Dems Seek to Woo ‘New’ Voters; Concern Trolls Are Concerned

Karen Tumulty, professional concern troll WaPo reporter, is not impressed when “Democrats spend big to lure Obama’s minority and young voters back to the polls”:

… The party’s overall budget for reaching new voters is more than twice as big as the $17 million it spent during the tumultuous 2006 midterm, which returned control of both houses of Congress to the Democrats…
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On Thursday, the 2008 presidential campaign’s surviving grassroots operation, now Organizing for America, unveiled a spiffy Web site where supporters can get customized information about voting rules and deadlines in their states. It takes but a few keystrokes to fill in a voter registration form that then requires only a signature and a stamp…
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There does not seem to be a similar effort within the GOP. A spokesman would not discuss its operations and scoffed at the bet that Democrats are making this year. “When that announcement was made, it just wasn’t taken very credibly,” says Republican National Committee spokesman Doug Heye. “Those voters just aren’t going to be there this time.”
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He’s not alone in thinking that.
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Some veteran Democratic Party operatives are also skeptical that the $50 million investment will pay off — except, perhaps, in keeping the grassroots operation alive for Obama’s reelection bid two years from now. Some even suggest that the president’s team has put his long-term interests ahead of his party’s immediate struggle for survival.
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“I have zero confidence that they’re heading in the right direction here,” says one longtime Democratic organizer who didn’t want to be quoted by name criticizing his party’s major midterm election initiative. Added another: “I think they’re going to come in for a very rude awakening. It’s going to be brutal.”

Shorter Ratfvckers Conventional Wisdom: Young punks and the coloreds — what have they ever done for US?

But what will matter more than anything else, many Democrats say, is Obama himself. How effective will he be in convincing those who came to the polls for the first time in 2008 that this election is crucial to accomplishing what he promised then?
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“It is very important to make that case to these voters and that the president be involved in it as well. And he will be at points along the way,” Kaine said. “The president is definitely signed into this plan. He likes the community-organizing aspect of it.”…
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Has Obama indeed reinvented the art and science of winning elections, or will 2008 turn out to have been a unique moment that suited the particular gifts of one politician? The Democrats are about to lay down $50 million to find out.

Shorter Tumulty: If this crazy plan succeeds, it’s because the Democrats are throwing money around; if it fails, it’s because Obama is a nnnn… natural community organizer. (And we all know what that represents in Political Dog-Whistle — right?)






157 replies
  1. 1
    Will C says:

    I believe that is a pretty unfair analysis of Karen. I’ve been reading her articles for several years from Time and she tends to do a lot of good reporting. I didn’t notice you calling her a concern troll or hinting that she may be racist when she was writing articles in support of Health Care because of the ordeal her family had been through.

    Try holding yourself to the same standard you seem to want to hold others to.

  2. 2
    c u n d gulag says:

    “I have zero confidence that they’re heading in the right direction here,” says one longtime Democratic organizer who didn’t want to be quoted by name criticizing his party’s major midterm election initiative. Added another: “I think they’re going to come in for a very rude awakening. It’s going to be brutal.”
    I’ve long held the theory that a lot of these Democratic “Organizers” and “Consultant’s” are really not Democrats. They’re opportunists who give bad advice for a fee knowingly. I mean, listen to them on Matthews, or CNN (you do it, I can’t take it anymore). Do they sound like Democrats? Actually, II think they’re Republicans out to make a buck. They put the “rat” in Democ’rat.’
    This “organizer’ above doesn’t say “we,” he/she/it says “they.” If you’re that involved, to the point where you organize for a political party, don’t you think you’d say “we?”
    Either that, or Karen pulled some asshole off the street, or on the barstool next to her, for a quote.
    Maybe, it’s just me…

  3. 3
    fucen tarmal says:

    tumulty acts like the 50mil is coming out of her pocket.

  4. 4
    henqiguai says:

    Curiously, I’ve always thought the whole idea of the various re-election committees was to (legally) throw around money to convince established and new voters to come out and vote; for their candidate. Am I misunderstanding the process ?

  5. 5
    Napoleon says:

    The fact is the Dems have no choice but to pursue this strategy and anyone who says: “I have zero confidence that they’re heading in the right direction here” is a fucking idiot. Maybe it will work, maybe it will not, but if anyone thinks the Dems path to victory is trying to swing a disproportionate number of white working class older people (as opposed to as part of a larger strategy trying to swing them a couple points more then you could otherwise expect, or perhaps depressing their turn out by making the alternatives to Dems toxic, like could happen in Nev or Ky) they are living in an alternate reality. We all know the short list of who could be the “longtime Democratic organizer” and thank God Hillary lost because they are the ones who had her ear.

    The long term success of the Dems is in that demographic and the Dems need to figure out how to get them to the polls, it really is that simple.

  6. 6
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    *“The president is definitely signed into this plan. He likes the community-organizing aspect of it.”…Has Obama indeed reinvented the art and science of winning elections, or will 2008 turn out to have been a unique moment that suited the particular gifts of one politician? The Democrats are about to lay down $50 million to find out.*

    Before the end of the week, HannityBeckLimbaugh will be stating as fact that the $50 million was stolen from the BP escrow fund by Obama’s personal ACORN operatives. Impeach!

  7. 7
    dmsilev says:

    Sounds exactly like the carping and criticism over Howard Dean’s ’50 State Project’ when he was running the DNC. What that really boiled down to was “you should be spending money on races that I’m consulting for; that way, I get a cut of it”. I’m guessing the same motivation here.

    dms

  8. 8
    Comrade Jake says:

    Sounds like Lanny Davis was her main source.

  9. 9
    Harry Kawasaki says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: That’s the word they need to spend $50 million on: ‘Impeach’.

    As in ‘They can’t win on issues, so they’re going to try to stage a bloodless coup just like they did with Clinton in ’98’.

    If they don’t do that, it’ll be much more political malpractice than the $50m.

  10. 10
    Derelict says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    Or maybe Marshall Whitman or even Mark Penn.

    There’s a big, big chunk of the DLC that is violently opposed to any initiative that seeks to get out the vote or work at the grass-roots level. These are the people who opposed Dean’s 50-state strategy, and they’re the same ones who loudly proclaimed that strategy a complete and utter failure because it delivered strong majorities in both houses of Congress, but did not deliver 100% majorities (i.e., 80 Democratic Senators and 400 Democratic representatives).

  11. 11
    Ash Can says:

    WaPo has space to fill, fills it with manufactured conflict. Zzzz…

  12. 12
    WereBear says:

    I’m thrilled that they are doing this. ( I love “Concern Trolls are Concerned.”)

    It seems that above a certain age group, money spent convincing them is throwing it away. Why not sway the swayable? Especially since they will stubbornly stay that way?

  13. 13
    El Cid says:

    The Democrats shouldn’t be spending all this money to get their weird voters out because of, um, the deficit, they should instead be, uh, doing something about the oil spill!

  14. 14
    Napoleon says:

    @Derelict:

    Mark Penn was the first I thought of, but Terry McAuliffe and Carville also occurred to me. Lanny doesn’t fit the description given.

    There’s a big, big chunk of the DLC that is violently opposed to any initiative that seeks to get out the vote or work at the grass-roots level.

    A couple of years ago I read a book on the McGovern campaign that I am too lazy to walk to the living room to get you the name and author of but there was something in there related to this that blew me away. McGovern in a way was the precurser to Obama in grass roots involvement and in fact did something that was really cutting edge (and would be driven to the bank by the Republicans the next 30 years) in building up an organized data base of grass roots people for a direct mail list. McGovern’s fund raising among the grassroots was every bit as impressive as Obama’s based on this list (for his time).

    The guy in charge of it for McGovern was Morris Dees who is now Southern Poverty Law Center (quiz, how many of you over the last few decades have gotten more direct mail contact from them then any of the Dems committees?).

    Anyways, end of campaign and Dees hands the list over to the new DNC chair (someone like Robert Strauss) and long story short, while the book does not come right out and say that the DNC turned right around and tossed it in the garbage can (since there is no smoking gun to that effect) because the people who ran the party had decided they wanted nothing to do with the base, that is the clear conclusion that I think the author intended. Strauss (or whoever was the chair) was quoted in the book saying something like “gee, I don’t know what happened to that list”.

    There is a reason people like Rahm who is prouder of getting NAFTA through in the Clinton admin, even though it stabbed a part of what should be the Dems natural base in the back and helped to hand Congress over to the Reps in 94, get ahead in the Dem party.

  15. 15
    Parmenides says:

    I think most people misunderstand how Obama’s machine worked. Money is important in so far as you can hire people to oversee volunteers who are the actual backbone. If the large number of volunteers who were trained by the Obama Campaign show up then we will see results.

  16. 16
    Admiral_Komack says:

    I think Karen Tumulty pulled this story out of her ass.
    Carry on.

  17. 17
    Napoleon says:

    @WereBear:

    Especially since they will stubbornly stay that way?

    Actually this point can not be stressed enough. There is a ton of evidence that is something to the effect that after turning 18 if you can get someone to vote for a party a few times they will stick with the party. If you scan down this link this is representative on this subject. So spending the money on these voters is smart in the way that spending your food money on some seeds so you can grow and have food all year is smart instead of taking it and buying a bag of Doritos and then wondering how you are going to feed yourself 2 hours later when you are hungry again.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.c.....7.php#more

  18. 18
    Derelict says:

    @Napoleon:

    because the people who ran the party had decided they wanted nothing to do with the base

    And so to this day. The one thing elected Democrats fear most in this world is being associated with Democratic voters. I have watched with grim astonishment as Republicans wheel out things like, “Well, it’s a typical Democrat thing to want to protect children from preventable disease.” And elected Democrats are suddenly falling all over themselves to make sure vaccination programs are gutted because suddenly only wild-eyed leftists could want to prevent childhood disease.

  19. 19
    Lolis says:

    @Will C:

    Karen was also a concern troll on health care. She always wrote how she didn’t think anything would ever pass and it was *doomed.* She always seemed to repeat the whole Washington can’t solve problems Republican talking point.

    Like many others have said, I think reporters who may be liberal in many ways have become so hard-wired for Republican control they just see everything through the lens of a winger.

    Also, I love that a Democratic strategist is trying to say that Obama spending 50 million on a midterm election where his name on the ballot, is somehow not for the benefit of the Democratic Party. My guess is Carville said this. I think he has carved out a coveted role for himself in the MSM for his willingness to blame Obama for everything.

  20. 20
    JAHILL10 says:

    It’s just another installment of MSM’s Short Attention Span Theater. Obama is a long game player. Once having developed a nationwide grassroots movement, he’s just supposed to abandon it until the next presidential election? How stupid would that be?

    The MSM, Republicans, even establishment Democrats think the “Change” he was talking about was electing the first black president when what he was talking about was getting people involved in their government, in getting them to realize that it IS their government. The quickest way to shit on your base is to just let that movement drop once you have the presidency and go back to the business as usual, big donors have the biggest say MO.

    These voters are the future of the party and Democrats need them. Given that the Repubs are doing everything they can to alienate minority and young voters, it would be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory to let this grassroots organization drop.

  21. 21
    Malron says:

    This has been my biggest gripe with the Congress since Obama’s election: instead of following the fundraising/organizing blueprint that helped Obama win the presidency, nearly every rep and senator went back to the same old, corrupting big money donor routine that opens them up to conflict of interest and inaction when its time to enact legislation. If each member of Congress got off their asses and actually built their own grassroots model they’d be a lot more in tune with what their voters actually want. Instead, they get snookered by the Beltway bobbleheads and the people Karen Tumulty relies on to concern troll the prez.

  22. 22
    Donut says:

    “says one longtime Democratic organizer who didn’t want to be quoted”

    The gist of Tumulty’s story is perfectly acceptable – if there are disagreements in Democratic Party leadership ranks about this strategy, reporting on them is not the problem. The problem, IMO, is that she is willing to quote these people (or person) anonymously. This is bullshit. There is no good reason for it. The source(s) really shouldn’t be used unless they are willing to be identified – if they aren’t willing, Tumulty and her Ed need to explain why and have a better reason than the one given. Otherwise, and as it stands now, the story just reeks up and down.

  23. 23
    WereBear says:

    @Malron: Instead, they get snookered by the Beltway bobbleheads and the people Karen Tumulty relies on to concern troll the prez.

    Isn’t that always the way? They really have internalized whatever the press says, even if it’s the opposite of what their constituents want.

    Do they even know what their constituents want?

  24. 24
    El Cid says:

    @Donut: Often times I have heard journalists, or purported ‘journalists’, dismiss the styles of work of social science as irrelevant to what they conceive to be ‘journalism’.

    But if you held most published journalism to the standards of a social science essay or research paper of an undergraduate, the work would fail.

    The journalists themselves and their publishers typically are uninterested in such simple questions as — to whom are we speaking? Are these people qualified in acting as sources? Do they represent fairly the information we are seeking? Have we found enough information that the story seems plausible, and we are only quoting individuals so that they can bring some life to the facts? Have we properly considered and examined counterarguments? Have we made sure to be aware of other arguments other than two apparently opposing options — i.e., have our sources’ opinions caused us to see things in more limited terms than the facts appear to sustain?

    And once considered, anyone can see that even using the term ‘social science’ is far too insular. These are the simple types of questions which anyone would want to ask in order not to be full of and/or spouting a bunch of shit.

    It doesn’t take vast amounts of extra time or money or boring statistics or whatever fake barrier one wants to throw out in order to be less full of shit.

    But, then, there’s a reason that there is a billion dollar media establishment with a remarkably, consistently blinkered agenda, one which overwhelmingly favors a conservative establishment, whether via ideological spin or methodological habit.

  25. 25
    fucen tarmal says:

    win or lose this fall, we should be throwing the money into the younger demos, because the gop has as much as left that entirely open. this year, next year, the next ten years, they didn’t build the ghastly but effective gop machine in one cycle, they built it over time….we have to have a long, and intermediate plan to get what we want. we are so far removed from anything really progressive, that is the fight at hand…

  26. 26
    RSA says:

    Some even suggest that the president’s team has put his long-term interests ahead of his party’s immediate struggle for survival.

    Long-term thinking? What’s that? It’s much more important be frantic about an upcoming election that may lead to the extinction of the Democratic party–after all, no one’s ever lost a midterm before in a bad economy with one’s own party holding the Presidency.

  27. 27
    Violet says:

    @dmsilev:

    Sounds exactly like the carping and criticism over Howard Dean’s ‘50 State Project’ when he was running the DNC. What that really boiled down to was “you should be spending money on races that I’m consulting for; that way, I get a cut of it”. I’m guessing the same motivation here.

    Yep, that’s got to be part of it.

  28. 28
    El Cid says:

    @Violet: I also think part of the problem is that when empowering decentralized, and, god-forbit, grassroots Democrats, you run the real risk of backing people and policies not compliant with the establishment friendly politicians and policies which lead to the most riches (funding, contracts, corporate boards, etc.) for party leaders and consultants, not to mention politicians in office getting huge contributions now and even more valuably in future positions & investments from their happy corporate benefactors.

  29. 29

    @Donut:
    Co-sign on the use of anonymous sources. Washington would get a lot more done if the stabbing in the back happened in the open where everyone knew who was doing what.

  30. 30
    Uloborus says:

    I’m sorry, but Obama’s entire presidency has been a neverending series of anonymous leaks that turned out to be pure ratfuckery with no relation to actual events. Over and over and over. By now, when I see a journalist quote any anonymous government source, I assume they’re lying and it’s a Republican party operative.

  31. 31
    mclaren says:

    Obviously it makes good sense to put money into reaching out to younger Democratic voters. The big questions remain: why wait so long? And why the hell did team Obama blow off the single greatest grassroots electronic campaign in history after they got into the White House? The guy who organized Obama’s twitter and email grassroots network quit shortly after Obama got elected and since then there’s been little effort to re-create that massive electronic grassroots organization.

    The Obama people should’ve been cultivating young liberal voters from day one. They should’ve poured 50 million into it in the first year of Obama’s term, then stepped up the tempo in the second year.

    Well, the answer is that Team Obama let that massive grassroots network slide because they didn’t need it anymore.

    “The more we can enlist the American people to pay attention and be involved, that’s the only way we are going move an agenda forward,” he told audiences on the trail. “That’s how we are going to counteract the special interests.” On Jan. 17, 2008, when Obama announced the formation of Organizing for America (OFA) as the successor organization to his campaign, he told would-be supporters, “The movement you’ve built is too important to stop growing now.” He promised that “volunteers, grass-roots leaders and ordinary citizens will continue to drive our organization, helping us bring about the changes we proposed during the campaign.” More than half a million people watched the YouTube video of Obama’s OFA announcement within just a few days.

    Well, those heady days of hope, change and activism are long gone. The (useful) myth of Obama’s grass-roots philosophy collided with the reality of his embrace of Wall Street and the political establishment. The Obama movement days are over, perhaps never to return.

    Source: Slate magazine, “Obama disconnected: The people-power candidate brought a lot of Wall Street folks to the White House. That’s no way to build a movement.

    The reality of the situation remains that Obama betrayed essentially every campaign promise he ever made. You can’t organize young people in a grassroots movement after you’ve lied to them for more than a year and broken every promise you ever made.

    Obama bailed on his grassroots movement as soon as he entered the White House because he never had any intention of making good on any of his promises. No longer needing young people, he threw them away like used kleenex. Now that things aren’t going so well and the Repubs look like they’re going to do much better than expected this fall, Team Obama is frantically pouring cash into luring back those young people they lied to. The prospect of a Republican House and another impeachment has apparently gotten their attention.

    Tough tit, Barack. Maybe you shouldn’t have lied to us. Maybe you shouldn’t have broken every promise you ever mae (“I will not sign a health care bill without a public option… Mandates are a not a solution. If mandates worked, we could solve homelessness by maandating that every homeles person buy a houe.” “With me the constitution returns. I will shut down Guantanamo Bay. I will end the military commisions.”)

    At this point, the young people are disgusted and will sit this election out. And I don’t blame ’em. So we get a complete shutdown of Washington and no reform legislation that fixes Wall Street corruption or dismantles too-big-to-fail banks or pushes forward meaningful energy legislation that would top America’s oil addiction or shut down our seemingly endless lost foreign wars.

    So what? It’s not like Obama’s going to do anything about any of those issues anyway. So we get more foreign wars, more torture, more erasure of basic civil rights, more giant corrupt monopolistic corporations running everything…that’s what we’ve got now. Wake me when something changes.

  32. 32

    @Derelict:

    Is there some sort of rule that says you’re not allowed to defend the 50 state strategy without being completely absurd that I’m not aware of?

  33. 33
    liberal says:

    @El Cid:

    Often times I have heard journalists, or purported ‘journalists’, dismiss the styles of work of social science as irrelevant to what they conceive to be ‘journalism’.

    I’m about to finish reading Autism’s False Prophets on the MMR and Thimerosol scares. Press looks like a bunch of idiots. The author has Russert in particular interviewing a respected scientist and an idiot lawyer with no principles—it’s just like “teach the controversy” with creationism.

  34. 34
    El Cid says:

    @liberal:

    Press looks like a bunch of idiots.

    I disagree with the “looks like” part.

  35. 35
    liberal says:

    @mclaren:
    I don’t think Obama campaigned as all that liberal. A lot of people bought into his hope/change rhetoric, particularly young people.

    If you looked at his Americans for Democratic Action voting scorecard, as I did before the election, he was pretty close ideologically to Hillary.

    I voted for him in the primaries because I thought he was the least bad of the choices available.

  36. 36

    @Napoleon:

    Um, I’m going to guess they didn’t take much heed of the direct mailing idea because:

    1. McGovern got slaughtered.

    2. For some reason, direct mail doesn’t really work for the left.

    Also, Goldwater’s campaign was the one who really pioneered direct mailing in modern campaigns, albeit not in quite the same way McGovern’s did.

  37. 37
    Uloborus says:

    @mclaren:
    Ha ha ha! I stopped reading at ‘betrayed every promise he ever made’. I almost stopped reading at the ’embrace of Wall Street’ part. Wall Street hates his guts so bad.

    Do look up a list of fulfilled vs. unfulfilled campaign promises for Obama, won’t you?

    Oh, no, it won’t help. You’re in the ‘this doesn’t count’ group, right?

  38. 38

    @Lolis:

    “Karen was also a concern troll on health care. She always wrote how she didn’t think anything would ever pass and it was doomed. She always seemed to repeat the whole Washington can’t solve problems Republican talking point.”

    A couple of things:

    1. There were lots of supporters of HCR who couldn’t imagine a comprehensive bill passing the Senate.

    2. The second sentence is rather dependent on the framing. If you’re talking about a “government can’t do anything” line, then sure. But, on the other hand, there are lots of progressive commentators making the argument that Washington can’t solve problems because our institutions of government are so dysfunctional. So absent context, this doesn’t really say anything to me.

  39. 39
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    ALL your comments so far have been good. Nice to read on a Sunday morning. I just have two points to make.

    1. There is very little, if any, “nuance” to political reporting these days, whether in the press or on the 24/7 cable news operations. For instance, NO ONE seems to be writing about the 20 or so House seats we won by a fluke in 2006 and 2008, and that we will probably lose in 2010. They will just be “counted in” with the genuine turn-overs. Making Democratic losses this year seem even worse.

    2. I can deal with nay-saying – and worse – by those on the Right. It’s their job to criticise and be nasty about Obama. I don’t like it – but I can deal.

    What I can’t stand is the bull-shit coming from our Democratic Left – the Progressive wing. You know who you are, Jane Hamsher, don’t you? You piss and moan about how Obama isn’t “progressive” enough. He hasn’t done enough for the “progressive agenda” and so you are going to take your football – support – and go home. Well, listen Jane and your fellow Janites, Obama didn’t campaign as a progressive and he has spent the last 18 months cleaning up – and doing it quite well – after the worst administration in recent history. And he hasn’t been “progressive” enough for you.

    Well, Jane, FUCK OFF. Go back to your fantasy world, where there were no preexisting problems and Obama could wave a magic wand and all your progressive ideas would have been instantly put in place. You’re as naive in your own soft-headed ways as the Palin-ites are on the Right, who think if Palin gets elected president in 2012, she’ll just wave her arms and they’ll get everything they want.

    Just wanted to vent…

  40. 40

    @Malron:

    Of course, you’re putting aside the rather obvious point that running for a single House seat isn’t at all like running a nationwide campaign for President.

  41. 41
    mclaren says:

    @liberal: You’re right that Obama’s voting scorecard was pretty close to HIllary’s. However, Obama certainly talked as though he was going to change a lot of things. He made some specific promises. No more torture, no more Gitmo, no more abducting people in violation of the constitution.

    Gitmo’s still open, Bagram airbase is still using torture (the “M” appendix in the CIA’s interrogation manual), they’re still doing “preventive detention” (“extraordinary rendition” by another name) and Obama even added the additional atrocity of authorizing the assassination of American citizens. Even the psychos in the White House for the previous eight years never went that far.

    Don’t try to tell me Barack Obama ever campaigned on assassinating American citizens. That’s just not what happened during the campaign, and everyone knows it.

  42. 42

    @mclaren:

    At this point, the young people are disgusted and will sit this election out. And I don’t blame ‘em. So we get a complete shutdown of Washington and no reform legislation that fixes Wall Street corruption or dismantles too-big-to-fail banks or pushes forward meaningful energy legislation that would top America’s oil addiction or shut down our seemingly endless lost foreign wars.

    Hmmm.

    no reform legislation that fixes Wall Street corruption or dismantles too-big-to-fail banks

    I believe there’s a conference committee going on *right now*

    that at least attempts to move forward on those issues.
    pushes forward meaningful energy legislation that would top America’s oil addiction

    The House passed an energy bill last year. The audience is still out, but I’d expect tougher regulations and more movement on this issue in the near future (probably not until after Nov.)

    or shut down our seemingly endless lost foreign wars.

    Obama has set timelines for a substantial shutdown of *both* those wars (he’s getting blowback from military folk right now about the Afghanistan timeline, fwiw).

    And as for Guantanamo, you might want to check to see who ensured he wouldn’t be able to close it (hint: it’s another branch of government).

    But I guess in magical unicorn pony world where Mclaren lives, the bully pulpit is like Excalibur.

    And if you think letting the republicans back in charge because you got your fee-fees hurt because you didn’t get your magical unicorn pony, then you’re just as much of an asshat traitor to your country as the likes of Glenn Beck, Limbaugh and their ilk.

  43. 43

    @Uloborus:

    You’re in the ‘this doesn’t count’ group, right?

    Mclaren is in “the crazy as a shithouse rat” group

  44. 44
    Laertes says:

    @mclaren:

    I dunno about you, but I’m still getting tons of OFA emails.

    What I’m hearing here sounds a lot like a still-angry PUMA. I was an Obama supporter early in the primaries and all through the campaign. I liked what I saw then, and I’m happy with the way he’s done since taking office.

    Never for a moment, for instance, have I regretted supporting him over Clinton. If he’d accomplished nothing at all besides the ACA, I’d still be happy. That huge victory, all by itself, made the whole thing worth the effort.

    So I’m not sure where you’re getting this story about Obama supporters feeling bitter and betrayed, but I suspect it’s because you’re mostly talking to people who felt “betrayed” long before he took office.

  45. 45
    Uloborus says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:
    I’d like to add that he’s pretty much fulfilled his promise in Iraq. We’re entirely in support roles there, now. Death toll of American droops has dropped to just about nothin’. Unless you think that an immediate total withdrawal from the country is a good idea (hint: Obama never thought that) he’s done his job.

  46. 46
    Allison W. says:

    Some even suggest that the president’s team has put his long-term interests ahead of his party’s immediate struggle for survival.

    F- this! Dems in congress have put their immediate “struggle” above this COUNTRY’S long term interests. Are these morons going to use an election every time a vote comes up? What the hell are you in congress for? (yeah, I know).

    I put “struggle” in quotes because if these guys would stop listening to other morons, they could be well ahead of their opponents.

    Also, I’m glad the DNC is going after those voters. These are people that need to pay attention the most. I shouldn’t have to live with legislation that was not written with my welfare in my mind. I’ve come to believe that we will get better legislators when we get more informed and engaged voters.

  47. 47
    demimondian says:

    I’d buy Anne Laurie’s framing more willingly if it weren’t for this item on the front page of the GOS today. Commenting on this very WaPo story, Greg Dworkin says

    Seems to be instead of, rather than in addition to, the base. If so, bad move

    As mclaren, above, showed, the “Progressive” wing of the party has its nose out of joint, due to insufficient Presidential knob-slobbering. The idea that it might be more profitable to increase the pool of available voters than it would be to pay court to a tiny fraction of self-absorbed and self-righteous extremists — that is, *not* mimicking the Republican strategy of courting the neo-fascist right — scares them to the marrow of their bones.

    Sheesh. Kids, politics ain’t beanbag. Play hardball with the pres and has people, and they’ll try to go around you.

  48. 48
    Allison W. says:

    @McClaren: Please be honest in your criticism of Obama. That’s all we ask. And I would like to point you to:

    http://www.politifact.com – a non-partisan site that breaks down what promises the president has kept, comprised and/or broken. I would actually bet money that you know about it already and chose to instead go with whatever you want to believe.

  49. 49
    Laertes says:

    PUMAs can go EABOD. We won last time without them. I can’t imagine why they think we’ll need them next time.

  50. 50
    Allison W. says:

    @demimondian:

    I think these guys have an incorrect and/or arrogant view of who the base is made up of. Those on the Hill are not the only ones trapped in a bubble.

  51. 51
  52. 52

    Some veteran Democratic Party operatives

    This was all I needed to know about where Tumulty was coming from. A reach around to the profiteer class of democrats who also feed the village a portion of their daily slop that ends up in the WAPO, amongst the other national rags. The so called dem operatives still have a case of butt burn from Dean’s 50 state strategy and grass roots methodology, that by the way, won back the congress and delivered the WH to a black dude. Their victories are losses at the ballot box, of which they are proven experts at delivering. Their losses are from party money going to ordinary peeps on the ground that actually get people registered and to the voting booth. Rather than the Mark Penn’s of the world bank account.

    And then there are our blog wizards who tell us Obama doesn’t know how to win elections. Spare me.

  53. 53

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    won back the congress and delivered the WH to a black dude.

    Seriously, WTF? The strategy Obama’s campaign deployed at every stage of the election couldn’t possibly have been any different from Dean’s vision. What the fuck is this?

  54. 54
    demimondian says:

    @Brien Jackson: Actually, that’s what I noticed. This $50M sounds like Rahm acknowledging that Dean had a point. I was actually really surprised by that.

    Then again, if the Unions aren’t wholly owned subsidiaries of the Democratic Party, I suppose that it might eventually occur to the Party that not being a wholly owned subsidiary of the Unions might be a good market move, too.

  55. 55

    @demimondian:

    As far as I know, Rahm never said Dean didn’t have a point in general, or in a certain context at least. Rahm’s contention was more along the lines that the 2006 and 2008 cycles presented a uniquely favorable opportunity for Democrats, and that they should take advantage of the window by pumping every dollar they could directly into campaigns. It’s basically impossible to prove either one of them right, at this point, or even to know if it made a difference at all, given the fundamentals of those two cycles, but at the least it’s worth actually framing what it was people were arguing about.

  56. 56

    And spare me too the tripe that liberal voters are terribly unhappy with Obama and will with hold their support until he starts meeting their demands. More bullshit, Gallup’s monthly polling has consistently shown Obama with a steady mid 80’s approval from dems nationwide. And the group of dems that lead that polling are Liberal democrats. It is the highest sustained approval of a dem president since the forties.

    Obama and dems face a perfectly normal problem for a new presidents first mid term. Of motivating their voters who tend to think all is well and dems can’t possibly lose control and get complacent when a president is doing what they want. It is American style short attention span.

    When I was one of those complacent ones before getting curious and involved with politics, I was just the same as 80 or 90 percent of nationwide dem voters. I about always voted in presidential elections, but was totally unfocused on mid term ones. About half the time, not voting in them. The ones I did vote in was directly due to some grass roots worker either calling me on the phone, or knocking on my door to remind me to vote. My apathy had nothing to do with my approval or not of dem office holders, which I barely knew what they were doing anyways. All the teevee ads in the world wouldn’t get me motivated, although pissed off with politics even more than I naturally was. So spending money on GOTV operations is where to spend the cash, in an election where the most faithful party voters wins. Lib or gooper.

    And doing it sooner would be a waste, as most folks early in the spring could care less about the coming election in Nov. They are too busy doing vacations, fishing, or having keg parties.

    Obot Stuck – agent of Obama, Hardcore division.

  57. 57
    demimondian says:

    @Brien Jackson: Fair enough.

    My sense — and I know neither of these men personally — is that each of them is a bit of a prima donna, and that Emmanuel, in particular, took the adulation that Dean garnered very personally. I would be relieved to see him (Emmanuel) grow up and move on. Adopting something like Dean’s “expand the base” strategy would be a sign that he’d done so.

  58. 58

    @Brien Jackson: I was saying that Dean’s 50 state grassroots strategy idea was what won those elections, I guess I should have spelled it out that that was Obama’s strategy as well, and was fully integrated with the DNC. Dean had implemented the strategy in 2006, well before Obama ran as president. So I give Dean most of the credit for having it in place for Obama to use and expand on. I thought most folks reading my comment would get that without me having to spell it out.

  59. 59

    @demimondian:

    That’s probably about right; I’ve met Dean before, and it takes all of about 5 minutes to figure out that he’s a guy who is supremely confident in his own mental acumen. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, or even that he’s wrong, but I do think the whole thing basically came down to just two people who thought they knew more about winning elections than anyone else in the party (which is odd since neither one of them had done it before, but I digress). I also continue to think Dean took his meltdown far too personally, and overlearned his lessons from 2004, but that’s neither here nor there.

    FWIW, just after the 2008 elections I went back and looked at marginal contests from both elections, and so far as I can tell, the whole argument was completely pointless. The bottom line in both elections is that Bush was incredibly unpopular, people didn’t like Republicans, and any competent spending strategy by the Democrats would have produced the major gains they made. And, so far as I can tell, there’s basically no race in either cycle that a Democrat lost where it clearly would have made a difference to go with one strategy over the other.

  60. 60

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Except that’s totally wrong. The actual strategy the Obama campaign deployed was just about the polar opposite of the way Dean conceived his 50 state strategy.

    Basically, it seems to me that most people don’t actually know what it is that Dean was trying to do.

  61. 61

    @Brien Jackson:

    Except that’s totally wrong.

    Could be. But my understanding of what Dean was trying to do was create grassroots infrastructure in every state that had been allowed to shrink– from a long time DNC strategy of more Washington focused/centric campaigning, and spending only in so called battleground states. Now Obama expanded that with his internet grassroots fundraising operation and other OFA activities, but he sure as hell utilized the boots on the ground that Dean had been implementing. I could be wrong, so enlighten me.

  62. 62
    Napoleon says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    1. McGovern got slaughtered.

    2. For some reason, direct mail doesn’t really work for the left.

    As to 1, does that mean everything he did was wrong? I kind of recall he picked someone who was insane or something as his VP. As to 2, it worked for McGovern. The Right picked it up and until Obama came along the Rep made it based on donations that were smaller on average the the Dems because their fundraising base was so much larger then the Dems. The reason direct mail didn’t work for the left IS BECAUSE THE LEFT TOSSED OUT THE COMPUTERIZED LIST THAT WORKED.

  63. 63

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Dean’s basic idea was to take DNC money and give it to state parties to allocate. You can argue about whether or not that’s a good idea in general, in a certain situation, etc., but that’s basically what Dean was doing; de-centralizing the infrastructure of the party. The Obama campaign, by contrast, was arguably the most centralized national campaign in the history of the Democratic Party. For all of the work the campaign did building grassroots support, the actual infrastructure of the campaign, as well as more or less all of its important functions, were completely centralized with a group of about a dozen people.

  64. 64
    Short Bus Bully says:

    @mclaren:

    You make excellent points.

    After all, while I still get emails several times a week from both local and national organizers directly tied to the president and the progressive movement (and have since before he took office) I still NEVER GOT MY FUCKING PONY!!

  65. 65
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @demimondian:

    Commenting on this very WaPo story, Greg Dworkin says

    Seems to be instead of, rather than in addition to, the base. If so, bad move

    That really is stunning. I don’t know why people make it a badge of honor to be both “the base” and “disappointed,” apparently just so they can make a point about how it’s not just that a few people who are congenitally pissy and hard to satisfy continue to be so, but that their own gripes are vital and multiplied a millionfold. This is the kind of logic that makes the nomination of Dawn Johnsen some kind of essential litmus test of, well, something.

  66. 66

    @FlipYrWhig:

    g. I don’t know why people make it a badge of honor to be both “the base” and “disappointed,”

    Basically, it’ a rhetorical device to implicitly argue that your opinion is more valid than others.

  67. 67
    Svensker says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Obama and dems face a perfectly normal problem for a new presidents first mid term. Of motivating their voters who tend to think all is well and dems can’t possibly lose control and get complacent when a president is doing what they want. It is American style short attention span.

    Not sure I disagree with your overall points, but here I think you’re wrong. Does anyone in the country think “all is well”? The economy stinks and there’s no obvious turnaround coming, we’re in 2 wars with no signs of getting out, the Gulf is being destroyed, and there seems to be anger, fear, frustration and angst on every side. Seems to me complacency is not what people are feeling.

  68. 68

    @Brien Jackson:

    The Obama campaign, by contrast, was arguably the most centralized national campaign in the history of the Democratic Party. For all of the work the campaign did building grassroots support, the actual infrastructure of the campaign, as well as more or less all of its important functions, were completely centralized with a group of about a dozen people.

    I’m sorry this is wrong, or partly wrong. Yes, obama developed a national organization that was centralized. That is normal for any campaign on either side of the isle. But already having a DNC footprint inside a state, with local offices and chains of command was essential, imo, for Obama’s OFA to do as well as it did, especially in purple or the red states he won, like VA, NC, IN, NM etc…. I am saying that having that DNC infrastructure already in place was a critical factor in Obama winning in such states, where before Dean, there was hardly a DNC or dem organization of any heft.

    Obama didn’t do this all on his own, the DNC and his campaign worked hand in glove to make it work in difficult states for dems. No presidential campaign does it on their own without party help.

    And my state is a good example. For the first time since I lived here, the DNC had a big presence, or least a noticeable one. They contacted me about every other day either by email, snail mail, or by phone. They helped organize the meet ups and such. This would have been much harder and not done as well by Obama and OFA, without that existing presence of a viable DNC in my state.

  69. 69
    El Cid says:

    @Napoleon: McGovern being slaughtered means everything he did and stood for was wrong. Mondale being slaughtered didn’t.

  70. 70
    demimondian says:

    @Svensker: Yes, of course people can think that “all is well”. The two wars don’t affect them personally; they’re winning the key arguments that they need to win; everything is going fine.

  71. 71

    @Svensker: Point taken. The current negatives, especially the economy, has people some more tuned in than say a mid term in the 90’s. But not a lot more

  72. 72
    El Cid says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: Again, strangely, no one ever discusses how the negatives for Obama are concentrated in the South and a few Western states. This is a case in which a simple national average tells you less than a regional breakdown.

  73. 73
    Nick says:

    @Napoleon:

    does that mean everything he did was wrong?

    That’s usually the verdict on a campaign that loses as bad as his did, yes.

  74. 74
    Nick says:

    @mclaren:

    The reality of the situation remains that Obama betrayed essentially every campaign promise he ever made.

    When lies become “reality” and you can say whatever you want and millions will just believe it, it’s not even worth it anymore.

    You assholes are going to believe whatever you want to believe. If Obama gave you a pony, you’d say it was a mule.

  75. 75

    @El Cid: Agree, and a lot of those southerners are legacy dems, or dems by family tradition, that haven’t voted for a dem in decades, in some cases.

  76. 76

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    But already having a DNC footprint inside a state, with local offices and chains of command was essential, imo, for Obama’s OFA to do as well as it did, especially in purple or the red states he won, like VA, NC, IN, NM etc…. I am saying that having that DNC infrastructure already in place was a critical factor in Obama winning in such states, where before Dean, there was hardly a DNC or dem organization of any heft.

    1. Dean’s whole idea was to not have a “DNC footprint” in each state, but to let the state parties be more autonomous. So I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. Yes the DNC still had some cash on hand and did the more or less basic functions that a party committee does for a Presidential race, but that has nothing to do with the 50 state strategy.

    2. It’s really hard to understate how little the Obama campaign had to do with, or wanted to have to do with, state parties.

    3. 2004 is the only time since 1988 that a Republican has carried NM, and Bush won the tate by <1%.

    4. Virginia and North Carolina had much more to do with demographic trends in the state, as well as increased African-American turnout. Everyone knew those states would be competitive.

    5. Indiana was mostly about increased African-American turnout, with no small assist to geography. A non-Mid Western Democrat probably doesn't carry the state.

  77. 77
    Nick says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Obama and dems face a perfectly normal problem for a new presidents first mid term. Of motivating their voters who tend to think all is well and dems can’t possibly lose control and get complacent when a president is doing what they want. It is American style short attention span.

    I don’t think it’s complaceny, it’s a never ending barrage of know-it-alls telling them everything sucks and there isn’t anything you can do make everything not suck, and this whole Obama thing was just a fluke and now it’s over, so go back to your regularly scheduled suck.

  78. 78
    demimondian says:

    @El Cid: Well, no.

    When a large segment of the electorate is disassociated with the electoral process, the registered and likely voter screens in those areas necessarily (and correctly) underweight them. So, in the South, non-cuban Hispanics are underweighted, along with younger African-Americans. That means the likely voter screen for, say, Florida, overcounts the voters who are least likely to go Democratic. Ditto in Arizona — where, by the way, the Southern strategy is being reprised with a different archetype of “young buck” — and Texas.

  79. 79
    Uloborus says:

    @Nick:
    The important part there is that they think that with their party in power, voting in the midterms isn’t important. Whether or not they’re happy or sad with the situation as a whole.

  80. 80
    Nick says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: Which is why running a “progressive” Democratic primary challenge in fucking Arkansas was a great fucking idea.

    At least we know at least 13% of Arkansas Dems are teabaggers.

  81. 81
    El Cid says:

    @demimondian: How does this contradict my point?

  82. 82

    @Brien Jackson:

    Dean’s whole idea was to not have a “DNC footprint” in each state, but to let the state parties be more autonomous

    He built up the DNC integral with state parties, especially in red states. He created chains of command that didn’t exist by hiring them when there was none. Sure, more autonomy from the DC, but that was only part of it. You can”t be autonomous without healthy leadership and more money to be that. I think this is parsing you are doing.

    And the rest of your comment is subjective analysis that I don’t agree with for the most part.

    edit – there were a lot of factors that helped Obama win in red states, that are virtually impossible to quantify very accurately.

  83. 83
    demimondian says:

    @Nick: Um…no.

    A coalition needs some level of ideological consensus. The *only* way to maintain that is to challenge members who have deviated too far from the accepted form of that consensus — and that means primarying them. That is completely orthogonal to any other question.

    In fact, I made the case that primarying Lincoln was exactly right precisely *because* we’re going to lose that seat. The purpose of that kind of primary is to remind the core Party organization that it can’t go too far off message in the search for votes.

  84. 84
    demimondian says:

    @El Cid: You are saying the national means aren’t relevant, but that regional means are. I’m pointing out that the regional means are biased.

  85. 85
    Svensker says:

    @demimondian:

    Yes, of course people can think that “all is well”. The two wars don’t affect them personally; they’re winning the key arguments that they need to win; everything is going fine.

    No one I know thinks “all is well”. So many friends out of work, kids can’t find a job, health care premiums just went up 25%, if you have any money you don’t know where to put it since banks are paying .01% and Wall Street is too scary — so, horrible economy. If you try to distract yourself from the scary economy, you turn to find 2 wars, disaster in the Gulf, and horror all around. NOTHING is going fine.

  86. 86
    Nick says:

    @demimondian:

    A coalition needs some level of ideological consensus. The only way to maintain that is to challenge members who have deviated too far from the accepted form of that consensus—and that means primarying them.

    How often has Lincoln voted with the Democrats? You’ll see it’s VERY often. She was primaried because of the public option, there was no ideological consensus in the party on the public option, but there was on the bill in general…every Democrat voted for it.

    The purpose of that kind of primary is to remind the core Party organization that it can’t go too far off message in the search for votes

    and now that Blue Dogs know that Lincoln didn’t go that far off message, and they can represent a red state and vote like Lincoln and still win their party’s nomination, you’re the ones with egg on your faces.

  87. 87
    demimondian says:

    @Svensker: That reminds me of Pauline Kael saying that “None of *her* friends were voting for Nixon.” Could it be that you’ve got a biased sample?

  88. 88
    demimondian says:

    @Nick: Lincoln’s party affinity score was 54%. She was, in fact, only marginally more Democratic than Snowe.

    Really, dude, you should look up the numbers before you open your snout.

  89. 89
    Hunter Gathers says:

    How much money says that the ‘organizer’ Tumulty quoted hasn’t worked for Obama at all and hasn’t worked for the DNC since before Dean. This ‘organizer’ is quite obviously a white male over the age of fifty, and since the vast majority of white males over 50 despise Obama, it makes sense that he shits all over the DNC’s plan. He doesn’t work for them, and since he (along with the entire DC Press Corpse) is absolutely convinced that a surge of pissed off Cracker Males will vote the GOP into power, he sides with the GOPers, hoping to get in on the action when a potential GOPer led House tries to impeach Obama. He’ll get his spot on Hardball, nodding with Tweety when he tells us in his infinite wisdom that Obama deserves to be booted out because his crabby uncle doesn’t like Obama. Watching all these so-called ‘organizers’ and ‘consultants’ scramble to reinforce the CW of ‘Real America hates Obama’ makes me want to puke. All so these assholes can stand with the GOPers screaming ‘Niggar, niggar, spic, spic, single female whore who gets weekly abortions’, because that’s how ‘Real America’ thinks.

  90. 90

    @Svensker:

    What I meant by “all is well” was the fact that dems hold power in both the congress and WH. Not that things are dandy for peoples personal lives. Clearly they are not. But that is separate on whether it motivates them to vote or not.

  91. 91
    Svensker says:

    @demimondian:

    That reminds me of Pauline Kael saying that “None of her friends were voting for Nixon.” Could it be that you’ve got a biased sample?

    Of course, that’s possible. Maybe everyone I know is a loser.

    It’s really the economy and that is pretty broad based, I think (but don’t know for sure). We know so many people out of work (and going on year 2 of unemployment) and there are so many empty store fronts — and this in a rich NYC suburb. My niece just left California because neither she nor her husband could get a job. All anecdotal, of course. Just from where I sit, people are not doing well or are scared about the future.

  92. 92
    kay says:

    @mclaren:

    The big questions remain: why wait so long? And why the hell did team Obama blow off the single greatest grassroots electronic campaign in history after they got into the White House? T

    mclaren, speaking for me, I wouldn’t work for you or with you, in a grassroots effort. In any effort, really, paid or unpaid, but I can tell you, I’m not volunteering one hour if you’re in the room. Your stuff reeks of despair. There’s no joy in it. You’re not going to attract anyone with this constant second-guessing and bitching.
    People need forward motion, to keep going. They need some positive goal. I have to say, if I’m setting out on a difficult task, I avoid you (and those like you) like you have a disease I might catch. I get up and I move to another table, the moment you launch into your “he should have” bitchfest.
    People aren’t stupid. They don’t need you to tell them what they can’t do, and or what someone else didn’t do. They want to try anyway. You sap energy, and no one in their right mind is going to sign on to any “movement” that has no joy or humor or feeling of solidarity. People aren’t like that.
    There’s a reason you were never able to get a national grassroots effort together, and Obama was. You might want to reflect on why that might be.

  93. 93
    demimondian says:

    @Svensker: OK, but I could equally well point to my own suburb, on the opposite coast, where the major employer cut 10% of its head count last year…and where almost all of those cut are back at work, even though the cuts were predominantly in the job types which are most vulnerable.

    Alternatively, I could look at my eldest son’s friends, some of whom had been unemployed for years after leaving college. They’re suffering terribly.

    Is everything OK? Of course not. Does it seem OK to *my* neighbors? Yeah, it does.

  94. 94
    Nick says:

    @demimondian: I know what her party score was…I wanted you to look it up…54% is a majority isn’t it?

    54% is better than I’d expect for a state where over 1/3 of DEMOCRATS voted for the Republican Presidential candidate.

  95. 95

    The DNC is responsible for articulating and promoting the Democratic platform and coordinating party organizational activity. When the President is a Democrat, the party generally works closely with the President. In presidential elections it supervises the national convention and, both independently and in coordination with the presidential candidate, raises funds, commissions polls, and coordinates campaign strategy. Following the selection of a party nominee, the public funding laws permit the national party to coordinate certain expenditures with the nominee, but additional funds are spent on general, party-building activities.[4] There are state committees in every state, as well as local committees in most cities, wards, and towns (and, in most states, counties).

  96. 96

    @Nick: Most years she runs in the 60 to 70 percentile in voting with dems. In election years, every dem from a red state drops in lining up with party votes. Just the nature of the beast, for all of them. Then there is Ben Nelson, a DINO of a different color.

  97. 97
    demimondian says:

    @Nick: Ah, good. So, can you tell me her AFL-CIO score? And, given that score, can you tell me why the AFL-CIO would care whether the scab in that seat was Blanche Lincoln or someone else?

  98. 98
    kay says:

    @mclaren:

    In addition. The Washington Post are now reporting on an effort that has been underway for more than 6 months. I went to an OFA meeting 6 months ago where this whole strategy was laid out on a Powerpoint. I commented here, when I got back. The people who were at that meeting did a canvass the first weekend in June, here locally. I couldn’t go to that, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Somehow, despite the fact that it was “doomed” and they should have sat around bitching, they soldiered on without me, and without you, apparently.

    Obama wasn’t there, “leading them”. They went out anyway.

    I was late to the effort, actually. I think I was the last person in that room to “find out about it”. So, that puts you and me well behind middle aged Democratic ladies in Ohio, who heard about this in a shopping mall meeting space, months ago.

  99. 99
    El Cid says:

    @demimondian: If the regional polls are biased in the manner you suggested, i.e., the under-representation of communities such as Latinos and African Americans, this would bolster the point that national polls on dissatisfaction with Obama are in fact less representative or predictive.

    My original point wasn’t that regional polls were perfect, but that they captured more of the regional nature of polling with regard to measures of dissatisfaction with Obama.

  100. 100
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Nick: Lincoln was toast a year ago. So labor spends 10 mil to boot her out in a primary. Big fucking deal. I’m sure she would have put tougher language in the WSR bill if she was un-opposed in the primary. She’ll gut it to appease the Wal-Mart share holders who own her wanna be rednecked ass, and get crushed by 20 points. Even if she doesn’t take it out, she gets beat by 15. Why the fuck are you going out of your way to defend a year-old political corpse? Fuck Blanche Lincoln. Fuck her in the ear. That’s what she gets for being a two-faced corporate whore. Maybe her and Evan ‘Punk Bitch’ Bayh can shack up on K street when they become lobbyists in 2 years, fighting to keep ‘carried interest’ from being taxed higher. Because that’s what ‘Real America’ wants.

  101. 101
    kay says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    I think you’re off base on state parties. This is a coordinated effort. It’s Democrats, so “coordinated” is used loosely :)
    It has three components. There are the state parties. State parties have a “list” and an infrastructure. They don’t have the OFA list. They are supposed to turn out the traditional Democratic base. The people who vote a straight Democratic ticket in every election. There are candidate campaigns. They work with the state party. They’re supposed to trun out the next 10%. Then there is OFA. They believe that they are very good at one thing: turning out “their” voters. Young and minority voters. They have a list, and they don’t share it with the state parties.
    OFA promises to add two to four points in close races. They cant rescue a lousy candidate. They can’t carry a state. They actually use data they collected in Massachusetts to verify this. They added points in that contest in the last two weeks, but they say they should not and will not be responsible for complacent state parties or dragging a lousy candidate over the finish line.
    The whole thing has to work, though. They’ve just divvied up duties, to reflect who is best at what.

  102. 102
    kay says:

    It is a risky strategy. Young voters are hard to find. They require a lot of hand-holding, and follow-up, just to get their voting stuff in order, and get them out.
    The way I look at it, that doesn’t matter. If OFA can’t find them and turn them out, it’s not like the state(s) or national party were going to. It’s too time intensive, they don’t believe it is going to work, and they aren’t going to allocate time or money to something they think is unimportant and silly.
    I suspect the reason they’re pissed is this approach allocates a lot of money to paying (low) salaries to lots and lots of regular people, who will organize county by county, rather than professional consultants or PR and ad people.

  103. 103
    Kerry Reid says:

    @kay:

    Thank you. Exactly right.

    Some of these WATBs who are all gloom-and-doom probably also sit around bitching about how women don’t want to date nice guys.

  104. 104
    kay says:

    @mclaren:

    Maybe you shouldn’t have broken every promise you ever mae (“I will not sign a health care bill without a public option… Mandates are a not a solution. If mandates worked, we could solve homelessness by maandating that every homeles person buy a houe.” “With me the constitution returns. I will shut down Guantanamo Bay. I will end the military commisions.”)

    I’m curious about this often-repeated bit of conventional wisdom too, as a practical matter.

    Admittedly, my experience was anecdotal and local, but were these the issues brand-new voters came out on?

    Because I don’t remember it like that, and that doesn’t make any sense. If those voters had been plugged in, had been following things like “the public option” or the ins and outs of closing the Cuban prison, would they be new voters?

    They weren’t the people registered on Kos when they were identified and courted, or they wouldn’t have had to be identified and courted. They weren’t following Glenn Greenwald. A lot of them had known no other President than Bush. They weren’t politically active, at all.

    Are you sure you’re not conflating these actual voters with yourself, or others like you? Isn’t it much more likely that they are concerned with things like “how much will my insurance cost” than “is there a public option”? Or, “will they meet the Iraq withdrawal deadline”? Or, “can I get a job”?

    Those are problems, if the economy doesn’t improve, a BIG problem, but if the new Obama voters were as plugged in and closely identified with the issues of “the internet Left” as you seem to believe, why did Obama have to work so hard to find them?

    Why weren’t they already active, prior to his reaching them?

    Are you sure your issues are their issues? That seems like a big assumption.

  105. 105
    kay says:

    @mclaren:

    I guess there’s another alternative, so I’ll try that.

    Obama identified and reached brand new voters, political newbies, who then adopted the exact list of issues and concerns that you had.

    I don’t know if I buy that. Are you sure they voted and then followed things like “the public option” and he then “lost” them, on your specific issues?

    So they remained plugged in, to the micro extent of following the long and incredibly wonky health insurance debate (although he had by then thrown them away like Kleenex, according to the CW, so I’m not sure how they got that far, but anyway) and then despaired and gave up?

    Isn’t it equally likely they did what most voters do? Won, and then got on with their lives?

    Your premise is he didn’t keep them engaged, yet they were so engaged they were following the amendment process in the health care bill, and then threw in the towel around the time the public option died. Is that a likely scenario?

    I don’t doubt that they’re less enthusiastic, but are we sure it’s because Congress passed a law barring moving the Gitmo detainees?

  106. 106
    El Cid says:

    @kay: You can never know if you’re right, but it’s always better to do your best at answering such questions empirically, such as polling and surveying and interviewing voters and also comparing issue statements with socioeconomic measures.

  107. 107
    kay says:

    @El Cid:

    Agreed, but I think there is a natural tendency to claim “members” in a particular position or set of issues someone is promoting. It makes sense, because politics is all about who has the bigger group.
    mclaren was very attached to the public option. maclaren has a long list of issues he promotes. Does it make sense for mclaren to claim all new Obama voters are lined up with his issues? By a first-time vote for a Democratic President, were 20 year olds really saying “I require these specific amendments in a health care law or I’m not coming out ever again?”
    I talked to a lot of them. Mostly they just wanted the bickering to stop and some positive progress made, and they were absolutely taken with Obama’s message, which, we will remember, was one of “no red states, no blue states”. Like it or not, that’s what attracted people. They weren’t voting on the public option.

  108. 108
    kay says:

    @El Cid:

    I think OFA could have done a much better job of keeping them actually engaged, but I suspect part of the reason they were not more (voluntarily) actively engaged was not disappointment on the (final) health care bill, but the fact that big legislation is complex and maddening and not at all a win/lose event.
    There’s a huge difference between voting in a Presidential election and spending 18 months following a debate from bill to law.
    I’m not sure we can say they were so alienated and ignored they didn’t follow the debate, yet so plugged in to the specific provisions they were devastated by the result. That’s my basic problem with this theory.

  109. 109
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @kay:

    Are you sure your issues are their issues? That seems like a big assumption.

    kay, I think you’re spot on, and it’s the source of a lot of my own frustration with the blogospheric left. The kind of person who gets very upset about the Dawn Johnsen aborted nomination, for instance, or the fate of net neutrality… These are not issues that the general public cares at all about. Casual voters thought the public option was a good idea, but I don’t think they got all wounded and frustrated when it wasn’t part of the final package. And IMHO the sad reality is that the Greenwald issues like civil liberties and due process for terror suspects and such are really part of that same bundle of issues: very important to a sliver of the blogospheric left and _much less so_ to the people at whom this initiative is aimed.

    I would say that there are a lot of people who voted for Obama because, as far as issues go, he wanted to wrap up the war(s); as personalities go, he seemed thoughtful and hard-working; and as symbolism goes, he’s the young guy who connotes a fresh start. What do you need to do to bring those people back out for 2010? I’m sure a better economic situation would help the most. An end to the oil spill would probably be second. Other than that, I would venture to say that you’d need to remind them that their guy Obama is just getting started and needs a lot of help… not on specific issues but more in terms of increasing the number of people in DC who share the larger agenda of taking things seriously, moving forward, etc.

    Getting those people to come out would probably make a tangible difference in places like OH, NC, NV, IL, PA, CO, KY, and (ideally) even IA, NH, and DE.

  110. 110

    “New voters” that you have to go out and get do not tend to be politically sophisticated, if they were you wouldn’t have to go get them. Even experienced or sophisticated voters find the sausage making in Congress … off putting. The new voters from 08 have had some ice water thrown in their faces which doesn’t bode well for getting them back out in a mid-term without the initializing force on the ballot.

    I happen to think efforts to get people engaged are worthwhile in a larger sense than turnout, which is where I’m afraid there will be disappointment. Demonstrated interest pays benefits as time goes on and some political realities get digested.

    OFA lists are available to DNC State Parties, there are some caveates, like {R} aren’t to be molested for Party goals like fund raising, GOV efforts allowed.

  111. 111
    Lurker says:

    @Svensker:

    …if you have any money you don’t know where to put it since banks are paying .01% and Wall Street is too scary…

    For what it’s worth, ING Direct is offering 1.10% in an FDIC-insured savings account and Alliant Credit Union is offering 1.5% in NCUA-insured savings and checking accounts.

    After reading John C. Bogle’s Common Sense on Mutual Funds, I’m sticking with Vanguard for long-term investments.

    $0.02

  112. 112
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    The new voters from 08 have had some ice water thrown in their faces

    I’m not going to say this isn’t true, but what in particular are you referring to? The wearying health care debate? The continuing wars? A worse economic climate than anyone expected? Do the new voters from 08 hold Obama responsible for all of those? I’m trying to get inside their heads: would someone say, “I voted for Obama because I wanted to see X happen, but because X hasn’t happened, fuck him”?

  113. 113
  114. 114

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I’m not going to say this isn’t true, but what in particular are you referring to?

    There a few, hand full, ever how you want to state it. Their decibel level is high, their numbers, not so much. You can count them mostly on the internet.

  115. 115

    @FlipYrWhig:
    Immediate gratification is a feature of youth or maybe more correctly a lack of patience with BS. Probably the real question is “who are new voters?” If you’re talking about older people you have a different dynamic than youth but in all cases they are people who were not previously involved to the extent of registering on their own. The bitch of it is that to keep them in the loop generally takes on going personal contact – a thing DNC worked at with Neighbor to Neighbor. It’s time intensive and takes effort.

    In some ways NtN is a fall back to the old Precintman days, personal attention and connections that yielded machines. Everybody knew their precint captain and where favors and attention could be had. The favors part is pretty much dead now, the attention part…

    I am not a mind reader, I have no idea what particular thing trips a person’s BS meter unless I’m told. I will say that Congress is scarcely an example of “how to get things done.” I had hoped that after the campaign BO would put into the works something like FDR’s Fireside Chats because it plays to a demonstrated strength. If you want votes those people need to feel like they count, really count, to you. Coat tails can be huge if there is a reason for them to exist.

    I’d say HCR was the most egregious blow to enthusiasm, fuck the specifics – the spectacle was the blow. Spectacle is important and one can hope that the Teabaggers will result in the same general emotional shift that the (real) Hippies and SDS/Weathermen provoked – anybody peripherally involved got painted with the same brush. That may be a tactic, painting all GOP with the antics of Teabaggery especially at the level of person to person politicing.

  116. 116
    kay says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    One of the things that struck me during the 2008 campaign, was how long-term activists had a lot of baggage that the brand new voters did not have. Some of the older Democrats here were still smarting over Bush v Gore, or Bush v Kerry, or Reagan, or the Clinton impeachment, and the brand new people were just breezing along. It was wild to watch. Just a complete disconnect. Now, “baggage” could also be termed “knowledge” but does it matter? They were brand new. This stuff was meaningless to them. The old battles didn’t resonate.
    I was really amused when McCain and conservative pundits kept bringing up Carter. Those voters didn’t know jack about Jimmy Carter, nor did they care. McCain wasn’t even speaking the same language as them.
    Yeah. Keep babbling about Jimmy Carter. That’ll work.

  117. 117
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: I can readily imagine someone in 2008 thinking, “I like this guy Obama, so even though I’m busy and my life sucks, I’ll make a point of voting for him”; then in 2010 thinking, “I still like Obama well enough, but I’m busier and my life sucks even worse, so I’m not going out of my way to vote for Alex Giannoulias.” IMHO it seems like _those_ are the people you need to rally, especially in a climate where the other side is saying “I hate that sozialist Obama so I’m going out of my way to vote for Republicans up and down the line, sane, crazy, or crazier.” You need to counter those people who want to nationalize the election in a negative direction by nationalizing it yourself in a positive direction, right? You need to find a way to get the people who were more gung-ho about Obama symbolism than anything much to do with policy and impress upon them that if they don’t show up it means the other guys make life much, much worse. That’s totally skew to questions of policy, ideology, or who is “the base.”

  118. 118

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:
    Your knee jerk defensiveness results in complete stupidity and conflating Hamshers with voters. New voters was specifically being addressed and you play Mike fucking Kay.

    Mid-terms suck for GOV, plain and simple. New voters are always a problem to get out. Congress hasn’t had popularity for a damn long time and you don’t have a big gun out there to pull in voters. Your fucking mewling about some intertubes idjit does squat to address a real problem – why don’t you fucking pay attention to something other than the voices in your head and maybe you can add something.

  119. 119
    kay says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Our OFA list isn’t available to the state party. I actually agree with that decision, not that I had any input into it. OFA want to keep a narrow targeted message, and not have every candidate and campaign muddying what they consider their area of expertise.
    We did get some cross-over from their list, which I thought was all gravy, so I was pleased. The single most active member of the state party in the next county from mine is a 30 year old machinist who never voted until Obama knocked on his door. He was a volunteer county coordinator for that campaign. He runs his thing like Obama did. Post-campaign, he started and ran a single issue non-partisan community group. Now he’s working with OFA again, and he brought his group in. He’s a volunteer. I wish they’d just go ahead and hire him.

  120. 120
    Napoleon says:

    @Nick:

    That’s usually the verdict on a campaign that loses as bad as his did, yes.

    Well if that is how you would take lessons from a campaign then you are enormously dumb. I can not think why getting more people involved in a process that you win, by definition, if at the end of the day you have more people on your side is a bad thing. McGovern was cutting edge on computerized mailing list. The DNC decided to ignore it, the RNC got the lesson and adopted it, and guess who was more successful for 30 years.

  121. 121
    kay says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s just really hard work. I think they would be completely open to voting for the more liberal candidate, it’s just getting them there is grunt work, without the sort of “wave” action that the Obama campaign had.
    Ted Strickland was a perfectly fine Democratic governor in a lousy economy, and I think he’ll probably win, but I can’t really get someone all fired up about him, if they don’t follow state politics.
    Obama was always a long shot. His strategy was a long shot. I had smart non-racist Democrats the night of the election telling me about the “Wilder effect” for the 50,000 time. This is a log shot too.

  122. 122

    @kay:
    There are strings attached to the list and not all State Parties went along – ours did. NAs and Rs can’t be contacted for Party ends or things like NtN.

    I have 14 month fingers “helping” so this may get messy.

  123. 123

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Jeebus, Butcher seems like you are the one who needs to get some therapy. I offer polling evidence to support the assertion that all the blog bullshit about Obama losing something and the votes of idiots on the internet. What do you have to offer, other than gibberish and resentment and your opinion. Fuck off you crazy motherfucker and dump your personal angst dumbassery somewhere else , I ain’t taking your bullshit for a second.

    and you’re the one that has been carping about the Hamshers of the world getting a raw deal from us obots, and that we shouldn’t piss them off or suffer at the polling place. You are all over the place, and nowhere at all. I think you’re insane

  124. 124

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:
    Senility getting the better of you? I’ve stated repeatedly that Hamsher is a fucking idjit. If you want to bleed your stupid Obotism all over what Congress looks like, knock yourself out, dumbass. Your wishful thinking about Hamsher, et al, has not spit to do with GOV – she matters to you and a couple thousand other cretins.

    While I’m talking about something real, you bring freaking intertube ghosts – dumbass. I give a rat’s ass if you like me, making something other than what I was addressing out of a comment is asshattery. Try reading something other than the name – numbnuts.

  125. 125

    @Chuck Butcher: I only serve whackjobs like you pie. You can have Mclaren’s leftovers from today.

  126. 126
    kay says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    I only get access to the state list, and I listened to a lot of carping from the state people because they didn’t get the OFA list. They’re all low level, so no one knew who made what decisions. We are running into a problem, though, with the Limbaugh primary voters. My state has a closed primary, you pick your Party when you ask for a partisan ballot, and those assholes who went out like zombies and voted for Hillary to “stop Obama” are now registered Democrats, according to Bd of Election data. They’re too stupid to figure out why they’re getting all this Democratic fund raising mail. It’s a public record. Any one can request that list. They’re convinced Obama has illegally seized voter reg rolls.

    Lucky you. A 14 month old helper. That’s a fun baby-age.

  127. 127

    @FlipYrWhig: I agree with your thoughts on motivating slacker dem voters that the wingnuts could get back power if they don’t get off their asses and vote. But the idea that because they are disappointed things haven’t gotten better is why they decide not to vote, I will push back on. There may be some of these, but Obama’s approval has hovered around the 50 percent mark for the past year, and approval by dems of him is solid.

    The trouble with motivating a first term dem president’s dem voters in his first midterm is about always true, and same for the wingnuts, unless you have a 9-11 the year before. This is empirically true at least for the past 100 years. The reasons are likely many, and who knows what people’s motives are, but it is not unusual whether voters are in tough times or good times. And laying it on voters disappointment may be an additive factor, but historically it hasn’t mattered that much.

    Even after the Reagan landslide in 1980. He had his clock cleaned by dems in 82. His voters were still ecstatic he won and supported him, but dems were pissed at all the changes he was making and were more motivated to vote. True we were still in a economic downturn, But Reagans voters were not blaming him, like they are not blaming Obama now. Or there would be poll evidence of such. The reason why Reagan’s and now Obama’s are not as enthused as the opposition, whatever the reason, it does not comport with blaming it on disappointing the base that much, I mean the real base, the one Gallup polls every single month nationwide. It is something else, and natural and normal in this democracy, regardless how good or bad times are.

  128. 128

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:
    Corporal, trying to find an echo of mclaren’s rant in what I wrote takes the kind of effort only you and Mike Kay are capable of. If you want to work that hard at being stupid, far be it from me to discourage you.

  129. 129
    kay says:

    @mclaren:

    Finally mclaren, if I were David Plouffe’s advocate (I’m not) I might throw that right back at you. First time voters aren’t politically engaged, almost by definition. He was tasked with winning a Presidential election (which he did) , and Obama has a big ‘ol day job.
    I might phrase it like this: “Plouffe and Obama handed you 13 million persuadable people, who had just cast their first vote, and you blew it”.
    You couldn’t even manage to get a small fraction of them to push 2 Senators to vote for a public option.
    Unless the list on Daily Kos or FDL is bigger by 10 million, you (liberal activists) missed the opportunity of a lifetime.
    Plouffe went home for 6 months to take care of his new baby, and liberal activists didn’t do anything to engage the new voters he painstakingly identified, and delivered. You-all met them and worked with them, if you worked on that campaign. What gives? Why’d you slack off?

  130. 130

    @Chuck Butcher: I didn’t even respond to you, moron. I responded to Flypyerwing, and did not mention Hamsher, just the neverending meme of we’ll be sorry for upsetting true lefties. You took that comment not addressing you directly nor quoting you, and went all ass rabies with the same shit slinging you have been doing just about constantly on this blog since the HC debate.

    And the “corporal” shit. It’s A tiny mind who thinks that’s some kind of insult. Jeebus fucking christ Butcher. Just go to the republicans, you are more like them than the lefty you claim to be, and are not, on just about any issue.

  131. 131

    @kay: To keep Mclaren from living in your head rent free, never engage him, only mock and deride. But a one time catharsis may be in order.

  132. 132

    @kay:
    The OFA-DNC relationship is touchy for a whole lot of reasons some of which had to do with fundraising differences and some to do with voter focus issues – and views of “establishment”. The process of list segregation isn’t an easy one and in some cases not worth the effort and the committment to OFA in that regard has to be ironclad. There are a shit load of different lists around, the registration lists are easiest to get and pretty much meaningless in themselves for targeting. When you can drill down into things like vote frequency and elections during registration term you can get some idea but that sure isn’t anywhere near the end. Lists are expensive to generate and organizations are protective of them and the more useful the more expensive to produce.

    New registration turnout is always disappointing in percentage and especially in mid-terms. That isn’t to denigrate its importance as a thing to do, just to note that the big pile of cards doesn’t equate to voters’ ballots.

    If I could afford ad time I’d show nationally clip after clip of shouting, screaming, very angry faces from HCR town halls with a graphic at end of “Is this what you want?” Or, “You trust this?” Or, “This should run the country?” Or … you get the gist. That won’t win a CD or State, but might help with GOV, then as always it’s the candidates’ job.

  133. 133

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:
    You addressed Flyp’s response to me, dumbass. If you can’t keep your shit straight for 10 comments…

    As for me and the GOP – that is senility on your part, or flat delusion.

  134. 134
    kay says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    I agree.

    If Democrats, or more specifically liberals, haven’t completely made the sale to new voters, I think it’s safe to say they’re still out there and still persuadable, because the Tea Party is an elderly group, and they’re pissed off all the time.

    The candidates matter so much. When Sherrod Brown was determined to be the Party pick in, 2006 (completely undemocratic, they muscled his opponent out) I thought he was too liberal for Ohio, state-wide, because I actually knew his House record. New Democratic anti-Bush voters didn’t care. He was an attractive candidate who ran a great campaign. They had no earthly idea where he was on “issues”.
    I was just as wrong as I could be about him.

  135. 135

    @Chuck Butcher: was still making a general comment on what sounded like yours and the other puma wankers that never quit with the butt hurt shit over disappointing the real base. And never mentioned Hamsher and haven”t for a long time. Maybe you should check your own kneejerking you whack job.

    edit = well you sure aren’t a lefty you claim to be, like I said, I think you are insane, at least politically.

  136. 136

    @kay:
    It’s easy to get tangled up in the policy elements and forget the emotional appeal. The difference between a nationally oriented campaign and the more local candidate campaign is to me at this point to nationally appeal to the emotion of “oh man, not that bunch of loons” rather than get into any policy. The GOP has handed out gift after gift of looney angry rhetoric and twisted faces to go with it. Really pissed off works with the edges, but scares the mainstream and I’d scare hell out of them with that GOPer crap on a national basis, let the candidates handle their end.

    In my CD it is pretty much a matter of limitting the bleeding and letting the other side of the state do the electing, unfortunately. OR2 is one of those long term projects, for now Walden (OR2-R) is safe as long as he wants it. He’s no moderate but he avoids the spit spraying lunacy regardless of his votes. Despite what most of these folks are like personally, the word “liberal” is poison here.

  137. 137

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:
    ahahahaha. PUMA? You’d be funny if mental confusion wasn’t such a sad thing.

  138. 138

    PUMA?

    nah, you’re just the guy who went all whackjob Rahmbo over a single provision in a single bill. Mandate/HCR and melted down by quitting about everything political except coming here and wanking how we’d all be sorry for disappointing your precious ass.

  139. 139

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:
    Stupidass I resigned offices I could not occupy and criticize elected Democrats. I played by the fucking rules.

    As for the rest – I am re-elected as PCP and still a State Delegate, since neither constrains me.

  140. 140
    kay says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    The people that amaze me are the ones who stick with this year after year. We have union members here who have shown up for every election since they were old enough to vote. I was curious about absolute romps, like Dukakis. I voted for him thought he would have been fine, but I wasn’t active in anything back then, other than surviving. My big issue was paying my rent, or wondering if my car was going to start, that day.
    What was that like, when your candidate is going to get absolutely killed, everyone knows it, and you still have to make GOTV calls, etc?
    I don’t know if I could do it. Imagine election night. No chance, at all.
    I know they have personal relationships with other “activists” and that is a big part of it, that year-in, year-out continuity, there are plenty of people here locally who I would spend time with outside of politics simply because I like them, but still. “Let’s all get together and watch this train wreck!”

  141. 141
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Yea sure, If you say so Butcher.

  142. 142
    El Cid says:

    @kay: I don’t think this was a response to me. All I was saying that before making statements about what this or that group feels — or rather, before intending to say so with a serious analysis, because I think blog comments are the right place for intuitive speculation — people should use real, measurable information.

  143. 143

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:
    As though you’d be worth lying to, you sad sack. Not to put too fine a point on it, I’m out there as opposed to a phony rank ID, I am quite trackable.

  144. 144
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    @El Cid:

    I think blog comments are the right place for intuitive speculation—people should use real, measurable information.

    This should be emblazened across the entire liberal blogosphere.

  145. 145
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Whatever you say dude.

  146. 146

    @kay:
    It sucks when you know a stomping is coming, it sucks worse to be the candidate. It’s like this CD, somebody works up the nerve to run and spend some money for an asskicking, you know it’s coming but you can’t leave them unchallenged or you’d never turn things. In 88 we’d had a (D) Rep for a long while, so it isn’t impossible, but – patience.

  147. 147
    kay says:

    @El Cid:

    Well, okay, but even measurable information can be turned to effect. That’s not wrong, if you’re an advocate, as long as you know you’re an advocate, and aren’t playing at “I just look at the data!”

    The “Democrats are less enthusiastic” polls are used like this. Now, I don’t know why “Democrats” are less enthusiastic, and the pollster doesn’t know why Democrats are less enthusiastic, but liberal activists have turned that into “proof” that Obama should pursue a more Left-leaning agenda.

    There’s nothing wrong with reading polls in a way that advances a particular point of view. That’s what advocates do: they push a position. What I object to is : “here’s this data point that I can make line up with my personal agenda, and so THEREFORE all these people think just like I do”.

    Maybe Democrats are less enthusiastic because they’re fretting over the deficit, or they’re worried about making their mortgage payment, or they’re tired of politics all together. WTF does the poll mean? I don’t know. How do they know?

  148. 148
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    @kay: Activists covet. That’s what they do and I happen to agree with much of what those on the left want. Activists are also er active, they fight, sometimes more wisely than others. And it is a big temptation to pick up any ammo laying around to use it to get what they want, and that is certain laws and mandates passed. The opportunity to pick up an historical characteristic of this coming mid term and turn it into something it is not is too much for some.

    I think this has always been the case and is something that is dominant on the dem side, imo. It can create good things sometimes, when it is focused and professional. Of course, we are in the digital internet age where volume rules the roost, and not conducive to focus and professionalism and any group of knuckleheads can steal the floor and put on a show of silly. And the media eats it up, Cause silly sells. Just more reality teevee to them and the masses.

  149. 149

    @kay:
    Anger and fear are great motivators, BushCo used fear real well for awhile and by 06 people were starting to get pretty angry with GOP. For the very largest part BO doesn’t inspire much of either in the (D)s and the (D)s haven’t made much effort to demonize the GOP. I’m partisan enough that I don’t care that all the GOP isn’t the Teabaggers, I want people to feel they are. The real effects are that the difference is immaterial.

    Lack of enthusiasm really varies, activists get burned out and it’s particularly bad if there isn’t some hot button issue/s. General voters have all kinds of things pushing at their attention and getting them warmed up enough to say I’m enthusiastic to a pollster – well hell, and it’s still early. Given something “hot” like the oil spill doesn’t give you much, the damn thing is still leaking and looking good in the face of that fact isn’t likely. It doesn’t matter what can be done – it’s still leaking. It’s hard to gin up a lot of enthusiasm for, say, HCR when its effects are fairly narrow and slow to come on and the economic mess is broad and immediate. If people don’t notice the effects of the accomplishments of the last almost 2 yrs enthusiasm doesn’t follow. Policy wonks are not voters.

  150. 150
    kay says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    A lot of it seems like “confirmation bias”, to be honest. An opinion is formed, and then all information received proves that opinion.
    It’s self-fulfilling, too.
    If enough pundits proclaim Obama’s response to the spill is dragging his approval down, will they eventually get the data that proves that theory?
    If enough pundits proclaim Americans are really, really mad, will they eventually find enough polling points or pick enough races to prove that thesis?
    Yeah, probably, unless hell freezes over and a pundit says “well, Jeez, I was just wrong on that whole theory!”

  151. 151
    kay says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    I was looking at the first Reagan midterm, because economic conditions are alike, and Reagan’s approval rating was actually lower than Obama’s. Considering that Reagan had reasonable Democrats in opposition, instead of slobbering, spit-flecked lunatic Republicans, Obama is holding up fairly well. They’ve been throwing everything they had at him since the day he took office. I’m surprised he’s not at 40%.
    I think what will matter is not a magic number on unemployment, not “less than 10%” but instead a perception that things are improving. I don’t think people compare based on some abstract numerical marker. They compare in terms of “better or worse, for me, than last year?”
    The oil spill certainly doesn’t help with any broader perception that “things are improving”.

  152. 152
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    @kay:

    If enough pundits proclaim Obama’s response to the spill is dragging his approval down, will they eventually get the data that proves that theory?

    Maybe a little, around the edges. Obama’s steady polling while not great, but not bad either, belies the theory the media drives public opinion in the short term, like it used to in Cronkite’s era, where there was a lot more trust, that was generally earned by the media.

    The public, I think, gets the 3 ring circus that is our current fourth estate, and they rate them accordingly toward the bottom of professions these days. But they certainly do have long term effects on how people think, or over a period of time, the media staying in a particular groove. And in a broad way, they have created a double standard for repubs and dems, on allowance of tone and tenor and facts.

    The wingnuts have the upper hand here, and can get away with slamming and smearing dems much more than the other way around. And imparting a subtle more American stamp on the wingnuts, especially on patriotism, that is important to Americans of all parties. Or at least the bulk of Americans.

    But probably in no other area has the media let the country down, than allowing this alternate truth, or reality, the wingnuts have been pushing for decades. Or conflating opinion with facts, and letting the wingers deliver the puke funneling of lies and distortions. This is a serious problem, maybe even existential for us remaining a viable democracy.

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    @kay:
    Think of this one, RR killed the USSR. The reality that it crashed of its own weight for its own reasons doesn’t intrude on the GOP theme. My guess is that a poll of Americans would back the theme rather than the reality. It is pleasing to feel “we” did it, just as it is satisfying to feel that BO can “do” something about BP’s oil.

    I think that the Teabaggers/Limbaugh/GOP/etc have given the (D)s an opportunity to make something out of essentially nothing – ie policy free attack themes. That lets candidates do their localization of politics/policy while the opposition is tarred with a very broad brush in general terms and looks very scary. Push the theme until the perception is that the GOP is the Teabagger looney party enought to have it poll that way, to have the media act as if it is. Scare hell out of the middle voters.

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    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    @kay:

    The oil spill certainly doesn’t help with any broader perception that “things are improving”.

    yes, but it has gotten peoples attention. The country generally believes what is true, that in a basic way the GOP looks out after big business, and dems look out after ordinary people. Probly how it should be. This is worse for the wingers, especially after having two unabashed oil men running the country, who were decidedly anti regulation.

    This is why wingnuts are sticking their foots in their mouths, and spinning in all directions, like well, wingnuts. The country might be frustrated that Obama has not done better keeping oil off the beaches, but they blame wingers (excluding staunch gop voters of course) , or their mindset, for the tragedy happening in the first place. And as cleanup efforts get more organized, and now with the damages fund for the victims, his ratings will improve on the gov. response.

    And I think this will help motivate liberal voters as much as anything else to go vote. They know what and who is to blame for business running amuck. They may not be terribly thrilled with Obama, but letting wingers back in charge of congress is much much worse.

    I have no idea if this theory will pan out on the political effects of the oil spill and the company election.

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    kay says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    I think that the Teabaggers/Limbaugh/GOP/etc have given the (D)s an opportunity to make something out of essentially nothing – ie policy free attack themes. That lets candidates do their localization of politics/policy while the opposition is tarred with a very broad brush in general terms and looks very scary. Push the theme until the perception is that the GOP is the Teabagger looney party enought to have it poll that way, to have the media act as if it is. Scare hell out of the middle voters.

    That rings true to me, and is, I think backed up by the special House races, where D’s have won 12 of 13. They were won not by lunatics, but by people who pointed and laughed at the lunatics, and ran on local issues.

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    @efgoldman:
    Ah the wonders of card decks…
    Fortran, Cobol, and the wonderous Watbol compiler … shoot me, please.

  157. 157
    kay says:

    @efgoldman:

    No, but thank you. I’m neutral on cats and afraid of many dogs so I probably should have been banned long ago. I used to think the Tunch pictures were all the same picture, until John Cole moved and the background changed. I was thinking “why do they love that picture of a cat so much?” It’s a fine looking cat and all, but it never seemed to move off the couch.

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