Bring a lot of shovels

When I was in grad school, I had a real good Chomskyite friend. We argued about politics all the time, about whether or not our media was in the tank for big money (I didn’t believe it was), about what American foreign policy was really about. He was right about 90% of the time. Many of the things I said to him weren’t that different from the things you read on Sarah Palin’s Facebook page. But on the biggest thing we ever disagreed about, I was right and he was wrong, as he readily admitted. He voted for Nader in 2000, he said at the time that there was no real difference between Gore and Bush. By 2004, he had changed his mind. Now he’d be the first to tell you that the Iraq War and $400 billion a year in tax-cut-and-war-driven deficits are real differences, things that likely would not have happened under a president Gore.

So, as much as I share Freddie’s suspicion of neoliberals, as much I share his belief that working people must be empowered, I think he’s nuts when he says this:

I’m sure I’ll articulate why I can’t support Barack Obama for the presidency in 2012 at great length in the future.

I’m not sure exactly what this means, whether it means voting third party, supporting a primary challenge, or just sitting out the 2012 election. Regardless, I don’t see how any of those actions helps empower the working class.

You think it’s tough for liberals now, imagine how much tougher it will be after president Bachmann ends collective bargaining, turns all the internets over to Fox and Clear Channel, and sends all of our educators to Heritage Foundation re-education camps.

In this country, we have one mostly corporatist party and one full-on Francist/Randian party. And while members of the corporatist party are (productively) tweaking some proposal to get better CEO CBO numbers or (unproductively) debating whether the most liberal president in 30 years is liberal enough to support for a second term, the Francist/Randian party is planning its thousand year Reich. You may think I’m exaggerating — talk to people in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida.

I wish we had more choices, and at the local level we may, but at the national level we don’t. You go to war with the neoliberal party you have, not the social democrat party you wish you had.

357 replies
  1. 1
    Freddie says:

    I’m sure not voting for any Republicans.

    Give me this year, and we’ll see. I probably should just have kept my mouth shut about an election that hasn’t even really begun yet.

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    Blogtrollfight!

    ETA, dammit Freddie.

  3. 3
    4tehlulz says:

    I have to admit, as much as I would prefer more choices at the voting booth, I can’t help but think that we would end up with an Israel-level train wreck rather than a more-robust political life.

  4. 4
    Efroh says:

    Yeah, I’m with the good Comrade on this one. Really not overjoyed with the moderate Republican that we have in Obama, but the alternative is so incredibly worse, I can’t even contemplate voting for them or contributing, even in a microscopic way, to a GOP victory by abstaining in 2012. So I will be voting and volunteering for “Hope” although I will be doing so with a heavy heart.

  5. 5
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    This. A Billion times this.

  6. 6
    mistermix says:

    @Freddie:

    I think it’s OK to vote for the Nader du jour if you’re living in a blue state that’s an electoral college lock for Obama. In other words, if you have the luxury to indulge yourself, feel free.

    But if you’re living in Florida, Ohio or Indiana and you vote for some third party candidate, that’s just fucking crazy.

  7. 7
    PurpleGirl says:

    I’ve always voted Democratic (there was only one local race where the Republican was tempting) because I know in my soul that from the 1970s on Republicans were not for the working class. Democrats haven’t always been better but generally they are. But I am very disappointed by most of the current crop of Democrats, those who imitate Republicans. I hate it that I feel I’m usually voting for the lesser evil and not for the better good.

  8. 8

    So we’ll be going with the 2000 and 2004 strategies again, shall we.

    Awesome. Worked out great those last two times.

    I bet we still have the “you have no choice!” sign template still on the ol’ desktop somewhere; we can get to Kinko’s by lunchtime.

  9. 9
    Morbo says:

    @4tehlulz: Some enterprising Democratic ratfucker needs to start a secessionist party so we can get some Bloc Quebeçois division going.

  10. 10
    eemom says:

    When I was in college in the early 1980s, I had a friend who told me that, “almost without exception,” the litmus test for an asshole was liking Ayn Rand’s books. At the time I didn’t even know who Ayn Rand was. But how often over the years I’ve hearkened back to those wise words. Recently, I was pleased to make the friend’s reacquaintance on FB so I could tell him he was right.

    Now, an older and wiser woman myself, I offer the following litmus test for the 21st century: Not voting for Barack Obama in 2012, including not voting at all, voting for whoever is the 2012 Nader, or writing in. Asshole. Worse than useless. No exceptions.

  11. 11
    long ago says:

    not only do I agree with everything Comrade DougJ says here, but I also think that this particular pragmatic attitude is pretty much the mark of the Balloon Juice crowd.

    Pissed off pragmatists. People who’d like to shoot the far right in the face, but will not join the far left in shooting themselves in the foot.

  12. 12
    The Raven says:

    It may be time to build a new party after the Republicans have collapsed, which they may actually be doing–the actual Republican platform is popular in theory and incredibly unpopular in practice, and now that it’s grinding down to the personal level the public is feeling it. But first the Republican party has to be pushed over the edge.

    A few more years of this garbage, and then a period of exhaustion, and a real alternative in perhaps 10 years. In 10 years, I’ll be an old bird.

  13. 13
    Corner Stone says:

    @August J. Pollak: Where have you been? That should be the permanent tagline for this blog.

  14. 14
    Lolis says:

    Yep, I voted Nader in 2000 then for Kerry in 2004. I lived in California at the time so my vote was a simple protest vote in 2000.

    I think the liberals who say they will not vote for Obama in 2012 have enormously inflated ideas of themselves. It goes back to the annoying thing about white liberals. They think all their actions broadcast who they are and thus if they vote for Obama they are less pure. It is funny for all that work liberals do to promote communal welfare, they just can’t handle being part of a team. The saying about herding cats and Democrats is so true. Maybe not enough liberals played team sports.

  15. 15

    I think the liberals who say they will not vote for Obama in 2012 have enormously inflated ideas of themselves.

    This is a comment on a political blog.

  16. 16
    tomvox1 says:

    Freddie is an interesting guy to bring on board here:

    You’ve got to hand it Balloon Juice: no other blog in history has been so adept at perfectly defining bullshit and how it operates, and then turning around and engaging in precisely that kind of bullshit. A fun game you can play with Balloon Juice is to go through its wonderful lexicon, then turn to the posts on the front page and see how many of them are guilty of the sins the lexicon identifies.

    All credit to Mr. Cole but it’s still odd to hire someone so contemptuous of the place to be an FPer here. I give him 3 weeks before our “bullshit” (or what I would call pragmatism) infiltrates his doctrinaire mind and he winds up a better man by recanting his more childish beliefs about America’s political system…just like E.D. Kain.

  17. 17
    eemom says:

    enormously inflated ideas of themselves.

    Yes. And that pretty much characterizes the 20-something know-nothings John Cole has seen fit to recruit as front pagers, as well.

  18. 18
    cleek says:

    if you don’t want GOP victories, you have to vote for Democrats. there is no other option. no other party can prevent GOP victories. if you claim to oppose what the GOP stands for, you have one choice. you don’t have to like it, but that’s how our system works.

    oh sure, if you’re more interested in your own ideological purity, a “protest” vote might make you feel good. you’ll be able to strut around, preening, while the GOP does, 100% of the time, the complete opposite of everything you claim to want. but you’ll feel good about your purity! but, if you just want to feel good, go jerk off. jerking off doesn’t help elect Republicans.

  19. 19
    Cheap Jim says:

    There’s little point in just saying, “I won’t vote for X”. Say who the Y is that you will vote for, and campaign for, and why.

  20. 20
    Marc says:

    @August J. Pollak:

    What’s your plan?

  21. 21
    Max Power says:

    Regardless, I don’t see how any of those actions helps empower the working class.

    That’s because it doesn’t. It’s just more self-centered a$$hole talk from the PL. They could give two shits about the working class, hence their enthusiasm for a government shutdown. A shutdown would have harmed the working class more than helped, but the PL could care less. At the end of the day, they are just left-leaning tea baggers in their comfy liberal enclaves, ranting away at their laptops. When they say they won’t support Obama and Democrats come 2012, they’re basically yelling “I’ve got mine, Jack!” They’re GOP enablers, pure and simple.

  22. 22
    Social outcast says:

    I’m not thrilled with Obama for various reasons, but voting republican isn’t a possibility. Just isn’t. There’s no longer such a thing as a moderate republican. I don’t care how they sound during the campaign or what promises they make, they get into office and BAM- it’s someone who makes Dick Cheney look like FDR.

  23. 23
    jibeaux says:

    @mistermix:

    I’ll second that.
    I was just thinking yesterday that let’s say my issue was gun control. Obviously, I’d be a highly frustrated voter. I live in NC. If I were voting puritanically on gun control, there’d be pretty much no one outside of Chapel Hill/Carrboro, where I don’t live, to vote for. So I’d stay home, and then what happened in 2010 would happen, which is that for the first time in 178 years Republicans took control of both state houses.
    And would do what they have done, which is to promptly introduce 8 separate bills loosening whatever gun restrictions we have left, making it easier to conceal-carry in schools and government buildings, among other brilliant ideas.

  24. 24
    The Raven says:

    I wrote over a year ago:

    Personally, I haven’t had the heart to fight for the Democrats since it became clear to me, long before Obama became president, how strong and destructive their conservative faction is.

    Barring some stunning surprise, I will vote for Obama in 2012. I don’t right now have the heart to work for Obama, or even fund the national Democratic Party. If they want my loyalty, they can give me something to be loyal to, and show that they will honor their commitments.

  25. 25
    Damnyankees says:

    It depends what state you live in. If you live in a state which can obviously do without your vote, feel free to vote your conscience.

  26. 26
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @tomvox1: John’s converting the blogosphere one FPer at a time.

  27. 27
    taylormattd says:

    The real question is why John Cole invites yet another self-absorbed asshole to troll his front page, this time a Naderite. Vomit. So now we will have to read months of insipid, stupid fucking tantrums before the person either quits the site or is browbeaten into realizing how stupid his posts have been.

    @Freddie: Oh give it a rest. There is nothing noble about allegedly “sticking to your principles” when it causes the election of Michelle Bachman.

  28. 28
    The Raven says:

    By the way, Chomsky is the far left. Not the progressives.

  29. 29
    NobodySpecial says:

    Voting for Obama if Obama is the nominee is a no-brainer. (I only make that disclaimer because terrible things may happen between now and then, and I hope they don’t.)

    However, giving a single dollar to the cowardly national Democratic movement is a non-starter. Support those politicians who further your views, but don’t give it to a national organization who’s more likely to throw the money to a Blanche Lincoln then it would to a clone of Nancy Pelosi herself.

    Deselect the losers and the winners will make Obama shift his tune.

  30. 30
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Freddie: bravo! then forgive me for calling you a quitter and a firebagger.
    In our history freddie, cher, I started to your right and ended on your left….way to your left. ;)

    I am now a Sufi social justice liberal transhumanist obamotaku.

    The only journey is the journey within. –Rainer Maria Rilke

  31. 31
    EconWatcher says:

    long ago:

    I think a sizable constituency here in the Balloon Juice crowd also consists of people like me, who in a sane world would be Republicans: generally pro-market; suspicious of foreign entanglements; cautious about welfare for able-bodied, working age adults (when there is not massive involuntary unemployment, as there is now); not a big fan of political correctness or identity politics.

    But these days I’m a pinko because I think unrestrained financiers are dangerous; we shouldn’t start wars for no apparent reason; we should have some protections for children, old folks, the disabled, and the involuntarily unemployed; and we should try to preserve the planet.

    I don’t exactly fit in here, because I’m a little to the right of the median on this site, but I haven’t found anywhere where I fit in better.

  32. 32
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @The Raven: except in linguistics. There Chomsky’s deep grammer is the conservative orthodoxy and Steve Pinker is the heretic progressive.
    ;)

  33. 33
    taylormattd says:

    @Marc: His plan is as follows: “Obama is so conservative, I either vote for a green or a republican.”

  34. 34
    Mandramas says:

    @The Raven: Marx is the far left. Chomsky is center-left. Your political classification frame have a conservative bias.

  35. 35
    clone12 says:

    In life as it is in poltics; I don’t care how right or how righteous you are if you can’t work well on a team.

  36. 36
    Mark says:

    How far right do you follow your neo-liberal party before you abandon it? That’s the issue. Just because the Democrats are marginally to the left of the Republicans doesn’t mean it represents anything worthwhile. Maybe it does, for you, today, but we all have our limits. And you have yours.

  37. 37
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): EDK never converted. He is just pandering.

  38. 38
    slightly_peeved says:

    It is funny for all that work liberals do to promote communal welfare, they just can’t handle being part of a team.

    A small subset of liberals, I’d say – your angry internet liberal. In countries where liberals actually get shit done, you’ll find the “liberal” party is more likely than not the party of organized labour. Unlike this Freddie fellow, who seems to like unions but not understand how they work, these people get that you don’t have a union without solidarity – and you don’t get solidarity without people being willing to shut up and pull the lever once in a while.

  39. 39
    madmatt says:

    @Lolis: Thats right not enough of us bought into the macho rapist/welfare queens route that so many of our nations fine athletes embraced.

  40. 40
    Hank says:

    I never get the “we have a choice between center-right and right-right” line of thinking. Obviously I understand what you mean by it, but right and left are in constant flux and fundamentally relative (e.g., Jane Hamsher is far left in Idaho but would be viewed as an unremarkable centrist in many European countries). As such, referring to Obama as center-right, when he will command heavy support in nearly every liberal district in the country in 2012, just doesn’t wash. This shows that he’s either on the left side of the spectrum himself, or it shows that left-leaning voters are so malleable in their viewpoints in behavior that the terms “left” and “center-left” are always changing.

    Look, I think you’d find it disingenuous if I pointed to a few neo-Nazis and then reasoned that Paul Ryan was comparatively a centrist. But that’s basically what you’re doing with Obama–pointing to a few leftist people on the Internet and saying he’s center-right. Show me polls of single payer all you want, but a politician who commands huge majority support among the most left-leaning people in the country is ipso facto not center-right.

  41. 41

    Wait a minute–because there was a difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush, there can’t be a difference between Barack Obama and any other Republican candidate?

    Is that supposed to pass for logic?

  42. 42
    Daveboy says:

    Just keep voting for the lesser of two evils, guys, and then getting upset when you’re ignored. Greenwald wrote about this today: it’s actually shrewd to piss off your base if they’ll just keep voting for you (which is what I’m hearing here).

    The only way to get the changes you want is to teach the Democrats that doing the awful things they do cost them the votes of their base. You don’t do that, nothing will ever change.

    On a different and more personal note, I’m preparing to move to another country…I spoke to my 62-year old father yesterday, and it’s like a litany of what’s wrong with America. Highlights: “I want to be safe, I want to continue to spend all this money while literally telling my son that he is going to have to work until he’s dead (he’s a baby-boomer, so he was able to retire at 59), I want to build a fence on the border (he’s a Democrat).” And his bloc VOTES.

  43. 43
    mclaren says:

    Let me get this straight: you recognize that the Republican policies will destroy America. You also recognize that Barack Obama is enacting those Republican policies systematically, one by one.

    Yet you still intend to vote for Barack Obama.

    Because…?

    The mechanism you need to understand is the ratchet. The ratchet goes up, never down: the ratchet constantly produces more tax cuts for the rich, the ratchet constantly cuts basic social services like building roads and picking up the garbage.

    So you’re telling us that we have to vote for Barack Obama because with him, the ratchet only goes up 3 gears at a time toward total fascistic plutocracy, whereas with the Republicans the ratchet goes up 5 gears at a time toward total fascistic plutocracy.

    I’m tell you that we’ve gone so far toward total fascistic plutocracy that it doesn’t goddamn matter. We all might as well vote for Sarah Palin, because COME THE REVOLUTION, MOTHERFUCKERS, THE RICH WILL BE FIRST UP AGAINST THE WALL!

    That’s all that’s left.

    Vote for the Republicans because what the fuck, this country will burn, and who gives a damn what talking head sits in the Oval Office when it does?

    When they kick down your door, how ya gonna come?
    With your hands on your head, or holding a gun?

    General fucking strike. Shut it down. Shut it all down.

    Real reform or America ends now.

  44. 44

    What’s your plan?

    Well it’s crazy and clearly unfeasible but I was sort of noodling around with this idea of perhaps crafting a series of coherent messaging strategies that suggested voting for the Democrat would yield political and legislative results favorable to a majority of voters, combined with promoting the idea of active incumbents enacting positions relative to same, all the while–and this is the tough one here–NOT actually wrapping all of it in statements that anyone who disagrees is an asshole Naderite motherfucker who wants to ruin the country and allow the re-emergence of Nazism in the 21st century.

    You know, just a thought.

    Look, if you want to go with “Vote Not The Republican” you are more than welcome to. Just please stop pretending that in the last three elections it didn’t have a 67% failure rate.

  45. 45
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I’m not sure why saying “I can’t support Obama” is supposed to be any more salient than saying “I don’t watch TV.” Yes, we get it, you can’t in good conscience prop up the corrupt system. Well, we’re not getting an uncorrupted system by disengaging from it. Get over it.

  46. 46
    Tom says:

    @long ago:

    not only do I agree with everything Comrade DougJ says here, but I also think that this particular pragmatic attitude is pretty much the mark of the Balloon Juice crowd.

    Pissed off pragmatists. People who’d like to shoot the far right in the face, but will not join the far left in shooting themselves in the foot.

    This really needs to be on BJ’s masthead.

  47. 47
    Violet says:

    @slightly_peeved:

    and you don’t get solidarity without people being willing to shut up and pull the lever once in a while.

    Exactly.

  48. 48
    JGabriel says:

    @Lolis:

    It goes back to the annoying thing about white liberals. They think all their actions broadcast who they are and thus if they vote for Obama they are less pure.

    Huh? Every white liberal I know plans to vote for Obama in 2012.

    Are you conflating liberal with progressive, or social democrat, or greens, or some other group further to the left? Even there, most still plan on voting for Obama.

    For instance, in NY — where we have cross-endorsement — I fully intend to vote for Obama on the socia1ist Working Families party line.

    .

  49. 49

    the most liberal president in 30 years

    This whole post is just ridiculous. Is this supposed to be an accomplishment–even if true? “Ooh, the president is more liberal than Ronald Reagan! So we have to hitch our wagon to him!”

  50. 50
    Trinity says:

    Bravo Comrade. Bravo.

  51. 51
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Daveboy:

    The only way to get the changes you want is to teach the Democrats that doing the awful things they do cost them the votes of their base. You don’t do that, nothing will ever change.

    Stop voting for bad Democrats, have them lose a long string of elections, and then… PROFITS! Or, another option, move to Brazil.

  52. 52
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @August J. Pollak: And you intend to accomplish this plan while acting like a supercilious asshole? Are you sure this will work?

  53. 53

    @Lolis:

    “I think the liberals who say they will not vote for Obama in 2012 have enormously inflated ideas of themselves.”

    Or they can’t stomach voting for someone who believes in torture and indefinite detention and military commissions and bombing innocent people with predator drones and giving tax cuts and bailouts to rich people while cutting programs for the poor.

    But maybe you’re right about millions of people, Dr. Freud.

  54. 54
    RossInDetroit says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Well, we’re not getting an uncorrupted system by disengaging from it. Get over it.

    Bingo. I severely dislike the Democratic party as it is now, but it’s better to keep it viable and fix it than to start over.
    I mean, what do people realistically think their practical Progressive political options are if not the Dems?

  55. 55
    norbizness says:

    Even though I’m in this dumb electoral system and living in Texas, I have no problem with going straight Democratic Party on the ticket; it generally saves time anyway and prevents me from accidentally supporting a Republican.

    But the DNC or the Obama ’12 campaign wants my money? Come on, I’d only do that if I had some sort of scatalogical fetish.

  56. 56

    and you don’t get solidarity without people being willing to shut up and pull the lever once in a while.

    You mean like the 2008 election?

    Seriously, why does this keep happening? Comments like this pretend that every election is, like, the first one that ever happened or something.

  57. 57
    Corner Stone says:

    @slightly_peeved:

    and you don’t get solidarity without people being willing to shut up and pull the lever once in a while.

    The problem with your rationale is the “once in a while” caveat.

  58. 58

    @Social outcast:

    “I’m not thrilled with Obama for various reasons, but voting republican isn’t a possibility. ”

    But Obama is a Republican, in all but name. And if he went back in time 20 years he would be in that, too.

  59. 59
    slightly_peeved says:

    On a different and more personal note, I’m preparing to move to another country

    If you’re looking to find a country where people don’t vote for the lesser of two evils, I think you’ll want to move to another planet, not just another country.

  60. 60
    Skipjack says:

    People tend to vote their fears more than their hopes and I expect it will be that way when it comes to Obama’s re-election. If the Republicans haven’t made you mad enough yet to come out and punch them in the eye at the polls then just remember they have plenty of time.

    Those who want to sit out the fight because they don’t think they are getting real reform should stop talking about what real reform would mean to them and start trying to achieve it. I’m thinking it’s going to look a lot like Democratic coalition politics.

  61. 61
    JAHILL10 says:

    Comrade DougJ: I didn’t see or didn’t register that part of Freddie’s post last night. And like you, I do NOT agree with that statement. Anyone who sees what the Republican Party has become, the tea baggers in the House, the stealth governors in WI, MI, OH, IN, and FL who pretended to be moderates during the elections and then turned into boot-licking Koch slaves as soon as they took office, the state houses passing laws varying in derangement from arrest all brown people to annual uterus inspections — anybody who has been paying attention who withholds his vote, does a Nader or discourages people from doing our utmost to get this president re-elected does not care about progressive values or preventing human suffering or working toward a better future.
    The Republicans are imploding before our eyes. The American people really don’t want what they are selling and they have let the mask slip recently and have mistakenly told Americans exactly what they are after. All we have to do is keep our shit together for a few more election cycles and these nut jobs are going the way of the Whigs.

  62. 62
    Corner Stone says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Or they can’t stomach voting for someone who believes in torture and indefinite detention and military commissions and bombing innocent people with predator drones and giving tax cuts and bailouts to rich people while cutting programs for the poor.

    Balloon Juice: “Vote your principles! Just as long as it doesn’t count!”

  63. 63

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Right, because the way to stop bad behavior is to encourage and enable it. Every psychiatrist, social worker, doctor, and economist would agree. “I don’t like what you did! So I’m going to help you do it again, until you learn your lesson!”

  64. 64

    @August J. Pollak: And you intend to accomplish this plan while acting like a supercilious asshole? Are you sure this will work?

    If your conclusion drawn from my comment is that I think acting like an asshole to voters wins election, then congratulations on missing my point entirely.

    My point, all along, has been that we aren’t going to blog our way out of fucked, no matter how many posts anyone wants to write that not voting the way you think someone should makes one an asshole.

    If anything, I find an amazing irony in all the posts and comments that are furious at hard-left voters who they perceive as not voting Democrat merely to make people feel bad. As if that isn’t the ultimate intention of almost every nasty comment made to left-leaning voters on this or most any other blog ever.

  65. 65
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @RossInDetroit: Most people who hold this set of opinions are convinced that there would be a solid progressive majority in this country if only Democrats tried hard enough. Underneath the cynicism about actual politicians is a lot of misplaced hope in how many people can be mobilized and/or converted in the short term. I don’t think it’s very many. Not yet. We should be working on that, by all means. But we shouldn’t be acting as though it’s already happened. I live in suburban, southeast Virginia. There’s no progressive majority waiting to happen here.

  66. 66
    Jamie says:

    No, Obama isn’t even vaguely a Republican. Haven’t you been paying attention, Obama is a Islamofascist sympathizer who wants to convert the US into a Marxist distopia. The Freepers are ready to go to the matresses. Could you imagine what the crazies would do if an actually liberal were elected?

  67. 67

    @JAHILL10:

    “The Republicans are imploding before our eyes. ”

    As shown by what? Their historic success in last year’s elections? The fact that, with control of only the House of Representatives, they are totally driving our country’s agenda?

    Do people here really think Obama has the other party on the run?

  68. 68
    D.H. says:

    Guys, haven’t you forgotten how powerless the White House is? Aside from things like declaring war on another country or authorizing the torture of an American citizen, Obama is completely at the mercy of forces beyond his control as President. We can’t expect magical ponies to just spring forth from DC…

    …which is why if you dare withhold your vote from him you are effectively voting the Trump/Palin ticket in 2012 and they will usher in a new era of fascism, unilaterally, from the Presidential seat of power! Is this what you want? Huh?

  69. 69
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: Also, the way to make your parents stop telling you what to do is to say “You’re not the boss of me!” and stomp off.

  70. 70

    @FlipYrWhig:

    “I live in suburban, southeast Virginia. There’s no progressive majority waiting to happen here.”

    Honestly: how much of the country do you think resembles freaking Virginia?

    “Oooh shoot, a person who runs as a progressive could never win the presidency!”

    Obama ran as a progressive and won!

  71. 71
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Do people here really think Obama has the other party on the run?

    yes.
    ;)

  72. 72

    @FlipYrWhig:

    What does that have to do with anything? Who’s the parent in your analogy–the president? Really? We’re his children, and have to do what he says?

    What are you talking about?

    Let me rephrase my earlier response into a question: have you ever–EVER–heard anyone who knows what they’re talking about say that the way to change bad behavior is to encourage and enable it?

  73. 73

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    Based upon what? I’m serious, let’s dialogue here. What has he done to put the Republicans on the ropes?

  74. 74
    TaosJohn says:

    Nah, I don’t buy this post’s argument. To hell with the Democrats. My own moral salvation depends on not enabling any more assholes.

  75. 75
    kerFuFFler says:

    I’ve been getting emails from progressive groups suggesting that Obama had better not touch a single penny of Medicare or they’ll withdraw support for him. Soooo stupid!

    So here is Ryan threatening to scrap the system and burn the bridges behind everyone under 55. But liberals are threatening to not support Obama if he tries to address the issues threatening the long term survival of the program. Give me a break.

  76. 76
    cmorenc says:

    @The Raven:

    It may be time to build a new party after the Republicans have collapsed, which they may actually be doing—the actual Republican platform is popular in theory and incredibly unpopular in practice, and now that it’s grinding down to the personal level the public is feeling it. But first the Republican party has to be pushed over the edge.

    A few more years of this garbage, and then a period of exhaustion, and a real alternative in perhaps 10 years. In 10 years, I’ll be an old bird.

    Some of the less insane GOP leadership realizes they have a limited window before demographics and stepping too hard on too many constituencies with their policies will catch up with them. Their goal over the next two to six years is to wreck the foundations of government that have been built up ever since the New Deal, and make it forbiddingly infeasible to revive them even if that’s what the public overwhelmingly wants. Then, it won’t matter if the GOP in its current incarnation turns out to be electorally doomed to withering to indefinite minority status outside of a few southern or forever-republican states like Nebraska, because government,at least at the federal level, will be so structurally hamstrung that the good old days of the Gilded-Age version of the federal government will be all that’s possible.

  77. 77
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @August J. Pollak: Oh noes, the poor “left-leaning voters,” where will they go for refuge from all the nastiness? Perhaps one of, let’s see, _all of the blogs_, where their opinions dominate. There they can huddle together for warmth.

  78. 78
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    have you ever—EVER—heard anyone who knows what they’re talking about say that the way to change bad behavior is to encourage and enable it?

    Heroin addicts. Needle exchange. Look it up. “Harm reduction.”

  79. 79
    NonyNony says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Obama ran as a progressive and won!

    No he didn’t. Obama ran as a center-left candidate that would bring us back to the halcyon days of Bill Clinton. He most emphatically did not run as a progressive unless progressive has suddenly come to mean “center-left technocrat”. (Though I guess the word “progressive” is meaningless enough these days that it could very well mean “center-left technocrat”. I guess.)

    Sure compared to McCain/Palin the Obama/Biden ticket looked more “progressive”, but my foot looks more like a hand than my ass does – that doesn’t make my feet hands.

  80. 80
    JAHILL10 says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: Check out the PPP poll entitled Bad News for Congressional Republicans. And what are the odds if the liberal purists had gotten out the vote more effectively in 2010 instead of whinging about how many ways Obama had disappointed them that the Republicans would have taken over the House and have a stranglehold on appropriations bills?

  81. 81
    debit says:

    @tomvox1: I am puzzled as well. Has Freddie addressed this seeming contradiction?

  82. 82
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Heroin addicts. Needle exchange. Look it up. “Harm reduction.”

    This is one of your best, ever.

  83. 83
    Daveboy says:

    This thread is so depressing. Obama’s going to set this country up to work its citizens until they are dead for the benefits of the ultra-rich (unless you are over 55 right now – in which case, congratulations, you might be able to retire) and you are all going to support him because we can’t let a Republican get to the presidency. God help us.

  84. 84
    Steve M. says:

    and sends all of our educators to Heritage Foundation re-education camps.

    No, not Heritage Foundation re-education camps. David Barton re-education camps.

  85. 85
    Skipjack says:

    Obama didn’t run as a progressive, please stop kidding yourselves. He ran as almost exactly what he’s been doing now, with the exception of promoting himself as a civil libertarian (not a progressive position, just overlapping).

    Edwards ran as a progressive of course, and he did not get much traction even in the Democratic primaries, nor did any other progressive. This is the party you’ve got.

  86. 86

    @D.H.:

    Hehe :)

    Is this part of the “leftists don’t matter, and are ruining the country” school?

    @August J. Pollak:

    “all the posts and comments that are furious at hard-left voters who they perceive as not voting Democrat merely to make people feel bad”

    But what else could it be??? Obama has done so many things Democrats wanted–bombing Yemen, enacting the Heritage Foundation’s health care reform plan, secret military trials at Guantanamo Bay–that anyone who doesn’t support such a staunch Democrat has to be doing it out of spite, they just have to!

  87. 87
    Glen Tomkins says:

    You can recover from losing an election. You can’t recover from losing your identity and purpose.

    In flirting with ending SocSec and Medicare, Obama is flirting with throwing away the identity and purpose of the Democratic Party.

    Should he cross that line, it would be better for the party for him to lose in 2012, even at the cost of the party losing in 2012. In that eventuality, I would even vote for whatever thug the Rs put up in 2012 if that seems necessary to further that end.

    Obama is close enough to that line already that I no longer criticize people who have already decided not to vote for him.

  88. 88
    Lolis says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    You prove my purity point exactly. Voting for Obama does not mean you support every goddamn thing he has done. You also continually lie about the president’s record. If you believe Obama is a Republican fine. But in reality-based people’s eyes that gives you zero credibility.

  89. 89

    @August J. Pollak: Oh noes, the poor “left-leaning voters,” where will they go for refuge from all the nastiness? Perhaps one of, let’s see, all of the blogs, where their opinions dominate. There they can huddle together for warmth.

    Good job proving my point.

    And again, good job making a comment on a blog there, skipper. How many southeastern Virginia votes did you get for it?

  90. 90
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @August J. Pollak: No, my comment specifically aimed at the tone and content of the comment to which I was responding.

  91. 91
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @JAHILL10: Democratic turnout was normal for a midterm election, IIRC. They didn’t keep the spike from ’08. I’m not sure that reflects “liberal purists” voting with their feet. IMHO it reflects a hyper-mobilized pack of conservative oldsters.

  92. 92
    jinxtigr says:

    mclaren: I’ll hide you in my attic when the secret police come for you. I’ll back you when you get your shit together and it starts going down, where I live (not driving to Wisconsin to stand around, there’s still limits).

    However, since you’re sitting around posting on BJ, I’m still voting for Obama or whoever the Dems put up. I’m voting for all my Vermont peeps as they are solid- Bernie Sanders, Peter Welch, Pat Leahy- and will try to steer them when they get weird (Pat Leahy’s behind some weird copyright reforms I’m not sure I support, or was)

    Don’t bitch, fucking organize. Is there any serious logic behind not voting in Democrats WHILE you organize? Why are you not patching the leaks with duct tape when you’ve got the duct tape? You try all the emergency procedures, in parallel, hoping one will work, buying yourself time.

    If you are organizing and hope disaster will move people to your side- okay, hardcore, but given what’s happening in Wisconsin and Ohio I have to say it seems pretty fucking redundant, sport. You don’t need to throw gasoline when it’s already a fire.

    If you are sitting around making blog posts and not organizing, while throwing gasoline and hoping it will make OTHER PEOPLE organize, I’m really, really not amused with you.

    Do your god-damn homework. I realize the house is on fire. You don’t need to convince me of that, and I’m sure there are lots of readers silently nodding, also convinced. But if everything has broken down so bad, which it has, YOU need to come up with a plan, or hook up with people who are able to do that.

    I’m a Vermonter. I’d talk to Bernie Sanders if I was ready to start throwing molotov cocktails. He has connections, he’s pretty hardcore, he’s already done an impressive media stunt (the filibuster speech thing).

    Who do you have that you can team up with, either in or out of government? If you have only your blog posts, your job is to coordinate things with some other people and organize.

    As for voting for Republicans to incite chaos (current republicans, as they are today), you are a god-damned fool. Vote for the guy who is less likely to send National Guard with automatic weapons to mow your protest down and then shoot the reporters (if any). Do you really think it’s tactically smart to NOT elect Democrats in the scenario you outline? You’re crazy. You need to be encouraging people to elect those who will hesitate to go full fascist hit squad. That would be Democrats. You want Democrats behind the trigger of the guns you’re facing. They don’t like guns that much.

  93. 93
    Corner Stone says:

    @JAHILL10:

    if the liberal purists had gotten out the vote more effectively in 2010 instead of whinging

    Interesting comment. It almost makes me wonder why the WH went out of its way to cast aspersions on liberals and the “Pro Left” ahead of the elections.
    Almost as if they were looking for something…something goatish, something for their diehard supporters.
    Nahhh.

  94. 94
    JAHILL10 says:

    @Glen Tomkins: Show me where Obama is flirting with ending SS and Medicare. Show me or your argument is fantasy.

  95. 95
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @August J. Pollak: Zero. I’m not an activist. I don’t volunteer for stuff. I don’t like dealing with people. I have no illusions that anything I do makes a difference.

  96. 96
    MattR says:

    @mistermix:

    I think it’s OK to vote for the Nader du jour if you’re living in a blue state that’s an electoral college lock for Obama. In other words, if you have the luxury to indulge yourself, feel free.
    __
    But if you’re living in Florida, Ohio or Indiana and you vote for some third party candidate, that’s just fucking crazy.

    Agree 100$. I have zero regrets about my Nader vote in 2000 and would not have a problem voting for a third party in 2012 under the right conditions. I understand my vote would be a largely symbolic, meaningless gesture, but it is the only way I have to voice my displeasure with the two party system.

  97. 97
    kindness says:

    Morans will be morans. It isn’t that they can’t help themselves. For some reason they feel they are serving a higher calling voting for Nader or some other shithead who will never be elected. My honest opinion is that they want Republithugs in power so they can bitch freely. I don’t get that though. It’s just too much biting off your nose to spite your face for me.

  98. 98

    @Skipjack:

    “Obama didn’t run as a progressive, please stop kidding yourselves. ”

    Really? So I imagined all the “change” posters and speeches? I hallucinated all the alternative energy and end the wars and stop torture and no tax cuts for rich people policy statements?

  99. 99
    debit says:

    @Daveboy: Oh for fuck’s sake. Seriously? You seriously believe this. Jesus wept.

  100. 100
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It almost makes me wonder why the WH went out of its way to cast aspersions on liberals and the “Pro Left” ahead of the elections.

    It couldn’t possibly be that they are an annoying pack of pricks.

    ETA: Who wear the mantle of “the left” as though there are no other ways to be “left.”

  101. 101

    @kindness:

    “My honest opinion is that they want Republithugs in power so they can bitch freely. ”

    Then your honest opinion sucks.

    You may not care that your president is blowing up innocent people with drones and bombs in your country’s name, but I do.

  102. 102
    Glen Tomkins says:

    @Skipjack: Quite true, but he also didn’t run on ending the New Deal. No, he hasn’t done that, yet, so no, I’m not one of those who is ready, yet, to say I’m voting against him. But can you honestly say that he campaigned as someone who would come as close to that line as he is now?

    I’m like you, in that I recognized clearly that he was no progressive. I am therefore not at all disappointed in his performance. But it’s reaching the point in incompetence and loss of direction with him, that I can see voting against him on purely pragmatic grounds, that four more years of this would indeed be worse than four more years of R effery that would at least be blamable on their party.

  103. 103
    Jonathan says:

    Politicians, Dems and Repubs alike, naturally drift toward the ideology of where the money is, and where the votes come from. The only power us non-moneyed voters have is primary elections to move the median candidate closer to the views of it’s voting base.

    Republicans have mastered this art, and it’s paid them some dividends. To me it’s awful, but it works.

    Democratic incumbents don’t have any fear of being primaried, so they move closer to the independent swing voters without suffering consequences. If we want Dems that hold a more liberal party line, then we as a voting base need to primary our candidates more… even if that means losing the race to republicans once in a while.

    However… right now is a bit too pivotal to monkey around with the presidency, and risk a loss. If Obama is a sure to win reelection, I’m just going to ignore the campaign stump speeches (they never follow through on any of it) ignore the scandal du jour, ignore the attack ads, stop watching cable news altogether (already have), and just drag my ass to the booth in November to throw down all D’s.

  104. 104

    @Lolis:

    “You also continually lie about the president’s record.”

    What did I lie about? I really want to know. I don’t know who you are–maybe you are always right. But like they say in Missouri, show me.

  105. 105
    JAHILL10 says:

    @FlipYrWhig: @Corner Stone: The point is we need to be as motivated as the other side if we intend to keep the majorities that will enable us to make progress. Dem turnout may indeed have been normal for a midterm, but we need to be building a new norm for Dem voter enthusiasm. We’re shooting ourselves in the foot by only concentrating on the four-year cycle.
    Cornerstone: Do you honestly think Jane Hamsher and Glen Greenwald represent your average Democratic voter? I am honestly curious.

  106. 106
    OzoneR says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Is this supposed to be an accomplishment—even if true? “Ooh, the president is more liberal than Ronald Reagan! So we have to hitch our wagon to him!”

    uh, yeah. I really don’t get how you don’t see that as an accomplishment.

    Talk about high expectations

  107. 107
    eemom says:

    Sure compared to McCain/Palin the Obama/Biden ticket looked more “progressive”, but my foot looks more like a hand than my ass does – that doesn’t make my feet hands.

    that.

  108. 108
    Suck It Up! says:

    Fuck ’em. Fuck ’em all. Stop asking for these people’s votes. Stop feeding their inflated egos. Most are just looking for attention – from Obama. If they don’t want to vote for Obama then so be it. I’ll take those liberals seriously when they get a long term plan together and when they STOP thinking that Dennis Kucinich would be an effective president.

  109. 109

    @jinxtigr:

    “mclaren: I’ll hide you in my attic when the secret police come for you.”

    Right, because so many Republican candidates think the President can order any American killed for whatever reason he wants.

    Oh, wait, that’s what Barack Obama thinks.

  110. 110
    slightly_peeved says:

    You mean like the 2008 election?

    So Americans, after 8 years of Bush, had to ‘shut up and pull the lever’ to elect Obama?

    The choices other countries have in their elections are probably never as stark – I mean, most of their right wings are sane. Relatively speaking. Yet the US has one of the lowest turnouts for elections in the world.

    I don’t think Americans can claim their political parties are uniquely homogenous – in fact, the opposite would probably be true. I don’t think Sarkozy was planning on defaulting on France’s debt. And yet, their willingness to not vote based on a perceived homogeneity seems greater.

  111. 111
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It couldn’t possibly be that they are an annoying pack of pricks.

    You yourself have gone waaayyy out of your way recently to describe the diminishing power of the left as a voting bloc. I think you started at like 6% then eventually you had reduced them to 2%.
    So tell me, why would the WH give such power to such a small and effectually useless in-group? Except to give some of their (the WH) most brain dead reflexive Obotian supporters a little hook to hang their coat on when the D’s got shellacked?
    Notice JAHILL’s comment. Pure projection and falsehood, yet it’s pervasive among people of her mindset.

  112. 112
    Daveboy says:

    @debit

    Yes I seriously believe that with my flat wage growth and the fact that my social security is going to kick in at 67 at 80 percent benefits that I will never be able to fully retire until I am around 70 with the system that is in place RIGHT NOW. I will get maybe 10 years of being old and semi-enjoying life, followed by becoming infirm and sick in my 80s (if I make it that far – my family has cancer and heart disease on both sides), and then I will die. And Obama is talking about a “grand bargain” where he is going to cut social security even more. I’m not putting those words in his mouth. So yes, I “really believe” what I am saying: most people are going to work until they are near-death to keep themselves up financially, even if they are responsible (like me) and put money away.

  113. 113
    Skipjack says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    It’s kind of funny that you thought that was what Obama said, or even that those issues are particularly progressive. Most of that is mainstream Democratic policy. In the general election, Obama said he’d increase the war in Afghanistan, stop torture (as he did), and generally harken back to George Bush I foreign policy. He really did. And he still has time to reverse the tax cuts for the rich.

    One truth I don’t think you are allowing room to breathe though is that the president proposes and the Congress disposes.

  114. 114
    Elia Isquire says:

    You go to war with the neoliberal party you have, not the social democrat party you wish you had.

    Nice.

  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    I do love the people who think that the exact same strategy that the left used since 1968 that gave us Reagan and other Republican disasters will, like, totally work this time! Yes, if we just make sure to withhold our votes for another decade, then the Democrats will come begging us to vote for them instead of trying to find other voters! We can’t fail if we just keep doing the same thing that got us into this position in the first place!

    I’m guessing these are the same people who spend 15 years thinking their ex-wife/ex-girlfriend will come crawling back any day now.

  116. 116

    @Jonathan:

    “right now is a bit too pivotal to monkey around with the presidency”

    So you want to wait until most of our country’s crises have been solved, then work on electing politicians who will do the right thing.

    I can’t help but think that is backwards.

  117. 117
    OzoneR says:

    @MattR:

    but it is the only way I have to voice my displeasure with the two party system.

    How many times do I have to explain to you people that EVERY DEMOCRACY is a two-party system.

    The difference in others is that they call them “coalitions” to make you think you have more of a choice.

  118. 118
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @slightly_peeved: well….the GOP is 99% conservative christian (includes conservative catholics and mormons, they all believe in Jesus). That is pretty homogeneous.

  119. 119

    @Skipjack:

    “Most of that is mainstream Democratic policy”

    Oh,well, that invalidates my argument! (note: that is sarcasm)

    “stop torture (as he did)”

    Tell Bradley Manning.

    “And he still has time to reverse the tax cuts for the rich.”

    He sure does. He could have done it in December but chose not to, but maybe next time will be different. (this, too, is sarcasm)

  120. 120
    OzoneR says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Really? So I imagined all the “change” posters and speeches?

    Is there a presidential candidate who doesn’t run on “change?”

    I hallucinated all the alternative energy and end the wars and stop torture and no tax cuts for rich people policy statements?

    well, you did about ending the wars, the other things he’s either done or tried to do.

  121. 121
    JAHILL10 says:

    @Corner Stone: For such a small and ineffective group you sure waste a lot of your time and energy peddling their arguments. Why not come over to the pragmatic liberal faction who are willing to work for progress rather than complain about how its not happening as quickly or as purely as we would like?

  122. 122
    Corner Stone says:

    @JAHILL10: You kind of prove my point here. The overwhelming number of D voters couldn’t tell you who either of those people are. Yet somehow they are so influential they depressed enough liberals inside the D party that it altered elections nationwide.
    I mean, I wonder if the people who boogeyman JH and GG even listen to themselves.

  123. 123
    Stillwater says:

    Why not get instant runoff voting? Is that outside the realm of the possible? Then folks could vote their conscience without subverting their broader goals.

  124. 124
    Mandramas says:

    @slightly_peeved:

    In countries where liberals actually get shit done, you’ll find the “liberal” party is more likely than not the party of organized labour.

    Well, I need an example of that. I agree with the rest of your comment.

  125. 125
    D.N. Nation says:

    all the posts and comments that are furious at hard-left voters who they perceive as not voting Democrat

    Huh. Interesting, this.

  126. 126
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Elia Isquire: Nice. But does this mean that neo-liberals and liberal-tarians are fifth columnists for the freemarketeers?

  127. 127

    @Suck It Up!:

    “Most are just looking for attention – from Obama.”

    I swear, there are more psychologists at this blog than any other in the world.

  128. 128
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    You may not care that your president is blowing up innocent people with drones and bombs in your country’s name, but I do.

    Well, then voting for the same Republicans who started the war makes perfect sense, because you seem sure that they’ve seen the folly of their ways and will end it immediately, right? It’s not like the Republicans have been screaming about our need to bomb Iran or anything, so it’s ridiculous for people to say that they would only extend our current wars rather than continuing the draw-down in progress.

  129. 129
  130. 130
    Corner Stone says:

    @JAHILL10: How in the world am I peddling their arguments? When and where was that?

    This is a classic tribal tactic, and at the heart of why so many numbnuts here hang the firebagger tag out at every opportunity.

  131. 131
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: Just off hand, have you ever considered the possibility of working for more progressive policies through advocacy and the recruitment of more progressive candidates while, at the same time, voting for what you perceive to be the lesser of two evils in elections where that is the choice before you?

  132. 132
    Corner Stone says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I mean, I wonder if the people who boogeyman JH and GG even listen to themselves.

    And obviously the answer is “no”. No, they do not.

  133. 133

    @Mnemosyne:

    “Well, then voting for the same Republicans who started the war makes perfect sense, because you seem sure that they’ve seen the folly of their ways and will end it immediately, right? ”

    That’s a foolish idea, alright.

    And yet you could substitute “Democrat” for “Republican” and most people on this board would support it.

    We need new Democrats or a new party. Right now both parties see bombs as the firs, last, and middle solution to any foreign problem.

  134. 134
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: he is trying to do it today at 1:30.
    Do you know some things O did?
    He sent those jesushumping bio-luddites on the Presidents Bioethics Council packing with barely time to clean out their desks. He struck down the ban on ESCR. That might not mean a lot to you but to scientists and bio-tech research in America ITS A HUGE FUCKING DEAL.

  135. 135
    Corner Stone says:

    @Suck It Up!:

    Fuck ‘em. Fuck ‘em all.

    Suck it up, Suck It Up!

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I think he’s one of the guys for whom the term “slacktivist” was invented. “I’m totally making a political protest by sitting here playing X-Box! My refusal to participate in the political process will make Democrats think twice about ignoring me!”

  137. 137
    slightly_peeved says:

    @Mandramas:

    British and New Zealand Labour parties. The Australian Labor party. The French Socialists. The SPD in Germany has a strong base in the working-class and amongst unionized workers.

  138. 138
    Chyron HR says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Hi, me, I just wanted to let me know that I agree with myself.

    Can’t you use a sock like the rest of us?

  139. 139
    slightly_peeved says:

    @Mandramas:

    British and New Zealand Labour parties. The Australian Labor party. The French Soshaliszts. The SPD in Germany has a strong base in the working-class and amongst unionized workers.

  140. 140
    Linnaeus says:

    You go to war with the neoliberal party you have, not the social democrat party you wish you had.

    I understand this sentiment; as one who works for a certain kind of social justice organization that’s been in the spotlight as of late, this is something I (and we) have dealt with for a long time.

    What I would also caution against is the tendency to reify things like “pragmatism”. Pragmatism as a political method is by its nature relational. I don’t know if I’m using that word correctly, but what I mean is that what is deemed pragmatic is relative to the available choices. Change the choices, and you change what is pragmatic. But let’s be careful to not pre-empt necessary or desirable change by deeming it not pragmatic before it really has a chance.

  141. 141

    “The Democrats Are Better”

    Republican politician: I think we should launch 50% of homeless people into space.

    Democratic politician: Hey, that worked for him, I’ll try it. I think we should only launch 40% of homeless people into space.

    (next election)

    Republican politician: Huh, no one called me out on my horrible idea. I can get away with it. Now I think we should launch 75% of homeless people into space.

    Democratic politician: Whoops, I don’t want people to think I’m a liberal. I think we should only launch 50% of homeless people into space.

    Loyal partisan voter: I’m voting for the Democrat–he’s not as bad as the Republican!

  142. 142
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    That’s a foolish idea, alright.

    So we both agree that you’re a fool. That’s progress, at least.

    And yet you could substitute “Democrat” for “Republican” and most people on this board would support it.

    Actually, most people on this board would think, “What the hell are you talking about? The Democrats have us leaving Iraq on schedule. We start our withdrawal from Afghanistan next year. Republicans want to keep those two wars going and invade Iran, too.”

    (Edited for missing phrase)

  143. 143
    Marc says:

    I’ll be very happy to work for Sherrod Brown here in Ohio, and when Obama is running against Palin/Gingirch (with Trump/Bachmann on the Mad Hatter Party) he’ll look really good too.

    Hell, I’ll take Obama over Clinton on substance, and is there anyone else nominated recently who looked better than either of them at the time?

  144. 144
    John Cole says:

    @tomvox1:

    All credit to Mr. Cole but it’s still odd to hire someone so contemptuous of the place to be an FPer here.

    Actually, that is why I brought him on board. That very post. You can ask him. I don’t like it when things get too cozy, and I like distinctive voices.

  145. 145

    @Linnaeus:

    Good post. And you seemed to use every word correctly.

    Social justice organization that’s been in the spotlight as of late…are you one of those New Black Panthers?

  146. 146
    MattR says:

    @OzoneR: Really? You might want to look just south of the border where the people can directly choose a president from three viable parties.

  147. 147
    Glen Tomkins says:

    @JAHILL10: I am more than willing to still give him the benefit of the doubt on this question as on all others. Let’s see what he has to say tonight.

    But you have to admit that his overall approach since January has been to endorse the idea that we have a deficit emergency, and that cutting the “entitlement” programs has to be considered as part of the response to that emergency. His spokespersons, when confronted with the idea that he is going to endorse the Simpson-Bowles recommendations as an alternative to Ryan’s plan, pointedly refuse to say that idea is wrong.

    So, yes, by all means, let’s wait to see what he has to say tonight about our supposed national debt emergency before we decide whether or not to vote for him again. But aren’t you just the tiniest bit concerned that he is even agreeing to the insane idea that we have a national debt emergency by staging this speeech tonight? Isn’t that more than half-way towards agreeing to end SocSec and Medicare? Is there any tactical reason for him to do that, that would explain flirting so deeply with the ideas of people who do clearly and unequivocally want to end the New Deal? Isn’t it true that the obvious, tacitcal political move in response to the Ryan plan would have been full-throated denunciation, I mean, the obviously sound political tactic to adopt if he actually was against ending the New Deal?

    So yes, by all means, if what we hear tonight is full-throated dencunciation of the Ryan plan, if he was just letting the other side take up enough rope to hang themselves with, and with the Ryan plan and Cantor’s announcment yesterday that the Rs are not going to raise the debt limit, he’s got them in extreme overeach and will now launch the deadly counter-attack — yes, he gets my undying loyalty.

    But, excuse me if I want to see that actually happen before I am convinced that he isn’t at least flirting with giving our party’s assent to ending the New Deal, as much as you want to see firmer evidence that he is. I think to have serious doubts about his committment to the New Deal is to get less ahead of known facts in this matter than to dismiss those concerns as unfounded.

  148. 148
    Skipjack says:

    Let me tell you what I think torture is then. I think torture is when someone is waterboarded 185 times in a row without having any new information. I think torture is when someone is beaten to death in a camp and then their throat is cut out of their corpse before handed to the coroner so there’s no evidence of cause of death. I think torture is when you leave someone shackled to a wall for hours in a position where they can’t even shift their weight around to get relief.

    I think torture is when a guard comes around to your cage and sticks a finger up your ass looking for contraband when he knows that you haven’t had any contact with anyone since when the guard came around to stick a finger up your ass the day before. And the day before that. I think torture is when people are forced to make naked dog-piles for pictures to be taken.

    All of these are things that happened in the Bush administration, and were put a stop to by the Obama administration. If you think Bradley Manning being inspected naked in the morning (but not fingered!) means you can mention Bush and Obama in the same breath regarding torture then I can’t take you seriously about torture or possibly anything else.

  149. 149
    Bob Loblaw says:

    Out of curiosity, was the word pragmatism such a heavy part of Democratic voter identity pre-Obama? Or is it just one of his sneaky clever memes to make himself and his character the ideal political center?

    What does pragmatism really even mean? “I support the people in power and the choices and decisions they make that I don’t actually understand.” An outside observer can’t be “pragmatic” anywhere but the voting booth. Only those with actual power can be pragmatic in using it. You as a simple voter are not a factor in how policy is made or how bills get written. All “pragmatism” comes down to is defending the status quo. Forever. It’s a brand, not a mindset.

  150. 150

    @Mnemosyne:

    “So we both agree that you’re a fool. That’s progress, at least.”

    Noooooooo, because I never suggested voting for Republicans. Which you would realize if you responded to what people wrote, not what you thought they almost nearly wrote.

    @Mnemosyne:

    “Republicans want to keep those two wars going and invade Iran, too.”

    Well, Obama’s secretary of defense has been hinting that we might stay in Iraq a bit longer than planned. And Obama has started a war and lobbed who knows how many bombs at Yemen and Pakistan.

    Cue the people who think people killed by cruise missiles don’t matter if there hasn’t been an official declaration of war. . .

  151. 151
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattR:

    Um, yeah, not quite:

    Throughout the 20th century, PRI had an almost hegemonic power at the state and federal level, which slowly began to recede in the late 1980s. Even though since the 1940s, PAN had won a couple of seats in the Congress, and in 1947 the first presidential municipality (in Quiroga, Michoacán),[2] it wasn’t until 1989, that the first non-PRI governor of a state was elected (at Baja California). It was in 1997, that PRI lost its absolute majority at the Congress of the Union, and in 2000 the first non-PRI president was elected since 1929.

  152. 152

    DougJ,

    As we’ve all learned since the salvation of Benghazi, it is grotesquely unfair to point out to someone the consequence of their political decisions – an assault on their character, actually – if the people whose decisions you are discussing are to your left.

  153. 153
    OzoneR says:

    @Stillwater:

    Why not get instant runoff voting? Is that outside the realm of the possible? T

    No, I like instant runoff voting, think it’s a great idea. Would love to see it here.

    Realistically it doesn’t change the two party system because Republicans and Democrats will usually win, and if they don’t, whatever third party candidate will caucus with them anyway a la Sanders.

    Plus we would also have the emo progressives saying “I’M GOING TO PUT OBAMA LAST ON MY LIST!” OR “I’M JUST VOTING FOR THE THIRD PARTY GUY AND NO ONE ELSE! MEHHHHH!”

  154. 154
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: thing 1. A mere year out from the election, the GOP still cannot present a plausible candidate against him.
    thing 2. HCR passed. It is slow death for the GOP and just because they don’t talk about doesn’t mean they don’t know it. The conservatives threw everything thay had against it and all they got was this.
    thing 3. Obama has been trying to get out of A-stan since day 1. Just as the surge was cover to draw down Iraq, the mini-surge was supposed to do the same thing in A-stan.
    4. Obama is the CinC. A lot of what he does is to protect the troops like suppressing the Baghram Theater Detention Center pics and the Camp No investigation and his adminstrations actions against Wikileaks, manning and assange (which i disagree with). Once we GTFO Iraq and A-stan things will change. And the GOP will lose power. That is why the GOP wants the US to stay in Iraq and A-stan.

  155. 155
    JAHILL10 says:

    @Corner Stone: Jeez, sorry. Just an offer to work together to achieve some goals I assume we share and I get the “tribal” tag again. Maybe the person up thread was right. Some people can’t stand to be on a team that’s larger than one. No one is asking you to give up your most cherished liberal beliefs. The question is how best to achieve them. I just don’t believe attacking our own guy is the best route, particularly now when the Republicans seem remarkably open and honest about their desire to destroy every liberal institution this country has managed to preserve up til now.

  156. 156

    Link I meant to add RE SecDef Gates and Iraq:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12990912

    Robert Gates, who is visiting Iraq, says an extended military presence is an option. “If folks here are going to want us to have a presence, we’re going to need to get on with it pretty quickly in terms of our planning,” he said.

  157. 157
    Vany says:

    For a progressive to vote for Obama at this point is like staying with an abusive husband because at least he works and pays the mortgage. I’m tired of being taken for granted and spit on by the Obama team. I may hold my nose and vote against the Republican candidate, but I certainly won’t give Obama a dime this election. My campaign donations (which is the only vote that really counts these days) are going only to progressive congressional candidates. If we want a better Obama we need to put some heat on him. And really, better a Democrat controlled Congress and Republican President than what we have now.

  158. 158
    Linnaeus says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Social justice organization that’s been in the spotlight as of late…are you one of those New Black Panthers?

    Heh…no, though (hint, hint) we are sometimes referred to as “thugs”.

  159. 159
    OzoneR says:

    @MattR:

    You might want to look just south of the border where the people can directly choose a president from three viable parties.

    Cause I know when I think “functioning free democracy,” I think of Mexico.

  160. 160
    Jonathan says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Why are you putting words into my mouth? I didn’t say we’d solve the worlds problems first, they start fixing the Democratic party. I said starting with this Presidential election is not the right time to start. Obama is very popular with independents. Running a Pelosi like candidate isn’t exactly going to win over those independents. Independents are morons that like platitudes about balance and cooperation and fluffy nonsense like that, and Obama knows how to reel them in when he needs to. He will win the election against whatever Republican is pit against him.

    Say what you will about Obama, he I believe he simply would not sign anything that came across his desk similar to The Ryan Plan or anything insane like that.

    I think we should start primarying house and senate incumbents immediately, and we wait until 2016 on the White House. Right now, we have non-ideal damage control in the WH. Primarying Obama won’t work, and only puts us more in risk of a Republican getting in the WH, and signing some sort of Ryanesque budget into law.

  161. 161
    jinxtigr says:

    Master of Karate: fine. Organize while voting not to accelerate the catastrophe outrageously.

    Same as I told mclaren. If you seriously believe they’re literally the same, vote with those of us begging you not to enable the Republicans, WHILE doing the real work of smashing the system.

    You are not smashing the system by voting in more fascists who are actively strengthening the system in ways you couldn’t even have predicted. You are exacerbating the problem when you try to actively support the worst of the worst hoping for a total blowup.

    And you’re despicable, if you’re doing that while not PERSONALLY coming up with alternate plans and actively organizing to put them in place, boots on the ground, your children and your neighbors’ children insulated from the carnage you expect to happen.

  162. 162
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne: How does that disprove the fact that they currently have three political parties to choose from, all of which are viable? (EDIT: Bear in mind that the point was to refute the comment that “EVERY DEMOCRACY is really a two party system because of coalitions”, which is just not true of the Mexican system that directly elects the executive out of multiple political parties – as opposed to a parliamentary system where a coalition is put together to determine the executive)

  163. 163
    Stillwater says:

    @Mnemosyne: This is disingenuous. Once upon a time, being informed and voting based on that information were considered all that’s necessary for citizen participation in a democracy. Now, when people bitch too much they’re told to get some Boots Onna Ground and work for change. There’s an element of hypocrisy in this, since one side is tacitly accepting the political status quo in which informed voting is sufficient for political engagement, but denying it in others.

    Or am I missing something?

  164. 164
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @John Cole: I think it was a good choice.
    Freddie is seriously honest and quite bright, he writes beautifully even if a trifle high verbal for my tastes.
    He usta be a ginormous McMegan fanboi.
    I will pray that he has recovered from that.
    ;)

  165. 165
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Noooooooo, because I never suggested voting for Republicans. Which you would realize if you responded to what people wrote, not what you thought they almost nearly wrote.

    You suggested not voting for Democrats. If that’s your plan, you may as well be honest about it and vote for the Republican, because it will have the same effect.

    But I’m sure that Obama is going to announce his plans to outlaw unions and take over cities just like those Midwestern governors, right? After all, Democrats and Republicans are exactly the same, so electing a Republican over a Democrat would make absolutely no difference.

    And Obama has started a war and lobbed who knows how many bombs at Yemen and Pakistan.

    Show me the stories where Gates is hinting at our staying in Iraq. You’re in the same group that hears Obama hinting that he’s going to kill Medicare, so you should probably provide a link or two lest we think this is just another manifestation of your paranoia.

    Yemen and Pakistan are continuations of Bush policy. They need to be ended, but claiming that Obama started them is just idiotic.

    As far as “starting” a war, I didn’t realize that France and Britain are our sockpuppets and we’re secretly running everything behind the scenes in Libya even though NATO and a non-American commander are in charge. Wow, you sure proved that by making the claim without evidence.

  166. 166

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    Thank you for replying.

    “1. A mere year out from the election, the GOP still cannot present a plausible candidate against him.”

    Actually, they have not picked a front-runner yet, but that doesn’t mean none of their candidates are plausible.

    Most Americans think Obama does not deserve re-election, according to new poll

    “HCR passed. It is slow death for the GOP and just because they don’t talk about doesn’t mean they don’t know it.”

    How is the ACA slow death for the GOP? It preserves private interests and lets states have a lot of flexibility in implementation. And it passed, but it hasn’t happened yet. Republicans could easily win in 2012, put it to death, and then we’re back at square one.

    “3. Obama has been trying to get out of A-stan since day 1. Just as the surge was cover to draw down Iraq, the mini-surge was supposed to do the same thing in A-stan.”

    How does any of that hurt the GOP? If anything, it helps them, since history shows presidents who preside over disastrous wars or escalations of disastrous wars have a hard time winning.

    Number 4 doesn’t help the GOP either. I don’t agree with anything in it, but that’s a different train of discussion.

  167. 167
    Corner Stone says:

    @Skipjack: You are a true humanitarian, skipjack. And a shining example of justice.

  168. 168
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Vany: jus’ axin’…..who would that “better” candidate be? That imaginary republican?
    Heres your choices.
    Romney
    Pawlenty
    Palin
    Huckabee
    Bachman
    Thune
    Trump

  169. 169
    MattR says:

    @OzoneR: So, when you said “EVERY DEMOCRACY” you did not actually mean “EVERY”? Are there any other qualifications you want to add?

  170. 170
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Yes, clearly an unequivocal statement from Gates that we’re not leaving:

    “I think there is interest in having a continuing presence, but the politics are such that we’ll just have to wait and see because the initiative ultimately has to come from the Iraqis,” Mr Gates said during a question-and-answer session with some of the 200 soldiers stationed at the Camp Liberty US base.

  171. 171
    jinxtigr says:

    Also thinking that a President ought to be allowed to silently allocate extra budget money, and then very loudly and publically agree to the cutting of the extra budget money he snuck in, in order to manipulate his political enemies. Seems like that’s some of what’s been happening in some cases…

    When almost half a country tries to vote in McCain/Palin, and you have to represent that half as well as your half, it’s a real bitch, and I applaud kabuki theater that works to con the crazy half while minimizing the damage. I agree it validates their crazy ideas to some extent. I don’t like that. But inciting them to such a frenzy that they take more than 50% of the vote and run the show does way more damage.

  172. 172
    The Raven says:

    @Mandramas: “Marx is the far left. Chomsky is center-left. Your political classification frame have a conservative bias.”

    Have you read the man? He’s very much a radical left anarchist. Here’s Chomsky on Marx and his own politics, from 1974:

    Well, I think the general idea of class analysis is indispensable. Whether Marx’s particular formulations were either historically accurate or applicable today may be questioned. I would tend to agree with Bakunin’s criticism of Marx that the notion of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” in a partially agrarian society would be a very repressive and destructive system, as in fact… I’m not implying the Bolsheviks introduced the dictatorship of the proletariat, they did not, but the particular perversion of it they introduced gives some justification to that analysis and I think one could make other comments of that sort. But the insight that class analysis is indispensable to understanding of social processes, I don’t have any doubt that that’s true. —interview, 1974

    I’ve left the whole thing intact, including digressions, to provide the context.

  173. 173
    Corner Stone says:

    @Stillwater:

    they’re told to get some Boots Onna Ground

    You forgot the ™ at the end. You should be more careful or ABL may threaten to ban you.

  174. 174
    The Raven says:

    @jinxtigr: “When almost half a country tries to vote in McCain/Palin…”

    Half the people who voted, not half the country. Remember that; it’s important.

  175. 175
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Stillwater:

    Once upon a time, being informed and voting based on that information were considered all that’s necessary for citizen participation in a democracy. Now, when people bitch too much they’re told to get some Boots Onna Ground and work for change.

    I’m trying to figure out where MoKaF said he was going to vote instead of sitting on his ass. I am not of the opinion that not voting is the same thing as voting, so sitting at home on Election Day doesn’t give you the same rights to bitch as going out, pulling the lever, and having your candidate lose anyway.

    I’m asking for the bare minimum of actually casting a vote, so I’m not sure why that’s an impossible standard to reach.

  176. 176

    @Mnemosyne:

    “You suggested not voting for Democrats. If that’s your plan, you may as well be honest about it and vote for the Republican, because it will have the same effect.”

    I think I suggested not voting for horrible Democrats like Obama. If, picking a name out of a hat, Anthony Weiner ran for president in 2012 as a Democrat, I’d be all for voting for him.

    “But I’m sure that Obama is going to announce his plans to outlaw unions and take over cities just like those Midwestern governors, right?”

    Why should he? All he has to do is sit back and do nothing (like he is) while governors do those things. It’s obvious Obama is no friend of unions: he hasn’t lifted a finger for Card Check, has no problem signing trade deals with countries hostile to unions, and chose General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to head his council on jobs.

    “Show me the stories where Gates is hinting at our staying in Iraq. ”

    I did, should have done it in the same post, but…oops!

    “Yemen and Pakistan are continuations of Bush policy. They need to be ended, but claiming that Obama started them is just idiotic.”

    Yes, they do need to be ended. And yet Obama chooses not to end them.

    “As far as “starting” a war”

    Have you not heard any of the controversy about Obama firing upon Libyans without Congressional approval? The Constitution says that’s a no-no.

  177. 177
    Jonathan says:

    @The Raven: The Chomsky interview quote you provided seems, if anything, to support Mandramas case.

  178. 178
    Stillwater says:

    @The Raven: But about 99% of Chomsky’s political writing is neither ideological nor political advocacy. He merely critiques the prevailing conception of political economy and compares the reality of policy against the rhetoric employed.

  179. 179

    @John Cole:

    “I don’t like it when things get too cozy, and I like distinctive voices.”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  180. 180
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Yeah, about that poll:

    Researchers also found that only 13 percent of Democrats disapprove of the president’s actions.
    __
    They’re joined by 81 percent of Republicans, Quinnipiac noted, who fiercely oppose Obama — even in spite of the fact that much of his policies, both foreign and domestic, are the same as or similar to his Republican predecessor’s.

    How odd — Republicans don’t think that Obama should be re-elected! Clearly this is the Voice of the People speaking!

  181. 181
    Skipjack says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Is that really all you’ve got? Even if Manning’s treatment were abusive, and I’d debate that while still being fine with treating him as you might like him to be, torture is a real and separate thing. I think not acknowledging the difference is pretty craven.

  182. 182

    @jinxtigr:

    “You are not smashing the system by voting in more fascists who are actively strengthening the system in ways you couldn’t even have predicted. ”

    You mean like Barack Obama? Who thinks he can kill any American he wants, for any reason or no reason? Or lock them up forever?

  183. 183

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: Nice own-goal.

    “If folks here are going to want us to have a presence, we’re going to need to get on with it pretty quickly in terms of our planning,” he said.

    Congratulations, you just put up a quote in which the Secretary of Defense demonstrates that there has been no planning for us to stay in Iraq.

  184. 184
    Bruce S says:

    Long story short on this, it’s important to be able to hold more than one idea in your head at the same time…

  185. 185
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: /sigh
    I have linked this so many times. HCR could kill the GOP. Bill Kristol wrote the fucking memo.

    Republicans could easily win in 2012, put it to death, and then we’re back at square one.

    They can’t win with any of those candidates. Obama beats ever one of them in a one-one matchup.
    We are only a year out, Obama has started his campaign. There is no fantasy candidate to ride to the GOP rescue. They can’t repeal HCR unless they capture the WH. Meanwhile the demographic timer goes tick…tick…tick….

    And you forget, the peace dividend. ;)
    If Obama can get us out of A-stan and Iraq (without the teabaggers screaming cut-n-run at him) we get an extra half trillion a year to work with.
    We are obligated to leave Iraq by treaty in December this year.
    The Pakis just officially asked the CIA to gtfo their country.
    And the draw down in A-stan starts in july.

  186. 186

    @Mnemosyne:

    “How odd—Republicans don’t think that Obama should be re-elected! Clearly this is the Voice of the People speaking!”

    If that reassures you, then fine. But when a majority of voters don’t like the job a politician is doing, it’s warning bell time.

    I know, they don’t approve because of mean things people say about him, not because he has failed to reduce unemployment and extended our war in Afghanistan and done whatever Wall Street wants and…..

  187. 187
    The Raven says:

    A general remark on uncritical support of Obama: personal loyalty to rulers is not a democratic virtue.

  188. 188

    @Skipjack:

    I think not acknowledging the difference is pretty craven.

    Blurring the difference between torture and the ordinary unpleasantness of confinement used to be limited to the defenders of Dick Cheney. Now, it’s all the rage among the some of the same people who used to be outraged by such arguments.

  189. 189
    Elia Isquire says:

    Question for those in this debate that would (derisively or not) consider themselves on Team Obot:

    If I live in NY, where the electoral consequences are all but sealed, and it doesn’t appear to be a close election (nothing comparable to Bush-Gore), and I’m also someone who works in progressive politics/advocacy, would you find it unacceptable for me to either not vote or do a write-in vote for someone else because, while I like Obama, I found one decision or another of his to be so morally suspect that using my in essence symbolic vote to endorse it would bother me? Or would you consider this invalid narcissism/immaturity?

  190. 190
    Chyron HR says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    You mean like Barack Obama? Who thinks he can kill any American he wants, for any reason or no reason? Or lock them up forever?

    Nothing says, “I sincerely believe the President is a dictator who disappears anyone who dares to question him” like spending all morning criticizing him in a public forum.

  191. 191
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Mnemosyne: the consensus is that we are going to have to leave Iraq and wait to be asked back.
    The treaty is up in December this year.

  192. 192
    chopper says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    that involves work. bitching on the internet is easy.

  193. 193
    debit says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m asking for the bare minimum of actually casting a vote, so I’m not sure why that’s an impossible standard to reach.

    Because Obama hurt my feelings, so shut up, that’s why!

    I don’t know what happened in the last two years that made everyone bugfuck insane, but I just unsubbed from yet another progressive mailing list that sent me yet another “Obama’s going to fuck us over!” e-mail. Maybe 8 years of Bush left everyone at a permanent DEFCON 1, but I am heartily sick of the continual hysteria and panic button pushing.

  194. 194

    @The Raven: A general remark on critics of Obama’s actions and policies: attributing differing opinions to personal loyalty, rather than an actual difference of opinion, is a dodge.

  195. 195
    Elia Isquire says:

    @Skipjack: P.S. This is gross. If you knew anything about what being treated as Manning is does to peopel you wouldn’t be so glib and callous about this. Sad that a left-wing person would adopt this kind of Thiessen-lite argument.

  196. 196
    Skipjack says:

    To respond to the main issue, which is having different povs on the main page, I think it’s great. I think most of the real policy debates in the country are between the progressive and the liberal wings of the Democratic party anyway, and it’s good to keep the underlying philosophies out in the open. Otherwise you just have different blogs sniping at each other about in groups and out groups.

  197. 197

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    “HCR could kill the GOP. Bill Kristol wrote the fucking memo.”

    I almost read that link, until I realized…it’s Bill Kristol. Sure, if a health care reform plan were beloved by the public that would hurt the Republican party, but the ACA is not beloved by the public.

    “And you forget, the peace dividend. ;)”

    What do you think will be done with it?

    Government can’t replace — can’t create jobs to replace the millions that we lost in the recession, but it can create the conditions for small businesses to hire more people, through steps like tax breaks.

    Remarks by the President at Signing of the Small Business Jobs Act

    @joe from Lowell:

    “Congratulations, you just put up a quote in which the Secretary of Defense demonstrates that there has been no planning for us to stay in Iraq.”

    Right, we aren’t building an embassy the size of the Death Star in Baghdad. But at least there’s a long record of American forces not staying in country longer than needed.

  198. 198
    Corner Stone says:

    @Skipjack:

    I think not acknowledging the difference is pretty craven.

    What is craven is being just fine with it as long as it’s your guy doing it.

  199. 199
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Elia Isquire: I think you should trust your instincts and vote your conscience. Whatever that is. I don’t agree with everything Obama has done, but I think I understand why he is doing any particular thing at any particular time.

  200. 200
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: read the link. Kristol wrote a memo in 1993 to stop the Clinton health plan.
    The WSJ guy is projecting that into the Obama presidency.

  201. 201

    @Chyron HR:

    “Nothing says, “I sincerely believe the President is a dictator who disappears anyone who dares to question him” like spending all morning criticizing him in a public forum.”

    Oh so that’s why you don’t mind the president saying he can kill any American citizen that he feels like. Well, if that’s how you sleep at night.

  202. 202

    @Elia Isquire: I’d say, in a state like yours, that would be a perfectly responsible choice. The problem isn’t Obama getting a lower vote total; the problem is a Republican taking office. Your vote for the Sociialist Workers Party of Working Sociialist Families for Jobs, cast in New York, won’t help any Republicans get elected.

    On the other hand, there will probably be down-ticket races that actually are competitive. I’d go so far as to say that, if voting for the Working Sociialist Families are Too :Damn High Party’s presidential candidate gets you, and other people you talk to, to vote for Dems in Congressional and Assembly races, instead of staying home, then it’s clearly a good thing.

  203. 203

    @Corner Stone:

    “What is craven is being just fine with it as long as it’s your guy doing it.”

    That’s pretty much the whole thing, isn’t it?

    5 years ago it was horrible for George W. Bush not to let people know what was going on in our secret prisons. Yet right here in this thread we have a Democrat defending that policy when Obama does it, and using exactly the same reasoning Bush used.

  204. 204
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: and I don’t know what Obama would do with a peace-dividend.
    Like I said to mnem, the consensus is that we are going to have to leave Iraq in december according to the SOFA and wait to see if we get asked back.
    Would you ask us back?

  205. 205
    Skipjack says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    I’m not blurring the line in fact I’m drawing the line. And underlining it.

    @Elia Isquire:

    It’s neither glib nor callous. If you think it compares to what I mentioned please be serious. Or more to the point stop using the word torture. I don’t want or need him to be treated badly, as I said. It seems clear to me that humiliating him is simple payback and shouldn’t be done. But I think you actually diminish the crimes committed previously when you bandy the word about or accuse others of not caring.

  206. 206
    The Raven says:

    @cmorenc:

    Some of the less insane GOP leadership realizes they have a limited window before demographics and stepping too hard on too many constituencies with their policies will catch up with them. Their goal over the next two to six years is to wreck the foundations of government that have been built up ever since the New Deal, and make it forbiddingly infeasible to revive them even if that’s what the public overwhelmingly wants.

    I think it’s more the shadowy faction that supports the Tea Party Republicans. I don’t think they have six years; they may have two. Other than that, yes, it’s a real possibility. It’s been clear to me for a while that we will need structural reforms to get out of this mess, and those are hard to make into law and hard to put into practice. Still…the United States has made structural reforms through its history. There’s no reason to think it will not do so at this time.

  207. 207
    Elliecat says:

    So am I right in assuming that all of you who feel it would be morally repugnant to give Obama your precious vote feel similarly about giving your precious money to businesses that exploit workers, destroy the environment, and buy politicians to dismantle regulations, etc.?

    I mean, if a vote for Obama is a vote for torture and murder, isn’t filling your gas tank an often repeated vote for environmental destruction and the obscene wealth of oil executives? Isn’t a shopping trip a vote for bad labor practices, sweatshops, forced prostitution, environmental damage, and the financing of anti-government GOP candidates? Or are you living your entire life as purely as you are giving out your vote?

  208. 208
    Stillwater says:

    @Corner Stone: I looked up how to do that – seemed like a form language, or ‘code’ so to speak, I was unfamiliar with. And fearful of.

  209. 209
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: Obama is not doing it for the same reason. Bush was seeking some validation for an unjust, immoral, and UNWINNABLE war. Obama is the CinC. He is protecting his troops until he can get them the fuck out of the meatgrinder that that fucking WEC retard Bush put them in.

  210. 210
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    I think I suggested not voting for horrible Democrats like Obama. If, picking a name out of a hat, Anthony Weiner ran for president in 2012 as a Democrat, I’d be all for voting for him.

    And if your fantasy man doesn’t run and bring you your pony, you’re going to stay home. Gotcha.

    Also, you may want to look up Weiner’s views on Israel before you decide he would never start bombing countries in the Middle East. Just a pro-tip.

    Why should he? All he has to do is sit back and do nothing (like he is) while governors do those things.

    What should he be doing? I’m genuinely curious. What power do you think the federal government has in state matters?

    It’s obvious Obama is no friend of unions: he hasn’t lifted a finger for Card Check, has no problem signing trade deals with countries hostile to unions, and chose General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to head his council on jobs.

    I know this is a difficult concept for you, but “no friend of unions” =/= actively trying to destroy unions. I know that for you it’s all or nothing, if we’re not with you we’re against you, but that’s not how real life works.

    Yes, they do need to be ended. And yet Obama chooses not to end them.

    So therefore you’d rather put a Republican in charge who will not only continue those wars, but start a new one with Iran. Because that’s better than Obama withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan too slowly for your taste. Uh-huh

    Have you not heard any of the controversy about Obama firing upon Libyans without Congressional approval? The Constitution says that’s a no-no.

    We fired on them in accordance with our treaty with the UN, which has the same force of law as any other US law. If you want to argue that the UN treaty is unconstitutional and Obama should be impeached for doing the same thing every post-WWII president has done, you’d better hit the law books and file your suit.

  211. 211

    @Skipjack:

    “All of these are things that happened in the Bush administration, and were put a stop to by the Obama administration.”

    Right, Obama stopped torture in America by refusing to prosecute a single person for torturing. That will work just fine.

  212. 212
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Elia Isquire: Actually, I rather liked the idea put out in 2000 for informal vote exchanges, whereby a voter in a safe blue state would vote for Nader and a Nader leading voter in a heavily contested state would vote for Gore. The idea was that it would keep Bush from winning, but, at the same time, push the Green Party vote total up high enough to ensure that it received matching funds.

  213. 213

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Right, we aren’t building an embassy the size of the Death Star in Baghdad.

    There you go, walk it back, walk it back.

    Now having an embassy is the same thing as occupying a country and maintaining permanent bases there. Why, I heard there are going to be marines guarding it!

    Anyway, nice own-goal. Nobody made you quote the Secretary of Defense saying there was no planning being done for us to stay in Iraq. You decided to do that all by yourself.

    Thanks.

  214. 214
    Corner Stone says:

    @Elliecat: I have to be honest. I’ve lost the ability to distinguish between all the commenters with the word “cat” in their name.
    Oh sorry, you were saying?

  215. 215
    MattR says:

    @Skipjack:

    It’s neither glib nor callous. If you think it compares to what I mentioned please be serious. Or more to the point stop using the word torture. I don’t want or need him to be treated badly, as I said. It seems clear to me that humiliating him is simple payback and shouldn’t be done. But I think you actually diminish the crimes committed previously when you bandy the word about or accuse others of not caring.

    I don’t think humilation has anything to do with what is going on. Punishment is the desired goal. And that punishment is pretty darn close to torture and gets closer with every day that it is allowed to continue. I am not sure when exactly it will cross the line and I have no problem with others who believe that it already has.

  216. 216
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Elliecat: lol!

  217. 217
    Corner Stone says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    Bush was seeking some validation for an unjust, immoral, and UNWINNABLE war. Obama is the CinC. He is protecting his troops until he can get them the fuck out of the meatgrinder that that fucking WEC retard Bush put them in.

    Wow. You’ve gone through quite a transformation, and I don’t mean polyjuice.

  218. 218
    The Raven says:

    @Jonathan: How so? Chomsky is saying Marxist class analysis is correct, while questioning (referencing Bakunin!–who but the far left remembers Bakunin?) the historical outcome and application of that analysis. Or are you arguing that to be far left, politics must advocate revolutionary violence?

  219. 219
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Corner Stone: toutes les chats sont gris dans la nuit Balloonjuice

  220. 220
    Elia Isquire says:

    @joe from Lowell: Yeah, see, that’s generally been my plan: to write-in or vote for a real stalinist leftist nazi (but vote D for my congressional seat and local government). And if someone was on the fence and asked me who they should vote for, I’d vigorously argue for Obama for the many obvious reasons. And if I lived in a swing state I’d not only vote for him but I’d hit the pavement, the phones, and my checkbook. I think this is a fair/reasonable position, but I was curious what others would say, since sometimes this conversation gets very polarized…

    @Skipjack: Go look up the definition of torture. Then go read about the consequences of prolonged solitary confinement. Then tell me you’re not making an argument exactly the same in kind, if not in degree, from that bandied about by Thiessen et al.

  221. 221
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Who thinks he can kill any American he wants who’s living in an al-Qaeda encampment in Yemen, for any reason or no reason?

    Fix’d, since you seem a little hazy on the details about al-Awlaki and what that “assassination order” actually was. Or are you perfectly fine with letting al-Qaeda use al-Awlaki as a human shield since the Army isn’t allowed to take action that could harm a US citizen without that rumored executive order?

  222. 222
    Corner Stone says:

    @Stillwater: What frightens you more? Parenthesis embedded in a comment, or hyperbolic schtick aimed at you in such a way all you hear is “dumb squirrel” jokes?
    Choose carefully…

  223. 223
    chopper says:

    @Elliecat:

    again, doing all that stuff is hard. sitting at home on voting day is easy. and rationalizing it on the internet is easy too.

  224. 224
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Corner Stone: it doesnt mean i agree with stupid shit like DDOSing Wikileaks to try to stop the Iraq document drop or with Mannings awful treatment. I just understand that he feels a great obligation and responsibility for the troops. Until we get them out of harms way he puts them first.
    /shrug

  225. 225
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: I have a modest proposal. Let Bradley Manning free on condition that he goes into Yemen and kills Awlaki.

  226. 226
    Elia Isquire says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yeah I loved that idea and it reminds of how I really, really, really wish we had this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preferential_voting

    I know the risks of these kinds of systems — isntability, etc. — and it totally couldn’t work without drastically altering our entire gov’t, really…but it would be my geeky polisci fantasy.

  227. 227

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    “Obama is the CinC. He is protecting his troops”

    That’s what Bush said, too.

    @Mnemosyne:

    “And if your fantasy man doesn’t run and bring you your pony, you’re going to stay home. Gotcha.”

    Right, because I do not vote for people who escalate needless wars, let Wall Street run his economic policy, increase the Pentagon’s budget while cutting subsidies for poor people, and try terrorist suspects in secret military tribunals on army bases.

    “What should he be doing? I’m genuinely curious. What power do you think the federal government has in state matters?”

    It would be nice if Obama: pushed for card check, went around to the protests and encouraged the crowd, stopped putting union-busters like Jeffrey Immelt in key positions, and fought to overturn Taft/Hartley as a cherry on top. Hell, I’d be deliriously happy with just one of those.

    And anyone who thinks this is a “state matter” is being naive. There are national interests and national money being used in multiple states in a coordinated effort to bust unions. It would be nice if there were more help at that level.

    One more thing: remember the ACA Obama pushed for sets up insurance exchanges at the state level in every state. So it’s not like a president’s influence stops at a state line.

    “I know this is a difficult concept for you, but “no friend of unions” =/= actively trying to destroy unions. ”

    Considering unions have been under attack for generations, and their membership, money, power and prestige have been declining sharply without relief for decades, yes if you do not help unions you are against them.

    “So therefore you’d rather put a Republican in charge who will not only continue those wars, but start a new one with Iran. ”

    If Obama continues a stupid war, that’s alright, but if a Republican does it, it’s not?

  228. 228
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Or are you perfectly fine with letting al-Qaeda use al-Awlaki as a human shield since the Army isn’t allowed to take action that could harm a US citizen without that rumored executive order?

    This seems pretty unbelievable to me. You have a link for this?

  229. 229
    Stillwater says:

    @Corner Stone: Yes. Lessee here. First the Benevolent Obama Doctrine (status: wrong), next the Evils of Humantarian Intervention (statuts: discarded) and now the Obama Extrication Theory (status: embraced). Lots of change, but one thing is constant: the absolute certainty that the belief she currently holds is right.

  230. 230

    @FlipYrWhig:

    “I have a modest proposal. Let Bradley Manning free on condition that he goes into Yemen and kills Awlaki.”

    See? The same kind of monstrosity Bush used to encourage, only now it’s encouraged by Democrats. “Our guy” is in charge now, so it’s okay.

  231. 231

    @Mnemosyne:

    I didn’t know living in an al-Qaeda encampment was a crime, let alone punishable by death.

    Ah the good ol’ days, when people were not deprived of life or liberty without due process. But if “our guy” decides otherwise that’s okay.

  232. 232
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: But it involves Bradley Manning being free! Think of how happy Glenn Greenwald would be!

  233. 233
    chopper says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    when you’ve long passed the point where you are able to parse a simple joke, you need to step away from the keyboard for a bit.

  234. 234

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    Why should he? All he has to do is sit back and do nothing (like he is) while governors do those things. It’s obvious Obama is no friend of unions: he hasn’t lifted a finger for Card Check, has no problem signing trade deals with countries hostile to unions, and chose General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt to head his council on jobs.

    As an authority on Labor’s relationship with the Obama administration, can you provide a critique on the job Hilda Solis is doing?

  235. 235
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: Wow, I could hear the whoosh as that one flew over your head from here.

  236. 236
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    This is Anne Lauries story, but I think its pretty huge.
    I think…we are going to have to stop droning waziristan too. My prediction is the drones stop altogether by december.
    ;)

  237. 237
    Corner Stone says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: ISTM you are using very suspect reasoning to shrug off decisions being made now, that you never would have done just recently.
    To say the President is CinC and must have responsibility for the troops in this context is a very thin reed, IMO.
    Every President has carried this burden, and we haven’t given them the benefits when they SURGED! ™ for reasons expounded on that are strikingly similar to what you are enunciating now.

  238. 238

    @joe from Lowell:

    As always, you will cherry-pick the parts that agree with your own narrative. Personally I think it’s borderline hilarious that a secretary of defense says “gosh, we haven’t made plans to stay” and you believe it wholeheartedly.

  239. 239
    MattR says:

    @Corner Stone: Don’t worry. She does the same thing when it comes to “free market solutions”. If she likes the person then she knows their motives are pure so she will rationalize why their solution is acceptable, but if she does not like the person then that same solution would be proof of how the free market glibertarians are trying to get a do over.

  240. 240
    The Raven says:

    @joe from Lowell: “attributing differing opinions to personal loyalty, rather than an actual difference of opinion, is a dodge.”

    When the arguments in support of those opinions dissolve under the slightest criticism, yet the people who hold those opinions defend and defend and defend them? That’s not a difference of opinion based in reason: that is the hope of a good king.

    I continue to wish people who want to be loyal to someone or something leaders and causes worthy of their loyalty.

  241. 241
    Corner Stone says:

    @Lawnguylander:

    the job Hilda Solis is doing

    Who is she?

  242. 242
  243. 243
    aisce says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    What does pragmatism really even mean? “I support the people in power and the choices and decisions they make that I don’t actually understand.”

    this. you can’t be pragmatic without being truly informed. and the only way you can be informed about what is/isn’t possible or practical in washington is to work in washington.

    calling yourself pragmatic is just a way of covering up your own insecurities. now why you would be insecure to publicly back the president and congress, i don’t know. i guess expressing faith and optimism isn’t mature and cynical enough, you have to make sure everybody knows how worldly and self-possessed you are instead.

  244. 244
    Stillwater says:

    @Corner Stone: End the suspense for me brother. How is it done?

  245. 245

    @Lawnguylander:

    Has she done anything to help the labor protests? If so, I sure haven’t seen it.

  246. 246

    @Corner Stone:

    When Master Karate and Friendship gets done googling her name I’m sure he’ll be happy to tell you.

  247. 247
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: Well, I guess it wasn’t much of a joke to you, but the gag was to solve one civil-libertarian pet cause (Manning) only at the cost of aggravating another (Awlaki).

  248. 248
    Corner Stone says:

    @Lawnguylander: If you Google News her name you know who she is but fuckall about what she’s done.
    *Hint, it isn’t exhaustive on the cause of Labor. Although I do fully support her stance to get farms to stop using children. Long time supporter of that belief.

  249. 249
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Stillwater:

    the belief she currently holds is right.

    but…isnt that true for everyone? i have changed a lot since I first met Freddie at Culture 11.
    I have evolved.
    Stil…I hate to say this but you are backsliding. Do you really want Feyd Rautha and the Harkonnens to win?

    “Sympathy for the enemy — a weakness of police and armies alike. Most perilous are the unconscious sympathies directing you to preserve your enemy intact because the enemy is your justification for existence.”

  250. 250

    @chopper:

    Oh, I see. Because it’s sooooo easy to detect sarcasm on the internet, isn’t it?

  251. 251
    Corner Stone says:

    @Stillwater: Boots Onna Ground(tm) !!

  252. 252
    aisce says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    Obama is the CinC. He is protecting his troops until he can get them the fuck out of the meatgrinder that that fucking WEC retard Bush put them in.

    this is insane. more americans have died in two years under Obama than in the previous seven under bush. all for a country that will dissolve again as soon as international forces leave. that’s not protecting his troops.

    population-centric coin without control of the borders to staunch the flow of weapons, explosives, fighters and material isn’t protecting his troops.

  253. 253

    @Lawnguylander:

    She is the Secretary of Labor. And I haven’t found any great accomplishments yet. What has she done that we should know about?

  254. 254
    Stillwater says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: You left off the ‘absolute certainty’ part.

  255. 255
    The Raven says:

    @Stillwater: “But about 99% of Chomsky’s political writing is neither ideological nor political advocacy.”

    I think Chomsky’s activism largely takes the form of “consciousness-raising”–teaching. He is after all a very scholarly man. He does also advocate politics and have an anarchistic ideology. But first, I think, he is trying to make intellectual space for his ideals and policies, and that is a hard, hard thing.

  256. 256
    chopper says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    i think pretty much everyone but you got the joke. take the hint and chill the fuck out for a bit.

  257. 257
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    That’s what Bush said, too.

    But Bush was lying. Bush PUT our troops in that unjustifiable meatgrinder and then tortured humans to try to justify his actions.
    The Bush Doctrine was always impossible to implement in majority muslim nations.

  258. 258
  259. 259

    @joe from Lowell:

    More evidence how seriously you take your “policy, not personality” line.

  260. 260
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Stillwater: why do you say I’m absolutely certain? I doubt, I observe, I change my mind.
    Where do you see me as inflexible?

  261. 261
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    Agreed, Comrade DougJ.

    If we had parliamentary style proportional representation there could be no lever too red for me to pull. But we don’t. So we can’t.

    I don’t understand why I can’t be a Marxist in my heart and a Democrat with my vote.

  262. 262

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    Bush was lying when he said he couldn’t release the photos because that would hurt our troops? But Obama isn’t lying when he says that?

  263. 263
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Although I do fully support her stance to get farms to stop using children.

    But they’re such better fertilizers than the petroleum-based ones! Runoff can still be a problem, though.

  264. 264

    @Skipjack:

    I’m not blurring the line in fact I’m drawing the line. And underlining it.

    I was agreeing with you, and criticizing the target of your comment.

    @Corner Stone:

    Who is she?

    Somebody whose name is immediately recognized by anyone who has an opinion about the administration’s labor policy that is worth hearing.

  265. 265
    Jonathan says:

    @The Raven: So, you’re saying that Chomsky’s following statement;

    the insight that [Marx’s] class analysis is indispensable to understanding of social processes, I don’t have any doubt that that’s true.

    …this makes him a “radical left anarchist.” In fact, this apparently “leaves no doubt.”

    I certainly believe that much of Marx’s class analysis was correct. Some bits are debatable. What’s not debatable is that these classes do exist, and that does have an effect on the understanding of social processes.

    Yet, I can hold this belief without being “Radical Left” and certainly doesn’t imply that I favor Anarchy.

    The rest of the quote is Chomsky implying that the practical application of some of Marx’s philosophy is undesirable.

    Given all this, I have to assume that you believe anything to the left of Grover Norquist is a Radical Left Anarchist… I see why you have trouble accepting or understanding classifications.

  266. 266
    chopper says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    jesus, you’re a buffoon.

  267. 267

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    More evidence how seriously you take your “policy, not personality” line.

    Boy, it gets irritating to have to explain everything to you five times.

    I don’t give a crap about personal attacks on other people in blog comment threads, you moron. I was talking about discussions of public policy and major political figures.

    As I’ve told you. Over and over. And you still can’t seem to follow.

  268. 268

    Hey, Hilda Solis was chosen to push ahead the Dept of Labor’s green jobs program. That’s something.

    That program was killed in the budget compromise, but it’s something.

  269. 269

    @chopper: This.

    Just so we’re clear, Master, other people who had nothing to do with that conversation understand what I was saying.

    And you don’t.

  270. 270
  271. 271

    @joe from Lowell:

    “I don’t give a crap about personal attacks on other people in blog comment threads”

    Oh, that’s okay then.

  272. 272
    Corner Stone says:

    @joe from Lowell: Whoooosushka!

  273. 273

    @Corner Stone:

    Yes, you’d have to have been paying attention to what she’s done to know what she’s done. Googling her name this late in the game to have some idea of how well she’s been doing her job is not something I’d expect from someone who’s giving strong opinions about the Obama administration and its stance on labor and how that should inform our voting decisions. Neither is responding to a question about her with a question about what she’s done about Wisconsin. Internet Black Belt up there clearly doesn’t know and it’s probably about the only time he’s ever paid real attention to labor policy. Anyway, I wasn’t asking you but if you want to align yourself with the arguments of a know nothing loud mouth like him, you can answer to all that too.

  274. 274
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @aisce: merde. The mini-surge is the surge redux. A way to start the draw down while saving some face.

    more americans have died in two years under Obama than in the previous seven under bush

    false. You have to count Iraq too, because that is the same COIN/surge bullshytt that is going on in A-stan. Under that fucking WEC retard Bush there were not many Americans IN A-stan.
    pop-centric COIN is impossible to implement, a fantasy. All we are doing there right now is trying to give Karzai enough political mass to counterweight the Taliban when we leave.
    I said trying, it isn’t working.
    I think the Wikileaks releases and the Arab Spring are deforming the Obama/Petraeus timeline.
    No one expects the spanish inquisition arab spring.

  275. 275
    kay says:

    @TaosJohn:

    Nah, I don’t buy this post’s argument. To hell with the Democrats. My own moral salvation depends on not enabling any more assholes.

    I’m fine with this, actually.

    You shouldn’t vote for anyone you don’t want to vote for, obviously.

  276. 276

    If you’re going to discuss labor issues, and an administration’s stance on labor issues, and the job being done by the Secretary of Labor, you need to have some kind of understanding of what the Secretary of Labor does, and of the ongoing responsibilities and authorities of the Department of Labor.

    Uh, no, the Secretary of Labor’s job is not primarily, or even to a significant degree, based upon pushing for legislation in Congress.

  277. 277

    @Lawnguylander:

    For the third time:

    What has Hilda Solis done to reverse the decline of American unions?

  278. 278
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel):

    I don’t understand why I can’t be a Marxist in my heart and a Democrat with my vote.

    At what point do people stop saying stupid shit like this? What exactly is it going to take for Marxism to be discredited amongst “the intellectual class?”

  279. 279
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @kay: OK, but at a certain point it veers from “I don’t (eat meat | vote for Democrats)” to “How could any decent human being (eat meat | vote for Democrats)?”

  280. 280
    tomvox1 says:

    @Glen Tomkins:

    that four more years of this would indeed be worse than four more years of R effery that would at least be blamable on their party.

    Bullshit because:

    Supreme Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court.
    See also: 8 years of Bush, George W.

    “Blame” is kind of a pyrrhic victory, dontcha think?

  281. 281
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: Bush was lying about protecting the troops being his first priority. He wanted to cover up that he was torturing also.
    Bush PUT our troops in a stupid unwinnable unjustifiable meatgrinder. How could protecting them be his first priority?

  282. 282
    Elia Isquire says:

    @Bob Loblaw: Its discrediting, I’d imagine. ;)

    Maybe he meant socialist, though?

  283. 283

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    “Bush was lying about protecting the troops being his first priority. He wanted to cover up that he was torturing also.”

    Yes, I’m sure he was.

    Now, what is our evidence that Obama is not lying as well, when he says exactly the same thing?

    “Bush PUT our troops in a stupid unwinnable unjustifiable meatgrinder.”

    So did Obama, when he escalated in Afghanistan rather than end it.

  284. 284

    @Elia Isquire:

    Then go read about the consequences of prolonged solitary confinement.

    Manning isn’t experiencing “prolonged solitary confinement.” He’s getting visitors once a week, he’s seeing his father once a month, he has conversations with people in nearby cells, he has a television, he receives quite a bit of mail. Apparently, the consequences of his treatment are such that his own father couldn’t see any harm that had been done to him.

    Prolonged solitary can indeed be torture. It can drive people insane, as they learned in Pennsylvania in the 1800s. What happened to Jose Padilla was prolonged solitary confinement – the real thing – and we can see how people who undergo such torture end up: unfit to even stand trial.

    When you make a claim that Manning’s treatment is like Padilla’s, you are also making the claim that Padilla’s treatment is like someone who receives visitors every week, has a television, talks with other prisoners, etc. etc. – and it most certainly was not.

  285. 285
    TheF79 says:

    Ah, the age-old “revolution versus reform” dilemma. I figure another couple hundred message board posts and we’ll totally have that one figured out.

  286. 286
    Corner Stone says:

    @Lawnguylander: I don’t want to align myself with the “Karate” part, as that’s a little too much violence for my tastes. But the “Friendship” part? I am all in!

  287. 287
    WereBear says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: Right, because the way to stop bad behavior is to encourage and enable it. Every psychiatrist, social worker, doctor, and economist would agree. “I don’t like what you did! So I’m going to help you do it again, until you learn your lesson!”

    A classic misunderstanding of the micro-system and the macro-system.

    We don’t run a civilization the way we run our lives. We can’t; either.

    I’m on hard times; I pull in my spending. The country’s on hard times; IT SHOULD SPEND.

    If I hunt down the person who done me wrong; I’m a vigilante. The law hunts down that person; that’s what they are SUPPOSED TO DO.

    In a million ways, this reasoning fallacy does damage. So, on a personal level, CUT IT OUT.

  288. 288
    Larv says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    This whole post is just ridiculous. Is this supposed to be an accomplishment—even if true? “Ooh, the president is more liberal than Ronald Reagan! So we have to hitch our wagon to him!”

    I can’t even begin to understand the mindset required to post this. You do realize that being more liberal than Reagan is A Good Thing, right? We have a two-party system. In such a system, you effectively are voting against one party, rather than for the other. Yes, you generally end up voting for the lesser of two evils, but that’s a structural consequence of the system. Withholding your vote from the LOTE party almost never works as a way to accomplish your personal policy goals, because they then have to replace your vote, and the most attractive pool of potential replacement votes is in the center (where it also deprives the other party of a potential vote). So they move further to the center, and further away from your preferences.

    Now, if you want to withhold your time and money by not donating to or working for Dems, I have no problem with that. That’s a legitimate way of expressing your displeasure. But not voting for the Democrats because they aren’t as liberal/progressive as you think they should be is just silly. Voting in America is a binary choice – it’s either one or the other. The Dems may be somewhat craven and corporatist, but the Repubs are actively malevolent. I can’t think of a single progressive issue where I think Obama has been disappointing on where any of the potential Republican candidates would not be worse. Can you?

  289. 289
    Mandramas says:

    @slightly_peeved: Weird. I misunderstood your sentence in exactly the opposite way. I’m sorry.

  290. 290
    Corner Stone says:

    Ah, yes, Hilda Solis and WH messaging:
    Labor Secretary Solis: Budget Cuts Could Cost a Million Jobs
    “U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is concerned that budget cuts of $40 billion to $50 billion under discussion in Congress could cost the country one million jobs.”

    Hmmm, maybe that was an April Fool’s Joke?

  291. 291

    @Corner Stone:

    One learns karate so that one will not have to fight.

    [bows]

  292. 292
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mandramas: BTW, is your nym “Man-dramas” or “Mandra-mas” or something else?

  293. 293
    Elia Isquire says:

    @joe from Lowell: This post is such BS.

    The tv, the talking to people nearby (which is something he can do sometimes), the mail (wtf? mail? how is that relevant), the weekly no-contact visits — none of this is outside the norm for some prisoners in federal solitary conditions. Your citing his father is incredibly disingenuous, as the man’s relationship with his son is widely known to be very fucked up (to a degree we don’t know yet; but that it’s bad is not in doubt). A simple fact that you neglected to mention when detailing his conditions: Manning spends 23 hours a day alone in a small cell where he is not allowed to sleep or go outside of a guard’s line of vision.

    The idea that it’s not solitary unless someone is broken-down and insane is wrong. There are countless examples of people who were subjected to this who superficially seem OK but are actually suffering severely. I really don’t think you know what you’re talking about and it’s kind of disturbing that you’d venture into this conversation in defense of such a practice with such cursory knowledge.

  294. 294

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    And for the third time, you’re telling us how we should vote based on Obama’s labor record but you don’t even know who the Secretary of Labor is or what she’s accomplished in her 2+ years on the job. You’re asking me instead.

    On a blog that has front paged another wannabe pundit who debuted with a critique of various people’s attitudes towards labor but apparently has been equally incurious about Hilda Solis and the department she runs, this is to be expected, I guess. But people notice when you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Get used to it.

  295. 295
    The Raven says:

    @Jonathan:

    Really, have you read Chomsky? He’s an anarchist; he’s said so.

    Anarchism, in my view, is an expression of the idea that the burden of proof is always on those who argue that authority and domination are necessary. They have to demonstrate, with powerful argument, that that conclusion is correct. If they cannot, then the institutions they defend should be considered illegitimate. How one should react to illegitimate authority depends on circumstances and conditions: there are no formulas. –Chomsky, On Anarchism (interview)

  296. 296
    Parallel 5ths (Jewish Steel) says:

    @Bob Loblaw:
    When…

    History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

    From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.

    Society does not consist of individuals but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand.

    …cease to become true or interesting or important ideas.

    Truth be told, I’m actually more of a Situationist in my heart, but I don’t figure that most folks have even heard of this snotty, art obsessed little branch of Marxism.

  297. 297
    slag says:

    I’m voting for Obama again just because I enjoy not being embarrassed when my President goes out in public.

    And, for what it’s worth, I really like what you’ve done with the place, Cole!

  298. 298
    The Raven says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    What exactly is it going to take for Marxism to be discredited amongst “the intellectual class?”

    Maybe when the Koch Brothers stop trying to prove Marx right?

  299. 299
    ruemara says:

    Not to argue from the points that others have staked out here, but I wonder if you guys could shift things up a bit. So, you don’t vote for Obama because he’s a Republican in all but name, then what? If he loses and whatever conservative enters the White House, plus the newly Teapublican House and Senate-because I am assuming that you would also withhold votes for current Dems and possibly potential Dem candidates due to their own craven behaviour, then what? Let’s look at it seriously. We want a real change, not moderation, not decades old republicanism, we want real progressivism in government. So we actively punish the Democratic Party to show that we will not be taken for granted. They lose without our ‘millions’ of votes. Now what? How do we pull together a functioning large party for 2016? It’s not like there won’t be outrages from 2012 to then, but the modest controls of an opposing party would be out. If we do vote in Democrats to keep control of the House and the Senate, what would be the point with a Republican, correction, a Teapublican president? Are we going to work on those races just to ensure that there are large enough majorities in both houses so that we can override a veto? How could we ensure that we get progressive majorities and avoid the issues that plagued progressive laws coming from the House to the Senate? And considering the level of schism that this vote no on Obama method would cause within the coalition that is the Democratic voting block, how would we pull it together afterwards to get that progressive president, progressive house and senate, et al, while also focusing on the state races in 2016? What’s the game plan for not voting for Obama? What do we do after that and how do you turn this into a progressive advantage?

  300. 300
    Corner Stone says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: That’s why I know how to do a tac reload under fire!
    Common ground!

  301. 301
    kay says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    OK, but at a certain point it veers from “I don’t (eat meat | vote for Democrats)” to “How could any decent human being (eat meat | vote for Democrats)?”

    Slippery slope goes nowhere with me :)

    Personally, I’m not going to harangue and browbeat them into voting for Obama. I don’t know why I’d do that. Are we thinking it will work, or what?

    I understand persuasion, but if someone announces, unasked, that they won’t be voting for Obama, I think it’s a done deal.

  302. 302
    chopper says:

    @Elia Isquire:

    The idea that it’s not solitary unless someone is broken-down and insane is wrong.

    that would be a great response if he made that argument.

  303. 303
    Larv says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    I think I suggested not voting for horrible Democrats like Obama. If, picking a name out of a hat, Anthony Weiner ran for president in 2012 as a Democrat, I’d be all for voting for him.

    And in the unlikely event that he were elected, he would also disappoint you. There is always some issue or combination of issues on which a president disappoints all or part of his base. Some campaign promises will always go unfulfilled. This is true of every president we’ve ever had and ever will have. That’s life, and that’s politics. Deal with it.

  304. 304

    @Lawnguylander:

    “You’re asking me instead.”

    Right. You’re implying that she’s done a great job as Sec. of Labor. How about backing it up with facts? That’s how one wins a debate: with facts. This is the fourth time I’ve asked.

  305. 305
    Mandramas says:

    @The Raven: Well, the interview is from 1974, the leftist peak in the history of the world. And Chomsky is saying that maybe the class analysis is valid, not in the way it was implemented on USRR, but in some other forms that he didn’t expand.
    Of course it is far left now for you, but in this age, it was center.
    If it is the better you have, you will get a heart attack if you read Marx or Franz Fanon. Even Gramsci will give you pain in the chest.

  306. 306
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Who had 300 on the over/under? You need to come pick up your prize.

  307. 307

    @Corner Stone:

    Excellent job. Keep on googling for another several hours and then we can have the beginnings of a discussion on how well she’s done her job and what can be said about the Obama administration and Labor based on her actions and statements. If I see you continuing to comment about various matters I’ll know you’re not doing your homework and aren’t any more interested in knowing what you’re talking about than Karate guy is.

  308. 308
    Mandramas says:

    @FlipYrWhig: No idea, really. I guess the stress is on the second syllable, on english.

  309. 309
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @ruemara:

    What do we do after that and how do you turn this into a progressive advantage?

    We wait. The dialectic, like Chuck Norris, never sleeps — it just waits.

  310. 310

    @ruemara:

    Very well put. Starting with this:

    “If we do vote in Democrats to keep control of the House and the Senate, what would be the point with a Republican”

    There are lots of things the House and/or Senate can do to stop a president’s agenda. If they want to, that is.

    “What’s the game plan for not voting for Obama? What do we do after that and how do you turn this into a progressive advantage?”

    First of all, a political party only gives a voting bloc something it wants to ensure its support, and that is only when that support is not certain. If that’s what it takes to teach the Democratic Party to be Democrats, then I say go with it.

    Second of all, if someone were to challenge Obama, that could be the basis of a new movement and/or party, like Reagan in ’76. How many Republicans do you suppose say “I wish Reagan had not run in 1976, because that one term of Carter’s really killed us!”

  311. 311
    Elia Isquire says:

    @chopper: What was the Padilla thing, then, if not that argument? You’re criticizing me for pushing back against what was, to begin with, a straw-man.

  312. 312
    chopper says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    You’re implying that she’s done a great job as Sec. of Labor.

    no he didn’t. he just pointed out that you didn’t even know who the secretary of labor was. now you’re putting words in his mouth in some squid cloud of distraction.

  313. 313
    Mandramas says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Dialectics sucks. History is not dialectics, neither deterministic. That’s was a marketing feature-eye candy of the marxist theory.

  314. 314
    Glen Tomkins says:

    @tomvox1: No, blame is part of responsibility. Your party faces the voters every two years based on what it stands for, and how policies grounded in what it stands for have fared as tested in the real world. The voters are often wrong. But they don’t get a chance to learn from their mistakes unless there is public repsonsibility and accountability for the whole spectrum from basic principles on up to actual laws passed.

    I really, really don’t see the practical advantage to having a DINO in office 2012-16 to preside over, and cast blame for the Ds on, the consequences of the default that that the Rs are now saying they intend to create by not approving the rise in the debt ceiling. If we’re handing power over to them, we really need to hand over responsibility. Instead we are about to get the worst of both worlds, disastrous R policies implemented, that we rush up to take responsibility for.

    In exchange for this complete and utter blurring of the lines of responsibility, and yes, blame, you think it’s a fair exchange to get a crack at four more years of SCOTUS roulette. Well, the obvious problem with that line of thought is that R justices do not resign from SCOTUS until an R is president. They’ll just start pumping embalming fluid into Kennedy if they have to to get his corpse to 2017 and still keep the smell down. Now, yes, there is the outside chance that one of the D justices will step down from 2012-16, and I won’t downplay the importance of that person being replaced by a non-Federalist Society stooge. But, you know, they’ve alreay got a 5-4 majority of such stooges now. Keeping it from 6-3 short-term only matters if long-term the Ds are going to keep getting at least half the nominations. I don’t like the odds of that if the Ds end the New Deal.

    Keep your eye on the ball. What the party is, is what’s important. If that fails, dependent stuff, like who gets on SCOTUS, fails with it. For the Democrats to end the New Deal would be for what the party is to fail. There wouldn’t be anything left to it. Maybe the sacrifice of the party’s existence would buy Obama a second term. I doubt it. Even if it does, even if that in turn buys us another SCOTUS seat, that will be it for the party for a long time. That will be many SCOTUS seats lost, and much, much more lost in that ruin.

  315. 315
    chopper says:

    @Elia Isquire:

    he’s saying padilla got prolonged solitary confinement. he’s also saying that manning is not getting that at all. he certainly didn’t say that it isn’t even basic solitary unless it makes a person insane. prolonged solitary, that can fuck a dude up.

    the bringing up of the comparison to padilla’s treatment isn’t a strawman, it’s a comparison that’s been made a number of times here.

  316. 316

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    I’m not trying to win a debate with you. I’m trying to demonstrate that you have no idea what you’re talking about. Why are you asking a random commenter on the internet to educate you about the Dept. of Labor under Obama when you’re using his labor record as an argument against his deserving another term? For the fourth time, do you know anything besides fuck all about the DoL’s record under the Obama administration? Or are you someone nobody should pay attention to on the matter? Like Freddie.

    ETA: LOLing @ Freddie

  317. 317
    Corner Stone says:

    @Lawnguylander: This would be laughable if I didn’t get the distinct sense you were serious.
    No, wait. That makes it even more laughable.

  318. 318
    Anoniminous says:

    Voter turn-out 2008 was ~62%. Voter turn-out 2010 was ~41%.

    Early indications are the fall was concentrated in the Moderate/Independent “loosely attached” voter who didn’t vote. Resulting in the average voter. 41% of the vote in 2010 said they supported the Tea Bagging Movement compared to approximately 28% of the US population.

    This gets real simple: if one party’s supporters turn-out and the other party’s supporters don’t the party of the first part wins. The party of the first party wins “above their weight” when the election districts are designed to favor – as they do, that’s what gerrymandering is all about – them structurally.

    The recent election in Wisconsin states the problem in a nutshell. The majority of people don’t agree with the GOP and they also don’t vote.

  319. 319
    slag says:

    @Corner Stone: But don’t you think Solis’s relative influence–or lack thereof–in the administration is directly related to Labor’s relative influence or lack thereof? And Labor’s relative influence in the administration is directly related to Labor’s relative influence in the electorate? Or do you think that Solis is just bad at/uninterested in her job?

  320. 320
    Elia Isquire says:

    @chopper: I’d imagine you haven’t been reading comment threads here for too long, because you’ll soon find that an argument’s prevalence on BJ and its being a straw-man are hardly mutually exclusive. And that’s certainly the case when it comes to Padilla.

    I spent about a year working on solitary confinement. In effect if not in name, that’s what Manning’s undergoing.

    Those people who bend over backwards trying to argue otherwise really need to stop and take a breather and reflect on the possibility of Barack Obama being worth voting for and better than any alternative and at the same time being partially responsible for the reprehensible treatment of Bradley Manning.

  321. 321
    Citizen Alan says:

    Threads like this bore me to tears. I live in Mississippi, so my vote is completely, 100% symbolic — there is no possibility of my state’s electoral votes going to anyone but the most reactionary candidate on the ballot. So in 2000, I voted for Nader because that was the only way my vote would have any impact at all. I don’t know what I’d have done if I lived in a state where it would have been close (like Florida). Quite possibly, I’d have still voted for Nader and then felt guilty about it.

    Or maybe not. Hindsight is 20-20, and for all of you who think the choice was so clear in retrospect, I invite you to imagine an alternate reality in which Al Gore became president, 9/11 still happened, the Republicans impeached Gore for some purported failure to prevent the attack, and Joe Lieberman became President.

  322. 322

    @Corner Stone:

    Ha ha! Fooled you. I’m never having a serious debate about labor policy with someone who doesn’t know anything about the subject. I was gonna let you keep googling for a couple of hours but it would be cruel to let you do all that work and then fail let you troll me with the results. You can go back to not giving a fuck.

  323. 323
    Corner Stone says:

    @Lawnguylander: So sad. You tried it on and got called on it, now you’re pussing out.
    Wevs, tough guy.

  324. 324

    @slag:

    He’d never even heard of her until today. What kind of answer are you expecting?

  325. 325
    Corner Stone says:

    @slag: I think a Cabinet Secretary’s influence, or lack thereof, is directly related to the importance the POTUS places on that Cabinet position.
    President Obama is the boss. If he wanted Hilda Solis to be more or less prominent he has an entire administration of resources.

  326. 326
    slag says:

    @Lawnguylander: You’re new here, I’m guessing? It’s ok. It happens to everybody. I often assume the reverse–that people are kidding when they’re actually serious. Those conversations rarely ever go well either.

  327. 327

    @Elia Isquire:

    The tv, the talking to people nearby (which is something he can do sometimes), the mail (wtf? mail? how is that relevant),

    How is it relevant that somebody who is allegedly being tortured with solitary confinement is in frequent contact with people outside?

    Seriously? You’re holding forth on the subject of how solitary confinement is torture, and you don’t understand this? Really? OK, I’ll explain it: because part of the torture of solitary confinement-torture is the cutting off of connections with the outside world, in order to convince them that nobody cares or can help them. Perhaps you don’t think that mail is important, but you know who disagrees with you? Amnesty International. One of their primary actions is to solicit mail to be sent to political prisoners, because it helps them to maintain their sanity and hold up against their treatment.

    the weekly no-contact visits—none of this is outside the norm for some prisoners in federal solitary conditions.

    I didn’t say it was “outside the norm for some prisoners in federal solitary conditions.” I said it was different from the use of solitary as torture. Since you seem to have lost the drift, this is not a discussion about whether Manning is being held in solitary, but rather, whether he is being tortured. The claim that all solitary is torture is what is being debated, and you don’t get to assume your conclusion and then cite it as evidence.

    Your citing his father is incredibly disingenuous, as the man’s relationship with his son is widely known to be very fucked up (to a degree we don’t know yet; but that it’s bad is not in doubt).

    Fuck you. Who the fuck do you think you are? You know this man? You know what his relationship with his son is like? You know these things, and are able to judge the condition of his son (on whom you’ve never laid eyes) better than his father? Fuck you. You want to know what a fucked up relationship is? One in which one person doesn’t give a flying crap about another except as a level to push a political agenda.

    Did I mention fuck you? Because fuck you.

    A simple fact that you neglected to mention when detailing his conditions: Manning spends 23 hours a day alone in a small cell where he is not allowed to sleep or go outside of a guard’s line of vision.

    Uh, yes, dearie, that’s what solitary confinement means. Since you seem to have lost the drift, this is not a debate over whether Manning is in solitary, but rather, whether he is being tortured. BTW, being within a guard’s line of vision is not torture. Duh.

    The idea that it’s not solitary unless someone is broken-down and insane is wrong.

    Good thing nobody said it wasn’t solitary. Rather, since you seem to have lost the drift, this is a discussion of whether it’s torture.

    There are countless examples of people who were subjected to this who superficially seem OK but are actually suffering severely.

    And you’re just going to assume that to be the case, without evidence, and actually ignore the rest of the evidence – that is, what the people who know him best are saying.

    I really don’t think you know what you’re talking about and it’s kind of disturbing that you’d venture into this conversation in defense of such a practice with such cursory knowledge.

    Um, yeah, coming from somebody who demonstrably, admittedly doesn’t even understand the relationship between cutting a prisoner off from the outside world and the use of solitary confinement as torture, this isn’t really a terribly moving passage. Oh, look, the ignorant person who got caught out in her ignorance doesn’t think I know what I’m talking about.

    Oh, did I mention fuck you? Because fuck you.

  328. 328
    chopper says:

    @Elia Isquire:

    I’d imagine you haven’t been reading comment threads here for too long

    i’ve been here about a decade. funny, your name looks pretty new.

    you consider having a TV and the ability to talk to other inmates part and parcel of ‘prolonged solitary confinement’? in that case a large percentage of the people in america’s prisons are in ‘prolonged solitary confinement’.

  329. 329

    @Corner Stone:

    Oh, I’ll tangle with you if what you want to do is discuss how much you don’t know about labor policy. Like whether your lack of knowledge on the subject means you’re a corporatist or a sockpuppet for Jane Hamsher.

  330. 330
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Citizen Alan: a jewish president?
    They would never impeach Gore for that very reason.

  331. 331

    @Elia Isquire:

    Those people who bend over backwards trying to argue otherwise really need to stop and take a breather and reflect on the possibility of Barack Obama…

    Blah blah blah Obama blah blah blah.

    Yes, dearie, nobody actually hold any beliefs that are different from yours. Lord knows, you don’t actually have to consider anything they say. All you have to do is ask what their argument has to do with Obama, and if it’s not negative enough, ignore it

    Oh did I mention fuck you? Because fuck you.

  332. 332

    You know who knows a whole lot about Hilda Solis?

    Richard Trumka.

    Remarks made by National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at the Cesar Chavez Celebration at the U.S. Department of Labor:

    It’s fitting we celebrate Cesar Chavez Day with the daughter of immigrant Union Workers at the helm of the Department of Labor – Secretary Hilda Solis.

    Secretary Solis, I want to thank you for truly being the new sheriff in town and bringing the change the Department of Labor so urgently needed.

    Working People have a Department of Labor that talks tough AND acts tough on enforcement, workplace safety, wage and hour violations and so many other vital issues.

    As we remember Cesar Chavez’s legacy, we know that his fights are no less relevant today.

    Far too many workers struggle for rights and respect in the shadows. They are easily abused and exploited by employers – often because of their status. Whether they were born in this country or have come here in search of a better life, they are owed basic Workers’ Rights, and we are deeply committed to securing those rights.

    Manuel Zuniga lives the struggle for those rights every day. He knows about the stolen wages, work without breaks and hazardous conditions. Manuel is on the front lines of the fight for justice as part of the AFL-CIO Steelworkers’ California CarWash campaign, and I’m proud we’re fighting alongside him. As a campaign born in the community that aspires to guarantee rights through collective bargaining, the CarWash campaign is a genuine heir to the marriage of community and collective bargaining Cesar championed.

    So too is the AFL-CIO’s worker center project undertaken in partnership with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, National Domestic Workers Alliance, ENLACE, the Immokalee Workers and other worker centers around the country.

    Too many of our Brothers and Sisters labor in conditions like those Manuel faces.

    Their fight is our fight.

    We’re especially glad to have a Department of Labor that recognizes and believes in workers’ freedom to form and join Unions and the essential role Unions play in improving working conditions and elevating living standards for all Working Men and Women.

    It is good no longer to be seen as an enemy, but as part of the team.

    We saw the results of this sea change this past weekend as President Obama appointed Craig Becker and (Buffalo Labor Law Attorney) Mark Pearce to the National Labor Relations Board – a crucial step in restoring balance and protecting Workers’ Rights.

    We saw with the Farm Workers Movement and so many other efforts that when Working People come together in a Union, it is only the first step.

    Protecting those rights requires real enforcement so that workers can bargain collectively without fear of reprisal. And it requires passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform so that our system of law is not an invitation to exploitation.

    I know that Secretary Solis is a champion of the Employee Free Choice Act.

    She was an original co-sponsor in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    And I’m confident that under the Obama Administration, with the support of Secretary Solis, we will win the genuine Labor Law Reform workers need.

    Secretary Solis has been great about reaching out to the Labor Movement, listening and having an open door. And she is especially interested in hearing directly from workers. At every event and speaking engagement, you’ll see her meeting with workers who are directly impacted by the decisions she makes. Whether she’s meeting with laid off workers in Orlando or vulnerable workers in Pittsburgh, she never loses sight of who she’s working for.

    And boy, what a dramatic turnaround that is from the previous administration that ignored Workers’ Health and Safety Issues and turned a blind eye to violations of Workers’ Rights.

    So as we celebrate the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez and honor his struggle for Workers’ Rights, I’m excited about the future – even though we have a lot of work ahead of us.

    And I’m thankful to have a Department of Labor worthy of Cesar’s dreams.

    But, you know, what would Richard Trumka know about labor issues, compared to a guy who doesn’t know who the Secretary of Labor is.

  333. 333
    ruemara says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    hm, um, not to be combative, but these are really not answers or even well thought out theories on what to do.

    There are lots of things the House and/or Senate can do to stop a president’s agenda. If they want to, that is. Yes, this is why I asked the question. What is the plan for-if you are choosing to vote for some Dems-maintaining the majorities so that the House & Senate can effectively control a Teapublican president?

    “What’s the game plan for not voting for Obama? What do we do after that and how do you turn this into a progressive advantage?”

    First of all, a political party only gives a voting bloc something it wants to ensure its support, and that is only when that support is not certain. If that’s what it takes to teach the Democratic Party to be Democrats, then I say go with it.

    Second of all, if someone were to challenge Obama, that could be the basis of a new movement and/or party, like Reagan in ‘76.

    hunh. What? This is not a game plan. And Reagan started a new movement/party? It still looked republican to me. What does it teach the Democratic Party? That progressives cannot be counted on, so swing to what works, conservativism? I’d like this to work, but this needs to have more of an actual plan. How would this all go down in more conservative states? I was intrigued before, now I’m just frightened of this.

  334. 334
    chopper says:

    A simple fact that you neglected to mention when detailing his conditions: Manning spends 23 hours a day alone in a small cell where he is not allowed to sleep or go outside of a guard’s line of vision.

    they only allow him 1 hour a day in which to sleep?

  335. 335
    Elia Isquire says:

    @joe from Lowell: Hey, stay classy, bud. Good talk.

  336. 336
    slag says:

    @Corner Stone:

    President Obama is the boss. If he wanted Hilda Solis to be more or less prominent he has an entire administration of resources.

    Yeah. This is the debate that could go on forever. What does “boss” mean in the context of politics? How do we weigh the various needs of stakeholders and adequately negotiate a response to competing interests? Etc etc…

    Or do those questions even mean anything anymore? That’s not a rhetorical question. They may not mean anything given the landscape of power structures we’re dealing with here. I, for one, have all but given up on the idea that one person can make a meaningful difference. Even if that one person is the boss.

  337. 337
    matryoshka says:

    @cmorenc:

    Their goal over the next two to six years is to wreck the foundations of government that have been built up ever since the New Deal, and make it forbiddingly infeasible to revive them even if that’s what the public overwhelmingly wants. Then, it won’t matter if the GOP in its current incarnation turns out to be electorally doomed to withering to indefinite minority status outside of a few southern or forever-republican states like Nebraska, because government,at least at the federal level, will be so structurally hamstrung that the good old days of the Gilded-Age version of the federal government will be all that’s possible.

    Bingo.

  338. 338
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship: the mini-surge WAS the exit strat, like the surge was the exit strat in Iraq. Petraeus designed both. But now the minisurge has failed, Pakistan is curtailing our droning and giving our agents the boot.
    Le Sacre du Printemps Arabique is changing the region. Neighboring states are falling to islamic democracy like Cambodia fell to the commies, atrocity rates are ramping up (there were Kill Squads in Nam, we just didnt find out about them until 20 years later), and social media ensures atrocities get realtime airtime….and the whole OEF is starting to have a sort of Vietnam redux feel to it….
    In december the SOFA requires the US to leave Iraq and Iraq is cuddling up to Iran. This was predictable, Qom and Karbala will religiously become one, the twinned hub of a new virtual shi’ia caliphate.
    That will free up some revolutionaries to come get the American boot off of the Talibans neck.
    Interesting times.

  339. 339
    chopper says:

    @matryoshka:

    of course, the ‘let’s stay home, let it all fail and then we’ll get our progressive ponies’ brigade is in for a rude awakening in that case.

  340. 340
    mclaren says:

    @The Raven:

    It may be time to build a new party after the Republicans have collapsed, which they may actually be doing—the actual Republican platform is popular in theory and incredibly unpopular in practice…

    Are you drunk?

    The Republicans are winning. They’re getting every single policy they ever wanted. The Democrats are crumbling before them, it’s nothing but endless tax cuts for the rich, endless wars, infinite increases in the military budget as far as the eye can see — and now we’re going to shut down medicare and social security. It’s the Republican Party’s wet dream.

    And Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership are spearheading these policies.

    Unpopular?

    Look at the polls. The American people overwhelmingly support the Tea Party. The American peole adore the prospect of defaulting on our debt.

    What’s unpopular in America in 2011 is sanity and facts. The Republican policies are insanely popular, and that’s why Barack Obama has embraced them — precisely because the American people adore the prospect of shutting down medicare and ending social security and privatizing our police and fire departments and letting sick people die by the side of the road and letting our children starve.

    Poll: 71% of American oppose raising the debt ceiling.

    “57% of Americans saying defense spending currently is either about right or too little…”

    Source here.

    As the nation’s eyes fix upon the fascinating battle in Wisconsin, pitting the Republican Governor Scott Walker against public employee union, a poll from the non-partisan Clarus Research Group suggests that most Americans would probably be on the governor’s side on this issue.

    Clarus’ nationwide study found that 64 percent of American people think state workers should not be able to join labor unions.

    Source: International Business Times, 18 February 2011.

    Obama can read the polls. He’s no fool. He knows what he’s doing.

    American love these policies. And Obama knows it. That’s why Obama has enthusastically embraced every last Republican policy.

  341. 341
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Noam Chomsky is “center left”? If I wanted to have flame wars with irrelevant Marxist dinosaurs, I’d go to the Daily Kos Wrecks List.

  342. 342
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Oh, look, and now the Glenn Beck of the Left (mclaren) chimes in! Surely this will save the thread!

    This blog sucks today.

  343. 343
    NobodySpecial says:

    So, I read all 315 comments as of the time I posted this one.

    And this is what I learned.

    The ‘left’ or ‘progressives’ are a small, unserious part of the Democratic Party that cannot move elections, who by withholding their votes for Barack Obama under any circumstances or reasoning will guarantee a Republican victory by whichever candidate they choose who is not a serious challenger to Obama, and also guarantee a thousand years of Republican rule.

    Gotcha.

  344. 344
    Elliecat says:

    @ruemara:

    What’s the game plan for not voting for Obama? What do we do after that and how do you turn this into a progressive advantage?

    All I have been able to gather is that not voting for Obama is the big plan. The rest will just follow. The Democratic party will interpret an Obama loss as “Holy crap, we should have run an ideologically pure super progressive candidate like [insert name of fantasy Obama primary opponent here]!” and will get busy completely reforming the party in an ideologically perfect way that will not alienate one single progressive anywhere and coming up with that absolutely perfect progressive candidate we’ve just happened to overlook.

    The electorate, experiencing further pain and destruction under a batshit crazy Republican administration, will suddenly “wake up” and spontaneously become progressive and Perfect Progressive will have a landslide 2016 victory. All destruction from the previous four years will be magically repaired (additional global warming reversed, dead returned to life, Supreme court judges suddenly retired, etc.) and we will all live happily ever after.

  345. 345
    Phoebe says:

    the Iraq War and $400 billion a year in tax-cut-and-war-driven deficits are real differences, things that likely would not have happened under a president Gore.

    This cannot be said enough and I cannot even fucking believe it needs to be said at all. I’m happy your friend admits this, but the rest? I don’t believe these people really cared about the country to begin with. What else would Bush have had to do for them to concede error? Nuke Iran?

    My original hunch at the time about most of the people voting Nader (not your friend) is now confirmed; they just think voting is some kind of self expression/performance art, and really should have just written in “Noam Chomsky”, with a paintbrush made from their own hair.

  346. 346
    sneezy says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    “He usta be a ginormous McMegan fanboi. I will pray that he has recovered from that.”

    I don’t think anyone ever fully recovers from the mental and moral deficiencies necessary to be a fan of McMegan.

  347. 347
    Blue Carolinian says:

    @Nobody special, actually I truly think you don’t fucking matter. Gore lost more registered Democrats to Bush in Florida than he did to Nader. That is why threads like this are so utterly stupid. Obama did not win places like Indiana and North Carolina by pandering to people who think Chomsky
    is “center left” and carry “Free Mumia” signs as a profession. In conclusion, bite my ass.

  348. 348
    Blue Carolinian says:

    Gore’s biggest mistake, actually, was (1) not having Bill Clinton campaign for him and (2) throwing Tennessee, Arkansas, and (pre-Katrina, remember) Louisiana to the wind and instead putting all his eggs in the basket of Jeb Bush-run Florida. That was so monumentally, criminally stupid. Never, ever pin your entire strategy for winning on one state (see also: Kerry and Ohio in ’04, McCain and Pennsylvania in ’08). You have to have a wide map.

  349. 349
    Elliecat says:

    @Phoebe:

    they just think voting is some kind of self expression/performance art, and really should have just written in “Noam Chomsky”, with a paintbrush made from their own hair.

    Perfect.

  350. 350
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Blue Carolinian: My, are we cranky today, or what? Did a leftist steal your dog when you weren’t watching?

  351. 351
    Blue Carolinian says:

    @NobodySpecial, it is just incredible to me that we constatnly have these threads. You never see GOP blogs have 400 plus comments flame wars over their goldbug/(Ron) Paultard faction. This is the left wing equivalent of that, right down to parts of the said faction fapping it over thoughts of the Apocalypse (mclaren, WyldPyrate).

  352. 352
    virag says:

    @Master of Karate and Friendship:

    a classic.

    this group of pragmatic clear-thinking balloon juicers is the obama cadre. a little bit peeved maybe but still-loyal, always loyal, boosters who always support their team.

  353. 353
    virag says:

    @Blue Carolinian:

    gore’s biggest mistake: joe lieberman. that awful choice cost him the election.

  354. 354
    tomvox1 says:

    @Glen Tomkins:

    For the Democrats to end the New Deal would be for what the party is to fail.

    Sure but that is never going to happen and I hope you heard the Prez’s speech today. I think you are getting hysterical and hyperbolic over possibilities that will never occur on Obama’s watch. Period.

    Also, too: We are going to retake the House in 2012 and Obama is going to crush whatever twit the GOP picks in a Mondale-like manner (whether or not you take your ball and go home). Bet on it. The GOP is the party that is about disintegrate, not the Dems, despite all the rending of garments by the caviling “true Left” over the infinite disappointments of the Obama presidency.

  355. 355
    tomvox1 says:

    @John Cole:

    I’ll buy that for a dollar. But…it’s going to get worse for deBoer before it get’s better. I predict. ;)

  356. 356
    Andrew says:

    I realize this is probably far too late to get noticed, but when people complain about how our two-party system is about choosing “lesser of two evils” they’re missing something very important: ultimately every democratic political system comes down to lesser-of-two-evils. At some stage, policy choices always whittle down to two outcomes, at which point people have the option of picking the side that they’re closer to, or disengaging and thereby letting the other side win.

    I actually would favor reforms to make our system more third-party and independent-friendly, but people who think that multiparty systems will magically create all kinds of choices or push the American government to the left are fooling themselves. In a multiparty system, any party that actually wants to govern has to form a coalition, and usually the policy objectives of a coalition will revolve around the most marginal – i.e., centrist – faction.

    Moreover, far from producing more dramatic change, multiparty systems often impede changes. Sure, you get a wider choice in voting. But the number of seats overall changes far less than in a two-party system, and often some of the same parties will wind up in the new governing majority. All of which means that policy is often significantly more stable – i.e., unchanging – in multiparty systems than in two-party ones.

    Don’t believe me? Ask an average European about their countries politics? Often, they’re as dissatisfied as Americans and the central complaint of American progressives – nothing ever changes – is often stated and quite often completely true.

  357. 357

    […] DougJ over at Balloon Juice said it better than I ever could have. You think it’s tough for liberals now, imagine how much tougher it will be after president Bachmann ends collective bargaining, turns all the internets over to Fox and Clear Channel, and sends all of our educators to Heritage Foundation re-education camps. […]

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  1. […] DougJ over at Balloon Juice said it better than I ever could have. You think it’s tough for liberals now, imagine how much tougher it will be after president Bachmann ends collective bargaining, turns all the internets over to Fox and Clear Channel, and sends all of our educators to Heritage Foundation re-education camps. […]

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