Wishing and hoping

Ezra Klein thinks that Republicans will shut down the government:

April 8th. That’s the deadline for Republicans and Democrats to reach a deal on funding for the remainder of 2011. No deal? Then the government shuts down. And if I were a betting man, that’s where my money would be right now: the negotiations have become too acrimonious, the issues at their heart too numerous and personal to the parties, to make a deal likely even in normal circumstances. But in circumstances in which newly elected Republicans are trying to prove to their base that they won’t catch Beltway fever and compromise while Democrats are trying to prove they won’t get pushed around by a party that controls a minority of the federal government? A deal seems near impossible.

There’s an old Cedric the Entertainer routine from Kings of Comedy, about how if you’re late for a show, you can either hope that no one is in your seats because you don’t want to have to confront them or you can wish that someone is in your seats so you have the pleasure of kicking them out. He puts a racial spin on it (white people hope, black people wish) that won’t make any sense to you if you’ve ever been around white people in Boston or New York, but it’s an interesting distinction nevertheless.

Democrats have to stop hoping the Republicans don’t do something nuts and start wishing that they would. The most impressive political campaign I’ve ever been around was Eric Massa’s 2008 campaign. The guy is as crazy as a shithouse rat, but anything you brought up as a possible tactic by his opponent, he’d say “I wish he would do X, so I can come back at him with Y”. One of the key points in the race turned out to be an epic, unprovoked on-air bitch slap, to use Josh Marshall’s terminology, that scared his opponent out of participating in debates (which actually turned local conservative media against his opponent).

Maybe that race was special in that it pitted an insane closeted gay sexual harasser (Massa) against an alcoholic shot-gun toting wife abuser (Randy Kuhl), but when it comes to the budget impasse, Democrats should remember that voters are already turned off by Republican overreach. If Republicans shut down the government next week, Democrats can find a way to make them pay politically.






62 replies
  1. 1
    moe99 says:

    Oh I’m sure Democrats can find a way to make the Republicans pay politically, but whether they have the cojones to do so is another question.

  2. 2
    New Yorker says:

    OK, shut the fucking thing down on April 8th, have the GOP implode and cave in and re-open it by June, I get to visit Crater Lake NP this summer, and Obama wins in a landslide in 2012.

    Is this too much to ask? Probable answer: yes. OK, well, maybe it’s time to look into emergency alternate vacation plans this summer. Banff and Jasper are in a less insane country and I’ve never been to either…

  3. 3
    Chris says:

    One of the key points in the race turned out to be an epic, unprovoked on-air bitch slap, to use Josh Marshall’s terminology, that scared his opponent out of participating in debates (which actually turned local conservative media against his opponent).

    What was the on-air bitch slap?

  4. 4
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    I’m liking the quote from Jon Stewart’s Libyan-American professor guest more and more. To paraphrase: Today’s Republicans have G. W. Bush’s intellect, Berlusconi’s morals and Putin’s heart. As I laughed out loud, I found myself hoping that his university is not a state-funded one (he teaches in Texas), because there will be several Republican FOIA requests on his email before the week is out if it is.

  5. 5
    Zifnab says:

    If Republicans shut down the government next week, Democrats can find a way to make them pay politically.

    Absolutely. But it’s an uphill fight.

    They’ll have to fight FOX News. They’ll have to fight wall-to-wall Sunday Morning shows packed with GOP apologists. They’ll have to fight whatever nonsense the Tea Party shits out. They’ll have to fight their own conservative Dems who would be happy to capitulate so they can get back to their cocktail parties with David Brooks.

    Most of all, they’ll have to fight all the big businesses that nominally support them on condition that government money keeps feeding the corporate beast.

    If Obama and the Dems can strong-arm the GOP controlled House into cutting military funding, raising taxes, or simply rolling back the more spiteful budget cuts it will be a major coup. But there’s going to be a lot of noise in the wake of a shut down, and it’s going to be aimed at the Democrats 24/7.

  6. 6
    WaterGirl says:

    I just received email from my IL senator Dick Durbin, asking for contributions for Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who is one of the good guys in the senate. One of the best, in my opinion. I gave what I could, but this is a tough month for me, so I couldn’t donate as much as i would like.

    If so inclined, you can donate to Sherrod Brown to help keep him in the senate.

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    Any Democrat that is hoping the Republicans play nice should really get out of politics. The twin motivations for running as a Democrat ought to be love of country and hatred of all things Republican. If the Republicans want to shut down the country, lets have the country rise up and shut down the Republican party. Someone should declare April to be Punch a Teabagger month.

  8. 8
    fasteddie9318 says:

    I’m pretty sure Boehner could bite the head off of one live kitten per day from now until November 2012, on camera, and Democrats would be either unwilling or unable to make him pay politically for it. Gingrich paid for the last shutdown because Clinton was good at that sort of thing. Today’s Democrats? Not so much.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    khead says:

    Gee, I wonder what the furloughed federal workers can do to fill their time?

  11. 11
    beltane says:

    @fasteddie9318: If Washington Democrats aren’t up to the fight than it will fall upon rank-and-file Democrats to pick up the slack. We need less despair and more venom as far as I’m concerned.

  12. 12
    Comrade DougJ says:

    @beltane:

    I think the WH has to be fairly careful about how they handle it. I think the above-it-all approach has real merit. But Congress, and you and me, should fight like hell.

  13. 13
    Yutsano says:

    @khead: Me personally I’m gonna severely steam clean my condo and probably run to my parents’ ranch for a few days. Depending on how our health care gets paid for I’ll do a couple of medical things as well. I got plans. Oh trust me I got plans.

  14. 14
    Chris says:

    Thanks, Doug.

  15. 15
    Cris says:

    @khead: Good question, because the Hatch Act puts some limits on it.

  16. 16
    RossInDetroit says:

    Democrats can find a way to make them pay politically.

    But they won’t because they just haven’t got it in them. This is a political opportunity on a silver platter and I fully expect it to play out as all the others have. No downside for the GOP.

  17. 17
    Yutsano says:

    @Cris: The Hatch Act won’t apply if we’re furloughed. If we are not on tour of duty we are free to pursue our own interests. It’s only when we’re actually at work or using government resources that the Hatch Act kicks in.

  18. 18
    JGabriel says:

    moe99:

    I’m sure Democrats can find a way to make the Republicans pay politically, but whether they have the cojones to do so is another question.

    It won’t require cojones. Most of the country will blame Republicans for the shutdown, while the Tea Partiers will burst with glee and take credit for it — thereby confirming to the rest of the country that it, in fact, is the Republicans fault.

    The GOP gets to please their base (in both senses of the word), while they piss off the independents. It’s pretty much a gift for the Dems.

    .

  19. 19
    Alwhite says:

    Just because they can does not mean they will. I’m not even sure yet that the Dems will allow them to shut down the government. You know there are a few, marginally smart, Rs that are begging the Ds to save their pathetic asses & I will not be surprised when some Ds do exactly that.

  20. 20
    Yutsano says:

    @Alwhite: If they had a decent Pelosi-like leader who could whip them in line then I’d agree with you. But getting the last CR passed was like pulling teeth. The teabaggers consider this their big showdown against the Great Black Hope. There won’t be a third bite of this apple.

  21. 21
    Cris says:

    @Yutsano: That’s cool, I didn’t know that. My dad (career DOD) pretty well stayed out of all political activity just to be sure.

  22. 22
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I’m feeling slightly better, my Gi Bill payments should continue, I just hope that if a government shutdown happens, it doesn’t continue for too long (which I don’t think it will).

  23. 23
    Tony J says:

    Reminds me of a story.

    Way back in the day, one of the Chinese Emperors figured that the best way to make sure everyone obeyed his laws was to make death the punishment for every single crime, however minor. It worked, everyone was too scared to challenge him.

    One day, late in his reign, a bunch of soldiers recieved orders to join up with his main army by a certain date so he could invade one of his neighbours. They marched towards the rally point, but on the way they stopped in a field with some apple trees. It was hot, they were thirsty, so they ate a lot of apples. Sitting in the shade of the apple trees they dozed off, and didn’t wake up until the following morning.

    One of the soldiers, a grizzled old veteran, sat there scratching his beard and said to his comrades –

    “Remind me again, what’s the punishment for rebellion?”

    “Death.” Replied the other soldiers.

    “Right. And what’s the punishment for being late?”

    “Death.” Replied the other soldiers.

    The old veteran scratched his beard some more, stood up and hefted his spear.

    “Well, brothers. let me tell you something. We’re late.”

    Six months later that Emperor was overthrown by the rebels and the grizzled old veteran was sitting on his throne.

    The moral of the story? When you’re fucked either way, you might as well – try – to make a fight of it.

  24. 24
    Elia says:

    Maybe that race was special in that it pitted an insane closeted gay sexual harasser (Massa) against an alcoholic shot-gun toting wife abuser (Randy Kuhl), but when it comes to the budget impasse, Democrats should remember that voters are already turned off by Republican overreach. If Republicans shut down the government next week, Democrats can find a way to make them pay politically.

    Stuff like this is the reason why I still love politics, even when it’s an awful kabuki sham and we’re this close to being Mayans.

    And to your point: I agree. Democrats would be well served if they understood that the macho posturing Americans love needs to be done during the campaign; just throwing a corporate-friendly, anti-choice veteran on the ballot isn’t going to matter if he still campaigns like he’s afraid of his own shadow.

  25. 25
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Alwhite: I would only save their asses if I could knife their backs if I were them. If they are “begging” I want the begging to be public and humiliating. Sorry if that seems irresponsible, but Donald Trump’s behavior leads me to be believe that the fools behind this “guvment is bad all the time” crap need to have their corporate welfare subsidy payments cut off for awhile.

  26. 26
    ericblair says:

    @Yutsano:

    If they had a decent Pelosi-like leader who could whip them in line then I’d agree with you. But getting the last CR passed was like pulling teeth.

    That’s my read: gooper internecine warfare with Dems either trying to cave in as usual and failing this time, or, possibly but not probably, stirring the pot a bit with deal offers they know the baggers won’t take. This is what happens when the lunatics take over the asylum, ya luzers.

    I’m not sure how close we’ll get to April 8 before the powers-that-be in the executive branch actually figure this sucker’s going down and start issuing some guidance on what’s being shutdown and what’s not. I’m sure high-level discussions are going on but there doesn’t seem to be much filtering down to the grunts yet.

  27. 27
    Yutsano says:

    @ericblair:

    ’m not sure how close we’ll get to April 8 before the powers-that-be in the executive branch actually figure this sucker’s going down and start issuing some guidance on what’s being shutdown and what’s not

    All the offices have already designated who is essential personnel and who gets a forced vacation. In my case that’s my entire floor. The folks I really feel sorry for are the security guys we contract out to, they most likely will lose their pay and not get it back once the lights come back on.

  28. 28
    Shoemaker-Levy 9 says:

    If Republicans shut down the government next week, Democrats can find a way to make them pay politically.

    Sure, they can. Will they? Seems like we just had this discussion back in the olden days of December.

    @Zifnab:

    They’ll have to fight FOX News. They’ll have to fight wall-to-wall Sunday Morning shows packed with GOP apologists.

    They were facing that fight last November-December and decided on a grand compromise (or capitulation if you prefer) instead. Now Ezra Klein says they’ve run out of compromises. Not sure I’ve ever seen a situation that the Dems couldn’t compromise their way out of, but we’ll see.

  29. 29
    merrinc says:

    @beltane:

    This, this, THIS, a thousand times this.

  30. 30
    NR says:

    @RossInDetroit: Yes, exactly.

    We heard the meme WAY back when Obama first took office, way back in the stimulus debate. Obama and the Democrats would be polite, bipartisan, and bend over backwards to be reasonable. The Republicans would hoist themselves on their own petards by being assholes and then the Democrats would gain points with the public because they’d been so polite and bipartisan and reasonable.

    Then health care, financial reform, climate change, and the Bush tax cuts came and went with Obama and the Democrats still being reasonable and the Republicans still being assholes. And the result was: Republicans ended up taking back the House and won enough seats in the Senate that they’re pretty much guaranteed to take it over next year.

    So far this strategy has gotten us a bunch of Republican legislation and LOST the House. So I ask: When is this constant conciliation going to pay off?

  31. 31
    OzoneR says:

    @Shoemaker-Levy 9:

    They were facing that fight last November-December and decided on a grand compromise (or capitulation if you prefer) instead.

    No, they faced it in September and Obama was the only one fighting. By the time everyone else decided to start fighting, they had already lost.

  32. 32
    OzoneR says:

    @NR:

    So I ask: When is this constant conciliation going to pay off?

    I don’t know if it will pay off. I know it’s the only chance anyone has of actually getting anything done.

    Otherwise, we’re just doomed to endless bickering and rhetorical civil wars.

  33. 33
    ericblair says:

    @Yutsano:

    All the offices have already designated who is essential personnel and who gets a forced vacation.

    I seem to recall you’re IRS: this isn’t your area, but I’m gathering that refund processing would stop as well, amirite? Unless the disbursement’s already been authorized and on its way to the bank.

  34. 34
    MBunge says:

    “Democrats have to stop hoping the Republicans don’t do something nuts and start wishing that they would.”

    And bloggers need to remember that this isn’t just a damn game and that real people will get really hurt if the Republicans do something nuts.

    Mike

  35. 35
    Downpuppy says:

    Sorry, but an insane closeted gay sexual harasser against an alcoholic shot-gun toting wife abuser is the new normal.

  36. 36
    MBunge says:

    @NR: When is this constant conciliation going to pay off?

    It already has paid off multiple times in achieving positive policies for the American people. Now, it hasn’t produced a lot of occasions for lefties to boast about winning dick-measuring contests with Republicans, so maybe that’s what you’re talking about.

    Mike

  37. 37
    Emerald says:

    @JGabriel:

    Most of the country will blame Republicans for the shutdown, while the Tea Partiers will burst with glee and take credit for it — thereby confirming to the rest of the country that it, in fact, is the Republicans fault.

    This. Fortunately, it won’t require Dem boxes of any size. And I do think the White House ought to float blamelessly above it all (which would, natch, further convince the PUMAs that Obama is a Republican).

  38. 38
    Fuck U6: A More Accurate Measure of the Total Amount of Duck-Fuckery in the Economy says:

    Yutsano: That is the case for many, if not most, contractors.

    OzoneR: Nick, I barely had time to miss you.

  39. 39
    rikryah says:

    that’s my favorite Ced bit from Kings of Comedy.

    I’m at the point where I welcome the shutdown. not for the people it will hurt, but there’s no other way to show just how absolutely batshyt crazy these mofos are.

    so, bring it.

  40. 40
    Alex says:

    @MBunge:

    And bloggers need to remember that this isn’t just a damn game and that real people will get really hurt if the Republicans do something nuts.

    The other question is what will it take to avoid a government shutdown and/or a default on the debt ceiling. If the Democrats have to give up on everything in order to even try to pass a budget, it’s probably worth it to just let it be shut down.

    Yesterday the news was that the Democrats had given up on everything. Today the news is that it isn’t enough for the Republicans. It isn’t like this is a fight between the Senate and the House, it’s an internal fight between the Republicans.

  41. 41
    NR says:

    @MBunge: Um, no. The conciliation strategy hasn’t produced good policies for the country. It’s produced a lot of wins for Republicans and their corporate backers.

    Republicans get Republican policies, like a Republican health care plan, and then stand back and watch as the backlash against Republican ideas (like mandates with no public option) is directed against Democrats.

    So I ask again: When is the conciliation strategy going to pay off?

  42. 42
    JGabriel says:

    @MBunge:

    … bloggers need to remember that this isn’t just a damn game and that real people will get really hurt if the Republicans do something nuts.

    Agreed. But you know what would be even better?

    If Republicans remembered that. And cared.

    .

  43. 43
    JGabriel says:

    @Downpuppy:

    Sorry, but an insane closeted gay sexual harasser against an alcoholic shot-gun toting wife abuser is the new normal.

    True, but that’s usually the Republican primary, not the general election.

    .

  44. 44
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Zifnab:

    If Republicans shut down the government next week, Democrats can find a way to make them pay politically.

    Absolutely. But it’s an uphill fight

    In my experience, those are the best fights to have.

    The stakes never lessen that way, you see.

  45. 45
    AnnaN says:

    My husband and I are both Feds so we will have absolutely no income if this shut down comes to pass.

    There is a plan in place – we are to show up on Monday, put affairs in order – get payroll run through Friday/Monday morning so people get their last paycheck. We are required to put in two hours and then get the hell out of Dodge. Not sure what’s going to happen to the contractors. Their salaries are already paid for through the end of the fiscal year, but they won’t be allowed on site because of security issues. It’s a sticky legal situation that hasn’t been officially worked out at this point.

    As far as a furlough is concerned – our line office in NOAA has been told that we need to cut our budget 10% from last fiscal year which would require people to take a day off per two week pay period through the end of FY11. That, and the expected layoff of many contracted employees will require me to take on a LOT more work for a 10% pay cut.

  46. 46
    Cerberus says:

    @MBunge:

    No it hasn’t.

    I’m sorry, I like Obama, I think he has been doing the best he can.

    But we have a couple of tourniquets on a missing limb, nothing even remotely close enough to have any real positive effect. Every promised positive effect turning into 0-very little real effect to those of us playing the “how long until eviction” game or going without real medical treatment because functional health care is a pipe dream we need to learn how to do without.

    So these “oh hey, we have all of these positive improvements” and “Obama has passed historic awesome things that only petty leftists could ever have a problem with” statements are unmitigated bullshit.

    And highly offensive considering they are coming from the centrist fucks who like these policies entirely because they don’t rock the boat, who care only about their white middle class status quo and if it continues to get rough for those of us on the streets well then fuck us.

    But somehow it’s us who are “playing games”?

    Fuck you, asshole.

    Goddamn do I hate centrists who think they get to “own the liberal movement” because they like Obama and thought Bush sucked.

  47. 47
    Cerberus says:

    @Alex:

    Also this.

    There does need to be a level where the concessions demanded or the trends started are so unacceptable in their real damage to people that compromise is impossible.

    I wonder if our political class, just like the rest of us, assume that because this seems like the last dying scream of old white resentment, that we can just weather it out and so turtling and surrendering to at least save the process if nothing else is worth it, because we’ll rebuild after their gone.

    The problem is that, we’ve had 30 years at least of that primal scream and that reflex. After the “crisis is over” as it were, do our political class know how to fix it again and will they fix it again? They certainly didn’t during 2008-2010 and even if we enter a period where Republicans have their 27% and nothing else, will all the status quo conservative dems and centrist dems allow the type of radical social changes that have been so long overdue (by which I mean something beyond a return to 1950s economic policy, possibly something more in line with European economic policy)?

    Somehow I doubt it.

  48. 48

    @rikryah: i’m with you. i love the “i wish a motherfucker would” principle because sometimes it’s the only thing that works.

  49. 49
    OzoneR says:

    @NR:

    The conciliation strategy hasn’t produced good policies for the country.

    You can’t say nothing “good” has come out of the last two years, you just can’t. You can say nothing has been earth shattering, but we’ve never had earth shattering, at least not at once.

    In the end, the only thing left is to keep the country from turning into Angola, which I think some on the left want it to.

  50. 50
    OzoneR says:

    @Cerberus:

    They certainly didn’t during 2008-2010 and even if we enter a period where Republicans have their 27%

    Sorry, but McCain got 46%.

    will all the status quo conservative dems and centrist dems allow the type of radical social changes that have been so long overdue (by which I mean something beyond a return to 1950s economic policy, possibly something more in line with European economic policy)?

    as long as their constituents keep telling them to, and keep voting for them over more liberal primary challengers, then yeah.

  51. 51
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR:

    We heard the meme WAY back when Obama first took office, way back in the stimulus debate. Obama and the Democrats would be polite, bipartisan, and bend over backwards to be reasonable. The Republicans would hoist themselves on their own petards by being assholes and then the Democrats would gain points with the public because they’d been so polite and bipartisan and reasonable.

    And here we are, with a bad round of Congressional elections and yet… plummeting poll numbers for Republicans and a well-attested sense that they’re out of control ideologues. Polls aren’t showing that people fault Democrats for any of this. Polls aren’t showing that Democrats have lost the debate.

    And yet, as if on cue, every left-of-center blog is filled today with complaints and lamentations about how poorly Democrats handle everything. Why is the consensus view that Democrats are fucking up everything? It doesn’t match up with anything that I’ve seen about actual public opinion. It matches up fairly well with the longstanding wish lots of blogosphere people have for Democrats to be more proactive and confrontational, but what is it that’s bringing it all back up?

  52. 52
    Cerberus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Well, maybe, and I don’t speak for everyone, there’s the sense that everyone saw that the Republicans were out-of-control ideologues by 2006 as well, and again in 2008.

    And well, here we are in 2010. Here’s what we got in 2008-2010 compared to the relative amount of strength we had compared to other times (and yes, I am fully aware who deserves all the blame for that and its not Obama).

    Basically it seems like there is no level of over-reach that can’t be rationalized. No amount of compromise that is resisted and it seems like we’re drifting further and further from positive incremental change towards simply collapsing at a slightly less catastrophic rate than is comforting to stomach.

    The polls and the “atmosphere” never seems to get translated often enough into power and more damning, electoral power never seems to get translated into legislative power. 2008-2010 was dominated by Republican game-playing and centrist Democrats playing King for the Day to make policy that was already hard to swallow even worse. And that’s worrisome.

    And I think that’s where you find your answer for why there is this “left-of-center” whining as you call it.

    Many in the progressive movement have realized that the best changes and powers have not come through legislative activity in a good long time. Sure, we care about certain acts, but it’s been so co-opted, it’s been so long since a really good run of genuine progressive legislation, that it isn’t the focus and it’s not a hill most of us are going to die on anytime soon.

    Basically, they are working on social and economic attitudes, doing the work of a movement and activists on the ground to change minds, shift attitudes, work through the subconscious bigotries that make us so easy to set against each other (middle class vs poor, women vs black, etc…). Trying to undo the fog of complacency on the environment, economy, social justice, civil rights, and so on. Radicalizing the moderate, re-energizing the radical, and breaking the cognitive dissonance of the “reasonable conservative” to make a new John Cole.

    And that’s the conflict.

    Basically those focused on this don’t really feel they should take a backseat to the requests of short-term political arguments from people who have gladly ignored their advice, their offers of aid, and who engage in routine hippie punching. That they should shut up on these long-term strategies, because it’s somehow believed that if we all pretend that what we are getting is the best we could ever get then the democrats get a permanent majority where…what exactly would get passed? (Yes, this is rhetorical, I understand the need to keep things from getting worse, this is why I mobilize for Democrats and never fail a vote and ensure all my friends and family vote no matter what).

    And really, it’s a common fight within said movements as well.

    If gay people shut up the “Radical Sisters” and the “Dykes on Bikes” and the poly people and the BDSM community, then straight America will somehow forget how much they hate fags and will grant us unlimited rights and those groups will somehow stop being used against us.

    If black people somehow stop rap musicians releasing albums, then white America will stop fearing “gangstas” and economically punishing majority black districts.

    And you get the idea.

    I understand the place for both. Those who call for radicalization, those who call for moderation. And I really do respect the way Obama has tried to navigate the clusterfuck and at least pull out a Clinton embarrassment rather than something truly hideous.

    But it’s hard not to sour on some of the slop, especially as there seems little good sign that there’s a strong reward for requested silence. So Dems continue capitulating, Republicans look worse, and then…

    And more importantly, without the radicals, without the urge to dream bigger than maybe one day we’ll see another 90s bubble to temporarily enrich a white middle class again, then what use political victory?

    Without energy, without pressure countering corporate dollars, then how do we stop Democratic political victory meaning we get to live in David Brooks’ world instead of Sarah Palin’s?

    This is a more important question than I think both sides want to admit.

    We live in interesting times. The problem with interesting times is that they tend to suck for the people living through them.

  53. 53
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cerberus: Sure, but none of that is new today. Like you said, it’s a longstanding fissure in liberal politics, and, really, a fissure in politics generally. But today is when it bubbled up again, in the context of the budget battle/gov’t shutdown. That’s what caught me by surprise.

  54. 54
    Cerberus says:

    @OzoneR:

    Well, yes, he did. But we had 60 dems in the senate and a strong majority in the house and a bunch of republican intransigence, some centrists deciding to be Kings for a Day for corporate power and policies that started at compromise and compromised from there and that was something often noted to be rather rare in terms of relative power.

    My question is if we saw the Republicans fall to 27% support in elections, would this translate into good solid liberal policy? Over the centrists? Over the corporate backed? Over the fearful? Closing Gitmo had massive bipartisan resistance over fear campaigns. Closing a concentration camp…in the 21st century…for a first-world nation.

    How do we move from that Democratic Party to one which means a damn? And is it not more useful to build up the movement instead so that democrats and republicans are as afraid of pissing of liberals and moderates as they are psychotic Beck fans?

    as long as their constituents keep telling them to, and keep voting for them over more liberal primary challengers, then yeah.

    Oh hey, then maybe telling the movement seeking to radicalize moderates and entrench liberal ideas into society to shut the fuck up and instead sell moderate band-aids as glorious triumphs of liberalism is a really dumb one.

    If people are voting conservative, either for conservatives proper or conservative light, then it seems we need to, instead of punching the DFHs, work to create more of them. And maybe that’s a sign that we need such firebrands more than ever what with the massive propaganda force that is the MSM.

    Or we could surrender and say that’s hard and hey, I’m going to retire soon, so let’s just fight hard enough to protect the white middle class long enough to leave the wreckage for the next generation.

    Since I’m in the dumping ground generation, I hope you’ll forgive me if I have a slight bit more investment in the long-term struggles (and again the caveat, to stave off the knee-jerk cognitive dissonant response, I vote, I get my friends to vote, I pound the streets to get others to vote and I vote Democratic except in cases where the Dem is guaranteed and so vote Green for strategic reasons).

  55. 55
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cerberus: Sadly, I think it’s going to take the slow die-off of the generation that was young in 1968 and moved into political life in the 1990s (like Bill Clinton and Chris Matthews) for a stronger and more activist strain of liberal politics to arrive. Those are the people who internalized all too well the idea that The American People like hardhats more than hippies. But that extinction-level event is going to be so long in coming that IMHO the left-of-center crowd is going to stew and seethe and have to accept frustrating half-measures as victories for a long, long time. I wish that wasn’t true, but that’s how it feels to me, at age 39.

  56. 56
    Cerberus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Well the budget does suck, to be fair.

    I mean, yeah concessions are needed to pass something, government shutdown is worse, etc, etc…

    But when there have been some obscene fights against so many necessary institutions, some ugly ass compromises which are hard to swallow for those who believe in the institutions and the people who need help rather than who will pull through politically…

    Yeah.

    I mean look at many of the defenses or even attacks, they aren’t so much on whether or not this is avoidable and how much that sucks and dear bob does that suck, but rather about long-term views for the “movement”. Whether we accept compromise as inevitable and learn to treat it as glorious victory, because, that will lead to over-reach and inevitable political rewards. Or whether we are wary of that, owing to the unreliability of that approach to bring genuine positive reform over the more firebrand approach.

    Also the additional consideration that what might be “necessary” for our politicians and what our response on the street should be may be radically different answers (aka, maybe the Dems have to swallow some bitter poison, but liberals should be roasting people over the coals and trumpeting its poison to counteract the narratives that such poisons are “good for us, owing to our need to be punished for our sins of being hippies”)

    Not to mention, it just might not pay to continue ceding ground in general. Our safety net is swiss cheese, we’ve even lost the ability to correctly count our unemployed. Our civil rights have been under such attack, that we can’t even muster outrage to them being eliminated or ignored anymore. Our universities and school systems have been running on fumes for decades and are pretty much reaching a point where simple enthusiasm can’t keep them functional. Our cities and infrastructure are becoming toxic and are collapsing. Our systems are out-of-date. Our people are starving. Our state governors are trying to start a civil war, are openly corrupt or discriminatory, or otherwise ignoring the rule of law like petty dictators.

    We simply don’t have much left to compromise and much like, say, abortion rights activists, the question becomes how much do we continue to accept before that tiny sliver really ceases to mean anything anymore (how much does the right to abortion mean if the doctors are murdered, access is curtailed, time is prohibitive, money is prohibitive, and the IRS can fuck with you and so on…).

    This is a genuine question and might be the source for why these debates seem so pronounced and so easily triggered at this time.

  57. 57
    Cerberus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I’m worried about trusting that, because from what I’ve seen from personal experience (anecdotes not data) is Gen X seems to have more conservative values than the Boomers. So I wonder if we won’t see an even more conservative older population once the Boomers die off and those who were yuppies during “Morning in America” or who benefitted from the 80s-90s economies doing the “getting more conservative when they get older” in a bad way and trying to fight one last time to “punish their hippie parents” or “stand up for trickle down” and so on.

    Probably an unfounded fear, but still…

  58. 58
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cerberus: If there’s any hope it’s in the first-time Obama voters from ’08. That’s why the dispiriting aspects of this term are particularly poignant. But IMHO he’s doing about as well as he can do in a neo-Clinton framework… which means, yes, alas, he’s not shifting the framework very much. I think the whole term has been about reducing the harm from a number of unanticipated crises, which wasn’t at all what was supposed to happen, but to me that explains a lot of the tentativeness and compromise. When there’s always an emergency, it never seems smart to dig in on principles. Other people think we’ve seen Obama doing things wholly according to plan, his true self shining forth. I’m not so sure about that, but my O-bot streak is well known around here.

  59. 59
    Cerberus says:

    Also as a side note, we’re trying to do everything we can to prevent a civil war.

    This is noble and right, for civil wars are hideous painful things and in a country with nukes has a potential to be straight up fatal to the planet in general.

    The problem is whether this civil war is truly unavoidable. Liberals and wingnuts have such dramatically oppositional values. As we have seen from this example of the most conciliatory nice guy presidency in a very very long time, the Republican Party as a whole has mostly rejected the notion of working with their opponents, and have ceased to be invested in any real way with the continuing governance of this country.

    When Democratic politicians are giving Republicans everything they can and the Republicans are fighting amongst themselves to shut down the government just because they can? When Republicans are willing to go the full Qaddafi for specific political struggles they could win later simply because to halt is to show weakness? When IOKIYAR enters new and obscene levels of double-think and wingnuts have completely entered into their own reality, immunizing themselves against any information to the contrary…

    Well, is civil war preventable?

    It is already well-demonstrated that they refuse to accept any level of liberal rule and view any checks on their power as unwarranted and ignorable and have deliberately challenged such checking powers to back up their actions with their full enforcement if they can.

    That’s a broken system and sure we’re trying to capitulate as fast as we can to keep the system going, but is that sustainable?

    Shit is cracking, breaking down, and shit is so bad that the white middle class is feeling the squeeze.

    Can we prevent the fracturing of this nation? Should we prevent it? And how many will die once it does? And how many will suffer trying to prevent it from occurring?

  60. 60
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Cerberus: Well, to me it’s sort of like those unfortunate souls working on the nuclear reactor in Japan. They’re killing themselves trying to fix something that might not be fixable, because giving up on fixing it is even worse. At what point do you say, we’re fucked, let it go, we can’t keep throwing good people at this? Hard call.

  61. 61
    Cerberus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I would agree. He seems very much like Clinton, trying to make the status quo functional for at least the privileged majority rather than trying to dramatically improve it or fix what has been broken.

    Which is to say it is preferable to the Republicans, make the ground an inhospitable wasteland and sow the ground with salt.

    And I think the fact that my generation (the young ‘uns) is more liberal both socially and economically is a very encouraging thing. We may have no idea how to fight against entrenched corporate and oligarchial power, but damnitt, we seem to be fighting against the old lies and even trying to resurrect that old S-word movement and energy.

    Best sign, all the young focus on “interconnectivity”. That is how oppressions stem from similar places, aligning movements to have say feminists supporting gay rights and minority rights, environmentalists on social justice issues, and so on… Considering all the time spent on divide and conquer, having the young fixated on how we’re divided and trying to address those tendencies is a good good thing for future solidarity.

    Same also the radicalization of the young. We’ve felt the pain and we’re less likely to settle for “hey things suck slightly less” and we’re more supportive of very radical changes.

    I view these things as good things long term, even if it means that Obama fans are going to hear a lot of bitching in the short term for the neoliberal Clinton path.

    Things suck and the short-term looks bleak and I’ve got my long-term worries, but the kids seem all right (might just be saying this, because I’m part of ‘the kids’).

  62. 62
    Cerberus says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    As sick and morbid that analogy…

    Can’t really fault its validity.

    Even complete with the toxic ooze and the denials its as bad as it is while hurting that the workers trying to at least make it suck less end up getting short shrift because of the nature of the disaster they are working on.

    So yeah, apt.

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