Someone Mutters and the Street Lamp Sputters

Josh Marshall on some things Bill Clinton and political analysts seems to be forgetting:

But let’s not be born yesterday. Anyone over 35 has a good adult memory of the 1994 midterm. That’s when Stan Greenberg was telling congressional candidates to run away from President Clinton, just two years after Stan helped engineer his election. Clinton was considered toxic politically in broad swathes of the country — swathes that anyone around then has to remember look an awful lot like the swathes where President Obama is toxic today. And even though the country was then in a comparatively mild economic funk rather than a full blown catastrophic and persistent recession, for all his political skills President Clinton couldn’t do anything the stem the tide. He was impotent, diminished, helpless, crushed and all the rest.

Being president is hard. Being president two years into your first term is hard. And being at the center of the polarizing political storm — as Obama is today and Clinton was 16 years ago — tends to wipe the political genius and midas touch and all the other good stuff right off of you. 10% unemployment doesn’t make you look that good either.

It is also worth noting that many of the reasons Obama has had difficulty is because he is trying to undo where Clinton failed, whether it be DADT, DOMA, health care, or putting back the economy that was trashed in some part because of Clinton era deregulation. I like Bill, and am super glad he is on the campaign trail and think he’s been a force for good, but this is a little more complicated than putting up “It’s the economy, stupid” signs in the campaign HQ.






126 replies
  1. 1
    valdivia says:

    I also love that this is being portrayed as Clinton saves the day as if he will win the election or stave off the wave all by himself. As I mentioned in another thread: if you have time go phonebank. It makes a huge difference. I did it today and it changed my outlook on the election. It is up to us to get people out to vote, if you can spare the time, please put it to use, just a couple of hours in these last few days will contribute a lot.

    /Fired-up and brainwashed after a morning at the DNC.

  2. 2
    Cat Lady says:

    The guy was a great politician and those 8 years of peace and prosperity were great, but the checks he wrote against the future by signing NAFTA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley and the Telecommunications Act have come due, and the Citizens United folks are here to collect.

    Hillary would’ve been the bestest president evah! though. Also, too.

  3. 3
    Ross Hershberger says:

    I care far more about winning than about who the credit goes to. The MSM will miss the point by a mile no matter what happens.
    The Big Dog has a lot to atone for, so he’d better be out there working.

  4. 4
    DonkeyKong says:

    I listened to an NPR segment yesterday on the popularity of Clinton in “certain” parts of the country that danced around the fact that the “certain” parts of the country Clinton is popular in, are rural/suburban whites that voted in higher numbers for Clinton, Gore and Kerry than Obama.

  5. 5
    James E. Powell says:

    Clinton’s remarks, if he made them in the manner in which they have been reported, should be familiar to anyone who watches sports on TV. There are times one gets the impression that the athlete or coach in the broadcast booth never struck out, dropped a pass, or clanked a foul shot.

    It is very easy to play shortstop when you are sitting in the bleachers.

  6. 6
    srv says:

    The Obama Boom is doing wonders for my 401k.

  7. 7
    Mrs. Polly says:

    How much of the extra-out-there Wingnut hysterical fiction is derived from knowing that Obama isn’t likely to provide a golden Impeachable Moment the way Bill did?

  8. 8
    srv says:

    Oh, Tea Party founder Judson Phillips says it’s all about destroying liberalism.

    h/t reddit

  9. 9
    KG says:

    this is a little more complicated than putting up “It’s the economy, stupid” signs in the campaign HQ.

    It’s always more complicated than that. The simple stories we hear are probably as accurate as myths. But it’s easier to make up a cool sounding story than it is to explain all the tedious bullshit that goes on daily to make a campaign work.

  10. 10
    Cacti says:

    For all the praise Bubba gets for his campaigning skills, he won his two terms as POTUS with 43% and 49% of the popular vote.

  11. 11
    Citizen Alan says:

    I think a lot of the reason why people on the Left are upset and disappointed with Obama is the increasing perception that our hopes and goals for the nation just don’t matter to him. It’s more than just “fee-fees.” It’s a feeling that we’re being cut out of the political process and a reluctance to become emotionally involved in a democracy that feels increasingly like a sham enterprise.

    When I was a young man, it was generally understood that the Democrats were the party of working-class common folk and the Republicans were the party of corporations and the super-rich. Today, it often feels like Democrats are predominantly the party of the corporations and the super-rich (and the leadership certainly gives that impression) while the Republicans are the party of lunatics and psychopaths.

    Now that still gives us a stark choice in the next election, since I suppose I would rather live in a nation run for the benefit of corporations and the super-rich than in one run according to the whims of lunatics and psychopaths. But that doesn’t change the fact that there seems to be no one at all in our government who actually wants to prioritize the interests of the working class over corporations and the super-rich, and it’s hard to feel invested in politics if your only choice is in how, exactly, you are going to get fucked by whichever party is in charge, since “not getting fucked” appears to not be on the menu.

    Case in point — I am still trying to decide whether to vote for Travis Childers in November. I had previously been committed to doing so with my nose firmly pinched shut until last week, when he started making noises about voting for someone (most likely Hoyer) to replace Pelosi. While there are areas where I have occasionally felt let down by Pelosi, I firmly believe she’s the best Democratic Speaker of my lifetime, and I honestly don’t know if I should vote for Childers if doing so makes a Hoyer speakership more likely.

    I mean, how much worse than Childers could Alan Nunnelee possibly be? He was not the first or even second choice of the Teabaggers. In fact, he got the nomination because the official Teabagger candidate and that crazy lady from Fox News split the crazy-person vote. So Nunnelee seems to me to be the same, plutocratic douchebag Mississippi normally sends to the House rather than someone who is barking mad. That is, he won’t demagogue some bizarre issue. He will just vote along Repuke party lines … which is pretty much what Travis Childers did. BUT, while Nunnelee can potentially deny Pelosi the Speaker’s gavel, he cannot play any role in deciding whether she or Steny Hoyer will lead the House Dems going forward.

    And the thing that still infuriates me most all is that the Dems brought so much of this on themselves! In 2001, the GOP was on the ropes. An aggressive President willing to pummel them for their constant record of failure, mendacity and corruption, could have destroyed the GOP for a generation. Instead, Obama spent most of the last 2 years courting and coddling them, while basically announcing to Conservadems that they could oppose him in any matter completely risk free. What were they thinking? Honestly, what in the hell were they thinking?!?

  12. 12
    joe from Lowell says:

    @srv:

    The Obama Boom is doing wonders for my 401k.

    Indeed.

    The Dow has gone from about 8000 to about 11,700 since Obama took office. That’s a 46% market gain in 21 months.

    I wish I’d had money to invest in the winter of 08-09. But, you know…Bush Recession. Whaddyagonna do?

  13. 13
    joe from Lowell says:

    @Cacti:

    For all the praise Bubba gets for his campaigning skills, he won his two terms as POTUS with 43% and 49% of the popular vote.

    It was a much harder landscape for Democrats back then.

    Clinton remains one of the premier political talents in recent history.

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @srv: That is a remarkably mendacious document. Liberals are hypocrites about taxes because they take legally available deductions? WTF? Maybe mendacious is the wrong way to characterize it, I will go with stupid. The man is simply stupid.

  15. 15
    J sub D says:

    I remember ’94. Hell, I remember who I voted for in ’76.

    I recall a whole lot of GOP candidates running not so much against Clinton (not that they had good things to say about him) but against congress. That is what the contract with America was about. Give us congress and this is what we are going to bring to the floor. It was a political masterstroke at the time.

    The latest thing the GOP did (can’t even recall its name) is a lame imitation of that. It basically says “We’re gonna cut spending but here’s a hole we can drive a 3 trillion dollar deficit through”. It’s gonna be an ugly two years.

    Repealing DOMA and DADT should have been brought up early in this congress as stand alone bills. Make everybody in both parties go on record. They would likely have failed but it would have been nice for primary voters to see if their congresscritter had the guts to do the right thing.

  16. 16
    JasonF says:

    @Citizen Alan: The noise about replacing Pelosi is pretty odious, but there is no way a Democrat other than Nancy Pelosi is going to be the Speaker next term. Put differently, if the Democrats manage to hold onto the House, any challenge to Pelosi’s speakership is going to fail.

  17. 17
    JGabriel says:

    Josh Marshall:

    Clinton was considered toxic politically in broad swathes of the country—swathes that anyone around then has to remember look an awful lot like the swathes where President Obama is toxic today.

    I don’t think Clinton’s forgotten that, John. I think that’s why he’s out there today — because he knows exactly what it’s like to lose a Congressional majority in your 2nd year of office and exactly what it was like working with a GOP majority in Congress, and he knows that today’s GOP is possibly even crazier. Back then it was Newt Gingrich egging on the crazies, now it’s Sarah Palin, which adds lust to the resentment and sociopathy.

    It’s not Obama that the Big Dawg is frustrated with, it’s Congressional Democrats and their campaigns:

    The former president’s friends say he is in disbelief that in the closing weeks of the midterm campaigns Democrats have failed to articulate a coherent message on the economy and, worse, have allowed themselves to become “human pinatas.”

    Hard to argue with that, given that many of us, including you, have made similar criticisms in the past weeks and months.

    .

  18. 18
    Keith G says:

    John, I am not sure that the new day dawning is one that I care to remember.

    But at least my cats are okay.

  19. 19
    General Stuck says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    An aggressive President willing to pummel them for their constant record of failure, mendacity and corruption, could have destroyed the GOP for a generation.

    Of all the loony left wing memes, this one blows my mind likely the most. And since I am permanently, hopefully, on the flamethrowing wagon, I will pre apologize and simply marvel at it’s child like simplicity, and note that fantasy is an important part of remaining sane in and insane world. I have my own fantasies, but none of them are operational on this planet, in this country.

  20. 20
    PurpleGirl says:

    Long-term unemployed and my 403(B) is gone; I had to take the money out to live on when UI ran out. Did you know that if your state’s unemployed percentage drops even a little bit (like .02%) and goes below 8.5%, you are no longer eligible for Federal extended benefits?

  21. 21

    The Obama Administration is about as good as you are going to get with capitalism.

    Has there been a better administration in the US? Or any other country?

    Some of the things you guys seem to want are not going to happen within the present economic system.

    HOWEVER, since capitalism is a bit stressed worldwide, now might be a good time to think about how meet our needs without profits [which are the origin of the inequities]. Seriously. I’d like to hear your ideas.

    Otherwise, all this kvetching is just another attempt to perform autopsy on a patient that hasn’t died yet. Why don’t we save this for after the election? And then when the Democrats don’t win 125 seats in the Senate and 873 seats in the House, you can complain.

  22. 22
    J sub D says:

    @JGabriel:

    … today’s GOP is possibly even crazier.

    Possibly the man says. POSSIBLY????

  23. 23
    srv says:

    @Citizen Alan: The working-class voted for Reagan, so it’s not a matter of “What’s the matter with Kansas?” it’s what’s the matter with John Q. Public.

    The parties know what to do with stupidity – exploit it. Nader was pretty much the last gasp, and we know where that went.

  24. 24
    JGabriel says:

    Somewhat OT, but NYT has an amusing update on the Williams brouhaha:

    Of the thousands of complaints that have saturated NPR in the wake of Juan Williams’s firing earlier this week, some of the most telling have been from callers describing themselves as long-time “viewers” of NPR who warn that they are going to “stop watching.”
    __
    NPR, of course, does not have viewers, it has listeners. But the public radio organization has come under severe criticism — largely from people who are not listeners, it believes …

    Ya think?

    .

  25. 25
    Nick says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    how much worse than Childers could Alan Nunnelee possibly be?

    you live in Northern Mississippi, you tell us.

    Which btw, brings me to an interesting question? If Obama came to your district demanding Travis Childers vote for a bigger stimulus or a public option, what would the reaction be in one of the districts where Obama did no better than Kerry and worse than Gore and Clinton?

  26. 26
    morzer says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    I think a lot of the reason why people on the Left are upset and disappointed with Obama is the increasing perception that our hopes and goals for the nation just don’t matter to him

    This has more to do with their refusal to recognize that the Democratic party is a coalition of the frequently unwilling than with any objective reality.

    In 2001, the GOP was on the ropes. An aggressive President willing to pummel them for their constant record of failure, mendacity and corruption, could have destroyed the GOP for a generation. Instead, Obama spent most of the last 2 years courting and coddling them, while basically announcing to Conservadems that they could oppose him in any matter completely risk free.

    What does 2001 have to do with Obama? As for the Conservadems, Obama has no means of disciplining them or imposing his will on them. Nor has he exactly coddled the GOP. He’s tried hard and long to get them to be reasonable – and they’ve made it clear that they are beyond reason. Again, you seem to think that the President has more power to punish his party and the opposition than is really the case.

  27. 27
    Citizen Alan says:

    @JasonF:

    Intellectually, I know that. But emotionally, if I vote for Childers and he were to play a role in deposing her, I would feel personally responsible. It’s like back in 1991, which was the only election of my entire adult life in which I did not vote and which was the year that soulless pig Kirk Fordice was elected Governor. Even though the margin was a lot more than 1 vote, I still felt that I had somehow failed democracy.

  28. 28
    General Stuck says:

    And what can one expect for a country with a significant majority that believes Eve likely rode bareback on Dinosaurs a few thousand years ago? And the earth was created in a week.

    You cannot destroy stupid. You can mock it, flog it, and hit it with a rock, and still it lives for another day. Sometimes, in politics, less than a blink of George Bush. You might as well flap your arms and hope to fly away.

  29. 29
    General Stuck says:

    And what can one expect for a country with a significant majority that believes Eve likely rode bareback on Dinosaurs a few thousand years ago? And the earth was created in a week.

    You cannot destroy stupid. You can mock it, flog it, and hit it with a rock, and still it lives for another day. Sometimes, in politics, less than a blink of George Bush. You might as well flap your arms and hope to fly away.

  30. 30
    Nick says:

    @Citizen Alan: How popular is Pelosi in Northern Mississippi?

  31. 31
    JGabriel says:

    @J sub D:

    Possibly the man says. POSSIBLY????

    The quoted sentence was meant to characterize Clinton’s likely view, not mine.

    I have no doubt in my mind that, as a man who was president then but is a bystander now, Clinton may well think his wingnut critics were just as crazy as today’s. He certainly had to experience them more directly and personally. Thus, “possibly crazier”.

    That said, yeah, the GOP was nearly as bat-shit bonkers in the Clinton years as it is today.

    .

  32. 32
    jimBOB says:

    In early 1995 Clinton was considered utter political roadkill, a guy who would sit out his remaining two years as an irrelevancy while President Newt remade the country. Like Carter before him, he was an ineffectual lightweight with no prospects beyond being an historical punchline. Fred Barnes on “McLaughlin Group” sniggered at the notion that he’d even bother trying to run for reelection, much less win.

    Part of the reason the howler monkey chorus went after the Monica crap with such ferocity was that they couldn’t believe this flyspeck had come back from nowhere to beat them in 1996.

    Obama is in nowhere near as much long term trouble as the myopic pundit class thinks he is.

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:

    @srv:

    The working-class voted for Reagan, so it’s not a matter of “What’s the matter with Kansas?” it’s what’s the matter with John Q. Public.

    I need to get back to reading Nixonland, because a huge part of it deals with Reagan and how he was able to follow Nixon’s lead and use racial resentments to get the white working class to vote for Republicans.

    Once Republicans were able to convince white working-class voters that the unions that kept their jobs safe were the enemy, it was the beginning of the end for anything but rampant corporatism from both parties.

  34. 34
    kth says:

    When I was a young man, it was generally understood that the Democrats were the party of working-class common folk white people

    Fixed. The Dems governed successfully, from 1933 to 1966, as the party of the white working class. But they never governed successfully as the party of an integrated working class (though they tried from ’66 to ’88, to consistently declining electoral fortunes). Most of the white working class, especially in those days, had no interest in an integrated Labour/workers party. Without appealing to the economic interests of the middle class, the Democrats would have continued to decline.

    My own politics are closer to Dukakis or Edwards (at least in his ’08 incarnation) than Clinton or Gore, but it’s no use denying the electoral trends of the post-civil rights era.

  35. 35
    kay says:

    @JGabriel:

    It’s not Obama that the Big Dawg is frustrated with, it’s Congressional Democrats and their campaigns:

    I think it’s a disagreement over tactics. Congressional Democrats accepted the conventional wisdom that they shouldn’t “nationalize” the campaign in a bad year.

    Clinton disagrees with that. Either he doesn’t think it’s a wave election, or he thinks they have a strong record and should run on it, nationally. Which could be interpreted as a compliment to Obama, if he thinks they have a strong record. He apparently does, because he’s touting their national accomplishments.

    Republicans gave him a beautiful opening, because they announced their intention to repeal the student loan reforms, probably because they need to reassure their finance donors that they can re-enter that incredibly lucrative government-guaranteed “market”. He’s been hitting that really hard. The savings as a result of the student loan reforms go (partly) to Pell Grants. It’s a good issue. Pelosi used it to great effect in 2006.

  36. 36
    Citizen Alan says:

    @morzer:

    What does 2001 have to do with Obama?

    Nothing, but it has a lot to do with my inability to proofread, apparently. I meant to say “2009.”

  37. 37
    srv says:

    @morzer: I think he mistyped, 2008.

    A real socalist would have let Wall St. collapse and usher in a depression where real change could have been affected. Instead, Obama will go down as the enabling spouse to a drunken, smoking, cancer-ridden Capitalist state whose Doctors insist on homeopathy.

    Y’all can debate about how much suffering that would have caused, but you’re just prolonging the inevitable. Greed isn’t just good, it’s an ethic, and we’re already in a stock market bubble headed for the next fall.

  38. 38
    Uloborus says:

    @morzer:
    This really is the hard core of a lot of criticism of Obama from the left, isn’t it? A perception that he can do things that a president actually cannot do. It frustrates me. I feel like he’s being asked to be more powerful than Bush while being expected to give up all of the powers Bush took upon himself through corruption. And then a few extras so that he doesn’t even remind anyone of Bush.

    My best guess is that since Bush was able to bludgeon his opposition with 9/11 it *feels* like our guy should be able to do the same thing. Of course, a direct result of that tactic has led to the GOP being devoured by its own madness.

    Ah, well. We’re getting very OT here, I just find it interesting.

  39. 39
    Tom Q says:

    I think the major similarity between ’94 and now is that Congressional Dems in both elections were feckless, but chose to blame all their difficulties on their president. The ’93-’94 Congress was considerably worse than this one — they failed to pass just about anything beyond that original deficit reduction act, whereas this one, as short-falling as it was, produced significant legislation.

    The problem, from a perception standpoint, is that so much more could have been passed, and what was passed should be being defended more loudly (which I think is what Clinton mostly has in mind). 9-10% unemployment of course makes this difficult turf for many Dems, and seats will be lost. But it’s one thing for a Democrat to be out there saying, I’m not totally in sync with the president’s program, but I believe we staved off a Depression and finally got some health care and financial reforms, and quite another to be going around saying, Don’t blame me for those whackjob things Obama’s doing. The latter is traitorous to the party, and all too similar to what short-sighted Dems did in ’94.

    And, yes, it’s so obvious but no one in the media will say it: there are areas of the country (where Clinton is campaigning most) that had been enough converted to the Dem cause post-Clinton that they even went for that snooty John Kerry. But, just as the rest of the country was heavily swinging Dem, they suddenly found themselves voting GOP. Hmm…what factor could have caused that?

  40. 40
    Nick says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    It’s like back in 1991, which was the only election of my entire adult life in which I did not vote and which was the year that soulless pig Kirk Fordice was elected Governor.

    What the hell was so wrong with Ray “highest teacher pay raise in the nation and unprecedented job growth” Mabus that made you stay home?

    Mabus’ defeat is, in my mind, of the major reasons why Democrats don’t trust their agenda will get them reelection. He did everything right and still lost.

  41. 41
    JGabriel says:

    @kay:

    [Clinton] thinks they have a strong record and should run on it, nationally. Which could be interpreted as a compliment to Obama, if he thinks they have a strong record. He apparently does, because he’s touting their national accomplishments.

    Exactly, that’s my analysis of what Clinton meant too. Also, I agree with him — we should be publicizing and running on our achievements. It’s understandable that some people will vote GOP if all they see is that the economy hasn’t improved for them yet, and they aren’t reminded of any other accomplishments or why the economy failed in the first place.

    .

  42. 42
    J sub D says:

    @General Stuck:

    And what can one expect for a country with a significant majority that believes Eve likely rode bareback on Dinosaurs a few thousand years ago? And the earth was created in a week.
    You cannot destroy stupid. You can mock it, flog it, and hit it with a rock, and still it lives for another day. Sometimes, in politics, less than a blink of George Bush. You might as well flap your arms and hope to fly away.

    In my more cynical moods I’ve been known to state Americans are too stupid for self government.

    Lest progressives get feeling all superior about recognizing the simple fact of evolution, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reports

    36 percent of Democrats report being in touch with someone who is dead, compared with only 21 percent of Republicans.
    21 percent of Democrats say they have seen a ghost, compared with only 11 percent of Republicans.
    22 percent of Democrats say they have consulted a fortuneteller, compared with 9 percent of Republicans.
    30 percent of Democrats say they believe in reincarnation, compared with 17 percent of Republicans.
    31 percent of Democrats say they believe in astrology, compared with 14 percent of Republicans.
    31 percent of Democrats view yoga as a spiritual practice, compared with 15 percent of Republicans.
    30 percent of Democrats say they believe in spiritual energy, compared with 17 percent of Republicans.

    Goddam glass houses.

  43. 43
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Nick:

    How popular is Pelosi in Northern Mississippi?

    Oh, despised utterly, I’d say. The level of hysteria people in this area have over her never ceases to amaze me. But I don’t think it has anything to do with her personally nor even any position she’s taken. If Steny Hoyer did become Speaker, the Democrats would lurch to the right, but the same Teatards would still be writing into the Tupelo Daily Journal attacking him as a radical, America-hating soshulist. If you’re a Democrat, you’re evil. If you’re a Republican who votes with a Democrat, you’re a traitor. It’s just ignorant tribalism.

    My only real concern about Childers is that he may, in fact, either be (a) dumb enough to not realize it’s tribalism and to think that voting out Pelosi will improve his standing in the community or (b) venal enough to think that helping Hoyer overthrow Pelosi might improve his position within the Blue Dogs and the larger Democratic caucus.

  44. 44
    JGabriel says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    that crazy lady from Fox News

    Uh, I’m afraid you’ll have to be a little more specific?

    .

  45. 45
    valdivia says:

    @Uloborus:

    this. many many times. it frustrates me too, a lot. but instead of pulling my hair out these days I am working the phones. gotta be able to do something instead of give in to the collective wisdom and outrage from the always-disappointed no matter what the President does crew.

  46. 46
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @JGabriel: Thanks for evoking that low and long mordant chuckle. People who think NPR and PBS are the same thing are the very people that need to be listening to NPR and watching PBS.

    Can we get “longtime viewer of NPR” as a tag?

  47. 47
    Citizen Alan says:

    @kth:

    Geez, I’m not that old! I was born in ’69. Carter is the first president I clearly remember. From the perspective of someone who became politically aware during the Carter-Reagan-Bush I era, my perception was that Dems were the party of the working class and Repukes the party of the upper classes. It wasn’t until the 90’s that the Dems seemed to turn their back on unions and embrace NAFTA, leading to the change in perception that I referred to.

  48. 48
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Nick:

    IIRC, I was in the middle of my student teaching semester and just forgot to vote. That’s why I felt so bad about it.

  49. 49
    Nick says:

    @Citizen Alan: ah, well GOTV movements weren’t as big back then.

  50. 50
    Chris G. says:

    @jimBOB: This. Unemployment is hovering at 10% and Obama’s approval ratings are hovering at or around 50% in most surveys. That is gob-smackingly high, given the circumstances.

    As for Clinton, if he can help it will be on the margins. And that’s fine with me. If he can help a Jack Conway or a Joe Sestak get into the Senate, or one or two Dems who’d otherwise have lost get into the House, he’ll have done the country an enormous service.

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @J sub D:

    22 percent of Democrats say they have consulted a fortuneteller, compared with 9 percent of Republicans.

    Seriously or for a laugh?

    30 percent of Democrats say they believe in reincarnation, compared with 17 percent of Republicans.

    How many of them are Hindu or Buddhist?

    31 percent of Democrats view yoga as a spiritual practice, compared with 15 percent of Republicans.
    30 percent of Democrats say they believe in spiritual energy, compared with 17 percent of Republicans.

    How many people who describe themselves as “spiritual not religious” are Democrats rather than Republicans?

    Are you sure the house is made of glass?

  52. 52
    Citizen Alan says:

    @J sub D:

    So what you’re saying is that on average, around 35% of the U.S. population is crazy and/or stupid on some issue or another. Sounds about right.

  53. 53
    Julie says:

    One big difference that Josh Marshall doesn’t seem to consider is that the Repulicans in this midterm election are openly deranged, borderline drooling, ranting crazy. They probably were in ’94, but they were more covert in their craziness.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J sub D:

    The only reason Republicans report not believing in those things is because they’re all Satanic and anti-Christian, not because they’ve come to a rational decision not to believe in ghosts or astrology. The Bible says it’s evil to consult fortunetellers, so they don’t, end of story.

  55. 55
    JGabriel says:

    @J sub D:

    31 percent of Democrats view yoga as a spiritual practice, compared with 15 percent of Republicans.

    Of the 7 irrational beliefs you listed, that one doesn’t belong. Whether or not one personally believes in the spiritual benefits of yoga, and I don’t, it is pretty clearly a spiritual practice in most of India’s religious faiths:

    Yoga (Sanskrit, Pāli: योग yóga) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines that originated in India.[1] The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

    I would have answered it in the same way as those 31 percent, and, as an agnostic, I don’t consider myself “spiritual” at all. It’s simply the factually correct answer, in the same way that characterizing praying as a “spiritual practice” is correct.

    .

  56. 56
    kay says:

    @JGabriel:

    we should be publicizing and running on our achievements.

    I honestly don’t know what we should be doing. I have lost all perspective. I sort of like the idea of Clinton coming in, because he’s fresh, and not so close to it.
    I also think that national Democrats (not the elected people, the other people, the older statesmen, or whatever we’re calling them) have not done enough to help Obama, so I’ll take it.
    The Ohio Democratic Party establishment are completely all-in, so that’s nice, that I can drop my simmering resentment on why in the hell Democrats don’t help him.
    It feels like 2004 here, but better organized :)

  57. 57
    Citizen Alan says:

    @JGabriel:

    Angela McGlowan, who thought her “star power” as a former occasional pundit on Faux News would overcome the disadvantages of being a conservative African-American woman in North Mississippi who ran on a platform of major cuts in Social Security. She got 15% of the vote, but I honestly cannot imagine what constituency voted for her. Presumably, the fans of Judge Joe Brown, who came down to Oxford to hold a fundraiser on her behalf.

  58. 58
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    That’s a good point. Now that I think about it, I guess I would expect more Democrats than Republicans to answer positively to those question. Do Republicans avoid fortune-tellers and yoga instructors because they are more rational than Democrats? Or is it because they are more likely to belong to fundamentalist religions which believe that fortune-telling and yoga involve consorting with demonic powers?

    “Should Christians stay away from yoga because of its demonic roots? Totally. Yoga is demonic. If you just sign up for a little yoga class, you’re signing up for a little demon class.”
    (link)

  59. 59
    valdivia says:

    @kay:

    at the DNC today they were recruiting for a 4 day trip to Ohio for election day. They are gathering a cavalry to come help you guys out. I unfortunately have to be back in NYC but will phonebank while there.

  60. 60
    JGabriel says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    Can we get “longtime viewer of NPR” as a tag?

    Seconded. It’s the Tea Party equivalent of Applebee’s Salad Bar.

    .

  61. 61
    JasonF says:

    @Citizen Alan: I get what you’re saying, but the reality is that if Travis Childers is part of a Democratic majority, you almost certainly get Pelosi as Speaker, and if not, you wind up with Steny Hoyer. On the other hand, if Alan Nunnelee is part of a Republican majority, then you get Speaker Boehner. Simply put, if you like Speaker Pelosi, the best way to see that she remains Speaker is to send as many Democrats to the House as you can.

    I don’t know why the Blue Dogs are coalescing around Hoyer, anyway. There’s no indication he wants to oust Pelosi or would be willing to lead a coup, and anyway, he’s not particularly conservative, so the same people who hate Pelosi’s views will hate his.

  62. 62

    Somewhat in RE: DougJ’s post about political development in the 60s-70s I was well left of established (D) positions to the point of figuring there was nothing salvagable about our economic system. I’ve drifted right ove the years, to the extent of believing that an always rigged system could also be rigged to work for ordinary citizens. Considering the drift of “center” that still leaves me in the looney left. Ah well, I’ll do what I can to keep the riechtards out, and no, my looney left has essentially little to do with FDL.

    Sure, WJC was the best Republican Pres we’ve ever had since… well a long time.

  63. 63
    J sub D says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Are you sure the house is made of glass?

    Absolutely. Unless you think communicating with the dead, seeing ghosts and believing in astrology is somehow approaching a rational approach to understanding of reality.

    Many (most?) people are dumber than a box of rocks. Many of them are Democrats, many of them are Republicans and percentage wise, libertarians fare no better.

    When trying to better the condition of the country or the human race, it is wise to keep that fact in mind.

    BTW, being a Buddhist and believing in reincarnation is as stupid as being a Catholic and believing in reincarnation.
    You can replace reincarnation with the existence of hell and the statement still works.

    Edit as indicated.

  64. 64
    morzer says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Well, if that demon can make my ageing joints a tad more supple, sign me up for Satan’s cartilage enhancement plan.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J sub D:

    Absolutely. Unless you think communicating with the dead, seeing ghosts and believing in astrology is somehow approaching a rational approach to reality.

    Except that, with the way you presented it, you’re claiming that believing in fundamentalist Christianity that rejects yoga and reincarnation as Satan’s work is more rational because ha ha irrational Democrats are stupid compared to Republicans.

  66. 66
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @J sub D: If you are going to argue that all religious beliefs are foolish, that’s fine. If you are going to argue that the particular beliefs mentioned in that survey are stupid, that is another thing. I don’t care to get into a religion is stupid conversation in general, but I certainly have no interest in debating the merits of one over the others.

  67. 67
    JGabriel says:

    @Citizen Alan: Ah. Thank you.

    .

  68. 68
    J sub D says:

    What is the Difference Between CPB, PBS, and NPR?

    It is not surprising that non-listeners/non-viewers get them confused. Nor is it surprising that partisan hacks will lie on telephone in response to a dog whistle from the home team.
    It should come as no surprise that this libertarian/minarchist thinks the CPB should be defunded. Shut down costs and preferences for other federal jobs for those canned are acceptable.

  69. 69
    Emerald says:

    @jimBOB: “Obama is in nowhere near as much long term trouble as the myopic pundit class thinks he is.”

    Exactly. The Media will hide this fact as long as they can, but Obama’s poll numbers at this stage are better than Clinton’s or Reagan’s.

    In January of ’83, in fact, Reagan was at 31%. Nobody gave him a chance for re-election. And although we have no polling to confirm it, pundits in 1935 didn’t give FDR much of a chance either. Then both went on to win historic landslide victories the very next year.

    But since when has the pundit class been even close to correct?

    However, on topic, I really don’t much care why the Bid Dawg is out there campaigning for us. I’m just damned grateful that he’s helping.

  70. 70
    morzer says:

    @J sub D:

    There’s more evidence for reincarnation than there is for libertarian theories working.

    Just sayin’.

  71. 71
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J sub D:

    Yep, that $600 million a year is really breaking the bank. We could use that money to fund, what, about 2 days in Iraq? Half of a new jet for the Air Force?

  72. 72
    geg6 says:

    Good for Big Dog being out there on the stump. And I don’t care if he wants to see himself as some sort of hero. He’s out there making a difference and that’s all that counts.

    As for the always expected whining about lefty fees fees (and declaring it’s not about them and then going into a long disquisition about how you feel doesn’t change that it’s all about your fee fees), I don’t give a shit about how you feel. We need Dems and it’s too fucking late to get your perfect candidate. I am forced to vote for Jason fucking Altmire, another of the dump Pelosi crowd. I don’t want to. NOBODY takes a back seat to me in admiring Nancy SMASH. Nobody. But we have a majority to try to hold. And I don’t think it would ever happen, but Speaker Hoyer is still preferable to Speaker Boehner.

  73. 73
    J sub D says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    I did not intend to present it that way at all, hell, I don’t think I did. I just repeated the research findings and alluded to the pervasive stupidity of beliefs on both the left and the right. It’s not an anti-left thing, it’s a correct observation of humanity that we’d be foolish to deny.

    ETA – I even pointed out that libertarians as a group were no better.

  74. 74
    cleter says:

    @joe from Lowell: A much harder political landscape back then? Seriously?

    Back then, Democrats could still get a senator elected in Texas. Alabama had a Democratic senator when Bill Clinton was elected. There was a profoundly unpopular Republican president in 92, and the GOP was hemorrhaging votes to a third party challenger. The Democratic playing field was actually easier in many ways then.

  75. 75
    hildebrand says:

    Y’all can debate about how much suffering that would have caused, but you’re just prolonging the inevitable.

    Is it me, or does this kind of thinking smack of heartlessness? This starts to lurch into the ‘burn the village to save it’ type of thinking that is so easy to ‘say’ but horrifying to actually let happen. These are not abstractions that will suffer, but actual human beings, and you seem to callously write them off as necessary sacrifices toward some ephemeral greater good. That is not acceptable.

    Perhaps we should try to find a way, as difficult as it may be, to create a better country in such a way that doesn’t require a blood sacrifice.

  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @J sub D: At best, I found it to be a point and laugh at the rubes post. I am agnostic, so I don’t have an ox being gored here. Do what makes you happy.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J sub D:

    I did not intend to present it that way at all, hell, I don’t think I did. I just repeated the research findings and alluded to the pervasive stupidity of beliefs on both the left and the right.

    Given that your comparison was specifically between Democrats and Republicans, I’m not sure how you thought it wasn’t going to come across as, “Stupid lefties, look how much smarter Republicans are when it comes to weird beliefs!” The only reason Republicans don’t believe in yoga or reincarnation is because they think Jeebus said they were Satanic, not because they’ve examined them rationally.

    Irrationality is the natural human state, so it’s silly to try and claim that survey proves that Democrats are more irrational than Republicans. Equally as irrational, sure, but that didn’t seem to be your argument.

  78. 78
    J sub D says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yep, that $600 million a year is really breaking the bank. We could use that money to fund, what, about 2 days in Iraq? Half of a new jet for the Air Force?

    The Detroit Public School system (worst in the nation) shortfall for two years. NPR and PBS are big boys now, capable of spreading their wings and flying away. They should be kicked out of the nest.

    Do you think the CPB is a form of good corporate welfare?

  79. 79
    J sub D says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    And I preceded the poll data with a comment about recognizing the simple fact of evolution, surely not praise for the GOP’s cognitive abilities.
    That, coupled with the glass houses comment didn’t indicate I assign equal stupidity to both sides?

    C’mon, I ain’t that subtle.

  80. 80
    JGabriel says:

    @geg6:

    I don’t care if he wants to see himself as some sort of hero.

    Honestly, who of us doesn’t want to see themselves that way?

    .

  81. 81
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Shorter J sub D: People are stupid because they do not live up to my standard of rationality.

    ETA:Half of the population has a below average IQ. (IQ was used as shorthand for intelligence with awareness of its limitations as a measurement.)

  82. 82
    J sub D says:

    Even shorter J sub D –
    Most people are stupid.

    Feel free to take the con side of the debate.

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @J sub D: See my edit.

  84. 84
    JGabriel says:

    @J sub D:

    Do you think the CPB is a form of good corporate welfare?

    I like it better than the Bush tax cuts. It’s certainly cheaper.

    Of course, that not saying a lot. I like syphilis better than the Bush tax cuts. And the Iraq War + Medicare Part D + TARP + the Afghan War were was cheaper.

    .

  85. 85
    WaterGirl says:

    @PurpleGirl: I was not aware of that, but that would have to completely suck.

  86. 86
    JGabriel says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Half of the population has a below average median IQ.

    I’m not sure if the average IQ is a little higher or lower than the median right now. But I know they’re not identical, in the same way that the median income is about 50k while the average is almost 80k.

    .

  87. 87
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J sub D:

    Do you think the CPB is a form of good corporate welfare?

    It didn’t become corporate welfare until Congress whittled its grant away year by year until we’re at the present state where the federal money makes up about 5% of its budget, with the rest being made up by private and corporate donations.

    I think having public interest and science programming produced by noncommercial entities be available to the public is in the best interest of the country. Otherwise, it all gets left to the Discovery Channel and we get endless programs about how Nostradamus was right because those are the ones that get ratings and make money.

  88. 88
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J sub D:

    That, coupled with the glass houses comment didn’t indicate I assign equal stupidity to both sides?

    Nope.

    C’mon, I ain’t that subtle.

    Which is why I assumed it was yet another “Ha ha ha lefties iz stupids” comment from you.

  89. 89
    Maude says:

    @cleter:
    The economy was a lot better. That is the main problem right now. The lack of jobs is hurting people.
    One huge difference is that Clinton had his wife form a health care task force and we know how that came out. Obama had congress form a health care bill and we know how that came out.
    The Republicans are trying to convince people that the ACA is evil. And that Obama is well, we all know what they are trying to say about him and the poor souls have run out of code words.

    I thought the Monica scandal was after the 1996 election.

  90. 90
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @JGabriel: FYWP. Third attempt here. You are correct. Mea culpa.

  91. 91
    lawguy says:

    @Citizen Alan: Excellent analysis and a very good question, one I have been trying to figure out myself.

  92. 92
    Belvoir says:

    I’m always going to be a fan of Clinton’s. But does it make me a firebagger to re-consider some of his accomplishments and uh, not be thrilled?

    The export of jobs abroad accelerated, pedal to the metal under Clinton. NAFTA was the most famous, but there were other international agreements and arrangements that set the stage for massive exports of jobs. (And no, the price of Canadian or Mexican beer never dropped, curiously, after Nafta! My personal barometer of how the promises would pan out. Not a cent, they price went up.)

    DADT. DOMA. Throwing people off welfare. The botch of health care. We’re still dealing with the after-effects of all of this. Where did Clinton act admirably on any of these issues?

    Yes, we had peace an prosperity, especially if you only look at the dot-com rise and boom, the new internet economy emerging. Looked great on paper. Was it really that rosy though? I remember his first term as an era of Gen X recessionary angst- and it wasn’t just us being all the stupid smears of being childish and bla bla. Unless you were a computer engineer, jobs were pretty scarce for college-educated people my age then.

    His second term was better, for sure economically. But it was sand running out of the hourglass. The decent jobs were racing away as fast as they could- Ireland’s economic boom, anyone, India’s too? BY GW Bush, the hourglass was smashed. The “Clinton prosperity” was very fleeting, a window. He’s the one who laid the pipeline and signed the agreements that set where we are in motion, just as much as any Republican.

  93. 93
    lawguy says:

    @General Stuck: It is I guess always better never to try.

  94. 94
    lawguy says:

    @kth: You know damned little about history if you think that. Yes the southern dems were that way, although interestingly enough not the Longs, but not so much the northern wing.

  95. 95
    lawguy says:

    @lawguy: I was referring to Huey and Earl.

  96. 96
    J sub D says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Which is why I assumed it was yet another “Ha ha ha lefties iz stupids” comment from you.

    I don’t make those comments. I do make lefties are fucking wrong comments about certain issues, e.g. economics, property rights, public education, energy policy, et al.

    What I find amusing at Balloon Juice is the sneering air of superiority when discussing groups who disagree with you politically coupled with the testy defensiveness when it’s pointed out that your team really is no smarter, no more reality based, than those you denigrate.

  97. 97
    jwb says:

    @JGabriel: I know it depends on the population distribution of IQ. If I remember my statistics correctly when the distribution is normal the median will converge to the mean (or vice versa) as N increases. The difference in income and housing prices is that the underlying distribution isn’t normal. If the high end of IQ scores isn’t constrained (just as the upper end of housing prices and incomes isn’t constrained), the distribution will skew from normal in that direction (mean will be higher than median).

  98. 98
    J sub D says:

    Look at the NPR/PBS demographics folks. CPB funding is nothing but an entertainment subsidy for the wealthy. “It’s only .6 gigabucks” doesn’t change that.

    Here’s the argument as it plays out – Taxpayers should support the opera house, but never the honky tonk. The Art Museum, but never the amusement park.

    Don’t you think the customers of all four those admittedly fine types of institutions should support them rather than making everyone support whoever has the most influence in getting appropriations’ favorites?

    Too free market for ya? ;-)

  99. 99

    @J sub D:

    It should come as no surprise that this libertarian/minarchist thinks the CPB should be defunded. Shut down costs and preferences for other federal jobs for those canned are acceptable.

    I’d take libertarian/minarchists glibertarians a lot more seriously if they had some ability to prioritize. If you’re against CPB because it’s corporate welfare then you have to be against the entire Department of Defense, which is nothing more than a corporate welfare program with guns. But taking on DoD would take a pair of balls and a backbone, organs that most glibertarians lack and would also get you in trouble with the Republicans that you guys like to party with.

    Taking on CPB is cheap, easy, doesn’t make Republicans cranky and is guaranteed to be published as an article in Reason or an OpEd in the Wall Street Journal or the Kaplan Times.

  100. 100
    JGabriel says:

    J sub D: Well, when you put it that way, then yeah, of course I disagree.

    The correlation of higher income to PBS’s audience is simply the correlation of higher education to higher income. PBS’s mission includes educational television.

    That’s free educational TV, available to anyone who wants to take advantage of it, no matter their income or economic class. Your argument, which you seem not to understand, is that those experiences should only be available to those who can pay for them, without regard for whether their poverty is their own fault or not — as in the case of children, who can clearly benefit from educational TV, even though many of them may be poor through no fault of their own.

    Or is it your belief that they should go out and work in a sweatshop if they want to watch Sesame Street, and that we should repeal those damned sissifying child labor laws?

    Ditto for the museums, which federal grants at least keep cheap if not free.

    .

  101. 101

    @J sub D:

    Nope, not free market enough. You want free market then here’s what you need to do. Go to the state of Tennessee and tell the voters there that it’s well past time that the TVA was privatized and that it’s time for them to get off the government tit and to stop sucking taxpayers dry. If you really believed in liberty and the free market, and weren’t just a corporate shill repeating whatever the Koch brothers put into your tiny little brain you’d go after the big boys.

    Of course going after the big boys has it’s price. Barry Goldwater went after TVA in 1964 and he lost the state. Ronald Reagan went after the TVA in the 1950s until General Electric, who was employing him as a pitchman at the time, pointed out that they had $50 million in contracts with the TVA for generators, after which he shut his mouth.

    Today’s Glibertarians talk big about eliminating government waste by shutting down CPB, but when it comes to shutting down truly wasteful government programs, like farm subsidies or the DoD they keep their mouths shut because they don’t want to offend the corporations who sponsor them and who receive beaucoup bucks from government contracts.

  102. 102
    JGabriel says:

    @jwb:

    If the high end of IQ scores isn’t constrained …

    Right, but the high end of IQ tests is constrained, isn’t it? A perfect score is a perfect score, can’t do any better than that. I don’t know what the perfect scores on a Stanford-Binet or a Wechsler are, but I’m pretty sure they have an upper bound.

    .

  103. 103

    @J sub D:

    You forgot to mention the 90 percent of libertarians who believe that Atlas Shrugged is great literature. I mean talk about your crazy beliefs…

  104. 104
    J sub D says:

    @Wile E. Quixote: I won’t call Atlas Shrugged great literature either, but you must admit it’s longevity and influence is impressive. That’s right. I said the only thing we should cut from the budget is the CPB. I also said that every penny going to the DoD is necessary. Oh wait, I didn’t. The subject of NPR came up and I discussed the CPB and not the DoD. I didn’t bring up third trimester abortions either. Come back when you wish to discuss what I said, the CPB should be defunded.

    Libertarians don’t go after farm subsidies? They haven’t been pointing out for years that corn and ethanol subsidies enrich ADM and harm the environment? They don’t go after DoD expenditures? Really? What fucking color is the sky on your world?

  105. 105
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J sub D:

    What I find amusing at Balloon Juice is the sneering air of superiority when discussing groups who disagree with you politically coupled with the testy defensiveness when it’s pointed out that your team really is no smarter, no more reality based, than those you denigrate.

    It’s true, there’s absolutely no difference between someone who believes in astrology and someone who believes that Obama was born in Kenya. You sure got me there.

  106. 106
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Do you mean to suggest that there is a difference between silly but harmless beliefs and a dangerous refusal to recognize objective facts?

  107. 107
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J sub D:

    Too free market for ya? ;-)

    In your perfect free market world, the only things on TV would be “Two and a Half Men,” “NCIS” and “The Jersey Shore.” Followed very shortly by “Ow My Balls!”

    No thank you.

    Though I have to admit, I am always amused by the reverse snobbery of people who assume that if something isn’t hugely successful financially, it’s worthless. You know, like when James Cameron tried to insist that Kenneth Turan chance his review of Titanic because the $1 billion it made proved it was a good film.

  108. 108
    Uloborus says:

    @JGabriel:
    Heck, forget the perfect score. Well before you get there you reach a level where the measurements become utterly meaningless because errors of random chance or the testee being smarter than the test maker become overwhelming. That’s past 160, as I recall.

  109. 109
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Of course not! Clearly reading your horoscope in the paper is exactly the same thing as sending money to the Chamber of Commerce because Glenn Beck told you to. After all, to imply otherwise would be to say that Republicans and conservatives are doing actual harm to the country with their stupid beliefs while the stupid beliefs of Democrats and liberals are mostly harmless, and we can’t possibly imply that.

    (“Mostly harmless” being because a lot of the anti-vaccination talk originates on the left. Ugh.)

  110. 110
    Montysano says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    An aggressive President willing to pummel them for their constant record of failure, mendacity and corruption, could have destroyed the GOP for a generation

    And this pummeling and destroying will be fairly and accurately reported by what passes for news these days? By a president who happens to be a Colored Fella? Get real, man. Had Obama gone in this direction, we’d have been treated to a festival of wankery that would have driven us all insane.

    40% of the country has already gone batshit crazy over a black president; an angry, confrontational black president would incite gunfire. Guaranteed.

  111. 111
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Mostly harmless? Seems rather Douglas Adamsish to me.

  112. 112
    Emma says:

    Hildebrand: One of my favorite Dorothy Sayers quotes is “the first thing a principle does is kill someone”. I take it to mean, remember the consequences when you stand on principle and act accordingly.

    People so enamored of their principles as to condemn gigantic swathes of the world to death and misery scare me silly.

  113. 113
    kth says:

    @lawguy: The traditional Dems, minus the southern wing, aren’t enough to win a national election (sole exception was when the incumbent Republican had just pardoned his Republican predecessor, who in turn was a common criminal).

    Your argument seems to be that there are enough working class whites willing to put down the crack pipe of racial resentment, and vote their economic interest, to get a true progessive elected President. I’ve not seen a shred of evidence that this is actually true (however much I might wish it to be).

  114. 114
    Scott P. says:

    @Belvoir:

    (And no, the price of Canadian or Mexican beer never dropped, curiously, after Nafta! My personal barometer of how the promises would pan out. Not a cent, they price went up.)

    A really curious barometer. Prior to NAFTA, the U.S. tariff on Mexican beer was 1.6 cents per liter. That’s about half a cent per bottle. No wonder you didn’t see the price go down.

  115. 115
    Mike G says:

    @J sub D:

    36 percent of Democrats report being in touch with someone who is dead, compared with only 21 percent of Republicans.
    21 percent of Democrats say they have seen a ghost…consulted a fortuneteller…reincarnation…astrology…

    0% of Democrats are demanding that these be taught in public school science class, or loudly insist that others are going to hell for not believing in them.

    Believe whatever crap you want. If you’re not trying to cram it down everyone’s throat or demand that national energy policy focus on your perpetual motion machine, it’s your problem, I don’t care in a political sense.

  116. 116
    b-psycho says:

    The inevitable screaming of “BIAS!!!” every time someone remotely associated with CPB so much as breathes actually shows why keeping the gov’t association with it is a bad idea.

    Radio, TV, art exhibits, whatever…as long as any politician can claim ANY measure of purse strings, they will continue braying at the moon, refusing to Shut The Fuck Up until their personal worldview gets the blow-job they think it deserves. It’s not worth the hassle.

  117. 117
    Anne Laurie says:

    @jimBOB: __

    In early 1995 Clinton was considered utter political roadkill, a guy who would sit out his remaining two years as an irrelevancy while President Newt remade the country. Like Carter before him, he was an ineffectual lightweight with no prospects beyond being an historical punchline. Fred Barnes on “McLaughlin Group” sniggered at the notion that he’d even bother trying to run for reelection, much less win.
    __
    Part of the reason the howler monkey chorus went after the Monica crap with such ferocity was that they couldn’t believe this flyspeck had come back from nowhere to beat them in 1996.
    __
    Obama is in nowhere near as much long term trouble as the myopic pundit class thinks he is.

    Quoted for truth.

    There are those who would point out that a lot of Clinton’s worst capitulations to the corporatists and the raving right (NAFTA, DADT) can be blamed on the blowback from Gingrich’s “Permanent Republican Majority” insanity. On the other hand, Obama’s so much of a centrist already — and the ravers have shifted so far rightward — that he can’t move much further towards the corporatists without leaving the Democratic Party altogether.

  118. 118
    Anne Laurie says:

    @J sub D: Hell, if I were as corrupt & borderline sociopathic as the Republicans being featured all over the media, * I * wouldn’t want to believe in spiritual energy, reincarnation, or the possibility of kharma biting me in the arse either.

  119. 119
    Anne Laurie says:

    @JasonF:
    __

    I don’t know why the Blue Dogs are coalescing around Hoyer, anyway. There’s no indication he wants to oust Pelosi or would be willing to lead a coup, and anyway, he’s not particularly conservative, so the same people who hate Pelosi’s views will hate his.

    Yeah, but Hoyer’s got a… well, a Y chromosome, at least. There’s a lot of people who don’t consider themselves chauvinists who just feel Pelosi is “missing some ineffable quality”, just as there’s a lot of people who don’t consider themselves racists who feel Obama isn’t quite presidential. Especially for those of a conservative bent, it doesn’t require fullbore conscious bias to just have a feeling that things were somehow “better” when, coincidentally, white avowedly-Christian men with Southern or Midwestern accents were in charge.

    A big part of the original 1990s-era Hillary-hate was the conviction, mostly unconscious, that a Good Ol’ Boy like Bubba couldn’t have come up with all those traitor-to-his-kind ideas unless he was a catspaw for some malevolent Lady MacBeth. Remember stuff like the punchline “If Hilary had married that other guy, he’d be in the White House and Bill would be pumping gas?”

  120. 120

    @J sub D:

    More accurate J sub D. “Most people are stupid, except for me, because I’m a libertarian/minarchist”. I think the best thing ever written about libertarians was John Scalzi’s description of them in his essay I Hate Your Politics.

    Libertarians: Never got over the fact they weren’t the illegitimate children of Robert Heinlein and Ayn Rand; currently punishing the rest of us for it. Unusually smug for a political philosophy that’s never gotten anyone elected for anything above the local water board. All for legalized drugs and prostitution but probably wouldn’t want their kids blowing strangers for crack; all for slashing taxes for nearly every social service but don’t seem to understand why most people aren’t at all keen to trade in even the minimal safety net the US provides for 55-gallon barrels of beans and rice, a crossbow and a first-aid kit in the basement. Blissfully clueless that Libertarianism is just great as long as it doesn’t actually involve real live humans.
    __
    Libertarians blog with a frequency that makes one wonder if they’re actually employed somewhere or if they have loved ones who miss them. Libertarian blogs even more snide than conservative blogs, if that’s possible. Socially slow — will assume other people actually want to talk about legalizing hemp and the benefits of a polyamorous ethos when all these other folks really want is to drink beer and play Grand Theft Auto 3. Libertarianism the official political system of science fiction authors, which explains why science fiction is in such a rut these days. Libertarians often polyamorous (and hope you are too) but also somewhat out of shape, which takes a lot of the fun out of it.
    __
    Easily offended; Libertarians most likely to respond to this column. The author will attempt to engage subtle wit but will actually come across as a geeky whiner (Conservatives, more schooled in the art of poisonous replies, may actually achieve wit; liberals will reply that they don’t find any of this humorous at all). Libertarians secretly worried that ultimately someone will figure out the whole of their political philosophy boils down to “Get Off My Property.” News flash: This is not really a big secret to the rest of us.

  121. 121
    El Cid says:

    @Anne Laurie: There can be many debates on substance, but NAFTA was not anything which could be described as a ‘capitulation’ to the right in the sense of being taken up because of Congressional Republicans or taken up reluctantly.

    Passing this fast-track treaty was eagerly seized by Clinton from the beginning and one which was overwhelmingly backed by the largest corporate coalition ever assembled (USA*NAFTA). NAFTA was begun as a negotiation between Bush Sr. and Carlos Salinas, the second to last PRI dictator. That Clinton continued it immediately is a sign of how urgent it was to the US’ corporate community.* The business community saw it as far, far more than one agreement, but as a precedent for barring most any legislation affecting trade such as tariffs or other rules relating to labor or environmental concerns.

    It was pushed through in 1993, before the 1994 elections. He & Gore pushed it through very aggressively against a majority of Democrats in both houses, passing it with a huge majority of Republicans and a minority of conservative Democrats.

    It was not a capitulation — and remember, from his (and many other centrist Democrats) perspective it represented a huge, tri-national success with loudly predicted rewards to the economy of all three nations, along with a sentiment of equality among the US, Canada, and Mexico. (And thanks to Ross Perot, a lot of people got to claim the nitwit argument that to oppose it was somehow being against ‘Mexicans’.)

    It was also seen as a way of moving Democrats ‘forward’ from being involved too much in old fashioned economics too concerned with labor and such, which, by the way, was one of the prompts to found the DLC in the 1st place, as the labor-liberal coalition was seen as one of the main reasons for the election of Reagan twice based on the new Southern Republican majority. In fact, during the press for its passage, I encountered a number of people from the Democratic Party (local party leaders, elected officials) who openly hoped that it would put labor in its place (‘we have a New Economy and those sorts of organizations are just going to hold us back, they need to learn to adapt, etc.’).

    The view on NAFTA from those of that sector of the Democratic Party was and is that it was and has been a huge economic success, with some drawbacks, and so, in this view, it makes no sense to consider it a ‘capitulation’. (The subject of its results is a different discussion. You can guess generally where I stand.)

    (As an indicator of how badly US corporations and investors desired ‘free’ trade agreements which would be locked in and unalterable — as a ‘fast track’ treaty — it was an NLRB ruling that US corporations had to negotiate w/their unions on outsourcing in 1965 which led to the turn to the right of the US corporate community, and the general counter-attack against the New Deal, symbolized by the founding of the Business Roundtable. Until recently it was the most powerful US corporate policy lobby group.)

  122. 122
    JR says:

    Doesn’t Josh’s logic lead to the conclusion that Bill Buckner couldn’t have been a better fielder after his error than before? Because I’m guessing that failure was a learning experience for him. Same for Clinton.

  123. 123
    AxelFoley says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    I think a lot of the reason why people on the Left are upset and disappointed with Obama is the increasing perception that our hopes and goals for the nation just don’t matter to him. It’s more than just “fee-fees.” It’s a feeling that we’re being cut out of the political process and a reluctance to become emotionally involved in a democracy that feels increasingly like a sham enterprise.
    When I was a young man, it was generally understood that the Democrats were the party of working-class common folk and the Republicans were the party of corporations and the super-rich. Today, it often feels like Democrats are predominantly the party of the corporations and the super-rich (and the leadership certainly gives that impression) while the Republicans are the party of lunatics and psychopaths.
    Now that still gives us a stark choice in the next election, since I suppose I would rather live in a nation run for the benefit of corporations and the super-rich than in one run according to the whims of lunatics and psychopaths. But that doesn’t change the fact that there seems to be no one at all in our government who actually wants to prioritize the interests of the working class over corporations and the super-rich, and it’s hard to feel invested in politics if your only choice is in how, exactly, you are going to get fucked by whichever party is in charge, since “not getting fucked” appears to not be on the menu.
    Case in point—I am still trying to decide whether to vote for Travis Childers in November. I had previously been committed to doing so with my nose firmly pinched shut until last week, when he started making noises about voting for someone (most likely Hoyer) to replace Pelosi. While there are areas where I have occasionally felt let down by Pelosi, I firmly believe she’s the best Democratic Speaker of my lifetime, and I honestly don’t know if I should vote for Childers if doing so makes a Hoyer speakership more likely.
    I mean, how much worse than Childers could Alan Nunnelee possibly be? He was not the first or even second choice of the Teabaggers. In fact, he got the nomination because the official Teabagger candidate and that crazy lady from Fox News split the crazy-person vote. So Nunnelee seems to me to be the same, plutocratic douchebag Mississippi normally sends to the House rather than someone who is barking mad. That is, he won’t demagogue some bizarre issue. He will just vote along Repuke party lines … which is pretty much what Travis Childers did. BUT, while Nunnelee can potentially deny Pelosi the Speaker’s gavel, he cannot play any role in deciding whether she or Steny Hoyer will lead the House Dems going forward.
    And the thing that still infuriates me most all is that the Dems brought so much of this on themselves! In 2001, the GOP was on the ropes. An aggressive President willing to pummel them for their constant record of failure, mendacity and corruption, could have destroyed the GOP for a generation. Instead, Obama spent most of the last 2 years courting and coddling them, while basically announcing to Conservadems that they could oppose him in any matter completely risk free. What were they thinking? Honestly, what in the hell were they thinking?!?

    Riveting tale, old chap.

  124. 124

    […] Cole adds a reality check to the recent ascension of Bill Clinton as political hero: It is also worth noting that many of the […]

  125. 125
    John Bird says:

    Look, it’s very important to make this distinction:

    Most people with an understanding of political history grasp that the party in the White House usually loses seats at the mid-term.

    However, when you respond to this issue as though it were the sum of criticism of Obama, you’re really only responding to the David Broder-types, and you’re masquerading as though it’s meaningful. You’re fighting back against stupid columns by the professionally apathetic by repeating something that is said on cable TV at least three times daily by other professional apathy-mongers in order to look marginally smarter. It doesn’t mean a lot.

  126. 126
    Belvoir says:

    @Scott P.:

    A really curious barometer. Prior to NAFTA, the U.S. tariff on Mexican beer was 1.6 cents per liter. That’s about half a cent per bottle. No wonder you didn’t see the price go down.

    I was half-joking about the price of beer there, Mr. Economist. I was speaking of how NAFTA was sold to dumb stupid cluck hick fucko drunks like myself at the time. That the prices of goods from Canada and Mexico would go down for US consumers. They never did go down, it was rather an empty promise there in selling it to the unwashed masses. Or, a lie.

    Thank you for calling this observation curious, stupid, ill-informed. My impression of the promised practical benefits of NAFTA never being realized- well how could America have been so stupid? Thank you for pointing out my idiocy there.

    My point was about how NAFTA was sold to the public at the time. Your snotty Googling of the half-penny tariff of Mexican beer in 1996 to rub in my face does not address my larger point- how NAFTA was sold to the US public then.

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