The Upcoming “Do Nothing” Congress

Straight talk from a Republican candidate:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Assuming it’s accurate that Republicans will get the House, how effective will that be in throwing a monkey wrench in the gears of everything Obama does?

JORDAN: If we win, what will we get done? Mostly, I’ll be honest, most of what we can get done is have the big fight, have the big debate, and have the framework for the 2012 election.

Because that strategy would be so different from the last two years.

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106 replies
  1. 1
    TR says:

    OT, but that amazing Daily Show clip from last night is online.

  2. 2
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Politically, this would be really dumb. We all know Americans hate congress but isn’t that mostly because they view congress as a do nothing body? So if they do less, the job dissatisfaction rises and we get another throw the bums out election. Good luck with that strategy, GOP.

  3. 3
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil: Exactly, if this happens, Obama and the Dems can explicitly run against Congress in 2012 campaigns. No need to even pretend.

  4. 4

    @TR:
    Just to piggyback on the OT (and because the Wow thread is rapidly fading from the front page), I’ve illustrated the stupid/evil properties of Fox News based on last night’s TDS clip. Follow the link.

  5. 5
    Frank says:

    Republicans, by all accounts, will win a lot of seats in 2010. But a lot of them will be in districts that Obama won in 2008. And while the young Obama voters are not expected to show up for a midterm, they are expected to be back in 2012. In other words, the GOP may win a lot of seats this year. But if they are just going to keep obstructing instead of governing, it is likely that the Dems will win back most of those seats that they will lose this year.

  6. 6
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Frank: Maybe this will also be the year when the younger voters learn what happens when they don’t vote.

    The day I stop hoping for something positive is the day a gun, a bottle of alcohol, and I all end up in the same room.

  7. 7
    Comrade Jake says:

    Don’t forget the Issa impeachment show! That will be Congress doing something.

  8. 8
    General Stuck says:

    JORDAN: If we win, what will we get done? Mostly, I’ll be honest, most of what we can get done is have the big fight, have the big debate, and have the framework for the 2012 election.

    Like I was saying last night, everything, EVERY FUCKING THING the wingers do these days is for the sole purpose of throwing Obama out of the White House. They have no ideas, and don’t want them, they don’t want to pass laws or do anything of purpose for the citizens of the country. It’s all they think about, stopping the commie mooslim usurper of white privilege, and prolly holler out Obama when screwing their wives and husbands, when they dream, or take a shit.

    He is under their skin and with each passing day eats away a little more the inhibition of acting like civilized humans, which of course they aren’t, and never have been, except for the teevee cameras. And we ain’t seen nothin’ yet, specially if they win the House.

  9. 9
    SteveinSC says:

    Some of us here predicted that Obama’s “centrist” governing was doomed to failure. It is race, cultural and economic war we’re in. The republicans have been doing nothing except Bill Clinton redux: Wreck the government and then restoration of the reactionaries. Rule or Ruin. Obama a muslim? Hell no, he’s too much of a Carter-like Christian. And if it’s one thing the god-fearing, America-was-founded-as-a-Christian-nation, Guns-god-and-guts, family-values crowd can’t tolerate, it’s a Christian in the White House.

  10. 10
    dmsilev says:

    I don’t believe that for a second. A Republic-lead House will be spending a lot of time doing stuff. They’ll be conducting “investigations”, ginning up fake scandals, sending fact-finding missions to locate Obama’s “real” birth certificate, and will be hoping that enough mud sticks that they can go for impeachment without being laughed out of the room.

    dms

  11. 11
    lacp says:

    The wisdom used to be “you can’t beat something with nothing.” I’m not sure what the takeaway is if the Republicans regain control of the House.

  12. 12
    Dork says:

    It’s pretty fuckin hard to govern when you’re writing up impeachment charges on a daily basis.

  13. 13
    roshan says:

    Something very relevant via Digby, written by some guy called Tomasky in the Guardian.

    The second reason is that the Democrats are terrible at countering Republican spin. On virtually every major issue, to put matters in debating society language, the Republican point of view is the proposition, the Democratic one the opposition. This may sound odd, given that the Republicans are the ones who are in opposition. But they almost always set the terms of debate in Washington. And so, Republicans began saying shortly after Obama took office that the midterm elections would be a referendum on Obama’s overreach. The Democrats countered with not much of anything.
    Now, after a year-plus of that and just nine weeks away from the voting, the terms of debate are set. The Democrats are just now trotting out arguments. They’re tying the Republicans to George W Bush, who is still unpopular. This may work, but they should have been doing this from the beginning, as the GOP did to Carter in the early Reagan days, and as the Tories recently did with that arresting web ad about Labour’s Legacy.
    But the bottom line is this: the Democrats are afraid of the Republicans. They – all of them, from Obama on down – are afraid of Rush Limbaugh and Michele Bachmann and you name it. You hear Democratic operatives talk strategy, and there’s always a “logical” reason why this or that aggressive attack might not work. But it’s nothing to do with logic. They’re just afraid. Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman who wants the government out of everything, is a good case in point. It’s been revealed that her family farm has received $250,000 in federal subsidies. If she were a Democrat, the Republicans would make sure the entire country knew it.

  14. 14
    Suffern ACE says:

    @lacp: You might be able to win if people “Feel” that you’ve done something. Or if people “Feel” that the other side has done bad things, even if they haven’t. Think about all those times the press reports on the “Stupid thing that congress is thinking of doing”, when it’s really a stupid pet project of one Congressman that isn’t going to ever be voted on. You could run on “We prevented Obama from building a shrine to Hitler on the Mall” and if people believed the claim, you could win.

    Thankfully, republican politicians aren’t known for being petty and kicking problems down the road for the purposes of scoring political points.

    They actually want to renew those tax cuts, so they’ll have to do something to get those.

  15. 15
    cmorenc says:

    It’s this simple, folks:
    – the economy sucks and the people who still have jobs and assets are scared, and those who don’t or are underemployed working two part-time jobs are both scared and frustrated.

    The majority of people pay lots closer attention to the factual details of sports events (football, baseball etc) or the factual details of their jobs. They form their political opinions based on much more superficial information – the vast majority of people aren’t wonks paying attention to details. That’s why simple-minded emotional hot-button issue campaigns work with frustrating effectiveness from the standpoint of those of us who’ve been following enough details to know specifically why the GOP is so empty and full of shit and actually hostile to the economic interests of so many people who give them votes due to the hot-button emotional issues.

  16. 16
    Steaming Pile says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Because the first thing a GOP-led 112th Congress will do is pass a reauthorization of the Bush tax cuts, which will probably get vetoed. Then you’ll hear Boehner whine and cry and scream and stamp his feet at anyone who will listen about how the President is killing the economy and raising everyone’s taxes.

    Maybe the Senate will block such a bill. Don’t bet the house on it. My guess is, the conservadems will band together to make sure just about any ridiculous thing that comes to the floor will get an up or down vote, what with our previous experience with the filibuster and all. Look for lots of House Republican stupidity to pass 51-49 or 52-48 while Harry Reid stands around looking like an idiot.

    The second thing that will happen is that there will be some attempt to screw with Social Security. Basically, everybody under 55 would take it in the pooper, sans lube. This to “save” Social Security for the future, or some ridiculous bald-faced lie like that.

    Maybe the Senate will block that bill. Don’t bet the house on it. My guess is, the conservadems will join forces with the Republicans and make sure that one reaches the President’s desk as well, so he’ll have to veto it.

    The third thing on the agenda will involve replacing the HCR bill with the GOP’s idiotic suggestions about tort reform and tax breaks. My guess is the spineless jellyfish…er…Senate Democrats will probably allow that one to reach the President’s desk by the fall of 2011.

    Now, given that the Senate class is already well-stocked with Democrats who were elected in 2006 (it was a really good year for Democrats, as we recall), If @frank is right that the Obama voters will return in 2012, it should not be terribly hard to snatch the gavel back from Boehner, but I would say that 2012 will be a goal-line fight for control of the Senate, what with certain people like Ben Nelson either retiring, or being beaten to a bloody pulp at the polls.

    We live in interesting times.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    mr. whipple says:

    I thought the Democrats had more money in the bank than Republicans but for weeks all I’ve been seeing and hearing are GOP attack ads. WTF are the Democrats?

  19. 19
    Suffern ACE says:

    @roshan: I found that a little funny. If they’re running on “blame bush” they are just running on the talking points that Republicans have given them already. Most Republicans complain that “blame bush” has been the only thing Democrats have been saying for the past two years, so why not run on that….Even when Democrats don’t say that, Republicans think that’s what they are saying. Even when Democrats don’t say a word, Republicans hear Democrats saying that in that way we can hear things that are spoken in other people’s heads.

  20. 20
    Suffern ACE says:

    @mr. whipple: I don’t think they have that advantage or it will soon be eclipsed by Citizens United Money. $75 million from the Chamber of Commerce, $25 million from Carl Rove…it all adds up really quickly. Hopefully all that spending will be stimulative to the economy.

  21. 21
    p.a. says:

    for Republicans, these actions file under the heading ‘do what you do best’.

    have a feeling John et.al. are gonna have to do a lot of cute pet/saved pet posts over the next few years to keep some optimism and positive vibes here.

    what’s the over/under on how many issues Charlie Brown Obama keeps playing kick the football let’s work together with Lucy Republicans?

  22. 22
    Frank says:

    @roshan:

    The Republicans are extremely organized, they dominate talk radio, they have FoxNews. This has been the case for many years now. It is beyond me why the Democrats aren’t even seemingly trying to do something about that. The Dems are trying to go to war with a knife while the GOP is bringing a nuclear weapon to that some fight. Guess, who’ll win.

  23. 23
    WereBear says:

    Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman who wants the government out of everything, is a good case in point. It’s been revealed that her family farm has received $250,000 in federal subsidies. If she were a Democrat, the Republicans would make sure the entire country knew it.

    Yes, that’s true. Am I the only one who thinks that owning the networks is kinda the advantage the Republicans have, here?

  24. 24
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @arguing with signposts #4: I also gave your excellent Venn diagram a shout-out in the “Meanwhile, Over There” thread. It seems to have infinite applications.

  25. 25
    Zifnab says:

    @Frank:

    And while the young Obama voters are not expected to show up for a midterm, they are expected to be back in 2012. In other words, the GOP may win a lot of seats this year. But if they are just going to keep obstructing instead of governing, it is likely that the Dems will win back most of those seats that they will lose this year.

    I think the real question at the end of this cycle will be how much fresh blood we get into Congress. Are we going to be recycling Congressmen every 2-4 years in the same old seats and leaving all the veteran incumbents safe? Or are we going to be periodically ousting the old guard of politicians and replacing them with a younger and more liberal crowd?

    Knocking out a bunch of Blue Dogs and other Red State conserva-dems doesn’t bother me so much, given that the net roots seems much more interested in backing and filling red state trend blue seats than the DCCC.

  26. 26
    jwb says:

    @roshan: I don’t actually think the Dems are afraid of the Goopers. What they are afraid of, and for good reason, is the media taking Gooper talking points and ramming them up the country’s ass 24/7. The Dems really haven’t found a good way to control the message, and it hasn’t been for a lack of trying. An awful lot of it comes down to media ownership on the one hand and, ironically, the erosion of the media audience on the other. (The smaller audience is actually more conservative.) Even though the audience for media continues to decline, the media remain by far the most powerful agents for driving memes. Try an experiment: tune out for a week or two and notice how much less stupid everything seems; and yet the problems of the world appear if anything even more daunting. It’s little wonder that people of a particular psychological disposition prefer to drown themselves in stupid.

  27. 27
    ppcli says:

    Michelle Bachmann said explicitly to a meeting of her supporters that if the Republicans took the House they would just start issuing subpoenas. And I am sure that if any Democratic official tries the Karl Rove “just blow it off” strategy Fox news will suddenly discover a reverence for the congressional investigation process instead of the boilerplate they trot out about purportedly “criminalizing policy differences” that was (if I am remembering correctly) first hauled out when North, Abrams et al. were busted selling arms to Iran and then recycled every time a Republican gets caught doing something that really does demand investigation.

  28. 28
    cleek says:

    @mr. whipple:

    WTF are the Democrats?

    hiding under their beds, furiously trying to find new ways to meet the GOP half-way.

  29. 29
    Zifnab says:

    @Frank:

    It is beyond me why the Democrats aren’t even seemingly trying to do something about that.

    ?!
    Air America Radio. Daily Kos, and the rest of the progressive blogs. Howard Dean’s 50 State Strategy. The push to get Rachael Maddow her show on MSNBC. Do these not count?

    Admittedly, they’re coming from the community at large, not the guys running the various Democratic caucuses. But then the Koch Family and the Murdochs don’t answer to the RNC any more than George Soros or Warren Buffet get lead around the nose by the DNC.

    A lot of the conservative movement is privately financed. Some of it bucks up against in house Republican electoral strategy (namely the race baiting – which Bush/Rove opposed but couldn’t stop).

    The Democrats have pushed for more transparent electioneering. The Republicans have pushed for more corporate money in politics. But that’s where their fight ends. Past the Capital, it’s the job of the actual voters to organize and get the message out at the grass roots level. You don’t see Dick Armey running around whining about John Boehner not pulling his weight.

  30. 30

    @SteveinSC:

    And if it’s one thing the god-fearing, America-was-founded-as-a-Christian-nation, Guns-god-and-guts, family-values crowd can’t tolerate, it’s a Christian in the White House.

    I sometimes think that is why so many right-wingers hate, really hate Jimmy Carter. He really tries to practice what he preaches and walk the walk.

    But I am probably wrong. That would mean that the Right is capable of religious intolerance and we know that can’t be so.

  31. 31

    @dmsilev:

    I don’t believe that for a second. A Republic-lead House will be spending a lot of time doing stuff. They’ll be conducting “investigations”, ginning up fake scandals, sending fact-finding missions to locate Obama’s “real” birth certificate, and will be hoping that enough mud sticks that they can go for impeachment without being laughed out of the room.

    This is really the key issue regarding the election. If the GOP takes control of either house, it’s nonstop investigations and “special panels” from here until Obama leaves office. Not to mention a two-year Superbowl for cable news.

  32. 32

    @roshan:

    14th Amendment:

    I believe I read that the 14th Amendment was cited in a federal court a long time ago as authorization to levy income tax. If the amendment were rescinded en toto, would that do away with federal income taxes?

    And could that explain why there is money behind the drive to cancel the amendment? [with all the fuss over terror babies as a smoke screen?)

  33. 33
    mr. whipple says:

    @Frank:

    The Republicans are extremely organized, they dominate talk radio, they have FoxNews.

    They do have a great propaganda network. I thought we had a nice start at countering that with blogs, but they spend most of their time criticizing Democrats and Obama. Air America was a good start with radio, but that went down the toilet. The only network with a decent liberal presence is MSNBC, but they spend too much time whining and bashing Democrats.

    The lesson I take from this is we are not very good at this.

  34. 34
    Puss says:

    Nobody gives a shit anymore if stuff gets done or not. This is how empire dies.

    I’m started to get very jaded about the whole process as I never have been before. I live in a country full of complete and utter morons, all of them angry, liberally populated with bigots and nutcases, all of them with an axe to grind. And I’m fighting to make sure *they’re* not exploited! What the hell do I care anymore? Speaking as someone who has options, I feel like, if these guys want to vote for their own funeral, let them. Especially since the group of politicians who best-not completely by a long shot-represent my views seem more than willing to bend over time and time again, to back down instead of fight, and to stand for nothing.

  35. 35
    WaterGirl says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I like it!

  36. 36
    jwb says:

    @Frank: Well, the Dems/left have tried. They tried to come up with their own list of talk radio personalities, but it hasn’t worked very well, at least in part, I imagine, because they don’t have corporate wingnut welfare paying for ad time to keep the shows on the air. They also don’t have a network, but that’s a very, very expensive proposition. (The best we’ve got at this point are the NY Times and NPR, both of which are at best center-left, with the emphasis on center, and neither of which is comfortable being labeled “liberal” in the way Fox embraces “conservative.”) In any case, I don’t see any way Dems could fund an operation like Fox News without some White Knight coming along and handing it to them.

    It’s my impression that bloggers on the left are doing slightly better than those on the right, though those on the right again have the huge advantage of wingnut welfare; so monetarily blogging from the right probably comes out ahead. If they are supported by ad revenues, bloggers on the left are also more likely to whack on the more centrist Dem proposals, I presume because that brings more page hits than whacking on Goopers. But what’s good for the bloggers’ pocketbook is not good Dem politics.

  37. 37
    Puss says:

    @jwb:

    What they are afraid of, and for good reason, is the media taking Gooper talking points and ramming them up the country’s ass 24/7.

    So the way to counter that is to acquiese to those talking points? To say, yeah, there should be no Muslims anywhere near Ground Zero and maybe we should have a national databank for them? To say, yeah, Elena Kagan *is* too liberal? IMO the biggest problem Democrats have amongst the general population is that they don’t stand for anything. The main reason they have control of the legislative and judicial branches right now is because they weren’t aligned with Bush & Cheney, who people uniformly despised, not because people so loved Democrats. Say what you want about the insanity of the right, you have a good idea of who they are and at the very least what they are against-not so with Democrats. They hem and haw and muddle and can’t even agree that it’s ok for Muslims to congregate near “Ground Zero”. They’re catatonic pussies, and, given the choice between a crazy person and a zombie, most people will choose the crazy person every time. At least you can interact with them, even if they don’t make any sense.

  38. 38
    TR says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    I believe I read that the 14th Amendment was cited in a federal court a long time ago as authorization to levy income tax. If the amendment were rescinded en toto, would that do away with federal income taxes?

    I think you might be misremembering this. The 14th Amendment doesn’t have any real applicability to taxation, and in any case, the 16th Amendment is explicit in granting the government the power to tax incomes: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

  39. 39

    I think those Tea Party patriots really need to rally behind a third party candidate. And I would like to help them.

    /wink

  40. 40

    But the 14th Amendment is the basis for corporate personhood, yes? Someone told me that. I don’t know if it’s true. I’m not a Constitutional Scholar like Michelle Bachmann.

  41. 41
    Frank says:

    @Zifnab:

    Air America Radio. Daily Kos, and the rest of the progressive blogs. Howard Dean’s 50 State Strategy. The push to get Rachael Maddow her show on MSNBC. Do these not count?

    Air America is like 1% compared to all the right-wing shows on AM radio.

    Daily Kos, and the rest of the progressive blogs.
    The average person out there don’t even know what dailykos is.

    I’m glad Rachel has her show. I’m also glad KO and Ed have their shows. That’s three hrs a day! Compare that to FoxNews which is 24/7. Try this test: If FoxNews talks about something (such as the community center/mosque) vs if Rachel Maddow talks about something, check out who CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN will copy. They will literally always copy FoxNews.

    I remember early in Obama’s presidency and he had scheduled a speech to our country’s school children. FoxNews went nuts, calling it indoctrination etc. It was as dumb as can be. Studying hard was considered controversial! Yet, after a few weeks of Foxnews’ coordinated effort NBC/CNN etc eventually called it a controversy.

    The Republicans will continue to win the message war until something is done. I sure hope the Dems are planning to do something about this.

  42. 42
    Violet says:

    @August J. Pollak:

    If the GOP takes control of either house, it’s nonstop investigations and “special panels” from here until Obama leaves office. Not to mention a two-year Superbowl for cable news.

    I wonder how well that will go over with voters. The country is going to hell and all the Republicans want to do is fiddle while it burns. Maybe the voters are as stupid as they were back during the Clinton investigation era, but maybe the demographics and the way information is transmitted (internet, etc.) have changed just enough that it won’t work quite the same way. Not saying it’s definitely going to work that way, just speculating.

    Clinton was a flawed man in his personal life. There was a lot there. One thing about Obama that is very different is that he is a pretty boring guy in his personal life and even his critics admit that. I think it’s going to be harder to get people to believe he’s been banging dumb blonde models or conducting unethical backroom real estate deals. I could be wrong, but the GOP tactics will have to be different or it won’t work.

    Either way, I wouldn’t be surprised to see classic Republican/wingnut overreach. They did themselves in with Terri Schaivo. Could work that way again.

  43. 43
    roshan says:

    The problem with the democratic party is that the party character is very much inline with Michael Dukakis or John Kerry.
    Dukakis was attacked relentlessly by Atwater and friends by questioning his patriotism, spreading rumors that he had passed laws banning guns, making Willie Horton an issue. What did Dukakis do about all that? Does anyone remember? Most likely he countered in the most logical way possible which has always been how liberals or democrats think. They add logic to the issue which in and itself is too time consuming, doesn’t come in a bumper sticker format, usually leads away from attacking the person who brought up the charges and adds legitimacy to the charge since it’s actually being given some consideration.

    Take logic out of the debate and then formulate the attack, dig as much dirt possible or just make it up and launch it through a circus cannon into the general public. Never get angry on TV, but just keep talking shit about your opponents, relentlessly, don’t stop. This has to happen not only during the campaign but also after it. Make sure the talking points are sent to every party member and talking heads in the media.
    Yeah, it will be useful to have talk radio and FOX on your side, but hey, at least don’t sit in a corner crying while someone is screaming rape in your face. Scream back like a gentleman!

  44. 44
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Violet: As people keep saying, Obama has been very lucky in his opponents.

  45. 45
    Frank says:

    @jwb:

    In any case, I don’t see any way Dems could fund an operation like Fox News without some White Knight coming along and handing it to them.

    But if it was only about money, I don’t see why they couldn’t do it. Obama routed McCain when it came to fundraising in 2008. Clearly we have the money. There also are people like Soros etc who seem to have an interest in helping progressives.

  46. 46
    Puss says:

    @Violet:

    Either way, I wouldn’t be surprised to see classic Republican/wingnut overreach. They did themselves in with Terri Schaivo.

    Not so much that they don’t have an excellent chance of retaking the House this year, with an even wingnuttier cast than there was in 2005.

    Republicans are the masters of reinventing themselves. Yes, they crashed and burned after the monstrously inept presidency of George Bush, but a mere 18 months ago we were declaring them dead for a generation. Instead they scurry back to the tent and come out dressed up as Tea Partiers and Glenn Beck and claim that they hated George Bush and massive spending all along-and people buy it.

    Progressives have been outmanuevered at almost every flank for a generation now, and the waning cult of personality is not going to be enough to sustain the Obama presidency in the face of it without some serious changes in mode & message IMO.

  47. 47
    Frank says:

    @mr. whipple:

    Great point. I stopped watching the Ed show when he kept criticizing Obama. While KO and Rachel Maddow have been much better, I always get perplexed when they start going after Obama or the Dems. If I wanted that, I could just watch FoxNews. Or the MSM for that matter.

  48. 48
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @Frank: What the Democrats need for the midterm elections is the same level of door-to-door outreach that worked so well (especially against Republican talking points and propaganda) in the 2008 elections. Unfortunately, they’re not set up for this and I wonder why. Younger voters tilted the election Obama’s way. It’s not that hard to get younger voters to see the big picture and to understand what two years of gridlock and endless Republican subpoenas mean. It’s pretty easy to point out how bills Obama has signed into law positively impact them (e.g., student loan financing). The Republicans had the same advantage in terms of media domination and more media outlets owned in 2008 (and the media kept trying to show a viable race for McCain well after most of his strategists had conceded he’d lost) but that didn’t work out too well for them, did it?

  49. 49
    Frank says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):

    The Republicans had the same advantage in terms of media domination and more media outlets owned in 2008 (and the media kept trying to show a viable race for McCain well after most of his strategists had conceded he’d lost) but that didn’t work out too well for them, did it?

    When the economy is really bad, it kind of trumps the media advantage. If people have lost their jobs, they know things are bad without the media trying to tell them otherwise.

    Considering how bad things were in 2008 (The Dow dropped 35-40%!), it is rather amazing that 47% of all Americans still voted to keep the SAME team in place that brought us the economic disaster in the first place. One can only wonder how many fewer people would have voted for McCain if he hadn’t had such a media advantage.

  50. 50
    Violet says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):
    Yeah, I’m disappointed in Obama’s organization (now OFA) that they didn’t have a few people assigned to leverage that enthusiasm and keep the focus on getting voters out to vote.

    One thing they could have done is emphasize how important it is to vote and how it’s the foundation of democracy and America, etc., etc. It sounds goofy, but it might have worked. At least something to keep people thinking about electing the right people, GOTV, etc. It really seems they dropped the ball on this one.

    @Puss:

    Republicans are the masters of reinventing themselves.

    This is true. I never believed the “dead for a generation” crap. I do think they’ve got a problem in that their demographics are old-ing out and if they don’t figure out how to get some minorities and younger people to join them, they really are going to have a problem.

  51. 51
    Puss says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):

    What the Democrats need for the midterm elections is the same level of door-to-door outreach that worked so well (especially against Republican talking points and propaganda) in the 2008 elections. Unfortunately, they’re not set up for this and I wonder why.

    Because what got people going in 2008 was Barack Obama and contempt for George Bush.

    It’s not that hard to get younger voters to see the big picture and to understand what two years of gridlock and endless Republican subpoenas mean.

    I disagree. I think it’s very hard to do that, and exactly the wrong way to approach it.

  52. 52
    cleek says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):

    What the Democrats need for the midterm elections is the same level of door-to-door outreach that worked so well (especially against Republican talking points and propaganda) in the 2008 elections. Unfortunately, they’re not set up for this and I wonder why. Younger voters

    just FYI, i got an email yesterday from Obama’s team saying they were starting to gear up for their GOTV effort.

    see here

  53. 53
    Violet says:

    @Puss:
    What would you suggest is the right way to get younger voters to the polls in midterms?

  54. 54
    Keith G says:

    @Puss:

    So the way to counter that is to acquiese to those talking points? … IMO the biggest problem Democrats have amongst the general population is that they don’t stand for anything.

    They’re catatonic pussies, and, given the choice between a crazy person and a zombie, most people will choose the crazy person every time. At least you can interact with them, even if they don’t make any sense.

    You are exactly on target.

    Some of us have been saying similar things here for months to more than a little grumbling. Sheeple need leaders who direct them. They want a champion with a bit of a swagger. It’s stupid and distressing, but it’s probably hardwired through evolution. Obama has not helped himself on this front.

  55. 55
    Puss says:

    @Violet:

    I do think they’ve got a problem in that their demographics are old-ing out and if they don’t figure out how to get some minorities and younger people to join them, they really are going to have a problem.

    I’m less convinced of that, based on what I have seen for the past 30+ years. Who would ever have thought, in 1965 for example, that Democrats would be begging for the union vote in 2010? And in any event, I think the comfort Democrats seem to be taking in that is going to be cold indeed, considering those long term demographics are not going to help us in the next decade and a lot of bad things can happen between now and 2020.

  56. 56
    singfoom says:

    When the choice becomes a party who cares only about the richest and convinces the rubes that it’s in their interest to perpetuate the inequalities in our system (which still mindbombs the fuck out of me) by using fear and stupid wedge issues because most people are absolute idiots and fear is universal and the other party that makes mealy mouthed statements about wanting to go the other way while implementing policies that still tack towards the elites and runs away from any conflict with the Republicans, it’s hard to have a lot of hope for the Republic.

    Maybe I’m too gloomy, but I don’t have a lot of optimism about the arc of U.S. politics and power in my lifetime. I see Rome burning and everyone fiddling, regardless of party.

  57. 57
    roshan says:

    Another thing that would be a big help would be that FUCKING Social Security (one of the best program implemented by democrats) is not being brought up for dismantling under a MOTHERFUKING Democratic President and Congress!

    It’s a huge time waster and shouldn’t be under debate at all. We don’t have additional forces to counter it, we got a terror mosque going, folks!

  58. 58
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @Puss: The lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base is part of the problem. Right wing conservatives are energized right now and their views are able to gain traction in part because of the state of the economy. Many of the unemployed do lean conservative and they have lots of time on their hands. Remember the unemployed Glenn Beck watcher who was arrested on his way to go shoot people associated with organizations mentioned on Beck’s show? He was more concerned about gunning for the ACLU and Tides foundation than making sure that congress passed an unemployment benefits extension. If more people get back to work, they’ll have less free time for some of this.

  59. 59
    Puss says:

    @Violet:

    What would you suggest is the right way to get younger voters to the polls in midterms?

    First and foremost, you need a candidate that inspires them, IMO. Younger people are still idealistic; they still believe in the idea that anything is possible, that they can be part of the solution, that they’re waiting to be asked to be part of the solution. That is the reason they came out in droves for Obama, pure and simple. There needs to be some way to tap into that absent a candidate like a Kennedy or Obama, but I can guarantee you that most of the Democratic candidates on the docket for this November are not going to do it-and that is why they are going to take a bath in this election, and IMO it’s really too late to do anything about it. Bush & Cheney are ancient memories for them at this point.

    But I do not believe you are going to get them to the polls by telling them scary Republican stories.

  60. 60
    Glen Tomkins says:

    Let’s hope they settle for doing nothing

    Clearly they aren’t going to do anything constructive. We can strike that alternative right off the list of possible outcomes if they take over the House. Our side will still have the presidency and the Senate (presumably), so we would block any of the wild and destructive schemes they might think of as constructive. I take it as a given that the set of things that both sides imagine to be constructive is pretty much a null set. The result will be what we have already with divided govt, nothing gets done.

    But the fact that we have to characterize what we have now as divided govt is a strong indicator that they won’t settle for doing nothing if they take the House. Sure, we have a majority in the Senate. But the other side is willing to play hardball, where we are not. They use the filibuster to establish an effective 60 vote requirement in the Senate because they don’t care that such a free use is possible only if you threaten to shut down the Senate over every bill. That’s why they’re allowed to filibuster without even filibustering, because makng them actually hold the floor, etc., would kill an already tight legislative schedule. They would have no compunction about doing this for every bill and effectively shutting down the Senate. Our side always feels tha tit has to be the adult, so of course we back down and let them impose a 60 vote requirement. So, no, we don’t have undivided control.

    In contrast, when we were in the minority, any least hint that we would filibuster anything they really wanted to get through, and they would bring out the nuclear option, the threat to change the rules of the Senate, today, to end the filibuster. Our side couldn’t ever use the thing because doing so would endanger its availability to ever use the thing. Brilliant!

    They are clearly willing to use constitutional hardball, to exploit the rules for a one-sided advantage giving them more power than they “earned”, if we were following the conventional rules. They feel, and recent history backs them up, that they will prevail in any game of such hardball, because they are more willing to be irresponsible, to get us to let them have their way by threatening to harm the public good if we don’t.

    Which is why I am concerned that, if they take the House, they will try to exploit that control for more than what both sides have conventionally settled for in a divided govt situation — doing nothing. The House has the power of the purse. A House that was actually willing to use that power could effectively control the govt, could take back such effective control from the presidency.

    As an abstract matter, if we weren’t talking about this notional teabagger House and this president, I wouldn’t even say that it’s a bad thing that the House should end our recent flirtation with the elected dictatorship we have let the presidency devolve into. I would have been happy to see the House take back the govt from Dubya in 2007. Nothing but good would have come from even an unsuccessful attempt at that.

    Nothing but evil would come from a 2011 attempt by a bagger House to reclaim control over our govt from the Kenyan usurper. I’m reading a good book on the crisis of 1640 to give me ideas on what to look for this time out revisiting the same issues of the power of the purse.

  61. 61
    MTiffany says:

    “most of what we can get done is have the big fight, have the big debate…”
    JFC, if only those smarmy assholes wanted to have “the big debate.”

  62. 62
    General Stuck says:

    I think the dems are to a degree, intimidated by the organized and relentless nature of the wingnut wurlitzer, but I also think there is something else at play. And that is the knowledge that if dems crawl the same sewers and use the same tactics, then there will be no one left to maintain some semblance of responsibility and sanity. And the wingers know this, and that they generally represent the majority race in this country, and can get away with more rank bullshit than mulitcultural respecting dems. It is a testament to our white supremacy past, that lingers even in moderate American souls.

    Part of the unhinged element, other than having a black presnit, is the reality of the country becoming more multicultural with minorities numbers increasing and with it, their voting power. Some of the more pragmatic wingers have seen this in the recent past and tried to address it with overtures of inclusion, but the white tribal instinct of the GOP now as a party of southern xenophobes quickly squashed that effort.

    It seems to me we are a train headed down a track with none or very few rail switches to go in a more enlightened direction. The dye seems to be cast and daily pretenses of inclusion and tolerance fall a little more by the wayside with each passing day, while the GOP becomes more of a closed white party becoming increasingly hostile and seditious with minority demographics nipping at their electoral heels, so it’s full speed ahead. Add that in with a deeply dysfunctional economy, and the future don’t look so good.

  63. 63
    WereBear says:

    Geez, the doom and gloom. Not that I don’t feel that way sometimes, but Obama does not start his game too soon. Worked last time.

    Imagine if three years ago, I came on here and said, “We’re going to run a new guy, hasn’t been in politics for very long, real Ivy League professor, intellectual type, and, oh yeah, he’s black! He’s going to run against McCain, the darling of the media and well known war hero. Waddaya think?”

  64. 64
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @Violet: I actually got the OFA emails asking me to make a commitment to vote in the midterms two weeks ago. That’s one good approach. But there has to be a more focused Democratic strategy tailored to each state’s issues, not just OFA’s. I can’t blame Obama for the fact that I don’t see this. Where are the DNC, DSCC, etc. in this?

  65. 65
    Zifnab says:

    @Frank: Well shit, buddy. FOX News is, like, 20 years old. Rush Limbaugh has been on the air since before I was born. These organizations don’t pop up overnight. The Dems are working to fight the mighty Wingnut Wurlitzer. And they’re getting a lot of support from the net in general – from digg.com and reddit.com to Wikipedia and Snopes and FactCheck and the rest of the internet community more interested in facts than hype.

    As for DKos, that site gets roughly 600,000 unique hits a week and 20 million unique hits a month.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daily_Kos
    That’s not nothing.

  66. 66

    @Violet:

    I wonder how well that will go over with voters. The country is going to hell and all the Republicans want to do is fiddle while it burns. Maybe the voters are as stupid as they were back during the Clinton investigation era, but maybe the demographics and the way information is transmitted (internet, etc.) have changed just enough that it won’t work quite the same way. Not saying it’s definitely going to work that way, just speculating.

    1. They’re doing this now, and it’s going over great with the voters. They’re going to win at least five Senate seats and very likely control of Congress.

    2. Again, they’re already watching the country burn. They don’t really care. And I don’t think they care if they have long-term control of Congress, either. Social issues like abortion and gays have always been a side matter for them, it’s an election year issue. Last time it was gays, now it’s Muslims and mosques, and so forth. GOP congresscritters go home every night wishing “those people” would just shut the hell up about the goddamn magical fence in Mexico they think is physically possible to actually build.

    This is almost entirely about the tax cuts. Or rather, money: making the cuts permanent, gutting federal subsidies, privatizing social security (without calling it that, natch), defunding the health care plan, killing environmental regulation, and so on.

  67. 67
    Keith G says:

    @Violet:

    What would you suggest is the right way to get younger voters to the polls in midterms?

    I’ll answer too (sorry). A few things:

    First, nothing is guaranteed. Second, doing something is usually better than doing nothing. Third, Its probably too fucking late to do much. These seeds needed to be planted some time ago and team Obama….well…weren’t up to the task.

    Younger voters are more idealistic and respond when that idealism is nurtured. Obama has done quite a bit in that regard (Student Loans, Ledbetter, HCR, diplomatic resets), but the messaging has been *pathetic*.

    It seems that Obama has spent 19 months working to convince older, whiter, conservative America that he is a good guy and all the while neglecting to spend time with his natural base and so many of them have checked out and may not check back in.

    So in September, he’ll get all fiery again. However, reconnecting is usually harder than maintaining the original contact.

  68. 68
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @Puss: Why is it hard? I’m not sure I see why this wouldn’t work. Each party needs to play to its base. Obama got to the White House in part because a majority of 18 – 30 year olds backed him over McCain (CNN had a chart up showing the breakdown of voting for Obama vs McCain by age and it was striking). Why can’t the Democrats show what Obama’s already done for them, emphasize that the Republicans are not going to create new jobs but will instead sidetrack the country with endless investigations as they did during the Clinton years and state clearly what the Democrats will do to improve the jobs situation? What makes this so hard?

  69. 69
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    OT. Sherrod turned down the new job offer from the Department of Agriculture. She’s still planning on suing Breitbart apparently.

  70. 70
    Frank says:

    @Zifnab:

    Well shit, buddy. FOX News is, like, 20 years old. Rush Limbaugh has been on the air since before I was born. These organizations don’t pop up overnight. The Dems are working to fight the mighty Wingnut Wurlitzer.

    Good. I sure hope they are. Because they will keep losing the message war until they catch up in the media area.

  71. 71
    Puss says:

    @Keith G:

    Younger voters are more idealistic and respond when that idealism is nurtured. Obama has done quite a bit in that regard (Student Loans, Ledbetter, HCR, diplomatic resets), but the messaging has been pathetic.

    Liberals get frustrated when the populace in general does not respond to what they see as obvious accomplishments with votes-Obama has had the most successful legislative presidency in a generation, and yet his party is going to suffer a bloodbath in the midterm elections. So they bang their head against the wall, crying, why don’t we get the vote when what we have done is so spectacular, instead of simply realizing that America is made up of people who respond to sound bites and stories and themes?

    You can’t change anybody, you can only change how you respond to them. And Democrats simply do not know how to generate what the average voter responds to-and so, like insane people, they keep doing the same things over and over and expect a different response from the voters.

    PS I also agree that if the economy were truly picking up, this conversation would likely be more muted.

  72. 72
    roshan says:

    Ziffy, dude, please list how many so called grenades has DKos launched at the conservatives and GOP’ers and set the terms of debate?

    Did the mighty left wing wurlitzer, DKos, make social security safe yet?

  73. 73
    Puss says:

    @Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people):

    Why can’t the Democrats show what Obama’s already done for them, emphasize that the Republicans are not going to create new jobs but will instead sidetrack the country with endless investigations as they did during the Clinton years and state clearly what the Democrats will do to improve the jobs situation? What makes this so hard?

    Read my earlier post on this. This, IMO, is typical progressive thinking and why Democrats get slaughtered at the polls on a regular basis. This is *not* what younger voters are interested in IMO. Worrying about the Republican bogeymen is not even on their radar unless they are already committed progressives. They were in high school or younger during the Clinton years, so that means absolutely nothing to them, (and besides, if going back in time helped anything all one would have to do is yell “George Bush!” and democrats would win every election from now until the end of time). They simply can’t imagine why anyone would do that, and even if they did, why anyone would take it seriously.

  74. 74
    Comrade Dread says:

    In other words, the GOP may win a lot of seats this year. But if they are just going to keep obstructing instead of governing, it is likely that the Dems will win back most of those seats that they will lose this year.

    You’re assuming, of course, that the Democratic leaders don’t take an election loss as a message to be more conservative and actively cave in to whatever lunacy the Republicans decide to pass.

  75. 75
    Brachiator says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil:

    Politically, this would be really dumb. We all know Americans hate congress but isn’t that mostly because they view congress as a do nothing body? So if they do less, the job dissatisfaction rises and we get another throw the bums out election. Good luck with that strategy, GOP.

    Actually, it might even be better (or worse) than that.

    If the Republicans do well, they will spend the next two years claiming, “Look we saved America from the illegitimate stealth Muslim president and the Sozuleest Democrats.”

    Americans will look around, see that the economy is still in a shambles and that people still don’t have jobs, and go “WTF?”

    It’s funny. The GOP tried a variation of this kind of thing before when Newt Gingrich tried to bring the government to a halt. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work any better now.

  76. 76
    Puss says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    You’re assuming, of course, that the Democratic leaders don’t take an election loss as a message to be more conservative and actively cave in to whatever lunacy the Republicans decide to pass.

    Word. If Democrats actually worked harder to put any daylight between themselves and what they are campaigning against, it would probably be a big help.

  77. 77
    Puss says:

    @Brachiator:

    Americans will look around, see that the economy is still in a shambles and that people still don’t have jobs, and go “WTF?”

    That’s the case now, and yet there are still about 200 Facebook pages dedicated the “Stopping the Ground Zero Mosque” and Keith Olbermann having an on-air stroke about it every night since once again wingnuts have hijacked the front pages.

  78. 78
    Violet says:

    Thanks for all the input on how to get younger people to the polls. It sounds like there’s a consensus on candidates needing to be inspirational. That’s a tough thing to ask because not everyone has that kind of charisma.

    @Keith G:

    Younger voters are more idealistic and respond when that idealism is nurtured. Obama has done quite a bit in that regard (Student Loans, Ledbetter, HCR, diplomatic resets), but the messaging has been pathetic.
    __
    It seems that Obama has spent 19 months working to convince older, whiter, conservative America that he is a good guy and all the while neglecting to spend time with his natural base and so many of them have checked out and may not check back in.

    Hopefully his GOTV efforts that are starting now will emphasize this stuff. I think younger voters are idealistic, but they’re also facing hard realities in this job market. Showing how the Democrats have helped them with concrete actions (extending healthcare, student loans, etc.) might work some too.

  79. 79
    Puss says:

    @Violet:

    Showing how the Democrats have helped them with concrete actions (extending healthcare, student loans, etc.) might work some too.

    If they actually had jobs as a result, that might help.

    I don’t mean to be an eternal wet blanket, but unless that is paired with some real dumbing-down strategies concerning message and personality, it is going to fall completely flat IMO.

  80. 80
    Violet says:

    @Puss:

    If Democrats actually worked harder to put any daylight between themselves and what they are campaigning against, it would probably be a big help.

    Yep. The Democrats could do a lot more to show what they are NOT. They are NOT the party of screaming, crazy old white people. They are NOT the party that hates freedom of religion. They are NOT the party that carries racist signs. They are NOT the party where you can barely find one minority in attendance.

    They could be saying that sort of thing and pointing out obvious differences between them and the Republicans. But of course they won’t. Pussies.

  81. 81
    Up in Canada says:

    A lot of the enthusiasm for Obama was the hope that he would be a dramatic change from Bush and the Republicans. What did we get? We got Rahm and several Wall Street guys to run economic policy. We got Gates reappointed, which was a clear sign that our long wars would continue. We got “we don’t look back”, as to assessing blame for war crimes. We still have Gitmo.
    We have the Social Security Commission, again a creation of the administration.
    Should I be happy?

  82. 82
    Puss says:

    @Violet:

    Yep. The Democrats could do a lot more to show what they are NOT. They are NOT the party of screaming, crazy old white people. They are NOT the party that hates freedom of religion. They are NOT the party that carries racist signs. They are NOT the party where you can barely find one minority in attendance.

    Yes, and they do a completely lousy job of making that known, and even if they didn’t, I don’t think people who aren’t progressives care about that all much, at least not enough to make it a voting priority, or are even paying attention. Another flaw in progressive thinking IMO is that the average voting American is as appalled by the screaming old white people and racial/religious intolerance as they are, enough to not vote the GOP as a result. Wrong. The “average” voting American thinks there shouldn’t be a Muslim near Ground Zero. Democrats need to ask themselves why that is?

  83. 83
    singfoom says:

    Perhaps we need to go the full cynical route. People (in general) are too stupid for policy discussions.

    Either A)Get a fucking Facebook/Twitter/All Social Media tie in with something to do with American Idol/Reality TV or whatever the hottest piece of shit trash TV that so many people watch.

    AND/OR

    B)Let’s generate some wedge issues of our own. Fuck, they’re sitting there. REPUBLICANS WANT TO RESTRICT YOUR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, and so on an so forth.

    OR…

    C)Actually call out the crazy for what it is. Maybe I’m an out-lier, but if I heard a pol say, “Yeah, in the left/right dichotomy, that idea might have some weight, but really, that’s totally fucking insane and will bankrupt the country/abort all your babies/burn the flag, what have you.

    This sort of depends on politicans telling the truth, so it’s kind of dead. Sigh….

  84. 84
    Puss says:

    @singfoom:

    Liberals did not ask for the war. But they’ve got it, despite the sniveling and all the pretenses of civility and bipartisan outreach. The choice they have now is, not are we engaged in a conflict, how do they effectively respond?

  85. 85
    Brachiator says:

    @Puss:
    RE: Americans will look around, see that the economy is still in a shambles and that people still don’t have jobs, and go “WTF?”

    That’s the case now, and yet there are still about 200 Facebook pages dedicated the “Stopping the Ground Zero Mosque” and Keith Olbermann having an on-air stroke about it every night since once again wingnuts have hijacked the front pages.

    The GOP are distracting Americans by appealing to fear and anger, but they are also claiming that all voters have to do is return Republicans to Congress and all will be sweetness and light.

    But even an angry mob eventually wears itself out. And the only thing that Republicans have to offer is deregulation and tax cuts for the rich. That’s their entire play book. So unless the economy suddenly picks up between now and 2012, the Republican gains may be shortlived.

    Keep in mind though, that from now until 2012 the GOP strategy will be to stop the Democrats, continually label the Obama presidency as “failed,” “weak” and “obviously a one-termer” and to try to consolidate any gains going into the next presidential election period. The Democrats have their work cut out for them to try to counter this.

  86. 86
    Violet says:

    @Brachiator:

    Keep in mind though, that from now until 2012 the GOP strategy will be to stop the Democrats

    Sean Hannity calls his radio show the “Stop Obama, Pelosi and Reid Express.” They’re not hiding their goal.

  87. 87
    Puss says:

    @Brachiator:

    The GOP are distracting Americans by appealing to fear and anger, but they are also claiming that all voters have to do is return Republicans to Congress and all will be sweetness and light.

    I don’t disagree with that, and you have to admit it’s thus far been a pretty effective strategy. It is also why I say that appealing to the past won’t help Democrats secure victories in the future, because the Republican-led Congresses of 2003-2006 were catastrophic for the country and yet strangely well within the memories of most voters. My point is that there really is no long-term consequences to full-on wingnuttery, Democratic wishful thinking aside. It may appall people for a while until it just shows up in a different suit, and it’s Groundhog Day all over again. It needs to be dealt with as though it were a cancer that will continue to grow and fester, even as it occasionally goes into remission, without constant vigilance. The idea that it will simply overplay it’s hand and burn out has not been borne out by history or common sense.

    Keep in mind though, that from now until 2012 the GOP strategy will be to stop the Democrats, continually label the Obama presidency as “failed,” “weak” and “obviously a one-termer” and to try to consolidate any gains going into the next presidential election period. The Democrats have their work cut out for them to try to counter this.

    Yes, and they have not yet proven they are up to the task of doing that.

  88. 88
    Keith G says:

    @Violet:

    Hopefully his GOTV efforts that are starting now….

    It may, but it didn’t have to be this ‘last minute’. The proper care and feeding of the of your supporter’s emotions is a long-term task.

    My brother is in general a great guy, but when the discussion is electoral politics he dons the mantle of conservative prickdom. For all the last 10 months, he has been saying that Obama is very talented at politics but a failure as an administrator.

    Of course, that is not true at all. His decisions as an executive leader and a leader (figuratively) of legislative process have been good over-all (with notable flaws).

    It is the stagecraft of the job that has been very problematic. Moreover, although stagecraft can be a marginal concern, sometimes the margins make a huge difference.

  89. 89
    A Guest says:

    I actually have nothing against “Strict Constructionists” or “strict constitutionalists” advocating for amendments or “treating the Constitution like a first draft.” Why would that be upsetting? The damn thing contains the instructions and requirements for amendment, and amendments 13-15, 19, 22-27 are all pretty damn good revisions to that “first draft” (to say nothing of the bill of rights).

    What does grate exceedingly are those who fetishize the framers and pound their own “conservative” bona fides and then go calling for dramatic changes which have no relation to either the “conservative temperment” or the founders’ intentions.

  90. 90
    NobodySpecial says:

    Will you guys stop hyperventilating?

    There is the chance that the Republicans will take the House, and it’s about the same chance that Pluto will fall on Cowboys Stadium and turn Jerry Jones into a pancake.

  91. 91
    singfoom says:

    @Puss:


    Liberals did not ask for the war. But they’ve got it, despite the sniveling and all the pretenses of civility and bipartisan outreach. The choice they have now is, not are we engaged in a conflict, how do they effectively respond?

    That’s a hard nut to crack Puss. I think the answer is to fight back on all levels. Create an information/propaganda fighting unit that immediately responds to Republican lies/talking points/spin and that gets out there and makes noise.

    Get those people on TV shows as much as possible, writing editorials in major newspapers.

    The big problem is one of message control. Unfortunately, as others have mentioned above, the Republicans and the conservative right and the no-info crazy right has a serious upper hand in the media right now.

    Have you heard of the study about wrong information? About how people when they hear something that’s wrong that even if you counter it with facts afterwards, they tend to still believe the wrong thing?

    Democrats/Progressives/Liberals need to get out there first and control the message. Is that possible? Given the right-wing tilt of the media at large, regardless of the so-called “Liberal Media” myth makes that very difficult. All attempts should be made though, regardless…

    The angry cynical part of me wants to watch as everything burns, supposing that the act of watching their awful policies in action will change the minds of the low-info voter. But that gets us nowhere and isn’t really that satisfying in the long run.

  92. 92
    Tone In DC says:

    All these predictions ignore the fact that predictions are incorrect at least 40% of the time.

    Remember the GOP presidential debates from two years ago? And what a fiasco those debates were?
    Remember how popular Dubya was in Late 2001? And by 2006, his numbers were just south of Richard Nixon’s?
    Recall all of the qualified VP nominees McCain (and the right wing Xtianists) passed over for the Grifter from Wasilla? And how well the country regards her?
    Remember how Dole was going to win the White House in 1996?
    Someone brought up Ms. Lewinsky. After all that impeachment brouhaha in 1998, the race between Gore and Bush was so close that the recount in Florida took weeks before Rehnquist and friends stopped it.
    And Gingrich’s tantrum from 1995, and Rove’s “math” from 2006.

    These GOP idjits are st00pid.
    Remember that, if nothing else.

  93. 93
    Puss says:

    @singfoom:

    I agree with everything you say, but I think there also needs to be an aspect of going for the gut reaction, which is what Republicans excel at. They create the image of terrorists praying at Ground Zero-never mind that is has nothing to do with reality, it is a direct appeal to the primitive brain, and it works spectacularly-at least in the short term and by the time anyone realizes they are FOS they’ve moved on to something else. That is why I say that going door-to-door and yammering on about policies cannot be a strategy in and of itself. It simply cannot compete with the gut level appeals the conservative propaganda machine is very successfully making every day. Liberals & Democrats don’t like to hear that-they are intellectually driven, most of them, and thus can’t understand why these fact-based intellectual appeals shouldn’t work. Well, I’m here to tell them it doesn’t, at least not coupled with something that appeals directly to the heart and inspires some deep emotional response.

  94. 94
    Puss says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    There is the chance that the Republicans will take the House, and it’s about the same chance that Pluto will fall on Cowboys Stadium and turn Jerry Jones into a pancake.

    Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease let this happen…

  95. 95
    singfoom says:

    @Puss:

    So what’s the Democratic/Progressive/Liberal emotional appeal? I can think of a couple:

    1)Republicans want to limit your religious freedom and tell you where you can build churches!
    2)Republicans only care about the rich! (Infinite variations on this, problem is that the Democratic party has tacked in the same direction, so it’s hard to make that appeal while your own party is doing much of the same thing.

    Anyone else? Sure, we’re intellectually driven, that’s because the problems this country faces are complex and the solutions are complex and therefore we focus on policy and how it can solve said problems.

    I’ll tell you how we don’t do it: By punching hippies.

  96. 96
    Puss says:

    @singfoom:

    Anyone else? Sure, we’re intellectually driven, that’s because the problems this country faces are complex and the solutions are complex and therefore we focus on policy and how it can solve said problems.

    We can be defensive about it if we want, but the point stil is that it doesn’t help us get votes. Once we get elected we can be as wonky as we want, but we need the seats first.

    And we don’t *need* to always appeal with wedges IMO. Obama did very well with gut level appeals to better natures, not ugly ones.

    And for that, we need to engage the skills of the people who know how to win. And those people are different, in general, than the people who know how to govern. But they know how to get those people there.

  97. 97
    kay says:

    @Keith G:

    It seems that Obama has spent 19 months working to convince older, whiter, conservative America that he is a good guy and all the while neglecting to spend time with his natural base and so many of them have checked out and may not check back in.

    Obama is trying to navigate two political roles, and both of them are vital to his success. He’s a Democrat and he is also the politician that all those young people and first time voters backed.
    He needs both. Democrats don’t win without a certain portion of older, traditional “Party” Democrats, because those people always vote, and they vote for the Democrat. Year after year. They identify as “Democrats” not “Obama backers” or “liberals” or “progressives”.
    Obama has to continually shore up his credibility with “Party” voters because he doesn’t have a long history with them. They don’t “know” Obama, not in the way they “know” the Clintons. He can’t count on them. He has to court them, continually.
    This isn’t either/or. Democrats win only if they pull the whole coalition together, and I don’t think anyone should take those traditional Democrats for granted, or assume they’re going to “stick”. They mostly backed Clinton. They backed Obama not because he is Obama, but because they back the Democrat.
    Republicans are targeting older, more conservative Democrats. There’s a reason for that.

  98. 98
    Brachiator says:

    @Violet:

    Sean Hannity calls his radio show the “Stop Obama, Pelosi and Reid Express.” They’re not hiding their goal.

    Interesting. And I haven’t watched a segment of Hannity’s show since the Terry Schiavo controversy. I didn’t realize that they had become so blatant about it.

    @Puss:

    It is also why I say that appealing to the past won’t help Democrats secure victories in the future.

    I agree with you here. Both parties tend to use same-minded political strategists. Obama broke away from this to a degree during his presidential campaign, but the same old weasels are back with their tired old bag of tricks. I hope the Democrats wise up, but who knows..

    My point is that there really is no long-term consequences to full-on wingnuttery, Democratic wishful thinking aside.

    I disagree with you here. And let’s call it what it is. Wingnuttery has degenerated into the worst kind of fear-induced bigotry that we have not seen in this country since the McCarthy era. And this bigotry is used not only to score political points in the traditional power games played by Democrats and Republicans, but the bigots and their enablers have no fear in demonizing Muslim Americans and in trying to destroy the lives of ordinary people like Shirley Sherrod.

    Worse, mainstream Republicans, from idiot neophytes like Sarah Palin to old timers like Newt Gingrich have moved from tolerating to openly endorsing the new bigotry. And craven Democrats like Dean and Reid also play nice with racists instead of doing the braver, more principled thing in opposing them.

    The Republicans behave as though they totally believe the BS that they have been peddling for some time now, namely the noxious idea that the Republican Party is the sole legitimate governing party and that conservative ideas are the only ones which truly reflect American values. Even as the party shrinks, they are fully committed to doing everything they can to return to power or, failing that, to preventing any party other than theirs from running the government.

    This is more important to them than anything. And that includes both the American people and the Constitution of the United States.

    So while I noted earlier that wingnut fear may burn itself out, I don’t think it is without consequence. And there may be worse things around the corner if this fear and bigotry is allowed to fester.

    Bush and Cheney insisted that the executive branch was the sole authority and that civil liberties protections did not apply to non citizens. Now you have wingnuts openly declaring that Muslim Americans are not real citizens with constitutional rights and suggesting that the Constitution needs to be dismantled and reassembled to be a pro-white, pro-Christian document.

    These are not small matters.

  99. 99
  100. 100
    Puss says:

    @Brachiator:

    I don’t disagree with any of what you just said.

    I do disagree that it necessarily works to the Democrats’ advantage as an electability issue. There are long term consequences to the country for wingnuttery, but not to the candidates themselves, or to the party that promotes it. They have *already* convinced the most underprivileged and vulnerable of the angry white set that it is to their advantage to support policies that disenfranchise them even more, and those people aren’t going away anytime soon. Again, i think it is liberal wishful to believe that the voters are going to hold the wingnuts accountable in any long term way for being wingnuts. With that in mind, the Democrats’ approach simply *has* to change.

  101. 101
    Puss says:

    @roshan:

    Do-Gooders Get Voted Off Island First: People Don’t Really Like Unselfish Colleagues, Psychologists Find

    That doesn’t surprise me. It is un-American to want to do something that helps someone other than yourself, after all.

  102. 102
    Brachiator says:

    @Puss:

    I do disagree that it necessarily works to the Democrats’ advantage as an electability issue.

    I don’t think we disagree here either. The Democrats have to make a case for themselves. I think that they can easily do it, but them keep stumbling over themselves. And I think that their situation is made more difficult by the rising tide of bigotry.

    On the the other hand, I think that the weakness of the GOP is that they are overly reliant on wingnut bigotry. Their lack of any realistic plan for rescuing the economy gives the Democrats an opening even if the GOP gains Congressional seats in 2010. Whether or not the Democrats are smart enough to counter the Republican’s efforts remains to be seen.

  103. 103
    Bob L says:

    @Puss: What makes you think the GOP created the wingnuts? Examples of this kind of thinking have been around long before mass media, the Know Nothings being the best example. Please keep in mind the original GOP is an alliance between the Northern Wigs, Abolitionists and the Know Nothings.

    Personally, you ask me the GOP has lost the rest of their base and has only has the neo-Know Nothings left so they have to play up to them. But that puts them in a quandary because if they do get elected to policies the base wants aren’t what the nation at large wants. So the GOP may possibly win this year, since they can lampshade their polices from the rest of the voters who might be repulsed by it. GOP win in2010 is going to lead to bad loss in 2012.

  104. 104
    Joe says:

    Jim Jordan is a typical wingnut welfare Congressman. He’s done nothing his whole career. He voted against the Ohio Budget one year because it raised the sales tax from 5% to either 5.5% or 6% to balance the budget. But when push came to shove, he brought back something like $3 million to build a new YMCA in his hometown. A business leader told me he just told Jim that it was Christian and helped strengthen families, plus Cincinnati and Cleveland got money for their stadiums, so Jordan set them up with their cut. Well actually, significantly more than their cut.

  105. 105
    mclaren says:

    @Brachiator:

    If the Republicans do well, they will spend the next two years claiming, “Look we saved America from the illegitimate stealth Muslim president and the Sozuleest Democrats.”

    Americans will look around, see that the economy is still in a shambles and that people still don’t have jobs, and go “WTF?”

    No, more likely Republicans will then say “Oh, but we couldn’t rescue the country because we didn’t have control of the Senate and the White House.”

    And the gullible American people will giggle like Jethro Clampett and say, “Hokey-dokey, we’ll vote you into control of congress and the White House, then!”

    And then we’re in for it.

  106. 106
    Peter J says:

    In other words, the GOP may win a lot of seats this year. But if they are just going to keep obstructing instead of governing, it is likely that the Dems will win back most of those seats that they will lose this year.

    In the 2012 Senate elections there are 23 seats held by Democrats (2 Independents) up for election, and only 10 seats held by Republicans.

    Even if the young Obama voters get out in 2012, we can all look forward to years of republican obstruction in the Senate.

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