Real Republicans don’t compromise

Nate Silver comes up with the mathematical explanation on why the GOP lost their collective minds. Here’s what the chart will show:

The Republican Party is dependent, to an extent unprecedented in recent political history, on a single ideological group. That group, of course, is conservatives. It isn’t a bad thing to be in favor with conservatives: by some definitions they make up about 40 percent of voters. But the terms ‘Republican’ and ‘conservative’ are growing closer and closer to being synonyms; fewer and fewer nonconservatives vote Republican, and fewer and fewer Republican voters are not conservative. …

The 2010 election was the first since exit polls began in 1976 in which a plurality of the voters said they were conservatives rather than moderates.

And as far their alleged mandate:

Many of the G.O.P. victories last year were extremely close. I calculate that, had the national popular vote been divided evenly, Democrats would have lost just 27 seats instead of 63. Put differently, the majority of Republican gains last year were probably due to changes in relative turnout rather than people changing their minds about which party’s approach they preferred.

Of course, by conservatives, he means the Tea Party, fundies, Fox viewers, Rush Limbaugh fans and such. Nate also thinks there’s a damn good chance Bachmann will win.

As for the enthusiam gap everyone was so hyped about in 2010, it was real enough. These were the anti-Obama people who turned out to vote and are likely to turn out again in 2012.

This reflects my own recent experience with “real Murkins.” I’ve been sort of dating a 70 year old widower recently. He’s an ex-Marine. He reads Drudge every day. He believes everything Rush Limbaugh says. He identifies himself as an independent conservative.

His social circle of friends regularly meet for early dinners in chain steakhouses. These people loathe Obama. Think he’s the worst president ever. They’re not bad people. But they’re apparently incapable of processing any information that conflicts with their world view.

If I point out verifiable facts about the GOP, they look at me like I’m from Mars, and politely tell me I’m the one who’s deluded. Oddly enough, they actually like me. I suppose it’s the novelty factor. I’m pretty sure I’m the only liberal they know.

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132 replies
  1. 1
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    A tea bagger acquaintance of a friend told him that Obama didn’t want to green light the mission to kill bin Laden– the military brass had to force him to do it. The “how” of that was not explained. This guy knows this to be true. He read it on the internet and believes it like my old Irish grandma believed in Jesus and his Mother (not necessarily in that order), John F Kennedy, banshees, and the health benefits of roast beef.

    (Chris Hayes is going to be on Bill Maher tomorrow, so I checked the schedule– Maher is going to draw a pentagram in kitten blood and summon the Coulter from the limbo she’s been in)

  2. 2
    Mark S. says:

    Nate also thinks there’s a damn good chance Bachmann will win.

    If that happens, Obama really is the luckiest politician ever.

  3. 3
    Mike Kay ( Geronimo!!) says:

    Nate also thinks there’s a damn good chance Bachmann will win.

    I said this months ago.

    Watch for the beltway media to start hammering her this november, perhaps even outing her husband to save their candidate, the Massachusetts Himbo.

  4. 4
    MobiusKlein says:

    I’m pretty sure I’m the only liberal they know.

    Nope, your just the only liberal that contradicts their party line to their faces.
    Keep it up.

  5. 5
    Mike Kay ( Geronimo!!) says:

    “His social circle of friends regularly meet for early dinners in chain steakhouses. These people loathe Obama. Think he’s the worst president ever. They’re not bad people. But they’re apparently incapable of processing any information that conflicts with their world view.”

    He hangs out with Naderites, PUMAs, and Firebaggers?

    Ya know, you could say their hatred of Obama is an isolated incident, a statistical aberration, a product of hyper polarized times, but no, they hate Pelosi with the same vigor. They hold her responsible for Weiner resignation. Geez.

  6. 6
    PIGL says:

    These people loathe Obama. Think he’s the worst president ever. They’re not bad people. But they’re apparently incapable of processing any information that conflicts with their world view.

    Let’s see….one empirical statement, another empirical statement, a moral judgement, and a well-supported supposition.

    I am afraid the moral judgement supposes facts contrary to those in evidence.

    Good people do not willfully believe and steadfastly cling to bad things. There is something wrong with them.

    I am sure they are polite and respectful to you in public and when nothing much is at issue. But that does not make them good. They would attack like rabid hyenas under other circumstances, such as at a clown hall meeting to condemn health care reform.

  7. 7
    celticdragonchick says:

    I’m sure there must be some other dating possibilities…

    :(

  8. 8
    MobiusKlein says:

    hey, DougJ, I figured out the CSS rule to add to make the reply button work!

    li:hover .yarr { visibility: visible;}

  9. 9
    jimbob says:

    Have you considered suicide as a solution to your predicament?

  10. 10

    These people loathe Obama. Think he’s the worst president ever. They’re not bad people. But they’re apparently incapable of processing any information that conflicts with their world view.

    Uh, no. People who are wilfully, deliberately, ignorant, are bad people. They’re also dangerous.

  11. 11
    Trollenschlongen says:

    I’m with Celticdragonchick. I don’t see how one dates a person with these kind of repugnant views.

    Nothing against you, Libby, I’m sure you are an awesome person, but I just cannot hang with people whose political views are so fucked up; to me it reflects directly on their character.

    Perhaps your gentleman ignoramus sports a humongous…member? ;D

  12. 12

    This closing of ranks on the right-wing results from the fact that they are fighting a rear-guard action in a war that somewhere deep down inside they know is already over. They are the Wehrmacht walking backwards toward Berlin. The narrative in which they invested their identities is slowly and inexorably being eroded by reality.

    Also too, imagine what it was like to be in them in the summer of 2003: US military forces killing brown people and blowing stuff up, Dixie Chicks kicked off the radio, all the people that they hate were shunned or were cowering in the corner. For liberals, it was always a storm we were waiting to pass, a dark period we hoped to get through. For them, it was right-wing dumbass heaven. They thought they had won the war for America.

    Then, five years later, they got Barack Hussein Obama, a president whose darker than any Indian! It’s no wonder that they’ve completely lost their minds.

  13. 13
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    The fact that the GOP has gone, and continues to go, completely fucking bonkers doesn’t surprise me-there’s good money to be had there. What surprises me is that they still have supporters. 45-50% of the country will vote for the Republican candidate in 2012. I just can’t fathom it. Anyone with a college education ought to have seen how crazy it is by now.

    I think for some of them it’s mendacity, a sort of letting their fascist freak-flag fly now that the teabagger kulturkampf has made it more acceptable. For other folks, the ones who are genuinely not vindictive or mean-spirited people, I’d say it’s a combination of media disinformation, tradition, peer pressure, etc. At least some of them are positive they’re on the side of angels opposing the evil Obama soshulists. I just can’t conceive how ignorant you have to keep yourself to think like that.

  14. 14
    ruemara says:

    Libby, I don’t know you, so pardon my intrusion. Are you sure there’s no one else to date or hang around with? I’m not saying divest entirely, but I am hoping that there are other persons about to give you a bit of a break. But thank you for engaging, it sounds very difficult.

  15. 15
    Delia says:

    You have to always remember that the money crowd still has a vested interest in the care and feeding of the right-wing Loony Party. The former has yet to figure out that the Loonies will one day eat them, occasional fits of clarity by Bobo notwithstanding.

  16. 16
    TK-421 says:

    I hate being that guy, but this dude you’re dating? Unless one of you fundamentally changes your worldview/politics/ability to use your effing mind, uh…it’s not going to last. I’m sorry.

    But don’t worry- fish in the sea, Ms. Spencer, fish in the sea. And I feel pretty safe in assuring you there are better, more deserving guys out there just waiting to sweep you off your feet.

  17. 17
    Bill H. says:

    had the national popular vote been divided evenly

    What does that mean? If the popular vote was “divided evenly” there would be no real point in holding elections just to have each candidate get 50% of the vote. What would be the purpose?

  18. 18

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    This isn’t a slam on Obama’s failure to use the bully pulpit, but rather on the entire Democratic Party leadership’s failure to offer a counter-narrative to the Republican narrative that has dominated every political conversation since Reagan. Government bad, all taxes bad, poor people deserve it, rich people job creators, and so on. Democrats, and too often Obama, repeatedly pay lip service to their opponents’ narrative.

    Fundamental rule of persuasion: you cannot talk someone out of a belief in which he is invested; you can only talk him into a new one.

  19. 19
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    “I’m pretty sure I’m the only liberal they know.”

    That’s sad that they live in an echo chamber. All they can do is reinforce and harden their views/opinions with each other, making them even more unreachable. All you can really do is to attempt to chew away at the sides when it comes to their ‘issues’. I take it as a personal challenge to hit a few of my customers (who themselves are politically noisy while I’m conducting business with them) with a well laid out set of facts that I get them to agree with, only to lead them to discovering that my facts put them in disagreement with their own position.

    If you can get them to agree to the data, you can set them up to see how they may think one thing but the facts don’t back them up. More often than not they realize the ‘trap’ and rapidly toss out irrelevant crap to weasel out of it. A few have actually admitted to their being wrong (if the facts I presented were correct), acting surprised by it themselves.

    Some people want to live in a political rut, others are willing to listen to reason. The hardcore nuts are not going to listen to anything that shatters their preconceptions. There’s no reasoning with them. None.

  20. 20
    gelfling545 says:

    Oh, dear. It sounds like you may be dating my ex-husband. There are really, really lots of good reasons why he’s ex. Although, now that I think on it, he was Air Force, not Marines. Still, though, there are easier ways to give yourself high blood pressure.

  21. 21
    BlizzardOfOz says:

    I’m going to be charitable and not assume you’re a moron. How have the Republicans “lost their minds” if they’re about to get 90% of their wish list from the fucking minority. Ever heard the term “crazy like a fox”?

  22. 22
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @James E. Powell: These people are being licensed by the GOP to be shits. And since people basically are shits, at least in the aggregate, the party issuing the license is going to stand well at the polls.

    It’s hard to think of a counter-narrative to the babysitter who lets you eat whatever you want and stay up past your bedtime.

    Appeal to the worst in people, and you begin every election cycle half-a-lap ahead of the rest of the field.

  23. 23
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Libby, don’t listen to these people. There’s nothing wrong with dating really old people. Matters of the heart transcend all other concerns.

  24. 24
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Going back to the sort of “question” of the thread, I think that being a bad person is often mutually exclusive with ignorance. You have to know what is right and what is wrong and do the wrong thing anyway to be a bad person. Not to say that the ignorance itself as a social force is not bad for other people-it usually is. But the ignorance itself is usually coming from some other force (Limbaugh/Murdoch/Ailes, et al. in this case) and the ignorant people themselves are just kind of soaking in it.

    Picture someone growing up in a suburb somewhere. His parents and his friends’ parents are Republicans, a lot of his teachers are Republicans. Fox News and Limbaugh are broadcast everywhere. The county government has Republicans on every level. Poor people may as well not exist. Everyone commutes to work at some Fortune 500 companies regional office. Even if this person has liberal instincts, if you will, they’ll be crushed. There’s no outlet for them in his life. So they’ll just get reshaped into conservative instincts. Because people like justifying their actions, he’ll come up with reasoning behind them, and there’s plenty of people willing to help with that. And because people don’t change in general, he’ll hold those views forever. Is he a bad person? He was never really given a real choice in ideology so much as he was functionally born into one.

    I think people like that are the Republican Party’s base of support once you get outside the crazy true believers, the reason they poll in the 40’s instead of the 20’s. I’m sure some of them our reachable, but as a rule, our society just isn’t set up to turn all of them.

  25. 25
    Yutsano says:

    I’ve been sort of dating a 70 year old widower recently. He’s an ex-Marine.

    A) There is no such animal. He may not be active duty, but he’s still a Marine.

    B) You’re better off teaching your garden rocks to tap dance than changing an old Dawg. They’re the very definition of ingrained. I bet he’s got a soft side though.

  26. 26
    askew says:

    I’ve been on the Bachmann wins the GOP primary for a while now. What I still can’t figure out though is who they are going to get as VP on the ticket. Palin won’t be 2nd string to Bachmann. Pawlenty is also from MN and loathes Bachmann. And any other major GOP politician knows Bachmann is going to lose badly and won’t want to destroy their career by being #2 on a ticket that will get its ass-kicked.

  27. 27
    JenJen says:

    @James E Powell, #12: That’s a pretty good analysis, and one that my own father predicted the night of the election and in the weeks after. He kept saying that the overwhelming punch-in-the-gut feeling of Election Night 2008 would eventually pass, and the GOP would close ranks and freak out.

    And he’s a Republican!

    Libby, my Mom is as diehard liberal progressive as it gets, and she’s married to my sweet stepdad who was pretty mild-mannered about politics, until the election of Barack Obama drove him kind of nutty. Can’t talk to him about anything involving current events anymore, and his friends are exactly like him. He’s ex-military too, and one of the smartest and most accomplished men I know, and I miss talking to him about stuff that matters. It’s just not possible right now, and I hate that about these times.

  28. 28
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Pawlenty is also from MN and loathes Bachmann.

    I did not know that.

    And any other major GOP politician knows Bachmann is going to lose badly and won’t want to destroy their career by being #2 on a ticket that will get its ass-kicked.

    Rand Paul? Rick Lazio (saw him on TeeVee today)? that whackadoo general who told an audience that he told the Mooselems that “my god is stronger than your god!”? Liz Cheney?
    ETA: Santorum! Gah! How could I overlook the obvious. He and Marcus could wile away the hours on the bus talking about how they successfully resisted their urges. And wrestling.

  29. 29
    Mark S. says:

    Bachmann: the less attractive, less likeable version of Palin.

  30. 30
    askew says:

    Rand Paul? Rick Lazio (saw him on TeeVee today)? that whackadoo general who told an audience that he told the Mooselems that “my god is stronger than your god!”? Liz Cheney?

    Those are some horrifying choices. I wonder how many states a Bachmann/Cheney ticket could win? 10-12 at most I’d hope.

  31. 31
    Citizen Alan says:

    Libby, with all due respect, they “like” you because they are conservative men, and you are a woman, and genteel chivalry is one of the characteristic prized by conservative men of a certain age. Liberal women who say silly liberal things are amusing to conservative men like that. Out of curiosity, do they open doors for you as well? Does the guy you’re dating ever let you pay the bill? If you were a man and said the wrong thing in their presence, there’s every chance they’d beat you up in the parking lot.

  32. 32
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    A Bachmann/Cheney ticket would set women in politics back about 50 years.

    Maybe I’m not looking in the right places, but I haven’t seen much “Palin and Bachmann prove that libruls are the real sexists” chatter from the right. Maybe they’re not even bothering to pretend to care about that stuff anymore?

  33. 33

    James E. Powell:

    This isn’t a slam on Obama’s failure to use the bully pulpit, but rather on the entire Democratic Party leadership’s failure to offer a counter-narrative to the Republican narrative that has dominated every political conversation since Reagan. Government bad, all taxes bad, poor people deserve it, rich people job creators, and so on. Democrats, and too often Obama, repeatedly pay lip service to their opponents’ narrative.

    There’s a reason for this. There are five or six Democrats in the Senate, and plenty more outside of it, who would happily torpedo any counter-narrative that would please us. You can’t sell a narrative unless you’ve got everyone on your side lined up behind you. If they aren’t, your narrative falls apart as the people on your team who aren’t team players shred it in the media. That will kill your narrative extremely fast.

    There is also the possibility that Obama doesn’t really want a counter-narrative, and he really is as far to the center as he sometimes appears. The problem with trying to assess Obama is that he plays his cards so close to his vest that it’s impossible to tell what he’s really thinking. I submit that *none* of us, and very few people in Washington (not you, Yuts; you know what I mean) have any real idea who Obama really is, or what his fundamental goals are at this point.

  34. 34
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    I’ve been sort of dating a 70 year old widower recently. He’s an ex-Marine. He reads Drudge every day. He believes everything Rush Limbaugh says. He identifies himself as an independent conservative.

    His social circle of friends regularly meet for early dinners in chain steakhouses. These people loathe Obama. Think he’s the worst president ever. They’re not bad people.

    Sorry, but anyone who believes everything Limbaugh says is a bucket of shit no matter what his other redeeming qualities might be.

  35. 35
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I think Bachmann may be peaking too early. The first primary isn’t for 6 months, and she isn’t exactly the most stable person on earth in terms of running a long-term, functioning campaign. If she keeps it up into September, October, then I’ll start thinking she’s the candidate. If it does end up being Romney, though, he almost has to pick her as VP, doesn’t he? The baggers will revolt otherwise.

  36. 36
    Martin says:

    Hmm. Let’s see if Bachmann can pull a team together. Clinton lost not because she was a bad candidate, or didn’t resonate with the voters – she lost because she had a shit team and Obama had a great team. Odds are always on competence.

    Bachmann might turn out to be a great campaigner and fundraiser, I don’t know – but until later this year, everything is just a hobby.

  37. 37
    Elizabelle says:

    @ JenJen:

    my sweet stepdad who was pretty mild-mannered about politics, until the election of Barack Obama drove him kind of nutty. Can’t talk to him about anything involving current events anymore, and his friends are exactly like him. He’s ex-military too, and one of the smartest and most accomplished men I know, and I miss talking to him about stuff that matters. It’s just not possible right now, and I hate that about these times.

    This is so sad.

    Do you know just what it is about Obama that he finds so disturbing?

  38. 38
    Yutsano says:

    Do you know just what it is about Obama that he finds so disturbing?

    Whistles and dogs. As in he’s hearing them.

  39. 39
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @ JMN :

    There are five or six Democrats in the Senate, and plenty more outside of it, who would happily torpedo any counter-narrative that would please us. You can’t sell a narrative unless you’ve got everyone on your side lined up behind you. If they aren’t, your narrative falls apart as the people on your team who aren’t team players shred it in the media.

    Yup. Hell, they’d leave the very meeting at which they were supposed to be discussing how to coordinate rhetoric and strategy… and immediately ring up WaPo and Politico to complain about how bad everyone else’s ideas were.

  40. 40
    dogwood says:

    You have to always remember that the money crowd still has a vested interest in the care and feeding of the right-wing Loony Party. The former has yet to figure out that the Loonies will one day eat them, occasional fits of clarity by Bobo notwithstanding.

    A lot of these Loonies will die before they get around to the eatin. When I watched the 2008 primary and general election unfold, it was stunning to see how old the GOP crowds were. Christian fundamentalists like Palin and Huckabee could draw the younger religious set. But watching those McCain, Romney, Guillani events was like dropping in on a Pat Boone or Wayne Newton concert. No matter how frustrated we get with the current crop of Democrats or with each other, Republicans have some long-terms demographic issues to deal with.

  41. 41

    askew: I’ve been of the opinion that Bachmann could easily win the GOP nomination for quite a while. I see that race as being very similar to the Democratic primaries in 2008: it’s going to end up as Romney and not-Romney (much as the Dem race was clearly going to be Clinton and not-Clinton).

    My money is weighted heavily towards not-Romney, because I just don’t think he can pick up very many of the votes that currently are going to all of the not-Romneys who fall by the wayside. The game being played right now is all of the not-Romneys trying to knife each other in the gutter. (Though, admittedly, part of that is being seen as the best at knifing Romney, too.)

    The wildcard is Rick Perry. Of all of the currently announced candidates, I think Bachmann has the best chance of being Mitt’s Last Remaining Opponent. The reason the GOP establishment is leaning so hard on Governor Goodhair to get into this mess is that they have realized the same thing, and desperately don’t want her being that person. Perry is the only one I can see who has a good shot at usurping her in the role. If the race for the nomination comes down to Romney vs. Perry, the establishment can breathe easy.

    I’m pretty sure that they wanted Pawlenty in that role, but he tripped in the mud at the starting gate and has disappeared into the muck.

  42. 42
    piratedan says:

    while I’d like to believe that if Bachmann was the nominee that Obama would win easily, but none of you seem to remember that Obama’s election was the last one before Citizen’s United was handed down by SCOTUS. Also, if the R’s hold a gun to the Dems head regarding any kind of reduction for Medicare and Social Security you can rest assured that the R media machine will make the Dems own it, regardless of how the cuts were done or even who sponsored it. These guys are teflon, nothing sticks to them because they are attack, attack, attack all the time, throw enough crap against the wall and enough will stick to fool the average joe who doesn’t have time for politics and still believes the old saws that R’s are good for business and fighting wars. Maybe enough people will watch to see the crazy in lil’ Michie’s eye, or watch Mitt squirm and weasel and mumble his way of being on every side of every answer. Considering the debacle that was the midterms, I gotta see Wassermann-Schultz pull the party’s nads outta the fire and get the rank and file on message before I believe it. Doesn’t mean I won’t be out there working for it, just don’t have a lot of faith considering the money and media poised to move on the other side.

  43. 43
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    Do you know just what it is about Obama that he finds so disturbing?

    Obama is the mammal and they’re the dinosaurs.

    It’s driving them all crazy, and that’s really all there is to it.

    None of them grew up and played ball with anyone named Barack, for starters. Plus he’s smarter than people named Biff or Moose and he got into schools their sons couldn’t get into.

    It’s a WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE HAVE TO SHARE THE PLAYGROUND thing. And they hate it even more than they hate prostate exams.

  44. 44
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    There are five or six Democrats in the Senate, and plenty more outside of it, who would happily torpedo any counter-narrative that would please us.

    Nelson, Pryor, Landrieu, Manchin and Lieberman, off the top of my head, with at least sympathy from Baucus, the other Nelson, McCaskill, and Feinstein.

    Anything can happen in politics, and in six months, but I’m inclined to agree Bachmann is 1) too crazy and 2) peaking too early. I’d say the notRomney slot is going to prove too tempting for Perry to resist.

  45. 45

    Martin:

    Hmm. Let’s see if Bachmann can pull a team together. Clinton lost not because she was a bad candidate, or didn’t resonate with the voters – she lost because she had a shit team and Obama had a great team. Odds are always on competence.

    This isn’t why Clinton lost. It didn’t help, but it wasn’t her fundamental problem. There were too many people who simply weren’t going to vote for her. They were always going to vote for the survivor of the race to join her in the last two.

    I predicted the exact story of the 2008 Democratic primaries back in the summer of 2005, needing only to find out who the identity of not-Clinton was.

    I was much less successful predicting the shape of the GOP race, though I was telling people that far back that it wouldn’t be Rudy 9/11.

  46. 46
    burnspbesq says:

    @dogwood:

    Republicans have some long-terms demographic issues to deal with.

    I think those issues are being overstated. There is a future zombie army of kids being home-schooled in the red states. Plus there are colleges like Liberty, Bob Jones, and Patrick Henry and law schools like Chapman and Ave Maria.

    We are far from out of the woods, demographically speaking.

  47. 47
    Seebach says:

    You don’t think Bachmann can win the general election, do you?

  48. 48
    Citizen_X says:

    How have the Republicans “lost their minds” if they’re about to get 90% of their wish list from the fucking minority

    Have you ever grown up/lived/worked/been in a relationship with a person who was fucking crazy? They always get their way. Why? Do they have a better strategy on their side? No: they have terror on their side. Everybody gives them what they want, because they’re fucking crazy.

  49. 49
    Yutsano says:

    You don’t think Bachmann can win the general election, do you?

    I never underestimate the stupidity of the American electorate after eight years of Dubya. I also have no clue what Bachmann’s appeal will be to moderates and independents.

  50. 50
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Seebach @47

    The way I think about the general election is that Bush won twice by winning essentially every state that a Republican could conceivably win. The GOP ticket will have to take back Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida to get back to where Bush was. They’ll probably grab a few of them, but 6 for 6? Especially the way Rick Scott is going in Florida and demographic shifts making VA and NC even friendlier to the Dems? I personally don’t see it. I think if things keep going basically the way they’re going, Obama wins with at least 300 electoral votes.

  51. 51
    Suffern ACE says:

    @burnspbesq – they have hired a lot of people to control message and information, make people doubt, and are very well funded, and have been operating basically unopposed for two generations. They will figure out how to turn those young kids and hispanics off to the fruitless pursuit of liberal goals. And by the time that Demographic Salvation is supposed to be here, those who looked for it will wonder where it went.

  52. 52
    Martin says:

    but none of you seem to remember that Obama’s election was the last one before Citizen’s United was handed down by SCOTUS.

    Meh. Obama has the incumbent advantage, which will cancel that out – all the top ticket Dem money won’t get wasted on primaries and such. It’ll be a bigger problem for Senate races than for the Prez, and the ability of national parties to dump fucktons of money in tight House races.

    Besides, there’s a diminishing return on money in campaigns. So long as you have enough to get your candidate where they need to be and get your message out, drowning voters in excess doesn’t necessarily buy you anything. And a well run campaign can make a little go a long way. Obama’s best bang/buck in 2008? The social media setup and the iPhone app. That was really damn clever of them (seems obvious as hell now) but against Obama’s cost of bandwidth McCain had to buy TV ads for a whole lot more to get the same reach.

    Seriously, it can’t be said often enough – an incompetent team can kill the best candidate and a competent team can destroy a more capable opponent. There’s limits, of course, but at the end of the day that’s almost certainly going to be the margin of victory in 2012 – not jobs or Medicare or whatever else. A great team will make such issues vanish, a weak team will magnify them.

  53. 53
    dogwood says:

    Bachmann: the less attractive, less likeable version of Palin.

    I guess the attractive part is a matter of taste. Michele is certainly, “attractive enough”. But she’s way more likeable than Palin. They both appear to be ill-informed and stupid, but Palin is mean on top of it. Also too, she’s a better politician,. She’s not afraid to go on the networks other than Fox. And she takes direction. I saw her the other day get confronted with the tape of that crazy McCarthy impression she did on Hardball. You know the one where she wanted Obama investigated for un-American activities. Her response was to ignore the tape and proclaim that she believed the pres. was a good man who loved his country. I have no doubt that’s what Ed Rollins told her to say.

  54. 54
    burnspbesq says:

    Love this little zinger from Mark Kleiman.

    Michelle Bachmann (R- Which Planet?)

  55. 55
    Yutsano says:

    Michelle Bachmann (R- Which Planet?)

    Kobol, obvs.

  56. 56
    burnspbesq says:

    What was that about the criminal justice system not being able to deal with terrists?

    http://www.lawfareblog.com/201.....s-capture/

  57. 57
    Gian says:

    If Obama is the face for Social Security cutting, not slashing… he still will have a massive price to pay at the polls.

    and just by floating it as a trial balloon, puts his face on it, short of a invite the public veto. (and that means florida and maine are going to be losees easy for him)

    when you add in the massive spending by the right wing, it’s way too early to call 2012.

    Obama needs unemployment to be south of 6.5% to be essentially a lock.

    and really, the DNC needs to do a national advert about Bush, the GOP congress under Bush, spending, and the debt
    all graphs and facts. might be nice to counter the “obama recession” ads out there

    this nation bought pet rocks. remember that when you think of messaging

    we are dumbasses who watch the jersey shore, and think that we get reality by watching TV, and not turning it off

  58. 58
    jl says:

    On the good versus bad aspect: I saw a study (which I cannot find now, but I saved it someplace on my computer) that found that not only are U.S. voters less informed about basic public affairs facts and figure than people in other developed countries, but the gap between the well informed and poorly informed is greater in the U.S. In other words, U.S. poorly informed voters are really really poorly informed, they are world record holders among developed countries.

    One of the favorite issues for the teabaggers in my family is international finance and trade. They say Obama and the Democrats are intentionally trying to wreck the country and rail about China, falling dollar, etc. I can point out chapter and verse about how those policies have been about the most constant things from Democratic and Republican administrations, and that the dollar fell far more under Bush II than Obama (so far). They simply stunned that there is a possibility that what they are sure must be absolutely true (because Rush and Morning Joe told them so) may not be true at all.

    The Silver article is interesting, but I don’t like his use of the term ‘conservative’. Most of the solid traditional Republican conservatives I know are not happy with the party. I know a circle of engineers, who range from conservative Democrat to moderate conservative GOP. One nut case teabagger among their group has turned them all anti-teabagger. Mostly because stolid conservative engineers do not cotton to being called socialist parasites who mooch government money because they will not plead guilty to every nutcase accusation made by the teabagger, and because they won’t agree with all of his ravings. A couple of them have told me that will vote Obama in 2012, and I think most of them have been GOP presidential voters in the past.

    As for the youngins, I teach grad and professional students in their early to mid twenties. When I am teaching health policy or economics, ten years ago, there were always a group of conservative free market students who would get uncomfortable when facts and figures threatened their ideology, and they would make their conservative free market case in class.

    I have not had one student has done that recently. Everyone has bad words to say about the GOP. Maybe the GOP faithful don’t say anything at all anymore. I try to be very neutral in my teaching (to a degree that would outrage many commenters here, probably), and I invite debate and disagreement, so don’t think I am discouraging anyone from speaking their mind.

    The usual assumption is that grad students (academic types) would be liberal. But a lot of professional students have quite conservative outlooks, and I am surprised that the conservatives among them have seemed to completely disappear recently.

    I think Silver was talking about turnout when he used the words “popular vote been divided evenly”. Looks like turnout will be a big factor in 2012: I heard a news report that both Democrats and GOPpers are unenthusiastic about the next election. It frightens me that differential turnout could tilt the next election toward crazy people. But also looks like GOPper are less enthused about their candidates so far, than Democrats are about Obama.

  59. 59
    jl says:

    Comment in moderation because of naughty words. Lets see if I got all the s o s h u l i s t out:

    On the good versus bad aspect: I saw a study (which I cannot find now, but I saved it someplace on my computer) that found that not only are U.S. voters less informed about basic public affairs facts and figure than people in other developed countries, but the gap between the well informed and poorly informed is greater in the U.S. In other words, U.S. poorly informed voters are really really poorly informed, they are world record holders among developed countries.

    One of the favorite issues for the teabaggers in my family is international finance and trade. They say Obama and the Democrats are intentionally trying to wreck the country and rail about China, falling dollar, etc. I can point out chapter and verse about how those policies have been about the most constant things from Democratic and Republican administrations, and that the dollar fell far more under Bush II than Obama (so far). They simply stunned that there is a possibility that what they are sure must be absolutely true (because Rush and Morning Joe told them so) may not be true at all.

    The Silver article is interesting, but I don’t like his use of the term ‘conservative’. Most of the solid traditional Republican conservatives I know are not happy with the party. I know a circle of engineers, who range from conservative Democrat to moderate conservative GOP. One nut case teabagger among their group has turned them all anti-teabagger. Mostly because stolid conservative engineers do not cotton to being called s* c * * l * s t parasites who mooch government money because they will not plead guilty to every nutcase accusation made by the teabagger, and because they won’t agree with all of his ravings. A couple of them have told me that will vote Obama in 2012, and I think most of them have been GOP presidential voters in the past.

    As for the youngins, I teach grad and professional students in their early to mid twenties. When I am teaching health policy or economics, ten years ago, there were always a group of conservative free market students who would get uncomfortable when facts and figures threatened their ideology, and they would make their conservative free market case in class.

    I have not had one student speak for the conservative free market view recently. Everyone has bad words to say about the GOP. Maybe the GOP faithful don’t say anything at all anymore. I try to be very neutral in my teaching (to a degree that would outrage many commenters here, probably), and I invite debate and disagreement, so don’t think I am discouraging anyone from speaking their mind.

    The usual assumption is that grad students (academic types) would be liberal. But a lot of professional students have quite conservative outlooks, and I am surprised that the conservatives among them have seemed to completely disappear recently.

    I think Silver was talking about turnout when he used the words “popular vote been divided evenly”. Looks like turnout will be a big factor in 2012: I heard a news report that both Democrats and GOPpers are unenthusiastic about the next election. It frightens me that differential turnout could tilt the next election toward crazy people. But also looks like GOPper are less enthused about their candidates so far, than Democrats are about Obama.

  60. 60
    Sloegin says:

    Those steakhouse people are good people.

    The only problem is, propaganda works. Propaganda works amazingly well. Too well. Propaganda when done long enough can get half the population to take machetes to the other half.

    We like to think we’re immune, but we’re not. Not even a tiny bit.

  61. 61
    Nellcote says:

    #33 ”

    I submit that none of us, and very few people in Washington…. have any real idea who Obama really is, or what his fundamental goals are at this point.

    This is from Prez Obama’s first speech to the joint session of congress:

    Now is the time to jumpstart job creation, re-start lending, and invest in areas like energy, health care, and education that will grow our economy, even as we make hard choices to bring our deficit down. That is what my economic agenda is designed to do

    In spite of all the obsticles he’s trying to doing that.

  62. 62
    dogwood says:

    Martin:

    Besides, there’s a diminishing return on money in campaigns. So long as you have enough to get your candidate where they need to be and get your message out, drowning voters in excess doesn’t necessarily buy you anything

    Absolutely. I remember when Diane Feinstein got significantly outspent by Arianna Huffinton’s ex-husband. It didn’t matter. You don’t need more money than your opponent to win; you need just need to have enough money to win. And she had more than enough. That’s why it’s so hard for outsiders to beat incumbents or run against candidates who already have name recognition. It takes a shitload of money to get your name out there.

    I think you’re mostly right about the reasons Clinton lost, but I don’t think it was because her staff was completely incompetent. No doubt they got caught flat-footed and weren’t flexible enough to adjust. And it wasn’t just the social media and the IPhone aps that worked so well, Obama actually copied the Republican pay structure. Republican media consultants get a flat fee. Democrats pay a share of the ad buy. This encourages superfluous ad buys in order to line the pockets of consulting firms. Guys like Bob Shrum have made millions from this gig. In 2008, Axelrod worked for a flat fee.

  63. 63
    fuckwit says:

    “fighting a rear-guard action in a war that somewhere deep down inside they know is already over.”

    Yep, this. It’s called… DEMOGRAPHICS. Look at the charts. These people are dying off. Literally. And young people are 1) OK with gays, 2) OK with Muslims or whatever religion people have or none at all, 3) OK with sex, 4) OK with women in positions of power, 5) OK with black people, etc etc. Also, too, they don’t go to church and aren’t prone to being terrorized by fear of H.E. double-toothpicks.

    And they care about the Earth, and the long-term, and see clearly that capitalism is stupid and inane. They want more out of life than money. And they vote. And have kids.

    Michael Moore saw it almost 10 years ago now, in his book “Stupid White Men”. Basically, the wingnuts are so virulent because they know they are lost, a literally dying breed.

    Adios, motherfuckers.

  64. 64
    Kane says:

    @Libby Spencer:

    My seventysomething year old parents were very much like the 70 year old widower and his group of friends. My father (also a retired marine) was the worst, still e-mailing nasty chainmails about Bill and Hillary Clinton during the Bush years.

    But in 2008, my siblings and I had an intervention that lasted months throughout the presidential campaign. We pointed out the republican hypocrisy and showed them how the republicans no longer represented their interests. It took time, but eventually they concluded that the GOP was no longer the party they once supported. Both of my parents switched parties and voted for Obama, which we all consider to this day a family miracle. My father now sends me nasty e-mails about republicans.

  65. 65
    Nellcote says:

    @58

    It frightens me that differential turnout could tilt the next election toward crazy people.

    Don’t forget the new voter surpression laws being pushed in the states. Those really scare me.

  66. 66
    Martin says:

    I think you’re mostly right about the reasons Clinton lost, but I don’t think it was because her staff was completely incompetent.

    Nah. Caucuses are won on the ground. Obama went on the ground in those states, Clinton went on the air. Obama won every caucus but Nevada (and even though he lost the popular vote, he walked away with more delegates) – even Texas where Clinton won the primary there. Obama played the delegate game better. They recognized what races they could afford to lose and let them go, and Clinton thought they’d have the race sewn up on Super Tuesday with no plan beyond and Obama’s team denied her that. That simply shouldn’t happen to the better funded and more organized candidate. They accurately predicted the outcome of almost every primary even months before it happened. That doesn’t happen by accident. The rallies were astounding – and that kind of organic effort is not easy to pull off – or to organize on the fly.

    Say what you will about Obama’s policies, etc. – that was the best run campaign in my lifetime, and details like the flat fee are part of that competence. I hope Obama can repeat it.

  67. 67
    Dennis SGMM says:

    The year 2006 seems so long ago now. That was when a lot of Democrats were predicting the demise of the Republican party outside of its Red State bastions. After the 2008 election the phrase “The Republicans will go the way of the Whigs,” became a favorite for some triumphalists. Then came 2010. As jl pointed out above @58, American voters are the least informed of those in developed countries. With its lock on roughly forty percent of the electorate all the GOP has to do is sweep the ignorant masses with con (Something that they will have plenty of corporate help with) and they may well pick up the necessary majorities. Placing all of your eggs in the “people are bound to vote against the Republican loony” basket is a surefire way to hear “American Girl” played at Bachmann’s inauguration.

  68. 68
    Martin says:

    Don’t forget the new voter surpression laws being pushed in the states. Those really scare me.

    True, but they may ultimately backfire. Look at how the WI union busting effort motivated voters. I don’t think the suppression laws will actually disenfranchise that many voters (one is too many, from a policy standpoint) but it may motivate more votes from the targeted groups to fight their way forward. I don’t see DWS or Obama (who taught voting rights and election law) letting that opportunity to motivate voters go to waste.

  69. 69
    dogwood says:

    #33

    I submit that none of us, and very few people in Washington (not you, Yuts; you know what I mean) have any real idea who Obama really is, or what his fundamental goals are at this point.

    OK, I’m pretty tired of the President framing the debate with republican language and memes. But can we call a truce and agree to stop using republican memes to describe him.. “Who is the real Barack Obama?’ was part of John McCain’s stump speech, and it got some pretty creepy responses. He’s no more unknowable than any president. How people can look at a president who rose via conventional albeit elite institutions, has a conventional family, is a mainstream Christian, and who plays golf for god’s sake and see some sort of exotic mystery man is beyond me.

  70. 70
    Martin says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Turnout is everything. Turnout won 2008 for Dems. It won 2010 for the GOP. Dems need to get the turnout machine working. They have the party affiliation advantage by a mile, they’re just not getting them to vote.

    Nothing the GOP is doing is changing the affiliation picture. Their strategy is 100% turnout. That’s why all the suppression efforts.

  71. 71
    MikeJ says:

    Say what you will about Obama’s policies, etc. – that was the best run campaign in my lifetime, and details like the flat fee are part of that competence. I hope Obama can repeat it.

    I’m in the middle of Ploufe’s book (yeah, I know, but with the size of my “to read” pile I shouldn’t have even started it for another 37 years). It’s nice to read about the management of the campaign from somebody who was really there.

    Speaking as somebody who has spent countless evenings at party committee meetings and Jefferson-Jackson dinners, the best thing I saw them do was ignore people who spent time at party committee meetings and Jefferson-Jackson dinners. And they refused to waste time at J-J dinners, even when the experts told them that there was absolutely no way they could win without it.

  72. 72
    Kane says:

    Best case scenario for the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 is to win all of the votes that McCain/Palin won in the 2008 presidenti­al general election, which is doubtful at best if they plan to offer Romney or Bachmann.

    Then there’s the question of where are they going to find the rougly 10 million more votes needed that McCain/Palin lost by. Add in the fact that Nader isn’t running to take away Democratic votes. Add in the deomocratic base that is already fired up in places like Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and other key states.

    Add also the fact that the latest census shows that the face of the country is changing faster than analysts had expected. The young, increasing­­­ly minority population is likely to view Democratic policies of public investment in schools, health care, and infrastruc­­­ture as critical to its economic prospects.

    I’m not saying that a republican can’t win the presidency, but it will definately be an uphill battle for them. I like our chances.

  73. 73
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    That simply shouldn’t happen to the better funded and more organized candidate.

    Obama was the better funded candidate, by a large margin, and was also the more organized candidate. They were neck and neck going into January 2008, each with around a hundred mil, then Obama blew the doors off in January with a 30+ mil haul, followed by a record setting first quarter when he raised almost double what Clinton did.

  74. 74
    RossInDetroit says:

    How people can look at a president who rose via conventional albeit elite institutions, has a conventional family, is a mainstream Christian, and who plays golf for god’s sake and see some sort of exotic mystery man is beyond me.

    I think that’s the point. He has the CV of a GOPer (except no divorces). Very conventional academic and professional background. They just can’t get over that this is a BLACK guy with a BLACK family. In their heads, that kind of guy doesn’t come in that color so they just don’t understand him. Must be some kind of mutant, hybrid or dirty trick.

  75. 75
    JWL says:

    Ask your friend about Smedley Butler’s ‘War Is A Racket’ missive. He’ll have certainly read it.

    And then ask him about another former Marine Commandant, David Shoup. As culled from Wikipedia:

    “After his retirement [1963], Shoup became an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War… He publicly supported the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) VVAW by 1971… In May 1966, he said about the building war in Vietnam: “I believe if we had, and would, keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own. That they design and want. That they fight and work for… and not the American style, which they don’t want. Not one crammed down their throats by the Americans.”
    This statement ties back to an assessment made by Shoup that “in every case… every senior officer that I knew… said we should never send ground forces into Southeast Asia.”

  76. 76
    dogwood says:

    Martin
    I guess I was defending the Clinton campaign a bit because her people were still more competent than any other team in either field. What will be interesting to see in terms of money this time isn’t so much the amount, but how it will be spent. He doesn’t have to introduce himself to the electorate this time, and I don’t think the next election will be much about biography or character anyway. The Reps have locked up the Obama is a very bad man vote. I’m assuming there will plenty of money to insure proper voter registration and id compliance in the states that passed those draconian laws.

  77. 77
    dogwood says:

    RossInDetroit – I understand Republicans thinking that way. But democrats saying it is beyond me.

    He has the CV of a GOPer

    One of the great myths of American politics is that people who live conventional lives are GOPers. I live in red state rural America. Most of my closest friends are Democrats. None of them have ever been divorced. They’re all regular church goers. It’s not just a rural thing either. Millions of urban and suburban Dems lead conventional lives. It’s obvious that what we believe about each other can be as off-base as what we believe about anything else.

    I know the Obama’s aren’t clueless, so my guess is they must get a kick out of this stuff.

  78. 78
    Mike Kay ( Geronimo!!) says:

    the best thing I saw them do was ignore people who spent time at party committee meetings and Jefferson-Jackson dinners. And they refused to waste time at J-J dinners, even when the experts told them that there was absolutely no way they could win without it.

    This is also true about the blogosphere. It was much better to build their own community from scratch (Youtube, etc.) than trying to win over existing communities. It was also far sighted to go heavy on then burgeoning Facebook, instead of MySpace which in early 2007 still had a significant online presence.

  79. 79
    dogwood says:

    Avoiding the JJ diners and all that jazz was smart, but it was also a strategy born out of necessity. In order to win they had to put a ton of new voters in those caucus seats and voting booths. Hard to find new voters at a JJ dinner. Eventually the Obama strategy brought out some new Clinton voters as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of those Clinton dead enders weren’t first time primary voters. They liked to talk about themselves as life-long dems who had been dissed by the party they had so faithfully served, but a good share of them were just blowing smoke. Losing the first one is a bitch.

  80. 80
    Mike Kay ( Geronimo!!) says:

    In their heads, that kind of guy doesn’t come in that color so they just don’t understand him. Must be some kind of mutant, hybrid or dirty trick.

    I realize this is a sentiment mostly on the right, but putting aside the racial element, it’s a sentiment you see on learned liberal blogs, including this very thread (comment number 33).

    it’s a behavior I’ve always found perplexing — rank and file bloggers respond to words more than they do to voting records. For example Evan Bayh and Edwards had identical voting records, yet one was rightfully scorned and despised, while the other was beloved and received a pass because he was a spellbinding red-meat speaker.

  81. 81
    Mike Kay ( Geronimo!!) says:

    If Obama is the face for Social Security cutting, not slashing… he still will have a massive price to pay at the polls.

    Meh. In 1983, a year before the general election, Reagan raised the retirement age from 65 to 67, taxed benefits for the first time, and raise the payroll tax 14%, and it didn’t hurt him a bit. Tip O’Neil signed off on it and he’s still warmly remembered in progressive circles.

    That said, I don’t currently see a reason to switch CPI to Chain-CPI. If they switched the COLA and in return lowered the retirement age to 65 or 64 (for example), I might make that trade. But if they change COLA just to extend the length of solvency from 2039 to 2060, I’d say no. It’s too hard to project 30 years into the future. I say wait until the next time the Dems have congress and make lifting the income cap the number one goal.

  82. 82
    WereBear says:

    Dating sucks. However, very nice people can believe very stupid things. My own father became a die-hard Fox watcher and believed idiocies; but that did not stop him from fostering the orphaned fox kits under his porch when their mother died in traffic. Fortunately, a lot of “conservatives” are still capable of being people on a person to person basis.

    One needs to have “been there” in some form to realize the world a 70 year old Marine (I agree, there are no ex-Marines) grew up in. I must assume he’s white, because I don’t know of any minorities who hang with the chain steakhouse circle and are also Obama haters.

    And that tells me all I need to know.

    Between a ’50’s style upbringing and the Armed Forces, we have someone who relentlessly conformed to a degree I am happy to say younger people are utterly clueless about. But in return, Pale Males Ruled; and they feel the gleam of that throne on their cheek, always.

    If you immerse yourself in the pop culture of the time (and for them, there was and is no other) the world is made of white men. Every decision made, every heroic action taken, every steak dinner eaten and every baby born. All else are servant-shadows, insubstantial and irrelevant.

    So a white man of that era doesn’t have to achieve anything; they can feel great about themselves just by existing. They are all John Wayne in their own movies; their world works this way and there is no other.

    So I can understand their “world gone mad” reaction; the rest of us were always Damned Dirty Apes and we aren’t supposed to be running things.

  83. 83
    stuckinred says:

    I ran into a 68 year old ex-chopper pilot retired painting professor friend of mine the other day and it took about 5 minutes for him to get to Jane Fonda. I told him, like I always do, he was full of shit and she wasn’t any worse than I was. We laughed and yelled some other shit at each other. No big deal, he believes what he believes and so do I. Fuck it and drive on.

  84. 84
    dogwood says:

    Mike -re80 – The thing to remember is that no matter how well informed about policy and process, people on political blogs are no different than any other passionate supporter of sports, cooking, fly fishing or anything else. I guess once you care that much about something, it’s hard to stay rational at all times. The Edwards thing always perplexed me too. Besides his voting record, he was a poor vp candidate in 2004. I guess Edwards was a guy who pundits and consultants (and Edwards himself) were sure America would fall in love with. Rich, handsome, family man. But he really wasn’t that spellbinding or charming and Americans said, meh. But they sure as hell never said – Who is John Edwards? We know nothing of this mystery man who rose so quickly in politics. That fact is still disheartening, but it is what it is. As I said in comment 69, I hate to see Democrats engage in it.

  85. 85
    stuckinred says:

    And now, from the Atlanta Journal:

    As a warmup exercise, Broun began the week by giving the invocation at a Fourth of July celebration for the Cobb County Republican Party. The Marietta Daily Journal quotes the congressman’s prayer as follows:

    “Father, there are many who want to destroy us from outside this nation. Folks like al-Qaeda and the radical Islamists. But there are folks that want to destroy us from inside, the progressives and the socialists, who want to make this nation a nation that’s no longer under you, under God, but a nation that’s ruled by man.”

  86. 86
    stuckinred says:

    Since moderation won’t allow my post I’ll link to an article about Marine Paul Broun from my district.

  87. 87
    lily breath says:

    Kane: wow, amazing story! you should write a book for those with similar family situations, I didn’t think such things could happen

  88. 88
    dogwood says:

    Between a ‘50’s style upbringing and the Armed Forces, we have someone who relentlessly conformed to a degree I am happy to say younger people are utterly clueless about. But in return, Pale Males Ruled; and they feel the gleam of that throne on their cheek, always.

    A lot of these types used to be New Deal Democrats. Then they became Reagan Dems. Today they’re just good old fashioned Republicans. They talk tough, but cultural change scares them to death. They value loyalty and place a high value on respecting authority, tradition and insitutions. Having a military background really reinforces this That’s why they put their cultural values above their economic interests. And frankly so would I. If the Republicans offered me a 20% tax cut and free college tuition for my kids in return for opposing gay marriage and abortion, I wouldn’t take the deal.

  89. 89
    WereBear says:

    The Edwards thing wasn’t that perplexing; it was what he said. Everybody loved what he said, including this household.

    But as the primary approached, I ran into more google info that indicated Edwards was just saying these things; his voting pattern wasn’t that impressive. So we voted for Obama; whose pattern was.

  90. 90
    Chris says:

    His social circle of friends regularly meet for early dinners in chain steakhouses. These people loathe Obama. Think he’s the worst president ever. They’re not bad people. But they’re apparently incapable of processing any information that conflicts with their world view.

    I know people like that. (And of course, “independent” conservatives; nah, not partisan!)

    What’s worse is that if you ask them what they think of an issue, they can often think their way to a nonconservative conclusion, but the instant they realize it’s a nonconservative conclusion, their brains hit RESET. And if you press them and ask why, they get upset and start attacking your character, or whatever.

    The conservative mindset really is something for psychologists, not politicians.

  91. 91
    Ron says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Both parties forget that there are swings. Yes, I remember the “GOP is dead” thinking, but I remember the “permanent republican majority” theme from a few years earlier. The biggest mistake parties make is assume that victories in the election mean the public just loves all their ideas. In many cases, the public just doesn’t think the other party was getting the job done.
    The GOP won pretty big in 2010, and seem to think it means they have the public with them on every issue, all polling to the contrary. They may even pay for it in 2012 by losing the House, though I haven’t a clue what will actually happen in an election that far off.

  92. 92
    Ron says:

    @Chris: I have a friend like that. He acts like a hardcore conservative, but when we talk about the problems facing us, he suggests something like New Deal for infrastructure. I have given up trying to understand how he thinks.

  93. 93
    Anya says:

    I’ve been sort of dating a 70 year old widower recently. He’s an ex-Marine.

    Why would you date a 70 year old wingnut? Really? Why?

  94. 94

    Why on earth is a nice woman like you dating a conservative? Icky.

  95. 95
    Jeffro says:

    Just as an aside, Hillary Clinton didn’t lose the 2008 primaries because of a lack of funds. She lost because a) her team sucked and b) she refused to apologize for her Iraq War vote. Obama was against the IW and that tipped the balance for Dem primary voters.

    Imho.

  96. 96
    Chris says:

    “Father, there are many who want to destroy us from outside this nation. Folks like al-Qaeda and the radical Islamists. But there are folks that want to destroy us from inside, the progressives and the socialists, who want to make this nation a nation that’s no longer under you, under God, but a nation that’s ruled by man.”

    I read a similar thing by Bill Whittle way back around the time of the Iraq war, and I’ve read the same thing from many other conservative bloggers. There are TWO wars; one on the outside against the radical Islamists (which by this point simply means Muslims), and one on the inside against the “lousy stinking commies” (Whittle’s favored word).

    I always found it amusing that all of the Gooper pundits had chosen to fight in the second war, none in the first. I can see why. Hippies don’t shoot back; the battlefield’s an air-conditioned studio or computer work station; the script ensures that you’ll win; the “enemy” isn’t even in the same room; and, well, you don’t need to take real risks, bleed real blood or die real deaths.

    It’s a simple but pretty big reason why Republicans keep up the wartime mentality towards the other half. They’re the people who worship at the altar of the military virtues, but were too big a group of pussies (pardon the term) to sign up for a real one. So they make up for it by doing their Fox News thing and telling themselves that it’s also helping the war effort/serving the country, “in their own way.”

  97. 97
    Anya says:

    J. Michael Neal @33

    I submit that none of us, and very few people in Washington (not you, Yuts; you know what I mean) have any real idea who Obama really is, or what his fundamental goals are at this point.

    Is this not the same thing the Republicans say all the time about Obama? We don’t know who he really is? I don’t understand why the so called progressives adopt every right wing meme about the President. He won the presidency after the longest fought primary campaign. On top of that he wrote a policy book, way before that. Also, his record in the Illinois, as well as in the Senate is clear. What else do you want to know?

  98. 98
    boss bitch says:

    There is no such thing as an Independent Conservative.

  99. 99
    bob h says:

    What we are seeing from the Republicans must be the death throes of a party being demographed out of business. The problem is that in seeking to motivate the most zealous, they take the rest of us down with them.

  100. 100
    redoubt says:

    @86–A “Prayer” for Joseph McCarthy.

  101. 101
    rickstersherpa says:

    1. It might appear to be off thread, but reading some of the comments above, I would like to suggest reading a book called “Lincoln’s Virtues” and then reflect on the comparison and contrast between Abraham Lincoln on one hand and the often heroic and usually right in principles of Charles Sumner and Salmon Chase. That there is a difference in being right and being self-righteous.

    2. Second, that people are “ignorant” is whose fault really? Is it not the fault of a mass media that has beeing conflating news with entertainment for the last 40 years so it is pretty much impossible to tell the difference. Do you notice how little the stories on the budget dispute actually try to describe the facts of the budget, why he has grown so much the last three years as the result of the Great Recession, and try to put some context to the numbers? Are so called “liberal” mainstream media, particularly the Washingon Post and the N.Y. Times serve us most poorly and hacks on cable news only serve themselves.

    3. Showing contempt toward our fellow citizens in the other tribe will often make us feel good within this tribe. However, as Bob Somerby (the Daily Howler) often points out it is not a good way to win their votes are to persuade them to alter their beliefs.

    4. I also have friends in the other tribe who have behave with extraordinary decency and love toward me and mine, and to all within their circle. When it comes to politics, they loathe Obama, Pelosi, and George Soros, and blame them for all that has happened wrong, although they do get uncomfortable when I bring up George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and like to say now they weren’t “true conservatives.” But I do find that I can start giving them pause when I ask how many are getting social security, veteran benefits, military pension, Government provided healthcare, etc. and if they look forward to these items being cut. This they are often surprised to learn, again since the media (AP and the local news shows and rags as well as Fox) do such a poor job of telling them. I also do remind them that the media they so much enjoy, from Fox Noise to Breitbart to NEWSMAX, is primarily about making money and entertainment, with them as the target audience and pocket, and not so much with providing them accurate information.

  102. 102
    OzoneR says:

    His social circle of friends regularly meet for early dinners in chain steakhouses. These people loathe Obama. Think he’s the worst president ever. They’re not bad people. But they’re apparently incapable of processing any information that conflicts with their world view.

    the bully pulpit will certainly change that.

  103. 103
    Bobby Thomson says:

    If I point out verifiable facts about the GOP, they look at me like I’m from Mars, and politely tell me I’m the one who’s deluded. Oddly enough, they actually like me. I suppose it’s the novelty factor. I’m pretty sure I’m the only liberal they know.

    You have seen To Serve Man, right? Just sayin’ meeting them at steak houses might not be the best play.

  104. 104
    John Puma says:

    Well, the widower Marine’s group is lucky but why do you torture yourself?

  105. 105
    bemused says:

    Minnesota Republican part chairman, Tony Sutton, said in May, “A compromise to the left is a compromise of good and evil” and “The people of Minnesota sent Republicans to St. Paul to give new birth to the uniquely American ethic of ‘Live Free, Life Better’ “.

    A letter writer to the Mpls Star Tribune this week contrasted the focus of an oped piece by Annette Meeks, pro cuts, anti tax raises on wealthy and John Harrington, consequences of budget cuts to people’s lives and what kind of state we want. The letter writer said she had rarely seen a Republican talk about these kind of real consequences. I actually don’t remember any current Republican seriously talk about consequences of any of their actions. Reality just doesn’t exist for them which I consider a serious mental health issue they should be in treatment for instead of acting out their delusions on the rest of us.

  106. 106
    Chris says:

    @ Citizen Alan,

    Libby, with all due respect, they “like” you because they are conservative men, and you are a woman, and genteel chivalry is one of the characteristic prized by conservative men of a certain age. Liberal women who say silly liberal things are amusing to conservative men like that. Out of curiosity, do they open doors for you as well? Does the guy you’re dating ever let you pay the bill? If you were a man and said the wrong thing in their presence, there’s every chance they’d beat you up in the parking lot.

    As cynical as this is, I have noticed that there’s a certain kind of conservative that’s much more tolerant of liberalism in women. After all, we all know how emotional and bad with reasoning the silly girls are; they can’t really help it, and the nurturing instincts that make them liberals are the same thing that make them such great housewives. And besides, they’re so beautiful when they’re angry!

    That’s why we need the tough, manly, reality-based men to keep the world together.

    (ETA this is, incidentally, why various conservatives including Ann Coulter continue to claim to this day that women shouldn’t vote. They’re lovely creatures but not rational and responsible ones. Best leave things in the hands of those who know best).

  107. 107
    Bruce S says:

    “real Murkins” seem to be with liberal Democrats on the spending cuts vs taxes issue when the questions are posed clearly and issues aren’t muddied:

    http://titanicsailsatdawn.blog.....ue-of.html

  108. 108

    ….the terms ‘Republican’ and ‘conservative’ are growing closer and closer to being synonyms….

    Wait, they’re not? They never have been? That’s just stupid.

    Look, the Republican Party right now is a cult. It has all of the characteristics of a cult. It makes up its own facts about the world, requires strict adherence to its viewpoint and cutting of all ties to those who are not in the cult. Those who stray from the party line are shunned, if they don’t fall back into line they’re cut loose. And those in the cult receive enormous benefits for staying in the fold — Fox News TV shows, the undying devotion of their followers, book deals from Regnery Publishing.

    It’s very fucked up.

  109. 109
    kd bart says:

    #19 “That’s sad that they live in an echo chamber. All they can do is reinforce and harden their views/opinions with each other, making them even more unreachable.”

    Would that not also pretty much summarize what Daily Kos and FDL are too?

  110. 110
    Montysano says:

    @Bruce S:

    “real Murkins” seem to be with liberal Democrats on the spending cuts vs taxes issue when the questions are posed clearly and issues aren’t muddied:

    In a post a few days back, a commenter said (paraphrasing): “American voters want to vote Republican but still get Democratic results”. I think that’s about right. In the current atmosphere, where “liberal” has been transformed into a pejorative, it just feels right (to low-information types) to identify as “conservative”.

  111. 111
    Kirbster says:

    I don’t get it. These people sound like comfortable retirees relying on some combination of pensions, investments, Social Security, and Medicare to maintain their leisure lifestyles. If the Goopers in Congress blow up the economy, do they really think that they’ll be unaffected by the fallout?

    The phenomenon of the unpaid GOP henchman actively promoting disaster fascinates and baffles me.

  112. 112
    ericblair says:

    If the Goopers in Congress blow up the economy, do they really think that they’ll be unaffected by the fallout?

    Probably, because all the bad gummint spending goes to Those People, so if you’re not one of Those People you’ll be fine, right?

    Demographically, enough gooper strategists know what they have to do: they have to get the minority social and fiscal “conservatives” on board and keep them there. But they just can’t help themselves with the sweet, sweet xenophobia and racism.

  113. 113
    OzoneR says:

    If the Goopers in Congress blow up the economy, do they really think that they’ll be unaffected by the fallout?

    no, but they’ll blame Obama, liberals and immigrants for it.

  114. 114
    Suffern ACE says:

    @bemused 104 –

    I actually don’t remember any current Republican seriously talk about consequences of any of their actions.

    I don’t remember them being asked: so what will you cut? I’m sure the MN budget is full of foreign aid waste just like the federal government budget is in the minds of the voters.

  115. 115
    artem1s says:

    Libby,

    try not to get too caught up in the hate spew. The demographics on single men on the +50 side are just not good. Intelligence is my first attraction point, so putting up with willful ignorance is just too much of a grind. It’s just too hard spend an entire evening biting my tongue. So dating is way too much like having a job with a really, really bad boss right now. No fun at all.

    good luck.

  116. 116
    JoyousMN says:

    Seriously, it can’t be said often enough – an incompetent team can kill the best candidate and a competent team can destroy a more capable opponent. There’s limits, of course, but at the end of the day that’s almost certainly going to be the margin of victory in 2012 – not jobs or Medicare or whatever else. A great team will make such issues vanish, a weak team will magnify them.

    Y’all know Bachmann’s got Ed Rollins running her team, don’t you. I’ve stopped mocking her chances. The media would rather play stupid games about her history mess-ups, than go after real issues with her record. And if that’s all independent voters here about her, then she won’t seem so bad, because hell, none of us know our American History that well, right?

    From Nate Silver:

    I haven’t said anything about the performance of Michele Bachmann in the poll, who drew 22 percent, just a point behind Mr. Romney. Really, there isn’t much to say other than this: these are terrific numbers. In addition to the strong top-line results, Ms. Bachmann had the best favorability ratings of any candidate. And she was the second choice of 18 percent of voters, versus 12 percent for Mr. Pawlenty and 10 percent for Mr. Romney. I would consider her the favorite to win the Iowa caucuses and a legitimate contender to win the Republican nomination.

    We can’t underestimate this woman.

  117. 117
    dogwood says:

    Anya @ 96:

    On top of that he wrote a policy book, way before that.

    It wasn’t a policy book it was a friggin memoir. This president certainly isn’t professionally transparent enough, but he’s the most personally transparent president in my lifetime. I’m one of the few people who read Dreams from My Father in the mid 1990’s. Picked it up in Chicago on a discounted book table entitled books by Chicago authors if I remember correctly. When he emerged as the Democratic Senate nominee in 2004, I remembered the name and the book and was surprised to say the least. I didn’t think you could write a book like Dreams and hope to have any sort of national political career. I figured there would be ads taking quotes out of context, and if I remember correctly there could have been some doozys. Maybe they figured it would spark more interest in the text and win him more votes than he would lose. It was a pretty decent book.

  118. 118
    bemused says:

    Suffern Ace,

    I do hear questions of what happens to low income people who no longer have access to health care, planned parenthood, etc, how firing government employees is going to save money and improve our job situation, how we can have quality education with drastic fund cuts, how we are going to fix our highways, bridges, all of this and more with cuts alone and no increase in revenue. What are our states and the country going to look like with skeleton governments. The republicans never have answers or any that are the least bit realistic.

    It’s like when Chip Cravaack was asked in a debate during his campaign by a constituent, what do people without any health insurance do and he answered with almost shrugging, well, they will just have to go out and get some.

  119. 119
    MazeDancer says:

    Voter registration. And GOTV.

    That’s going make the difference. That’s where, one hopes, techno innovation from the Dems, will focus this cycle.

    While Rock Star Obama was running, lots of 14 to 17 year olds noticed. Social media is not new to them. It’s life. Hope there are Text Teams for Obama. And that every kid breathing is registered and taken to the polls.

    Also, if Obama hadn’t been one of the most astonishingly captivating, emotionally engaging speakers ever to run – and young, energetic, handsome and clearly in love with his brainy, strong wife – all that great teamwork by staffers wouldn’t have paid off as well.

    Politics is paticipatory Reality TV at the national level. Emotions are more important than facts. Emotions propel turnout.

    What a great thread. Apparently, meaty, fascinating discussions are happening why some of us are sleeping.

  120. 120
    The Pale Scot says:

    burnspbesq –
    Love this little zinger from Mark Kleiman.
    Michelle Bachmann (R- Which Planet?)

    Yutsano
    Michelle Bachmann (R- Which Planet?)
    Kobol, obvs.

    Quite wrong, Republicans are all from Mesa:

    Mesa is an independent planet located within Solarian League space. It was founded by a group of renegade Beowulfans who rejected the Beowulf code.[1] Mesa is controlled by a Council of several interstellar corporations. The best-known of these is Manpower Incorporated, a company that grows genetically engineered humans as slaves. Another major Mesan corporation is the Jessyk Combine, a transport corporation mostly controlled by Manpower which operates its fleet of slave transports.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesa_(Honorverse)

  121. 121

    But they’re apparently incapable of processing any information that conflicts with their world view.

    THat makes them bad people. Because people who cannot process information that conflicts with their world view are dangerous people.

    Dangerous = Bad.

    Sorry you are dating a bad person.

  122. 122
    dogwood says:

    I actually don’t remember any current Republican seriously talk about consequences of any of their actions.

    I had a libertarian/conservative Ron Paul loving kid in class last semester. He was going on one day about how the debt ceiling should not be raised under any circumstances. He had all the boilerplate down pat. When I asked him what the policy outcomes of this proposal would be he wasn’t so sure. So I made the kids go find the projected consequences of failing to raise the ceiling. If any are paying attention right now, I seriously doubt many are rooting for default. A couple of days after the incident the kid stopped by after school to tell me that he had been thinking about that debt ceiling stuff and while he completely, totally and absolutely was committed to smaller government blah, blah, blah, he thought it was pretty hypocritical and unethical of Republicans to pass a budget and then refuse to fund it. I wish more elected Democrats would say that.

  123. 123
    The Pale Scot says:

    Or Even better, the Draka;

    The Crown Colony of Drakia (later, the Dominion of Draka) is an aggressive militaristic slave-owning society, massively influenced by the inherent racist attitudes of these American slave owner settlers that are allowed to run unchecked, reinforced over the course of the late 18th and 19th century…Citizens, who are free and can vote, comprise only a small fraction of the Domination’s population. Over 90% of the population are slaves (officially referred to as ‘serfs’, as the Draka maintain the fiction of obeying the British Empire’s ban on chattel slavery). In fact the entire Draka society, from sex to the economy, is based on slavery. Serfs have virtually no rights, are forbidden to handle money and their opinions are totally inadmissible in any court

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....ka_society

  124. 124

    […] at me like I’m from Mars, and politely tell me I’m the one who’s deluded.” (Thanks to Libby for the quote and for sizing up well how I feel). The Republican Party is dependent, to an extent […]

  125. 125
    Monkey Business says:

    As Silver’s article demonstrated, the real difference between the GOP and the Democrats is turnout.

    At the top end of the scale, the GOP is topping out at 70-80%, whereas Democrats are in the 50-60% range. Moderates are hovering in the 50% range.

    If 23% more Very Liberals and 20% more Liberals had voted in 2010, we would have wiped the floor with these guys, because frankly there’s a lot more of us than there are of them.

    The problem is that the GOP will always have an easier time messaging, because their slice of the electorate is not nearly as large and diverse. Scaring the crap out of old white people is easy.

  126. 126
    The Moar You Know says:

    Sweet Jesus, some of you are real assholes.

    I married a liberal – one that’s albeit a bit less liberal than I, but a liberal nonetheless – but I’ve dated plenty of conservative women and there was not a damn thing wrong with them save that they yanked the wrong lever in the voting booth.

    I snore. Fairly loudly.

    That being the case, I think they put up with a lot more of day-to-day bullshit from me than I did from them. Their politics didn’t wreck my sleep.

    So for god’s sake, lay off Libby for dating what sounds like a decent guy with a decent circle of friends. It’s hard enough to find a decent mate under any circumstances; you get past 40 and it becomes almost impossible. I say good for Libby.

  127. 127
    bemused says:

    dogwood,
    Your class should be required each year for all legislators, new and old, not just the R’s. Even if it opened only a few eyes, it would be worth it.

    How do people reach adulthood without ever learning how to think through actions and behaviors all the way through possible “what if” end results before they do them? All I can imagine is they never got held accountable and got away with blaming everyone else.

  128. 128
    xian says:

    I think Silver meant “divided evenly” among all the races?

  129. 129
    dogwood says:

    Bemused @127:
    Thanks. It’s an AP Gov. class, so these kids really do need to know what continuing resolutions are and the difference between monetary and fiscal policy. I guess that’s important, but what I really care about is thinking and self-awareness when it comes to politics. Thus, these kids know there will be no advocating of a policy without articulating both the intended and the potential unintended outcomes.. They should hold others to the same standard, especially politicians and pundits. I don’t share my particular views with them, but I do let them know that I believe one of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of good governance is that too many people wed themselves to the policy rather than the outcome. When people love their ideas more than the results of their ideas, you get bad government. Of course you also get bad government when immoral, stupid fuckers who don’t give a damn about good governance get elected and think its a good idea to turn the ship of state into the Titanic just for kicks. I leave out the second part of course, but I hope I’ve given them the tools to figure it out on their own.

  130. 130
    bemused says:

    dogwood,

    “…no advocating of a policy without articulating both the intended and the potential unintended outcomes”.

    What a novel concept! Far too many of our legislators haven’t seem to heard of this crazy idea. That would be a great question to ask on calls to these idiots, not that I think the majority of them give a rat’s ass.

  131. 131
    Marginalized for stating documented facts says:

    …They’re apparently incapable of processing any information that conflicts with their world view.

    True dat. And how different are these fanatical Republicans than the balloon-juice Democrats who keep posting giddy praise for Obama?

    Over and over again, we hear what a wonderful job Obama is doing. Really? Signing off on a whopping 8% increase in military spending to fund three endless unwinnable wars fought for no reason anyone can explain?

    Obama is “doing the best job anyone could do” — by agreeing to negotiate with crazed Teahadists? Bill Clinton knew better than that.

    Obama is “better than any Republican president would be”? How so? What, aside from the tone of his inspiring speeches, distinguishes Barack Obama from Sarah Palin in terms of actual policy?

  132. 132
    Mark says:

    COMPROMISE IS PLANNED FAILURE (TM)

    Never compromising is having the will to be fearless and relentless, while remaining confident and true to yourself, no matter what the obstacles.

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