False, Weak and Stupid

Here’s the Democratic message for the Fall, according to Axelrod:

“I don’t think anybody in America at this point doubts where the president is, where we are, and where the Republican party is. We’ll repeat it every day,” Axelrod said on the call. “The Republican Party is holding hostage tax cuts for the middle class.”

The Democrats control whether a bill comes to the floor in the House (and, really, the Senate), so it’s not only false, but it rings false because even those not paying any attention know that the Democrats have majorities in the House, Senate and White House.

You can’t be a victim (“hostage”) if you’re in charge, unless you’re weak.

And, of course, it’s stupid because a lot of people in America have serious doubts about where the president and Democrats are. Even the successes like HCR were muddy.






116 replies
  1. 1
    chaseyourtail says:

    You can’t be a victim (“hostage”) if you’re in charge,

    Actually, with the current filibuster situation, yes you can be.

    Axelrod is a master spin artist (and I mean that in the best possible way). I think he knows just what he’s doing. One thing’s for sure, David Axelrod is not stupid. I’ll put my money on him every time.

  2. 2
    p.a. says:

    Making the probably unjustifiable assumption that the national Democratic political team is not a moron coven, the only rational explanation for their apparent electoral ‘strategy’ is that they want to lose the election for some unfathomable (to the great unwashed like me) reason.

    I eagerly await the delivery of the magic pixie dust or magic mantra that will make me an initiate and make the long term plan for success clear.

    nom myoho rengue kyo, nom myoho rengue kyo…

  3. 3
    homerhk says:

    What is the White House’s alternative? Blast the feckless democrats in the middle of election season? I also don’t get this concept – although it’s beloved of the so-called progressives:

    it’s stupid because a lot of people in America have serious doubts about where the president and Democrats are. Even the successes like HCR were muddy.

    For fucks sake, the White House is the ONLY organisation that is touting HCR as the amazing, game changing, once-in-a-generation legislation that it actually is. Do they get help from the dickish progressives who have supposedly been pining for Healthcare reform for generations? NO. Do they get any love for being the only democratic administration to have passed this sort of thing in decades (along with the biggest ever transfer of wealth from rich to poor via the stimulus bill)? No. All you can bitch about is that Axelrod and the White House have decided that their best electoral strategy is to go on about obstructive republicans?

    I mean I’ve been hearing for 18 months now how progressives wish that Obama would confront the republicans more but when he does it it’s called False, Weak and Stupid.

    With all due respect, what a load of crock.

  4. 4
    MikeTheZ says:

    a lot of people in America have serious doubts about where the president and Democrats are

    Somewhere way down on the waiting list for a spinal transplant.

  5. 5
    homerhk says:

    MikeTheZ –

    Can you make a distinction between the President and the Democrats in congress. The President has a spine of steel, I don’t know what the Democrat’s spine is made of.

  6. 6

    The Democrats control whether a bill comes to the floor in the House (and, really, the Senate), so it’s not only false, but it rings false because even those not paying any attention know that the Democrats have majorities in the House, Senate and White House.

    If they bring it to the floor in either the House or Senate, it’s quite possible the GOP has the votes to amend in tax cuts for billionaires. So yes, the GOP and Blue Dogs are holding tax cuts for the middle class hostage.

    Is it better politically for the GOP to get a total victory here? Is it better for Obama to veto it?

  7. 7
    Dennis SGMM says:

    For some reason, this strategy reminds me of the scene in “Blazing Saddles” where Sheriff Bart holds the gun to his own head.

  8. 8
    Allison W. says:

    It will work. They have to make it work. What choice do they have?

    Hell, Republicans do this shit all the time and they get kudos for “messaging”.

  9. 9
    magurakurin says:

    I often get the feeling that liberal minded Americans feel that just around the corner lies France or Sweden. But, the only way you can believe that is if you ignore the 10’s of millions of armed people in the US who are batshit insane fascist assholes. Yep, the Dems suck, but this, sadly, is the frickin’ high water mark, people. You don’t live in a place that with just a little more “fight” will become some sort of progressive paradise. You live in a place which is far more likely to become a totalitarian shithole like Myanmar than it is ever likely to become a rational place like Sweden.

    It’s simple, really. Take your ballot, black in all the names with a D next to it. You don’t have any options. That’s the shitty reality you live in. The sooner you accept it the better the chances of the reality not getting even shittier.

    Because it can get shittier, much, much shittier.

    life sucks and then you die, and even more so in America.

  10. 10
    aimai says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Correct. If the American people knew then we wouldn’t be worried about the midterm. They are worried about the midterm, ergo they aren’t sure the American people know. If they don’t know what the American people know, or don’t know, it behooves them to figure out a better way to tell them. If they need ways to tell the American people something, it might be a good idea to hold some really major floor fights to kind of dramatize things. Because I guaran-damn-tee you that watching David Axelrod explain process to you is the political equivalent of watching paint dry.

    aimai

  11. 11
    chaseyourtail says:

    @homerhk:

    I mean I’ve been hearing for 18 months now how progressives wish that Obama would confront the republicans more but when he does it it’s called False, Weak and Stupid.,

    Yeah. I’m sorry, but this post is false, weak and stupid, “Oh, David Axelrod, you’re so stupid, waaa.” Of all the gripes from progressives on the internets lately, this has to be one of the pettiest. And that’s saying something, because I’ve seen a lot of petty shit lately.

  12. 12
    henqiguai says:

    The only voice of reason, so far, in this otherwise depressing wilderness of ‘where the fuck is my magic pony’ is homerhk. What’s up with this whole let’s ignore the reality of the situation ? Yes legislation is being held hostage; even if a bill gets through the House, the Republican Senators have the power, exercised every gawd-dammed day, to hold it up (see, for instance, the 300+ bills and somewhere around 100 Judicial appoints awaiting Senate action to move on to the President for signature.

    Stop shouting at the clouds; it annoys the sane and makes you look silly.

    ETA: Okay, some more reasonable voices showed up while I was furiously typing and slamming down some cheetos. Good.

  13. 13
    JAHILL10 says:

    Way to rally the troops there, mistermix. Apparently, some people who are in big political fights right now, like Boxer, asked this to be shelved for the time being. Yes, forcing a vote on this would be great messaging for a national election, but might not play so great in various and sundry midterm battles. One thing I do have faith in is that politicians of whatever stripe do what they do because they want to get re-elected. They know their districts better than I do and if you think Nancy SMASH doesn’t have the balls to put this thing through if it was a winner, then you don’t know Nancy SMASH.

  14. 14
    kay says:

    I see the tax issue as a potential part of a broader message, but is anyone you have spoken to personally actually talking about them? I know there’s polling on it, and when called and asked whether “people making 250k a year or more” should pay more taxes, that a majority, but as a practical matter, if you don’t make that much, are you going to get really het up about someone else paying more? Are you going to vote on someone else paying more taxes?
    I just haven’t picked up this huge groundswell or rallying point to raise taxes on people making 250k. I think if you make 22k or 38k or 50k that’s an abstract question. 250k is unimaginable to the people I’m talking to. “Sure, raise their taxes, but what does that have to do with me personally?”

  15. 15
    homerhk says:

    chase your tail/hen – many thanks for your words.

    What really annoys me is that ideally Obama and his administration would be running on their achievments – which are undoubtedly historic and undoubtedly will greatly benefit the US. But, what with people bitching and moaning about every little thing democrats just don’t feel confident that running on those achievments will help so they have to turn against the republicans. If you don’t want your political representatives to pander to the centre or the right for votes than fucking give them encouragement to get progressive legislation passed. As it stands, a lot of members of Congress have stuck their necks out voting for Obama’s agenda (which although may not be entirely loved by progressives not being liberal enough did NOT necessarily have majority support in the country) and what do they get? a mouthful of thanks but not enough. Just how does that incentivize those politicians to take hard votes in the future?

  16. 16
    Steve says:

    I agree that it would be better strategy to have a vote, but I don’t agree that what Axelrod said is false. I don’t think there’s some law that says unless you go through the formality of a vote, and lose, you can’t say anything about the outcome because who knows, it might have been 100-0. I wish Dawn Johnsen had gotten a floor vote, but it’s not false to say the Republicans blocked her nomination.

  17. 17
    mistermix says:

    My point about HCR was that it was a success, but it the messaging around it isn’t clear. I’m not complaining about HCR, just he notion that “everybody knows” about it.

    And, if you think I was whining, you’ve got me wrong. I think the Democrats did some good things. My message is: Run on what do you did, not what the Republicans did to you. The 250K cut is not something you did, it’s something you’d like to do but your own party didn’t want to do it (for various reasons, good or bad).

  18. 18
    kay says:

    In other words, if you vote on taxes, don’t you vote on your own taxes?
    I have worked on several school levies, and we never approached it as “vote so those other people will pay higher taxes”. The levy supporters are people who see the worth of paying taxes towards schools, their own taxes, and the levy opponents don’t care that other people are willing to pay higher taxes, they are just voting against their personal tax increase.
    Isn’t there a risk this just motivates those people who think they will pay more taxes (there’s a lot of confusion about who pays what) while the less-than-250k just stops listening, because it doesn’t apply to them?
    If you want to reach middle class taxpayers, shouldn’t you be focusing on what you’re doing for them, instead of telling them you’re going to raise taxes on other people?

  19. 19
    chaseyourtail says:

    @JAHILL10: I agree. All I’ve heard today is how dumb and stoopid it is for the Dems to postpone the tax cut bill thing. But, maybe it’s just not worth the gamble so close to November. The Dems can’t afford to give the Repigs another chance to show their public solidarity. It makes Indies swoon. And as you said, each race is unique, progressives don’t get that sometimes. They think everything is so simple but they’re on the outside looking in. By November 2nd, people will be focused on something else. For instance, is it just me, or has the “Ground Zero Mosque” hoopla quieted down a bit?

    Not every political move made by the Democrats is done out of cowardice (as progressives love to say). I think they operate mostly out of cynical pragmatism…not fear.

  20. 20
    debit says:

    @mistermix: I don’t think you know how demoralizing this post is. I took away this: Our party, the party in charge, the party we’re supposed to want to keep in office is false, weak and stupid. Really, I read it and just about went back to bed until sometime in December.

    Look, I don’t want magical ponies or Kevin Bacon cries of, “All is well! Remain calm!” but I am getting so fucking sick of this “We’re losers!” narrative. I was listening to Democracy Now yesterday and some guy was beating on Obama for spending 600 million on border patrol instead of job creation in Mexico. Let me repeat that: job creation in Mexico. Sure, job creation in Mexico might help stem the tide of people coming here to seek work, but can you imagine the howls if he’d done that when unemployment here is so bad? Yet here was someone really thought that would be a great idea and ripped Obama for not doing it.

    I think I have to take a break again from the political threads. And news.

  21. 21
    magurakurin says:

    As much as the Dems may seem to suck, basically every progressive change in America has come about due to a Democratic politician.

    Let’s all just suck it up and fill out all D’s. I’ve got my Oregon ballot half filled out now(I’m checking into some of the ballot measures, I don’t live there anymore so I’m not up to date on all of them but the Medical Maryjane looks good…)

    D’s right down the list.

    I mean, whatta ya gonna do?

    And personally, Axelrod is smarter than the vast majority of the blogsphere I’d wager. He helped get a black guy name Barack elected president in the US of frickin A. That’s a mighty big feather in his cap to me.

    His boss is no slouch, either IMHO.

  22. 22
    chaseyourtail says:

    @mistermix:

    Run on what do you did, not what the Republicans did to you

    I think they need to do both. You may think it makes the Dems look weak for conceding that the Repigs are exercising a certain measure of control, but people need to be reminded what craven scum the Republicans are, lest they drift back their way. I’m glad they have Axelrod out there because he is very convincing when he talks and he doesn’t come across as a victim.

  23. 23
    dlw32 says:

    I don’t know. Sure the GOP could hold things up in the Senate, but the Dems keep making it easy for them. Way too easy.

    A filibuster shouldn’t just be the GOP announcing that they’re willing to block the bill. Make them do it. I want to see CSpan with 24-hour coverage of Republicans reading recipes. I want the weak-assed national news dragged kicking and screaming to covering the obstructionism.

    Or maybe the GOP wouldn’t have the stomach for it. Maybe they’d let it come to a vote. They you’d actually have them on record as opposed to x, y, and z.

  24. 24
    kay says:

    If Republicans are saying “we want to retain the tax cuts for everyone” and Democrats are saying “we want to retain the tax cuts for the middle class, but allow them to expire on the top group” doesn’t that mean the middle class retains a lower tax either way?
    Isn’t that how I’m going to hear this, if I’m middle class and voting on taxes? As a wash? “Republican or Democrat, I’m retaining the lower rate”.
    Then, if I make more than 250k I’m hearing “tax increase” from Democrats.
    Isn’t Axelrod clarifying that to the people he wants to reach (Republicans are going to let middle class tax rates increase!) while leaving out the people who may be motivated to come out against higher taxes?

  25. 25
    stuckinred says:

    @Dennis SGMM: “We’ve got to protect our phony-baloney jobs”!

  26. 26
    Libby says:

    Blasphemy.

    Axlerod is not stupid, as proven by the fact that he was on the team that developed the word ‘astroturf’.

    This earned him $3 million.

  27. 27
    chaseyourtail says:

    @debit:

    Look, I don’t want magical ponies or Kevin Bacon cries of, “All is well! Remain calm!” but I am getting so fucking sick of this “We’re losers!” narrative

    Thank you!! Sometimes I think progressives are addicted to negativity. Time for an intervention.

  28. 28
    Nick says:

    @dlw32:

    A filibuster shouldn’t just be the GOP announcing that they’re willing to block the bill. Make them do it.

    But this IS a filibuster

    I want to see CSpan with 24-hour coverage of Republicans reading recipes. I want the weak-assed national news dragged kicking and screaming to covering the obstructionism.

    We all do, how?

  29. 29
    John S. says:

    @aimai:

    You remember what you told me yesterday through gritted teeth? I think I agree. Much as it pains me, these Democrats in congress need to go down. They need to pay the price for their incompetence.

    I personally wouldn’t vote for evil over incompetent, but these bastards are making it hard for others to draw that same conclusion. I guess we’ll get to see Obama’s mettle for the next two years. Clearly, the Democrats in congress have none.

  30. 30
    John S. says:

    @Kay:

    I said as much the other day. The framing should have been Obama tax cuts for EVERYONE on the first $250k they make. Republican tax cuts are for people making more than that. But other than Obama, I have not seen ONE other Democrat describe it as thus.

    This episode should be rather illuminating. Obama provided clear leadership. He used the bully pulpit. He drew a line in the sand. And congress told him to go fuck himself.

  31. 31
    Carol says:

    @debit: But that guy doesn’t realize that 600 million for border control is creating jobs here. Somebody has to do it, and those people have to be citizens to do it. Which is what gets me about that “government jobs aren’t jobs” deal. Government workers live in the same economy, they buy homes, clothes and everything else. Which creates jobs for many other people as well.

  32. 32
    cleek says:

    @dlw32:

    that’s not how filibusters work. nobody would have to talk, and the greatest burden would be on the Dems.

  33. 33
    Thomas says:

    @magurakurin: You just got me excited to vote this fall. A feat that the democratic majority was thus far unable to do. Bravo!

  34. 34
    Nick says:

    @John S.:

    Obama provided clear leadership. He used the bully pulpit. He drew a line in the sand. And congress told him to go fuck himself.

    He has done this before. Remember “I want a bill before August recess!”

    Congress does NOT listen to this man, they have no loyalty or respect for him, I’m pretty sure half the Democratic caucus would rather have him gone.

  35. 35
    homerhk says:

    Mistermix,

    I didn’t get the sense from your post that you were telling Obama and Democrats to run on what they have done. Nonetheless it shouldn’t be an either or. It should be running on what they have achieved, on republican obstruction preventing even greater achievment and what they propose to still fight about after the election. I didn’t get the sense from Axe’s statement that really all they were doing was running on the tax cut obstruction thing.

  36. 36
    John S. says:

    @dlw32:

    This is the worst liberal zombie talking point of all.

    They can’t force them to talk or to do anything dramatic regarding the filibuster. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a fucking movie, not reality.

    Now what they CAN do is actually force them to go through with a formal filibuster instead of this gentleman’s filibuster they acknowledge of a simple cloture vote. But in that case, a Republican can sit on the floor and read the paper. And in order to stop it, Democrats would need quorum.

    That’s why it doesn’t happen. Because it’s far more painful on the people trying to break the filibuster than the ones doing the filibustering.

  37. 37
    KDID says:

    I just emailed this to John but I hope that we can do something!

    Hi John,
    I remember when you organized a calling campaign to push for healthcare when it seemed doomed. I think it’s time to organize another calling campaign to demand that Dems act on tax cuts. This has finally pushed me over the edge into complete apathy. I probably would be called a classic Obot, volunteered donated through 2008 campaign. Have been happy with the way things have progressed over the last two years – healthcare, financial reform, etc.. Most disappointed over the failure to close Gitmo, and now this refusal to commit to getting rid of the tax cuts for the rich – to take a vote – WHEN the public overwhelmingly supports it – is absolutely ridiculous. I am at a loss. Do they want me to go out and give my time going door for these Dems when they have to be pushed kicking and screaming to enact any of the agenda Obama ran on? And how does it get better? When they have even smaller numbers in the house and Senate? AARGH!!!!
    We really need to let them know how we feel in big numbers. What the Obama election seemed to be about was letting the public believe that they had some modicum of power – it seemed impossible that Obama would be elected, but through the power of many small donations and grassroots effort it was achieved. This past two years has served to show us that we really have now power at all. And that is the enthusiasm gap…

  38. 38
    Anya says:

    mistermix, were you bitten by the same bug that causes diarist at GOS to say insane things. Of course it’s the right message to make that the Republicans are obstructing tax cut for the middle class.

  39. 39
    John S. says:

    @Nick:

    And I’m pretty sure Obama knows that. I think he has realized that things have to get worse before they can get better. And that means a lot of Democrats (especially Blue Dogs) need to go and be replaced with asshole Republicans. At least they won’t pretend to have his back or represent a Democratic agenda just because they have a D after their name.

  40. 40
    p.a. says:

    Part of appearing strong is actually being strong. This means standing up and defending enacted or proposed legislation you feel benefits the country. What do most Dems do? Tug their forelock, do the backstep shuffle, and mumble apologies for not listening to ‘real ‘Murca’, i.e. the yowling Republican thugocracy. Democrats have been smeared by the right media and (somewhat more subtly) Republicans as un-Americans, terrorist- coddlers, Socialists, basically limp-dicks (pace, female Dems). Besides Grayson and the blogs, have any national Dems responded in kind? Call them out as liars, religious weirdos, corporate whores. (does not matter that many of our own are corporate whores also; take a page from their book- repeat smears until they become conventional wisdom.)

    Part of the importance of standing up for your policies is the educative value to the voting public of taking a stand. And I don’t mean a wonkish dissertation on the metrics. I mean putting the policy in the best possible light and its opponents in the worst. It’s apparent that smear tactics work. Fucking use them too.

    (sheesh, I’m starting to use ital. the way freakazoid sites use !!!!)

  41. 41
    kay says:

    @John S.:

    I said as much the other day. The framing should have been Obama tax cuts for EVERYONE on the first $250k they make. Republican tax cuts are for people making more than that. But other than Obama, I have not seen ONE other Democrat describe it as thus.

    I don’t know about that. Your point about how taxes are actually calculated is valid, and good, but (for some reason) hard to get through to people, but I’m not sure the rest is true, let alone compelling or effective.

    Because Republicans want to retain the whole thing, so they’d get the tax break on the amount up to 250k with either Party.

    I think Democrats are in a bit of a bind. Their argument is that the middle class tax cuts should be retained (Republicans have that too) but the above-250k gang should pay more. Unless you think that the below 250k gang are going to really respond to raising taxes on the best-off, and I’m not persuaded of that, for middle class people who vote on taxes, it’s a wash.

    I think Axelrod’s best argument is “Republicans want to raise taxes on the middle class”. Because as a practical matter, that’s what will happen, if they hold out for retention of the tax rates on the 250k group.

    Had they taken a vote, and Republicans had blocked passage, wouldn’t Republicans just have this: “we’re holding out for tax cuts for everyone”? Democrats would then respond “you’re holding the middle class tax cuts hostage”?

    And that’s where we are anyway, right?

  42. 42
    Wilson Heath says:

    If it actually comes to a vote and the other side aggressively trying to take hostages, it’s going to be known who the inside man/Blue-Dogs-and-DINO’s are. Maybe they’re figuring trying to keep some of these clowns is a worthy gamble in an attempt to keep majorities.

    And @Dennis SGMM: yes, but it certainly isn’t a black man holding a gun to his own head here.

  43. 43
    drew42 says:

    …even those not paying any attention know that the Democrats have majorities in the House, Senate…

    That’s not necessarily true. I haven’t seen a recent poll on this, but polls done in the past have shown that a rather large chunk of voters don’t know who controls the House or Senate at any given time.

    They’re called low information voters for a reason. So as a political tactic, repeating “Republicans are blocking X” does work.

  44. 44
    Allison W. says:

    I’m getting tired of the filibuster suggestion myself. I’ve read a handful of articles that make it clear that it doesn’t work the way people think.

    http://plainblogaboutpolitics......-time.html

  45. 45
    Wilson Heath says:

    @kay:

    The compromise solution that isn’t going to be talked about because it ain’t bad: add a millionaire’s bracket or something that kicks in at a substantially higher income level ($500k or 750k just to throw something out without looking at income stats to see what’s really a good meaningful point) at a permanently higher rate than the permanent rate for the $250k bracket and do a temporary two-year extension on the $250k bracket.

    This will keep a tax break for folks like the douche who Delong tore a new one this weekend, folks who aren’t really middle class but aren’t Warren Buffet so they think they are middle class.

    The only truly beneficial aspect of doing this, though, is getting out of the ridiculousness that an associate at a law firm can be in the same bracket as the Rockefellers. More bracket graduation at the top is a good idea on lots of levels. And before any Laffer-dropping troll steps in, at top marginal rates of 90%, are economy grew like blockbusters. If this is the political settlement it takes to add the millionaire’s bracket, I’d take it.

  46. 46
    El Cid says:

    @magurakurin:

    I often get the feeling that liberal minded Americans feel that just around the corner lies France or Sweden. But, the only way you can believe that is if you ignore the 10’s of millions of armed people in the US who are batshit insane fascist assholes.

    Why would we care that they’re armed?

    They haven’t had to use any of those weapons to get much of what they want in US politics. They seem to do pretty well without a single dumbass redneck blowing himself up with homemade bombs or sending emails or calling radio stations on how his dumb ass is about to ride to Washington to launch a revolution.

  47. 47
    Nick says:

    @El Cid:

    Why would we care that they’re armed?

    Two words; Oklahoma City.

  48. 48
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    OT from AOL news:

    Disgraced pastor Ted Haggard cautions that no one should rush to judge Atlanta megachurch Bishop Eddie Long, who is accused of coercing three young men into sex.

    That should be LOL news…

  49. 49
    kay says:

    @John S.:

    I guess I never saw it as incredibly helpful.
    They hold the vote, and Republicans say “we want lower taxes for everyone”.
    Democrats then have to say, “we want lower taxes up to 250k, but you are holding those hostage because you’re in the pocket of the rich” Do people really think “Democrats held the line on tax increases on the middle class, because they stick up for me” or do they think “I’m middle class and my taxes just went up”.
    Do Democrats want to get into a battle that is premised on “lower taxes”? Because conservatives win that one.
    I don’t even see how it serves the larger purpose of making “taxes” less toxic, because we’re trumpeting tax cuts for the middle class.
    I see the broader liberal argument, that it goes to fairness, but it’s a tough case to make, because conservatives are simply saying “everyone wins with us!”

  50. 50
    WereBear says:

    I’d like to see more Alan Grayson rhetoric, dammit.

    We’re sending him some money this cycle, even though we live nowhere near Florida, because he knows how to punch with words.

    And if they all got together on a message, I think that is fantastic!

    I don’t think it’s a question of dumb with the electorate; they simply have the attention span of a Labrador pup (Squirrel!) and everything has to be simple and repeated.

    Simple and repeated.

    Simple and repeated.

  51. 51
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Allison W.: This.

    I cannot believe, mistermix, that you are running around saying this. Go read Digby’s post again about bullies.

  52. 52
    gene108 says:

    @Allison W.:

    Hell, Republicans do this shit all the time and they get kudos for “messaging”.

    The Republican messaging works because they have droves of people in the media, think-tanks and other outlets working to push an agenda. They don’t get deterred, when something they don’t care about becomes law, such as Medicare Part D, or Ronald Reagan raising payroll taxes to keep Social Security viable rather than scrapping the whole damn thing because they are getting greater than 50% of what they want from a Republican President.

    Democratic messaging doesn’t work because unless the liberal base gets 110% of what it wants, it’ll just have a fit and go the fuck home and bitch and whine about how ignored they are.

    Do the crazy ass militarists on the right really disavow Reagan because he wanted to scrap all nuclear weapons? Nope. They still deify him, because he gave them more than 50% of what they wanted.

  53. 53
    kay says:

    @Wilson Heath:

    The compromise solution that isn’t going to be talked about because it ain’t bad: add a millionaire’s bracket or something that kicks in at a substantially higher income level ($500k or 750k just to throw something out without looking at income stats to see what’s really a good meaningful point) at a permanently higher rate than the permanent rate for the $250k bracket and do a temporary two-year extension on the $250k bracket.

    Right. Maybe Democrats should do that, because it’s technical and specific and no one is going to give a shit.

    My problem is I don’t see the clarity of the message here, for Democrats, whatever they do. I think Republicans win because their argument is easy, stupid and wrong-headed, but easy. They all signed a pledge never to raise taxes, or risk the wrath of Grover Norquist. Easy.
    Democrats have to create this whole narrative about tax rate fairness and somehow keep people engaged when we’re talking about marginal tax rates. That looks like less than a slam-dunk to me, honestly.

  54. 54
    Kryptik says:

    I guess that Green Balloon Juice Friday isn’t happening, huh?

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Kryptik: Did you really think it was a possibility?

  56. 56
    jibeaux says:

    The whole expiration of the tax cuts is calculated for maximum heads-we-win-tails-you-lose, and I think kay is right about how it’s a difficult message for Democrats and an easy one for Republicans. The only thing I can think of for Democrats to harp on is the deficit and Republicans’ hypocrisy on this — something like, “if we could afford it, we’d happily keep the tax cuts for everyone, but we simply can’t afford it” and I think Obama has actually said something very close to this. It is indisputably true that our spending and our taxation right now are fundamentally misaligned. We’re simply going to continue to exponentially increase the deficit like this. The problem with that message for Democrats is that the below-250k tax cut is about $3 trillion of that $4 trillion deficit, but Nancy Pelosi’s dodge on that is that the below-250k earners spend their money and put it back in the economy, which is at least an answer. Plus, I’m not terribly keen on Democrats taking a political hit in order to restore fiscal responsibility. I am a fan of fiscal responsibility, but every time we deliver on that, the Republicans just go and screw it up again, and they’re getting faster than ever at that.

  57. 57
    Kryptik says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It was worth considering, at least. :/

  58. 58
    El Cid says:

    @Nick: That has nothing, nothing to do with the widespread owning of arms by large numbers of right wing Americans. Timothy McVeigh just needed a militia movement, not the possession of handguns or shotguns by the crazy 28%ers. That’s a completely irrelevant comparison.

  59. 59
    El Cid says:

    @gene108:

    Do the crazy ass militarists on the right really disavow Reagan because he wanted to scrap all nuclear weapons?

    They hated him for a time after he suggested that. But all is forgiven to dear Uncle Reagan, the most recent Founding Father.

  60. 60
    Mowgli says:

    @kay:

    Everything the Dems try to message has this same problem: discussing actual policies and how they get passed and how they affect the real world is complicated. Slogans are simple.

    The problem has always been that the GOP captures the simple (but wrong) slogan battle every time. How many of us have tried to figure out how to better message a point like the tax rate issue and ended up with something just as convoluted as what we actually hear from the Dems?

    The core issue is that legislating is a complex process with complex results, and a big chunk of America has no interest in anything more complex than a dog whistle.

  61. 61

    @magurakurin:

    Yep, the Dems suck, but this, sadly, is the frickin’ high water mark, people.

    This really is the high water mark. This is the best and most active administration and congress [both houses] that we have had in a long time, and it may be the best for the forseeable future [until Al Franken decides to run for Prez].

    Obama has a few delusions [bipartisanship] but is the most reality-based leader we’ve been blessed with for decades. We have problems to grapple with now and I can see more coming in the near future. It would be nice if Obama could stick around long enough to work on some of these things.

    It would be nice if he didn’t become discouraged because he works so hard and is met with nothing but complaints and leave after a single term. [If you think that isn’t possible, then you are stupid.]

    The House has passed legislation right and left. Even the Senate has pushed more out the door that the blogosphere is willing to give them credit for. Hell, they may not be perfect but they’re trying.

    But don’t mind me. Go back to your bitching and moaning.

    The world ends with a wimper . . . .

  62. 62
    MattR says:

    @Kryptik: I’m glad I waited before I dyed Ellie in celebration.

  63. 63
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I sure as hell hope not. There are plenty of places on the web to head to if you are tired of politics. I have more than a few of them bookmarked and visit them regularly. This place is all about the world of politics. If you are depressed or tired of it then head off into the wild wild web for something more your speed.

    Don’t worry, it’ll still be here when you come back rested and ready for battle. :)

  64. 64
    kay says:

    @jibeaux:

    The only thing I can think of for Democrats to harp on is the deficit and Republicans’ hypocrisy on this—something like, “if we could afford it, we’d happily keep the tax cuts for everyone, but we simply can’t afford it”

    I’m cynical, but I don’t think regular people really care about the deficit. I think it’s something you’re supposed to say you care about.
    Absolutely, Republicans don’t give a rat’s ass about it, looking at their behavior, so that should be pointed out constantly, but I don’t know that it resonates, personally, with anyone outside CNN pundits.
    The people writing the slogans for the Tea Party just needed a hook to make the Tea Baggers look less selfish, so they settled on “burdening our grandchildren”. If people in this country had a moral objection to debt, they wouldn’t borrow so much, personally, and dedicate half their income to interest payments.

  65. 65
    liberal says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Obama has a few delusions [bipartisanship] but is the most reality-based leader we’ve been blessed with for decades.

    He’s no more reality-based than Clinton; seems like Clinton II to me in many respects, down to the people he’s put in his admin.

  66. 66
    liberal says:

    @kay:
    I think it’s pretty settled no one cares about the deficit, from polling data. Not “do you care about the deficit” but those polls in the 1990s asking people retrospectively about the deficit then-recent evolution. They didn’t know jack about it. I think Krugman pointed this out.

  67. 67
    WyldPirate says:

    homerh/k, how does Obama’s taint taste?

    People are pissed because the Dems have no goddamned spine whatsoever and that includes Mr Hopey-Changey. They don’t stand for shit and they fold at the drop of a hat.

    People smell the fear in the Democrats spineless, ineffectual performance of the last two years like a predator senses fear in its prey. Most of the low-information voters will vote against their interests–even if the choice is teh crazy Teatards bent on selling off the country and privatizing everything.

    stand by and watch the Health Care Reform bill get eviscerated over the next two years. It will be repealed before it ever fully goes into the effect. Not only that, it won’t reign in cost because the Dems were paid off to write in plenty of loopholes that their owners can use.

    fucking Obama ass-kissing apologist….

  68. 68

    it’s so tragically hilarious. i wish i was a republican so i could feel good about pointing and laughing at these incompetent clowns.

  69. 69
    liberal says:

    @gene108:

    Democratic messaging doesn’t work because unless the liberal base gets 110% of what it wants, it’ll just have a fit and go the fuck home and bitch and whine about how ignored they are.

    LOL. Sure. I mean, the Dems have in the past couple decades have given their base something roughly approaching what the Rethuglicans have given their base, right?

  70. 70
    liberal says:

    @homerhk:

    …the White House is the ONLY organisation that is touting HCR as the amazing, game changing, once-in-a-generation legislation that it actually is.

    LOL! You exaggerate.

    The best argument in favor of the reform is that it’s a beachhead for further reform down the line.

  71. 71
    liberal says:

    @WyldPirate:

    …how does Obama’s taint taste?

    Heh. You could ask that of most of the commenters on this blog.

    OTOH, re the unbelieveable Congressional Dem folding on the tax cut issue, I’d think most of the blame has to fall on the Congressional Dems themselves. In the previous thread on that topic, I asked if anyone had any hard evidence why they folded, as opposed to generic blame-game arguments like “it was the blue dogs,” “it was the leadership,” “it was the Senate.” Though I realize it might be the kind of thing that admits no deeper analysis.

  72. 72
    ornery curmudgeon says:

    This has been another edition of punch the progressives in the name of Democrats.

    People, the Democratic Party is BOUGHT. Not cowardly, or clueless, or confused … not keeping powder dry or misled or spineless. BOUGHT.

    They must be forced to do things for their constituents. It does not help the situation to divide the Democratic base by attacking those who are pressuring the Dems.

  73. 73
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

     

    fucking Obama ass-kissing apologist….

    Keep yakkin’ because the more you talk the more I will tune you and your type out. Fucking manic progressives, damned tittybabies.

  74. 74
    jibeaux says:

    @kay:

    Oh, I know. But at the same time polling on letting tax cuts expire for the wealthiest is pretty decent, more in favor than opposed. I figure that points to some sort of mild interest in tackling the deficit, or at least in tackling it when it doesn’t involve any personal sacrifice. I mean, it shouldn’t really be that hard of a sell. Not many of us earn $250k, but a lot of us have kids.

  75. 75

    Republicans play fake victim all the time. maybe not the greatest campaign slogan in the world… but its not bad at all.

  76. 76
    kay says:

    @jibeaux:

    But at the same time polling on letting tax cuts expire for the wealthiest is pretty decent, more in favor than opposed.

    I saw that, and maybe I’m not creative enough, but “we’re letting tax cuts for the wealthiest expire!” just doesn’t seem like some game-changing rallying cry for me.
    If you change it to a positive, it’s “we’re raising taxes on the wealthiest!” and while that’s sort of interesting to me, I think I’m going to ask how that affects me. In a broad way, where I feel like taxes are now more fair? Okay, but is that a real attention-getting thing for me?
    I know I’m in a distinct minority. I’m just having trouble with the whole original premise.

  77. 77
    homerhk says:

    Wyld Pirate/Liberal

    I don’t want to get into a multi-layered argument about HCR again because if you’re too thick to understand why it’s a game changer, a once-in-a-generation there’s no hope. The simplest way I can put it is that prior to the legislation coming into force there would be approximately 50 million people uninsured, after it comes into force 31 million of those people will be insured. For comparison, medicare covers about 45 million people now but started off covering about 4 million people.

    The fact that Obama with Pelosi and Reid’s help managed to get this passed and signed in the face of vituperative attacks by the republicans, the media and pissed off liberals indicates to me that they do actually have a spine. This is especially so given so-called liberal favourites like Barney Frank saying that the legislation was dead once Scott Brown was elected.

    The only person (other anthony wiener who I believe is another progressive favourite) who has consistently touted HCR as it deserves to be touted is President Obama. Again, he does this in the face of republicans, media and pissed off liberals (maybe the “pissed off” is redundant here?).

    I could cite many many more examples by Wyld Pirate your use of the phrase “mr hopey-changey” just indicates to me how unwilling you are to entertain serious debate. Let me just ask one question: are you mocking hope and change because you think Obama’s too idealistic? or because you take the position that you “fell for it during the campaign but have been betrayed” or that tapping into hope means that Obama has no spine?

  78. 78
    homerhk says:

    BTW to call me an Obama apologist is inaccurate since I have not apologised for him or on his behalf and do not feel the need to do so. I think Obama has done an exceptional job and continues to do an exceptional job.

  79. 79
    jibeaux says:

    I think what I’m trying to get at here is that when it comes to unpopular things like cutting your Social Security and raising your own taxes, yes, people are very likely to say “deficit, schmeficit”. But you should be able to present R support for maintaining tax cuts for the wealthy as a very real burden on your kids and future generations, since it is, and eliminating those taxes as something that causes you no harm, since it doesn’t.

  80. 80
    Scott de B. says:

    homerhk:

    That’s what “apologist” means. It has nothing to do with saying you are sorry; the original meaning of “apology” is “a defense of someone or something”. If you defend Obama, you are an apologist. Recently, the word has taken on the connotation of someone who defends another excessively or without good reason, but that’s not inherent in the original meaning.

  81. 81
    kay says:

    @jibeaux:

    But you should be able to present R support for maintaining tax cuts for the wealthy as a very real burden on your kids and future generations, since it is, and eliminating those taxes as something that causes you no harm, since it doesn’t.

    It’s a good point, but isn’t that going to be tough to do, while trumpeting the reservation of the Bush tax cuts for the middle class?

    Because they’re not alone out there. They have an opponent. And the opponent is going to be screaming “we want middle class tax cuts, too!”

    So, in the end, it’s a deficit payment argument, not a fairness argument? It’s “who should pay the deficit?”

    I mean, if it is, that’s fine, but it doesn’t sound like a populist rallying cry.

  82. 82
    homerhk says:

    Scott – I know what an apologist is, thanks. It has the connotation you say it has taken on recently – in fact there really is no other context in which that is used. I am not an apologist. I am a man who thinks that Obama has done an excellent job- no more.

  83. 83
    liberal says:

    @homerhk:
    It claims to insure all those extra people, which is great, but in the long run, it’s not going to work without some drastic cost control. Yes, there’s some noise about some cost control, but AFAICT it’s mostly along the edges.

    So on the hard questions—the fact that insurance companies don’t add any value (hence act mostly as rent extractors), plus medical costs are exploding even without taking into account the rent paid to insurance companies—it punted.

  84. 84
    MattR says:

    @homerhk:

    The simplest way I can put it is that prior to the legislation coming into force there would be approximately 50 million people uninsured, after it comes into force 31 million of those people will be insured.

    The thing is that this is not a winning argument to many people. Simply reducing the number of uninsured is not necessarily a “game changing, once-in-a-generation” accomplishment. It can be, but it is more difficult to convince people of that when it is accomplished by forcing people to spend their money to purchase insurance.

    IMO, true health care reform would have been the game changer you describe, but it is hyperbole when describing the health insurance reform we got.

  85. 85
    liberal says:

    @homerhk:

    I think Obama has done an exceptional job and continues to do an exceptional job.

    His handling of the bankster crisis has hardly been an “excellent job,” the claims of Nick (“Japan suffered from inflation after it’s bubble burst!” “the reform bill must be good simply because Wall St claims to hate it!”) notwithstanding.

    Nor do I see any point to increasing troop levels in Afghanistan; waste of blood and money.

  86. 86
    liberal says:

    @MattR:
    Good comment.

    Another thing is, how many of those extra millions who will be covered are in low-risk groups?

  87. 87
    Binzinerator says:

    @kay:

    The people writing the slogans for the Tea Party just needed a hook to make the Tea Baggers look less selfish, so they settled on “burdening our grandchildren”.

    Reminds me of that John Kenneth Galbraith quote: “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

  88. 88
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @WyldPirate: You’re about as hardcore as Avril Lavigne.

  89. 89
    homerhk says:

    MattR – you say

    The thing is that this is not a winning argument to many people

    in reference to the fact that 31 million more people are going to be insured. That may be so, but I would have thought it would be a winning argument for fucking progressives who have been concerned about the uninsured for decades.

    Also, your point about forcing people to “spend their money” to buy insurance completely ignores the facts that (a) about half of those 31 million people will have access to healthcare through expansion of Medicaid (i.e. no money on insurance) and (b) a vast majority of the other half will have subsidies so it won’t necessarily be ‘their’ money they are spending. Please also look at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/113....._06_16.pdf for the effects of not having a mandate (16 million more people uninsured, premiums increasing etc.).

    As for cost control, the act contains pretty much every cost control mechanism that’s out there apart from (yes I know) the public option (which was in any event not predicted to reduce costs at all). IN particular the medicare advisory board is going to be a real game changer in terms of cost control as is the move from current way medical services are paid for.

    As to this:

    Another thing is, how many of those extra millions who will be covered are in low-risk groups?

    what does it matter? are those people never going to need healthcare? Progressives are all about community and social justice. Why can’t you see that a mandate is just another form of having the community come together to sort out a national problem – the idea that “i’m in a low risk group and therefore shouldn’t have to have healthcare” is at heart the same a republican’s “I’ve got a job why is there a need for unemployment insurance” attitude.

    Now, on to the “bankster crisis” which Liberal mentions. It is hard to respond since it is not clear what Liberal means. Does he mean the economic crisis caused by the bankers during Bush’s term? If so, Obama’s response has been pretty bloody good since he staved off a depression (with Bush and Paulson’s initial help), minimises the price to the US government for TARP and instituted some restrictions on executive pay. Did he publicly flay bankers? No, but I don’t give a crap about that, to be honest.

  90. 90
    Resident Firebagger says:

    @WyldPirate: Hear fucking hear.

    The Obama Administration is interested in little more than its major donors and preserving its own power.

    Be interesting to see what you apologists have to say come December, when they hack up Social Security…

  91. 91
    Tom Hilton says:

    Might be worth calling the Speaker. Extreme longshot, but…

  92. 92

    […] John Cole’s Balloon Juice: “The Democrats control whether a bill comes to the floor in the House (and, really, the Senate), […]

  93. 93
    MTiffany says:

    “Vote Democrat, ’cause we can’t get shit done.”

  94. 94
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @homerhk:

    For fucks sake, the White House is the ONLY organisation that is touting HCR as the amazing, game changing, once-in-a-generation legislation that it actually is.

    I’ve been trying to get an answer to a question for a couple of days now; how is it that these “clowns” that are “weak and stupid”, a “gang that can’t shoot straight” filled with “idiots” who are bent on “suicide” managed to pass “amazing, game changing, once-in-a-generation legislation”? This ought to be good.

  95. 95
    homerhk says:

    Bruce, not sure if you’re agreeing with me or not but I will say that Obama, Pelosi and Reid (along with significant others) pushed Congress to finally pass HCR. I actually credit Obama’s late push with quite a lot of it – the appeal to “that’s why we were sent here..” rhetoric was quite powerful. It’s just with that done, and wall street reform passed, I think the cats are no longer in a position to be herded anymore.

  96. 96
    Redshift says:

    You can’t be a victim (“hostage”) if you’re in charge, unless you’re weak.

    This is semantically all wrong. Are people who take hostages generally considered to be in a position of strength? Are the cops “weak” because they’re in charge when a hostage situation occurs? He didn’t say “they’re holding us hostage,” so he’s not painting them as the victim, contrary to your translation.

    A hostage situation happens because the people in charge care whether anyone gets hurt, and the hostage-takers don’t. Whether it works or not as political rhetoric, that exactly describes the reason we are where we are.

  97. 97
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @homerhk:

    Obama, Pelosi and Reid (along with significant others) pushed Congress to finally pass HCR…the cats are no longer in a position to be herded anymore.

    If I understand this correctly you are contending that the “cats” are the same as they ever were, the difference is that leadership is no longer able to persuade them. If that’s the case then John and the other front pagers have the headlines all wrong; the posts should rather have titles like “Obama, Pelosi and Reid Now Powerless”.

    I actually credit Obama’s late push with quite a lot of it

    I don’t quite understand this. The House passed a version of health care long before the final passage, and the usual complaint at the time was that Obama was insufficiently engaged in the process.

  98. 98
    Church Lady says:

    @jibeaux: But that’s the problem. Everyone is all for working to reduce the deficit, until they find out they might have to give up something, to actually make some kind of sacrifice. Then, well, the deficit becomes a problem we can deal with at a later date.

    Until everyone is willing to put a little more skin in that game, our debt will just continue to increase and we’ll just kick that can a little further down the road.

  99. 99
    publiusmaximus says:

    I have seen and had ENOUGH failure from the progressive side of politics. ENOUGH! I want progressives to succeed. We cannot play nice with conservatives. I save my compassion for the poor, the working man and woman, the unemployed, the retired elderly and disabled and the disenfranchised.

    This failure comes from the REFUSAL to use consumer boycotts against conservatives and their friends by progressives suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. In fact I now refuse to help so called progressive organizations that will not boycott the friends of conservatives in order to put pressure on the conservatives to do as we demand.

    I do not have compassion for bull headed conservatives bent on ruining other people’s lives.

    The way we do not play nice involves what Gandhi would do, namely shun those and their friends who seek to ruin other people’s lives. I did not originate boycotts but I appear new in adapting the boycott to political and legislative outcomes.

    I have created the following strategies for getting other legislation and it appears easy to create something as I had for busting up the deal between Google and Verizon. I cannot easily drop Verizon but I wrote to Google at press@google.com and told them I stopped using their search engine and other products and I told them that I will get other people to contact them to threaten a huge boycott of them until they capitulate to our demands that they stop that deal with Verizon!

    Also

    I have created a new liberal legislative political party: The Liberal Democratic Party of the United States.

    We do not raise money.

    We do not handle money.

    We do not break up your Party. You remain in your own chosen party for the purpose of elections but you also join mine for the purpose of getting needed legislation and political action.

    We tell you how not to spend your money and get legislation for
    not spending money with well known conservative contributors.

    It costs nothing to join this party but some of your day
    sending these emails and getting many others to send these emails.

    We can get progressive legislation with a new strategy.

    Please pass this email to your friends as soon as possible. Thank you.

    Instead of petitioning a corporate corrupted congress for legislation, petition the corporate friends of conservatives in both the GOPranos and the Democratic party for legislation and include a boycott threat in your email petitions as you see below. Spread the word please.

    You can find the full list of emails here

    http://www.hoflink.com/~dbaer/.....erica1.htm

    Below, you can see some of the examples of emails found on the web site.

    send this email to contacttheboard@riteaid.com at Rite Aid for a strong public option.

    To the Rite Aid CEO:

    I join with many other people who demand that you get congress and the President to enact a single payer health care plan that will work like HR676 but will not ban private insurance. Your company PAC has given money to conservatives over the years.

    This public option will get fully funded by US government general federal taxes.

    People will have no monthly premiums, no copays, no yearly deductibles, no coverage gaps, no means tests and no yearly or lifetime caps for coverage.

    This public option will cover 100 percent of the cost of: all doctor’s visits including dental visits, all generic and patented medications, surgery and all hospital visits, hospice and nursing home residence and abortion, contraception and other family planning costs.

    People can choose this single payer public option health care plan at will even if they had or have private plans presently.

    People will have the option to choose private plans or keep the private plans that they have now.

    This legislation should appear implemented as amendments to HR676

    Until this legislation gets enacted into law, I REFUSE to do business with Rite Aid Pharmacies

    Do as I demand, or you will lose my business and the business and income from many other people as myself.

    Good day.

    send this email to Brown-Forman@b-f.com at Brown Forman to stop conservatives from filibustering legislation.

    To the Brown Forman CEO:

    Your company PAC has given money to Sen. Mitch McConnell in the past. I will not buy Jack Daniels Whiskey and Southern Comfort until you convince Mitch McConnell to stop all filibusters on legislation and holds on appointments for the duration of the Obama administration.

    Good Day.

    send this email to contacttheboard@riteaid.com at Rite Aid for a Real prescription drug benefit in Medicare Part B.

    To the Rite Aid CEO

    Congress and the President must enact a new prescription drug benefit in Medicare Part B covering 80% of the cost of all patented and generic drugs with no extra monthly premiums, no extra yearly deductible, no means tests, no coverage gaps, no late sign up penalties and remove the means test for Medicare Part B and this benefit will get administered by the government and not any private company and until that happens, I refuse to buy ANYTHING from Republican contributor Rite Aid Pharmacies.

    Good day.

    send this email to john_barker@wendys.com at Wendy’s corporation for a $10 an hour minimum wage.

    To the Wendy’s CEO

    Congress and the President must enact a $10/HR MINIMUM WAGE into law and until this happens I will not go to any Republican contributor Wendy’s Restaurants.

    Good Day.

    send this email to Brown-Forman@b-f.com at Brown Forman to get the employee free choice enacted into law.

    To the Brown Forman CEO

    Brown-Forman of Kentucky, the maker of Jack Daniels Whiskey and Southern Comfort gave Mitch McConnell money for his campaigns. SENATOR McCONNELL MUST MUST GET CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT TO ENACT HR 1409,S 560 THE EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT INTO LAW AND AND UNTIL THAT HAPPENS I WON’T BUY JACK DANIELS WHISKEY OR SOUTHERN COMFORT OR ANY OTHER OF BROWN-FORMAN’S PRODUCTS.

    Good Day.

    send this email to war contractor General Electric Corporation at gary.sheffer@ge.com and demand a resolution from congress ending the Iraq and Afghan wars.

    Dear Sir

    I demand that your CEO get the Congress and the President to enact a resolution to end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and remove the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and until then I will not buy any consumer items from war contractor and Republican contributor General Electric Corporation.

    Good day.

  100. 100
    NR says:

    @chaseyourtail:

    Actually, with the current filibuster situation, yes you can be.

    The filibuster is just an excuse. The Democrats have not made any serious attempt to make the GOP pay a price for their endless filibusters, so it’s become clear that they don’t actually want to pass progressive legislation and the filibuster is just a convienent excuse.

    Hell, after all the filibusters of the past year and a half, a majority of Democrats are STILL not willing to change the filibuster rules. That should tell you all you need to know right there.

  101. 101
    Mark S. says:

    I don’t know if I believe this:

    According to a very plugged in Senate aide, Senators debating the issue were very aware that the polling was on their side. Yet, paradoxically, this ended up tipping the balance against holding the vote. Senate Dems felt they were alreadly winning on the issue, and in the end they thought a vote risked upsetting a dynamic that was already playing in their favor.

    I sure hope they know what the fuck they’re doing. I’m not terribly confident.

  102. 102
    Elie says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Well said, Linda.

    The commentary on this thread has been excellent, clean, intelligent — based on the hard truth of where we are.

    Sometimes, we do well to step away from our current context and learn a little about another. I recommend this article in the current Vanity Fair about the Greek economic crisis — and the underlying social and civic decay that helped bring it about. It is a sophisticated and interesting cautionary tale that more Americans should think about:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/busi.....nds-201010

    At the end of the day, this is our problem, not Obama’s. The Left/Progressives somehow manage to feel that the government, its success or failure, our society’s success of failure, can be assigned to someone else in a role. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

  103. 103
    Mark S. says:

    @Church Lady:

    You make this stupid argument all the time. You do realize there are other taxes besides the income tax, don’t you? And that one reason tax rates have been relatively low is because Social Security has always run a surplus?

  104. 104
    Elie says:

    @NR:

    “The Democrats have not made any serious attempt to make the GOP pay a price for their endless filibusters, so it’s become clear that they don’t actually want to pass progressive legislation and the filibuster is just a convienent excuse.”

    I think that its premature to draw that conclusion. The Democrats have been successful in getting key legislation passed, through the most poisonous and vile opposition from both the left and right. Dunno about you, but I see that as pretty successful… and that is the kind of success that is being ignored or minimized by the same folks on the left and right.

    Vincente Navarro, one of the most idealistic of the leftists of all time, cautioned liberals and the left about the danger of cynicism and its impact on crushing the enthusiasm for making tough change. Obviously, this is exactly what has happenened.

  105. 105
    John Bird says:

    The person I know who’s working for Sestak was just relieved as all get-out that he issued a strong statement against waiting until after the mid-terms for this debate – and was a little miffed that the other Democrats are going to make his run that much harder by doing so.

    I’m sure they have a strategy here; my guess, though, is it’s a seat-by-seat strategy that 1) may not work, and 2) is harming their chances across the board in a way they’re not willing to grasp.

    On a metanote, I’m, well, unsurprised at the thin-skinned responses here from some defenders of the ‘strategy’ (or what we can divine to be a strategy from sheep entrails). We actually have people on Balloon Juice whining that a post made them feel bad.

    Suck it up!

  106. 106
    John Bird says:

    @Elie:

    ‘Poisonous and vile’ opposition from the left? Where, on a blog?

  107. 107
    Elie says:

    @John Bird:

    Yea, on blogs and other media. Your point?

  108. 108
    Scott P. says:

    The way we do not play nice involves what Gandhi would do, namely shun those and their friends who seek to ruin other people’s lives. I did not originate boycotts but I appear new in adapting the boycott to political and legislative outcomes.

    No, you’re not new in this, right-wingers have been employing boycotts against “liberal” businesses for decades, though perhaps it’s not surprising that you haven’t heard about this, since boycotts don’t fucking work.

  109. 109
    Nick says:

    @NR:

    The filibuster is just an excuse. The Democrats have not made any serious attempt to make the GOP pay a price for their endless filibusters, so it’s become clear that they don’t actually want to pass progressive legislation and the filibuster is just a convienent excuse. Hell, after all the filibusters of the past year and a half, a majority of Democrats are STILL not willing to change the filibuster rules. That should tell you all you need to know right there.

    One of those people against changing the rules is Russ Feingold, are you telling me he secretly doesn’t want progressive legislation passed?

  110. 110
    Nick says:

    @liberal:

    Sure. I mean, the Dems have in the past couple decades have given their base something roughly approaching what the Rethuglicans have given their base, right?

    Actually…yeah.

  111. 111
    Corner Stone says:

    Senators want to retain their legislative power. No matter what point of the spectrum they reside in.
    Punto.

  112. 112
    tatere says:

    because the whole hostage thing worked out so well for two-term President Jimmy Carter……

  113. 113
    Shelton Lankford says:

    @chaseyourtail:

    Well, is there ANYTHING this bunch of pussies will actually make the Republicans stand up on their hind legs and talk about, instead of just caving in to the threat of a filibuster? This is the most disgraceful performance since Delay ran things – but you expected it with Delay and his gang. These are the people who ran as the good guys.

    I am so over the two-party charade we laughingly call a representative government.

  114. 114
    DPirate says:

    And, of course, it’s stupid because a lot of people in America have serious doubts about where the president and Democrats are. Even the successes like HCR were muddy.

    I think most people know they are on the right. They just won’t admit it.

  115. 115
    Nick says:

    @Shelton Lankford:

    Well, is there ANYTHING this bunch of pussies will actually make the Republicans stand up on their hind legs and talk about, instead of just caving in to the threat of a filibuster?

    It just doesn’t get through to you people that THAT IS NOT HOW A FILIBUSTER WORKS!

    All you need to do for a filibuster is file cloture, they did that.

  116. 116

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