Open Thread: Please Let This Be True…

Jonathan Chait, in NYMag, “We Just Had A Class War. And One Side Won“:

… Like every president, Obama won for myriad reasons, important and petty. But his reelection was hardly small and hardly devoid of ideas. Indeed, it was entirely about a single idea. The campaign, from beginning to end, was an extended argument about economic class.

It began last December, when Obama delivered a trademark Big Speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, where Teddy Roose­velt once spoke, on government’s place in mitigating income inequality. It was, in a sense, an extension of his failed budget negotiations with House Republicans. Obama had decided that his reelection effort would be an attempt to go over Speaker of the House John Boehner’s head and bring to the voters the proposition he couldn’t get the opposing party to accept: that both moral decency and plausible budgeting required an end to George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich.
If there is a single plank in the Democratic platform on which Obama can claim to have won, it is taxing the rich. Obama ignored vast swaths of his agenda, barely mentioning climate change or education reform, but by God did he hammer home the fact that his winning would bring higher taxes on the rich. He raised it so relentlessly that at times it seemed out of proportion even to me, and I wrote a book on the topic. But polls consistently showed the public was on his side…

Of course, what the people want is all fairly beside the point now. What matters in Washington is power and leverage—two things that accrued dramatically in Obama’s favor last week. But it’s not irrelevant that American voters had a chance to lay down their marker on the major social divide of our time: whether government can mitigate the skyrocketing inequality generated by the marketplace. For so many years, conservatives have endeavored to fend off such a debate by screaming “class war” at the faintest wisp of populist rhetoric. Somehow the endless repetition of the scare line inured us to the real thing. Here it was, right before our eyes: a class war, or the closest thing one might find to one in modern American history, as a presidential election. The outcome was plain. The 47 percent turned out to be the 51 percent.

71 replies
  1. 1
    Violet says:

    We just had an election. The class war is ongoing.

  2. 2
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Yes, yes, yes!

    Do away with the tax cuts for the wealthy, maybe institute a transaction tax on Wall Street, and raise the contribution cap for FICA.

    Do it, do it, do it.

    I’m not holding my breath, of course. But then I was only cautiously optimistic about the ACA.

  3. 3
    maya says:

    Perhaps. But if a billionaire tree falls in the woods and there are no Chuckies, Lukies, Davies and Wolfies who will report hearing or seeing it, did it actually fall?

  4. 4
    chopper says:

    we can only hope.

  5. 5
    jacy says:

    Because it’s an open thread —

    Awaiting the birth of first granchild, DIL doesn’t want anyone to come to the hospital until the baby is born, so I’m sitting here chain-drinking Coke Zero and refreshing every webpage I already read.

    And I find it amazing that sometime within the next 24 hours I’ll be a grandparent, when in my head I’m still 29.

  6. 6
    qwerty42 says:

    but … but … Job Creators!

  7. 7
    rlrr says:


    Unless they are actually creating jobs, they aren’t job creators.

  8. 8
    PeakVT says:

    Obama said as much during today’s presser, several times. Who knows, maybe he can convince The Orange Wonder to go along.

  9. 9
    dmsilev says:

    @jacy: Congratulations!

    I got an email a couple hours ago from a colleague announcing the birth of his daughter. Mom went through 15 hours of labor *and* a C-section at the end of it. Ouch.

  10. 10
    David in NY says:

    Hmmm, GOS (a/k/a dkos) seems to be on the blink.

  11. 11
    trollhattan says:

    You are 29. They just grow up fast.

    Congrats in advance.

  12. 12
    Linda Featheringill says:


    Congratulations! Do we know anything about the new person yet?

  13. 13
    trollhattan says:

    All that remaining pesky uncertainty needs to be eliminated. Only then will they release the job-creatin’ machine.

  14. 14
    David in NY says:

    @dmsilev: my wife did that — long labor then C-section. Talk about worst of all worlds. (But those C-section babes look all pristine and nice, while those delivered vaginally, if I can say that word, can seem a bit beat up after it all. For the C-section kids, life starts out easy.)

  15. 15
    FedSec says:

    Preach it. I want to have a banner at the inauguration that says the 47% took “responsibility for their lives”

  16. 16
    Scout211 says:

    @David in NY:


    Trouble with the internal network between the load balancers, web servers, and db servers. Working on getting it fixed, but we can’t directly do anything about it.

  17. 17
    WereBear says:

    @jacy: Hope all goes well!

  18. 18
    dmsilev says:

    Today seems to be the day for odd emails from collaborators. Besides the one mentioned above, just falling into my inbox is the message that ends by mentioning that the author is heading to the bomb shelter for the fifth time today because of Hamas rocket attacks.

  19. 19
    JPL says:

    @jacy: Yeah! This site likes babies almost as much as animals. Still can remember when Kitten’s Sam was born. Hugs.

  20. 20
    Scout211 says:



    I was able to be in the delivery suite with my first grandbaby–but it was my daughter, not daughter-in-law giving birth.

  21. 21
    liberal says:

    …whether government can mitigate the skyrocketing inequality generated by the marketplace.

    LOL. I’ll believe that when a sizeable fraction of interested parties understand what economic rent is, and how to either get rid of it if it shouldn’t be there in the first place (e.g., absurd “intellectual property rights”), or how to tax the hell out of it so that the state not a privileged party gets it (e.g. land).

    After all, “teh market” doesn’t alone generate economic rent (the source of most inequality); it’s privileges handed out by the government in the design of said market which do that.

  22. 22
    David in NY says:

    @Scout211: Thank you. I knew somebody here would have a clue.

  23. 23
    WereBear says:

    Marketplace didn’t create the inequality; the Bush Administration had an awful lot to do with it.

  24. 24
    Tim I says:

    The class warfare debate has changed dramatically in the past few years. Some credit goes to OWS, which popularized the concept of the 1% dominating the rest of the population.

    The Republicans helped a lot, without trying to. Selecting a candidate who embodied the exploitation of the working class by the wealthy. He added fuel to the fire by constantly saying things that showed how out of touch he was with the non-rich, culminating in his 47% speech. I think many people were deeply offended by the Governor and his party.

    The great recession also brought home the criminality and avarice of the rich. It also scared a lot of people who thought they had it pretty good, but saw all around them how owning a small business or having a graduate degree didn’t necessarily protect one from economic ruin. Many who would have aligned themselves with country club Republicans before the financial collapse, found themselves much more concerned about the government’s safety net, than the tax rate of the wealthy.

    And what might be the biggest factor is a desire for accountability and revenge upon the the wealthy hucksters who brought the financial collapse. People are still damn mad and looking for villains.

  25. 25
    liberal says:

    @David in NY:
    You know what would really suck? Delivering the first twin vaginally, then the second twin by C-section.

    Not that that happened to my or my significant other.

  26. 26
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:


    Unless they are actually creating jobs, they aren’t job creators.

    Or to paraphrase the famous Lincoln quote regarding George McClellan, if they do not want to use their army job creating wealth, I would like to borrow it for a time.

  27. 27
    blingee says:

    @PeakVT: He does not have to. Why are people so dumb?

    All Obama has to do is NOTHING. Bush tax cuts expire. DONE! I am simplifying but that’s the jist of it. Repubs are bluffing and Obama already knows what their poker hand is. They have a pair of 2’s and he has 4 of a kind!

  28. 28
    David in NY says:

    Re class war. Not sure voting is the “best” revenge, but it’s at least “some” revenge.

  29. 29
    trollhattan says:

    You know your party is in trouble when Arnold is sounding like the only smart guy in the room.

    “We cannot tolerate these offensive comments about women’s rights and ridiculous plans for mass deportations,” Schwarzenegger said. “We have always been a party of big ideas to move the country forward, and that is what we must communicate now. Not these petty attacks.”
    “We need to focus on expanding the tent instead of shrinking it,” Schwarzenegger continued in the question-and-answer interview. “We need to find ways to include instead of exclude. The party has tried to move to the right, and now we can see that the action and the votes are more in the center.”

  30. 30
    Brachiator says:

    We just had an election. The class war is ongoing.

    Hell, the class war is escalating. Some wingnuts apparently believe that they have a moral duty to chastise and punish people who voted “the wrong way.”

    The food truck guy who comes around to an office where I do business told me that the owner of a company at one of his stops told recently told him, “I may have to fire you because you called Romney an asshole.”

    The food truck guy immediately shot back that if the guy didn’t want him to service the stop to tell him right now, to his face, and not to try to scare him or bluff him. And he did not back down on any of his criticisms of Romney The guy backed down, but there are still hard feelings.

    You also get whiffs of this on talk radio programs whenever the discussion turns to politics or economics.

    The resentment and presumption of those who lost but who cannot concede defeat is amazing.


    Awaiting the birth of first granchild.

    Congratulations to you. And to the parents who, after all, are responsible for the lion’s share of the production.

  31. 31
    scav says:

    @liberal: But someones (somewhere, who can know?) laid down some seriously unusual foundations for sibling spats in the future.

  32. 32
    WereBear says:

    @trollhattan: At this point they would need in invasion of the Planet Kolob to find new voters who don’t already hate their guts. Too bad they have such a rotten attitude towards immigrants…

  33. 33
    Culture of Truth says:

    What does this have to do with President Lindsay Graham?

  34. 34
    Yutsano says:

    @JPL: And RedKitteh is about to give SamKitteh a SiblingKitteh! If everyone survives her massive bread craving/gestational diabetes dilemma. :)

  35. 35
    Culture of Truth says:

    We have always been a party of big ideas to move the country forward

    Not in my experience, but the Groper is correct otherwise

  36. 36
    David in NY says:

    @liberal: Well, weird stuff does happen, though I never heard of that one.

    But I do have a pretty bad story from the old days. An older woman my wife knew when she was growing up in Maine some decades ago had gone into labor suddenly (this was the ’40’s), got to the hospital just in time, delivered quickly, more or less in the waiting room.

    And then they anesthetized her.

    And she was herself an obstetrician. To say she was furious would be gross understatement.

  37. 37
    gwangung says:

    You know your party is in trouble when Arnold is sounding like the only smart guy in the room.

    Arnold is actually a smart guy, in my book.

    He’s also one of the few elected Republicans for a blue state.

    I think the latter should be taken far more seriously than the former.

  38. 38
    NotMax says:

    Another day, another amero.

  39. 39
    gex says:

    @Brachiator: I heart food truck guy! In the right, not afraid to stand up for himself, and called a bully’s bluff. Love it.

    Congrats, jacy!

    I remember waiting for my sister-out-law to give birth. After a long delivery she ended up getting a c-section. I was very impressed by the place she chose to give birth in. It was amazing and very family friendly.

  40. 40
    danimal says:

    @gwangung: Arnold would have never been nominated in a normal Republican primary. Cali Republicans are just too far right to have allowed it. Only the outrageous and ridiculous recall election allowed Arnold a path to the governor’s mansion.

  41. 41
    YellowJournalism says:

    @jacy: Congrats on the granbaby! And may I compliment you on being a great MIL for respecting your DIL’s wishes? This comes from a DIL whose MIL got too impatient after being told numerous times that her son would come out to the waiting room to let them know after the birth happened. She just opened the door and walked into the room as I was being stitched up and my hubby was holding his son for the first time. Thankfully, my nurse was awesome sauce and ran over to gently escort her out before she got past the curtain. It’s kind of funny in retrospect, but at the time I was in a sensitive position.

  42. 42
    Brachiator says:


    I heart food truck guy! In the right, not afraid to stand up for himself, and called a bully’s bluff. Love it.

    The food truck guy is an Armenian American who grew up in Massachusetts and who loves Obama even more than he loves the Boston Celtics.

    The fool who tried to call his bluff should have known better. He was lucky that he didn’t get his butt kicked.

  43. 43

    You goofy butt person. You could be exchanging emails back and forth with me while you wait, even reading a new book. Heck, you could be writing a lengthy email filled with all of the details of the grandchild situation! Think about that!

  44. 44
    gwangung says:

    @danimal: Oh, true.

    BUt…shouldn’t that tell something to Republicans?

  45. 45
    Uncle Cosmo says:


    but … but … Job Cremators!


    Chait reminded me of a passage in one of my childhood’s guilty pleasures, Ben Bova’s first novel, a juvenile called The Star Conquerors. I found my beatup old Winston SF copy & looked it up:

    We haven’t won a victory…. We merely scattered a fleet that nearly wiped us out. Most of that fleet escaped. And we still have more than 20,000 light years between us and the Masters’ homeworlds. Do you realize how many fleets like this last one they can organize in all that area?

    Between the gerrymandered House districts, the state legislatures still under Thug control, the challenge to the Voting Rights Act, and the rest of the UNLIMITABLE COPROLITE CACHE!, there is a long, long slog ahead of us. Let’s get going.

  46. 46
    The Moar You Know says:

    The party has tried to move to the right, and now we can see that the action and the votes are more in the center.”

    @trollhattan: God bless the Impregnator, he keeps trying, unaware that the party he’s given his life’s work to threw him out and cursed his name forever as a traitor a long time ago.

    This won’t help him any, save maybe with Dems.

    It is quite instructive that the California GOP did to him what the national GOP is doing to Obama. It was very successful. I’m sure the national GOP noticed.

  47. 47
    jacy says:


    I owe you like 47 emails. I’ve just been in, let’s say, an interesting place lately. I expect normalcy (or what passes for it in my universe) to return shortly.

  48. 48
    Quincy says:

    @Brachiator: Saw a similar incident walking to work last Thursday morning. A black man was standing on the sidewalk trying to sell Streetwise, the local paper sold by the homeless to raise money, to passersby. An older white man in a nice overcoat and hat stopped and said to him, “You’ve already taken enough from me.” When the vendor gave him a confused look, the older man followed up with “The election.” And there it was, on full display with crowds of people walking past in either direction, this 1%er still visibly pissed off two days later that a bunch of poor minorities had voted to have his stuff taken from him and given to them.

  49. 49
    Rafer Janders says:


    Oh, how I wish I had been standing there and heard that….

  50. 50

    Except the MSM doesn’t want to acknowledged that it means what Chait says (and I believe) it does. Did anyone see Soledad O’Brien get up in Debbie Wasserman’s face. Wasserman was talking about how the President’s economic agenda won popular support. She leaned over into her space and put her fingers together and said the Pres had won “this much”. It was kind of rude and missed the whole point. So, as much as I agree with Chait I think the MSM will eff it all up and tell the American people what THEY think we want instead of what we REALLY said we wanted.

  51. 51
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ:

    I think the MSM will eff it all up and tell the American people what THEY think we want instead of what we REALLY said we wanted.

    Well given that what I want is for the denizens of the MSM to be boiled in oil and their remains fed to hungry crocodiles, in all fairness I can understand their reluctance to tell it like it is.

  52. 52
    The Moar You Know says:

    “You’ve already taken enough from me.”

    @Quincy: Cruel rich asshole should bone up on his history. Beat people down enough and they’ll just simply take your life.

  53. 53
    Platonicspoof says:

    Just today:
    “The President’s campaign,” he said, “focused on giving targeted groups a big gift—so he made a big effort on small things. Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars.”

    The Los Angeles Times reported Romney’s remarks — which included arguing that “the Obama’s health care plan’s promise of coverage ‘in perpetuity’ was ‘highly motivational’ to those voters making $25,000 to $35,000 who might not have been covered, as well as to African American and Hispanic voters.”

    h/t Hardball

    But mostly because the Chicago guy called him a poopyhead.

    I blame Seamus.

  54. 54
    piratedan says:

    maybe, just maybe it’s time for another job forum Open thread, where those looking for work, out themselves and their professional stylings/ambitions and those in the commentariat promote and espouse on those jobs that they are aware of in the workplace near themselves.

  55. 55
    opie_jeanne says:

    @jacy: Congratulations! And what a good MIL you are, especially compared with mine.

    Mine was quite smug about having had her two babies by C-section, because she wouldn’t want to be “noisy”, and the first two of mine she kept trying to claim she could hear me all the way down the hall, around two corners and down another corridor, as well as through three sturdy doors. I told her it was the woman in the room next to me who was having a very bad time and was not in control, but really if I hadn’t been so “nice” I should have asked her why it was so important to her.

    With the second one she barged in when I was being wheeled to recovery to tell me how much she disliked the name we’d chosen for our daughter.

    The third time I threatened my husband’s life if he called either set of parents before the baby was born.

    She was a real pip, she was.

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Uncle Cosmo:

    Here’s what I’ll say, though:

    Sociology (science!) shows us that successful revolutions don’t happen when people are beaten down. They happen when there has been a slight improvement and people start to realize that they might be able to win.

    I think we’re getting close to that tipping point, where beaten-down people realize they don’t have to take whatever crumbs the MOTUs decide to drop from their tables. We can make the MOTUs act like participating member of society, not an aristocracy.

    Yes, it’s still going to be a long fight, but it’s a lot easier to fight when you think you have a chance to win.

  57. 57
    McJulie says:

    @Quincy: In a just world, or a feel-good movie, the rest of the crowd would have surrounded Mr. Entitlement and given him a good dressing-down, starting with something like “how DARE you act like you’re worse off than a homeless man…”

    Possibly making him late to something.

  58. 58
    Nutella says:

    Hey, has Betty Cracker seen this?

    I think anyone who buys this needs to pay more taxes. A LOT more taxes.

  59. 59
    Fluke bucket says:

    @jacy: you are on the verge of one of the most magnificent experiences you will ever have.

  60. 60
    Fluke bucket says:

    @David in NY: that seems to be happening a lot lately.a

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m surprised they didn’t make it as a duplicate of the one at Hameau de la Reine.

  62. 62
    Fluke bucket says:

    @dmsilev: I remember reading once that 900 rockets had been fired into Israel and then said that two had been killed and it startled me. I had assumed that surely they had fucked that story up somehow.

  63. 63
    Ben Franklin says:

    Now if we could see something done on the federal level on this issue, we’d be getting somewhere. As more and more states continue to legalize, I think we’re going to see that happen sooner and not later.

    Not a one-issue voter, and I know Obama has a lot on his plate, but this deserves some Federal response…..

  64. 64
    Fluke bucket says:

    @Yutsano: first I have heard of that. My very best to the entire Kitteh family.

  65. 65
    Fluke bucket says:

    @Culture of Truth: no shit. The party of which big idea? Of course I have only been around since Eisenhower

  66. 66
    Fluke bucket says:

    @liberal: it could be a great start to a myth though. @Ben Franklin: now that is a war I will march in with you guys. All I need is a little good, solid leadership

  67. 67
    Chris says:

    @Fluke bucket:

    The last time the GOP had a big idea was Lincoln. Or, at best, Teddy Roosevelt. Progression/populist ideas emerged in both parties around the same time, but Teddy actually got them into the White House, unlike William Jennings Bryan.

    I like Ike, mostly, but what made him a good president wasn’t any “big idea,” it’s that he inherited a government machine well oiled and fully upgraded by 20 years of liberal government, and mostly had enough sense to let it keep running as is and not go pushing any of the buttons.

  68. 68
    Uncle Cosmo says:


    Sociology (science!) shows us that successful revolutions don’t happen when people are beaten down. They happen when there has been a slight improvement and people start to realize that they might be able to win.

    Truer words never posted. I’ve been telling people that for years but I forgot where I read it (I had to have read it somewhere cuz I’m not brainiac enough to figure it out on my own). Now to make it happen…


    Progression/populist ideas emerged in both parties around the same time, but Teddy actually got them into the White House, unlike William Jennings Bryan.

    By mere chance, in the person of Leon Czolgosz.

  69. 69
    Paul in KY says:

    @jacy: Best wishes on your new grandchild!

  70. 70
    mandarama says:

    @jacy: Congratulations! From what I can tell, grandma-hood is a terrific gig!

    @Yutsano: Oh, that’s great, too. I remember when she was expecting SamKitten!

    I mostly lurk so it surprises me when I realize how long I’ve been reading here. I was snickering the other day over you yelling “Green balloons!” and thinking, “I don’t think there’s such a thing as safe words in our politics these days.”

  71. 71
    Ellyn says:

    I was about to make a similar comment but I would add public policy for the 50 years created the incredible inequality. And I would also add that those citizens who are subjected to 24/7 media propaganda and who voted for Romney might, some of them, support Obama if they knew the truth. So 51% is lowballing it.

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