A Couple of Quick and Final Post-Election Notes to Liberals and/or Obama Supporters

As I did offer some notes yesterday to the some (but not all!) white males freaking out about Obama winning a second term, I figure it might be worth it to give a couple of notes to those who are thrilled about his re-election. Seems fair, etc. So:

1. It’s been a week. You can crank back the schadenfreude. Yes, it’s time. There’s only so much poking of wounded conservatives you can do before you cross the line into just being an asshole about it.

2. Don’t get cocky. Obama won by almost exactly the same popular vote margin as George Bush won in 2004. While the point is taken that in presidential elections it’s the electoral votes that count, and that getting 271 of those is just as good as getting 400 in terms of job placement, it’s worth recognizing that among the citizenry, there’s a close-to-even split on how to run this particular railroad. Which dovetails nicely with the next point:

3. The mid-terms elections are out there. And the mid-term elections a) historically tend to favor the non-incumbent presidential party, b) tend to be decided by a smaller, more-committed group of voters. Which is to say: Hey, remember the 2010 elections? Don’t think it can’t happen again. It can, and it very well may.

4. 2012’s electoral coalition isn’t automatically permanent. In the short-term? Sure, it’ll likely cohere for a couple election cycles at least. But, for example, if the GOP genuinely reaches out to Hispanics — more than the now grossly-obvious rush to embrace immigration reform — I don’t think it’s impossible that many Hispanics will find elements of the GOP platform attractive. As another example, if same-sex marriage becomes a settled issue in the US, I know enough gays whose economic point of view would make conservatism a congenial intellectual home for them (aside from, you know, the ones who are already there).

5. Don’t think the GOP is stupid. Yes, it got its ass handed to it by Obama’s high-tech/low-tech combo of exhaustive quant analysis and field operatives knocking on doors. That’s going to work once. When 2016 comes around, the GOP will have baked that into their operation, and they’ll have some new strategies to try out too. And if whoever is the 2016 Democratic candidate tries to run a 2012 campaign, he or she will get their ass handed to them, too. And in the meantime the GOP is going to do what it does, namely, finding ways to block and frustrate Obama’s and the Democrat’s legislative agenda. They’re good at it, too. They own the House of Representatives, remember?

6. Don’t think the most reactionary conservatives are actually going to “go Galt.” That’s just the reactionary conservative version of “moving to Canada.” Just as liberals didn’t rush the border in 2004, neither are these folks going to crawl into a bunker, or crevasse, or seastead or whatever. They’re going to stay where they are, they’re eventually going to calm down, and then they’re going to get back to what it is they do. This is real world, and it’s really hard to flounce out of it.

7. Don’t think you know what the future will bring. Hey, around this time 2004, did you think the dude just elected as the junior senator from Illinois would be president? Had you even heard of him? I knew of him very vaguely, mostly because he won his seat against Alan Keyes, who had been recruited when the former Republican candidate fell out because of a sex scandal. Illinois, man. When he announced his presidential candidacy in February 2007, did anyone think he was going to be anything other than a speedbump for Hilary Clinton? If you think you know how 2016 is going to play out, you may be deluding yourself.

8. Nothing’s been decided but who was elected president. I mentioned this last Wednesday, but it bears repeating. Obama’s got four more years. Everything else? We’ll see. And if you thought you were going to be able to lie back for the next four years, guess again. No one else is taking the time off. The GOP isn’t. Almost certainly Obama isn’t.

237 thoughts on “A Couple of Quick and Final Post-Election Notes to Liberals and/or Obama Supporters

  1. I’m not sure about your analysis.
    The GOP got really killed by the Latino and Asian American communities. To recover those voters, they will have to radically change their message; I think that makes them Democrats!
    The GOP is now complaining about “weak candidates” yet, these are the candidates that were chosen by their base.

  2. Chris Kapeghian:

    “The GOP got really killed by the Latino and Asian American communities. To recover those voters, they will have to radically change their message; I think that makes them Democrats!”

    Not necessarily. I do think a lot will depend on where the GOP decides its future will be: as a socially conservative party or an economically conservative one. The GOP was once both more socially liberal and (genuinely) economically conservative than it is now.

  3. I personally think that the GOP has to decide who is really driving the bus. Is it the Tea Party, or is it the core of more moderate conservatives. Personally I think that as long as the GOP panders to the extreme right in their party they will never recover.

  4. I don’t have Schadenfreude or cockiness, John.

    I’m depressed.

    I’ve been reading Sarah Hoyt, and other conservative writers’, blogs. Their view of Obama and the country and the Democratic party is so diametrically different than mine, I fear I am missing something, something big.

    Voter shenangians in Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania–by the Democrats? (just to pluck one example)

    Do I fundamentally misunderstand the world? Or do not understand libertarians?

    And 22 states have petitions for secession?

    No, I am not gleeful, John. Quite the opposite.

  5. Both parties will, of course, have ample opportunities to shoot themselves in their feet. The Republicans could decide that they just need run farther in the rightward direction and the Democrats could fall back into thinking that if they just explain things more clearly the Republicans will become helpful partners.
    If the economy continues to improve and other random events remain relatively constant, there is a chance the house could switch although census based redistricting has made that a difficult hurdle.
    The future will bring something different. What that is will be surprising–even if things remain the same.

  6. I don’t expect it to happen, but my feeling is that, if the Republicans just left abortion and all other reproduction issues behind, joined the 20th century with the rest of us, they’d greatly improve their chance of becoming the majority party again. Their economic plan appeals to a lot of people, and their immigration issues — though I don’t agree with them and suspect their motives — also appeal to many. This could also result in the birth of yet another third party, likely an unlikely alliance of anti-abortion types and Tea Baggers.

  7. Re #5: One of the things that seems to have tripped up the Repub leadership is that they evidently forgot that the information bubble is only supposed to be for the peasants. If they can get themselves back outside it without popping it entirely, they’ll probably recover.

    Re # 7: When I heard Obama’s speech at the 2004 Dem Convention, I was 90-mumble percent sure that he’d end up as president. I figured 2012 or 2016 at the earliest, though. Even when he declared for 2008, I just figured it was a warm-up exercise and/or a play for the VP slot.

    Re #8: Control of the Senate was also decided, rather more emphatically than most people expected. That ain’t nothing.

  8. Let’s make a deal conservatives. We’ll dial back the schadenfreude as soon as you all admit the President was born in the United States and we’ll stop the gloating.

    To be honest, I’m not really one to gloat but I can understand those that are still doing it because of stuff like the above.

  9. Rand aside, if the GOP goes more libertarian; i.e. socially liberal and economically conservative, many people would feel more comfortable with them. I certainly would and I often vote for them rationalizing that a lot of the social stuff is mostlky beyond their control. (And its just too much to ask me to vote for Democratic fiscal policies. And least what passes for Democrats in 2012.)

    Then there is the defense side of things. As far as I’m concerned, a bigger force, not a smaller force is required.

    My biggest fear is not that Obama is President for the next four years, its that he may have to go Nixon and then we’ll have a President Biden. That would truly be a disaster.

  10. @John Scalzi: Agreed.

    In a way, it’s too bad that the Republicans didn’t nominate someone like Santorum or Bachmann, who fully represented their crazy wing. I’m quite sure Santorum would have got clobbered, maybe with 400+ EV and 65% of the popular vote going to Obama. That might have motivated the Republicans to change into a pragmatic and reality-based party.

    Instead they had Romney, one of their most plausible and least scary options, who lost by 3% instead of 30%. So the crazies will continue to call the shots, convinced that Romney lost because he wasn’t crazy enough and one more big push will do it. As Scalzi correctly points out, it’s impossible to predict 2016 right now, so they just might succeed in getting a far-right nutball elected (or someone like Romney who feels he can’t afford to ignore the crazy wing, which would be almost as bad).

    The USA dodged a bullet last week, but I still fear for the future.

  11. All of this is true, however my frustration, and I suspect that of many Obama supporters, is the unwillingness, or perhaps inability, of Republicans to see this election as having any meaning at all. They have blamed the media, Romney(for being a weak candidate), voter suppression(!) by the Democrats, and people voting for “stuff”. On the actual issues, Republican leadership in Congress has made a few noises about compromise and then quickly repeated the same positions that they held before the election rather than getting down to the business of making government work. And, ultimately, I want government to work.

    Don’t misunderstand, I am sincerely concerned about where the Democratic Party goes from here, as well. I don’t know who the rising stars of the party will be for 2016. This will be crucial. And, in truth, I would welcome a Republican Party that returns to a fiscally conservative, but socially liberal ideology. However, as a member of more than one target group under their current policies, I cannot support them.

  12. The GOP got really killed by the Latino and Asian American communities. To recover those voters, they will have to radically change their message; I think that makes them Democrats!

    Oy. That’s exactly the kind of thinking that John was warning against. Having the Republicans woo Hispanic voters on immigration would do nothing about a whole other range of issues that define the two parties. And note that Hispanic voters tend to be more culturally conservative than other Democratic voters on things like abortion, so don’t get 1) cocky, or 2) comfortable.

    And 22 states have petitions for secession?

    Double Oy. Don’t spread that meme further. People in 22 states have used the petition link at whitehouse.gov to start secession petitions for their states. They don’t represent either the governments or the majority of the people of the states. John could start a petition to have Whatever secede from the Union if he wanted, with equal meaning.

  13. If the GOP continue to block everything in the house and senate for the next two years, the president has nothing to lose by publicly holding their feet in the fire and making sure that enough seats change hands that Dems have control for the last two years of his presidency.

  14. At least you have a voice of reason. Ideals are most often different than realities. The reality is we have at least 2 years to see if Obama can carry his weight. For the past 4 years he has stumbled and been tripped, often by his own people. If he can’t cut the mustard in the next two he will end up facing a more conservative congress and some of the things that have been kept hidden will come out. To many unanswered question still are wanting to be let loose and he will, at that point really have to deal with them. Some of these thing might well out weigh WaterGate. He has 2 years make or break his case. You are right though things must be allowed to heal and to many want to keep grinding his win in.

  15. is the unwillingness, or perhaps inability, of Republicans to see this election as having any meaning at all.

    Don’t mistake the chorus of people in the echo chamber (or on the threads here) for what the GOP as a party is doing. Serious GOP folks have already called for outreach to Hispanics and (wow!) possibly agreeing to raise taxes.

    That may be slowed by the midterms which, as John pointed out, are more likely to go the Republican way (gerrymandering, the Solid South, turnout) and might slow their evolution.

    You want to do something useful until the next Presidential elections? Get involved at the local level. The 2010 elections killed the Democrats in the state legislatures, which (because it was a census year) killed them on gerrymandering, and led (among other things) to last week’s result where the GOP held onto the House.

  16. Latinos and Hispanics as a culture are generally much more religious and much more socially conservative than the Democrats. The only thing that pushed many of them to vote for Obama this year was the immigration issue. If that can be resolved, things like abortion, birth control, and gay marriage will cause many of them to move “back” to the GOP side – assuming that the GOP holds the hard line socially on those things. Don’t get cocky about the Latino/Hispanic vote.

    And as far as the “states petitioning for secession” … I really wish people would quit saying that! Lunatic fringe morons in some states have filled out an online petition that means absolutely nothing if the states themselves, through their legislatures, don’t vote and petition for secession. Condemning those states as being secessionist is stupid and plays into the lunatic fringe morons’ agendas. Don’t validate what they’re doing by equating it with an actual, legitimate petition for secession by the state.

  17. he or she will get their ass handed to them

    As I’ve been rereading “Coffee Shop” as part of the Subterranean Scalzi Sampler, I’ve occasionally come across non-standard usages and thought, “Hmm, well, John is a really good writer, so he must be trying to make a point or draw attention to a phrase with such a non-standard usage.” And it’s made me go back and re-read what he wrote and think about it.

    But I just can’t get into the combination of the “he or she” and the number disagreement. I can see “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun (“they will get their ass handed to them”); I think it fills a useful niche in the language. I could see “he or she will get his ass handed to him”, using “his”/”him” as gender-neutral with the “he or she” subject to indicate that masculine should not be implied. But I’m finding the combination of “he or she” with “they/them” to be awkwardly distracting (as opposed to most other cases where John throws a non-standard usage in, which I usually find thought-provokingly distracting).

    Maybe it’s just me. I’ll be the first to admit to John’s higher level of expertise in language and rhetoric than I’ll ever get to.

    /threadjack

  18. DG Lewis:

    I don’t have a problem with using third person plural as a non-gender specific singular, basically. It’s less awkward than some other attempts to thread that needle in English.

  19. “1. It’s been a week. You can crank back the schadenfreude.”

    But it’s so much fun.

    But yeah. If someone falls and hurts themselves, better to offer them a hand up than point and laugh.

  20. I’m sure you know this, but I can never NOT think about how the “former Republican candidate” from Illinois who was replaced by Alan Keyes was the ex-husband of Jeri Ryan. Oh, cross-cultural connections.

  21. As an ‘Outsider’ watching from the sidelines in the UK here’s my threepennyworth:
    It probably doesn’t take much to swing the result either way, a couple of percent here or there – I’m not sure how this equates to feet on the ground in the USA, but still it doesn’t seem much.
    From over this side of the pond, the issues that I heard about that would alienate me to the Republicans and these were issues other than the economy (If I thought about the economy at all it was to remind myself that it had all gone to hell in a handcart during a Republican term, and Obama had been left to pick up the pieces) .
    They were the stupid lies that I’m sure not all Republicans believe, but were repeated ad nauseam as to make me feel that they really all did believe it. Silly things, like Obama is a Muslim, Obama isn’t American. There was too much emphasis on involving themselves in other peoples bedrooms. There was even more on religion.
    If I was a non WASP American, I would be running a mile away from that sort of nonsense.
    I know that in any ‘war’ the first casualty is truth, but it seemed that the Republican side were caught out lying more than the Democrats.
    So if I was to be swung the other way, they need to stop the stupid lies, tell Hannity, O’Reilly and Rove to shut the **** up, and talk to the rest of us like adults.

  22. re: #2, 3 & 6 – Those are the ones that are really making me nervous and frankly exhausted because, as one lady-friend put it to me on election night after the official call was made for Obama’s win (and the subsequent defeat of the anti-choice/”foot-in-mouth-rape-comment” candidates), “I’m finding it hard to be truly happy about this because I just know come the next election cycle, my right to bodily autonomy is just going to be right back on the table for discussion again and I’m getting goddamned tired of it.” And the same goes for same-sex marriage rights, equal pay for equal work (remember, the Lilly Ledbetter Act was never actually *ENACTED* because while it passed in House, it failed to pass the Senate) and so on. Yes, we’ve made some incremental improvements, but there’s still a long way to go and progressives really can’t be caught resting on any laurels. Because if there’s one thing the GOP does well (and there’s definitely more than one), it’s round up the troops with precision organization. They got spanked in this past election, but not hard enough to knock them out.

  23. Good post. I think point 4 is what a lot of folks on the left are missing, and understandably so since the Republican party is so far out in right field, so to speak. If they get away from the anti-gay, anti-immigration radical stances and get a little more serious about applying fiscal conservatism to our deficit problems (and no, cutting a bunch of tax rates while ignoring our ridiculously complicated tax code and its various loopholes and tax breaks does not qualify as serious,) I think they will find an audience. But that seems a long way off from happening right now, which is a shame.

  24. I already threw all my wet blankets on the other thread. I have no more bedding to hoist on this one.

    *shakes monkey fist at Scalzi*

  25. @bigborg – Sadly there are more people who believe that tripe (the Obama is a Muslim, Obama isn’t American, etc.) than you would imagine. I just recently ended several friendships because these people who I thought of as intelligent and educated and reasonable tried to convince me that Obama has a “hidden agenda” to destroy America and hand it over to the Middle East, that he is the fulfillment of the prophecy of the end times, and that in the next 4 years America will fall into ruin. And I emphasize that these are not religious fringe folks.These are college educated, otherwise intelligent people who I used to respect greatly. That’s what scares me the most about the other sides response to the election – the fringe lunatics have become mainstream.

  26. 5. Don’t think the GOP is stupid. Yes, it got its ass handed to it by Obama’s high-tech/low-tech combo of exhaustive quant analysis and field operatives knocking on doors. That’s going to work once.

    Actually, it worked twice. I’m not expecting that the GOP is just going to roll over and play dead, but they have a significant amount of introspection coming, and a relative unwillingness to perform it. We should be ready for them, but I don’t think they’ll be the ferocious fighters of the 80s and 90s.

  27. “That’s going to work once.”

    Well, twice, really — since that’s pretty much the same organizational structure the campaign also rolled out in 2008, against an equally-clueless opponent (mocking Community Organizing looks a bit ironic now, doesn’t it?).

  28. Hey, around this time 2004, did you think the dude just elected as the junior senator from Illinois would be president?

    Actually, yes. He became a huge national celebrity because of the 2004 Democratic Convention, and the “first black President” buzz had already started. That it’d be as early as 2008 was a surprise; people were more often talking about him maybe being a VP nominee as preparation for a Presidential run in 2012, 2016 or 2020.

  29. I think liberals should enjoy it while they can; there’s electing, and then there’s governing, which is a whole different proposition. I think the idea that all the GOP has to do is convince Hispanics they are pro-immigration and the Latino dam will burst is an over-simplfication. There have been several amnesties and mini-amnesties in the past 25 years, many of them sponsored by Republicans. Another amnesty would simply franchise millions more voters who would reliably vote Democrat. What would be different about an upcoming amnesty that would break that cycle? If you look at Europe, minority groups there vote for the more-leftist parties by significant margins also. That kind of across-the-board evidence says to me there is nothing the Republicans can do to attract minorities in any large or permanent swings. Absent the GOP turning into DemLite, and somehow convincing folks that voting for the imitation is better than the genuine article (remember New Coke?), Hispanics will probably vote Democrat in the proportions that they do so now, +/- (at most)~7-8% depending on particular circumstances. Given that things are still fairly finely balanced, that may be enough to swing an election or two now, but not in 20 years or so. It’s true that Hispanics are more conservative on some social issues than other Democratic groups, but there’s a big difference between a yes/no ballot question like Prop 8 in CA a few years ago, and a general election where you vote for some guy based on… whatever you think is important; for Hispanics, clearly social issues matter less than economic ones when voting to put someone in a seat. So to reliably attract Hispanics, I think the GOP would have to change its economic platform, not its social one, and then we are back to DemLite again.

  30. I don’t want to poke wounded conservatives. I still remember what it felt like after John Kerry lost in 2004. Some of us had been so sure he would win, and it was really depressing and crushing to face another four years of George W. Bush. I imagine those who wanted Romney to win and felt sure he would have been feeling similarly. I reserve my feelings of schadenfreude for people who were truly nasty about Obama and Democrats. I think most who voted for Romney were people of good will, and I sympathize with their feelings of loss and bewilderment.

  31. Again, good points. Nothing is decided except the Presidential package really. Very true. The big question though is whether the GOP can return to a more moderate middle ground as they have in the past, rather than this fundamentalist-christian-jihad-stuff now. If they can, then they really could take the Hispanic vote.

    Another thing to ponder is just who those Hispanic Americans are. Mexican-Americans hail from a motherland where autonomy, equality and separation of church and state is seen as liberal. Federalism, social hierarchy and church with state are seen as conservative. The concept of freedom is usually linked with autonomy and therefore linked with the liberal package. Things like this become less important as generations become further removed from their ethnic roots. With steady Mexican immigration, however, the dissipation of more traditional ‘old country’ sentiments can linger on for longer than expected. By 2050 Hispanics will account for a third of the USA’s population.

  32. I would also add that the GOP did quite well in the states. 25 states are now GOP controlled (i.e. both legislatures and governors), and roughly 29 have Republican governors. ( See State Scape 2012 ) Since many of the GOP’s initiatives on gay rights, reproductive rights, labor laws, and education, are coming out of state governments rather than the federal government, I think we liberals may be a bit premature in celebrating the 2012 election results.

  33. Another amnesty would simply franchise millions more voters who would reliably vote Democrat

    44% of Hispanics voted for George W. Bush in 2004. But you just go ahead with your own interpretation. It’ll make 2016 much easier for the Dems.

  34. I think the key point is three. While I generally think the current administration has the right idea, something like the Fiscal Cliff Disaster could well plunge us back into a recession. (The CBO said 9.1% unemployment should we go over the fiscal edge and fall into the fiscal abyss.) The EU continues to look a bit shaky and who knows what treats our new and improved environment has in store for next year.

    So if something does go wrong, 2014 would probably look a lot like the 2010 mid-terms and with a lame duck president, nothing gets done in the next two years as everyone ramps up to take back the White House in 2016.

  35. Concerning unseemly gloating: I don’t know how many times I have read various versions of the “that’s why you libs always lose” gloat over the past 32 years. Often, quite soon after Democrats had won an election. It seems to me there’s a Gloat Gap, and I don’t mind seeing some modest efforts to narrow it.

    Governing for the next couple of years is going to be difficult, because, vote-wise, not much has changed. Republicans have the House and will be gerrymandered in at least until the next massive wave election. I saw 2012 mostly as a holding action, and not getting crushed in 2014 will take some combination of a more favorable economic situation and better organization than in 2010, neither of which is guaranteed.

    But I think the long-term demographic trends really are in favor of a more progressive and more inclusive US political scene, and this is a good thing to recognize. The name of the dominant party is a subsidiary issue.

  36. …All that said: Elizabeth Warren in the Senate? Same-sex marriage approved by referendum in three states? A gridlock-busting Democratic supermajority in California? Those are tremendous wins, and individually go well beyond “more of the same”.

  37. I hear and understand the message, and I certainly don’t want to get cocky about gay rights, but the joy of this election isn’t going to go away any time quickly. It’s very, very hard not to read this election as representing a sea-change on gay rights: gay marriage won at the ballot box.

  38. Peggy Noonan on November 4, 2004: “I do not know what the Democratic Party spent, in toto, on the 2004 election, but what they seem to have gotten for it is Barack Obama. Let us savor.”

    Re-reading Noonan’s column at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122460651917154585.html makes me think another week or so of schadenfreude might be in order.

    (Of course not only did that Senate election get us Barack Obama, it also gave us the precise value of the crazification factor.)

  39. @coo1b1ue 9.55 am:

    Then there is the defense side of things. As far as I’m concerned, a bigger force, not a smaller force is required.

    Serious questions: Are you aware that as of 2012, the USA has 41% of the world’s total defence spending? And that this is almost 5 times higher than China, and 100 times higher than Iran? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

    What exactly is this “bigger force” supposed to do?

  40. Personally, I’m waiting for the “A Couple of Quick and Final Post-Election Notes to People Who are Waiting for Partisan Bickering to End” post. It should be better reading and have a larger audience than the last two posts.

  41. Except A) Senator Kerry may join the President’s cabinet thus opening another Senate run for a still popular Scott Brown and B) California has huge deficit that they may not be able to cover. It really all depends on the results. To add a little scare, based on past elections the GOP only really needs 40%-45% of the Hispanic vote to be competitive.

  42. Talisker: we don’t the full extent of the Crab People’s strength yet. We might need all those American military increases plus better international cooperation as well.

  43. Re: schadenfreude — I swear I’m trying, but it’s really hard to crank back my sincere joy that popular racism did not take down the current administration, that misogyny is not a winning electoral strategy, and that some of the most impressive women I’ve seen in years will be in public service.

  44. Also related to point 4, the New Yorker just published an article on the Texas GOP and their efforts to reach out to Hispanics. Link here.

    Interesting quote:

    “If Republicans do not do better in the Hispanic community,” [Ted Cruz] said, “in a few short years Republicans will no longer be the majority party in our state.” He ticked off some statistics: in 2004, George W. Bush won forty-four per cent of the Hispanic vote nationally; in 2008, John McCain won just thirty-one per cent. On Tuesday, Romney fared even worse.

    “In not too many years, Texas could switch from being all Republican to all Democrat,” he said. “If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House. New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat. If Texas turns bright blue, the Electoral College math is simple. We won’t be talking about Ohio, we won’t be talking about Florida or Virginia, because it won’t matter. If Texas is bright blue, you can’t get to two-seventy electoral votes. The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party. Our kids and grandkids would study how this used to be a national political party. ‘They had Conventions, they nominated Presidential candidates. They don’t exist anymore.’ ”

  45. Let’s just pause to note that this set of feedback notes, while equally valid, is stimulating a lot less rancor than yesterday’s feedback. In that respect, it’s almost the anti-thesis of the “I Hate Your Politics” where Scalzi got the others right and missed the ball on their own. In this case, your notes to the Liberals deserve to be well received and taken under advisement. Meanwhile, the right wing bubble/echo chamber continues to get their knickers in a knot at the suggestion that there could be something wrong with what they’re doing.

  46. Paul Weimer, I think you are asking a good question. Why are so many people so completely convinced that the country is on the wrong path?

  47. I dunno. It feels like theres a fundamental difference here.

    Back when Kerry lost to Bush Jr, the dems were saying the nation was going to go down the toilet. And it did exactly that.

    Today, with Romney losing to Obama, the repubs and libertarians are saying the nation is going right down the toilet. Hell, Billy Quiets will tell you its been going down the toilet for the last 4 years based on unemployment and housing starts. But, you know, those actual numbers have improved over the last 4 years. So, I’m kinda thinking they’re wrong.

    I don’t feel all that motivated around handing out schadenfreude pie, its more like I’m a big fan of reality.

    I think its perfectly legitimate to point at a Birther and laugh, not because, mmmm pie, but because the guy is wrong. I see little reason to shove anything resembling “Yay! My guy won!” in the faces of people who voted for Romney. I don’t think this election gave Obama a “mandate” of any kind really. But when people say with Obama reelected unemployment is going to continue going up like it has been the last 4 years, someone really needs to point out the facts.

  48. The Republican Party’s “Latino problem” (to quote Charles Krauthammer) is not that they’re pursuing “illegals.” It’s that they’re supporting laws and spouting rhetoric that presume every Latino is illegal until proven otherwise. Classic example: I pointed out to a right wing acquaintance that Romney was polling badly among Latinos. The IMMEDIATE response was “how many of the people polled were illegals and felons?” That’s a deep seated bigotry that’s not going to go away.

  49. Billy: I think you are asking a good question. Why are so many people so completely convinced that the country is on the wrong path?

    And why are even more saying its on the right path?

  50. I don’t see “If the Republicans stop fighting marriage equality, more gays will vote Republican” as a cautionary note for Democrats. I see it as a victory.

  51. @ The Pint at 10:25 am

    (remember, the Lilly Ledbetter Act was never actually *ENACTED* because while it passed in House, it failed to pass the Senate)

    Er – the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was defeated in the Senate the first time it was proposed (110th Congress) – it passed both Houses in 2009 (111th Congress), and it was the first act Obama signed into law.

    Still, point taken that it’s alarming that these issues are still being fought in the legislature…

  52. Greg, You are so sadly mistaken. Unemployment is higher than when Obama took office. Virtually every home in America is worth over 20% LESS than it was worth when Obama took office. If you add all the people that have quit looking for work into the equation unemployment would be around 15%.

    47 million people are on food stamps.

    The economy IS in the toilet. Jesus dude, you can act like it’s all tea and roses if you want, but you’re not going to sell it to all the people who are struggling.

  53. Herman Cain is urging the Tea Party to break off from the GOP and form a third party. I am 1000 percent in favor of this idea. A Republican party free of the far right would be able to become fiscally conservative and socially liberal, non-bigoted and pro-science, and that would be a hard combination to beat.

  54. ” is not that they’re pursuing “illegals.” It’s that they’re supporting laws and spouting rhetoric that presume every Latino is illegal until proven otherwise. ”

    This. And that every poor person is a mooch who just wants the government to give them things (or who didn’t try hard enough to succeed, or both). And that every woman who wants her insurance to cover her birth-control is a nympho slut who can’t keep her legs together and will murder babies if she has the chance. And on and on and on.

  55. “Nothing’s been decided but who was elected president” pretty strongly undersells the other aspects of this election, I think. I’m all in favor of dialing back the gloating. Hell, I’da been happy if it had never happened – there was so much to just CELEBRATE in this election, why bother to sneer at anyone else? Just enjoy the cultural shifts.

    Like having moved from being a country that passed constitutional amendments limiting marriage to a man & a woman to being one that rejects a challenge to marriage equality in one state and affirmatively extends it to everyone in three others. Or how big an impact being a bozo about women’s issues had on several elections. That’s a great change in a 20 year period, and I think if you don’t include that in the things that were decided in this election then you’re overlooking a lot.

    I’d be delighted if this serves as a wake-up call for the Republican party and they question the wisdom of the cultural position they take up, but I’m not sure it’s in them or that they can do it to the extent that it’ll catch them enough votes. On actual governance history I wouldn’t have been horridly unhappy with President Romney. But with the House as its currently comprised I couldn’t have taken what he’d undoubtedly have passed by his desk.

    I think that aspect of the composition is going to be a problem for the party in the coming years; more sensible members are going to be judged by the caucus that they keep. It might take a miracle to detonate them out of control of the House, but in races where they have to represent an entire state of country I think the fringe – which they can’t just throw out – is going to make any growth a real challenge.

  56. @DAV1D: I guess it depends on whether you think 2004 or 2008/2012 is more typical going forward- I tried to hedge my bets with the fairly large range of percentages. For example, the GOP could run Rubio in 2016, and all other things being equal, he would probably do better for the Hispanic vote than, say, Bachmann or Santorum, probably back close to Bush levels. And then when he wasn’t on the ticket, the Hispanic vote would be back to where it was this last time around, or thereabouts.

  57. “Jesus dude, you can act like it’s all tea and roses if you want, but you’re not going to sell it to all the people who are struggling.”

    Apparently, they did.

  58. There was a thing on the news saying many Americans were also looking into immigrating to Canada after the election. Three things on that

    1) Was Obama’s last term so bad? What makes you think there will be a major change over the last four years?

    2) Canada has gun control, government healthcare, and legalized gay marriage

    3) don’t send your crazies here, we have enough of our own

  59. Andrea, I think it’s both.

    It’s a victory for gay people if Republicans stop fighting marriage equality, no doubt. Both because it means that marriage equality has arrived, and because it means that gay people are able to choose who to vote for based on something other than gay rights.

    But … it’s also a potential problem for Democrats. Because it means we’re living in a world where they can’t assume gay people will vote for them, and with elections this close, we’re not a negligible component of the electorate.

    Of course, we could end up in a world where gay marriage has arrived but Republicans continue to resist/oppose it, which would keep gay people in the arms of the Democratic party indefinitely.

  60. No ones’ going to Canada, no one’s going to secede, no one’s going to “go Galt.” And the country’s not going to collapse. This is just the usual right wing drama queenery.

  61. Can I mock conservatives who don’t get the big picture?

    I am seeing a bunch of conservatives come out of the woodwork on issues that might make them more attractive to voters who come from Spanish speaking background and changing their minds on things like comprehensive immigration reform. But those same people are not also changing their positions on other stances like the ones that hurt other minorities and women. So it seems like they are just going to try and pick one to help their chances and ignore the others. And by doing that, they ignore the point entirely.

    Now, I agree with you that we shouldn’t be spending a lot of our time gloating. That is not going to help with what we need, and that is both sides coming together to get the work done of the American people. If, in two years, the Conservatives refuse to do so, the Democrats will just get more gains in the House and Senate as the electorate gets younger and less white.

  62. @Billy Quiets – by only 0.1 percentage point. The uptick and downtick under Obama’s guidance almost exactly echoes Reagan’s arc to the unemployment rate between 1981-1984. And as far as my research and memory shows, Reagan didn’t have such an obstructivist House.

  63. @Private Iron: With sufficient application of melted butter, I am confident that the Crab People can be defeated.

    Oh, and to put things in perspective, Iran’s military spending ranks just behind Greece and slightly ahead of Norway. Whatever strategic problems the USA may face with regard to Iran, I don’t think that throwing more money at the Pentagon will help.

  64. Unemployment is higher than when Obama took office

    Cute cherry-picking there, BQ. Unemployment in January 2009 was 7.8%, .1 % lower than it is now. It was 8.3% in February 2009, ten days after Obama took office. I assume it’s your contention that those 10 days of Obama’s policy caused the economy to tank so badly? It was 8.7% in March 2009. I assume it’s your contention that those ~40 days of Obama’s policy caused the economy to tank so badly? And so on.

    http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000

  65. *snf* but… Can I still have schadenfreude related to people who insist the economy is in the toilet *because* of Obama, when I and most of the lower-middle-class folks I know are vastly better off with him than we were with Bush?

  66. I guess it depends on whether you think 2004 or 2008/2012 is more typical going forward

    No, it doesn’t. My point was that it is perfectly possible for the Republicans to pull a substantial number of Hispanic votes with the right appeals. There’s nothing magical holding Hispanics to the Democratic party except that 1) they like Democratic policies and 2) they don’t like Republican ones. If 2 changes, the GOP could do what Bush did in 2004.

    Yay @DAV1D!

    Aww. Thanks.

  67. Luminous Flux, (what a cool name btw) Reagan had Tip O’neal to contend with. He was quite a bit tougher than John “Cry me a river” Boehner.

    As for the unemployment being only slightly worse than when Obama took office. It was supposed to get BETTER wasn’t it? It was supposed to be around 5% by now according to Obama. But whatever.

    And yes Greg, I think it’s going to get worse. After the first of the year, when the seasonal retail hiring is over and all the consequences of Obamacare hit, I think it will go back up over 8%, maybe even over 9%.

  68. You know, Billy, pretty much everybody who’s reality-based remembers that the economy was in Bush’s free-fall when Obama took office, so we know that counting from that point is deeply dishonest. Most of us also know how much of what’s holding us back from a stronger recovery is the House Repub’s multi-year pouty tantrum about Obama.

    So, you know, maybe you should try to find a different tack.

  69. @Billy Quiets – Thanks for the compliment! As for Tip? Nah, O’Neal was nothing imo. He *wanted* things to get better. Boehner and McConnell don’t. They specifically said the words that their main thrust was to make Obama a one-term president.

    And Reagan made the same kinds of promises after Carter. To me, it makes no sense to be scathing to Obama when everyone lauds Reagan for doing almost the same thing.

  70. And note that Hispanic voters tend to be more culturally conservative than other Democratic voters on things like abortion, so don’t get 1) cocky, or 2) comfortable.

    Always good advice. However, voters have long memories. “Culturally conservative” goes out the window when someone strikes at something so essential as your race or ethnicity. I don’t think that’s going to go away for a generation or so.

  71. Re @DAV1D’s comment about the Hispanic vote, it is a *grave* mistake to think that this is a grand voting bloc most of the time. Significant numbers of Latino voters voted for Bush. I sometimes wonder whether Obama would have gotten such a groundswell if it wasn’t for Jan Brewer.

  72. Bearpaw, Will it still be Bush’s fault the next time around too? Obama had everything for the first two years. House, Senate, Executive. How did the Republicans screw things up then?

  73. People seem to have short memories. I can understand young people not remembering this, but anyone over 35 should remember the 2000 election. Liberals went far crazier about the losses in 2000 and 2004 than conservatives are getting over the loss in the last 2 elections. I remember alot of liberals going ‘this isn’t my country anymore’.

    These things go back and forth. When you have 2 parties they tend to morph with the times. I stand by my statement that swing voters get tired of seeing the same party in power after a while and the other party wins in large part because they want to see a new face. Generally speaking the party not in the white house picks up alot of congressional seats in the 6th year of a presidency. Obama basically has 2 years to get things done. Very little gets done in the last 2 years of a presidency.

    I also think Obama’s election puts the black vote in play for Republicans by 2020. With 97% voting democratic there is alot of room to pick up votes. The real question is are the republicans smart enough to go into black neighborhoods and try to convince people that there economic vision is better than Democrats. It will be slow and take a long time, but its hard to believe that if Republicans actually try to win black votes that 97% of black people all want a bigger government. Its just too high of a percent. I think the NRA has a in as well since there is a higher rate of gun ownership amongst black people than white people. Again they have not been smart enough to actually go to these neighborhoods and try to get black people to join.

    Now the hispanic vote is a different story. Historically Republicans have gotten 35-40% of the hispanic vote. This went down with the illegal immigration issue. I think Republicans have again been stupid with how they play this issue. The argument should not be ‘rule of law’ which sounds esoteric and can be interpreted as ‘you don’t want brown people here’. The argument should be ‘this subsidizes wealthy white business owners by flooding the market with cheap labor. This lowers your wages and leads to higher taxes’. This is a valid argument. Considering that hispanics on average are more predominantly in lower skill jobs. These are the same jobs they are competing against illegal immigrants for. I actually think you can limit illegal immigration by raising minimum wage and enforcing employment laws. Punish the employers for not paying social security on all workers. For day laborers to be w-2 workers. If you raise the cost of hiring illegal immigrants to the point where it is on par with hiring legal residents you reduce the demand. The only reason business owners want illegal immigrants is so they can lower wages. This leads the tax payer to have to subsidize their low wages with higher taxes to have to pay for education and medical care. Since employers pay such low wages illegals don’t pay much in the way of taxes.

    All of this depends on whether Republicans get a brain. Odds are they will. Losing tends to lead to introspection.

  74. @DAV1D: OK, your point makes sense. But what would those appeals have to be? What I’m seeing is the contention that the GOP just has to change their immigration stance, and maybe tweak things on the social front and a wave of Hispanic voters will respond. My contention is that the change would have to be on economic policy before you would reliably capture Hispanic votes. Or, to ask the question another way: Why do Hispanics vote solidly Democratic? I’m just not sure that changing immigration stance and tweaking social policy would be enough. We believe we know Hispanics are more conservative on social issues than some other groups- the vote on Prop 8 in CA shows that, I think. The fact that you see a different split in legislative and executive contests suggests that other factors trump social ones for Hispanics. I’m not saying the GOP shouldn’t re-examine its stance on social issues- it should. What I’m saying is if they hope to reliably capture enough of the Hispanic vote to give their candidates a chance in the future, they need to do more. Preferably starting with a re-take of 10th grade sex-ed for all prospective candidates at the state and national levels (although they probably do it differently these days- I’m showing my age here)

  75. @Billy Quiets:
    “Will it still be Bush’s fault the next time around too? Obama had everything for the first two years. House, Senate, Executive. How did the Republicans screw things up then?”

    If you look at the employment numbers from 1981-1984 as compared to 2009-2012, the stats show Obama seemed to keep things from getting as awful as they were in 1982, when we had 9 straight months of double-digit unemployment, peaking at 10.8%.

  76. Don’t get 1) cocky, or 2) comfortable.

    Just saying.

    Republicans not only need to change their stated policies, they have to change their implementation. And they have to do it for quite some time, to SHOW that they mean what they say. They have to overcome their known history, and it’s not just going to be in immigration, but it’ll have to be in things like support of education and helping the poor, which are underappreciated by most people.

    There’s a fairly lengthy history of hostility towards Hispanics by Republicans. That’s not going to change overnight–like I said, people have memories.

  77. All good points. Schadenfreude is fun and all, but it’s time to get back to work.

    Here’s a safe prediction: sooner or later, we’re going to have another Republican in the White House. Probably sooner, because you have to go back to FDR/Truman to find a stretch when Democrats held the presidency for more than 8 years. To me, the issue before us is not how to keep the Republicans out of the White House forever, but how to ensure that when they do return to it, they do so as a party of moderates/conservatives, and not as the howling pack of crackpots they are now. I’m a Democrat, but I’ve thought frequently about registering as a Republican to help this change come about, because I don’t think the GOP is going to get out of the box its in without some outside assistance. I keep hoping they have an epiphany, but what I see instead is their irresistible urge to double down on the derp.

  78. @GUESS > All of this depends on whether Republicans get a brain. Odds are they will. Losing tends to lead to introspection.

    I’m also hoping that this election helps the Democrats to find their balls (internal or external) and start calling BS on the Republican strategy of victimization, obstructionism, and fearmongering. As long as that stuff works, they’ll keep doing it.

    Fox News is the worst thing to happen to the Republican party. It’s hard to have a constructive dialogue with someone when they think you’re Hitler and the Anti-Christ combined.

  79. The duration of schadenfreude is up to the Republicans. As long as they are wounded, whiny, and in shock about the result, pointing and laughing is the morally correct response, in a way that letting them feel comfort is not. If I were looking into the future, I would guess that some Republican leaders will figure out that cosseting the crazies is the main reason they lost, and when they start distancing themselves from the extremists, some people will stop holding them accountable for the statements of the crazies. Specifically they really need to stop pandering to the racists and sexists. I heard Herman Cain say the way to go is to start a yet-more-conservative third party because the current Republican party failed them; if that gets any traction in the new year, well, that would make Democrats smile every day.

    Setting policy aside, I would guess some Republicans want to win future elections, so they might figure out more effective tactics. Though I find it interesting that Democrats have actually won the popular vote five of the last six presidential elections. Obviously candidates and policies matter and I wouldn’t take things for granted, but the demographic trends are positive. As for the Republican majority in the House of Commons, one must note that Democrats won the popular vote for the House. I sense court action in the future to ensure more equal representation in some states.

    On your point #5, I would disagree. The GOP is stupid, at least today. Two words, “unskewed polls”. Or “epistemic bubble” or “Karl Rove”. What is interesting is that Republican delusion prevented them from looking at how their policies weren’t working; by overstating the size of their base, they played to that base and kept moving away from the center that might hypothetically have helped elect their candidate. I read about the failure of the Orca poll-tracking system; it was pretty entertaining. They have elevated self-delusion to not just ideology but even a litmus test to be nominated, so it’s going to take them time to get past this.

    In the short term, I would not suggest letting down the guard against the conservatives. Obama tried compromise in the past; Republican House and Senate leaders strung him along and then made more demands when the White House accepted their initial proposals; it was all about wasting time, posturing for the base, and most especially accomplishing as little as possible, at the intentional expense of the nation’s interest. If Republicans want to accomplish anything in a bipartisan way, it’s up to them to demonstrate some good faith. Being nice for the sake of being nice is a natural instinct, but it hasn’t worked with those people in the past.

    I wouldn’t say I’m “delighted” that Obama was elected, but I’m very relieved that Romney was not. We won’t see the kind of Republican fiscal craziness of tax cuts and spending increases that we saw with Reagan, Bush, and Bush; there may be a budget compromise regarding the “fiscal cliff”, but it should based much more on facts than faith. This election should mostly prevent efforts to encode rape culture into the rule of law. We probably won’t see a Bush-doctrine preemptive strike against Iran or a unilateral invasion of Syria. I don’t know how much good the President can do with a Republican majority in the House, but at least he won’t initiate some of the worst things that might have happened.

  80. But what would those appeals have to be?

    I pointed out earlier that Hispanics tend to be more culturally conservative than the average voter, and that appeals to that, as well as on immigration, would likely shift a fair number of Hispanics into the Republican camp. It worked in 2004 and there’s no reason why it couldn’t work again.

    There’s an awful lot of confidence in this thread about how enduring Obama’s coalition is, and I’m suggesting very strongly that we shouldn’t be that confident. Karl Rove thought he was creating an enduring Republican majority in 2004, and now he’s a laughing-stock. Don’t be Karl Rove.

    (The best hope for the Obama coalition being an enduring majority is that people like Billy Quiets with his studied refusal to acknowledge reality remain in control of the GOP)

  81. @occula: not only that, but his name is Jack Ryan. Yeah. Not that he was a shoo-in, anyway, given that he was a retired Goldman Sachs investment banker that had taught at an inner-city school for a couple of years in an effort to prove that he cared about people, but in general the revealed divorce documents probably lost him the Trekkie vote. But Illinois has it’s own particular brand of political weirdness, anyway; the last two governors (one Democrat, one Republican) prior to the current one are both in jail at the moment, and Jesse Jackson Jr. got re-elected despite both being under investigation and having been hospitalized for depression. At least we got rid of Joe “Not the Rock Star” Walsh.

  82. Whenever someone talks about how such-and-such group of Democratic voters is so “culturally conservative”, I think of my mother. White, middle class suburbanite, pro-life, devout Catholic, VERY uncomfortable with LGBT issues. Supported school voucher programs. If you only look at demographics, she’s practically the platonic ideal of a “social conservative” – and she’s been voting Democratic for 55 years. She says that every time she contemplates voting Republican they do or say something over the top stupid and she finds that she just can’t.

    People have a multitude of reasons for how and why they vote, including habit and inertia. “Hispanics are socially conservative” is far to simplistic a way to look at the political orientation of the fastest growing segment of our population.

  83. > I also think Obama’s election puts the black vote in play for Republicans by 2020

    I don’t understand this. Can you explain how you get there?

  84. Billy: Greg, You are so sadly mistaken. Unemployment is higher than when Obama took office.

    Ah, no. You made that bet over here and already lost. Unemployment peaked in 2009 and has been going down ever since. Slowly, but going down. You also complained about the housing starts, but in the link, I point to a URL that reports housing starts are the highest they’ve been in 4 years.

    Highest in 4 years.

    A black Democrat is president and you don’t like it. So you’ve been telling fictions about what’s been happening the last 4 years, and you’ve been playing “lets pretend” with whats going to happen the next 4 years, and you’ve been playing “I don’t even remember” when anyone points out the effects of Bush Jr being in office.

    And then you tried to play argumentum ad numerum here: Why are so many people so completely convinced that the country is on the wrong path?. Even more people voted for Obama, but you don’t acknowledge them. If the number of poeple who vote for an idea is proof the idea is right, then you would look at Obama winning the election and say he must be right. But you don’t even do that. You play “lets pretend” again, focusing on the number of votes FOR Romney trying to say Romney must be right, while simultaneously ignoring the number of votes FOR Obama.

    Even in your own argument, you’re ignoring reality. If numbers indicate correctness, then Obama is correct.

    Oh well. If you’re willing to take one of the wagers I proposed, lets hear it. You lost the first one, so maybe we could do the second one? What was it you said again???? Oh yes, here it is:

    The government never does anything better or cheaper than the free market

    Would you like to bet on your statement actually being true? I would be willing to wager that its nothing more than another right wing mythology from the non-reality zone. So, if you stand behind your statement as reality-based truth, let me know.

  85. With regards to the Hispanic vote and the GOP.

    Jeb Bush does quite well in the Hispanic community. He’s lived in Latin America, he speaks fluent Spanish, and he’s married to Columba Garnica Gallo, a naturalized American citizen of Mexican birth. Jeb Bush is one of the leading GOP candidates for 2016.

    George Prescott Bush, Jeb’s son, *is* Hispanic. And he’s just launched his political career. And he spent 6 months deployed in Afghanistan.

    The Bush dynasty is locked and loaded. If they can wrest control back from the Tea Party lunatic fringe.

    reinharden

    PS: Political trivia: When’s the last time the GOP run the presidential election without a Bush or Nixon on the ticket (as either President or Vice-President)? Considering that there’s anecdotal evidence that Prescott Bush actually launched Nixon’s career — the Bush’s have had tremendous political influence for quite a while.

  86. “Hispanics are socially conservative” is far to simplistic a way to look at the political orientation of the fastest growing segment of our population.

    Oh ye Gods. The political science research on the voting of Hispanics fills thousands of journal articles and hundreds of books. Rather than working through all that, and then discussing Cuban-Americans in Florida, Mexican-Americans in the west, and each breakdown, I’ve been using a bit of shorthand and a fair number of weasel words. Hispanic-Americans on average tend to be more culturally conservative than do the median voter. People who on average tend to be more culturally conservative than the median voter tend to vote Republican more often than those who aren’t. As a result, it would not be a shock if the Hispanic vote shifted the GOP’s way in the future, nor should there be the rock-solid assumption that the Hispanic vote will always go the Democratic way.

    I’m happy that your mother has voted Democratic, but that tells us about the voting behavior of your mother and no one else’s.

  87. If giving the wealthiest Americans tax cuts creates jobs, why weren’t the wealthiest Americans out there creating jobs over the past 4 years while the Bush tax cuts were still in effect? For that matter, how many jobs could have been created with the $1B Rove and his cronies spent trying to defeat Obama. The myth that cutting taxes will magically provide jobs and improve the economy has had its day, under Reagan and Bush. Didn’t happen. They are not interested in creating jobs or improving the economy. They are interested in power. To truly fix the economy will take time and a slow, steady recovery will last longer than one that takes place overnight. The economy is improving, and when he wasn’t pandering to the far right of his party, Romney bragged about how much Romneycare (the basis of Obamacare) saved the people of Massachusetts and reduced government costs for Medicaid. There is room for middle ground on the economy, but the Republicans in Congress have to be willing to work for the people, not play politics. I don’t like the fact that we have paid a bunch of Congressmen $180k per year to sit on their butts and refuse to do the nation’s business for the past 4 years in the hope that the economy would be the lever to take back the Presidency.

  88. The winners always gloat. Many of them always get downright abusive of the losers. The losers always complain and turn every wild rumor into proof of vote fraud by the winners. Idiot newspaper political columnists always write reasonable-sounding columns about whether this might be the death knell for the losing party. If they would both learn to care about the country instead of just worrying about getting/staying in power, the country would be far better off. And yes, Democrats do this. And yes, Republicans do this. To claim otherwise is to prove you aren’t paying attention.

  89. Re: the Ledbetter Act – I stand corrected and thanks for that (this is what I get for posting before the first cup of coffee has kicked in and I’m trying to distract myself from deadlines kicking me in the ass when I’d rather be more absorbed in interesting discussions in the internet).

    I hope that the somewhat garbled point I was trying to make about not resting on one’s laurels and the ludicrous fact that it’s 2012 and we’re still having to argue for things like equal pay for equal work, equal marriage rights and right to bodily autonomy *every FRAKKING election cycle* came still came through. Because John’s piece has a lot of good criticisms for Democrats and progressives that we really ought to be thinking about once the basking in the glow of victory is over (and seriously, it’s been a week, time to get back to work because you know the GOP strategists were getting right to it the second the returns came in and it was apparent Romney was not going to the White House come January and there are mid-term elections coming up next).

  90. Matt: All that said: Elizabeth Warren in the Senate?

    and Alan Grayson got back into Congress. Alan “The republican health care plan: Don’t get sick and if you get sick, die quickly” Grayson. Love that guy.

  91. Obama had everything for the first two years. House, Senate, Executive. How did the Republicans screw things up then?

    Actually, it was 7 months, from Al Franken being sworn in (July 2009) until Scott Brown did the same (January 2010), much of which was spent dealing with parliamentary procedural motions around Obamacare.

  92. I don’t feel either of those things. I do feel relief, that we’ve achieved another four-year reprieve from the insane ones. But that it happened only because of such long range planning and strategy, enormous amounts of financing, and endless endless endless work, and still the popular vote was that thin a margin — and the (R’s)’s candidate was such a lousy one — that is terrifying.

    Boots on the ground for ground game even more essential, and essential right now.

    Here, by the way, some of the first volunteer responders for aid and assistance — and who know how to do it — were the Occupy people. Yes, we have Occupy Sandy, and they’re doing a great job.

    Love, C.

  93. I don’t think there’s been any real schadenfreude, not here at Whatever, anyway; what has been going on with the liberal commenters is that the right-wingers have shown up engaged in a desperate attempt to fling as much bullshit at the wall as they can in the hopes that they can make at least some of it stick, and are being quite reasonably – and, admittedly, enthusiastically – countered with a well-maintained stock of cleaning supplies and sanitizing equipment. Seeing a nice clean establishment instead of the festering pile of shit they tried to turn it into is just making them more angry, causing even some of the semi-civil ones to crack their facade and start shrieking about sex.

    And that’s not going to change. The divide here is between a side who, for all their differences and quirks and outright flaws, acknowledges reality and tries to approach both the world and other people from that acknowledgement, and the other side who, for all their attempts to couch their arguments in a civil tone, believes that reality is whatever conforms to their worldview and anything else is A.) a liberal/socialist/communist/nazi/gay/Kenyan/feminist/atheist/Martian/WTF conspiracy against “real Americans”, or B.) just stupid and immature, if they’re feeling friendly and charitable.

    This will run out of steam. ad the volume will go down, but they aren’t going to go away, and they probably aren’t going to change.

  94. Billy, you need to read the actual financial newspapers. Folks like BARRON’S, reactionary though their editorial policies are, are constantly (albeit begrudgingly) reporting the same thing us peasants were able to see clearly from the ground level: things got better under Obama, despite an obstructionist Congress (some of those “Democrats” of the 2009-2010 “majorities” were nominal Dems only, and consistently voted the corporatist party line).

    Romney promised that once he fired that damned colored mechanic, he’d gun the engine and roar away, using the same 19th-century road map that left the national economy stuck at the bottom of a ditch while the rich guys threw rocks at anybody who tried to fix it.

    And we believe he would have.

  95. @Kara — “Latinos and Hispanics as a culture …”

    There is not ‘A’ latino and hispanic culture. There is an enormous diversity among Spanish language heritage folks from the former Spanish New World empire. Many of them even were living within what became the continental U.S. long before the U.S. took it from Mexico in the 1840’s. They don’t speak Spanish the same way, they don’t worship the same way (and by now, in South America, more of them are becoming Mormon, pentacostal and evangelical all the time — and that doesn’t prevent them from continue to practice African diaspora religions anymore than attending mass did or does). They have various forms of music and dances — though generally all of them have popular dances and music based on the old Cuban derived bamboula or ‘habanera’ rhythm — which is one of the few pan-latin cultural elements you will find, along with African underpinnings and infusions in their culture — just as in the U.S.

    And they aren’t as conservative on gay marriage and so on as you might think. At least judging by our variety of friends who were born into Spanish speaking cultures throughout the U.S., the Caribbean and South America.

    This is why in this area I don’t have much faith that the (R’s) will have much success in their “reaching out.” They can’t comprehend that this isn’t a single block. Anymore than they could comprehend that a latina could be qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.

    Love, C.

  96. By the way, the long line in which I waited to vote last week included a huge number of latin voters, particularly latina voters. There was no doubt who they were voting for — and yes, I spoke with a lot of them. The thing that everyone seems to forget, including Dems, when speaking of this issue (except the host because he knows better personally) that latinos are at least 50% latino. They know when they are hated for their sex as well as their heritage. They took what the (R’s) said about Sonya Sotomayor personally, and they did not foget either.

    Love, C.

  97. Billy Quiets:

    Yes, the beginning of the Great Recession will always be Bush’s fault. It’s not *only* his fault of course — Repubs and Blue Dog Dems also had large roles in it, and in slowing down the recovery. But it will always be Bush’s fault.

    Rewriting history doesn’t change what actually happened, you know.

  98. Foxessa, please see what @David wrote above:

    “Oh ye Gods. The political science research on the voting of Hispanics fills thousands of journal articles and hundreds of books. Rather than working through all that, and then discussing Cuban-Americans in Florida, Mexican-Americans in the west, and each breakdown, I’ve been using a bit of shorthand and a fair number of weasel words. Hispanic-Americans on average tend to be more culturally conservative than do the median voter. ”

    The same goes for me. I grew up in Europe, Asia, and then in Texas (the state of my birth). I have family (some of them Hispanic) who live in TX, NM, and AZ currently. I get that there’s not one single defining overall Hispanic Culture (tm pending). However there are cultural issues that (as David said above) in general, tend to resonate more with the Latino/Hispanic folks in the US and that are more in line with the GOP than the Dems (immigration issues aside).

    I think counting on immigrants and descendants of immigrants, and especially the Latino/Hispanic population to stay Dem is shortsighted.

    Also, just as a followup thought, to whoever it was that said their Catholic mom votes Dem even though she disagrees with most of their social platforms; historically Catholics have a tendency to vote Dem more than Republican. Up until the late 60s or early 70s, Catholics often swung 70% or more Democrat. Even today the Catholic vote tends to skew Dem, even if only by a few points, with a few small exceptions.

  99. The thing that everyone seems to forget, including Dems, when speaking of this issue (except the host because he knows better personally) that latinos are at least 50% latino. They know when they are hated for their sex as well as their heritage. They took what the (R’s) said about Sonya Sotomayor personally, and they did not foget either.

    Yeah, I dunno why people are ignoring this. People have long memories, and that kind of dissing is taken to heart by everyone in the Latino community—how could it not?

  100. What lots of others have said about #5: lots of Republicans really ARE stupid, willfully, when it comes to things quantitative. They MAY get somewhat better at crunching the numbers and letting that dictate tactics and strategy but I doubt they’ll get a LOT better. Same for using technology and quantitative analysis as applied to GOTV efforts.

    I agree with Bearpaw on #7: as soon as I saw Obama’s keynote address at the DNC in 2004, I thought he could become the POTUS. I was a little surprised he ran in 2008, but not surprised he beat Clinton in the primaries. For one of the few times in my life, I actually picked a winner at the start of the primary season.

    My hope is that even attempting to become sane on immigration and other social issues will drive the Tea Baggers to go, not Galt, but third party. Then so many people decrying the two party system in this country will see what often happens with multi-party systems: domination by the single strong party, especially true when your system doesn’t allow for coalition governments.

  101. In the meantime we voted our pocketbook. We’re HELL YES A LOT BETTER OFF AFTER FOUR YEARS OF OBAMA, whereas the bush-cheneys kept killing every damned thing we started making money doing. Not to mention the year we got hit with a tax bill that was more than half our income. We hit the final bottom about 8 months after Obama came in. It’s taken until this summer to have crawled out of that bush-cheney bottom.

    You cannot argue me out of the economic facts of my life, (R’s). :) We are far from the only ones in this situation.

    Of course, all of us are now clobbered one way and another by Hurricane Sandy. We personally lost in one way or another $6000 — evacuation expenses, lost stuff, lost work. And none of this can be compensated by fema or any other agency. So think of all of us in this situation, our $6000 being taken out of the regional economy (though the first week we got back I spent easily a $1000 in the neighborhood dealing with the aftermath, and eating in the local restaurants). This hits the people who give us work too, so I am all the more grateful that it is Obama in the White House and not the (R’s) because it would be so much worse. Moreover, we all recall up close and personal the miserable mess bush-cheney were here 9/11, not to mention Katrina. They never even showed up here until long after. So different from President Obama.

    May I just say that in this region we have a very large number of voters who come from Spanish speaking cultues and from a variety of Asian cultures? They remember all this too.

    Love, C.

  102. I read your political posts because you do a great job of explaining where you’re coming from. I don’t agree with most of your conclusions or opinions, but at least I understand how you got to where you are. I usually don’t reply if I can’t do so before about 25 replies, after that the the comment generally degenerates to polarization, and naysaying .

    I do want to thank you for posting this. It will be interesting to reevaluate this and its companion piece in four years, if possible.

  103. I haven’t engaged in Schadenfreude nor do I see any reason to do so. I have grown excessively tired of some relatives engaging in ridiculous shirt-tearing and mourning, but I haven’t called them on it. There isn’t much point or advantage to do so. When one relative claimed that she needed to be ‘consoled’ the day after the election…well, I left her to it. She is a Fox News-informed talking point repeater with deep-felt conservative Christian beliefs. I’m not going to try and change her mind and this isn’t a contest. I’m relieved that (IMHO) the sensible candidate won.

    It still depresses me to see such a deep divide between the electorate and such vitriol. I wish that the vast and sundry could engage in political discourse without such anger and bile; I know that I had some political beliefs reasonably challenged and changed in the past. My fundamental beliefs may not have changed, but on some topics I realized I was wrong. Am I so unique? Are we so ironclad in our thinking as a nation that there is no other course left to us?

  104. JD Rhodes wrote, “A Republican party free of the far right would be able to become fiscally conservative and socially liberal, non-bigoted and pro-science”

    I’m sitting here, desperately trying to find a way of responding to this that will get somewhere and won’t get Malleted. The Republican party you describe seems to be a vanishingly small group of what are called RINOs this season. I honestly can’t imagine what a socially liberal Republican would look like. Can you please explain more?

  105. A socially liberal Republican would be pro-business with anti-union bent. Not fanatically so, not trying to destroy unions, but definitely siding with management on almost all occasions. They would be pro-science and pro-education, especially as they would relate to present and future industry. They would be in favor of immigration, as it provides specialty workers and a surplus of general workers that would help to keep salaries down. They would favor civil rights and women’s rights and gay rights and voting rights, because helping people who might vote for you to be able to vote for you is a good idea. They would promote the dual ideas of keeping religion out of government and government out of religion, because either path is destructive to both institutions. They would prefer private charities to public entitlement programs, but only to the extent that it is reasonable, realizing that some crises are beyond local capacity and require a strong federal presence. And, they would go back to their strong central government roots and stop a pretended belief in the utterly failed theory of “states’ rights.”

  106. A socially liberal Republican would be pro-business with anti-union bent. Not fanatically so, not trying to destroy unions, but definitely siding with management on almost all occasions. They would be pro-science and pro-education, especially as they would relate to present and future industry. They would be in favor of immigration, as it provides specialty workers and a surplus of general workers that would help to keep salaries down. They would favor civil rights and women’s rights and gay rights and voting rights, because helping people who might vote for you to be able to vote for you is a good idea. They would promote the dual ideas of keeping religion out of government and government out of religion, because either path is destructive to both institutions. They would prefer private charities to public entitlement programs, but only to the extent that it is reasonable, realizing that some crises are beyond local capacity and require a strong federal presence. And, they would go back to their strong central government roots and stop a pretended belief in the utterly failed theory of “states’ rights.”

    Has such a creature ever really existed?

  107. “Has such a creature ever really existed?”

    I just draw up the blueprints; the elves do the building.

  108. Maybe for the benefit of the Republicans who are as appalled at the antics of their looney far right as the Democrats are, we should define what is meant by “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”. That might encourage more of them to openly break with the lockstep of the higher ups who are in bed with said dingalings. I suspect that at the local level, you will find more quiet RINOs than hard-core espousers of the Kenyan/Muslim/Socialist/Terrorist manifesto.

  109. J.D. Rhoades says:

    No ones’ going to Canada, no one’s going to secede, no one’s going to “go Galt.” And the country’s not going to collapse. This is just the usual right wing drama queenery.

    You are right for the most part, just as few moved in 2004, bot many corporations are sitting on cash right now rather than investing in new projects. This strikes me in some ways as buying a timeshare in Galt Gulch. Will the companies that were sidelined because of ‘uncertainty’ now wake up? I suspect that many will be less inclined to invest now.

    Billy Quiets says:

    Virtually every home in America is worth over 20% LESS than it was worth when Obama took office.

    I don’t see how this is due to the actions of President Obama (as president) any more than those of President Bush. The price of houses was artificially high to start with. Look at the pool of potential mortgage payers and what they can afford to pay based on a reasonable portion of their income. If the pool of houses that they might want to buy aren’t priced to fit what the buyers can afford, then house prices are still too high. I’m afraid that means that those of us who stayed sane in the house buying arena will find that when we want to sell, we may be competing for years with houses that have marble counter-tops and hardwood floors and which were resold at a huge loss after the bubble broke.

  110. @Bob at 12:18pm
    This is the only reason why I’m still officially a registered Republican. Because my state has closed primaries I will make it my mission to vote for the most moderate or sane candidate. I really wanted to vote for John Huntsman in the primaries but he dropped out right before FL.

  111. I think its on topic to say that I am just tired totally and completely of our political process. It seems to be that as long as I have been a registered voter (22 years now) its never been clear to me. I seems like we should more often than not have clear direction that is in the total best interest of the country. However for most of my 22 years as a voter, the President, the House and the Senate have been in the deadlocked, never really get anything useful done place. It also seems that they never get anything done, or desire to do anything that is on my personal roadmap of where the country should be going. I feel politically like a non-entity there is no party that seems to serve my interests, however the country really wants everyone to fall into some political bucket. I really felt like I didn’t care who won the election this time around, and I really didn’t care the last time either. I cared a bit when John Kerry ran, because as someone from his home state, I KNEW I didn’t want that son of Satan in the Oval office, and pervious to that I also knew for certain that I didn’t want Gonzo Gore there either. However those things being said I didn’t reallt care if the other guys who did win got the office either as they were just slightly the lesser of two evils, and in the end they presided over some of the most useless administrations in US history. The problem is there is just NO chance of really ever introducing a third party that might be interested in advancing my political view, since thes postion of president can only ever go to one of two parties.

  112. Will it still be Bush’s fault the next time around too? Obama had everything for the first two years. House, Senate, Executive. How did the Republicans screw things up then? — Billy Quiets

    It’s fairly evident at this point that only a minority of Obama’s supporters are willing to admit that Obama’s policies have compounded an already difficult and dreary economic situation. Of course, if we want to find the roots of the housing loan crash (which took down the world economy along with the U.S. economy) we must consider the fact that it was well-meant federal interference in the standard (then) practices of the banks — who ordinarily wanted 20% down and excellent credit before lending out money for homes — that got the ball rolling. Once banks had the fed on the hook for the security of the loans, they no longer had to be sensible about who they gave loans to, or why. Endless bundling and selling of egregiously-given and egregiously-termed loans was and is a problem for which Democrats and Republicans are both culpable. Though both have been very artful about blaming the entire thing on each other, and those dirty old rotten banksters. Who were mysteriously bailed out by Obama while millions of voters were foreclosed upon? I thought that, right there, put the lie to Obama’s rep as a “friend of the little man,” but apparently nobody agreed with me.

    I would say (at this point) that whatever legacy of fiscal sense either side could claim to have, has been burned.

    The Clinton years are too far in the past. Now we have profligacy on top of profligacy and both sides play us their excuses: Bush blamed the GWOT and Obama blames Bush. It would be nice if someone would stop blaming and start reining in spending. Obama doesn’t just have one hand in the cookie jar, now he’s got both hands. Up to the elbows, even. He (and his fans) can go right on blaming Republicans until the cows come home. It won’t alter the fact that America’s economy is now operating on (literally) borrowed time. Eventual major credit tumbles and currency devaluation are a certainty unless we (all of us, and our government) reverse course.

    At the risk of sounding too libertarian for the ears of Whatever, I think the ultimate solution lies with a balanced budget amendment. I personally wouldn’t mind a progressive tax curve so long as there were zero loopholes, and both Republicans and Democrats could swallow this one, simple concept: the U.S. federal government cannot spend more money than it brings in.

    I repeat: the U.S. federal government cannot spend more money than it brings in.

    Just because it does do this, routinely, doesn’t mean there’s not a hard price to be paid. There is nothing magical about the federal budget, compared to a household budget. People who live life on their credit cards are destined for a hard crash. We are too. And now I have to hope that the Democrats wake up and smell the coffee before it’s too late, because the Democrats “own” the future.

  113. Billy: The economy IS in the toilet. Jesus dude, you can act like it’s all tea and roses if you want, but you’re not going to sell it to all the people who are struggling.

    And you’ll never get the people who are struggling (among them me) to forget who caused that mess and who prevented it from being fixed.

    Bearpaw: You know, Billy, pretty much everybody who’s reality-based remembers that the economy was in Bush’s free-fall when Obama took office, so we know that counting from that point is deeply dishonest. Most of us also know how much of what’s holding us back from a stronger recovery is the House Repub’s multi-year pouty tantrum about Obama.

    Better than I could do. Just wanted to see this a second time.

  114. It’s fairly evident at this point that only a minority of Obama’s supporters are willing to admit that Obama’s policies have compounded an already difficult and dreary economic situation.

    Because such an admission is false, as has been shown over and to you in these pages for freaking months now.

    I repeat: the U.S. federal government cannot spend more money than it brings in.

    “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” – Conservative arch-hero Dick Cheney

    Pick one.

  115. Brad: It’s fairly evident at this point that only a minority of Obama’s supporters are willing to admit that Obama’s policies have compounded an already difficult and dreary economic situation.

    The reason we won’t admit that is because it’s bullshit. To the extent that Obama’s policies have been implemented, they’ve helped. The reason we’re not in better shape is that the Republicans have kept Obama’s policies from being implemented.

  116. (literally) borrowed time

    You can’t literally borrow time, Brad.

    the U.S. federal government cannot spend more money than it brings in.

    This is, I trust, what your PhD in macroeconomics tells you?

  117. Brad: It’s fairly evident at this point that only a minority of Obama’s supporters are willing to admit that Obama’s policies have compounded an already difficult and dreary economic situation.

    Would you like to point out any specific, objective economic indicators that would show that Obama made the economy worse since he got in office? unemployment for example?

    Or is the economy just bad and it will remain bad until you let us know when it is no longer bad, which will probably just so happen to correspond with a Republican in office?

    Will you just know it when you see it and let us know? Or is there some objective measure we can all agree on to look at to measure the economy by?

  118. Brad…lets not forget that no matter which president and party you look at for actions up to and after the crash. Those of us who were responsible with their money, put down 20%+ on a home load, didn’t spend beyond their means…we so screwed and continue to be screwed.

    1. “Oh you only put down 1% on your home loan…let us help you with that…”
    2. “Oh you gave loans to people who put down 1% because, well really they couldn’t actually afford it….let us bail you out”
    3. “Oh you were responsible, put down a reasonable amount of money purchasing your home, and now that home is worth less than you bought it for, you can’t even recover the amount you have invested into the home in timely montly payments and improvements to the structure and property if you try to sell it…oh so sorry, have you heard the economy sucks!”

    I was waiting for the other candidate to come up with a plan for point #3, but of course no plan was forthcoming nor will it ever be.

  119. Also –

    Eventual major credit tumbles and currency devaluation are a certainty unless

    Unless the Republicans stop fucking over over the recovery efforts, like, for example, refusing to extend the credit ceiling for the first time in ever, causing the US to be downgraded? Yeah.

  120. Brad, I agree with you that the current pace of spending is unsustainable but I’m not sure that Obama’s policies have contributed all that much. I do think that cutting government spending in the last couple years wouldn’t have helped the economy in the short-term. As you mentioned, I don’t think either party is particularly serious about deficit spending at the moment.

    @Eric:

    “Pick one.”

    I’m sure Brad can defend himself, but I can’t help pointing out that in the previous sentence to the one you quoted, he did say “Republicans and Democrats.” so he’s probably already picked.

  121. Sorry John, but the GOP dialed the derp up to 12 prior to the election with all those rape-tastic comments and attacks on women using the pill. Then they dialed it to 13 afterwards, blaming everyone but themselves for their spectacular loss. My schadenfreude isn’t in any way directed at Republican voters but at Republican leaders. They chose to demonize the pill. They chose to get vocal about how they think rape isn’t such a bad thing. The fact that in 2012 I needed to defend my access to the birth control pill blows my mind. So, fuck those assholes. I’m gonna schadenfreude like there’s no tomorrow.

    And don’t get me started on the GOP obstructing everything Obama did for four years.

    Step 1. Filibuster everything Obama does to fix the economy.
    Step 2. Call Obama an ineffective leader because he couldn’t fix the economy in 4 years.
    Step 3. Profit Lose in the 2012 election a major way.

  122. @ Greg: re Elizabeth Warren on the Banking committee:

    I have trouble believing that they’ll let her anywhere near that committee, but I’d love to be wrong. It would be sweet, sweet irony after her being blocked from the directorship of the CFPB.

  123. Brad – it wasn’t the Fed that got the banks off the hook for mortgages, thus encouraging them to loan to people who they would never have loaned to in the ‘20% down’ days… it was the creation of the ‘Mortgage-Backed Security’. With the MBS, banks no longer had any skin in the game; since they’d cut the loan, and then instantly sell it off in chunks on the MBS market.

    Incidentally, the MBS has caused no end of problems with foreclosures in jurisdictions where the homeowner can demand that the forecloser produce the loan documents… the document no longer exist in most cases, and courts are finding that loans were broken up for the MBS market without proper filings with the county. No document = no foreclosure, and no filing can result in criminal charges against the bank’s officers (although to the best of my knowledge no one has actually been put in jail or fined for this).

  124. Brad R. Torgersen:

    I repeat: the U.S. federal government cannot spend more money than it brings in.

    Well it has demonstrated that it can. I think you are looking to say that it shouldn’t. I’d say that depends on a couple of other factors. I don’t think we are suffering greatly now from the debt the U.S. incurred during the War of 1812, which we still haven’t repaid. The US economy is so much bigger than that debt, that current taxes cover it without a hitch. But, yes, if current trends continue, the US will be Greece in not too many years, and it would take an enormous coalition of nations to bail it out, assuming that they could themselves afford to do so.

    A Keynesian would say that the government should intentionally deficit spend when times are bad and run surpluses when times are good. One problem I have with this is that much of what the government spends money on is programs that once started are not stopped. Stuff like roads and bridges might be an exception, but even those incur continued upkeep.

  125. Brad, you were not only sad after the election, you were surprised. Does that indicate to you that you might not be listening to reliably predictive sources? Or are you going to keep believing Rasmussen because it tells you what you want to hear?

    I see your current stubborn refusal to accept reality as part of this same tendency to reject unpleasant truth in favor of comfortable lies. This is far from unique to you, of course, but it’s not a virtue. You seem intelligent, but you are hobbling your intelligence with bad belief-processing and flawed critical thinking.

    But this is also one-post Brad, so I’m almost certainly wasting my time—except that others may be reading this and agreeing with what Brad says, yet not quite so solidly stuck in his discredited belief system.

  126. Political discourse on both sides is flawed by assumptions that ideologies developed in the 20th century can be easily adapted to an economy and society that have evolved quickly and radically.

    We get stuck on the “big/small government” divide, because it links many other ideological concepts into the debate. Can you have “small government” and still apply the controls required to realize “socially conservative” ideals? Can you effectively implement “fiscally liberal” policies with a government so large that corruption is endemic?

    When I hear people ask for “smaller government” I’m actually hearing two different things: a) “I want government to stop interfering with something I like/want/think I need, either by ceasing to regulate it, or by regulating it only in a way that makes other people conform to what I want (no, it’s not logical, but then, we’re talking about human beings here;)” or b) “The amount of waste and corruption and incompetence in government convinces me that it’s not worth the money.”

    I agree with both viewpoints, but I do not see the solution as “smaller government.” The solution is something along the lines of “more effective government,” or “government adapted to evolving economic and social realities.” I vote Democratic consistently not because I think Dems are qualitatively better or more aligned with my ideals, but because Dems at least show some interest in making government actually work, in a tainted, corrupt, wonky kind of way that perpetuates the problem but keeps the potential for improvement viable.

    What has scared hell out of me about the GOP in the last thirty years is that they seem to have abandoned their commitment to making government work at all within a regulated-capitalist, moderated-free market kind of model. Admittedly, the model was a bit skewed to the capital side of the playing field but certainly not unwilling to negotiate with the other side. They’ve gone entirely over to a dark side that seems focused on eliminating government altogether except as a military/police tool to keep the revolting masses at bay and protect the assets of an increasingly small number of oligarchs.

    Since a consensus seems to be forming around the idea that “fiscal conservatism” is a good thing, maybe it’s time to take that definition apart and decide what it really means? Because just ‘balancing revenues and expenditures’ is woefully inadequate. Everyone wants that. The devil is in the details of HOW: Which revenue sources to increase, and how? Which expenditures to decrease, and how? How to accomplish these things in light of a global economy, a shifting power/resource base, rapidly evolving technology and communications?

    All Democrats and all Republicans are “fiscal conservatives” by their own definition, making “fiscal conservative” into a meaningless stick to beat each other around with rather than engaging in serious negotiation about what government needs to be in order to promote the well-being of a vast and growing socially and ethnically diverse population in a rapidly-shifting global economy.

  127. I want to bless the people here who pointedly ignored the conspiracy theorist who spoke darkly about what will come out after the mid-terms about Obama’s “worse than Watergate” doings. I am sad to see the rest is being rather normal in the “right-winger who can’t let go of talking points” land, though. Dude, it’s been debunked. Again. And again. And again. Joe Scarborough himself said your side lied. And Rachel Maddow pointed out we NEED you to wake up. Realize you were lied to. Shake off the shackles of Fox News. Please. This country needs EVERYONE to look at truth and work from there.

  128. It’s fairly evident at this point that only a minority of Obama’s supporters are willing to admit that Obama’s policies have compounded an already difficult and dreary economic situation.

    Probably because pretty much every nonpartisan economic expert has said that’s not true.

    Of course, if we want to find the roots of the housing loan crash (which took down the world economy along with the U.S. economy) we must consider the fact that it was well-meant federal interference in the standard (then) practices of the banks — who ordinarily wanted 20% down and excellent credit before lending out money for homes — that got the ball rolling.

    The housing crisis is but a part of the relativily small sliver of the economic problems, especially the deficit, facing the US.

    I would say (at this point) that whatever legacy of fiscal sense either side could claim to have, has been burned.

    You would say that, but would be refuted by decades’ worth of economic data showing that Democratic Presidents and their fiscal policies have been better for the economy, and the near-unanimous consensus amongst economists that those of Obama’s policies that made it through Congress made the recovery better than it would have been, and those that didn’t would have improved the economy even more.

    The Clinton years are too far in the past. Now we have profligacy on top of profligacy and both sides play us their excuses: Bush blamed the GWOT and Obama blames Bush.

    Bush was partially right and Obama was totally right. The GWOT is one of the major contributors to the problem, but is miniscule compared to the problems created by the Bush tax cuts. And Obama’s fiscal policies are essenitally that of Clinton’s, down to the top marginal tax rate, whether or not you actually accept this basic truth.

    It would be nice if someone would stop blaming and start reining in spending. Obama doesn’t just have one hand in the cookie jar, now he’s got both hands. Up to the elbows, even. He (and his fans) can go right on blaming Republicans until the cows come home. It won’t alter the fact that America’s economy is now operating on (literally) borrowed time. Eventual major credit tumbles and currency devaluation are a certainty unless we (all of us, and our government) reverse course.

    Nothwithstanding the fact that your predictive powers and knowledge of the economy have thus far proven to be so far off base that it’s a whole new game in another stadium, Obama’s laid out several plans to rein in spending and control costs in major parts of the economy. They were known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the 2009-2012 budgets, and to a certain extent the sequestration compromise between him and Congressional Republicans that basically put forward about a dollar’s cuts to entitlements for every dollar cut from defense. The Senate has a bill that pretty much just raises taxes on the top earners, so he can go on blaming Republicans because they’re the only ones refusing to pass that bill, going so far as to scrub the Congressional Research Service’s official report (which is backed up by multiple studies in the economic world) that said that cutting taxes for the rich didn’t improve economic growth.

    At the risk of sounding too libertarian for the ears of Whatever, I think the ultimate solution lies with a balanced budget amendment. I personally wouldn’t mind a progressive tax curve so long as there were zero loopholes, and both Republicans and Democrats could swallow this one, simple concept: the U.S. federal government cannot spend more money than it brings in.

    I repeat: the U.S. federal government cannot spend more money than it brings in.

    If you had bothered to do a minimum of research, you would know that the worst time to do this is during periods of deficit–again, almost entirely the result of the GWOT and Bush’s tax cuts–and the best time is during times of surplus. The same (well, slightly more conservative-leaning, actually) fiscal policy that brought us that surplus is being proposed by the President right now.

    Just because it does do this, routinely, doesn’t mean there’s not a hard price to be paid. There is nothing magical about the federal budget, compared to a household budget.

    Actually, there is.

    People who live life on their credit cards are destined for a hard crash. We are too. And now I have to hope that the Democrats wake up and smell the coffee before it’s too late, because the Democrats “own” the future.

    Again, why should they do what you believe, which is contrary to every piece of economic evidence extant? They’ve got the proof, just because you have a problem with basic math and science doesn’t mean that they’re wrong.

  129. @Daniel –

    I’m sure Brad can defend himself, but I can’t help pointing out that in the previous sentence to the one you quoted, he did say “Republicans and Democrats.” so he’s probably already picked.

    Fair enough, but I think it bears repeating that Cheney’s statement was the official line from conservatives right up until the moment a Democrat got into the White House, then deficits magically became a bad thing overnight.

  130. I repeat: the U.S. federal government cannot spend more money than it brings in.

    Utter rubbish. Tosh. Nonsense. Balloney. Etc…

    The US government can spend more money than it brings in for ages. So can a household, and so can a business. As a business owner, running a start up, I’ve spent more than I’ve brought in for the last 2 years. The difference has come from personal credit (mine – see the comment on the household) and investors. The US has investors too, they’re called Bond holders and currently they’re offering the US 10 year credit rates that are LOWER than the rate of inflation. Most of the holders, contrary to popular belief are actually US citizens too. So, not only is the bulk of the borrowing to be paid off within 10 years, but it’s to be paid back to mostly Americans.

    The US will run a national debt forever. That’s just a fact. In a recession, especially one this deep and dreadful, the only way to recover is to spend money to pick up the slack of people who have too much personal debt and businesses who can’t borrow money (seriously, I can borrow money, my business with 6 figure revenues and a business plan cannot).

    The time to change that is when the economy has recovered and we’re not helping the unemployed and growth is robust again. Then EVERYBODY needs to pay higher taxes, and sacred cows like Mortgage Tax relief need to be slaughtered.

    As others have said, I just wish the people who think of themselves as fiscally conservative knew what the bloody hell that actually means.

  131. Bill Dunn:

    Of #1 and #2, which are the supposed financial professionals? And which got the bulk of any government bailout?

    For bonus points, which has been blamed more often by the punditocracy?

  132. “As others have said, I just wish the people who think of themselves as fiscally conservative knew what the bloody hell that actually means.”

    Me too.

    Any one who votes GOP because they think they’re any more fiscally conservative than the Dems is living in a dream world at this point.

  133. I think the single most useful thing liberal/progressive true believers could do for the next four years is educate, educate, educate. Themselves and others.

    Read the President’s Budget Requests. Make a balanced budget ourselves. Submit it to our congresspersons. Say “this is what I’m willing to cut to get our country back on track.” It isn’t rocket science, and anyone with an Internet connection and some basic math skills could do it if they were willing to take the time.

    IMO it ultimately comes down to money. The deficit isn’t a problem in the long-term, big scheme of things, because really, no one is going to stop buying our debt. BUT it is an immediate problem because *it is a recurring issue* and provides an easy squeaky toy for people to fight over.

    IMO a balanced-budget amendment isn’t a good idea, because sh*t happens and sometimes you have to borrow to save a situation. Hello, Great Depression and WWII. Balanced-budget amendments mean that a low-tax-revenue year results in public service offices being closed and employees laid off (or furloughed, hello California Superior Court) and life-saving aid not being delivered in disasters.

    The federal budget *could* be cut by 1/3 and still stay operational. A lot of people would lose their federal employment. Do we want more people unemployed right now? No, we don’t. So personnel cuts might be the last resort. But there is quite a lot that the federal government does that probably is not essential, and certainly could be done more efficiently. Let’s find it.

    If we all really look at the budget, see where the money is going, and do some research (almost everything we need to know to do this is online) into what could be cut without creating some kind of disaster, and we all start having the political conversation based on THAT, I think the tone of the national conversation would improve AND our congresspersons might be drawn off the deliciously smelly, emotionally reactive, ultimately irrelevant stuff they waste far too much time on.

    Congresspersons are like hound dogs. They bay after what we set them on.

    When more people are working again and peoples’ personal morality is taken out of the equation, people will feel less under attack, and they may well start being more amenable to cooperation.

  134. @iamthesupercommittee –

    It’s more than just cuts, though. Taxes MUST be raised on the top earners. They are at an historic low, and are far too low. And this long period of tax cuts for the wealthy has conclusively proven that such cuts do not create jobs or spur growth.

  135. Daveon:

    [applause] Given the historically low interest rates, *and* the state of the economy, *and* the state of public infrastructure etc, it’s just stupid that the mantra is “cut, cut, cut”.

  136. Bearpaw:

    1. The home buyers that were screwed on their mortgage because they took out mortgages they couldn’t afford get a bailout of sorts. I know a few of these people, and condem them for getting into this situation. Becuase of the bailout they got with getting a big rest on their mortgage terms and even a particial payoff simply becuase they were now irrecoverably underwater, they are in better shape than my wife and I who can’t get any help because the terms of such bailouts were specifically that you had to have put down less than “X” when bought the house.

    Note: We are still solvent, I just a might PO’ed that we want to relocate, but the market we are in selling is so screwed right now that we can’t recoup our home investment. There are others in the smae market that have been able to cash out net positive because they got rescued. I will be fine in the long term, we both have good jobs and good money sense.
    2. I don’t give a crap insolvent banks should have been allowed to fail, the people working there who made poor choices on the companies behalf should have paid the penalty for it. Instead they rode their golden parachutes, got bonuses, etc.

    I ignore the punditry…they all have their head up their ass anyway. I blame both parties equally.

  137. @Kara (and others re: stupid things Republicans believe.)

    There’s no way to talk about this subtly without looking like a troll, so I’ll just say it: I am on the mailing lists of Intertel and the Triple Nine Society. Multiple members of those mailing lists repeat these allegations (Obama is a Muslim, Obama was not born in the US, etc, etc) constantly. Some of us challenge them, others do not. (I used to: now I just post the relevant Snopes page in response if they get too wound up. That usually shuts them up until somebody pushes that particular button again.) They are a minority but they are not a negligible one.

    The point is, there may be some point at which one becomes intelligent enough not to believe both facially ridiculous and factually verifiable falsehoods, but whatever it is, it is very, very damn high. Neither side should be thinking that they have a corner on the smart people.

    I’m not going to repost this on the other thread, but I should mention that I’ve seen similar allegations about Bush et al on these lists too. Like I said, neither side should be thinking they have a corner on the smart people. Smarts ain’t got nothin’ to do with it.

  138. @ Eric S. – oh absolutely. Tax reform is right up there with the things we should be setting our dogs on.

  139. I guess (while I think the budget (including taxes) is the most *immediate* concern) what would make me very happy is for the national political conversation to evolve to such a point that what we talked about were things like “what are the proper concerns of our federal government.”

    Because until you agree on what government is to do, you are not likely to agree on how to achieve it. In fact, you can’t even DISCUSS how to achieve it.

    The PBR is a good place to start because it is a document that shows us exactly what we (via our elected surrogates) have decided our government should be doing. So … that is why I say we should all be looking at it very closely. I did, and there is a lot in there that I think we could, and maybe should, lose.

    Another thing … discussing a document has much less potential for degenerating into ridiculous adolescent name-calling than discussing a person (or group of people).

  140. Genufett,

    I think Brad got that one right. It’s not “magic” that makes a government budget different from a household. As Daveon points out quite eloquently, reality does that just fine.

    See what I did there?

  141. “I mentioned this last Wednesday, but it bears repeating. Obama’s got four more years.”

    Even though I didn’t vote for him, I hope this is true. If 25% of the rumors about Benghazi turn out to be true, we may have to deal with President Biden *shudder*

  142. I’m not going to repost this on the other thread, but I should mention that I’ve seen similar allegations about Bush et al on these lists too. Like I said, neither side should be thinking they have a corner on the smart people. Smarts ain’t got nothin’ to do with it.

    It’s a recurring meme in Whatever comment sections that the leftward shift of academia in the US is because smarter people naturally lean further left. It also tends to be accepted that history has a direction and that right-leaning people are on the ‘wrong side’ of history.

  143. It also tends to be accepted that history has a direction and that right-leaning people are on the ‘wrong side’ of history.

    The first is undeniably true. The second, many would answer with a quote from one of my favorite science-fictional captains, which has been making the rounds lately for obvious reasons:

    “May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong side.”

    I wouldn’t, because I think it’s silly to talk about history taking a side. It’s like an argument about whether gravity is good (It keeps us from floating into space! It makes the Sun work!) or bad (It sucks whole stars into black holes! It broke my leg!) But it’s a nice comeback.

  144. “Even though I didn’t vote for him, I hope this is true. If 25% of the rumors about Benghazi turn out to be true, we may have to deal with President Biden *shudder*”
    Some of us happen to love Biden.

  145. @MPAVictoria –

    Some of us happen to love Biden.

    Yep. Biden is a very smart and knowledgeable person who’s been in public service for a long time. He’s a fairly thoughtful policy wonk and has a good understanding of how Washington works and can be made to work. He’s a good guy to have in the position where we’ve got him now.

  146. #1 If elections were a sporting event, then I would be more likely to agree. But, elections are the beginning of governing. Will I stop gloating over the election, yeah. Will I stop ridiculing the positions of a party that has no idea of the value of equality, is innumerate, willfully disregards science, among many other horrible positions. No. Pure and simple.

    #2 Sometimes, it is more important not to come together, but to move forward based on the strength of those ethical convictions. It might be worth looking at the cognitive bubble that many Republicans still live in as a personal warning. But, I would say to move on with a good degree of self-confidence and leadership is necessary. The sort of confidence that Dems might currently be displaying might actually be justified and put to good use. I fear more the label of cockiness being applied in the same way that uppity has been applied in the past.

    #3 mid-terms are on the far horizon yes, but political capital is like a favor to a friend. Its value is lost quite quickly if not used in return. If I helped you move yesterday, you might help me move tomorrow, but much less likely next year. I actually hope that democrats are more concerned with governing right now, than the elections two years from now. Democrats can only do so much with gerrymandered house districts anyway, and the senate overly rewards less populous states which should give Republicans more power if they hadn’t been shooting themselves in foot. The point of elections is actually to have a government between them.

    #4 not permanent, but surprisingly sticky. Studies show that if people vote for one party three elections straight, the self identification can be hard to trump. See Reagan democrats as an instance. Further demographics show an aging republican party vs. a younger democratic party. Long term, that is something.

    #5 not stupid,just sophomoric, which is far more dangerous.

    #6 I can hope.

    #7 at this point in 2004, Obama had wowed people with his speech at the democratic convention. It was that speech more than anything that he ever did in congress that got him on the presidential track. Maybe not in your circles, but he did have many party faithful talking. Clinton’s rise might be a better example.

    #8 and elections have consequences.

  147. “If 25% of the right-wing wacko bullshit about Benghazi turns out to be true, we may have to deal with President Biden *shudder*”

    Again. Can’t be for something, can only try to win by spreading fear. Will we now hear that BIden is an agent of Czar Wilhelm II? Or of Napoleon III? Perhaps in the pay of the Holy Roman Empire? Republicans need a new villain to be afraid of!

  148. Your point #8 reminded me of something I wrote earlier this year, when the rhetoric I was seeing from various places was getting under my skin:

    “The amount of care a government needs from its people in order to stay healthy is also probably not affected much by system, structure or scope. How much you have to give it the hairy eyeball is more determined, I honestly think, by how far off the rails it already is before you start paying attention to it again.

    That level of watchfulness? Is never, ever, a non-zero number. Even for your Perfect Government. If the question is “How much time will I have to devote to watering and pruning my politicians?” The answer will always be “How much time do you have?””

  149. Republicans need a new villain to be afraid of!

    Biden needs to spend lots of time being seen and photographed sitting in a chair while petting a fluffy white Persian cat :-)

  150. Saith Mike, “many corporations are sitting on cash right now rather than investing in new projects. This strikes me in some ways as buying a timeshare in Galt Gulch.”

    Companies sit on cash rather than investing in new projects not because they willfully want to destroy their business to keep it away from the looters (really, if you’re going to use the analogy, you have to understand the source material), but because they feel that they can make a better return on cash than by investing in their business.

    Seems counterintuitive, what with short-term interest rates (what a company can reliably get as a return on “cash”) hovering around 1/8%. But if you’re Chrysler and no one is buying new cars, you’re not going to start up a new production line. If you’re Lennar and no one is buying new houses, you’re not going to build a bunch of new developments.

    Companies have been sitting on cash because there’s not been enough demand to justify investing elsewhere. If only there were some way to, say, stimulate demand, leading to increased corporate investment in projects to increase production, requiring greater employment, injecting this cash back into the active economy instead of leaving it idle…

  151. Everyone who thinks that we should engage in major spending cuts federally, right now, should be obligated to read the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Infrastructure Report Card and explain, in detail, what evaluations of risk they reject and why, and what evaluations of cost they reject and why.

  152. The first is undeniably true.

    I’m not sure how to respond to ‘undeniable’, I’m not necessarily inclined to deny it, but it does seem to suggest a certain physical-law like certainty.

    I suppose William F. Buckley’s quote about standing athwart history and shouting “stop!” indicates that he accepted this notion.

    So is Vladimir Putin the inevitable monarch, or are the Russians still waiting for one?

    I’m not convinced that history is so reliable as that. In the US, evangelical Christians seem to have a reproductive edge over almost everyone and I don’t think they are inclined to let history’s vector go unchallenged.

  153. @ Bruce B, the ASCE report card front page (great link btw) states that the investment need (based on 2009 numbers) is 2.2 trillion over 5 years, or 440 billion per year. That seems like a ridiculous amount of money (6.5% of the entire 2012 PBR) for infrastructure. It’s more than the entire requests for Agriculture, Education, Energy, HUD, Veterans, State, and HHS *combined.*

    But then you think, well, infrastructure – that’s a damn good use of community money.

    So if everybody agrees that infrastructure (which I note includes schools, which some might argue ought to be a state concern and not federal) is worth 6 to 7% of the entire federal budget, cuts have to be made elsewhere. Especially given that the entire federal budget is currently operating on close to 30% of borrowed money.

    What do you cut to find the 440 billion? Alternatively, what do you tax?

    One can’t just say talking about cuts is irresponsible, look at all this stuff we need, without also making some sort of effort to illustrate how the stuff we need can be paid for. Sometimes paying for stuff is so painful that we opt to do without. And sometimes we are paying for stuff we don’t need.

  154. Companies sit on cash rather than investing in new projects not because they willfully want to destroy their business to keep it away from the looters (really, if you’re going to use the analogy, you have to understand the source material),

    I admit it’s been a while since I read the book. Those real people who speaks of going Galt generally aren’t really talking about going to live in an enclave where they can secretly prepare to pick up the pieces. Usually the phrase is used to mean cash out and retire. For them to literally go Galt, there would have to be a Galt Gulch to which they vanish, and there would have to be a John Galt who would invite them, on the grounds that they really are one of the truly unreasonably, innovative minds on which the world turns. I take it as largely axiomatic that anyone who pronounces himself to be such an individual almost assuredly isn’t.

    I have more trouble spotting Any Rand’s heroes in the real world than I do her villains.

  155. Even though I didn’t vote for him, I hope this is true. If 25% of the rumors about Benghazi turn out to be true, we may have to deal with President Biden *shudder*

    1. The only reason to hope for that would be to watch Biden make wingnut heads explode.
    2. You don’t get percentages of batshit crazy talk. It’s all false.
    3. You can impeach all you want in your little right wing fantasy land that is the House of Representatives, but the Senate ain’t going to convict (how’s running Todd Akin look now, geniuses?), and it’ll tank the midterms for you, just like 1998).

  156. I have more trouble spotting Any Rand’s heroes in the real world than I do her villains.

    You spot a lot of one dimensional people eh?

  157. You spot a lot of one dimensional people eh?

    Yeah, their relative lack of surface area means the don’t reflect much light.

  158. Regarding point #5, “Don’t think the GOP is stupid.”

    I agree. The GOP will get their act together. They’ve gone off the rails a bit in the last few years. I just didn’t realize how far until I did a bit of research

    The most telling item I found was the text of Ron Reagan’s “The New Republican Party” speech given at CPAC on February 6, 1977. The full text is available multiple places, I found it at http://reagan2020.us/speeches/The_New_Republican_Party.asp
    I found it to be an enlightening read on his conservative thinking at the time.

    Here is the paragraph I found the most interesting:

    “Conservatism is the antithesis of the kind of ideological fanaticism that has brought so much horror and destruction to the world. The common sense and common decency of ordinary men and women, working out their own lives in their own way — this is the heart of American conservatism today. Conservative wisdom and principles are derived from willingness to learn, not just from what is going on now, but from what has happened before.”

    After an election season where I’ve had to listen about the various levels of rape “legitimacy” and the hand satan has had in pushing the theory of evolution, I read this and just think ….. “Wow.” In just a few words he touched on common sense, wisdom, learning, and living our own lives. So much of this runs counter to the face of the GOP I see today.

    The speech even goes on to cover how conservatism is inclusive of people of all races and income. You may or may not believe what Reagan had to say on the topic, but it was presented in a reasonable manner at a time that wasn’t 30 days before an election when he discovered he needed some minority votes.

    Now, jump to this year. The CPAC conference Reagan addressed in 1977 is the same “Conservative Political Action Conference” that Romney addressed in February of 2012 to convince the right he was worthy of the presidential nomination. The text of that speech can be found at, among other places, http://mittromneycentral.com/2012/02/10/mitt-hits-a-homer-text-of-cpac-speech/

    (I’m not advocating anything about these sites, they’re just a place where I found simple pages with the text I was looking for.)

    Here is the paragraph from that speech where Romney describes his view of conservatism:

    “At the very heart of our American conservatism is the conviction that the principles embodied in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are uniquely powerful, foundational, and defining. Some see the hand of Providence in their authorship. Others credit the brilliance of the Founders. Many of us see both. But conservatives all agree that departing from these founding principles is a departure from the greatness of America– from our mission, from our freedom, from our prosperity, and from our purpose.”

    My mind is now blown. Compare the two definitions. Same conference, similar audience, 35 years apart. Almost no similarities. One statement thoughtful, the other ideological.

    Yes, the GOP will make a comeback. I’ve come to an interesting conclusion though. While some republicans talk about having to take the GOP into uncharted waters, I believe they may already have the blueprints in their hands if they just look a few decades into the past.

  159. My mind is now blown. Compare the two definitions. Same conference, similar audience, 35 years apart. Almost no similarities. One statement thoughtful, the other ideological.

    I assume that when you attribute this to Ron Regan you mean the former president and not his son, who is the one usually referred to as Ron.

    Are you saying that Ronald Regan would disagree with “At the very heart of our American conservatism is the conviction that the principles embodied in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are uniquely powerful, foundational, and defining. “? I doubt it, and I think that President Obama would also declare principles in those documents as foundational to his own thinking.

    It doesn’t strike me as a mind blowing contradiction.

  160. Hey, around this time 2004, did you think the dude just elected as the junior senator from Illinois would be president?

    Yep. I watched the DNC in the summer of 2004 and wrote in my journal how much I enjoyed Barack Obama’s speech, followed with “I think he will be our first black president.” My nascent career as a political prognosticator was brought to a screeching halt by my next sentence: “But I think we’ll have a female president first.” SORRY HILARY!

  161. If this is too OT, I apologize, but this seems like a good community to ask. I want to start reading more conservative journalists/opinions because I live in a leftist echo chamber. For whatever reason, with the exception of The Economist and Andrew Sullivan, the conservative opinion I know about is either humor/hyperbole (Ann Coulter/Rush Limbaugh) or crazy (WHERE’S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE???) Who should I be reading? Not that I’ll ever be anything but lefty extremeist, but I don’t like believing half the country is stupid or crazy. That can’t be right.

  162. @ Jess, you could try the Wall Street Journal. That’s what my parents read. :-) The newsmagazine The Week also features a balance (amazingly) of conservative and progressive viewpoints, and may point you toward other sources.

  163. If this is too OT, I apologize, but this seems like a good community to ask. I want to start reading more conservative journalists/opinions because I live in a leftist echo chamber.

    Daniel Larison, of the American Conservative, is very thoughtful on foreign affairs. A bit isolationist for my tastes, but still is cogent and has good points.

  164. jess, try George Will and Charles Krauthammer. I tend not to agree with them, but at least they’re articulate, thoughtful, and intellectual rather than anti-intellectual.

  165. I’ll endorse the rec for George Will, whom I find to be thoughtful but misguided; but I’ll dispute the rec for Charles Krauthammer, whom I find to be reactionary to an offensive degree. Also writing in the Post are Kathleen Parker, who generally seems sensible but a little less compassionate than I like my commentators (which tbf is true of most conservatives), and Jennifer Rubin, whose opinions change with the wind (though always blowing rightward) and can’t write, to boot.

  166. I know political loss. I went door-to-door campaigning for George McGovern (when I was thirteen). I know short lived political victory. I voted for U.S. Representative Leo Ryan, who won. But less than a month later, he was murdered in Guyana by members of the Peoples Temple at the start of “Jonestown Massacre” in 1978. I have been paying attention to the political scene since before I was ten years old. I have watched the political pendulum swing this way that that, all my adult life. It is very nice that we lefties got a little help, this time, from right-wing hubris. But the pendulum will swing. The right will tamp down the rhetoric, stop talking about rape, and stop opining about how lazy and entitled the American working class is. The right will find a better use for the Big Money. In two years they will be back. I smile now, but there is work to do.

  167. I want to start reading more conservative journalists/opinions because I live in a leftist echo chamber.[...]Who should I be reading?

    I’d second the suggestion of Larison, and most of the rest of AmCon’s online staff for that matter, since Rod Dreher and Noah Millman have also been doing fantastic work. Reihan Salam and Ross Douthat also find their way into my reading schedule at least once a week.

    David Frum, not bad. Ben Domenech, for youthful GOP, Dave Wiegel for reporting on the right.

    Get out of my mind, dude.

  168. Absolutely NO on George Will.

    Throroughly dishonest and a liar in at least one area (climate science); totally clueless in another (baseball).

  169. jess, do not read George Will. Once upon a time, he was thoughtful, even modestly intellectual. but since 2008, he has moved from an eminence gris to a shrill, sometimes hysterical monologue on how everything is going to fall apart and we’ll all be sorry we didn’t listen to our betters.

  170. @ jess I recommend checking out instapundit.com, he’ll link to a lot of worthwhile reading. I also recommend Real Clear Politics, they link from Mother Jones and The Nation all the way over to National Review. For economic analysis and commentary, I recommend googleing Thomas Sowel and reading his columns. Mark Steyn is about as fiscally conservative and pessimistic as you can get, but humorous. I also recommend Reason.com’s blog Hit’n’Run for all things libertarian.

    I won’t be surprised if most of my recommendations are vehemently denounced.

  171. David Frum, not bad. Ben Domenech, for youthful GOP, Dave Wiegel for reporting on the right.

    Get out of my mind, dude.

    Ha-HA! I WILL USE THIS POWER FOR GOOD.

  172. I realize this is a little late, and the thread has moved elsewhere, but I am going to address the GOP and Hispanics. Or rather, the GOP and Catholics. Okay? OK!

    I (gay) married into an extremely Catholic family. It might seem weird, but the hard-core Catholics were much more accepting of me and my partner shacking up in 1995, than my own Southern Baptist/Episcopalian family. I discovered that this was because my in-laws are largely self-described as Eastern European “Catholocrats.” In states like PA, there’s a core of Catholocrats that swing; this is echoed in Hispanic populations.

    Catholocrats, while superficially similar to current GOP voters, are very actually very different. They are personally pro-Life, but politically pro-Choice. They believe that government has a role in giving the most underprivileged a leg up. They believe in community responsibility and collectivism. They see Mitt Romney and his grandfather as an example of the colonialists who exploit local workers as servants while escaping the US tax code, i.e. Banana Republicans.

    A change in tone won’t fix this. The history is nearly a thousand years old. It’s not about modern politics, it’s about Colonialism. You can’t fix that with a spray tan.

    Latin Americans encompass a broad spectrum of traditions, but few of those traditions line up with the modern GOP. One of the few commonalities among Latins is the reality of extreme income disparity in the native country, enforced by things like death squads; these people came to America to escape the strictures of class, to receive the opportunity of (relatively) fair wages and subsidized education. They don’t view the safety net with the same suspicion with which they regard the military, or the FBI/CIA/police. The “disappeareds” are still a reality.

    The discombobulation, internal strife, and disagreement w/in the Democratic party is extremely reassuring to a large swath of our population. Lockstep agreement, party lines, and ideological purity is frightening. Our large immigrant population, whether first or fourth generation, remember the boots.

    The current conservative rush towards the Hispanic vote is doomed, unless the GOP remakes itself into Democrats. Such a realignment is possible, but it will mean another party split, splintering off the most racist elements and the Tea Party from a more Catholocrat majority. I have no idea what the percentages might be, but I don’t think either would be enough to overwhelm the slightly smaller, resulting, Democratic party, which would probably be more Leftist.

    The modern GOP cannot support “family values” while breaking up Latin families through prosecution and deportation. The modern GOP cannot convincingly portray itself as pro-immigrant while treating American citizens as felons based on their ethnic heritage. The GOP cannot both support “Stop and Frisk” and the NRA without serious cognitive dissonance.

    If the Republican party wants to stop losing Hispanics, it has to stop being the party of only white people should be allowed to have guns, abortion, housing, and food. Which, in today’s politics, would make them Democrats.

  173. I would just like to point out to one or two commentators here who seem to have forgotten: a pro-life position is not inherently a male position.
    I am not a Democrat. As long as the Democrats are pro-choice, I cannot ever be a Democrat. And yes, I am a woman.

  174. jess, I find that David Brooks isn’t wrong about everything, and frankly he’s right about a number of things, or close to it. The segment he does on All Things Considered with EJ Dionne always makes me feel very centrist.

  175. Those real people who speaks of going Galt generally aren’t really talking about going to live in an enclave where they can secretly prepare to pick up the pieces. Usually the phrase is used to mean cash out and retire.

    … and collect social security, have insurance provided through medicare, drive on public roads, get their dividend checks delivered by the US Postal Service, and make use of other government-provided benefits. In other words, “going Galt” is really now meant to refer to what Rand referred to as “looting”.

  176. @mintwitch
    Nice summary, with some perspectives that are underappreciated by those of us with privilege. In particular, the long history with class immobility and class divide is something that’s a thornier problem for Republicans than they realize. It’s something they can’t overcome until they actually implement policies that are DEMONSTRABLY better than what the Democrats are offering.

  177. Right on with the “don’t get cocky and make assumptions. I did exit polling in Lowell, MA in 2002 with the Asian community and the community split it’s vote between the Democrat, Marty Meehan for Congress and Mitt Romney for Governor. It’s totally clear why. Both the Meehan and Romney did a lot of events in the community and had campaign offices right in the heart of Lowell. It wasn’t that long ago that George Bush was getting 40% plus of the Latino vote. While the Dems do support the DREAM act, Obama has presided over a record number of deportations. It is VERY easy to take immigrant communities for granted but they are NOT a sure thing for any party.

  178. Yeah…not really sure about your analysis here concerning the GOP and minorities. Analyzing how the GOP CONSTANTLY underperforms amongst minorities it is important to note that the last the GOP won a minority groups vote was in 1988: Asians. Coincidently, up until 1992 Asian-Americans were the only minority group the GOP consistently did well with. It takes a lot to create a dramatic pendulum swing which in this country unfortunately requires time to build a new coaltion (this is changing because the demographics are rapidly changing: read the excellent “A Different Mirror” by Ronald Takaki to get a really interesting look at both the minority experience and the point where our nation becomes a nation of minorities somewhere around 2025 I believe. The voting blocks in the Democratic Party have become generational amongst Hispanic-Americans and practically second nature amongst Jewish-Americans and African-Americans and there are compelling reasons why.

    Franklin Delano Rosevelt did more than change American electoral politics, he changed the zeitgeist for an entire generation. Granted, the Democrats got a bit too cozy with the concept of what was actually an incredibly difficult to maintain coalition: Northeastern white liberals, Southern whites and to a lesser extent African Americans and Hispanics. That the Democratic coalition contained both African Americans and Southern whites was an opportunity for the GOP and after the ’64 Civil Rights Act passed (which more than a few now extinct or nearly extinct based upon NY 23 in 2010 Republicans voted for the GOP of course crafted its new coaltion based upon the “Southern Strategy” which appealed to disaffected (read deeply racist) Southern whites who saw “their” party (the Democratic Party) as being populated by African Americans and white people sympathetic to African Americans. Of course the coalition was actually breaking up before then but the ’64 Civil Rights Act and the ’65 Voting Rights Act really cleaved the FDR coalition. Republicans have spent the past 40+ years wooing Southern whites at the loss of their traditional power base: Northeastern Protestants. African Americans and Hispanic Americans have voted for the Democratic Party as a pretty much uninterrupted coaltion since the days of FDR. Asians fled the party during the Clinton years and like Francis Fukiyama they are not coming back.

    So where does this leave Republicans? Conventional wisdom dictates the GOP will push hard right again allienating even more voters while their bread and butter base (whites) demographically degrades by about 1% per anum. In 1992 87% of those who voted were white; in 2012 the number was down to 72% and exponential growth dictates a quickened pace of this transition. I do not think Republicans know HOW to appeal to minorities other than in the cheapest electioneering ways possible (seriously, they think sending Marco Rubio a Cuban out will woo hispanics) and the problem is the message. They have a 1950’s era industrial political message crafted by and beneficial of upper-middle and upper class white people. The ONLY way Republicans can reverse this trend is to change their core message: laissez faire capitalism may sound good abstractly (that’s another long, heavily qualified retort there) but minority groups culturally reject it. African Americans, Jewish Americans (Judaism of course inspired Marxism and European Socialism), Hispanic Catholics have cultures that in the United States have largely coalesced within poverty; therefore they look at opportunity as being something everyone should have which means a political view skewed strongly to enriching the wealthy is not palpable. Socially, yes Catholic Hispanics, Orthodox Jews and certain African American congregations are very regressive but the problem is the GOP’s social conservatism is fronted by people who (and sometimes just their fathers, sometimes not) openly supported and were party to very racist organizations (the CCC, the KKK and others) which is a non-starter. Foreign policy-wise, the GOP is belligerant and warmongering and who goes to war? the poor. This offends minority groups dating back to Vietnam and conservatives have done little to correct this problem.

    That in very short form is my analysis of the problems the GOP is facing; I’m not saying there is no room for change in this calculus but the problem is there is a deep cultural disconnect between conservatism and minorities. Republicans are not going to correct this disconnect over night, they may EVENTUALLY do so if they start now (by giving up the no new taxes on the wealthy thing, seriously even their own voters think this is stupid and biased) and moderate on some policies beyond very obvious superficial manuevers they can produce change. The way American politics read now, the demographic gap is widening, not narrowing and with Obama’s new Democratic coalition spells serious trouble long-term. White actually over-performed in 2012, more white evangelicals turned out for Romney than for Bush and Romney STILL lost. Even when one adds in the 6-8% of voters who would not even for a moment consider voting for Obama based upon his race this spells major trouble in national contests. You are right though, they can win mid-terms with an older, white core like they did in 2010 and maybe for now that will be good enough.

    Finally as for changing their demographic problems: Remember, the Democratic Party was once identified as the Confederate Party which is an interesting linkage to explore (here is a thesis of mine) ultimately the problem is the unyielding nature of Southern whites and their Southwestern cohorts who vote in a deeply regressive block. Republicans, like Democrats once found cannot have both minorities and Southern whites in a coalition so until either Southern politics undergoes a massive realignment they are stuck with what they have and they know it (including Orson Scott Card, there’s a rare sci-fi writer who is successful and celebrates reactionary politics. I’m not saying sci-fi writes cannot be reactionary but for the most part and maybe someone can refute this the purpose of sci-fi is to gaze into the future which is HIGHLY anathematic for reactionaries…if they could do that they would not BE reactionaries). That’s why they’re pursuing a technocratic form of Jim Crow in these recent voter-ID laws but since Barack Obama was re-elected….good luck with that one.

  179. Guess said:
    People seem to have short memories. I can understand young people not remembering this, but anyone over 35 should remember the 2000 election. Liberals went far crazier about the losses in 2000 and 2004 than conservatives are getting over the loss in the last 2 elections. I remember alot of liberals going ‘this isn’t my country anymore’.

    I don’t remember ANYONE getting upset much in 2000, but I wasn’t too political then. After 9/11, the country went insane and Bush and his cronies left me convinced we’d elected Mussolini without the military acumen.

    By 2004, I would’ve voted for a stuffed owl if it had been all the Democrats had to run against Bush, and the fact that he won anyway left me convinced that my country really had gone completely nuts. Morality, facts, the Constitution, basic competence… none of it mattered next to the illusion of safety the Republicans were offering.

    Thankfully, people eventually got sick of being scared ALL THE TIME, and it seems like we’re recovering from the National Concussion.

  180. Thanks so much for all the suggestions, guys. I had forgotten about David Brooks, I like those segments on NPR. =)

  181. Don’t know how the future will play out? I already told you, it will be Elizabeth Warren in 2016…you’re all just not paying attention! ;)

  182. Don’t know how the future will play out? I already told you, it will be Elizabeth Warren in 2016…you’re all just not paying attention! ;)

    On the one hand, I think that if she tried it in 2016 she would be a first-term Senator and therefore would get steamrolled by Clinton. On the other hand, I saw Obama at the 2004 convention and thought that he would make a great first-term senator and a good Presidential candidate for 2012 or 2016, but that if he tried it in 2008 he would get steamrolled by Clinton.

    This time around, of course, Obama is very much obligated to support Clinton if she runs in 2016. The Big Dog didn’t get up on stage at the convention and deliver one of the best speeches of his career out of the goodness of his heart. So that changes things a little bit.

  183. Consumer Unit 5012:

    I don’t remember ANYONE getting upset much in 2000…By 2004, I would’ve voted for a stuffed owl if it had been all the Democrats had to run against Bush…

    I was political back then, and if IIRC, while liberals didn’t love Bush, we didn’t think he could do much harm, so, meh. Look how that turned out! By 2004, we *did* vote for the stuffed owl. (Although, Hawaii voted for a golden retriever.) And yes, I admit to losing my shit, although I think I was justified, because I was both unemployed (laid off) and literally standing hip deep in shit, when I got the news that Bush had 4 more years.

    Genufett:

    This time around, of course, Obama is very much obligated to support Clinton if she runs in 2016. The Big Dog didn’t get up on stage at the convention and deliver one of the best speeches of his career out of the goodness of his heart.

    I will be shocked if Sec Clinton runs for president in ’16. I will not be shocked if Chelsea runs for a Congressional seat, though. Mr Clinton is not one to waste political capital; I don’t think his campaigning this year was entirely selfish, but I don’t think it was entirely altruistic, either. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

  184. If Warren’s going to go, 2016 would be a good time. She won’t have built up the kind of voting record that caused problems for Kerry, and she’ll still be the darling of the left.

  185. Will it still be Bush’s fault the next time around too? Obama had everything for the first two years. House, Senate, Executive. How did the Republicans screw things up then?

    And now I have to hope that the Democrats wake up and smell the coffee before it’s too late, because the Democrats “own” the future.

    We now have polling that shows that a majority or plurality disagree with you two on both counts. Bush is still the person held most responsible for the financial crash and the Congressional Republicans are being blamed for the financial cliff, both among general population and by independents. At this point, Americans just aren’t blaming Obama for either inheriting the mess (and doing what they believe is a decent job fixing it) or dealing with people who have become the legislative equivalent of economic terrorists. They’re blaming the man who was in charge when the crisis happened and the people who held the economy hostage until literally until the last possible minute. They are, of course, correct in their assessments despite your claims to the contrary.

  186. @Genufett:

    This time around, of course, Obama is very much obligated to support Clinton if she runs in 2016. The Big Dog didn’t get up on stage at the convention and deliver one of the best speeches of his career out of the goodness of his heart.

    Or, you know, “The Big Dog” might just have got up on stage at the convention and not tried to out-Clint Clint in the bat-shit stakes because he’s actually 1) a team player and 2) has his own reputation to look out for. I have no idea whether Clinton has any interest in going back into the trenches of a two year presidential campaign at 67, as opposed to having a career outside politics. Nor is Obama “very much obligated” to support Clinton if she does. There are any number of perfectly plausible scenarios where either, or both, might want the very opposite.

  187. In 1999, the first I heard about Bush (in person, as opposed to reading) was one of my friends saying, “I’m so afraid of what will happen to this country if Bush becomes president”. I was inclined to find him odious for his handling of death row cases. His tax policy, we correctly predicted would cause a lot of trouble.

    So, I think we called that one in advance.

  188. @cranapia If HC runs, then Obama will owe her a big assist, both for coming on board as Secretary of State and for Bill’s efforts in the election.

  189. Sunbee – most of us don’t make the mistake of thinking there aren’t female pro-lifers, but it’s pretty obvious that the bulk of the people running thing and setting policy direction are male.

    Also, if forcing me to carry and give birth to an unwanted child takes precedence over being able to avoid getting pregnant in the first place, afford prenatal care, not being bankrupted by the birth, being able to feed the baby, and getting the baby decent medical care and education, then stay right where you are. I don’t want you in the same party I’m in.That’s not pro-life, that’s pro-forced birth.

    The Republican insistence that abortion, birth control, and such are not economic issues is just weird. The first time I gave birth the bills ran over $50,000 – and we had only achieved insurance coverage by the skin of our teeth, through an improbable series of coincidences. We’d still be paying it off now, fourteen years later – in what way is that not an economic issue?

  190. Of course, if we want to find the roots of the housing loan crash (which took down the world economy along with the U.S. economy) we must consider the fact that it was well-meant federal interference in the standard (then) practices of the banks — who ordinarily wanted 20% down and excellent credit before lending out money for homes — that got the ball rolling. Once banks had the fed on the hook for the security of the loans, they no longer had to be sensible about who they gave loans to, or why. Endless bundling and selling of egregiously-given and egregiously-termed loans was and is a problem for which Democrats and Republicans are both culpable.

    This is so egregiously false that it’s hard to take you seriously about anything else having to do with anything financial.

  191. Ha! — #1 reminded me of the end of the “Shindig” episode of Firefly:

    Mal: Sure, it would be humiliating having to lie there while a better man refuses to spill your blood. Mercy is the mark of a great man. [stabs Atherton Wing with a sword] Guess I’m just a good man [stabs him again] Well, I’m alright.

  192. @ Tapetum, aside from the extremely religious pro-lifers who object to abortion and birth control on general (wacky) principles, I think the majority of pro-life supporters are supportive of expanded birth control access so women can control the timing of when they give birth. I think they a) object to abortion on demand when the reason for the abortion is it is “unwanted” and b) forcing religious and religiously affliated non-profits to provide access to birth control that goes against their religious beliefs (ie the Catholic Church and Obamacare). There are so many options with regards to birth control and adoption that many of us with pro-life sympathies wonder if the pro-choice crowd is more concerned about the selfish priorities of the woman who find themselves in this situation rather than the unborn child.

    Speaking for myself and as an adoptee, I’m perfectly happy to support expanded and subsidized birth control access so that women can control when they have a child and not worry about finding themselves with a child they can’t support. Most Republicans that I know support the rape, incest and health exceptions for abortion. When your political party demonizes even these exceptions from a straight ban on abortion, we have to wonder if your party has lost its marbles and doesn’t care about any rights for the unborn. Us Republicans may have our Akins and Mourdocks, but you guys have your Flukes.

  193. As an addendum to the above, I apologize to John for dragging the topic of the post off topic. And I also wish to note that as a practicing Catholic, I find the Church’s stance of birth control (ie it is sinful to use it) to be mostly ridiculous but note that it goes against the Constitutional precipts of religious expression for any church or religiously affliated non-profit to be forced by the government to pay for services they object to on religious grounds.

  194. “it goes against the Constitutional precipts of religious expression for any church or religiously affliated non-profit to be forced by the government to pay for services they object to on religious grounds.”

    That seems awfully selective to me. Why isn’t it unconstitutional for religious *people* to be forced to pay for services they object to on religious grounds? Because that’s happened for as long as we’ve paid taxes, and those taxes have gone to things that various people have objected to, including war, torture, and, for that matter, the exact same contraception (via things like subsidized health insurance for federal employees) that was being objected to this last election cycle.

    Indeed, insofar as religiously affiliated organizations are already paying federal taxes (which I’d imagine they do if they have any sort of commercial businesses on the side, such as stores or rental income), they’re already paying for those programs. Not to mention that the salaries that they pay to their employees can be used to buy contraceptives now if an employee chooses, just as the premiums they would help pay for their employees would, again subject to the choice of the employee.

    So what makes the proposed HHS rule (where premium support from employers other than churches would have to go into plans that cover contraception) so particularly objectionable, compared to the other things above? I haven’t seen a convincing argument for that; rather, it seems to be a way of appealing to economic “purity” (which is ultimately unattainable) to try to get Catholics to elect Republicans and torpedo the Affordable Care Act.

  195. I’m really beginning to hate the term “abortion on demand.” It implies that the vast majority of women are just going out having abortions like they’re candy. No mention of whether or not these women are in abusive relationships, or in dire financial straits that precluded them from obtaining birth control. No mention of the fact that, thanks to current cultural mores, rape has always been a psychologically difficult thing to come to grips with (let alone accuse someone of) and is still quite difficult to do legally, particularly in existing relationships with a power imbalance. No mention of the fact that large number of anti-choice activists (as opposed to those who are both pro-life and pro-choice, as you seem to identify with) that have political power in state and federal legislatures and executive offices believe in personhood from moment of conception, no exceptions. Regardless of their prior positions, both Romney and Ryan ran on a platform of no abortion, no exceptions. Many of their colleagues explicitly supported that mindset.

    Also, let’s clear up what I hope are misconceptions as opposed to attempts to mislead regarding the contraceptive mandate. First of all, actual religious organizations are, in fact, exempt from the mandate. So the Catholic Church itself, despite what they may be telling you, does not have to worry about being forced to provide contraception. Second, a good bit of the mandate has existed since an EEOC ruling in 2000 that was upheld by the Bush Administration with no attempts to overturn by a GOP that controlled both the House and the Senate. I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to why it’s all of the sudden a concern. Third, there are a lot of issues surrounding adoption that you seemingly gloss over. Pregnancy doesn’t just mean there’s something growing inside a woman for 9 months, it involves a great deal of changes to her body and risks to her health, something that is not usually easy and never cheap. Pregnancies and birthing can easily reach staggering sums of $50,000, an near-impossible figure for someone with non-existent or poor health insurance and/or little financial means. If adoptive parents were willing (or perhaps required) to help shoulder the burden, that would be a step in the right direction. And of course, that doesn’t even get into adoptions into LGBT families, which is prohibited in many parts of the US, and was specifically mentioned by Romney as something he would prefer to get rid of. And finally, the push-back on the contraception mandate allows for no exceptions in cases of non-contraceptive use or even use among married or otherwise committed couples. These aren’t new and novel uses of birth control, they’ve been around since the Pill was invented, and the Catholic Church’s stance as well as many people in the Republican Party refuses to address this.

    Oh, and by the way, the attempt to draw parallels between Akin/Mourdock and Sandra Fluke is pretty fucking disgusting. The former were defending rape and pregnancies thereof as natural and out of the control of the victim, based on a combination of ignorance of basic biology and a fairly offensive interpretation of their faith; Sandra Fluke’s testimony was in regards to financial hardships and women who use HBC for non-contraceptive uses (the example she used was PCOS, a fairly common issue). We already have at least two regular posters here who feels that it’s OK to slut-shame her and women like her because they feel as if birth control creates irresponsible slutty sex monsters, we don’t need another.

  196. Uh, wow…for “is still quite difficult to do legally,” replace “do” with “successfully accuse”.

  197. @Christopher Shaffer – please actually read what Sandra Fluke said before you place her with the extremists. Saying “you have your Flukes” just says you know diddly/squat about her. Which doesn’t exactly inspire trust that you have a clue with regard to the actual pro-choice position.

    I doubt John wants us to get into an abortion debate here, so I’ll leave it at that. I will note that the two parties have, until basically the eleventh hour of this election, been the party of “no abortion ever” and the party of “we won’t bother to defend reproductive rights, because they’re a hot potato, and besides you have to vote for us because we’re better than they are”. The kind of wide open, abortion on demand legislation you seem to be afraid of is not even a vague legislative possibility – as opposed to the (quite literally) hundreds of abortion restrictions being brought up in state legislatures country-wide. My state had the lovely choice of the odious Mourdock, and the equally pro-forced birth Donnelly. There wasn’t even a pro-choice politician available to vote for. So all the “think of the children” fear mongering people can go stuff themselves.Voting democrat isn’t an automatic pro-choice vote, unless you view pro-choice as anything even barely more nuanced than no abortion ever. The anti-abortion lobbies know this quite well, and have been doing a bang up job of convincing the rank-and-file otherwise, though.

  198. @Christopher Shaffer –

    Show us what Sandra Fluke said that makes her equivalent to Akin and Mourdock. In any way whatsoever. Show us. Link. Quote. If you do in fact have any kind of substantive criticism of Sandra Fluke, feel free to present it. Got anything?

  199. Genufett: Beginning? You say that as if the usage of “on demand” wasn’t always intended to engender contempts for any woman who had the temerity to avail themselves to legal medical services. The phrase “abortion on demand” has never meant anything other than “abortion for teh lulz”. it is the antithesis of reasoned, reasonable argument against abortion, designed not to participate in debate, but to attempt to shut down debate. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying. Lying to you, and, most damningly, lying to themselves.

  200. @ Genufett: The Obamacare contraceptive mandate only provided a grace period of a year, at which time Catholic affliated schools and hospitals nationwide will be forced to provide birth control through their insurance agencies. Some of the schools, like DePaul and Loyola Marymount already have to provide contraceptive services because those states, including California and Illinois, do not have conscience clauses for religiously affiliated schools or hospitals.

    I used Sandra Fluke as the most recent example of what I feel is the Democratic Party modus operandi on abortion and contraceptive services. They pretend that contraceptive coverage that requires co-pays is expensive, onerous and discriminatory towards women when, as far as I am aware, most insurance companies require co-pays for Viagra, Propecia and other male contraceptive services, whereas under Obamacare businesses and insurance companies will be required to provide women contraceptive services with no out of pocket cost. It’s a fact that Planned Parenthood offers women low cost prescriptions for birth control and most generic monthly birth control plans cost as little as 10 bucks a month. My wife’s private health insurance that she had as a student at a Catholic university to cover prescriptions for birth control, which she uses to regulate her PCOS, was 50 bucks a month. Fluke’s testimony was simply part and parcel of Democrats insistence on forcing religiously affiliated schools and hospitals to cover contraceptive and abortion services to which they have religious objections too.

    What is also baffling and disgusting to people with pro-life sympathies is the pro-choice side’s categorical objection to any and all restrictions upheld by Planned Parenthood v. Casey. What is objectionable about requiring parental notification for a minor to have an abortion? or informed consent? By vehemently objecting to these restrictions, the pro choice side leaves one with the impression that they don’t give a rat’s ass about the rights of an unborn child or spouses/significant others who may wish to keep the child or give it up for adoption rather than abort it. While I feel that the woman should have the final say about aborting the child, for the pro-choice side to argue that nobody else aside from the woman’s doctor, not even a boyfriend, husband or parent, has the right to any input in the decision is simply evil.

    Oh and to put it quite simply, you are talking out of your hat with regards to Romney/Ryan running on a platform of no exceptions. The Human Life Amendment in the party’s platform leaves it up to Congress and the states to determine what restrictions would be placed upon abortions. See this: http://factcheck.org/2012/08/another-abortion-falsehood-from-obamas-truth-team/

  201. Re: parental notification laws. They’re unnecessary in most cases – and cruel and unsafe in a good chunk of the remainder. Should girls talk to their parents – generally yes. But one of my grandmother’s friends was shot to death by her father for getting pregnant. Others can and have been tossed out of their homes, locked up as prisoners to prevent any possible abortion access, sent off to homes for unwed mothers to be forced to give the baby up for adoption. In short, the intent is fine, but the laws are a lousy idea.

  202. The Obamacare contraceptive mandate only provided a grace period of a year, at which time Catholic affliated schools and hospitals nationwide will be forced to provide birth control through their insurance agencies.

    Wrong again. First of all, any actual religious organization is exempt, it’s only nonprofit affiliates that are not. Second, the grace period also went alongside a directive wherein religious organizations do not have to comply if they self-insure. If they don’t the insurer, not the hospital or school, is required to pay.

    Some of the schools, like DePaul and Loyola Marymount already have to provide contraceptive services because those states, including California and Illinois, do not have conscience clauses for religiously affiliated schools or hospitals.

    Then I posit yet again why it is only now becoming an issue.

    I used Sandra Fluke as the most recent example of what I feel is the Democratic Party modus operandi on abortion and contraceptive services. They pretend that contraceptive coverage that requires co-pays is expensive, onerous and discriminatory towards women when, as far as I am aware, most insurance companies require co-pays for Viagra, Propecia and other male contraceptive services, whereas under Obamacare businesses and insurance companies will be required to provide women contraceptive services with no out of pocket cost.

    What? Viagra and Propecia are in effect cosmetic drugs, not required for health or contraceptive use. In fact, I can’t think of any “male contraceptive services,” so until they come up with the Pill for men, that has no relation to anything we’re talking about.

    It’s a fact that Planned Parenthood offers women low cost prescriptions for birth control and most generic monthly birth control plans cost as little as 10 bucks a month.

    You mean the same Planned Parenthood that almost the entire elected GOP body at both the state and Federal levels wants to defund?

    My wife’s private health insurance that she had as a student at a Catholic university to cover prescriptions for birth control, which she uses to regulate her PCOS, was 50 bucks a month.

    Which was exactly what Fluke was testifying in favor for.

    Fluke’s testimony was simply part and parcel of Democrats insistence on forcing religiously affiliated schools and hospitals to cover contraceptive and abortion services to which they have religious objections too.

    So, you use your wife’s insurance as an example of how accessible and afforable contraceptives are, but you want to get rid of that same accessibility and affordablity. Brilliant.

    What is also baffling and disgusting to people with pro-life sympathies is the pro-choice side’s categorical objection to any and all restrictions upheld by Planned Parenthood v. Casey. What is objectionable about requiring parental notification for a minor to have an abortion? or informed consent?

    Where are you getting this “any and all” strawman from? The two examples you use are not the whole spectrum, but they are easily refuted. For instance, parental notification in the case where a parent is the father is one good argument against it, as is the privacy of the minor and the agency they have over their own body. And the objections against forced informed consent apply to information that is considered to be from incomplete evidence or uses biased, non-scientific language.

    By vehemently objecting to these restrictions, the pro choice side leaves one with the impression that they don’t give a rat’s ass about the rights of an unborn child or spouses/significant others who may wish to keep the child or give it up for adoption rather than abort it. While I feel that the woman should have the final say about aborting the child, for the pro-choice side to argue that nobody else aside from the woman’s doctor, not even a boyfriend, husband or parent, has the right to any input in the decision is simply evil.

    And what if that boyfriend, husband, or parent is the father through rape or is physically abusive? And what about the states that require women to allow their rapists access to their children? There are good reasons why objections to some–not all–restrictions is brought up. You say one thing but apparently believe another when it comes to “input” on abortions, that everyone in the situation should be given equal weight in the decision. If there’s anything “evil” in this, it’s saying that the person actually responsible for being pregnant has no more say in the decision than anyone else.

    Oh and to put it quite simply, you are talking out of your hat with regards to Romney/Ryan running on a platform of no exceptions. The Human Life Amendment in the party’s platform leaves it up to Congress and the states to determine what restrictions would be placed upon abortions.

    Read your own link, the part where it says that no specific amendment was included, and where Ryan opposes exceptions. In other words, we’re left with the party’s stance, which at the state (and increasingly at the Federal) level has moved towards no exceptions, including that of the vice-presidential candidate. Combine that with full-throated support of the repeal of Roe v. Wade, and there’s your platform. Nominally it doesn’t say anything, but functionally we’re left with a higher chance of no exceptions.

  203. @ Genufett: Did I stutter? The Catholic schools and hospitals are non-profit affiliates of the Church, be it Roman Catholic, Lutheran, etc. Therefore they are going to be the ones forced to pay, even if it is indirectly through their insurance companies, for contraceptive services they object to. And the only non-profit religious agency that will most likely be able to self-insure and not bankrupt itself is Lutheran Social Services.

    My wife’s private health insurance was one she paid for out of her own pocket, she didn’t try to force her university to cover the cost, which is what Fluke would love to have happen. Everything she wants paid for by somebody else with government coercion assisting. My point is, even with her medical condition, she was easily able to afford the prescription and still have money for rent, etc.

    With regards to allowing rapists to have access to their children, this can be solved very simply by introducing laws in every state to disallow such access. I’m pretty sure that will be bipartisan and I would even hazard a guess that law and order Republicans would allow lower standards, say like a judge concluding via a preponderance of evidence that the father did in fact rape the victim, even if the victim’s case can’t meet the higher standards of criminal court proceedings. Color me cynical, but I feel that abortion rights activists use this a ideological weapon against all parental notification and informed consent. Most states with parental notification already have procedures that allow a minor, in cases where the minor is in fear of their life if they are the victim of incest or what the parents’ reactions are going to be, to go to a judge and petition for exemption from notification. I believe that most states even use the lower “preponderance of evidence” standard in these cases, though I admit I’m not sure.

    No specific amendments and/or exceptions to the Human Life Amendment were given because we feel this issue should be returned to the states for debate and passage of whatever abortion laws the people of all 50 states feel is proper through the legislative process. It’s ironic though you are approving of those states not having conscience clauses with regards to religious liberty but scared shitless of the people of the US deciding for themselves on abortion. Which do you support, a strong Federalism or States Rights? Can’t have it both ways.

  204. I would sort of like it if the President, the lure of presidential candidacy, and the Grim Reaper would all refrain from poaching Massachusetts’ Senators for just a little while, at this point.

  205. Um – Christopher? Insurance that includes birth control does not cost more than insurance that doesn’t, for the simple and obvious reason that birth control costs less, a lot less, than pregnancy and birth. In the case Sandra Fluke was testifying, the university wasn’t actually paying for the insurance at all – it was pooling the student fees to get the best rate for them, but not contributing money. In that instance, having them object to insurance providing birth control is like having the guy you give the money to and send for pizza, because he’s got the discount card, refuse to bring you the pizza with pineapple, because he hates pineapple – even though it’s not his money he’s paying with and he’s not eating the pizza.

    Court-bypasses for parental notification laws are another good in theory, shitty in practice item. In most of the states that have them, the judges hate them and try to avoid having them on their docket – which means long delays, which means more hazard for the minor. Not to mention a pro-life judge is extremely unlikely to grant such a bypass no matter the situation. In some states the problem is so bad that the bypass is effectively meaningless.

  206. Scalzi’s right — the GOP needs only to resolve one good wedge issue to get enough socially conservative Hispanics back to win a national election.

    The real lesson for Democrats has to be that the 2014 midterms start NOW. Recruit the best candidates, pour shitloads of money and research into it, and either take back the House or blunt the normal Republican gains.

    If Obama pushes his agenda hard and the Senate ends the era of the easy filibuster, House Repubs will be forced into unpalatable positions on popular issues. The President can list the things he wants to do with his final two years that can’t happen with Republican control of the House and make the local Congressional elections something of a national referendum.

    Job one: Reform the out-of-control filibuster. Everything else stems from that.

    A Republican ass-kicking is absolutely necessary to cleanse the Tea Party/racist nonsense from the party and bring it back closer to the center. It’s clear that the elections did not provide the party with any real clarity. Instead, they are trapped in what I call The Consultant’s Conundrum — “it’s not that our message is faulty, it’s that we didn’t push it hard enough”.

  207. @Christopher Shaffer: You’re arguing that an employer should have to right to jump in and prevent its employees from using insurance they pay for if the employer doesn’t approve of the treatment the doctor ordered. Is that….really a position you want to take? Because you get that would apply outside of birth control and abortion, right? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that GranolaCorp ought to be allowed to say “we don’t pay for our employees to get chemotherapy because we think using crystals and positive energy and chanting is the true cure for cancer, and injecting toxic chemicals into a human being violates our deeply-held Gaiain beliefs.”

    @Dave B: The GOP needs to resolve more than one issue, and it’s not just immigration. “Socially conservative” goes beyond “what they think about birth control”.

  208. @Christopher Shaffer –

    What if the person who runs your company is a Jehovah’s Witness? Would they have the right to insist that blood transfusions not be covered under your insurance in accordance with the JW moral stance against those?

  209. @mythago: I agree. But there’s a difference between what the Republicans need to do to win an election (break off a big chunk of the growing Hispanic bloc or some other large group, such as the GLBT bloc) and what they need to do to be broadly relevant again (move towards the center on a host of issues).

    For instance, Fivethirtyeight.com today noted that Obama and Romney split the votes of heterosexual voters but Obama killed it with GLBT voters.

    The trick is in trading away socially retrograde votes in exchange for a larger batch of votes from the more moderate blocs.

    Again, that’s politics and not a reflection of real life.

  210. Americans need a sensible, constructive opposition party. I’m independent but so far have only voted for Democrats. I don’t see that changing given the current state of the GOP. I’m not going to support a party which is homophobic, anti-choice, anti-immigrant or a party which supports birtherism and other silly causes. Also a party which has spokespersons like John Sununu and Donald Trump doesn’t appeal to me.
    But, of course, Scalzi is correct that those of us on the Left should remember 2010 and remember that Republicans can repeat that success in 2014. We’ll see.

  211. Christopher Shaffer: With regards to allowing rapists to have access to their children, this can be solved very simply by introducing laws in every state to disallow such access. I’m pretty sure that will be bipartisan and I would even hazard a guess that law and order Republicans would allow lower standards

    You haven’t thought about this carefully. Why do you suppose these laws exist in the first place (and do you realize that they’re explicit guarantees, not mere failurs of exclusion)? First of all, there’s a belief that women will “cry rape” in order to deny fathers custody; since in a civilized society (and also in America for a couple of decades now) it’s legally possible for a man to rape his wife, divorcing wives will (in this belief) use this to deny custody/visitation to their ex-husbands.

    Also, did you somehow miss all the “was it really rape” conversation during the election? The two famous ones are far from alone, you know. Most people who oppose abortion even in the case of rape have some form of doublethink that lets them believe they’re still being humane (because most people really DON’T want a victim of a brutal crime to have to bear the perp’s child).

    I think your contention (that laws prohibiting rapists from having access to the resulting children would have bipartisan support) doesn’t pass the sniff test.

  212. But, but John. Give us an honest month for schadenfreude, not just one measly week. I mean, c’mon, look at what’s happened since the election. Romney makes a donor call and doubles down on the 47% meme to the horror of self-aware Republicans trying to staunch the arterial bleeding from the elephant. Then they form a circular firing squad with Mitt in the center. And all of the huffing and puffing and flailing around by the Republicans on Benghazi, trying to transmogify it into something it isn’t. The delicious spectacle of John McCain holding a press conference to complain that he doesn’t know enough at the exact same time the State Department is holding a classified briefing on…Benghazi. A briefing he is missing to have the press conference. And being later called out about it by the press. You can’t make this stuff up. Schadenfreude. It’s what’s for dinner. I’ll try to let go of it on, say, Black Friday.

This is the place where you leave the things you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s