Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid…

Dave Weigel, in Democracy:

The conservative base of the Republican Party takes no responsibility for the party’s 2012 defeat. It takes no responsibility for the 2008 loss, either. In its telling, the base was too slow to pick its champion. Its vote was split, coalescing too late behind one candidate—Huckabee in 2008, Santorum in 2012. So the Republican establishment force-fed it two “electable” candidates named John McCain and Mitt Romney. This is the ur-myth of the modern GOP; it will scare the base into organizing more adeptly than it’s ever done before. Since the rise of party primaries and binding caucuses, only twice—1964 and 1980—has the conservative base overcome the party “establishment.” Ronald Reagan was a two-time loser (he ran briefly in 1968 in addition to 1976) before he won; and when Barry Goldwater triumphed, only 16 states held true primaries. There’s no precedent for a true conservative insurgent taking the nomination in the modern age of drawn-out, expensive ballot contests.

But there are cracks in the dam. Mitt Romney, a runner-up in the 2008 contest, faced an incredibly weak 2012 field. That didn’t stop him from becoming the first Republican to lose the South Carolina primary on the way to nomination, losing “conservative” voters—two-thirds of that state’s electorate—by 21 points. It didn’t stop him from having to fight a month-long mop-up operation against Santorum, who won more states than Romney in the South and nearly won in the Midwest, where he was outspent nearly 5-to-1, even before PAC money was counted. The weakest insurgent candidate in memory actually won 11 state contests, four more than John McCain won in his still-celebrated 2000 run against George W. Bush…

Theda Skocpol, in the Atlantic, “Why the Tea Party Isn’t Going Anywhere”:

The Tea Party was supposed to be dead and the GOP on the way to moderate repositioning after Obama’s victory and Democratic congressional gains in November 2012. Yet less than a year after post-election GOP soul-searching supposedly occurred, radical forces pulled almost all GOP House and Senate members into at least going along with more than two weeks of extortion tactics to try to force President Obama and Senate Democrats to gut the Affordable Care Act and grant a long laundry list of other GOP priorities suspiciously similar to the platform on which the party had run and lost in 2012. The Tea Party’s hold on the GOP persists beyond each burial ceremony…

Here is the key point: Even though there is no one center of Tea Party authority—indeed, in some ways because there is no one organized center—the entire gaggle of grassroots and elite organizations amounts to a pincer operation that wields money and primary votes to exert powerful pressure on Republican officeholders and candidates. Tea Party influence does not depend on general popularity at all…

Americans may resent the Tea Party, but they are also losing ever more faith in the federal government—a big win for anti-government saboteurs. Popularity and “responsible governance” are not the goals of Tea Party forces, and such standards should not be used to judge the accomplishments of those who aim to undercut, block, and delay—even as Tea Party funders remain hopeful about holding their own or making further gains in another low-turnout midterm election in November 2014….

187 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Americans may resent the Tea Party, but they are also losing ever more faith in the federal government—a big win for anti-government saboteurs

    I don’t see how that’s a win unless Americans desire a federal government they can’t have faith in.

  2. 2
    Joey Giraud says:

    More time in bed before the fever breaks.

  3. 3
    Davis X. Machina says:

    …even as Tea Party funders remain hopeful about holding their own or making further gains in another low-turnout midterm election in November 2014….

    I expect the Senate to flip. It’s 55-45 now. SD and WV are gone-baby-gone. That’s down to 53-47. Some combination of AK, AR, LA, NC, and MT, and that’s the ballgame. You can’t count on the recent history of the GOP losing winnable races due to brain-trauma nominees, either.

    I assume Joe “Nighthorse” Manchin, the Coal Troll, has his “My Party left me!” speech all written, if it’s 50-50.

  4. 4
    dp says:

    Unfortunately, we are going to have to keep dealing with these nuts for a long time.

  5. 5
    El Caganer says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Republicans took the Senate and held the House, particularly if the economy starts to go into the tank again. Not so much because the voters will blame the Democrats; more because they’ll be too demoralized to bother voting for anybody. And in that sort of election, the motivated lunatics can run wild.

  6. 6
    cmorenc says:

    BUMPER STICKER I saw today on a pickup truck immediately ahead of me at a stoplight:
    [quote] Obama: why stupid people shouldn’t vote [/quote]
    and the bumper sticker on such a huge honkin’ SUV in front of me at another light, so huge it probably needs its own dedicated oil refinery (the key to the bumper sticker is in the stylized design of the words): “Right/Wrong” with the R stylized to look like an elephant’s head, and the “W” inscribed within the Obama Campaign’s stylized ‘O’ symbol.

    These are not exactly the sign of open-minded people, even among their own kind.

  7. 7

    “The Tea Party was supposed to be dead and the GOP on the way to moderate repositioning after Obama’s victory and Democratic congressional gains in November 2012.”

    Umm, according to who? No one without an agenda to sell thought that was the end of the Tea Party.

  8. 8
    shelly says:

    Remember in the ‘Christmas Carol”, the scene where the Ghost of Christmas Present reveals the two demon children hidden under his robe….”The boy is Ignorance, the girl is Want. Beware them both, but especially fear the boy…”
    That boy should be the logo for the Tea Party

  9. 9
    gene108 says:

    @El Caganer:

    You basically summarized the 2010 elections. The right-wingers were energized. The left-wingers were demoralized because of a sucky economy.

    If Democratic* voters cannot be energized to vote in 2014, after what they’ve seen Republicans do at the national, state and local levels, we deserve what we get.

    *I don’t just mean registered Democrats, but anyone who looks at North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, etc. and says thank fucking god that isn’t my state and/or oh shit, I live there, when do I get a chance to vote these bums out, who doesn’t turn up to vote.

  10. 10
    cmorenc says:

    @El Caganer:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Republicans took the Senate and held the House, particularly if the economy starts to go into the tank again. Not so much because the voters will blame the Democrats; more because they’ll be too demoralized to bother voting for anybody. And in that sort of election, the motivated lunatics can run wild.

    …with 2010 being a shining example of this sort of election. The wingers were highly motivated to turn out, too much of the rest of the electorate not so much. Which proves: you either turn out to vote yourself, or you give your proxy to those who do bother to do so. Don’t whine about how terrible our elected officials and governments are if you can’t be bothered to turn out to vote yourself – cause you DID help elect them by not showing up.

  11. 11
    KG says:

    @Baud: it’s a win for government sabatours because they figure people will either:

    1. Decide that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference and not vote (skewing turnout in the TP favor because they always vote)
    2. Decide to vote for Republicans/TPers because there’s a Democrat in the White House and everything us always the president’s fault (because shut up, that’s why)
    3. Some combination of both

  12. 12
    Baud says:


    we deserve what we get.

    We deserved the results of 2010. No excuse for that, especially so soon after the Bush years.

  13. 13
    Baud says:


    Maybe. I don’t know if there is any evidence of that, but I guess we’ll find out.

  14. 14
    KG says:

    I think there’s going to be a moment, not Peak Wingnut, but maybe the Wingularity, where a Tea Party candidate says something so shocking on national television, that it’s going to sink them all. My guess would be dropping the N-bomb or the C-bomb when discussion Obama or Pelosi. But I could see (and actually this might be more likely) sort of a Dukakis antithesis where they answer a question that makes voters everywhere wonder if they are human

  15. 15
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @cmorenc: What if you turn out and the results suck anyway? I’ve voted in every state and national election for the last four decades, and I’ve always lived in blue to very-blue states, but I feel for the intelligent, motivated people in, say, NC or WI who turned out and voted and got fucked anyway.

  16. 16
    KG says:

    @Baud: if your goal is to destroy an institution, in this case the government, then one thing you have to do is convince the general public that the institution is incapable of doing what it says it can (or should) do. If people lose faith in the institution, then it’s easier to bring the institution down

  17. 17
    Tommy says:

    My mom is 67. Nothing close to a liberal. Heck never voted she will tell you for a Democract. But last two elections voted for Obama. She just felt the crazy on the Republican side was too much. I kind of love her for this ….

  18. 18
    Cassidy says:

    @KG: if you think something like that would sink them, I want what you’re on. Half the damn country will cheer them on.

  19. 19
    Baud says:


    Sure, but “can’t” is different from “won’t.” I think most people want government to be effective. Where they go of the rails is on the significance of “bipartisanship.”

  20. 20
    NotMax says:

    It’s like the Curies and radium – the more they purify, the less there is to work with, and the end result is dangerously radioactive.

  21. 21
    Tommy says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    What if you turn out and the results suck anyway? I’ve voted in every state and national election for the last four decades,

    I live in a very blue state, but a red district. Nobody I vote for ever gets elected. Doesn’t stop me from voting. I vote every election. I mean as little as it is. I vote. Proud of this.

  22. 22
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    In other words, yet another case of Republicans winning even when the lose again, because they’ve fucking poisoned the well so perfectly that the entire country either swings toward apathy or hard right because they can’t suffer a hippie to live. Or in this case, suffer the gov’t to actually try and fucking operate because “OMG Holy shit they can’t do anything fucking right and they thefted my health care completely away from me”. The usual fucking idea that anything from the left must be analyzed with the highest fucking scrutiny ever, but anything on the right is gospel until proven completely wrong to the smallest bit. And nowhere do you see it best than with the fucking crazy around gov’t thanks again to the constant poisoning of the well.

    Fuck it…I’ll vote, but I’m not convinced anymore than my vote will help, nor anything I say, especially when it feels like everything else around me is on the hardest right swing in fucking ever.

  23. 23
    El Caganer says:

    If the Republicans do grab both the Senate and the House, I think their 2016 nominee is going to be one of the nuts. People have been telling me for the last year that I’m full of it when I say that Santorum will be the candidate. Yes, he got shelled here in PA when he ran for re-election to the Senate, but if the Tea Partiers have taken over the party they’re not going to settle for Chubs or one of the other pols they see as too moderate.

  24. 24
    Baud says:

    @El Caganer:

    I’ve said previously that a GOP win in 2014 hurts Chris Christie in 2016.

  25. 25
    aimai says:

    @Baud: Its a win for the saboteurs and the nullifiers on the right wing. Thats what she is saying.

  26. 26
    Anoniminous says:

    Tea Party isn’t going away until they die. It was a re-brand of the Bush era Evangelical-Fundie Conservatives who were – traipsing back a couple of decades – George Wallace voters.

    They are also a huge chunk of the local GOP activists and GOP primary voters.

    The only thing “saving” the GOP is the Tea Party are incompetent idiots. For example, Santorum wasn’t on the primary ballot in Virginia in 2012. If he was he’d would have won there, as well.

    Thinking the GOP is going to moderate is a fantasy, an intellectual delusion, a mis-reading of Reality.

  27. 27
    negative 1 says:

    No one has figured a way around mid-term apathy yet. Plenty of smart, well paid people have tried. I will say this — running away from the ACA will hurt everyone in the short and long term.
    The bright spot is that if the dems do somehow pull this out then I believe you will start to see some real changes in the GOP.

  28. 28
    Mike in NC says:

    @Anton Sirius:

    No one without an agenda to sell thought that was the end of the Tea Party.

    Kathleen Parker and a handful of other so-called Establishment Republicans were pushing the narrative that the extremists didn’t represent the base. Right.

  29. 29
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:


    In other words: Peak Wingnut is a myth, because their crazy is self-sustaining and self-fulfilling.

    And unfortunately, it’s also impenetrable and seemingly seductive in a way reality never will be.

  30. 30
    Baud says:


    I don’t buy it. It’s always CW in the media and on the left that the Republicans are always winning, but what I see are the types of things you see in a major political fight.

  31. 31
    Tommy says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: LOL. I live not that far from where Todd Akin ran. Even the Republicans I know, and I know a lot of them, thought he was crazy.

  32. 32
    AdamK says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’ve lived in the same district all my 60 years, voted faithfully in every election, and never been “represented” by anybody but an (Air-Force-base-beholden) Republican. My area is 2/3 Democratic, but gerrymandered all to hell.

  33. 33
    NobodySpecial says:

    Bullshit bullshit bullshit BULLSHIT. You fucking defeatists.

    You’ve got what’s likely looking like the first woman presidential candidate from a major party, and one who’s virtually bulletproof to boot. She’s incredibly respected and popular and likely going up against what at best will be an extremely flawed candidate who has never faced the spotlight quite as bright as a Presidential election, who will have at best a spotty regional electability. Oh, AND the Democrat will have the most granular election machinery in history on her side.

    Coattails alone will keep the Senate above water, and I wouldn’t be overly shocked if the House flipped for the first two years under President Hillary. I can’t stand the warmonger, but everyone else loves her.

  34. 34
    Baud says:


    Ha! Love your comment.

  35. 35
    Tommy says:

    @AdamK: My mom runs elections in her district. She isn’t close to a liberal. But she thinks my right, your right to vote is important. I sent her photos of folks waiting in line to vote in Cleveland and she called me in tears. Said that would not happen where she runs things. At least where I live we got voting down to a science. I often joke I can vote faster then I can order a Big Mac.

  36. 36
    Davis X. Machina says:


    Coattails alone will keep the Senate above water,

    Who’s got coat-tails in an mid-term election?

  37. 37
    El Caganer says:

    @NobodySpecial: I would be very surprised if Hillary Clinton didn’t completely demolish whatever disaster of a candidate the loonies horked up. If the Democrats nominated a potted plant, they should be able to beat a Tea Party candidate. That doesn’t mean that the TPers can’t grab both houses in 2014.

  38. 38
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @KG: Considering not just three months ago they almost destroyed the government and the economy in one feel swoop that isn’t going to happen.

  39. 39
    Gex says:

    @NobodySpecial: Hillary isn’t running in 2014, though. And people acting as though the mid-terms don’t exist is kind of the problem.

  40. 40
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @negative 1:

    And unfortunately if 2014 is like 2010, it won’t be the loudest or the junkies amongst us that are ‘staying home’ but the layman Dem, the casual consumer who only wakes up during a Presidential year. Which tends to be hard to get to wake up for midterms.

    Akin is a case but in cases like him, it tends to be not too much crazy but not the right kind. And usually that level of crazy ends up normalized in the end anyhow years after the fact.

  41. 41
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    Not just that, but the voting public seemed to totally forget that shit not even a month later, because apparently Obamacare’s website was such a super-massive telling disaster (if you listened to the media) it was that much more massive a scandal than nearly shutting down the entirety of the gov’t and fucking up our very financial wellbeing.

  42. 42
    Anoniminous says:

    @negative 1:

    Eventually the country will follow California and vote the Fundie-Cons into irrelevance by demographics “reload.” Until then we need to work to maximize our vote and pick the bastards off as we can.

    Too many known unknowns for me to have a solid shot at predicting what will happen in 2014 as of 12/28/13. My best guess is the Dems will keep the Senate and pick-up seats in the House. I base that on the supposition the GOP has lost one to two percent of the old white vote since 2010 and OAF trained activists will work to GOTV.

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    Peak Wingnut is a myth, because their crazy is self-sustaining and self-fulfilling.

    Yup. Although I expect them to get even more crazy as it becomes clearer they’re losing.

  43. 43

    “… Americans may resent the Tea Party, but they are also losing ever more faith in the federal government—a big win for anti-government saboteurs.”

    That’s _not_ good. This makes it all the more important that we get the hell out next year and VOTE. If we pull the “not voting to send Obama and the Dems a message” bull-pucky that was done in 2010, we are giving the saboteurs a pass.

  44. 44
    Anoniminous says:



    And @Marc McKenzie


  45. 45
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    It worth keeping mind the Senate was gerrymandered from the get go to favor the conservatives (ie, the South) – it’s only their utter idiocy that’s kept the Democrats in control. The House should be Democratic but again, gerrymandering so it would take a hard swing against the GOP for it turn before demographics do it.

  46. 46
    El Caganer says:

    @Anoniminous: I hope you meant OFA. All the OAF-trained people I know specialize in sitting on their asses.

  47. 47
    Keith G says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik:
    Your general description is reasonably accurate. I am trying to be more optimistic about the chances for a acceptable outcome.

    There is populist energy out in the hinterlands – real gut check level, raw energy. The tea party group(s) are the only ones who consistently mine that energy. The corporate wing of the GOP and most of the Democrats are too plugged into Wall Street and the military industrial complex to tap into this anxiety-driven populist wave.

    That’s primarily why the Tea Party is still alive and kicking. My hope is that new leadership in the Democratic party will see the need and the opportunity for a more aggressive assertion of progressive solutions to the troubles we face. Essentially, drown them out and use up a good bit of their rhetorical oxygen.

    Or the Democrats could continue fighting rear-guard actions hoping the Teahadists run out of steam as we wait for a demographic shift to lead us to nirvana.

  48. 48
    Anoniminous says:

    @Marc McKenzie:

    The power of the Oracle Applications Framework will NOT BE DENIED!!!

    Yeah: OFA.

  49. 49
    Violet says:

    Saw a headline on Google today saying that the “Don’t tread on me” license plates are very popular in Virginia.

  50. 50
    Tommy says:

    I am watching Up with Steve Kornacki on my DVR. Much talk about a women’s right to chose to have an abortion. I am a dude. I have a penis. I don’t tend to tell a women how she should live her life or use her uterus.

  51. 51
    Eric U. says:

    first time I voted, I got to vote for a blue dog Dem, and I was really happy that he won. He used to infuriate the GOS crowd, but he was one of the good ones that voted for the stuff that I thought that matters. I doubt he would have run away from the ACA, for example. I wish I could vote for someone like that here in Pennsyltucky, I get a guy that acts all reasonable and votes like a Tea Partier.

  52. 52
    Violet says:

    @Keith G:

    new leadership in the Democratic party

    What is this new leadership of which you speak?

  53. 53
    Cassidy says:

    I know. Everyone should refuse to vote. DONT SUPPORT THE POLICE STATE REGIME!!!!!

    Extra exclamation points so you know I’m serious.

  54. 54
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Davis X. Machina: The same people who insist that hardcore leftists threw the 2010 midterms.

  55. 55
    WereBear says:

    The only way out is down.

    The Tea Party will continue to grow in power because that’s where the enthusiasm is. Any moderates have fled, screaming. Anyone with any sense can’t bring the crazy.

    So it’s rabid turtles all the way down, until they speak in such coded, dog-whistle phrases many voters will just stare at their TV in wonderment.

  56. 56
    Keith G says:

    @Violet: One problem that happens when a party holds the White House, is that leadership growth within that party tend to stagnate for a number of years.

    Obama’s presence has been good for the party. His departure will be good for the party. He set some important things in motion (and his tasks are not yet done). Soon it will be time for others extend that work and to do those things with a different modality.

    Yes, I do worry about Hillary – worry that she is too tied to her past. My hope is that she is smart enough to learn from what she has been able to witness with such a close up view.

    But there are other leaders, still too fresh to take on the presidency, but able to use their voices and intellect to lead the party, eg the Castro brothers and Wendy Davis, all from Texas.

  57. 57
    WereBear says:

    I do think we can win in 2014. We just need to remind people about the shutdown. Any Dem running against an R in the Congress who doesn’t do that is an idiot.

  58. 58
    Violet says:

    @WereBear: The shutdown was Both Sides Do It fault.

  59. 59
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:


    Except for those who believe the shutdown now would’ve been a good thing because it would’ve delayed the proven Obamacare disaster or some shit. I run into far more of that than I would’ve believed until recently.

  60. 60
    Keith G says:

    @Violet: That’s the spirit.

  61. 61
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Keith G: The Tea Party mines racism, first and foremost.

    As for the progressive solutions, Republicans counter with accusations of giveaways, welfare queens, and the usual thinly veiled racial resentment.

  62. 62
    WereBear says:

    @Violet: I think an effort to explain would go a long, long, way. For instance, I like to say, “Gosh, remember when the news would explain things?” And while they are pensively nodding, I mention some online sources that seem right for them.

  63. 63
    Violet says:

    @Keith G: I really do think that’s what people will remember. That’s what you’re seeing in the

    Americans may resent the Tea Party, but they are also losing ever more faith in the federal government

    from the post above. It’s Both Sides Do It.

    I agree there’s a lot of talent out there, like Wendy Davis and the Castro brothers, ready to be put to use in higher profile roles, but mid-terms are tough and our idiot media is ready to destroy Democrats and prop up Republicans in search of Horse Race ratings. As Republicans bog down the government, the average person doesn’t understand why things don’t get done–all they see is things aren’t getting done, so it must be Both Sides fault.

    Short of a spectacular fail by Tea Party types–calling the President the n-word on TV, or maybe a teabagger shooting at the President and other high profile teabaggers supporting the idea–I don’t see how the Republicans as Problems gets a lot of traction.

  64. 64
    Keith G says:

    @Hill Dweller: Yes, there is a segment that certainly does that.

    And that population can be effectively isolated if other issues are properly addressed by more conventional politics.

  65. 65
    gian says:


    I’m probably too late, but reports of her dodging sniper fire are greatly exaggerated.

    was that because she was “bullet proof”?

  66. 66
    ruemara says:

    I just can’t buy into this shit. Sorry. I’ll wait until after the elections to cry defeat.

  67. 67
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Violet: yes, and they’re usually on gas-guzzlers (not always, saw one on a MiniCooper). But yeah. It’s almost always on a middle-aged or older white guy’s big honking vehicle. I did see a small sedan with an African-American family in the car with those plates.,I figured they were conservative-crazy Xtians.

    The Tea Party is authoritarian. If they pick the nominee they’ll begin to use more and more violence against political opponents. if they don;t get the nominee they’ll turn to “lone wolf” violence. Either way I fully expect 2014 to have some violence, and 2016 to have more election-related violence than we’ve seen in over a century.

  68. 68
    KG says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: I think that elections can come down to moments more than a lot of the professional analysts do. I think Reagan won the 1980 primary mostly because of the “I’m paying for this microphone” (it helped that he was trying to explain the situation and the moderator was trying to shut him down). I think Reagan won the general in large part because of “there you go again, Mr President.” And in 1984 because of his line about not using hhis opponent’s youth and inexperience against him (Mondale laughing sealed his fate). Dukakis didn’t seem human when he tried to answer the death penalty question, and I think that cost him. Bush Sr being shocked by scanners at the grocery store. “That one” and suspending the campaign probably hurt McCain as much as Palin and W being a disaster. Everything Romney did hurt him

    Most voters don’t have time to follow every development over the course of a year and a half. They have jobs and kids and little league and dinner with the neighbors and karate and dance recitals, etc. But there will be a moment/image that often sticks about a politician – not always fairly – and voters will remember that when they are considering their vote.

    I think the Tea Party has been rather lucky that their moments have remained rather localized thus far. I don’t think that lasts.

  69. 69
    West of the Rockies says:

    FSM, I hope some of you are dead wrong about the Senate turning red in ’14. What percentage of TP’ers can we realistically expect (not hope) will pass away by next year’s election? Are there any reliable studies that show the true make-up of the TP? I keep hearing that they are old and white. But other studies also suggest that they are “better educated” than a lot of us would anticipate, so it’s hard to know what to believe.

    We keep hearing such different narratives: the TP is grassroots/it is Koch-Bros. sponsored… they are old, white and dumb/they are college-educated and a force to be reckoned with for many years to come (suggesting they are not all that old).

  70. 70
    max says:

    @Violet: Saw a headline on Google today saying that the “Don’t tread on me” license plates are very popular in Virginia.

    That sort of thing has been very popular for a long time here. I see it enough. T-Mac, Northam & Herring won anyways.

    2016 is shaping up to be pretty solid, Christie notwithstanding (he isn’t going to get the nom). So it is purely a question of getting through a year or two here before it goes presidential campaign all the time.

    Given that after the shutdown the generic ballot swung in our favor, and that after the healthcare rollout it swung against us, I am going to say it’s too soon to tell. Especially since we’re going to have a debt ceiling showdown next year.

    [‘Be thou not afraid…and also laugh at anyone claiming D triumph everywhere.’]

  71. 71
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @West of the Rockies: A demographic miracle may not be much to hang your hopes on.

    They make new old people every day.

  72. 72
    Keith G says:


    It’s Both Sides Do It.

    I know. That really stumps me. If only Democrats had some way to get the correct messaging out.


  73. 73
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    2016 is shaping up to be pretty solid.

    What’s the difference if the next Democratic president spends the balance of her (or his) first term vetoing things?

  74. 74
    Baud says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    I’ll spend as much time worrying about them as they spend worrying about us.

  75. 75
    West of the Rockies says:

    @KG: I think that Palin’s “… all of them” comment about what papers she read didn’t help. Certainly “Corporations are people, too” didn’t help Romney. Funny, innit, how a verbal miscue can have such damaging consequences.

    I hope you’re right about the TP not yet having suffered a nationwide verbal miscue that would somehow resonate with the majority of Americans (thereby costing the TP it’s thin strand of credibility). They are whack-a-moles… you hammer down one and another pops up to spout lunacy.

  76. 76
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    The idea that we need a killer miscue to survive the otherwise immortal Tea Party juggernaut each election or else doesn’t exactly give me much hope.

  77. 77
    SuzieC says:


    Love it! Hope you are right.

  78. 78
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    You’ve got what’s likely looking like the first woman presidential candidate from a major party, and one who’s virtually bulletproof to boot. (Emph added)

    Damned right she’s bulletproof. That sniper who was shooting at her in Bosnia had no luck. Oh, wait, that was a lie. She is the perfect candidate though – if you want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  79. 79
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I know… You’re right. I guess I’m just feeling pretty disheartened by the direction things are going.

  80. 80
    KG says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: eh, it’s not the only way to beat them. I also think that if they really get their nominee in 2016, and he is blown out, that will be their undoing. And I don’t buy that they’ll resort to violence because they’re mostly chickenshit

  81. 81

    @Davis X. Machina:

    They make new old people every day.

    They make latino voters even faster.

  82. 82
    goblue72 says:

    @NobodySpecial: Hells-to-the-motherfrackin-yeah!!!!

  83. 83
    KG says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: when I see people talking about how great Hillary will be, what I hear is “yay, another 90s retread, after we elect her, they’ll bring back Sienfeld and Friends, and the Cowboys will win the Super Bowl, and shut up!”

    But I have never really understood Hillary’s appeal

  84. 84
    lahke says:

    Sorry to go OT– did we pick a book to discuss? Because I am stuck in Sacramento with my parents’s eyeballs glued to CNN, and I’m bored to death.

  85. 85
    Rhoda says:

    I have no idea what will happen in 2014. I do know, through, that people are sick and tired of the way things are going. Every candidate is going to have to run against Washington and that opens up a lot of space for challengers; I think it’s also a big part of what is depressing the President’s numbers. You don’t get more Washington than President of the United States.

    I have hope for Democrats in 2014. The tea party has become a dirty word; even among conservative circles. The Republican party really is having an intra-party fight; and Democrats really do have a lead among young people and minorities. This is all about getting out the base; that’s how VA democrats won in 2013. That’s how nationally Democrats can win 2014.

    The possibility for success is out there; we just need to stop fucking pysching ourseleves out and organize some damn registration drives. You don’t win if you don’t get IN the game; I’m really tired of people talking about how useless midterms are because folks don’t turn out.

  86. 86
    Jeffro says:

    @Baud: Not with Cruz extorting his way onto the ticket as VP. I know it is strange, but stranger pairings have happened and both of these egomaniacs will grin n’ bear it if they think they can win.

  87. 87
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @🎉 Martin: Which group actually votes? In mid-terms?

  88. 88
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Rhoda: “Tea Party” appears after no candidate’s name on any ballot.

  89. 89
    Baud says:


    I meant Christie is less likely to get the nomination.

  90. 90
    Jeffro says:


    Tea Party isn’t going away until they die.

    And that’s why it will take a decade or more. Poll after poll, study after study shows that the Tea Party is the very white, older, anti-minority rump of the Republican party, with Evangelical and psuedo-Libertarian go-alongs rounding out the GOP’s membership. They’re in the driver’s seat, and they are prepared to obstruct everything on their way to the grave.

    It’s a slow-motion trainwreck. Only way the Dems can counter this stuff is to keep reaching out and being the inclusive party (ramping up on their already significant demographic advantages) and being the party of government that actually works (meaning, point out TP obstructionism constantly to minimze the “both sides do it” argument)

  91. 91
    goblue72 says:

    Dave Weigel is a registered Republican and a libertarian. He’s a supporter of the racist Ron Paul and has expressed support for Bob Barr. He’s only voted at times for a Democrat (Kerry in 04 and Obama in 08) because he’s not completely insane. He’s expressed clearly a preference for a Republican controlled Congress. In 2012, he voted for Gary Johnson. He was on the staff of Reason magazine and is still a contributing editor.

    He is, quite literally, the enemy. Of course he’s gonna poo-poo Democratic party chances and try to depress the heck out of progressives. That’s his JOB.

    Ignore him – as well as anything coming out of the right-wing leaning Atlantic (its long since stopped being a left-friendly publication).

    Find your balls and FIGHT. We’re doing our job out here in Seattle. We put an actual Socialist party member on City Council and are going to fight like heck to pass a $15 per hour minimum wage law in Seattle. When we fight back, we win.

  92. 92
    Jeffro says:

    @Baud: Yup, I agree with you – it does make it less likely, good point.

  93. 93
    MikeJ says:

    @goblue72: Weigel is a good source for what’s going on in the republican party. He’s a DC Republican. It’s the team he’s on, but he doesn’t actually have any real beliefs about anything. Which in a way is more evil, but he does seem to write honestly about Republicans.

  94. 94
    Citizen_X says:

    Turnout. Turnout. Turnout. Turnout.

    Until election day 2014 is over, everything else is distracting bullshit.

  95. 95
    El Caganer says:

    I’ve seen some stuff on the intertubes about the Republicans’ plans to flog the hell out of ACA. That could be a pretty risky strategy, as it counts on ACA implementation continuing to have serious problems, which is no sure thing. That actually is an advantage for Democrats: implementation doesn’t have to be spectacular, it just has to be not-fucked-up.

  96. 96
    cmorenc says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    @cmorenc: What if you turn out and the results suck anyway? I’ve voted in every state and national election for the last four decades, and I’ve always lived in blue to very-blue states, but I feel for the intelligent, motivated people in, say, NC or WI who turned out and voted and got fucked anyway.

    On the Presidential level, North Carolina is very purple – Obama won it in 2008 and only lost by two percent (2.270 million ot 2.178 million) in 2012. The dems handicapped themselves in the governor’s race by the combined legacy of the retiring incumbent dem governor (Perdue) being frustratingly imcompetent as a politician at that level (and running somewhat of a bumbling administration) and her immediate predecessor (Easley) being a corrupt hack. That, and the fact that the Republican candidate, Pat McCrory had successfully built an image based on a genuine record of being a moderate mayor of Charlotte, but what voters failed to realize was that N.C.’s version of the Koch Brothers (Art Pope) had left a body-snatcher pod by McCrory’s bed one night during the preceding spring, and McCrory has turned out to be a complete Pope-bot in office and is already deeply unpopular barely a year into office. If an gubenatorial election was held today, he’d lose in a landslide to any minimally attractive dem, and he’s dug quite a hole for himself to dig out of, even given three more years to do it.

    The place where we’re unfortunately fucked for awhile is the gerrymandering the GOP has managed to implement at both the Congressional and state legislative levels – helped at the crucial vote approving the district maps by the turncoat votes of four democratic state-house representatives who traded being allocated “safe” seats for support of the GOP map.

  97. 97
    Violet says:


    When we fight back, we win.

    This is absolutely true. And if you don’t fight you don’t have a chance. It’s why Republicans are already putting up ads against Wendy Davis in Texas–at least online ads. She fights and they know it. They’re terrified of her.

    Speaking of which, I was in a well-off shopping district in a city in a city in Texas a few weeks ago and saw a brand new Mercedes four-door sedan–so new it had the dealer paper plate still on it. It was driven by a mature white woman and an equally mature white man was in the passenger’s seat. I noticed a bumper sticker on the back that looked suspiciously like a political sticker for a candidate. I rolled my eyes and figured I’d see which Republican candidate they were supporting, but as I got closer I saw it read “Wendy Davis for Governor!” So bad on me for pre-judging these folks by their expensive car, skin color and age. And yay for old white people supporting Wendy Davis!

  98. 98
    Micheline says:

    Before the bungled roll out of Obamacare, I wasn’t concerned about the Senate flipping, but now I think it is a real possibility. Now that doesn’t mean that I will sit on my ass and bitch about it. I will try to make a bad situation better by volunteering. If enough people volunteer then we can get more people to the polls.

  99. 99
    Baud says:

    Did everyone go out canvassing?

  100. 100
    Tommy says:

    @Violet: Wendy Davis made me cry. I recall my Twitter feed blew up. Some lady in Texas. Oh how amazing it was.

  101. 101
    Helen says:


    This. I am an optimist. BWA HA HA, I kid. I am the biggest most bad ass-cynic to ever roam the earth. BUT…I spend a lot of time in Europe and when Obama was running in 2008 every single person of the European persuasion wanted to talk to me about the election. And to a person every single one of them told me no way, no how is America going to elect a black man (their phrase) to the Presidency. Americans are too stupid and racist they said (and by the way – they would add; “how can I get a green card?”)

    I spent many a night in Dublin trying to convince people that we’re really not so bad. Even quoted Churchill about how “Americans always do the right thing after exhausting all other options” (Yeah prolly quoting a Brit in Dublin not such a good thing – LOL). But I believed it when I was arguing our cause and I’ve got to believe it now.

  102. 102
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    We will not be switching houses in Minnesota, nor losing any house or senate seats.

    Bank on it.

  103. 103
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @ruemara: THANK YOU!! WOW. This thread is so depressing. Have we already lost the 2014 mid-term elections? Boy. You’d think it from all the negative predictions. Can we at least wait to see a few polls before throwing in the towel?

  104. 104
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:


    Hillary is bulletproof? Ask Barack about that.

    That being said, your point sorta stands.

  105. 105
    Anne Laurie says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    We keep hearing such different narratives: the TP is grassroots/it is Koch-Bros. sponsored… they are old, white and dumb/they are college-educated and a force to be reckoned with for many years to come (suggesting they are not all that old).

    Reason I front-paged Skocpol’s article is that she points out the Tea Party has a ‘pincer’: It’s old undereducated voters supported by Koch/Walton/Adelman money & the media that money buys. We Democrats need to pay attention to both parts of the ‘movement’, instead of waiting for the shock troops to die or the plutocrats to lose interest.

  106. 106
    Tommy says:

    @Helen: I Llive in IL. My town is 98.7% white if you believe the 2010 Census. I never thought we’d elect an African Amercian. But Obama came to my little town, down state Illinois, and he rocked the place. Made me have faith in my fellow humans.

  107. 107
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    No way! I worked the phones.

  108. 108
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    So I guess everyone has seen this?

    Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.

    Yes to the Tea Partiers it’s just proof that the New York Times is liberal propaganda, but back in reality here we have a serious investigation by a major newspaper declaring that the “laughable” assertion that this was about a video turns out to be, er, more or less true.

    What’s striking is that so long ago the Villager Approved Viewpoint had already become that it was a long-planned Al Qaeda attack, that this was blindingly obvious, and the only debate was whether people like Susan Rice leaving room that it might not be were lying, or had been lied to themselves.

    The possibility that what she said was actually correct, now confirmed, was left by the wayside long ago by the Serious People.

  109. 109
    Baud says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Ha. There was a long gap in the comments, so I just assumed everyone got fired up and went out to register voters.

    I didn’t even do the phones (very much). I did data so I wouldn’t have to deal with people

  110. 110
    Anne Laurie says:

    @lahke: I think I’ll go for a Monday-evening point&laugh at This Town for a couple weeks, starting after New Years, and then we can do Overdressed properly once we’re back in practice.

  111. 111
    Anoniminous says:


    I worked logistics and the phones.

  112. 112
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    I can do phones. I worked my way up to Senior Manager in inbound tech support call centers. That equipped me with some decent call management skills as patience when dealing with difficult callers.

  113. 113
    Tommy says:

    @Baud: A shout out to folks like you. I mentioned in another comment my mom runs elections in her district. Not a liberal, but yet she wants everybody to vote. Pains her when we don’t vote. I believe as she belives everybody should vote. If that means we lose elections (I don’t think we will) so be it.

  114. 114
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    Yeah, but some of us have been voting Dem since we started in the 60s, and see no reason to change.

    Higgs holds hand high.

  115. 115
    Baud says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    as patience when dealing with difficult callers.

    Not my forte. I can barely handle this place sometimes. Sworn off most other blogs altogether.

  116. 116
    Joey Giraud says:


    But I have never really understood Hillary’s appeal

    She’s survived some of the most vile political attacks in modern times. People respect that.

  117. 117
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @efgoldman: True believers — the ones who hear voices that tell them go change the world — run young. How old was Joan of Arc?

  118. 118
    Helen says:

    @Tommy: But I think that is part of the problem next time around. Obama is a preacher politician. That has a lot to do with why he got elected. He can tell it. I remember watching the Coretta Scott King funeral in 2006. Bill Clinton (yet another preacher politician) spoke. And Hillary spoke too. At that time she was my Senator and we all thought she would run for President. And I swear all I kept thinking was: “Do not let Hilary speak after Bill.” Well she did. And she sucked compared to Bill. We need another preacher politician. Like Elizabeth Warren. But I, like many liberals want her to stay in the Senate as she has promised to do. So who is left?

  119. 119
    max says:

    @Davis X. Machina: What’s the difference if the next Democratic president spends the balance of her (or his) first term vetoing things?

    If that’s the way it turns out, that’ll be a problem, yes. I am expecting that Hill can win with 53-54%, because she will still get black & hispanic turnout, but also all the white ladies will show up to vote for her as well. (I would not be surprised if the R-D in 2016 split had an even stronger underlying split between the sexes than did 2008.)

    In any event, it is entirely too soon to tell, excepting that three straight presidential victories is in reach.

    Our main problem is turnout and the attempt to reinstitute Jim Crow. If Hill were to win in 2016 and bring along the Senate & the House, the first goddamn thing they should be doing is voting reform. That was forgotten in 2009. Unfortunately.

    [‘All the swings of sentiment were baked into the cake when we didn’t take the House in 2012. Oh, well.’]

  120. 120
    Tommy says:

    @efgoldman: Race is an issue. If I were to bring a person of color with me as a date to the holidays, well it would be on. It would be uncomfortable. I don’t understand this, cause not how I was raised, but alas many family members would be confused.

  121. 121
    Baud says:


    On behalf of folks who are a lot better than me, thanks. The real heroes are the people who worked the Virginia elections and earned a Dem sweep in an off-off-year election (with, frankly, less than perfect candidate leading the ticket).

  122. 122
    Joey Giraud says:

    I have this theory that gerrymandering is fragile, that a small but broad change in political opinion can lead to a massive switch in outcome.

    My reasoning is that packing; stuffing many voters from the “loser” side into one district, would mean the remaining “winner” districts would have smaller majorities.

    Does anyone see a flaw with this idea?

  123. 123
    Tommy says:

    @Baud: I used to live in and/around Virginia. NOVA has taken over hasn’t it? You can’t be crazy in that state and expect to get elected. Most of my friends in the state were ladies. Not often liberal. But they had sex with folks. Not a good idea to get all up in their “lady parts.”

  124. 124
    rikyrah says:

    The Chamber ‘SAYS’ that they are spending 50 million against the Tea Party..

    we’ll see.

  125. 125
    Baud says:


    I wouldn’t say taken over, but I do think Virginia conservatives, especially in NOVA, are disproportionately economic rather than social as compared to other, redder states.

  126. 126
    rikyrah says:

    Mich @michlan
    The Vatican have released a 2014 Roman Priests calendar. I kid you not.WHOA MOMMA.

  127. 127
    Baud says:


    And they all look gay.

  128. 128
    Helen says:

    @Joey Giraud: Pretend I am stupid. Where did “gerrymandering” come from? I know that deciding congressional districts is in the constitution and based on the census. But how did this stupid districting get decided (yeah I know that the party in charge of the house decides). Why can’t we do it, I dunno, based on zip codes?

    100 points to the first person who says “Zip codes?? Why; that’s based on the communist postal union rules”

  129. 129
    Jeffro says:

    @efgoldman: I know, weird, isn’t it? Most of those (Cruz, Paul, etc) are pseudo-libertarian, think-they’re-populists…I think they just channel whatever they heard around the dinner table from their Republican parents (or on the TV from St. Ronnie) as kids, then turn it up to 11 in an attempt to go them one better.

    In the future, Dems should do more ads that compare the things Cruz says to what, say, Christine O’Donnell said…then to Paul, then Palin, then any number of GOP also-rans (Cain, Bachman, any of them). They are all basically saying the same things (hating on gays, women, immigrants, African Americans, the poor…defending the obscenely wealthy…great on big government in the bedroom but not so great on government actually governing) and coming with the same negative messages. Let them all do the work of dragging each other down – if nothing else, they’ll spend their time trying to explain how they’re oh-so-different, and in doing so, prove that they aren’t.

  130. 130
    Jeffro says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Ok, this was better put than my lengthy armchair psychologist explanation, kudos!

  131. 131
    Jeffro says:

    @Baud: My wife and I were two of those few hundred votes…we’re going to have t-shirts made with whatever fraction/margin of victory it was and nothing else

  132. 132
    Baud says:


    Why can’t we do it, I dunno, based on zip codes?

    If you have single-member districts, each district needs to have the same number of people (based on the census) because of one person, one vote. ZIP codes aren’t necessarily tailored to achieving that.

  133. 133
    Jeffro says:

    @Baud: You would be wrong about that, VA conservatives are very, very much social conservatives. Especially outside of NoVA but even in the DC suburbs, it’s shocking (as a recently re-planted NoVA kid) to see how hardcore the religious sentiment is.

  134. 134
    Baud says:


    Excellent. You’re entitled to beat up on anyone who says voting doesn’t matter.


    You would know better than me, but I was trying to compare (my impression of) Virginia to other red states.

  135. 135
    MikeJ says:

    @Baud: And the House is too small. Small states are vastly over represented. California has nearly 40M people and Wyoming only has a half million. CA should have 80 times as many votes in the house, yet they only have 53.

    If you had one rep per .5M the house would have over 600 members, rather than the 435 (or 441) it currently has.

  136. 136
    Joey Giraud says:


    I recall from history that the Gerry in gerrymandering was the name of some nineteenth century politician, and the mander is from “salamander,” an animal whose weird shape resembled the twisted district he devised.

    Congressional districts are in the Constitution. It’s a geographical grouping of the population to effect proportional representation, which makes sense in an agrarian country with limited communication.

    I think we could do better in these times with some other grouping method, or even statewide instant runoff for all congressional representatives, however many your state gets.

    Gerrymandering works like this; suppose your state is 60/40 democratic, and has 5 seats. In an ideal world, you would have 3 dem and 2 repub congressmen. But if you can pack most of the the dems into 2 districts, where the dem candidate wins with 80% of the vote, then you can have 3 districts where the republicans win with 55% margin.

    Making a 60/40 dem state into 40/60 in the congress. Nice trick.

    The thinner margin of the “winner” districts is where the gerrymandering can backfire, in my little theory.

    ( which has nothing to do with dinosaurs. :) )

  137. 137
    Baud says:


    Good point, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with gerrymandered districts. Even if California had the right number of House seats, those district lines could still be manipulated.

  138. 138

    @Helen: If we did it based on zip codes, the zip codes would immediately become a focus of intense political influence and would contort themselves so as to yield partisan gerrymandering.

    What we really need is something like California’s districting commission. I wasn’t holding out much hope, but by at least some accounts, they actually seem to have done a decent job (as opposed to just locking in as much Democratic control as possible).

  139. 139
    Helen says:

    @Joey Giraud: Thanks for the most detailed reply. No shit.(SHIT?? yeah Anthony Weiner used to be my Congressman; NOO YAWKER and all).

    So is this the cousin of the census itself? Statistics would tell us way more accurately who lives where and how many, but because the constitution says we have to “count” the people, Republicans are against it?

  140. 140
    feebog says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    In states like Ohio and North Carolina the blue minority districts are so packed that the red districts are still relatively safe. I’m talking 55-58 percent of the vote in the last couple of elections. Pretty tough to overcome, even in a wave election.

  141. 141
    Helen says:

    @Matt McIrvin: What are they doing in CA? I swear to the goddess, last election the dems got more than a million more votes than the repubs. And we lost the house. I just want it to be fair!! Naïve, much?

  142. 142
    Joey Giraud says:


    Yeah, I could see that happening. In other words, my theory may be right but still not matter much in practice.

  143. 143
    Jeffro says:

    @Joey Giraud: Elbridge Gerry? Am I remembering my limited knowledge of American history at long last?

    To Wikipedia!

  144. 144
    Jean says:

    @Violet: Maybe so, but Dems now hold all five state offices for the first time since the 60’s. The three nut cases–all extreme right–lost.

  145. 145
    Joey Giraud says:


    For a change, I was trying to avoid that, going to wikipedia.

    Helen, we can all agree that Republicans do better with less voting, but gerrymandering is an unavoidable “feature” of the Constitution as it stands.

  146. 146
    El Caganer says:

    @MikeJ: It is ridiculously small – hell, the German Bundestag has 631 members, and Germany ain’t anywhere near the population of Murika.

  147. 147
    chopper says:


    Everyone should refuse to vote. DONT SUPPORT THE POLICE STATE REGIME!!!!!

    i wish i could vote. i don’t have any freedoms because i hated on the wrong people.

  148. 148

    @Davis X. Machina:

    @West of the Rockies: A demographic miracle may not be much to hang your hopes on.

    They make new old people every day.

    What strikes me is that Romney won as large a percentage of the white vote as Reagan in ’84, maybe larger. It wasn’t enough for him to win. But Obama in 2012 lost all the gains among white people that Democrats had made in ’08, including young white people; the only reason young people still supported him was that young people are less white.

    And Romney was a crappy candidate, and Obama was more popular than he is now. Who’s to say that in 2016, as politics becomes more and more racialized and white people get nutty about race again, the Republican couldn’t get 70%, 75%, 80% of the white vote?

    Demographics favor nonwhites, long-term, but demographics favored nonwhites in South Africa too. I do worry that the US is going that way, that 20 years from now we’ll have an apartheid state and basically only white people will have the vote. Or that we’ll actually have the Inevitable Apocalyptic Race War that deranged white people have predicted for decades, and it’ll be they who start it, them against everybody else.

    I don’t know, maybe the stupid Duck Dynasty thing has me extra-depressed. It sure seems like open racism is more socially acceptable now than it was a month ago, and it’s snowballing, with people jumping on the proud racist bandwagon.

  149. 149
    Joey Giraud says:


    Chopper, you seem sincere. Cassidy is most definitely not, at least in this case.

    He’s just overreacting because some guy named Joey disagreed with him on whether America must have broad terror of the police before qualifying as a police state. He says yes, I say no.

  150. 150
    Elizabelle says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    I am bookmarking this thread as “Eeyorism run rampant.”

    Get a clue, peeps. Stop with the hopelessness and “we have to wait 10 years” crap.

    Jesus, it does not take much with this crowd.

  151. 151
    Joey Giraud says:


    Hey! I can Google too. Sometimes it’s nice to not.

  152. 152

    @Helen: Since 2010, districts in CA are drawn by a commission designed to have equal representation from both major parties:

    I don’t think the Constitution makes gerrymandering unavoidable; I do think it means the responsibility for fighting it has to be at the state level, and it means that the party in power at the time has to be willing to permanently give up some power to make it happen.

  153. 153
    Mike in NC says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Seriously, are you fucking insane?

  154. 154
    catclub says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: “And unfortunately if 2014 is like 2010”
    I have no sense for what the Senate will do in 2014, but the 2010 election was a wave because there were zillions of marginal Democratic House members – Now, if anything there are marginal GOP House members, so the GOP is likely to lose a few in the House. It will feel nothing like 2010.

    Plus, someone else was saying that if the economy goes bad then ….
    But in 2014 the economy is likely to be good, and certainly better than 2010. I have my doubts about how well House and Senate voters will associate Democrats with a good economy, but give them some credit and they will do that.

  155. 155

    @Mike in NC: Listening too much to stupid things Republicans say, maybe.

  156. 156


    But in 2014 the economy is likely to be good, and certainly better than 2010.

    Better than 2010, of course; it would be hard for it to be worse unless there’s some utter catastrophe like a debt default.

    But the economy is not going to be good. All those long-term unemployed out there are still going to be long-term unemployed, food stamps have already been cut, and the stimulus extension to unemployment insurance goes away on January 1. Some of them will probably be able to get Medicaid, at least.

  157. 157
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Matt McIrvin: To be dispirited by Duck Dynasty is about like being dispirited by The Bachelor. Let the crackers have their fake rednecks, their guns, and their greasy chicken sandwiches. They’ll just die sooner, which is better for the world anyway.

  158. 158
  159. 159
    catclub says:

    @Matt McIrvin: All of the anti-stimulus is pretty much wrung out of the Federal Budget plans. Tax hike was 2013, not 2014. Sequester was reduced in the budget deal. I think the economy is going to be good. The unemployment extension and food stamps cuts are bad. They are also very small in the overall budget.
    The entire food stamps program is about $75B. The cut is perhaps $6B. Similarly for the unemployment – the long term extension is $19B for one year. Small compared to the entire economy.

  160. 160
    chopper says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    If you think the US is a ‘police state’ then your definition of the term is so diluted as to be meaningless.

  161. 161
    Joey Giraud says:


    It’s only meaningless if you don’t know what it means.

    I do, but I’m done with lengthy essays for today.

  162. 162
    chopper says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    Listen, people do this with terms all the time. ‘Fascism’, ‘communism’, you name it. Shit, the other day I overheard some shmuck in line at the grocery store refer to what happened to the branch davidians in Waco as a ‘holocaust’.

    Come on.

  163. 163
    Hal says:


    To be dispirited by Duck Dynasty is about like being dispirited by The Bachelor.

    Sorry, but I feel the same way. Just too many people riding to the defense of an obvious racist and homophobe. Just a reminder of how far away we still are from true equality, though I will say many fans of this show probably were never the most open minded to begin with.

  164. 164
    terbeb says:

    A ‘mop-up operation against Santorum’. I see what you did there. LOL!

  165. 165
    Joey Giraud says:


    Yeah, people exaggerate for dramatic effect.

    And the most common understanding of “police state” is a cartoon like 1984.

    And if you asked East Germans of 1970 if they lived in a police state, close to half would say, like Cassidy, that things aren’t that bad and they never worry about the police, so don’t be ridiculous.

    Rigoberta Menchu taught me that repressed dissidents who escape tyranny always exaggerate the extent of repression, no matter how bad it is in reality. It’s not the case that all citizens of a tyranny feel the same misery or fear.

    By the time that America has enough of a police state that you and Cassidy agree that the phrase applies, assuming we don’t correct the problem, then don’t get back to me. I’ll be out of here. Worry about where later.

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    goblue72 says:

    @MikeJ: That makes him the enemy. Which means everything – EVERY SINGLE THING – he writes is suspect and should be treated as if it is conservative propaganda first, and factual only upon extensive verification.

    When will Democratic voters get it through their thick skulls. These people are not to be trusted. Ever. And the only response to them is to crush them and destroy them. When their houses are burned to the ground and their unearned wealth seized and distributed to the masses, then we can relax and possibly have civil discourse with them. Before that? Never.

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    Kay says:

    I disagree with the Atlantic piece only because it makes the assumption that a depressed Democratic base necessarily creates a natural Republican advantage or even an energized GOP (Tea Party) base, ie, “Republicans always turn out”

    No, they actually don’t. They didn’t in 2012. They had a measurable drop-off in white lower income and middle income voters in 2012, despite the “Tea Party” (their base).

    2010 was energized GOP base. They had trouble with turn out in 2012.

    I think 2014 will show BOTH Parties struggling to get their voters out. I think it’s real DC vanity to set this up as “Democrats lose so therefore Republicans benefit”

    Both parties will struggle to seem relevant enough in 2014 to get their voters out. Republicans are not real happy campers either. They weren’t happy in 2012 and they’re less happy now. I think the assumption that dispirited Democrats leads directly to “loss of faith in the federal government” and then inexorably to GOP turnout is misguided. That is actually the Republican Party’s campaign strategy for 2014. It is not, however, a given or “the truth”. I think they’re misreading how unhappy their OWN electorate are, and assuming depressed D turnout will win it for them.

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    Kay says:

    The conceit is the assumption that if one side is “down” (the Big Government side) the other side is up ( the Small Government side)
    But it’s not actually true that Republicans are the small government side, and despite all the bullshit, their voters know it’s not true.
    Republicans here are disgusted that they didn’t pass a farm bill. They want a farm bill. They don’t care that a farm bill is Big Government, and they’re not gonna come out and vote on some theoretical “no big government” slogan that is completely irrelevant to their immediate lives.
    I don’t think Republicans can count on D voters winning it for them by staying home. Republicans are saying they’re staying home too. That’s a different scenario than 2010.

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    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:


    Um…Clinton is polling even with the Jersey Whale.

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    This premature defeatism is counterproductive. The elections are almost a year away. A life in terms of politics, there is absolutely no need to buy into the pessimist CW of the MSM. Kthxbai.

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    Chris says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I don’t know, maybe the stupid Duck Dynasty thing has me extra-depressed. It sure seems like open racism is more socially acceptable now than it was a month ago, and it’s snowballing, with people jumping on the proud racist bandwagon.

    Has there ever been a time when racism wasn’t acceptable using only the most thinly veiled masks? From Trent Lott saying that if only we’d followed Strom Thurmond we wouldn’t have “all these problems” to the racist ads in the 1988 presidential campaign to all the prominent conservatives who campaigned in favor of Apartheid South Africa to Reagan launching his presidential campaign on the site where three civil rights workers were murdered? None of this seems that new to me.

    @Joey Giraud:

    the most common understanding of “police state” is a cartoon like 1984.


    The problem with that famous poem is that it ends with “then they came for me.” No they didn’t. For the average citizen, they’ll never “come for you” – they’ll just come for all the people judged undesirable. And the average citizen figures that, since they didn’t come for him, everything must be peachy.

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    chopper says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    Yeah, people exaggerate for dramatic effect.

    again, glad we’re on the same page. East Germany is a good example. the US is not.

    By the time that America has enough of a police state that you and Cassidy agree that the phrase applies, assuming we don’t correct the problem, then don’t get back to me. I’ll be out of here. Worry about where later.

    you won’t have anywhere to go, because if the US is currently a ‘police state’ then most every other country on earth already is as well.

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    chopper says:


    the problem with that famous poem (and 1984) is that it’s been used to convinced generations of americans that all government is, at heart, fascism and wrong. and that if you disagree then ‘they’ll come for you’.

    hence all the talk about obama building FEMA camps for republicans. go on any freeper thread about that shit, half the talk will be nutbags quoting that poem.

    we’re a nation of conspiracy theorists who think ‘they’re coming for us any minute’. so when someones car breaks down and they knock on someones door asking for help, some old white guy answers with a blast from a shotgun.

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    Joey Giraud says:


    I think our difference over what is a “police state” is;

    You associate the phrase with general, widespread, extreme abuse and paranoia, and specific things like lurid tortures, mass pogroms, and virtually all citizens at risk of those horrors. A nightmare from which you don’t awake.

    But to me, the phrase means that the state loves police power and gives it’s police far too much power and unrestrained freedom, to the point where the police starts acting like they’re above the law.

    Welcome to America, 2013.

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    chopper says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    You put words in my mouth, ones far too specific.

    I will say that, by your definition, most every country on earth is a ‘police state’.

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    Chris says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    and virtually all citizens at risk of those horrors

    … this being the main reason for my “what does that even MEAN?” reaction when people go into the details of whether or not America is a police state.

    By most definitions, America has certainly been a “police state” for large swaths of its population over the course of its history (black people under the Ku Klux Klan and even under regular authorities for most of history being the obvious example), even if there were all those nice constitutional guarantees in place for people who “mattered.”

    On the flip side, while everyone might theoretically have been at risk in Nazi Germany or East Germany, in practice the average citizen went his entire life without ever being dragged into an SS or STASI interrogation center.

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    karen says:

    My father said that the Tea Party is in trouble because 12% (or whatever it is today) of people like Congress. I told him that when people say that, what they really mean is, 12% of people have faith in OTHER STATE’S congressmen and senators but they love THEIRS. Am I wrong?

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    EthylEster says:

    “Why the Tea Party Isn’t Going Anywhere”

    completely ambiguous title.
    i hate that.

    i presume the writer meant “Why the Tea Party Isn’t Going Away”.

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    Joey Giraud says:


    You put words in my mouth,

    Sigh. I summarized my perspective of your opinion. Can’t make an omelet…

    Look, I’m not concerned about precise semantics here. Tell me, do you think, regarding American policing ( including all cops, FBI, CIA, NSA, DEA, TSA, TFA etc.. ) in respect to civil liberties, that:

    1. Everything is peachy, we have the best of all possible Americas.
    2. There are some minor problems, but merely procedural and nothing to be concerned about.
    3. Serious problems, worth getting alarmed over, worth raising a ruckus about, perhaps even writing a stern letter to congress.

    Obviously there’s no need to ask about number 4.

    The wiki had this

    Because there are different political perspectives as to what an appropriate balance is between individual freedom and national security, there are no definitive objective standards to determine whether the term “police state” applies to a particular nation at any given point in time. Thus, it is difficult to evaluate objectively the truth of allegations that a nation is, or is not becoming, a police state. One way to view the concept of the police state and the free state is through the medium of a balance or scale, where any law focused on removing liberty is seen as moving towards a police state, and any law which limits government oversight is seen as moving towards a free state.[3]

    Yeah, there certainly are different perspectives. A reliable percentage of folks do love them some zealous policing, cracked heads and all.

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    Joey Giraud says:


    True that. No blacks in my hood and my life deny that American is a police state. Not one.

    Too bad that the phrase has no clear definition and little value other then to try to alarm people into caring, which is how I use it.

    You don’t miss your water til the well runs dry.

    ( I think guys like Cassidy, Chopper, etc, get pissed off when someone tries to get them to care about something they would prefer to not care about, empathy and outrage being a limited resource for most of us. If they were truly cold-hearted, they would never argue at such length. )

  181. 181
    chopper says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    look, impoverished ethnic minorities in cities all around the world catch too much shit from cops. again, this means pretty much every country on earth is a ‘police state’.

    if you’re fine defining the term such that that is true, i can’t stop you, but you should understand my reticence in adopting such a broad view of it. if every country out there is a police state, the term has little real meaning.

    deliberately adopting such a broad term just to ‘shock people’ is kinda dumb. it’s like that choad i mentioned and his redefining of ‘holocaust’. i imagine the countless relatives of mine who never made it out of poland and think jesus, what a buffoon.

    I think guys like Cassidy, Chopper, etc, get pissed off when someone tries to get them to care about something they would prefer to not care about

    thanks again for the incorrect summary of my thoughts. this is a thing with you, isn’t it?

  182. 182
    Joey Giraud says:


    No, that wasn’t a summary. That was quality analysis, free of charge.

    I asked what *you* thought of the state of America’s security apparatus, is it good, bad, or meh? I consider it a police state, if immature and incomplete. Not East Germany to be sure, or North Korea, but sharing many fundamental aspects.

    But now you’re just arguing to argue, ignoring my point completely.

  183. 183
    chopper says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    ‘good, bad or meh’? not much of a metric there.

    using that simplistic scale, i think it’s half good, half bad. could be much better. not even close to a ‘police state’.

    as to what you coughed up being a ‘quality analysis’, i’d assert that it’s worth what was paid for it.

  184. 184
    chopper says:

    what’s funny is, i have a muslim friend who lived in the netherlands and had some real shit experiences with the cops. he has said, straight up, that for him it was like being in a fascist dictatorship. he’ll admit of course that that’s an exaggeration for effect.

    i don’t begrudge him his opinions. yet i’m not quite ready to say that the netherlands is a fucking fascist dictatorship.

    nor does a bunch of dead branch davidians make a ‘holocaust’, even if it was a tragedy and should rightfully have been avoided.

  185. 185
    chopper says:

    @Joey Giraud:

    But now you’re just arguing to argue, ignoring my point completely.

    first off, it takes two to argue, chief, whether it’s for the sake of arguing or not.

    second, you yourself have said that the term is meaningless except inasmuch as you use it for shock value. not much of an intellectual leg to stand on, izzit? talk about arguing just to argue.

    tell me, has your referring the the US as a ‘police state’ in order to ‘alarm people into caring’ accomplished that goal? so far it looks like it just causes people to dismiss you as an exaggerator.

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