed by the GOP with fake healthcare reform.

    sparky, have you ever been to Indiana? There are billboards all over northern Indiana that say this :”don’t let Evan Bayh kill jobs”. That’s all it says. I have no idea what they’re about, but it could be any number of things: card check, health care, energy.

    Who do you think is paying for those billboards? Your opponents don’t think Evan Bayh is “the same” as a Republican. They want to beat him.

    Hitting him on his extensive ties to corporate interests is completely legit. Attributing every single Blue Dog vote to “sell outs” just muddies what is a good argument.

    I’m asking you to differentiate, and be smart. Look at the state. Look at the district. Don’t just fire away blindly. Because if you do fire away blindly, you are going to have difficulty convincing me that you’re any different than the engineers of this clusterfuck in New York.

  68. 68
    Svensker says:

    @Max:

    I love Shannon Sharpe.

  69. 69
    Svensker says:

    @Max:

    Watching the live stream of Obama at the Corzine rally.
    They are rocking out to a great rendition of “Love Train”.

    They can rock out all they want, but Corzine is a douche, in a classic Goldman Sachs mold. I won’t vote for his opponent — who is classic wingnut — but I don’t see myself going out for Mr. Corzine. Screw him.

  70. 70
    Andy K says:

    @kay:

    There are 52 Blue Dog Democrats in the House.

    Gotta tell ya, that doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. Here’s the record of Blue Dog Coalition member Adam Schiff.

    You should revise that number after you figure out who’s a Blue Dog and who’s a BDINO…I think you’ll see that when you subtract those Reps who relate with to the real Democratic conservatives over issues of national defense/defense spending, the number of real, purebred Blue Dogs is more like 20-25.

  71. 71
    burnspbesq says:

    @kay:

    Hurley and Laettner have authorized me to say that they agree completely with you on this.

    http://img.photobucket.com/alb.....1nov09.jpg

  72. 72
    burnspbesq says:

    @Svensker:

    Sorry, but as a Jersey guy in exile, I have to call you out on this.

    Christie is a fucking disaster waiting to happen. Corzine may not be a pony with two saddlebags full of candy, but he is abso-fucking-lutely the better choice.

    If you stay home and Christie wins, it’s not on Corzine. It’s on you.

    You’re either part of the solution, or you’re part of the problem. Decide which you want to be.

  73. 73
    Steeplejack says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Good-looking cats. Adopt ’em officially.

  74. 74
    kay says:

    @Andy K:

    All I’m saying is I want you to count, and look at voters. When you’re parsing a blue dog voting record, look at the district. If the blue dog is in line with the district, your problem isn’t the blue dog. It’s the voters.

    You’re not going to get far with me if you say “my problem with elections is voters”. I don’t know what to do with that.

    Pressuring Feinstien on Iraq was completely productive. You probably had her voters on your side, although I recognize that her situation is more complicated than an out-of-stater like me can comprehend. California is a big place.

    Just make sure that you look at how big and diverse this country is, and how House races are essentially local elections, and don’t fall into the teabaggers trap, which is assuming they have a “national movement”, when “parochial” voters in that district might be looking at funding Fort Drum.

  75. 75
    sparky says:

    @kay: maybe i am missing something, but i really don’t know what you are getting at here. are you thinking i am one of those one size fits all ideologues? i’m not.

    but by the same token, i’m not sure what the end point of your stance is. should a D just try to out R the Rs in a conservative state? is that what you are saying?

    i agree with you about Howard Dean, but one other thing he did was also important. he didn’t try to pretend that the Ds were just better dressed Rs–they have differences, and those differences matter.

    as for the billboards, i looked it up. apparently it’s a pro-business anti-union campaign. the problem there is (a) Indiana is pretty conservative and (b) the Ds there including the Senator are doing a crap job of explaining why card check is a good idea. the answer is to get out there and have your ground people explain things, not to run and hide.

    perhaps we will just have to agree to disagree on this one.

  76. 76
    sparky says:

    ps: of course Congressional districts vary greatly. i don’t think anyone’s disputing that, or that it would be silly to recruit out of town carpetbaggers to run. equally silly to have wildly out of step with the district people running. but picking someone who is a mirror of the status quo just guarantees perpetuating the status quo.

  77. 77
    calipygian says:

    when “parochial” voters in that district might be looking at funding Fort Drum.

    Given that Ft Drum is home of the 10th Mountain Division, the workhorse of the Afghan war, I don’t think funds flowing to Ft Drum will be a problem.

    Dairy subsidies, maintenance for the St Lawrence Seaway, Adirondack Park and people who are out of a job in a very depressed area – watch out!

  78. 78
    pcbedamned says:

    The arrogance and ignorance of the far-right in America is both infuriating and amusing. If they actually took the time to look outside of the American borders (instead of thinking that their shit-don’t-stink), they would see that what they are doing is akin to what happened the Cons up here in Canada many moons ago. After the disaster that was Mulroney up here, our Cons split in two – the Conservatives and the Reform Party (our version of your Conservatives). This in turn led our Cons into oblivion for the next 13 years. It wasn’t until they got their act together to converge the TWO right parties into ONE that they actually appeared on the Canadian political screen again, and even then, for the last few years they have only managed to get a minority. But then again, you cannot tell an ‘American Patriot’ that they are making a mistake, because the sun rises and sets only on ‘America’…
    (the last sentence is snark, lest I be labeled as anti-American)

  79. 79
    kay says:

    @burnspbesq:

    They’re cute. My daughter is in France, and she left me her cat, and the cat looks a little like those cats. Darker. More like a small raccoon.

    The cat and I are wary, sort of….circling. I’m shooting for “cordial”.

  80. 80
    kay says:

    @calipygian:

    Thanks for the local view. I read the NYTimes article. That’s where I got that.
    Upstate New York is pretty, if a little…gritty. It reminds me of western Michigan.

  81. 81
    Svensker says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Christie is a fucking disaster waiting to happen. Corzine may not be a pony with two saddlebags full of candy, but he is abso-fucking-lutely the better choice.
    If you stay home and Christie wins, it’s not on Corzine. It’s on you.
    You’re either part of the solution, or you’re part of the problem. Decide which you want to be.

    I don’t know. What would Christie do or not do that Corzine wouldn’t? He won’t be able to get through any of the culture warrior stuff. So it would have to be in the area of budget. Corzine has been terrible on the budget — promised lots, completely folded when the going got tough.

    Convince me that Corzine will be better than Christie.

    If this were the Senate, I would go out for Corzine. For Gov? Not so sure.

  82. 82
    bob says:

    @sparky: “i just don’t see any evidence that the people on the “left” are causing any serious damage to the Ds.”

    There is no “damage” being caused by teh “far-extreeeme-radical” Left to the Dems, never was. That talking point was inserted into the brains of Democratic Party activists and dkos members to mobilize them into destroying their own ideological allies that didn’t want Corporate Rule.

    It worked very, very well. See Nader. And also see the now-weak “progressives” fighting one another. The Corps could never defeat Nader, so teh Left were made tools and they obliged.

    —–

    As far as what’s going on with the Republicans, I think it’s just a product of selling out to the Devil … and now the Devil wants his due. Moderate Republicans are what’s for dinner now.

    History is ironic.

  83. 83
    kay says:

    @sparky:

    Good point. My take on this race is that the teabaggers wanted to make a stand and chose this person because he was not “the status quo”, and happened to be standing there. I looked at the conservative sites last night and it’s all vitriol. It’s all how they hate Pelosi, and Obama, and Owens (although he’s really an afterthought). They chose this race to nationalize, and make a point, and that’s a very arrogant and anti-democratic move, IMO. They don’t love Hoffman. They hate everyone else. How does that end well? It’s a contest based on hate.
    I don’t know how it will come out, in terms of winner-loser, this race, but if I were a teabagger I would want them to pick a better battle.

  84. 84
    sparky says:

    @Svensker: former NYer who spends some quality time in NJ with a response–
    Corzine has tried, with limited success, to fix NJ’s budget debacle before the Bush recession–that’s what prompted the NJ state shutdown in 2006. he also urged the municipalities to consolidate to save money. he’s not perfect but he’s much much better than Christie, who is a nitwit. most of NJ’s budget is already pre-set and simply cannot be wished away, so any tax changes are going to be difficult. Corzine has at least been willing to take unpopular stances to try to get the state’s finances in order. i agree with what was said upthread–if the state votes him out, they deserve what they get, ala Whitman who did nothing but ensure that your taxes would be higher by playing games.

  85. 85
    sparky says:

    @bob: yeah, what you said. except i think the members of the left who are not interested in being the in crowd are still swinging. gilded cages are pretty damn attractive.

  86. 86
    Brachiator says:

    @pcbedamned:

    Thanks for the insights on Canadian politics. Damned good perspective on what might happen to the GOP.

    This also reminds me in a way of how the old UK Liberal Party was driven to extinction by the Labour Party in the 1920s

    Labour was determined to destroy the Liberals and become the sole party of the left. Ramsay MacDonald was forced into a snap election in 1924, and although his government was defeated, he achieved his objective of virtually wiping the Liberals out as many more radical voters now moved to Labour whilst moderate middle-class Liberal voters concerned about socialism moved to the Conservatives. The Liberals were reduced to a mere forty seats in Parliament….

  87. 87
    calipygian says:

    @kay: I’m not a local, I live inside the Beltway, but my grandmother was born along the border there.

    In fact, this is kind of crazy. After my grandparents retired, they moved down to Florida from Long Island. After my grandfather died, my grandmother moved back to Watertown.

    Come to think of it, that IS kind of crazy.

  88. 88
    sparky says:

    @kay: oh, i agree with you in that i thought it was silly of them. but NYS does have some quirks that the public may not be familiar with. upstate NYS is nothing like downstate, never has been (flip Illinois and you get the idea). also, the Conservative party has long been an on-again-off-again force in state politics, kind of like a sleeping ogre. Dede woke the ogre by not being sufficiently anti-abortion and too pally with the unions. this gave the nationals and the local Conservatives an opening to join forces and attack her.

    imo the wildcard will be whether she keeps her mouth shut.

  89. 89
    ChrisB says:

    @Svensker: @burnspbesq: I’m with burnspbesq. Christie will be a disaster for the state.

  90. 90

    @Callipygian

    Dairy subsidies, maintenance for the St Lawrence Seaway, Adirondack Park and people who are out of a job in a very depressed area – watch out!

    I hope Hoffman wins and dries up the dairy subsidies. Conservative assholes in the agricultural sector bitch and whine about big government but expect the government to keep them afloat with subsidies, price supports, marketing quotas, etc, etc, etc. These asswipes love the free market, except when it applies to them, and hate government handouts, except when they’re the ones receiving them.

  91. 91
    calipygian says:

    These asswipes love the free market, except when it applies to them, and hate government handouts, except when they’re the ones receiving them.

    Kinda agree.

  92. 92

    @Valdivia

    I read that and thought “Damnit Pflouffe, shut up! You should be saying ‘ZOMFG, appointing Sarah Palin was the bestest thing evah and what we Democrats fear are more batshit insane wingnuts true conservatives like her and Michelle Bachmann, Doug Hoffman and Orly Taitz running for office as Republicans.

  93. 93
    Left Coast Tom says:

    It’s really no contest as to who’s more qualified to pick the GOP candidate for NY-23. After all, Erick Son of Erick successfully gave Sarah Palin Coffee Mugs. How could the voters of NY-23 expect to compete with that?

  94. 94
    valdivia says:

    @burnspbesq:

    oh love those kitties, even more for there political convictions.

  95. 95
    calipygian says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    I read that and thought “Damnit Pflouffe, shut up! You should be saying ‘ZOMFG, appointing Sarah Palin was the bestest thing evah and what we Democrats fear are more batshit insane wingnuts true conservatives like her and Michelle Bachmann, Doug Hoffman and Orly Taitz running for office as Republicans.

    No shit. He should be saying, “Wow, that was a close call. It was clear who should have been at the top of the ticket and I don’t see how the Democrats win in 2012 with Palin as the nominee”.

  96. 96
    batgirl says:

    I understand the glee about the GOP cannibalizing itself and moving to the fringe, but to be honest it also scares me tremendously. I just don’t trust the voters at large. And if in 2010 and 2012 the economy and jobs outlook is in the crapper, it won’t matter how crazy the opposition is — it will only matter that they aren’t the ones in power.

    In fact, this is the only strategy right now of the Republicans — that the Democratic party in power screws up so bad, that it doesn’t matter who the Republican party puts up, people will vote for them. Hence their ability to run the moderates out of the party. It is a huge gamble but if they win, I fear for the country.

  97. 97
    valdivia says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    LOL but you know they all think we are afraid of bachman and Beck and Palin. And reality never intrudes and they think Obama won because of a fluke or magic or Soros and Acorn so it wont matter he revealed our inner joy. :-)

  98. 98
    burnspbesq says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    The market price of milk in the absence of any subsidies would be substantially higher than it is now (intuitively, I think we would be talking about seven bucks a gallon, but I have no empirical evidence to back up that guess). That price would result in millions of poor kids who need to have a relatively cheap source of relatively high-quality protein in their diet not getting it.

    You can attack that problem from the demand side (more purchasing power, whether in the form of cash grants, an increase in the EITC, or targeted food stamps) or from the supply side (pay farmers to produce more). Except for the fact that I am a tax geek and don’t like to see the Infernal Revenue Code used as a tool of social policy engineering any more than it has to be, I would be pretty indifferent on the “how” question.

    The point is that we’ve made a collective decision as a society that we want poor kids to have milk. Everything else is implementation.

  99. 99
    Chad N Freude says:

    @calipygian: @Redshirt:
    I, too, believe that citizens need representatives who

    will protect their interests in Washington.

    And I, too,

    believe the government should run a reasonable budget and avoid pork spending

    And that’s why I have a serious case of cognitive dissonance.

  100. 100
    kay says:

    @sparky:

    My conservative House member keeled over one day, and we had a special election. I live in a 60/40 R district, so I’m an observer to local GOP machinations, but it’s rural, and they talk to me, because I’m not a Republican, so they’re safe to gossip. The Club for Growth came in, poured in money, and backed a wingnut in the primary. The local GOP were offended: their endorsed candidate was the son of a former House member, and they knew and liked his father. The Club for Growth had no clue about any of that, they just wanted to push The National Agenda. Local GOOPers beat the Club for Growth candidate handily in the primary, although they themselves are wingnuts.
    They resented the out of state influence. They were all huffy and outraged.

  101. 101
    calipygian says:

    The Club for Growth came in, poured in money, and backed a wingnut in the primary. The local GOP were offended: their endorsed candidate was the son of a former House member, and they knew and liked his father. The Club for Growth had no clue about any of that, they just wanted to push The National Agenda.

    Its lucky for the Dems that pretty much everything the Club for Growth touches turns to shit.

  102. 102
    pablo says:

    The dropped the elephant, then the dinosaur, now they’ve unveiled their new logo, the BAT!

  103. 103
    Chad N Freude says:

    @burnspbesq: I expect you’re right about government subsidies to producers to keep milk (and other essential farm products) affordable to people who can’t afford much. But isn’t this just a kind of Saucyalism Lite? I think the situation has so much irony it’s rusted shut.

  104. 104

    @burnspbesq

    The market price of milk in the absence of any subsidies would be substantially higher than it is now (intuitively, I think we would be talking about seven bucks a gallon, but I have no empirical evidence to back up that guess). That price would result in millions of poor kids who need to have a relatively cheap source of relatively high-quality protein in their diet not getting it.

    I’ve heard this before from supporters of dairy subsidies and I’ve never seen anything even resembling empirical evidence to back it up. It’s all anecdotal bullshit and “won’t you think of the poor children”. In short it’s a fucking load of horseshit and you’re just shilling for dairy farmers.

  105. 105
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @kay: turn down the heat. That will make a lap cat out of the most standoffish feline.

  106. 106
    kay says:

    @calipygian:

    The story has a sad ending. The son of the moderate Republican, who was elected, is a complete lock-step GOP-follower.
    He’s one of the Republicans who opposed the stimulus, but links to stimulus projects from his website. One of those.

  107. 107
  108. 108
    Svensker says:

    @ChrisB:

    Christie will be a disaster for the state.

    Why? I’m not being difficult. I’d like a reason to go out and vote.

  109. 109
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @Wile E. Quixote: there is good anecdotal evidence in the other direction. Google Hein Hettinga for a good read on what happens to farmers who try to beat the cartel.

  110. 110
    kay says:

    @Comrade Darkness:

    This is terrible, and I hesitate to post it here, considering how you-all love animals, but I think “cordial” is a good result. I’m not crazy about cats. I am crazy about my daughter though, hence, the cat.
    I’m okay with dogs, although I was bitten badly, on my face, when I was a mail carrier, and that took a coupla years to get over, but I never warmed to cats.

  111. 111
    burnspbesq says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    Shill for dairy farmers? Nice try, but (mixing metaphors with a big ol’ spoon) that strawman won’t hunt. Try again.

  112. 112
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @kay: then give the cat a nice place to sit where it can see out a window and ignore it?

  113. 113
    kay says:

    @Comrade Darkness:

    I’m completely competent at caring for the cat’s basic needs, and I’d never be unkind to it. Her. I’m a little surprised at how fragile they are, when you really look at them. They’re small. Their bones are tiny.
    I think we “respect” each other :)
    That’s the story I settled on, and I’m sticking to it.

  114. 114
    Martin says:

    I’ve heard this before from supporters of dairy subsidies and I’ve never seen anything even resembling empirical evidence to back it up.

    I don’t think you understand how it works.

    There’s two things at work here. One is price regulation to minimize price imbalance across markets. That sets a minimum price on milk in some regions which is used to subsidize other regions. That’s not a government subsidy, it’s a market subsidy – Wisconsin residents pay more for milk than they should so that Hawaii residents can pay less.

    The other is a government subsidy to the industry so that when the commodity price of milk falls below a certain amount, the government makes up the difference. It’s paid out monthly based on commodity prices for that month. In some months (usually winter), no money is paid out, in other months (usually spring/summer), more money is paid out. This is designed to smooth out the natural production variations in dairy farming – farmers produce a bit less milk in winter and consumers appear to consume more then. Since the subsidy is tied to market pricing, and isn’t just a blank check, then yes, pretty much by definition milk would cost more without the subsidy since the prices are already market driven, albeit with some constraints.

    Another part of the justification for the subsidy is to encourage farmers to remain dairy farmers and not switch over to some other kind of farming where they might make more money. You simply can’t replace milk with corn.

    The total dairy subsidy is in the neighborhood of $500M per year – about the price of 6 F-35s. The dairy subsidy is not going to make a bit of difference one way or another to the deficit or anyones tax rate.

  115. 115
    pcbedamned says:

    @Brachiator:

    The change was even more dramatic here. In 1988 the Cons were elected with a majority of 169 seats, and in 1993 they were reduced to 2!!! while the Reform party had picked up 52 (they didn’t exist in ’88). It took from 1993 – 2006 for the right in Canada to become a major player in the game again. Although in 2000 the Reform became the official opposition with 66 seats and by 2004 the two parties had aligned to give them 99 seats thereby forcing a minority government. Still, by the 2006 election (yes, we seem to have to vote quite a bit here…) the Cons again gained seats (124), and in 2008 we were still left with a minority of 143. The next election (which will probably be either next spring or fall?!?) will probably give the Conservatives a majority if Iggy (Michael Ignatieff) remains the Liberal Party Leader, as the Libs are in complete disarray right now).
    I guess my point is, be careful what you wish for. If the Repubs split yes, it will give the Dems a good run for awhile, but in the end the Repubs will probably come back stronger than ever. And with the Dems recent history, they really don’t seem to be able to get a whole lot done…

  116. 116
    Brachiator says:

    @pcbedamned:

    I guess my point is, be careful what you wish for. If the Repubs split yes, it will give the Dems a good run for awhile, but in the end the Repubs will probably come back stronger than ever. And with the Dems recent history, they really don’t seem to be able to get a whole lot done…

    Hah! You nailed it. The Democrats don’t seem to believe that they won the election, and are intent on squandering the opportunities presented.

    This creates a possible opportunity for the Republicans, since the only thing that upsets voters more than craziness is incompetence.

  117. 117
    catclub says:

    I’m with Wile E and others on milk subsidies. The subsidies
    are provided to the farmer to keep dairy prices paid to him
    HIGH. How does this lower the price at the store?

    If the price to the dairy farmer went down, the price at the store would go down also.

    The first order correction to removing subsidies would be overproduction and lower (possibly much lower) prices. The second correction would
    be fewer producers and a rise in prices. It is not clear whether
    the final price would be higher than now. Much higher, I doubt it.

  118. 118
    Sanka says:

    If the teabagging wingnuts left-wing moonbats and the shrieking lunatics liberal blogosphere and the extremist commentators like the Maddows, Olbermans and Schulzes like Malkin don’t like you, thenhigh profile crackpots like Kos and Hamsher are going to swoop in and back some clown like Ned Lamont who they feel is bat-sh.it insane progressive enough and marches to their tune, telling them their interests are “parochial.” “out of touch”.

    The poo flies in from both sides…

  119. 119
    Napoleon says:

    @Reason60:

    . . . have been hollowed out and turned into a cargo cult.

    That is a great line and a great way to look at it.

  120. 120

    @burnspbesq

    Shill for dairy farmers? Nice try, but (mixing metaphors with a big ol’ spoon) that strawman won’t hunt. Try again.

    Wow burnspbesq, what’s next, a spirited defense of trickle down economics and deregulated markets based upon your intuition? Until you come up with some real evidence, and not the intuitive, faith-based bullshit you’re offering as support of dairy subsidies, piss off.

  121. 121
    burnspbesq says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    This conversation is evidence-free on both sides, but at least I’m honest enough to say I’m guessing, and polite enough to refrain from baseless ad hominem attacks.

  122. 122
    Martin says:

    The first order correction to removing subsidies would be overproduction and lower (possibly much lower) prices. The second correction would
    be fewer producers and a rise in prices. It is not clear whether
    the final price would be higher than now. Much higher, I doubt it.

    I think you guys all totally miss the point of the subsidies. The subsidies don’t exist to keep market prices low. The subsidies exist to keep market prices stable and uniform.

    If you are on a fixed income and kids, it’s far better to always have $3/gallon milk than to sometimes have $1/gallon, sometimes $5/gallon, and sometimes to not have any milk at all. If the store is out of iPods, big fucking deal. If the store is out of milk, it’s a big fucking deal.

    Maybe none of you grew up when malnutrition was a major problem in this country (it’s still a minor problem) but I did. This policy helped to correct that.

  123. 123
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Violet:

    Hannity was beating him up with questions like, “How can she be a Republican? Look at her voting record! She’s for _. She’s a liberal! How can you support her?” And again Steele was trying to tell him to STFU, but he knew he couldn’t speak that way to one of the heroes of the teabaggers. So he didn’t.

    You know, this crystalizes something I’ve been wondering about: There’s a point where an authoritarian personality figures out he can’t “win” in his career simply by breaking stuff & beating people up, so he goes looking for a Victim Partner he can blame & punish for an ensuing life full of daily failures. (This is the simplified version of the classic abusive spouse/parent.) Perhaps some part of the (more traditionally successful?) modern Republican party has begun to realize, however dimly, that screaming OBAMA = COMMANIST MUSLIM NAZI is not working as an electoral strategy, so they’re busy setting up victim-figureheads who can be “punished” for all future failures? Have “they” (the rich personally-successful Repubs) chosen Steele and Palin, at least in part, because blaming women and non-whites for white men’s failures is such an encoded… tradition?

  124. 124
    Jody says:

    It’s the wingnuts consolidating their power. The Dems can’t stay in control forever. It’s an old fashioned party purge.

  125. 125
    NTG says:

    @beltane:

    A bit of a reality check from VT:

    We (Progressives) stepped aside when Republican Jim Douglas first ran for Governor, in 2002. We did run against him in 2000 in his last race for auditor. That year, Democratic primary voters selected the Republican as their candidate, rather than field their own, or support the Progressive. Progs stayed out of the Governor’s race in 04 and 06 as well. We ran in 08, but in that three-way race the Republican Douglas still took over 50% of the votes.

    And in 08 there was a Progressive that ran against Peter Welch. Welch won handily, running as both a Democrat and a Republican.

    And we quite like one of our Senators, Bernie Sanders. The group of people who put him in the Burlington Mayor’s office 30 years ago was the group of people that formed the VT Progressive Party.

  126. 126
    ondioline says:

    @batgirl:

    This is exactly right. Although we can fantasize about how entertaining the process would be if the wingnuts started winning, for the good of the country, we should always hope they lose.

    You never know what could happen that could vault a Palin into office. Assassination, terrorist attack, unemployment at 13%? All of these things are within the realm of possibility, and then we’re a roulette-wheel spin from scary times.

    I want them spanked, beaten down, kicked in the face. Always. You should too.

  127. 127
    PhoenixRising says:

    If you are on a fixed income and kids, it’s far better to always have $3/gallon milk than to sometimes have $1/gallon, sometimes $5/gallon, and sometimes to not have any milk at all. If the store is out of iPods, big fucking deal. If the store is out of milk, it’s a big fucking deal.
    Maybe none of you grew up when malnutrition was a major problem in this country (it’s still a minor problem) but I did.

    It is also apparent that none of them have ever milked a cow. At 4:35am. In February. In the part of NY where the snow comes up to your knees a lot of the time. Dairy farming is such hard work, nobody would do it without the subsidies guaranteeing a predictable income stream.

    Further, milk doesn’t travel well through time or space compared to a consumer electronic item such as an iPod. The market corrections you refer to don’t work on a food product that spoils even when handled perfectly and comes directly out of animals whose sidestreams of waste are regulated as unacceptable by zoning codes.

    In closing: Dairy farmers? This nation is infested with involuntarily-furloughed mortgage brokers and you’re complaining about dairy farmers? Seriously, slip in manure.

  128. 128
    Ian says:

    @Dan B: Changing the residency rule requires changing the constitution. Something New York cannot do alone

  129. 129
    Tel says:

    @CaseyL: I’m under 30, and they definitely still taught civics when I was in school. People my age know how government is supposed to work. But throughout my youth and up to now, I haven’t seen much evidence that government (local level on up) actually works that way. This “good governance” thing has always been part of the mythical past, along with factory jobs, 50-year gold watches, and pensions. Whenever good governance actually happens, it seems almost an aberration, an accident instead of how the system was designed.

    Or, it happens so far in the background that we don’t even realize that anything’s there.

  130. 130
    REN says:

    The price of milk is artificially low because of subsidies. Here in Wisconsin family dairy farmers are leaving the business in droves. There are already very few left, only large corporate type operations with hundreds of cows. I saw an old friend from high school the other day, who was one of the few left in our area with dairy cows,and he told me he had sold his cows and quit. He was one of the last holdouts. When I asked why, he told me that working 20 hours a day wasn’t enough anymore.

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