What I’m thankful for

Reports of Democratic political ineptitude are greatly exaggerated:

Something I find incredibly puzzling is the strange determination many progressive have to diagnose what the “problem” is with Democrats that makes them so “bad” at electoral politics. They actually seem to me to be fine. Look at the 30 year span from 1980 to 2010. The Democratic candidate won the popular vote in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2008 (4 times) whereas the Republican candidate won in 1980, 1984, 1988, and 2004. It’s true that in the real world the poor ballot design in Palm Beach County, the Supreme Court, and the Electoral College put George W Bush in the White House but none of that is the fault of Democratic Party messaging tactics.

Democrats controlled the House for 18 out of those 30 years, and controlled the Senate for 14 out of 30 years. In the new year, they’ll control two out of the three branches of government. None of that sounds to me like a political party that’s having trouble persuading people to vote for it.

I understand that Democrats could do better, but I get so sick of the “this is why Democrats lose elections” crap! I realize it will never end. And if Democrats fail to take advantage of the immigration issue over the next six to eight years, I’ll be the first to castigate them for it. But the party just hasn’t been much of a failure over the past 30 years.






119 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    But it doesn’t fit the NARRATIVE man! All political stories must fit within the Narrative or they are by default rendered unserious. I thought that was pretty clear by now.

  2. 2

    With the amount of money the republicans have spent in that period (nationally and at the state and local levels) the question should be, “Why aren’t republicans doing better?”

  3. 3
    General Stuck says:

    We need us a progressive hero, or two, to say the magic words and unleash the mucho divisions of Chomsky liberal soldiers to swarm the ballot box and give us our feedom. Anything less is, like, FAIL

  4. 4
    gpleigh says:

    @General Stuck: You mean maybe a white guy?

  5. 5
    Evolved Deep Southerner says:

    Well, when you consider that one party is full of primitive, fucked-up, incompetent and crooked white trash who say outrageous shit all the time, you’ve got to wonder why the Democrats don’t win more.

    It’s like college football. Imagine if Michigan got its ass kicked by Appalachian State every other year. The Michigan students, alums and fans would have a right to bitch. A lot. So do Democrats. This shit about “Well, we’ve got all of the best recruits, they’ve just ‘gotten in our head’ somehow” doesn’t cut it.

  6. 6
    Bill Murray says:

    well the Dems had controlled the House, Senate and Presidency for nearly all of the 50 years before 1980 and the policies of both parties for much of the last 30 years are to the right of Eisenhower, so in comparison they aren’t exactly lighting it up either

  7. 7
    MikeJ says:

    @Evolved Deep Southerner: The referees have been eating paint chips. 50% is a pretty good outcome in that case.

  8. 8
    Bill Murray says:

    @General Stuck: no we need more sensible centrists and technocrats that don’t stand for anything so they can be whatever the voter wants

  9. 9
    PeakVT says:

    In the new year, [Democrats will] control two out of the three branches of government.

    One of three, and joint control of a second. Progressives will control zero.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    suzanne says:

    @PeakVT: I didn’t realize I could register as a progressive.

  12. 12
    KG says:

    @Michael Bersin: I’m going to go with “most voters know both parties are full of shit most of the time” so they go with the party that sounds like it is less full of shit in each election.

  13. 13
    Yutsano says:

    @suzanne: In my state we don’t register period. Parties tried to play fast and loose with that rule a couple of years ago and got smacked around for it. It’s really a much better system IMHO.

  14. 14
    suzanne says:

    @Yutsano: Here in AZ, you have to register if you wanna vote in the primaries. So registering as anything but a Dem or a Rep is an exercise in futility.

  15. 15
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I could really care less what label the Money Party wins with as long as they toss a few crumbs my way when it isn’t a total inconvenience for them. Very soon, the family will be using HSAs for health insurance coverage, the best of a lot of very shitty options. Republicans made that possible in 2003. Democrats tell me something good will happen years from now.

  16. 16
    General Stuck says:

    But the party just hasn’t been much of a failure over the past 30 years.

    In all seriousness, here’s the thang, or my idea of the thang. The republicans have conducted pretty much a 30 year hostage crisis, of sorts. By becoming irresponsible political juvenile delinquents, willing to burn shit down if they don’t git their way. This has always been at the subliminal core of their behavior since Reagan. They have organized themselves and spent big bucks on studying the American psyche about how to manipulate the base fears of the voters, with a subtle underlying message of, fuck us to minority status, and you’ll be sorry America. And this, leaving the democrats as the only party left to act responsible, lest the circus goes clown show full time. It is kind of diabolically genius, and uses the liberal conscience against itself to not abandon acting sane and joining the wingers in the thunderdome. This is why I don’t condemn dems as being rank cowards to the degree others do, though sometimes that is the case, but mostly it is “if we don’t act like adults, who will”?

    Only recently, after losing two elections and aided by having a darkie tribe dude get elected to the big prize of POTUS, has the curtain come down on how they have been operating. On issues, America and even many wingnuts are sided with democrats, but the meme masters of the right have played them like cheap fiddles to vote against what they fundamentally believe in, not to mention their best interests. And no better single example of this was the ‘Get Gubment Hands Off My Medicare”. And a hundred more false fear memes from hell.

    And the other part is their perennial advantage of representing the large majority class at a standing start

  17. 17
    sb says:

    I think the analysis is off here. It’s not that some people are frustrated Democrats can’t get it together. It’s that the opposition is clearly insane and one wonders why the Democrats can’t dominate?

    As for me, I know some of the answers to that question (I read this site). But I share the fear of many that a clearly insane party has a majority in the house. It’s not the Democrats’ fault that the Repugs are crazier than shithouse rats. It’s not the Democrats fault that supporters of the Republicans are reveling in the crazy. And that’s it, really.

    I will continue to pound the phone during election cycles. And for the love all that is holy, I will not hold the Democrats feet to the fire because they aren’t meeting my expectations. As a teacher, I hate Arne Duncan with the heat of a nova. His educational philosophy is so mind-numbingly stupid, it makes me wonder how he got into an Ivy League college, much less have the ability to shoot a free throw (he’s a helluva basketball player). And no, I don’t want to open that can of worms. My point is that my considerable anger for Duncan–and Obama for supporting him–is not enough to keep me from the ballot and not enough to get me to vote for a party that is, sorry for the repetition… nuts.

  18. 18
    General Stuck says:

    @sb:

    I think we are reading from the same page

  19. 19
    sb says:

    @General Stuck:

    Yeah I was reading yours after I hit the submit button. I wanted to erase mine and type “What General Stuck said” but it wasn’t going to let me edit.

    I liked yours better.

  20. 20
    MikeJ says:

    @suzanne: We don’t do primaries. Top two in the first round are in the finals. That’s usually a Dem and and a Rep, but doesn’t have to be. If a party wants to be smart and unified, they’ll run one candidate in the first round. If they want to vote on who that should be, the party has to pay for it, not the state.

  21. 21
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Oh man, this is nothing but manic progressive flamebait.

    Are you bored tonight?

    Oh well, let the bitching, moaning and groaning begin!

  22. 22
    amk says:

    ‘Progressives’ have made that name as toxic as libruls. Shooting yourself in the foot while simultaneously kneecapping your own is an admirable talent.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Evolved Deep Southerner:

    I saw that yesterday. It seems he went on a date with her the day before and asked her to go out again the next day. She declined, saying that she was meeting a friend the next day at a park. He decided to check up on her story and to see if she was meeting another guy.

    Sounds like she made the right decision not to go on a second date with him…lol! He sounds like a control freak and a sneaky little worm. That he felt he needed to be armed only adds to his creepiness.

    IOW, he’s a Republican.

  25. 25
    jrg says:

    The Democratic candidate won the popular vote in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2008 (4 times) whereas the Republican candidate won in 1980, 1984, 1988, and 2004.

    In other news, the most high-profile front runner for the GOP 2012 nomination declared that we would “stand with our North Korean allies” today.

    The Dems should be stomping the shit out of the GOP, but they’re not. I believe it’s because of the Dems successes. Billy-bob budweiser knows that his interests will be looked after (with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) regardless of who’s in office… Since the hicks are freed from real concerns, voting has become a tribal activity that carries about the same weight as pulling for a football team.

  26. 26
    RinaX says:

    @General Stuck:

    What you said. Particularly this:

    This is why I don’t condemn dems as being rank cowards to the degree others do, though sometimes that is the case, but mostly it is “if we don’t act like adults, who will”?

  27. 27
    sherifffruitfly says:

    As long as anything is imperfect anywhere in the world, “true progressives” will complain. It’s really all they know how to do. They neither know nor care about anything but complaining.

    Aaaahhh Godfather 2 ending now. GodDAMN those are great flicks.

  28. 28
    Anya says:

    DougJ, this is a firebagger baiting at its most transparent. Expect 100+ rebuttal comments.

  29. 29
    RinaX says:

    @sb:

    It’s not the Democrats’ fault that the Repugs are crazier than shithouse rats. It’s not the Democrats fault that supporters of the Republicans are reveling in the crazy. And that’s it, really.

    I will never let myself forget that it literally took an act of god to shake the media out of their Shrub worship and finally start to show that crew for what they really were, which woke up some of the more apathetic voters in 2006. If the economy hadn’t started to meltdown prior to the election, I believe we would have had President McCain, because again that got the voters along the margins to re-examine things. And even with that, 47 percent were still willing to vote for him, Palin and all.

  30. 30
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @sb:

    It’s that the opposition is clearly insane and one wonders why the Democrats can’t dominate?

    This one thinks that a large chunk of the electorate is clearly insane, and so the Insanity Party has a rabid and loyal base. More people (and I’m not saying that you, or most of the people here are among them) need to realize that INSANITY IS NOT A LIABILITY IN AMERICAN ELECTIONS.

    Losing to insanity and wondering what we did wrong is mostly pointless. There may be other things to criticize about Democrats’ approach, but specifically thinking that we ought to be beating insanity more gets us nowhere.

    Worrying about the consequences of such a large portion of the electorate being crazy, yeah, that I’m into.

  31. 31
    p mac says:

    Time in office isn’t the only metric here–effectiveness while holding office is just as important.

    In this regard, GWB was very effective, at least for 6 years: he got just about everything he wanted, and didn’t give up an inch:

    – Two wars

    – Tax cuts for the rich

    – Eliminate regulations

    – Keep oil taxes low

    – Open more area for drilling and gas development (drill baby drill!)

    – Privatize government responsibilities

    – Stack deparments with Republican hacks

    He didn’t manage to privatize or reduce social security, but he moved the ball forward enough that Obama(!) is considering cutting payments.

    In comparison, Obama managed to get a 1/2-or 3/4-baked health care policy, without managing to roll back the tax cuts (so far.) Obama is less effective than Bush. Especially when you consider that Bush was not only effective, he was even effective in getting crazy policies enacted!

  32. 32
    mclaren says:

    The Matthew Yglesias article you cite represents one of the very finest examples every penned of false analogies, bogus sophistries, meretricious number-hashing, and grossly deceptive statistics used for the apparent purpose of perpetrating a vast lie — the biggest of Big Lie, a Big Lie so huge it blots out the sun.

    Namely, the lie that America is progressing, that the progressive agenda is moving forward, and life is getting better. In fact, just the opposite is true.

    Notice how Yglesias lies with statistics: he cites the number of Democratic presidents, the number of Democratically controlled congresses, etc.

    This is entirely equivalent to claiming that the Soviet Union under Stalin was not a tyrannical despotism sunken in the deepest shadows of police state torture and mass murder, because, wow! Look at the number of dams Stalin built! And look at the number of new factories! And look at all the roads and the bridges! And look at how many new products came from those factories! And look at how the USSR sent the first satellite into space!

    It’s obvious even to a small child that this kind of lying with statistics is not just grossly deceptive, but infantile, because anyone who is conscious and sentient understands quite well that the vast numbers of people murdered in Stalin’s gulags and torture chambers and the immense amount of human suffering and repression as a result of the bogus economic reports, the starvation of 30 million kulaks under state order, the systematic falsification of news by Pravda, the rendering of countless people as “unpersons” up to an including rewriting encyclopedia articles and airbrushing photographs to remove them from history, all produced a hellish unlivable society, rather than a soshulist utopia.

    Let’s take a look at the statistics to see how blatantly and how crudely Matthew Yglesias is lying:

    [1] In the 1950s, a majority of Americans accepted evolution as a fact, according to opinion polls; by the 2000s, more than 60% of the American people reject evolution, a massive regression.

    [2] In the 1960s, it was considered unthinkable for police officers to steal a person’s property and keep it. Any police officer who did that would have been charged with felony theft and prosecuted. By the 1980s, asset forfeiture had become common practice, and today, in the 2010s, there is no longer any concept of private property — if someone with a badge claims that any money or property you have might in some vague way be connected with an illegal act, your assets are forfeit and the police officer in effect steals everything you own. In fact, in the 2010s, entire police departments now support themselves by funds raised by asset forfeiture, making them little more than the highway bandits of old.

    [3] In the 1960s, strict wiretap laws required warrants and probable cause before an American citizen’s conversations could be recorded and overheard. In fact, the criminal cases against many sixties radicals (like Tom Hayden) were thrown out by the courts during the late 1960s because of gross abuse by the police as the FBI of those wiretap laws. Today, in the 2010s, the concept of any limit on the ability of police or the federal government to wiretap any American citizen anywhere has gone away, and everyone’s conversations and emails and SMS texts and pager messages are now routinely recorded and studied by badge-wearing goons.

    [4] In the 1950s and the 1960s and the 1970s, criminal cases were routinely thrown out if the police or the FBI violated the fourth amendment restrictions on illegal search and seizure. Today, with “sneak-and-peek” warrants (in which cops break into your home and do a search and then leave, without any trace they were there) and the gate rape pat-downs and scanners, the fourth amendment has entirely disappeared. There are today no limits of any kind of search and seizure: everything is legal.

    [5] In the 1950s and 1960s and 1970s, unions exerted a strong influence on public policy. Today, in the 2010s unions have essentially zero political influence, and instead public policy is today entirely determined by propaganda campaigns financed by billionaires (e.g., global warming denial and the Tea Party financed by the Koch brothers, attacks on social security and medicare financed by Pete Petersen, assaults on individual liberties and the rule of law financed by Rupert Murdoch’s through Fox News, etc.).

    [6] In the 1950s, a conservative Republican president, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned against the undue growth of the military-industrial complex, and refrained from engaging in foreign wars (Eisenhower was prodded by members of his own party to send troops into Vietnam and he refused). At that time, the military budget took up 4% of the United States GDP. Today, in the 2010s, our military budget (at 1.35 trillion dollars) takes up nearly 10% of the U.S. GDP, and under a centrist Democratic president America is fighting two unending unwinnable wars on the other side of the planet, with no prospect of either war ever ending and no prospect of American troops ever being withdrawn (Obama recently announced that, contrary to his earlier deadline of 2011 for troop withdrawal from Aftghanistan, American troops would remain in Afghanistan until at least 2014). Meanwhile, a larger and larger and larger proportion of America’s manufacturing capacity is now devoted to building weapons. See this graph for the shocking details.

    [6] In the 1950s and the 1960s and 1970s police and federal investigators treated the general public with some modicum of restraint and deference. Today, police and federal investigators routinely tase and beat and kill members of the public without cause and then routinely get cleared by bogus “investigating panels” for their insane overreaction and abuse of power and misuse of force.

    Q: In the 1950s, what did you call a heavily-armed fanatic who suffered from bizarre hallucinations and who shot people on the street indiscriminately for no reason?

    A: The Texas Tower sniper.

    Q: In the 2010s, what do you call a heavily armed fanatic who suffers from bizarre hallucations (e.g., he denies that the president of the United States is a U.S. citizen, denies that global warming is real, and believes the earth is only 6,000 years old) and who shoots people on the street indiscriminately for no reason?

    A: A police office.

    [7] In the 1950s and 1960s and 1970s, people who wanted to gather in public and peacefully protest the government’s policies were allowed to do so. In the 2010s, people who want to gather in public and peacefully protest the government’s polices are pre-emptively arrested and then tried as terrorists.

    [8] In the 1950s and 1960s and 1970s, it was considered unthinkable for the president of the united states to order the torture or murder of an American citizen without charges or a trial — these were subhuman crimes that only the most evil communist totalitarian tyrannies perpetrated.

    In the 2010s, the president of the United States now routinely orders American citizens kidnapped, tortured, and murdered without charges or a trial.

    As you can see, Matthew Yglesias is lying. He’s lying through his teeth. He’s lying with statistics, he’s telling cynical lies, he’s manipulating and cherry-picking isolated selected facts to create the false impression that the progressive agenda in America is going swimmingly and the United States is a wonderful place progressively toward Enlightenment and freedom.

    In fact, the reality is precisely the opposite. Over the past 50 years, America has sunk into ever-deeper shadows of tyranny and debasement. America has successively adopted every hated policy of torture and kidnapping and summary execution without trial that was used by the Nazis or the Soviet tyrants or Pol Pot. America has turned from a country in which foreign wars were exceptional and the everyday life of the country was a civilian affair, run by civilians, for civilians, into a heavily-armed garrison state in which we all now in effect live under martial law with no constitutional rights, in a military garrison state organized for war, war, war, and more war, eternal war forever in every country on earth, with everyday life turned into a militarized armed zone in which every American citizen is now treated like a foreigner trying to infiltrate some army base.

    Over the past 50 years, the proportion of income going to the top 1% has skyrocketed to the highest level ever recorded even including the Gilded Age of the 1870s or the go-go laissez faire era of the 1920s, while the middle class and shrunk and watched their real income deteriorate below what it was in 1970 in real dollars.

    Over the past 50 years, giant corporations have taken over public life, the media has become a giant megaphone for far-right-wing lies, and public schools have turned into prisons complete with armed guards and drug sniffer dogs and metal detectors and electrically-locked doors and strip searches of underage girls and warrantless ocker searches and “zero tolerance” lockdowns for insane reasons like a girl bringing aspirin to school (zero tolerance drug policy) or a boy bringing a water pistol (zero tolerance weapon policy).

    30 years ago, if a couple of underage high school kids had sex with one another, they were given a talking-to. Today, if a couple of underage high school kids have sex under the age of 18, prosecutors charge them with being child sex offenders, put them on trial, send them to prison, and brand them as registered sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

    30 years ago smoking a joint was considered no big deal. Today, in the 2010s, the war on drugs has expanded to the point where caffeine + alcohol drinks have no been banned and their possession has been turned into a felony. The war on drugs continues to expand without limit, filling our already overcrowded prisons to bursting with people who done no harm to society.

    In every possible way, America has turned into a far-right-wing nightmare, a shithole without compare in the civilized a world, a swaggering militaristic torturing mass-murdering tyranny which locks its own citizens up in far greater numbers per capita than even the former Soviet Union, even while our politicians spew increasingly insane far-right-wing cant like global warming denial, Peak Oil denial (“Drill, baby, drill!”), laissez faire Milton Friedman-style economics (deregulation and tax cuts), and even the supposedly educated elite now parrot this insane far-right-wing lunacy.

    As Paul Krugman has pointed out in many recent columns, highly educated economists with PhDs now parrot the insane policies of Herbert Hoover’s secretary of the treasury Andrew Mellon, advocating austerity and cutbacks in public spending to balance the budget even though the world now suffers an economic contraction unprecedented since the 1930s.

    And this, despite the fact that it has been a well known economic fact ever since the 1930s is now to implement austerity programs and raise taxes and cut spending in order to balance the budget…instead, it has been well documented as part of modern economics ever since Keynes wrote his General Theory in 1936 that the way to deal with a massive recession to INCREASE public spending and INCREASE public investment in order to create jobs and promote economic growth.

    So Matthew Yglesias is not just lying, he’s telling a particularly heinous series of lies. He’s claiming that we’re moving forward when all the evidence shows that America is moving backwards — and not just back to the 1880s or the 1870s, but backwards to pre-Enlightenment times, back to the barbarism of medieval torture, back to the 16th century when secret Star Chamber trials with secret evidence the accused was not allowed to hear and secret verdicts no one was allowed to know were accepted as standard legal procedure.

    America is not just moving backwards to the bad old days of the Scopes monkey trial when the evolution-deniers are in charge, America is moving backwards to a pre-scientific mindset in which people drift around in a haze of mindless superstition, denying documented facts like global warming.

    In every realm, America is losing basic knowledge — like the long-established economic knowledge that you need increased public investment during times of recession. Instead, America has wiped out that basic knowledge and now we’re basing public policy on crazy hallucinations like the long-disproved fantasy that we can kick-start a failing economy by cutting the deficit and balancing the budget (as Keynes showed, cutting public spending in the midst of a massive recession only cuts jobs. (This was Herbert Hoover’s failed and foolish policy in the early 1930s.) This in turn makes government revenue fall even faster, so that more public spending must be cut to balance the increased deficit, which in turn destroys more jobs… And you get a vicious cycle which ends into deflation and an economic depression).

    Yglesias has branded himself as one of the most important public enemies of the American people with this spectacular display of bald-faced public lying. It’s fully equivalent to the dishonest number-juggling with which Trotskyites tried in the 1950s to try to “prove” that Stalin never murdered tens of millions of people in Russia, or the efforts of thugs like David Irving to use isolated historical facts to try to “prove” that the Third Reich never murdered six million Jews.

  33. 33
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Guys, what the fuck is a progressive supposed to be anyway? Best I can tell from the last eight or so years, it’s either someone who has conceded that the term “liberal” is a slur and thinks that the only way to fix this is to use a different name, or someone who is playing the “no true Democrat” fallacy out.

  34. 34
    General Stuck says:

    @mclaren:

    Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving mclaren.

  35. 35
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @mclaren: Cool story bro

  36. 36
    jrg says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    Worrying about the consequences of such a large portion of the electorate being crazy, yeah, that I’m into.

    But they’re not crazy. They’re protected from the consequences of being idiots, so they never learn anything.

    Privatize Social Security… Eliminate Medicare… Let the banks fall… Eliminate worker protections… Since the Dems never allow these things to happen, the dumb asses that vote for the GOP never get a chance to learn what makes an idiotic idea idiotic.

  37. 37
    cleek says:

    given that there are only two parties to choose from, and given the eternal desire to “kick the bums out”, the electorate is inevitably going to bounce back and forth between the two parties from time to time. one party screws up, the other gets voted in. repeat. over and over.

    so, that the Dems manage to gain power every now and then is pretty much irrelevant to fact that the current, actual, what-we-have-now, in-office not-in-MY’s-statistical-fantasy, Dems SUCK ASS at politics.

    None of that sounds to me like a political party that’s having trouble persuading people to vote for it.

    right. MY apparently slept through the last election.

  38. 38
    Suck It Up! says:

    @p mac:

    In comparison, Obama managed to get a 1/2-or 3/4-baked health care policy, without managing to roll back the tax cuts (so far.) Obama is less effective than Bush. Especially when you consider that Bush was not only effective, he was even effective in getting crazy policies enacted!

    Wow, thanks for serving up that nice heaping hot pile of bullshit for Thanksgiving.

  39. 39
    Peter says:

    @mclaren: Tell us how you really feel, mclaren.

    Yglesias was talking about their track record with electoral politics, not…whatever the hell you just went on at great length about. I think it’s time to put the bottle down.

  40. 40
    Lee from NC says:

    @PeakVT:

    I noticed this as well. Democrats have the Executive branch for now. They will share the Legislative branch in January. And I think it’s fair to say the Supreme Court, which is the head of the Judicial branch, is definitely in the hands of conservatives.

    So Democrats will control only one branch outright, and the head of that branch (POTUS, of course) is so focused on bipartisanship that he allows the Republicans way more say than they should have.

    Spin however you like, but as others have pointed out, the majority of the people in the country, when asked very specific questions, side with the Democratic position on most things. The fact that the Democrats of today can’t seem to beat back the crazies, aka Republicans, is cause for concern.

  41. 41
    mclaren says:

    @Suck It Up!:

    Provide evidence that p mac’s statements are “bullshit,” or stand revealed as a liar and character assassin.

    In fact, p mac greatly understates the case.

    Democrats are completely impotent today.

    Let’s run through the numbers, Matthew-Yglesias-style, to prove it:

    1) Republicans started two insane unwinnable wars. Democrats have proven completely unable to stop either of them. There are still 50,000 U.S. army troops in Iraq and the total number of “private contractors” (Blackwater is as we now know a CIA front, so they’re not really “private”) has skyrocketed, so there are now more American military personnel in Iraq than there were in 2006. Meanwhile, a Democratic president continues to pour American troops into Afghanistan without end.

    2) A Republican, Richard Nixon, started the insane unwinnable War On Drugs and the senile sociopath Reagan vastly expanded it, ditto the drunk-driving C student. Democrats have proven completely unable to stop the War on Drugs. But they have managed to expand the War on Drugs to include harmless drinks like Four Loko.

    3) Republicans destroyed the fourth amendment with insane laws like RICO and asset forfeiture. Democrats have proven completely unable to restore the fourth amendment. However, just recently Democrats have succeeded into making fourth amendment search-and-seizure violations much worse with the recent porn scanners and gate rapes.

    4) Republicans cut back on social programs in the 1980s and the 2000s. Democrats haven’t managed to restore funding for social programs, but they did manage to gut welfare under Clinton and now Democrats are preparing to make the vast Bush-era tax cuts for the Republicans permanent.

    5) Republicans vastly increased American military spending during the 1980s. Democrats have proven completely unable to reduce military spending — but under Obama, defense has risen another 8% even while the rest of the government has experienced a budget freeze.

    6) Republicans crushed public protesters and corralled them and arrested them without cause (FBI surveillance of pro-Nicaraguan demonstrators during the 1980s). Democrats haven’t managed to roll back these violations of civil rights, but under Obama the federal government has now expanded its violation of the bill of rights to include kidnapping and torturing and murdering American citizens without even charging them with a crime.

    So if the Democrats are so effective, why are still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    If the Democrats are so effective, why do tax rates for the top 1% of the richest Americans keep falling and falling and falling?

    If the Democrats are so effective, why does the Bill of Rights keep dwindling away to nothing?

    If the Democrats are so effective, why can’t America cut its never-ending ever-increasing military spending?

    If the Democrats are so effective, why do the airwaves keep filling up with more and more far-right-wing propaganda, like the latest drumbeat for “austerity measures to balance the budget” which advocates cutting medicare and social security to give bigger tax cuts to billionaires?

    If the Democrats are so effective, why do conservatives now control the House of representatives?

    If the Democrats are so effective, why are most of Obama’s federal appointees languishing, unable to get approval from congress?

    If the Democrats are so effective, why do the vast majority of pundits parrot far-right talking points like George Will’s denial of global warming and David Broder telling us that the problem in Washington is that the Democrats are “unwilling to compromise” and “not bipartisan enough”?

  42. 42
    Peter says:

    @mclaren:

    mclaren, you are projecting insanely onto Yglesias and putting approximately 2712 words into his mouth. Your entire massive, obviously drunken posts are at best Strawmen, and at worse total non sequiturs.

    Yglesias was referring to and criticizing the idea that Democrats are not good at winning elections. None of what you spewed out here has a thing to do with that.

  43. 43
    mclaren says:

    @Peter:

    Yglesias was talking about their track record with electoral politics…

    TRANSLATION: Matthew Yglesias is talking about the Democrats’ electoral record in order to cover up the fact that Democrats have lost every single significant public policy battle over the last 30 years.

    not…whatever the hell you just went on at great length about.

    TRANSLATION: Observed reality makes me uncomfortable, so I’m going to ingore it.

    I think it’s time to put the bottle down.

    TRANSLATION: I’m too ignorant and too incompetent to cite any facts disproving mclaren’s point that Democrats have completely lost all the public policy battles of the last 30 years, so I’m going to resort to more character assassination.

    Troll fail, crackpot. Go back to Fox News and tell ’em you were unable to successfully insert your talking points on this forum. Perhaps you’ll have better luck at firedoglake or talkleft.

  44. 44
    mclaren says:

    @Peter:

    Keep screaming your lies. In fact, you’re the one putting words in Yglesias’ mouth. The plain fact of the matter is that Yglesias claims Democrats are wonderfully effective political actors.

    The reality shows that public policy has been totally captured by the Republicans at every level, on every subject.

    Rupert Murdoch really needs to pay you more for this kind of trolling, kook. You’re not even making a half-hearted effort to make sense.

  45. 45
    Peter says:

    @mclaren: Also what the hell, Four Loko has nothing to do with the War on Drugs. Nor is it ‘entirely harmless’ – do you realize that that single serving can contains as much alcohol as an entire bottle of wine? Plus a shitton of caffeine, so your brain can’t even protect itself against further abuse by passing out.

    You’re drunk. Go to bed.

  46. 46
    Peter says:

    @mclaren: What the fuck are you on. Are you mixing your meds with booze or something? That’s not healthy, you know.

  47. 47
    Yutsano says:

    @Peter: That way lay madness good sir. I recommend you change your tack afore the waters eat your soul.

  48. 48
    Peter says:

    @Yutsano: Haha yeah, I think mclaren’s batshitness speaks pretty well for itself at this point.

  49. 49
    suzanne says:

    Maybe we should take up a collection to get mclaren a hooker. Typically, as a feminist, I am loath to support the sex industry, but I’m starting to think that it might just be the best thing for all involved.

  50. 50
    jrg says:

    Peter, you have my sympathy.

  51. 51
    suzanne says:

    If we could somehow hook up mclaren with matoko_chan…

    Never mind. I’m not sure that much crazy could exist in one zip code before the planet would collapse in on itself in a supernova of extreme self-involvement.

  52. 52
    Kath says:

    For me the issue is that “liberal” should essentially mean forward thinking and “conservative” will forever be the more cautious drag on that forward thinking. Stuck as we appear to be for some years to come in a two party system, we get two labels to work with. And I have no problem with the yin/yang of Liberal/Conservative. The actual content of each compartment will vary, but there is essential force from either side. The problem I see is that “liberal” has stalled in its thinking. And that stall projects forward to a dangerous apathy because it has failed to engage liberals in participating as part of personal authority, under an all inclusive ethos, thinking forward. And so the Democratic party has lost momentum — and where it has been “successful” it has also moved increasingly away from that forward thinking. At some point, because there cannot be balance in this polarized system, the D party does fail, because, having lost its own momentum, it will be pulled with increasing force — ok, to the dark side.

    It’s this failure to even see the need to be polarizing that is disturbing. I am not talking Full Hamsher here, but this is what “hope and change” spoke to in liberal voters. And up and coming is Gen Unity — and they trend into what once was the liberal mold, more tolerant, more accepting, more inclusive but also somewhat conservative in that they are unwilling to commit to radical action. There’s hope here; a generation that refuses to buy its music has already challenged the corporate master format. But older liberals need to begin to think forward again. Polarizing, if for no other reason than to give the next gen cover for whatever it will evolve into.

  53. 53
    Nick says:

    @Lee from NC:

    the majority of the people in the country, when asked very specific questions, side with the Democratic position on most things.

    and then vote Republican because they play up the things they the majority don’t side with the Democrats on. That’s why they’re called wedge issues.

  54. 54
    sb says:

    OT, the New Yorker review of Bush’s bio. Great stuff, IMHO, and apologies if this was posted earlier.

    http://www.newyorker.com/arts/.....ntPage=all

  55. 55
    Yutsano says:

    @suzanne: Sarah Palin bred five times. The Earth can take it I think.

  56. 56
    suzanne says:

    @Yutsano: Five? Ya sure ’bout that? ;)

  57. 57
    Nick says:

    @sb:

    It’s that the opposition is clearly insane and one wonders why the Democrats can’t dominate?

    Half the country is clearly insane.

  58. 58
    Yutsano says:

    @suzanne: I am NOT going down that Sully rabbit hole TYVM. I admit the details of Trig’s birth are fishy (no airline on the PLANET lets a woman in labor on an airplane, among other details) but I need a touch more direct evidence, But FWIW he’s the only Palin I feel any real compassion for.

  59. 59
    BrianM says:

    @mclaren: You get a lot of shit here, but I like your posts.

  60. 60
    suzanne says:

    @Nick:

    Half the country is clearly insane.

    I’m not sure about that. But half the country is most certainly below average.

  61. 61
    suzanne says:

    @Yutsano:

    But FWIW he’s the only Palin I feel any real compassion for.

    Word to that.

    I was just jerkin’ your chain re: Trig birtherism. I don’t really know, nor do I really care who his bio parents are. His mom was already caught in a lie when she said that she released her medical records, and that tells me pretty much everything I need to know.

  62. 62
    Nick says:

    @Evolved Deep Southerner:

    Imagine if Michigan got its ass kicked by Appalachian State every other year. The Michigan students, alums and fans would have a right to bitch. A lot. So do Democrats.

    Politics is not a football game. In a football game, whether or not you win is entirely based on how well you play. In politics, it’s based on the spectators opinions on how well you play. Blaming Democrats for losing to Republicans constantly is like blaming Brandy for losing to Bristol on DWTS.

    People don’t vote Republican because Democrats didn’t sell their policies, they vote Republican because, despite the fact they agree with Democrats on policy, they want to stick it to that dude whose unemployed and collecting unemployment but isn’t, in their opinion, for a job hard enough. They want to stick it to that nice immigrant man who managed to make a living here. They vote Republican out of resentment. There’s no way for Democrats to deal with that because Dems don’t run on resentment.

  63. 63
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Nick:

    I think 40% are crazy, 40% know the other 40% are crazy and 20% don’t really give a shit.

    IOW, we’re fucked.

  64. 64
    Nick says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    I think 40% are crazy, 40% know the other 40% are crazy and 20% don’t really give a shit.

    And when the 20% don’t vote because they don’t give a shit, you have a 50-50 country.

  65. 65
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Nick:

    Yup. The sane are concentrated in the larger metro areas of the nation and the rest is owned by the crazies. Unfortunately I live among the crazies.

    They surround us. Sad but true.

  66. 66
    mclaren says:

    @suzanne:

    Notice how these crackpots can’t come up with any facts or logic to support their insupportable claims.

    The plain fact of the matter is that Matthew Yglesias is lying and everyone knows he’s lying.

    Yglesias is lying by misdirection. He knows full well that Democrats have completely lost the policy battle on every front for 30 years, so instead he misdirects us — “Oh, look, look! Democrats are wonderfully effective in electoral terms! Ignore all the collapse and degeneration of America! Democrats are effective electorally! Don’t worry, be happy!”

    It’s exactly the same as the lies by misdirection told about the drunk-driving C student’s eight-year reign of error. “Forget about the lack of job creation, look! Look! Look at how much the GDP has grown! Don’t worry, be happy!”

    It’s a lie. It’s a giant lie. It’s an obvious lie by misdirection. Ignore the inconvenient reality, talk up some spurious irrelevant facts, and then celebrate the wonderfulness of those irrelevant facts.

    No different from comrade Stalin urging everyone to celebrate a wonderful new five-year record in steel production. Ignore the fact that the USSR had turned into a hellhole of tyranny and torture and brutality, look! Look how successful the factories have been at producing steel, comrades!

    Look! Look! Look how successful the Democrats have been electorally!

    Who cares?

    The entire point is that the Democrats’ electoral success has never translated into policy victories. That’s the whole problem. No matter who gets elected, Democrats or Republicans, tax rates for the rich keep falling, America keeps getting involved in more foreign wars, the middle class keeps dwindling away, our constitutional rights keep disappearing.

    Who gives a shit whether the Democrats are successful electorally? That’s the problem, that the Democrats are successful electorally, yet public policy keeps drifting farther and farther right, more wars, more assaults on the Bill of Rights, more tax cuts for the rich, more torture, more extrajudicial murder, more star chamber trials with secret evidence and secret verdicts.

    @Suzanne:

    Maybe we should take up a collection to get mclaren a hooker. Typically, as a feminist, I am loath to support the sex industry, but I’m starting to think that it might just be the best thing for all involved.

    As for Suzanne, it’s not a good idea to get on the internet when you’re suffering from brain damage due to tertiary syphilis. You really want to see a physician about that.

  67. 67
    Peter says:

    @mclaren: Put down the Four Loko and go to bed.

  68. 68
    Mark S. says:

    Ruh-roh:

    WikiLeaks has a new batch of classified files

    Secret sexy diplomatic cables. Well, maybe not sexy.

  69. 69
    Yutsano says:

    @mclaren:

    As for Suzanne, it’s not a good idea to get on the internet when you’re suffering from brain damage due to tertiary syphilis. You really want to see a physician about that.

    That’s slander, dude. I recommend a whole-hearted and immediate retraction.

  70. 70
    robertdsc-PowerBook & 27 titles says:

    So what do you propose to do about it, mclaren?

  71. 71
    Yutsano says:

    @robertdsc-PowerBook & 27 titles: Solutioning is hard. Poutrage is easier.

  72. 72
    Dave says:

    All that Yglesias post suggests is that Democrats suck more than anyone has previously supposed. All that power over the last thirty years, and the world looks like it does today? God, that’s depressing. It’s enough to make me want to stop participating in politics forever.

  73. 73
    suzanne says:

    @mclaren:

    The entire point is that the Democrats’ electoral success has never translated into policy victories.

    That’s fine if you think so. But that wasn’t, like, you know, the thesis. The post was about the media narrative. But keep beating that “Democrats suck!” drum. ‘Cause, you know, in case you forgot, politics is a popularity contest. So acting like a supercilious asshole is detrimental to your cause.

    The fact that there has been progress made on policy issues that does improve the quality of life (the ADA, Lilly Ledbetter, Matthew Shepherd, FMLA, etc.) has been left out of your little rant. Is it enough? No, it never will be. Doesn’t make the achievements any less real or important.

  74. 74
    mclaren says:

    @Peter:

    Put down that child you’re molesting and go down to that concrete-walled basement where you’ve got the girl chained to the wall and let her go. Then turn yourself into the police.

  75. 75
    Sentient Puddle says:

    I don’t even know what mclaren is saying. He needs to learn that posting comments that are four or five times as long as the average front page post means you need to edit. Badly.

  76. 76
    suzanne says:

    @Yutsano:

    That’s slander, dude. I recommend a whole-hearted and immediate retraction.

    Oh, it’s all good. I take perverse pride in all of mclaren’s speculation regarding my gynecology. It merely proves once again that it’s time to find a hobby. Or some ass. Or some Four Loko.

  77. 77
    mclaren says:

    @suzanne:

    No more talking about hookers? Have the hallucinations from your tertiary syphilis momentarily abated? You’re able to think rationally for a few minutes now?

    While your lucid moment is still kicking in, here’s a little piece of logic for you: when you tell a lie, make sure you tell a credible lie.

    That’s fine if you think so. But that wasn’t, like, you know, the thesis. [Yglesias’] post was about the media narrative.

    No, now you’re lying and everyone knows it. First Yglesias lies, then you tell new lies to cover up his old lies. Bad idea.

    Yglesias’ piece was about how things are actually wonderful for the Democrats. That’s the clear implication. The Democrats are basking in wonderfulness, and the problem is, the media are just too stupid to realize it. Same as Matthew Ygelias’ Big Lie that Obama’s presidency is a wonderful success, and the media and the American people are just too stupid to realize it.

    Yes, the big problems in America are the media narrative. Not the reality.

    Forget about Obama’s giveaway and bailout of Wall Street while he abandons Main Street, forget about Obama’s gigantic giveaway to the health insurance industry and the doctors and the hospitals and the medical devicemakers in the form of the non-reform HCR bill, forget about Obama continuing and widening two of Bush’s insane unwinnable wars, forget about Obama widening the War on Drugs, forget about Obama keeping Gitmo open, forget about Obama ordering the murder of American citizens without even charging them with a crime, forget about all that.

    The big problem is the media narrative.

    That’s a lie. And everyone knows it’s a lie.

    Obama ran by promising major transformative change. And Obama went back on his promise.

    That’s the problem.

    Likewise, Yglesias now chirps that the problem for the Democrats is the media narrative. That’s why the Democrats got wiped out in the House in the midterm 2010 election.

    The problem isn’t that the Democrats failed to end our two insane unwinnable wars, the problem isn’t that the Democrats failed to produce genuine health care reform, the problem isn’t that the Democrats failed to enact genuine financial reform, the problem isn’t that the Democrats refused to send any of the Wall Street crooks who stole the American peoples’ life savings to prison, the problem isn’t that the Democrats refused to stop the erosion of the constitution… no, that wasn’t the problem

    The problem for the Democrats is the media narrative.

    While your brief lucid moment lasts, Suzanne, you’ll want to mull over the sheer stupidity and incompetence of your lie. Then, of course, the syphilitic paresis will kick in again and you’ll be back to your hallucinations about hookers and whatnot. And you’ll probably forget you even read this.

    But, just for the record: if you’re going to tell a lie, at least try not to tell a stupid one.

    Oh, and Yutsano: for you to talk about slander is like a serial rapist talking about the importance of treating women with respect. Your entire modus operandi on this forum is a non-stop slimetrail of slander and character assassination, and everyone knows it.

  78. 78
    Peter says:

    @mclaren:
    @mclaren:

    You’ve really got a whole sexual assault thing going on, don’t you?

    Seriously it’s like I’m standing here and I’m watching the narrator of Fight Club try to beat himself up in a parking lot. He’s clearly fighting someone but there’s nobody else around.

  79. 79
    cat48 says:

    The Electorate was Older than normal and White, according to Exit Polls……..78% of the Electorate fit this description. Blacks & Hispanics showed up heavily in some areas, some areas not. Young voters didn’t show up in numbers that they did in 2008. Dems got an average of 38% of the white vote in most areas.
    This is why we lost the election.

  80. 80
    Yutsano says:

    @cat48: Heh. I have no probs blaming it all on whitey.

  81. 81
    Comrade Luke says:

    @Yutsano:

    Sarah Palin bred five times.

    Six, according to Sullivan :)

    ETA: Damn, other people beat me to it!

  82. 82
    Yutsano says:

    @Comrade Luke: I dunno if it’s a symptom of our epistemic closure, but if you got a good idea you’d better type fast or odds are someone will beat you to it. One of many reasons I love this bar.

  83. 83
    Comrade Luke says:

    Something I find incredibly puzzling is the strange determination many progressives have to pay the slightest attention to Yglesias.

    He’s the left’s Jonah Goldberg.

  84. 84
    patrick II says:

    Dougj
    Nice numbers, but because naming something named a “Democratic party” does not mean something named a “Democrat party” thirty or fifty years ago has been successful. The positions and policies democrats have lately supported or compromised on would have gotten them kicked out of the party at one time. Bill Clinton alone signed more bills that would make traditional democrats ill than I can count –among them the repeal of Glass-Steagall act.
    Right wing positions once held by the John Birch society but considered insane by the general public are now proudly flaunted by national conservative candidates. Meanwhile, Democrats are afraid to mention the word “liberal”.
    I know there are many factors other than the incompetence or timidity of democratic office holders, but there was a time when democrats stood up to bankers and big business and said so. And we can blame it on the media if we want, but Beck and Limbaugh are not as big as Coughlin was in the thirties and DeMint is no more popular than McCarthy was for awhile in the 50’s. The difference is democrats once had principles that were different from the guys I see today, and were not afraid to say so.

  85. 85
    Peter says:

    @patrick II:

    Nice numbers, but because naming something named a “Democratic party” does not mean something named a “Democrat party” thirty or fifty years ago has been successful.

    ….bwuh?

  86. 86
    patrick II says:

    @Peter:
    Well, I am trying to say — and not too successfully it seems — is that something called a Democrat is different today than something called a Democrat thirty or fifty years ago (yes I am old). And because of the success of something called a Democrat is not the same as the success of the policies democrats from thirty or fifty hears ago considered integral to what being a democrat was.

    I wish I was a better writer, but that is about as good as I can do.

  87. 87
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @patrick II: To all of that, I will point out that the Democrats you like don’t win elections.

  88. 88
    WarMunchkin says:

    Well, I think the point is yes, the Democrats can win elections, but they’ve had to surrender a lot of policy ground to do so. So while you might call them successful in their ability to get elected as a political party, that doesn’t really mean as much as it should.

  89. 89
    patrick II says:

    @J. Michael Neal:
    Perhaps so, but that is not what I am responding to in Dougj’s assertion. Dougj is asserting success, and I am pointing out real success is policy success. If people supporting that policy can’t get elected, regardless of what they are called, that is not success.

  90. 90
    Ripley says:

    Wow, I was hoping someone would challenge Yglesias’ characteristic minder-binder bullshit with intelligence and clarity; instead along comes mclaren with his(?) rape-o nonsense as intensified by Cole’s ‘I don’t ban anybody’ policy-of-sloth. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

  91. 91

    something called a Democrat is different today than something called a Democrat thirty or fifty years ago
    Yes, you’re right.
    The Democrats of fifty years ago were quite eager to get the US involved in a war in Southeast Asia, or possibly the Caribbean, to fight communism. The Democrats of fifty years ago included the likes of Strom Thurmond, Lester Maddox, and George Wallace.

  92. 92
    NobodySpecial says:

    The entire point is that the Democrats’ electoral success has never translated into policy victories.

    If Democrats had never had any ‘policy victories’, Obama wouldn’t have been let near a ballot box, let alone be able to win the Presidency.

    Can we have the decent points you make not mixed will all the hyperbole? Thanks.

  93. 93
    amk says:

    mclaren

    You’ll feel right at home at GOS aka dkos aka the poutrage express.

  94. 94
    JWL says:

    “But the party just hasn’t been much of a failure over the past 30 years”.

    OK, so you don’t mind your party caught in a right wing undertow.

    Why not get it over with and begin voting republican?

  95. 95
    patrick II says:

    @Lancelot Link:
    I won’t bother to list all of the policies from FDR through LBJ that democrats at one time stood for, especially related constraining business and helping the poor. Read some old speeches by FDR, Truman, Jack and Bobby Kennedy and LBJ to get a flavor of what real liberal politicians would say and stand up for.
    You can pick a couple of cherries if you want. Racism was a problem of long standing, but I will remind you that it was LBJ and democrats that passed the civil rights act causing those southern politicians who disagreed to leave the party. As for the Vietnam war, it was wrong, it was a mistake, but that was not so clear at the time in the context of a very real existential threat of the Soviet Union.

  96. 96
    Peter says:

    @patrick II: That’s much more clear, thank you.

  97. 97
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @mclaren: American citizens had the right to peacefully assemble and protest government policies in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s? Yeah, except for those citizens crossing the Edmund Pettus bridge or those citizens at Kent State or… Dude.

  98. 98

    We could pick cherries and throw pits at each other all night, but I’d rather not; I have better things to do. I’m just saying that the people who run this country have never been perfect, and that this is no time to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  99. 99

    We could pick cherries and throw pits at each other all night, but I’d rather not; I have better things to do. I’m just saying that the people who run this country have never been perfect, and that this is no time to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  100. 100
    patrick II says:

    @Lancelot Link: I certainly have sympathy for not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. But at this time I am aspiring just to reach good. The general trend of policies in this country is worse than at any time in my life. Perhaps I am just getting old and grumpy, but rich were never richer, poor never poorer (or at least for many years), we have never been so spied upon controlled and misinformed. We can’t even get ourselves to admit to global warming because it might actually cost somebody something somewhere. Never have we had so many dead end policies – stupid wars, financial entities almost blowing up the economy and then getting paid more than ever with public money. A START treaty that doesn’t seem to want to go anywhere (new cold war anyone? — do we actually like 1500 nuclear missles aimed at our cities?) Like I said, I’d settle for good.
    Anyhow, I’ll stop. Perhaps I am just getting tired and grumpy.
    I wish you a good night.

  101. 101
    bob h says:

    About 45 million fewer people voted in 2010 than in 2008, and those who did were mostly older and white. In 2012 I’d be willing to bet the number will exceed that of 2008, and it will be a more Democratic demographic. Palin-Christie will go down in flames.

  102. 102
    Lysana says:

    All I know is mclaren lost me when he used the term “gate rape.” Had it up to here with white straight cismales who think groping is rape because it happens to them all of a sudden.

  103. 103
    M. Furious says:

    I gotta get with Patrick II on this. The fact that public policy, attitudes and discourse are where they are today, and Democrats have been in “power” half of that time is far more dispiriting than any bright side that MY or DougJ can scrape together.

    To employ a tortured sports analogy, we’ve had just as many men on the field, pretty equal time of possession, and managed a few touchdowns, but mostly field goals, while the right has scored at will and racked up WAY more yardage.

  104. 104
    liberal says:

    None of that sounds to me like a political party that’s having trouble persuading people to vote for it.

    This entire misses the entire point.

    True, the Dems score some victories. The claim is that the Dems should be able to do quite a bit better than they do.

    The writer is conflating absolute performance with relative performance.

  105. 105
    PanAmerican says:

    So which poster at yglesias’ is mclaren?

    For whatever reason, the perpetual political poutragers can’t stop themselves from using sexual assault as rhetorical tool.

    Blah, blah, blah….. It’s always some grand conspiracy against THEM but the solution always rests outside their personal political sphere.

  106. 106
    liberal says:

    @Evolved Deep Southerner:

    Well, when you consider that one party is full of primitive, fucked-up, incompetent and crooked white trash who say outrageous shit all the time, you’ve got to wonder why the Democrats don’t win more.

    Exactly. The point isn’t how well they’re doing, the question is are they doing as well as they could be.

  107. 107

    Dear Lord, where to begin?

    “…It’s true that in the real world the poor ballot design in Palm Beach County, the Supreme Court, and the Electoral College put George W Bush in the White House but none of that is the fault of Democratic Party messaging tactics….”

    Half true. The fault of Democratic Party messaging is that it did not immediately (i.e., within hours of the Brooks Brothers riot) focus on the theft of the 2000 election, to the exclusion of all else. That should have been the only message on each day since, until each person involved in it went to prison, the Republican Party were abolished, and each of its constituents permanently disenfranchised.

    “…Democrats controlled the House for 18 out of those 30 years, and controlled the Senate for 14 out of 30 years. In the new year, they’ll control two out of the three branches of government. None of that sounds to me like a political party that’s having trouble persuading people to vote for it.”

    …or that was able to exploit its victories or gain any freedom of action from them.

    Yglesias writes well, but he has never had any grasp of history and I am beginning to think that he cannot even look around him and understand his surroundings.

  108. 108
    Raenelle says:

    I get that stats can show that the Dems aren’t the electoral losers we all assume they are. Good to know.

    But here’s my bottom line. Social Security is the Dems’ defining issue. If they agree to cuts, if they don’t fight with everything they’ve got to defend Social Security, then they are not Dems. I don’t give a fuck about them.

    The Dems have the wind at their back on this issue. Even if they didn’t, even if the polls were reversed, they should still defend Social Security. They either stand for something, or they are just less crazy plutocrats. That’s the Dem party. They even ran on it in 2010. We’re not as bad as they are.

    I understand that having an Emperor like Claudius is better by quite a bit over Caligula. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to get all hopeful and excited about Claudius. The electoral choices in this country are beginning to sound like the choice the victims of 9-11 faced–jump or fire.

    So I’ve decided that my line is Social Security. The Dems either stand for that, or I’m just retreating. I’ll go read Boethius and listen to the Dead and this declining empire can go to hell without me watching.

  109. 109
    brewmn says:

    I simply can’t believe that anyone on this thread is willing to defend the policy performance of the Democrats over the last thirty years. Or were all of those posts complaining about the travesty of our recent adventures abroad and Gilded Age-levels of economic inequality no longer operative bacause we’ve managed to elect three presidents who, in spite of having a “D” after their names, have governed to the right of Richard Nixon?

    This is not advocate blowing up the only non-insane party in American politics, but come on. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step in recovery, and this country has been speeding rightward to its self-destruction for all of my adult life, while Democrats have nothing to slow it down.

  110. 110
    Raenelle says:

    I just thought of the perfect mascot for the Dems–George McClellan, the Dem candidate in 1864. He was brilliant, charismatic, accomplished. He just didn’t have any lust for fighting. He would win, then retreat, win, then retreat (7 Days Battles). No killer instinct (Antietam), just “the slows.”

    That is so us. The Napoleon of the West, with the one little, tiny, itsy-bitsy problem–he wouldn’t fight. He ALWAYS thought he was outnumbered, out-resourced, and he NEVER was. He wouldn’t move unless he could be sure in advance that everything was perfect, and he was constitutionally incapable of understanding when he had the advantage. And, then, finally, he became the candidate who wanted to compromise with a South that could barely feed itself.

    With all its advantages, the North did not begin to win the Civil War until they found a couple of generals who were willing to fight. And our modern-day Dems get all nervous and embarrassed when fighting Dems try to rise from the muck.

    Those stats just show that the dead body of the Dems is still moving, because no one cares enough to just go knock it over.

  111. 111
    ruemara says:

    @Lee from NC:

    You see, that right there is the biggest zombie lie. You think that Obama is too focused on bipartisanship so he gives in to republicans? Here’s a newsflash, if every democratic representative was a moderate to progressive dem, we’d have every striking pony that liberals want. Obama isn’t compromising with Republicans, he’s compromising with neocon democrats. It’s nothing more than the usual democratic failure to tow a line.

  112. 112

    Democrats win elections. They just can’t win their own administrations.

  113. 113

    @Evolved Deep Southerner:

    Well, when you consider that one party is full of primitive, fucked-up, incompetent and crooked white trash who say outrageous shit all the time, you’ve got to wonder why the Democrats don’t win more.

    Exactly.

    The reason they don’t win more is that they compromise for imagined short-term political safety, e.g. national security and war bullshit.

  114. 114
    Trakker says:

    But the party just hasn’t been much of a failure over the past 30 years.

    Someone has a very low bar for success.

    Those of us who are over 60 will tell you that the last 30 years have been a freaking disaster, regardless of who has won the most elections.

  115. 115
    lol says:

    mclaren is a textbook example of why the Professional Left gets sent back to the kids table time and time again.

    They have no understanding of politics, no understanding of government, no understanding of policy and most of all, no patience whatsoever. It’s just whiney resentment politics that’s generally indistinguishable from teabaggers.

    The health care bill wasn’t perfect so they wanted to kill it. And why not? Being largely upper-class and white, it’s not like the vast majority of them have anything to worry about in the near future.

    The financial reform bill wasn’t perfect so they wanted to kill it. And why not? Being largely upper-class and white, it’s not like the vast majority of them have anything to worry about mortgage or credit-wise in the near future.

    The stimulus bill wasn’t perfect so they wanted to kill it. And why not? Being largely upper-class and white, it’s not like they have to worry about unemployment anytime in the near future.

    And of course, they have no solutions for doing better aside from tossing out meaningless buzzwords John Edwards-style: SHOW LEADERSHIP, USE BULLEY PULPIT, etc as though there’s a button one can simply press to make them magically make all their problems go away.

    Fuck the blacks. Fuck the hispanics. Fuck the poor. They want their cake now and it better be made from 100% all-natural organic ingredients or else it’s all going in the trash, even though it’s not even their birthday party.

  116. 116

    @lol:

    Professional Left have no understanding of politics… And of course, they have no solutions for doing better aside from tossing out meaningless buzzwords John Edwards-style: SHOW LEADERSHIP, USE BULLEY PULPIT, etc as though there’s a button one can simply press to make them magically make all their problems go away.

    The whole point is to stop thinking in terms of magic and start doing the hard work of leadership and maintaining a consistent message and fighting for what’s logical and right. It’s slower and harder, but the results will be better in the long-term. If you don’t fight for what’s logical and ethical, then you are seen as not standing for anything much except for hopes of re-election.

    Your solution of not fighting just lets the Republicans win when they don’t deserve it and to let them move the country 20% rightwards every ten years then have the Democrats move it 1% back towards the center. We’ll see in 10 or 20 years whether you are tired of that pattern.

    MLK was the greatest American last century, imo. Why? He showed leadership and was consistently logical and ethical and stayed on message and fought for what was right. That’s the winning formula for success.

    What you call “understanding of politics” is really acceptance of the current political envirenment, which was caused by failure to fight in the previous political envirenment. And so on.

  117. 117
    Peter says:

    @lol: mclaren isn’t a textbook example of anything but mental illness.

  118. 118
    Ruthless says:

    True.
    But it’s hard to not be irritated when you look at the voting public and realize that probably 60% of them are completely disconnected from reality and, if we had a functioning media and decent education that taught critical thinking skills, Democrats would theoretically always win except those areas where sheer bigotry dominates. But most Americans don’t actually want a system of gov’t that gets most of its meager taxes from the middle class and uses them to build a humongous, unnecessary military and to subsidize second yachts for the wealthy. It’s just that the general public is so ridiculously ignorant that that’s what they vote for.

    The Republicans winning in 2010 was depressing not so much because the Republicans will ruin the country (though they will try), it’s depressing because it definitively proves how stupid Americans are and how broken our country is. How can people not be mad that the party that destroyed the country, then tried to thwart the clean-up (and largely succeeded) is rewarded?

  119. 119

    @Ruthless:

    the general public is so ridiculously ignorant that that’s what they vote for.

    But the Democrats pander to that ignorance rather than fighting for the truth and educating the public.

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