Early Morning Open Thread: Clap Louder, Republicans!

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Only August, and the red state tribalists are already beginning to despair their fate, at least if the stories/ narratives/ fairy tales they’re telling each other are any indication. Ed Kilgore at the Washington Monthly snarks, “Will Clinton Attack Obama At Convention With a Claw Hammer?”:

… I just read an op-ed column from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review by someone named Salena Zito that is just an endless web of invention and assertion that is remarkably unspoiled by a speck of empirical data. Its thesis is that “Clinton Democrats” (which in an astonishing burst of ignorance she identifies with “Reagan Democrats”) despise Barack Obama and hate the godless socialist direction the Democratic Party has taken under his leadership, and even though they held their noses and voted for him in 2008, they are ready to revolt en masse…

The day Zito’s sage column appeared, the weekly Gallup tracking poll showed Obama’s job approval among Democrats standing at 86%, precisely the same level as Clinton’s job approval among Democrats at the same juncture of his presidency. Obama’s job approval among self-identified moderate Democrats was at 81%. Now today a new weekly summary came out showing Obama’s job approval rating among Democrats had plunged all the way down to 83% (and to a shocking, hardly-anyone-left 76% among the moderates). I don’t think Zito was engaging in prophecy, but in the most bold-faced variety of spin. The easiest (if also the most hammer-headed) way to distract attention from the GOP’s loud-and-proud conservative ideological revolution of the last few years is to claim Democrats have moved equally (or much farther!) to the left, leaving good, patriotic, centrist Democrats stranded and torn between sitting at home angrily stewing on Election Day or joining the Good Ship Mitt. Zito’s only innovation in this dumb interpretation is to claim (again, with no evidence) that “Clinton Democrats” were all wise to Obama’s game from the very beginning, recognizing him as the clear successor to Howard Dean (and presumably George McGovern and Henry Wallace and Upton Sinclair). Unaccountably they voted for him anyway in 2008. But now they will wreak vengeance!…

And Greg Sargent at the Washington Post highlights an even unlikelier delusion:

With Obama maintaining a small but persistent lead in national polls — and a seemingly larger one in key swing states — the Romney campaign has taken to comparing this race to the 1980 campaign, in which Jimmy Carter held a lead until voters swung sharply to Ronald Reagan in the final stretch. “Romney aides believe strongly that this race will play out like the 1980 campaign,” Byron York wrote recently.

This race will all but certainly tighten this fall, and it remains a toss up. But the comparison to 1980 struck me as flawed. I checked in with former Reagan adviser Ed Rollins, who worked communications on that campaign, and he agrees — there are very significant differences that make a last minute swing far less likely.

Reason one: Obama is a better and more likable politician than Jimmy Carter was, and Romney has not proven himself to be Ronald Reagan….

It’s early yet, but I think that line may be in contention for the understatement of the year.
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What’s on the agenda for the day?

51 replies
  1. 1
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    From what I hear, Reality is a nice place. The GOP should visit it sometime.

  2. 2
    Dream On says:

    But but – Romney has a secret plan for victory! It’s stashed on top of the car roof, next to his dog…

  3. 3
    amk says:

    You don’t get it. The mormons are gonna resurrect raygun and mitt will select him as his veep. (since even raygun can’t win at the top of ticket with the current vicious lot).

  4. 4
    James E. Powell says:

    The 1980 election was unique. And not because of the hostages or the economy, though those factors made the outcome more pronounced.

    1980 was the year that the movement of southern and northern suburban whites who had been voting mostly Democratic for years made the final switch to the Republicans.

    That was a realignment election and that is not what we are facing this year.

  5. 5

    My agenda for the day? I’m just waiting for my wife to tell me that she’s ready to go have our baby. Should be any time now…

  6. 6
    raven says:

    Reading about the great ex-special forces officer and right-wing teabag nutcase busted for child porn at the local library.

  7. 7
    kdaug says:

    @James E. Powell:

    And not because of the hostages or the economy, though those factors made the outcome more pronounced.

    Kinda what I was thinking.

    Know the perfect antidote to an October Surprise? OBL and Mars, bitches.

    And I don’t think too many are confused about when the economy started spinning the bowl.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Randy P says:

    I hated, HATED that fake-folksy “there ya go again” Reagan line from the 1980 debates. I hated even more that the media considered that a win or a tie, a useful substantive comeback to Carter’s deep knowledge of the facts and issues.

    But I’d love to hear Romney try it out in his inimitable style anyway. Please FSM, let the Romney staff convince him to reuse Reagan’s “winning” line in this year’s debates.

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    @raven: According to the comments, his being a conservative writer has nothing to do with his porn addiction. IMO, wackos are wackos. I hope he spends some quality time behind bars.

  11. 11
    Randy P says:

    @raven: OK, I can see perhaps not being very sophisticated about computers at that age. Some people in his generation are not.

    But how can you not get the concept of “people walking around behind you where they can see your screen”? Or the concept of “the staff can see the pictures you printed that you have to go ask them for”?

    On the general schadenfreude topic, is anyone watching Faux News and seeing some good evidence of depression and heads exploding? Or do they still have their cheerleading rah-rah smiles on?

  12. 12
    raven says:

    @JPL: I remember when we had the “Moving Wall” here. I was talking to him and he basically said “It wasn’t that bad, I’m sure not going to cry about it”.

    eta, it’s not good for your health to read the comments on the ABH

  13. 13
    raven says:

    @Randy P: He’s a fucking asshole who thought he could just plow his way through because he’s so tough. His editorials were insane and that was before all this teaparty shit.

  14. 14
    Schlemizel says:

    Heck, the Marquis Du Mittens doesn’t even have the warmth of the big Dick Nixon. Its stunning how bad off the GOP is and sad that nearly half the American voters are OK with that.

  15. 15

    @JPL:

    I never know what to think about these guys. What they do is truly vile, but most of these guys, as I understand it, went through the same thing themselves when they were young. They’re badly fucked up. That doesn’t excuse them, but the fact that they have these awful urges that drive them to do this, well, I think we should take that into account when we deal with them. I want these guys put somewhere where they can’t do this again, but I don’t think it’s really right to punish them. I do think it’s weird how many of these guys end up being right wing nuts, though. Seems like having some kind of perversion, or being a closeted gay guy, or having girlfriends on the side they like to beat up is normal for conservatives–or at least it happens more than would be the average.

    @Schlemizel:

    Yes, I’ve thought that, too. How bad is it when your party’s nominee can’t even meet the Nixon standard for likeability?

  16. 16
  17. 17
    kay says:

    It’s funny it’s in a Pittsburgh paper, because Obama is (IMO) overperforming in PA.

    I think the assumption was Romney would do better in PA than he’s doing.

    I DO think, however, that there is a split in leadershift, a shift in leadership, from Clinton people to Obama people at the state Party level. No one talks about it, but it’s happening. The Obama people are younger and they have a different approach, they’re broader in some sense.

    I think it was inevitable, it’s partly just a 20 year age gap, from people in their 60’s and even 70’s to people in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. It will become more apparent if he wins a second term.

    It has to happen. My oldest son is politically engaged, he’s 24 and he has no real feel for “Bill Clinton” other than “is a Democrat”. The first election he paid attention to was Bush v Gore, and he wasn’t old enough to vote in it.

  18. 18

    @raven:

    Well, yeah, he is, but these guys also aren’t fully in control of what they do. Shit I have depression and ADD, and I know how hard that makes my life sometimes. I can’t begin to think what kind of problems people who’ve been molested deal with. I do think they need to be put somewhere where they can’t harm anybody, but with these guys, punishment just seems like it’s more to give the rest of us a feeling of vengeance than it is to further any legitimate goal of justice.

  19. 19
    Nethead Jay says:

    Man, they’re getting crazier and crazier out on the fringe: Okay, it’s Jerome Corsi and WorldNetDaily but still…

    I’m impressed the writer lasted all the way through the video.

    ETA: Just so it’s clear, the link is not directly to WND, wouldn’t do that to anyone, but to an article about it.

  20. 20
    tesslibrarian says:

    @Randy P: You don’t have to ask a librarian for your copies in most libraries; there’s typically a self-serve print station. I’m not sure how many computers are in this branch, but the main library has nearly 60 in reference alone, and barely enough staff to work the desk, much less stand there providing copies to people.

  21. 21
    JoyfulA says:

    @kay: That’s Richard Mellon Scaife’s newspaper, so no need for the surprise!

  22. 22
    Randy P says:

    @tesslibrarian: OK, so the concept is “printing on a public printer visible to all the other patrons”.

    And then he obviously left his copies on the printer for quite a while. He may have gotten flustered when he was confronted, but he’d still left them there for some time before that.

    I’ve always had the “pay the circulation desk” system, even at large university libraries.

  23. 23
    Phylllis says:

    Today’s agenda? Attending a Readiness and Emergency Management Training being conducted for free by our sozhulist federal Dept of Ed for the district. I will be sure to ask about laughing vs non-laughing helicopters, russian troops in Colorado, and the protocol for faxing credenzas.

  24. 24
    bemused says:

    Over at bobcesca, I just read an ACLU story about a Louisiana charter school that forces students suspected of being pregnant to get a pregnancy test from a physician of the school’s choice or drop out and be home schooled.
    It’s a twofer, war on women and education simultaneously.

  25. 25
    Doggie D says:

    Its Tuesday, the day to have spaghetti for breakfast. After breakfast, I’m going to play with my dog (who likes me). Then, to be honest, I’m going to watch TV and maybe play some video games. I am so sick of this Mitt Romney. Blah blah blah. Rich rich rich. If Barack Obama can only win this election, things will get better.

  26. 26
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Horrendo Slapp (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.): Good luck, and let us know (with a picture of the baby so we can all squee).

  27. 27
    Suffern ACE says:

    Oh I’m sure there will be plenty of proof of a Clinton revolt come convention time. There will be a delegate who will get lots of interviews for refusing to vote and Bill’s speech will be parsed and parsed and presented in analysis as a “slam” against Obama.

  28. 28
    brantl says:

    and Romney has not proven himself to be Ronald Reagan….

    Really?! A stuffed shirt, who can’t think/speak extemporaneously, check; no policy that would work, even in ideal circumstances, check; no foreign policy at all, except USA SMASH PEOPLES WHO DON’T LIKE US!, check; nothing but a pleasant appearance and that manic, senile smile; no, I think Mitt is pretty close to exactly what Reagans really was, he just doesn’t have quite as good a lying PR department to back him.

  29. 29
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Nethead Jay: That’s just…pitiful. No words to address the level of ignorance on display there except…”conservative.”

    With any luck, this is exactly the image the words “conservative”, “Republican”, “Tea Party”, and “GOP” will be associated with in future election cycles. Not only a fitting fate, but one which they brought on themselves.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    Patricia Kayden says:

    With all the SuperPacs in his corner, The Bot will have loads of ads to unload in October. Not sure if ads will help him though. I think what could help him are things out of Obama’s control — i.e., unemployment rate, economic slump in Europe, oil prices.

  32. 32

    @raven:

    I don’t. But a lot of these guys were molested themselves when they were young. I don’t know if all of them were, but a lot. This guy maybe wasn’t, but if he was, I think the courts should take that into account at least.

    @JPL: @SiubhanDuinne:

    And thanks for all the good wishes.

  33. 33
    Raven says:

    @Horrendo Slapp (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.): You mean after they consider the fact that he is on probation on a federal weapons rap?

  34. 34
    NotMax says:

    $2+ billion for a Mars mission (which I don’t begrudge), but the powers that be unwilling to dig under the fiscal couch cushions for the relative pittance of 1/1000 that to maintain an operational station for ocean research here on Earth.

    Last remaining underwater habitat lab in jeopardy

  35. 35
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    This race will all but certainly tighten this fall, and it remains a toss up.

    If the horse-race MSM has any say, it will.

  36. 36
    NotMax says:

    Looks as if old Ron cut a deal to ceremonially pass the torch. (emphasis mine)

    Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, announced via Twitter on Tuesday morning that Santorum, along with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, will address attendees at the party’s convention in Tampa, Fla. later this month.  Source

  37. 37
    Cassidy says:

    @Horrendo Slapp (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.): That opinion will change in the next 24 hours, roughly, for you. Good luck today. Tell your wife sex helps induce labor. It might work.

  38. 38
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    From the little I’ve seen of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I get the impression they are in some kind of wing nut contest with WND.

  39. 39
    Scott says:

    What? No romneyhood?

  40. 40
    satby says:

    @Horrendo Slapp (formerly Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.): Yes, a lot of them have been molested. And the current “scarlet letter” sex offender laws do nothing to protect children but do drive the offenders underground. But this guy is also 70 and there may be dementia issues too. Inappropriate behaviour can be a sign. Even if he sounds like a scumbag, he could be a senile scumbag.

  41. 41

    @Raven:

    Ah, well, I didn’t know that. I don’t know if it was in the story or not; I’m a little bleary after being up all night. It does kind of change things, though. Takes away any reason not to think he’s an egregious scumbag.

  42. 42

    Its thesis is that “Clinton Democrats” (which in an astonishing burst of ignorance she identifies with “Reagan Democrats”) despise Barack Obama and hate the godless socialist direction the Democratic Party has taken under his leadership

    I find this fascinating. They don’t *want* to delegitamize Obama, they just plain *can’t* believe he could accomplish anything. Whether you think it’s race or progressive anti-Democrat sentiment, this is far beyond their hatred of Clinton. That Obama could be popular, that his policies could be popular, that he could be intelligent or right about anything – they can’t grasp it. The idea is so foreign to them that they believe Democrats must hate him.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    cmorenc says:

    @James E. Powell:

    The 1980 election was unique. And not because of the hostages or the economy, though those factors made the outcome more pronounced.

    An enormous “what if” in the 1980 election that would have likely changed history is “what if” the early October hostage rescue attempt had succeeded instead of being undone by an unfortunately timed sandstorm in the desert that forced the helicopter-based mission to abort (with at least one crew-fatal crash) before reaching Tehran. If instead, it had succeeded in rescuing a substantial portion of the American embassy hostages, even with some losses, it would have dramatically changed the tenor of the final weeks of the campaign. Despite some economic adversity, it was the long-looming albatross of the Iran hostage situation (pounded home daily on News and ABC’s “Nightline” program for over 500 days) and the frustrating inability of the Carter Administration to exert any effective leverage over the Iranians that was most damaging to the electorate’s perceptions of Carter. Think how differently the 2012 election cycle might be playing out for Obama if the attempt to take out Bin Laden had instead gone badly wrong, and meanwhile Al Quaeda was periodically regularly carrying out successful terrorist attacks against Americans around the globe, each accompanied by extended bad publicity.

  45. 45
    Njorl says:

    I heard an analyst on NPR who I think has it right. No one who voted in 2008 is going to vote differently. Everything is about turnout.

  46. 46
    Cassidy says:

    @cmorenc: If any of these assholes actually understood military history beyond their favorite Navy SEAL movie, they’d appreciate just how huge an udertaking that was, even in failure.

  47. 47
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Its thesis is that “Clinton Democrats” […] are ready to revolt en masse…

    I knew it! The PUMAs were just keeping their powder REALLY dry.

  48. 48
    Tom Q says:

    @cmorenc: Actually, your timing is a bit off: the failed Desert One rescue attempt was in Spring, not October. Which reinforces your what-if, because (1) with a stirring moment like that, Carter would likely have done much better against Kennedy in the later primaries, and avoided the bruising convention fights; (2) with Kennedy’s suporters less numerous, John Anderson might not have had as big an impact in drawing third-party votes from that pool; and (3) iffier: maybe the flush of excitement could have jolted the economic picture enough that the Fall recession wasn’t so noticeable. Those things together might have been enough to let Carter barely squeak by…

    …because, don’t kid yourself: Carter faced a devastating set of circumstances for an incumbent seeking re-election. Hoover, thanks to the depth of the Depression, had the worst record on which to run, but Carter had the most broadly unpopular: a recession during the campaign, a devastating intra-party fight and an ongoing foreign policy humiliation, made him just about unelectable. I’ve long thought that the tight polls right up to election day meant the public was indeed wary of electing someone as far right as Reagan. Given Carter’s record, the GOP candidate should have led easily all the way — and someone more vanilla (like Howard Baker, or even GHWBush) likely would have.

    Obama is simply nowhere near as vulnerable. In fact, as others have pointed out, his electoral profile more nearly resembles Reagan’s ’84 re-election status: both had had punishing recessions early on that brough unemployment over 10%, but saw significant improvement in the final year; both were charismatic, well-liked personalities who shifted the direction of the country; both attracted at-best lackluster opponents. The obvious Reagan advantage is on the election year economy, which, thanks to defense spending, grew more substantially that Barack has seen (though it’s important to note we’re currently well clear of recession territory, which is the incumbent danger signal). On the other hand, Obama’s foreign policy triumph — naling bin Laden – makes Reagan’s giddy celebration over Genada look silly.

    The people trying to analogize ths year to 1980 are simply showing they don’t understand the criteria upon which elections are decided. Obama has a far stronger case for re-election than Cartyer ever did, something which I imagine history will acknowledge more than our myopic present-day pundits.

  49. 49
    Hawes says:

    People forget that in 1980, John Anderson snagged 9% of the vote and Reagan only won 51% of the popular vote. No incumbent President has been voted out of office in the 20th century without a strong third party showing except Herbert Hoover.

    OK, Ford, but he’s sui generis.

  50. 50
    cmorenc says:

    @Hawes:

    People forget that in 1980, John Anderson snagged 9% of the vote and Reagan only won 51% of the popular vote. No incumbent President has been voted out of office in the 20th century without a strong third party showing except Herbert Hoover.
    OK, Ford, but he’s sui generis.

    Another fascinating what-if scenario that came within a whisker of actually happening is: what-if Ford had won the 1976 election over Carter? Despite starting the campaign enormously behind Carter, Ford had rapidly closed the gap to a near-tossup by election day, and only lost the popular vote by 1.6% and the electoral vote by 297-240, with the count in Ohio, Mississippi, and Wisconsin too close to call until very late into election night.

    Had Ford won in 1976, he rather than Carter would have been similarly handicapped by the persistent poor economic conditions in the months before the 1980 election, and would also have likely suffered from the prolonged intractability of the Iranian hostage crisis. As a result, the “change” in 1980 voters would likely have chosen was a second Kennedy (Edward) Presidency, rather than a Ronald Reagan Presidency and the course of the last 30 years would have been vastly different and much more progressive instead of reactionary.
    Also, even had George Bush (the elder) succeed Kennedy in 1988, he would likely have approached the Presidency in dramatically different fashion as a traditional “moderate”
    Republican rather than being constrained by the increasingly conservative direction of his party took during the Reagan years.

    Those of us of a proper age should all wish we could go back and vote for Gerald Ford in 1976 based on what we know now, rather than what seemed right and sensible then.

  51. 51
    different-church-lady says:

    “Romney aides believe strongly that this race will play out like the 1980 campaign,” Byron York wrote recently.

    I’m really not sure “We’ll score 10 runs in the 9th!” is a sound election strategy.

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