Of rags and silks, a costume

I oppose the Citizens United decision and would like to see it reversed. But…if it can’t be, this is a good way for liberals to take advantage of dark money:

In the waning days of Montana’s hotly contested Senate race, a small outfit called Montana Hunters and Anglers, launched by liberal activists, tried something drastic.

It didn’t buy ads supporting the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Jon Tester. Instead, it put up radio and TV commercials that urged voters to choose the third-party candidate, libertarian Dan Cox, describing Cox as the “real conservative” or the “true conservative.”

Where did the group’s money come from? Nobody knows.

Let me explain: the Republican party is fractured in a way that the Democratic party is not. We’ve seen third-party teahadists cannibalize legitimate Republican candidates in Congressional races. Ron Paul functions as an almost third-party force that has no analog within the Democratic party. Many, perhaps most, Republican elected officials live in fear of anti-RINO purges. Simply put, many Republicans are vulnerable to insane third party challenges in a way that Democrats are not. Running ads about the “true conservative in the race”, all funded by untraceable money, is an idea with a lot of potential.

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100 replies
  1. 1
    redshirt says:

    Every candidate needs an AR-15 and 1 million in cash. Plus the script.

  2. 2
    taylormattd says:

    In before “don’t sink to their level”

  3. 3
    efgoldman says:

    @redshirt: Hey! The gun thread is before this one.
    Thanx for the new thread, DougJ.

  4. 4
    efgoldman says:

    @taylormattd:

    In before “don’t sink to their level”

    I wish we’d do more of sinking to their level. Oh, not in the craziness of their ideas, nor their refusal to actually govern. But we could do a lot better in party discipline and message discipline. Imagine the whole Dem party and all the Congresscritters getting out front on, say, “There are no Death Panels,” instead of just the progressive blogosphere, as awesome as we are.

  5. 5
    clayton says:

    I saw this earlier and completely agree with you Doug. You play on the field that you have, not the field you wish you had.

    That said, I am very jealous of your trip to Japan. I have friends there that I would really like to connect with but it will be a while before I can get there.

    Sorry, don’t want to derail the conversation.

    Given how so many districts have been drawn, only the GOP has this threat, not Dems.

  6. 6
    efgoldman says:

    OT, but as I sit here and type, I can hear the town plow truck going up and down the street, plowing in the end of my driveway higher and higher with each sweep. ::sigh::

  7. 7
    mdblanche says:

    @taylormattd: What we need are politicians who actually try to win instead of surrendering in advance, and who also don’t use tactics that strike me as dishonorable and unilaterally disarm themselves instead. Am I making myself clear?

  8. 8
    efgoldman says:

    @clayton:

    Given how so many districts have been drawn, only the GOP has this threat, not Dems.

    If they keep primarying nutty conservatives from the right, nobody will be able to be nominated except Godwin’s best friend.

  9. 9
    rageahol says:

    “these mujahideen guys in afghanistan, maybe we should send them money and weapons and get them some training. they’re fighting the commies, after all.”

  10. 10
    efgoldman says:

    @rageahol:

    “these mujahideen guys in afghanistan, maybe we should send them money and weapons and get them some training. they’re fighting the commies, after all.”

    Hey, that shit from the 80s has got to run out sometime. Or rust out so its unusable.

  11. 11
    Nemo_N says:

    @efgoldman:

    But we could do a lot better in party discipline and message discipline.

    But, but… accepting reality! Nothing we can do! Please, not in the face!

  12. 12
    Raven says:

    Just came from a party at the wonderful home of a Spanish Physicist. Great people, great food, bonfire even though it’s 35 degrees and falling and a zip line for the kids!

  13. 13
    jharp says:

    In Indiana teabagger favorite Richard Mourdock would have defeated Joe Donnelly had the libertarian candidate’s votes gone instead to Mourdock.

  14. 14
    beltane says:

    @efgoldman: Even Godwin’s best friend wouldn’t have been pure enough for our own native species of fascist.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Skipjack says:

    I think you mean lots of potential to be used against us. Just because the Republicans are fractured right at this moment doesn’t mean that’s the natural state of things. Their identity is extremely uniform which is why it is so easy for them to play those politics. Now I wouldn’t’t say don’t use tactical advantages, but everyone should remember this is the real reason Citizens United is so bad for us: it takes so much more work to present our thoughtful positions but no time at all to lie unaccountably about them. Throw in some Real Americanism and I fear folks will just know who to believe.

  17. 17
    efgoldman says:

    @beltane:

    Even Godwin’s best friend wouldn’t have been pure enough for our own native species of fascist.

    I’m lucky I have enough self-discipline that I haven’t broken every TV in the house. There’s no hope for the local media, not in a small market like Providence, but the networks. Gaahhhh! Not one fucking mention of the GOBP obstruction, or Orange Julius’ inability to control his caucus, or the general insanity of the TeaHadis. None. Its going to give me another stroke!

  18. 18
    efgoldman says:

    @Skipjack:

    … it takes so much more work to present our thoughtful positions but no time at all to lie…

    Doesn’t have to. Not every fucking thing has to be a White Paper. It takes no time at all to say “they want to lower taxes for rich people and raise yours” or “they want to voucherize social security” or “they won’t vote on the farm bill, so milk prices are gonna’ double.”
    Truths all. Not even trimming a little.

  19. 19
    Haydnseek says:

    @mdblanche: Not very, but I think I get your point.

  20. 20
    mb says:

    holy fucknuts, batman, liberals with moxie! soon pigs will fly.

  21. 21
    WaterGirl says:

    @efgoldman: I hate when that happens.

  22. 22
    JasonF says:

    I mentioned in an earlier open thread that the last few years have turned the political aphorism on its head — today, it’s the Republicans who fall in love, and the Democrats fall in line. This is a great way to take advantage of that. Flash a sexy third party candidate in front of a Republican voter and he’ll run to her, enamored of her unwillingness to compromise on taxes and abortion. In the morning, after the election, that Republican voter may slink back to his wife, but by then, the damage will be done.

  23. 23
    dslak says:

    A few cycles of pulling this off successfully, and we should see a fair number of GOPers pushing to overturn Citizens United, as well.

    Some people will only learn the hard way.

  24. 24
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I don’t think it’s a moral conflict to try and change the rules, but at the same time, play by the rules you have now. From what I’ve seen of right-wingers, they expect us to be willing doormats (the whole ‘can’t even take his own side in an argument’ thing) and are surprised and somewhat flustered when we aren’t.

  25. 25
    clayton says:

    @JasonF:
    This.

  26. 26
    jheartney says:

    WRT backing a stalking horse candidate meant to split your opponent’s support, it’s hardly a new tactic. I remember talk of Ralph Nader getting right wing support back when he used to run for president every time, particularly in Florida in 2000. And doing this sort of thing in local races has a long history.

    What is new is backing that candidate with dark money (thanks, SCOTUS!) But given that our side doesn’t have anywhere near as many eccentric billionaires as theirs does, there’s probably limited scope for using this sort of funding to support progressive candidates.

    Turning the wingnut base’s insanity against itself does have some potential. Claire McCaskill used it very skillfully this cycle with ads that built up Todd Akin as the “true conservative,” which turned out very well when he stupidly imploded his own candidacy.

  27. 27
    Ron says:

    Claire McCaskill sort of did this. she used her campaign funds to support Akin in the GOP primary.

  28. 28
    maven says:

    I think this country is on its way out. I’m Rich; so who cares.

  29. 29
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Ron: Yes, I was thinking of the same thing. A canny move.

  30. 30
    Platypus says:

    These kinds of tricks are pretty common, especially in the form of the GOP trying to siphon votes away from a Democrat by supporting Greens.

    http://www.amazon.com/Gaming-V.....B002SB8OMA
    http://www.gp.org/press/pr_08_10_01.html
    http://www.democracynow.org/20.....s_take_gop
    http://www.syracuse.com/news/i.....flows.html
    http://www.factcheck.org/radio.....pport.html

    The excellent book Gaming The Vote (http://www.amazon.com/Gaming-V.....B002SB8OMA) describes this and other shenanigans, such as one partly openly trying to influence the other’s primary. Then there are the candidates who have been surprised to find themselves the beneficiaries of phone campaigns targeted at some demographic within their own party, underwritten by the other party to split the vote. Sadly, in a few cases it was even the Democrats doing it.

  31. 31
    redshirt says:

    @maven: I have a castle with walls and bridges and guard posts. Bring it.

  32. 32
    efgoldman says:

    @redshirt:

    I have a castle with walls and bridges and guard posts. Bring it.

    Yeah, but who’s gonna’ shovel it out?
    How’s your light fluffy beautiful snow doing? Between 6:30 and 11:00 our forecast went up to “ten inches or more.” Pah.

  33. 33
    General Stuck says:

    I’ve said it before. The day Hank Paulson went to congress begging for cash to bail out the banksters, he was really asking tax payers to clean up after the republicans made a mess of things with their dog eat dog philosophy. They cannot go through that, over it, or around it. That nugget of reality remains stuck in the nations neural net and craw, except with the most fanatical right winger.

    The conservative movement, as it was, died that day, and continues to twitch like fresh road kill, and until they honestly deal with that failure in ideology to run a country, they will keep losing. It really was amazing, especially for a country with the attention span of tree frogs, that every poll the past 4 years or so, a solid majority of people continued to blame Bush and the republicans for our floundering economy.

    There are a lot of other reasons for the sad state of the GOP, and you are right DougJ, that dems don’t have near the disparate factions as the GOP has. Usually, a couple of terms out of power, would suffice for them to put down their internal strife to win a potus election, simply from the need to get power back.

    I don’t think that will work for them this time, unless they come up with a very charismatic candidate, such as a Reagan. They are going to have to throw out the old manuscript and create a new conservative philosophy that is something other than a gold rush mentality of anything goes, mostly to aid the already rich.

    Not only with economics, but socially, and in every other way that lines up with the interests and daily lives of most voters out there. They don’t have to become liberal, just plausible for dealing with people problems in a realistic way.

    And nobody on the planet has figured out how they do this with the tea tard yoke around their necks. The 27 percent that keeps giving democrats the wind at our political backs.

  34. 34
    redshirt says:

    @efgoldman: Elves. I hired some out from Keebler, who’s been letting them go for months now. Elf unemployment is at an annual high.

  35. 35
    PurpleGirl says:

    @efgoldman: NYC was supposed to get some snow today. Thankfully we did not. It was bad enough that Friday’s rain was as bad as it was and flooded some areas again.

  36. 36
    efgoldman says:

    @Platypus:

    Sadly, in a few cases it was even the Democrats doing it.

    Sadly? SADLY??! The hell with that. If the TeaHadis are stupid enough to nominate a Neanderthal like Akin for a statewide election, fuckem. Do everything possible to encourage it. The GOBP could and should have taken the Senate in each of the last two cycles. It was the TeaHadis’ suicidal nomination process that prevented it.

    ETA: Its that attitude that has allowed the GOBP to run things as a minority.

  37. 37
    mdblanche says:

    @Haydnseek: Great. Could you tell me what it is because I forgot.

    @efgoldman: Well it’s about time something like that finally happened around here. I was beginning to think winter was going to be cancelled.

  38. 38

    @efgoldman:
    I think the two are inextricably linked. GOP pols do not think for themselves and do not have intelligently considered positions. They spout the shibboleths their constituents demand, and hope that at least some of those can be planted deliberately by more devious minds. In that situation, message unity is easy. When politicians are doing their damn job by thinking, it becomes almost impossible to rope them all in to saying the same thing. When their constituents are also thinking and thus have a hundred opinions merely on the same general side as each other, they won’t even see much point.

  39. 39
    efgoldman says:

    @mdblanche:

    Well it’s about time something like that finally happened around here. I was beginning to think winter was going to be cancelled.

    I wanted it to get cold, because the December swarms of moths and flies (in Rhode Island!) did not bode well for the spring and summer. I could have done without almost a foot of heavy, wet, thick snow however.

  40. 40
    efgoldman says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    When politicians are doing their damn job by thinking, it becomes almost impossible to rope them all in to saying the same thing.

    See me @ 18 above. I repeat: everything doesn’t have to be a fucking white paper. @efgoldman:

  41. 41

    @efgoldman:
    I did see that. Doesn’t help. Nobody can hand them all their lines because they’re making up their own minds and many won’t even agree that what you think is simple IS simple. They don’t WANT to report to Luntz for the latest sound bites.

  42. 42
    Debbie(Aussie) says:

    Raven, beautiful puppies!
    Pardon my ignorance, what does GOBP stand for? (thought I was up on most acronyms) Thanks in advance.

  43. 43
    Haydnseek says:

    @mdblanche: Be glad to. You want what everyone wants. Politicians that walk your particular tightrope. Not too hot, not too cold, but just right! Trouble is, just right means different things to different people.

  44. 44
    efgoldman says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Doesn’t help. Nobody can hand them all their lines because they’re making up their own minds and many won’t even agree that what you think is simple IS simple.

    Then they deserve what happens, and FSM help us all.
    We’re supposed to be the pointy-headed intellectual party, the people that believe in, you know, empirical observation? So observe the TeaHadi GOBP. You don’t have to lie, not at all, in order to repeat simple statements over and over and over…

  45. 45
    efgoldman says:

    @Debbie(Aussie):

    Pardon my ignorance, what does GOBP stand for?

    From the terrible oil spill in the Gulf a couple of years ago. Many Republicans, led by the idiot Gohmert from TX, actually apologized to, and for, BP. Thus: GOBP.
    Tell you the truth, I think I’m the only one left in Blogistan who still uses it.

  46. 46
    Mike E says:

    I agree that Citizens United is blowing back on national candidates. Unfortunately, local politics is where it’s at when it comes to unfettered cash, and state legislatures are being whole hog Republican bought.

    The tide maybe turning against these big ‘R’ Republicans, but homegrown politics is as rancid as ever. I fear that the 30 year war has had the intended effect as laid out by its GOP architects, and they salted the fields completely.

  47. 47

    @efgoldman:
    But to have everyone repeat the same simple statements over and over they must all be willing to give up their own right to decide everything. It’s a sign of epistemic closure reaching the level of pathology. Like a lot of things the GOP does, it briefly seemed like an advantage, but as it goes on it more and more helps suck them under.

  48. 48
    mdblanche says:

    @General Stuck: I still think it was that day the seeds for the Tea Party were sown, or the fratricidal part of it anyway. Paulson was admitting the whole thing was a con as it was blowing up. Rather than admit they were wrong, the rubes doubled down and decided hey were betrayed. Enough honest and sane people were primaried to encourage the others with additional encouragement being provided as needed and they’ve been replaced with people who’ll never make that mistake again. Next time they make a mess that needs to be cleaned up, they’ll just vote to let it kill us all instead.

    @efgoldman: After just doing a six month research project in three because my research organisms were heat stressed during their normal peak breeding season, I’m not feeling very picky.

  49. 49
    efgoldman says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    It’s a sign of epistemic closure reaching the level of pathology.

    No, use of a tactic is not a sign of anything except good or bad tactical thinking and leadership. Epistemic closure happens in a closed circle of thought and belief, i.e. Obama the Kenyan usurper, or that the polls all had a liberal bias, or the Supreme Being that doesn’t exist loves him some Republicans…

  50. 50
    Mike E says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: This reminds me of that NextGen episode where Picard had to learn to talk in metaphors to get through to an alien warrior that at first sounded unintelligible. GOP shorthand strikes me as this.

  51. 51
    Anne Laurie says:

    @efgoldman: I always figured it stood for ‘Greedy Old Basturd Party”. Seemed appropriate to me!

  52. 52

    @efgoldman:
    But the tactic cannot be employed without the epistemic closure. It relies upon a herd who WANT to all move in one direction and don’t give a fuck about the truth. If you don’t have that foundation, you don’t have anybody handing out talking points or anybody who wants to hear what the new talking points are that they should repeat.

  53. 53
    Yutsano says:

    @Mike E: Shaka, when the walls fell.

  54. 54
    General Stuck says:

    @mdblanche:

    I think you are right.

  55. 55
    Kane says:

    As I wrote at TPM, in the era of Republican purity and conservative pissing contests, it behooves those on the left to take advantage of the situation.

    The right-wing will never be able to keep up with their litmus tests. The crazy will always be crazier on the other side of the fence.

  56. 56
    karen marie says:

    @efgoldman: My head just about explodes every time I walk through the living room where the resident 90-year-old watches TV all day with the volume set to eleventy!!11! He watches CNN instead of Fox, which is something but not a lot. The “personalities” are working hard against sanity, breathlessly asking if the president doesn’t accept the latest Republican position and “we go off the cliff,” will the public decide it’s his fault even though it’s understood that right now the public agrees Republicans are the problem.

    The whole point of TV is to make money. How do you make money from TV? Ad revenue, which is based on how many people you can get to watch your stuff. Not having had a TV since 2008 and no cable since 2004, now that I’m living in a house where there’s a TV on most of the time from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, it’s scary to realize that the majority of our citizenry is exposed to that much toxicity in the form of straight-up lying, ignorance and charlatanism. There is little in real life that is reflected by TV.

    To our Canadian, and other international friends: is TV as overwrought there as it is here?

  57. 57
    efgoldman says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    But the tactic cannot be employed without the epistemic closure. It relies upon a herd who WANT to all move in one direction and don’t give a fuck about the truth.

    So, all the liberals in Congress who preferred health care options from Medicare for all, to a public option, to replicating the Federal employee programs, had no agency because they voted for the final package? That’s ridiculous. Politics ain’t beanbag, as the saying goes. And a big part of politics, maybe the biggest part (obviously) is persuasion: persuading your fellow politicians, persuading the press, and ultimately persuading the voters. The tactics you may use to persuade are sometimes high-minded, and often not so much.
    I write business letters for a living; I once, in another life, wrote catalog and advertising copy, including radio spots. The top three rules are: simplify, simplify, simplify. Its got nothing to do with independent thought or epistemic anything.

  58. 58

    @efgoldman:
    Yes, and how good were you at getting other companies who had no financial ties to you to use slogans you thought would be good for them? Individual liberal politicians may come out with simple messages, but you will not get message UNITY unless they all give up their right to decide on their own message. The only politicians who will be willing to do that are not interested in making up their own minds anyway. The GOP can have a central office mail all of their politicians and pet mouthpieces a good line, because they don’t care about anything BUT all sounding the same. The tactic is useful, but it is caused by a disease and makes the disease worse over time.

  59. 59
    efgoldman says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: We’ll agree to disagree. I think everyone else (except maybe Yutsano) has gone to bed. I’m gonna’ do the same.

  60. 60
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Another idea is to pump money into Tea Party primary challengers in swing districts, which will cause sure eventual nominees for the Republican candidacy to waste money early.

  61. 61

    @efgoldman:
    I’m cool with that. I’ll be turning in here in a few myself. That it’s possible to discuss these issues without being worst enemies is one of the reasons I come here.

  62. 62
    Gex says:

    @Anne Laurie: I thought it was Good Ol’ Boys Party.

  63. 63
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @karen marie:

    My head just about explodes every time I walk through the living room where the resident 90-year-old watches TV all day with the volume set to eleventy!!11!

    Wii Sports -> Golf

  64. 64
    karen marie says:

    @General Stuck:

    Not only with economics, but socially, and in every other way that lines up with the interests and daily lives of most voters out there. They don’t have to become liberal, just plausible for dealing with people problems in a realistic way.

    Reality, as the kids say, has a liberal bias.

    Also, too, something else on the TV subject, the default normal is that of course Republicans are going to do whatever their base says, the base being, of course, “real Americans,” but that the Democrats have to show independence of their base, who of course are not “real Americans.” Just one more way in which the media helps keep the corpse of the GOP alive in order to maintain a predictable narrative and a solid revenue stream.

  65. 65
    PeakVT says:

    @Gex: Or Grand Ole Bigot Party.

  66. 66
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    @efgoldman: I thought it was “Good Old Boy Party.”

  67. 67
    Punchy says:

    This threat of being primaried wil be the death of the GOP, as there is no asymptotic limit to the crazy (like there is for rationality and reason). Every crazy House GOPer will be scared of someone nuttier, and act accordingly. At some point Id think peeps will care and vote them out; however, its very possible all this does is fill the House will batshit insane old white men.

  68. 68
    piratedan says:

    well maybe next year, Santa will bring us a media that will actually report facts as they are instead of corporate or GOP talking points on a daily basis. Then perhaps, we can turn this bloody tide and do some things that make what I would take as common sense. Maybe I am asking for too much, but jaysus I feel like Ben fucking Bradlee from All the President’s Men waiting for someone, anyone in the mainstream media to actually just say out loud and plain and simply… these are the fuckers that did this too us as a country, here’s how their policies failed us as a nation, who benefited from said policies and guess what, they propose more of the same old shit and somehow that fucking shoe never seems to drop. When they’re in charge, if you disagree with them then you’re unamerican or hate freedom, when they’re in the minority they’re projecting each and every bullshit conspiracy theory and taking their ball and going home. They are the party that says Government is the problem and then do every damn thing in their power to make it so.

  69. 69
    Unsympathetic says:

    @Platypus:

    Wrong, wrong, one thousand times wrong.

    Democrats need to adopt the philosophy of “F the F’ing F’ers.” Yes, Dems can land some blows, and have in the last couple of years started to give the Republicans a taste of their own medicine, but frankly I want Dems to be just as vitriolic and hyperbolic as Republicans. Yes, Democrats need to lay out their own plans – but they also need to put out attack ads just as aggressive as anything from the R camp.

  70. 70
    Kane says:

    It would be one thing if gerrymandering was causing the red districts to be more purely Republican, but instead it is causing these districts to be more extremist, ensuring that the country is further divided with more gridlock and less chance for compromise.

  71. 71
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Gex: Me too.

    @Punchy:

    At some point Id think peeps will care and vote them out; however, its very possible all this does is fill the House will batshit insane old white men.

    I am not yet old and I seem to have all of my faculties about me. But with a constricting economy and fewer prospects I think you are charting a course…

  72. 72
    David Koch says:

    the Republican party is fractured in a way that the Democratic party is not.

    How can you say that when liberal opposition from heavyweights like Freddie deBoer kept Obama from winning all those swing states?

  73. 73
  74. 74
    Jewish Steel says:

    @David Koch: So principled. So noble. He was too good for this blog!

    sobs

  75. 75
    David Koch says:

    @taylormattd:

    In before “don’t sink to their level”

    Oh Gawd. I remember when Kos told people to ratfuck Mittens by voting for Sen Man on Dog in the Michigan primary and every one on GOS lost their shit.

  76. 76
    David Koch says:

    Anyone see Heart perform “Stairway to Heaven” at this week’s Kennedy Center Honors? It was incredible.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK_DOJa99oo

  77. 77
    Hill Dweller says:

    The MSM is worthless. I didn’t think they could sink any lower than their pathetic behavior during the last couple of months of the campaign, but the last week has been infuriating.

    Listening to the Village, you’d never know the Republican party, especially the House, is crazy, and their Speaker is weak and inept.

  78. 78
    Debbie(Aussie) says:

    @karen marie: we get CNN & Fuax on cable as well as our own version of Sky News, which can be as bad. No longer have access. Our SBS(govt financed multi-cultural) is quite good.

  79. 79
    electricgrendel says:

    It’s also the surest way for Citizens United to be overturned. Once it becomes disadvantageous for Republicans, I am sure that the strict constructionists will find a way to nullify it.

    Or some pious conservative asshat in Washington will intone the magic words “both sides are doing it” and gain support from a Village grown tired of watching the “grown ups” get hoisted on their own petard.

  80. 80
    Geoduck says:

    @karen marie:

    My head just about explodes every time I walk through the living room where the resident 90-year-old watches TV all day with the volume set to eleventy!!11!

    Won’t help with the content, but they make headphones these days you can wear that broadcast the sound from the TV, even when the main sound is muted. If the 90YO is willing to wear them, might help you at least. Google “TV Ears” for an example.

  81. 81
    Alison says:

    @Geoduck: Sounds like a good investment. Oof, I don’t know how people deal with situations like that. My parents and I aren’t *exactly* alike politically but at least they’re democrats and generally liberal. Makes it a looooooot easier. Course if they weren’t, I probably wouldn’t have moved back in no matter what, lol…

  82. 82
    jayackroyd says:

    In immediate tactical terms this makes sense, but in the strategic framework it’s a little problematic. The problem we have right now is that the Republicans in power, in their fragile, gerrymandered seats refuse to govern, because governing is seen as cooperating with Democrats, especially the Evil Obama. By threatening them with third party conservatives, you’ll make them even more unwilling to govern–to do more crazy bad things to certify themselves as not RINOs. This makes them less electable, even in their fragile, gerrymandered seats, but makes them worse congresscritters–at a bad time in our country’s history, with the oligarchs sweeping up everything they can. Stasis serves them.

  83. 83
    jayackroyd says:

    @electricgrendel: This is a good point. Thanks!

  84. 84
    Joel says:

    @Skipjack: I agree with this take. Never mind that Citizens United Not Timid is a morally unsound decision, as well.

  85. 85
    jayackroyd says:

    @Unsympathetic: Good policy is popular policy. Putting social insurance on the table is obviously bad policy, and obviously bad politics. “Private-public partnership” is bad policy, and will turn out to be bad politics. But those are the hallmarks of the New Democrats.

    The liberal response to the Lesser Depression would have been the reenactment of banking laws, jailing those who committed fraud and serious stimulus. Like, for instance, pulling fiber to every post office, fixing every bridge that’s designated for repair, creating the smart grid Obama promised in 2008, and giving everyone an account at the Fed and an ATM in every post office.

    There is plenty of good policy; there’s a shortage of actors committed to good policy. And, as I said, good policy is good politics. Good policy elected FDR 4 times.

  86. 86
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    My wife and I were discussing this very thing. I live in one of many places run by teatards, why not switch parties (I’ve actually been a “decline to state” party member for quite some time now) and ride ’em to an electoral victory and then shank them?

    I really see no downside, and as to the pearl clutchers whining about the morality of this: are you serious? Justify your position and show your work. I think you’re out of your fucking minds.

  87. 87
    Chris says:

    @Skipjack:

    Just because the Republicans are fractured right at this moment doesn’t mean that’s the natural state of things. Their identity is extremely uniform which is why it is so easy for them to play those politics

    Split them along an actual fault line – immigration, IMO, being the best candidate, because as much as their base really hates it, their elites really want it.

  88. 88
    Chris says:

    @JasonF:

    I don’t know. They did all rally around Romney ultimately, despite agreeing that he was the most RINO-ish of the bunch.

  89. 89
    Fred says:

    @unsympathetic #69
    Yes Yes Yes
    Recall how Biden flipped the tables by laughing at Ryan. He did it so inartfully that I was convinced he blew it but in the end the message stuck because Ryan is such a crackpot in reasonable disguise.
    Then jump to Obama calling out Romney for his lies. Trying to be Mr. Niceguy in the first debate nearly cost him the election.
    Call ’em out and make ’em explain ’til they cry. They lie because the truth is their enemy.

  90. 90
    Platypus says:

    @efgoldman @Unsympathetic I suppose one’s attitude on that depends on whether you believe the Democrats can win without such skullduggery. I think that would be a preferable outcome *if it’s possible*, for both moral and practical reasons. If it’s not possible then yeah, F ’em. What I think is regrettable is that we resorted to those tactics and *still failed* to gain control of the House, which puts us at moral equality and practical disadvantage. If we’re going to fight dirty, might as well win. ;)

  91. 91
    BruinKid says:

    I’m starting to think now the only way the Supreme Court will revisit Citizens United with the current makeup of the court as it is, is if some wealthy liberals decide to form a super PAC and blanket the airwaves with ads basically calling the conservative justices pig fuckers.

    “Did you know Antonin Scalia likes to sneak onto farms at night and anally violate the hogs?”

    Or hell, just run ads about Clarence Thomas’s pubic hair somehow ending up on that Coke can in the whole Anita Hill fiasco. Make EVERY American know just what a perv he is. I’m talking ads during primetime, during the singing and dancing competition shows, and during “Honey Boo Boo”. Reach out to EVERY American.

    I think, after a couple weeks of that kind of saturation, the Supreme Court may suddenly find itself having a change of heart on dark money in politics.

  92. 92
    mir13 says:

    They hate anyone who is not white rich and male. Even those among them who are not themselves white, rich, and male (self-loathing – how does that work?). Bama-lam has used this to perfection, driving them off reasonable positions, and sensible solutions, to the point where the GOP can only party like it’s 1860. And how did appealing only to slave owners and racists work out that time?

  93. 93
    Platypus says:

    Expanding a bit on my previous comment…

    First, there are voters (and donors, and potential allies) who do care about how the game is played. Adopting Rove’s dirty tricks plays right into the “no difference” narrative that keeps so many on the sidelines – right where the GOP wants them, because people who believe in real moral values like fair play are disproportionately not Republican. Second, as soon as we sink to the Republicans’ level, they’ll sink some more. They will always win a race to the bottom, leaving us with no change in outcome unless the degradation and resulting disinterest hurts us even more.

    One of the lessons of the past presidential election should be that getting out your own vote can matter more than splitting an opponent’s. Let’s make the distribution of the GOP vote irrelevant, instead of trying to slice and dice it to our advantage. Let’s not focus so much on winning battles that we lose the war . . . again.

  94. 94
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Geoduck: dont even need ‘phones… it broadcasts a signal to a minispeaker you set up next to granpa’s recliner

    i think theydo some stuff w filters to make voices clearer. block hi and lo to create a mid pass, instead of lo-passing to “enhance” the bass, what all teh young cool cats go for in marketroidland

  95. 95
    Woodrowfan says:

    @mir13:

    They hate anyone who is not white, rich, rightwing, native-born American, Christian (preferably Protestant) and male. FTFY.

  96. 96
    Woodrowfan says:

    Adopting Rove’s dirty tricks plays right into the “no difference” narrative that keeps so many on the sidelines

    except thay’ll claim that anyways! No matter what the Dems do, the MSM and the “independents” will stick to the “they both do it” claim

  97. 97
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Platypus:

    Adopting Rove’s dirty tricks

    wins elections for Democrats.

  98. 98
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Skipjack:

    Just because the Republicans are fractured right at this moment doesn’t mean that’s the natural state of things. Their identity is extremely uniform which is why it is so easy for them to play those politics.

    And to our eternal benefit, this has helped to create a Democratic Party with similarly uniform ideas. Its politicians, though, have yet to catch up and are digging themselves in as deep as they can so they can pass anti-worker trade deals while arguing, “you shoulda seen the other guy!”

    Seriously, Democrats will know they have their party back when half of it doesn’t regularly peel off for the one bipartisan consensus in Washington: that we must ship American jobs overseas.

  99. 99
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Finally, my suggestion would be for Democrats to enter uncontested primaries in lower-level offices and run as “liberal Republican” challengers, urging people to re-register as R. There’s really no downside to this if someone has the free time.

  100. 100
    Platypus says:

    @AA+Bonds So how well did that work out in the House? Or in state-level races? As I said: win some battles, lose the war.

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