• It fools the people who need to be and want to be fooled, i.e. the Yellow Dogs who will bitch about the same things we bitch about between elections but will make phone calls, knock on doors, and write checks to the establishment candidates the minute Labor Day in an even-numbered year rolls around because of Scary Republicans or the importance of SCOTUS appointments. (Nevermind the current Democratic president replaced two liberals on the court with corporate-friendly justices, the GOP appointees, thus contributing to the neoliberal drift of the nation’s highest court, the GOP appointments would have been WORSE.)

  • This has been his MO since the beginning:

    1) When you have a majority, hide behind the filibuster rules that a simple majority–let alone a historical supermajority in both houses–can get rid of at the start of any session, do next to nothing, and show nothing but contempt for the faction of your party’s base that actually believes in the traditional ideals of the party regardless of who is in office.

    2) Have the national party purposely run a shit GOTV operation in the next election.

    3) When the opposition party gains control of one of the two chambers of Congress, making it now legitimately impossible to pass your party’s agenda, suddenly embrace your party’s agenda and blame the “other side.”

    4) Rinse, repeat, set up the agenda for the national party to insincerely run on when you are termed out.

  • Uh, Nixon kept us in Vietnam longer for political gain. He basically had Kissinger sabotage the peace negotiations by promising the VK they’d get a better deal under Nixon.

    Outside of that, unfortunately, you’re right–a far right Republican from before Reagan’s rise to national power is progressive when compared to most post-Reagan national politicians.

  • Given that most of these contests happened in red states, I will tell you my idea of why polling is becoming very tricky in red states.

    First, you have a massive pull away from landlines all over–but especially in red states. Poor people with bad job prospects in red states want to get away from contracts that obligate them pay what could be an optional expense when compared to heat or water or medical costs. On top of that, you have the national things that are pulling people away from the landline model.

    Also, people in red states–particularly conservatives–do not like giving out information about their personal politics over the phone. If you have a situation where a lot of your phone numbers aren’t going to reach their intended targets and half the targets they do hit tell the live caller to go fuck themselves, that is going to affect the randomness of your sampling no matter what model you use.

  • Cephalus commented on the blog post Opposition to Obamacare Grows

    2013-12-23 10:33:15View | Delete

    The Republican healthcare plan from the 1960s-2008 actually passed through both houses of Congress and was signed by the President in 2010, despite an insurmountable Democratic majority and a Democratic “victory” in the previous election. You can sign up for it or find your state-based exchange at http://www.healthcare.gov–you may have heard of it.

    You might also want to look into a very similar law passed in MA under then-Governor Romney, which failed to rein in costs, improve healthcare outcomes, or even reduce the ER’s role as the primary source of care for the working poor.

    The “magic fairy dust plan,” by the way, could have passed federally–if Barry and Co weren’t whores for money–and would have passed in CA had Barry himself not pressured/bribed CA lege members to vote against it. (It passed through the state twice, both times under a GOP governor who vetoed it.) It also passed in Vermont, where–you guessed it–it’s been stalled even though the bill “theoretically” allows states to come up with their own models as long as the models are as cost-effective as the ACA.

  • Cephalus commented on the blog post Young People Are Not Really That Important to the ACA

    2013-12-18 15:34:27View | Delete

    I would take anything the administration says about the law with a huge grain of salt. If they’ve proven anything with the botched rollout and their response to it, it’s that we should treat them as pathological liars on all things ACA-related.

    Given that he did everything in his power to stop the progress of the ACA rollout process during the 2012 cycle–everything else he hid from the public last year was done because they KNEW it would damage his popularity if it came out before he was no longer accountable to voters–I have a feeling they know that the ACA’s true nature will become more apparent as it actually goes into full effect. That is, that it’s a rent-extraction scheme for the private insurers.

    It’s been obvious that this is all Romneycare really was in MA for some time–it did nothing to reign in costs, ER visits didn’t go down, general health outcomes didn’t improve, etc–to the point that people essential to Romneycare’s design and implementation are now claiming that juicing business volume for the private insurance industry was the ONLY goal of the policy package.

  • Cephalus commented on the blog post Obama’s Credibility Problem

    2013-10-09 13:00:56View | Delete

    He never NEEDED the Blue Dogs, that’s the lie they told us up until Coakley choked in the MA US Senate race. They needed sixty votes in the Senate and the 2006-2008 Rahm-picked corporate sellouts in the House to get ANYTHING done because using reconciliation to get around the filibuster was a “silly” idea. But remember what happened when Coakley choked?

    They used reconciliation to get the backdoor bailout of the insurance industry through the final stages of passage–without making the bill even a tiny bit more progressive or, hell, Democratic.

    You also might remember that, during the whole year they wasted on shoring up the story that they needed a broader coalition than they actually did, the Blue Dogs that were sold as the “swing votes” on the issue NEVER got visits from the Administrations legbreakers–and the GOPers didn’t either–but some members did. Who were they? OH! Right. The more liberal members of the Democratic caucuses.

    The true purpose of the Blue Dogs was to give the allies of the White House a rotating cast of villains it could use to keep the kabuki up without putting Rahm’s Boys in direct risk of being primaried.

    With reconciliation, we could have at least got something as actually middle of the road as the Clinton bill through Congress. Hell, we probably could have got a Medicare buy-in. If we had a non-weasel for a president, we might have even got something that JUSTIFIED all the “this is what we have been fighting for for seventy years” talk.

  • Cephalus commented on the blog post Shutdown Imminent, What Happens Next

    2013-09-30 12:09:07View | Delete

    Stein did poorly because the Green Party has a structure that is not conducive to building lasting political infrastructure and shit election strategy, i.e. the Greens treat ballot access as the goal, not actually winning anything.

    A Green Party that actually wanted to matter in federal election would do something like this:

    1) Identify their strongest state, i.e. the state in which the balance between having the most members and having the most reliable turnout is fairly even.

    2) Resolve to focus EXCLUSIVELY on putting every contest in that state and its EC votes in play.

    3) Grow, organize, and mobilize membership in that state.

    4) Actually win something beyond the odd municipal or state office.

    The way they’ve been doing it since at least the 1990s–i.e. running fucking national campaigns–is stupid when the system is as stacked against them as it is and they are at such a disadvantage in terms of resources. They will never be anything more than a protest vote until they stop doing that.

  • Sorry, but this is bullshit. Obama did not get a historically large margin of victory in either the Electoral College or the popular vote in either 2008 or 2012. (The last person to enjoy an EC landslide was Reagan–he got, unfortunately, 525 votes–and the last person to get close to a popular vote landslide was LBJ with a little over 60% of the vote.) In both elections, Obama got just over 50% of the popular vote and into the upper 300s in the EC vote. (And he finished with about 9 million fewer total votes in 2012 than he got in 2008.) This is only “historical” if you limit the scope of your view to the last few elections.

    Obama has not been as hugely popular as he was in 2008 since the public got a good look at him in 2009–and what they got a look at was a Reagan and Wall St. worshiping corporatist who disdains the base of his own party and democratic principles in general almost as much as he loves war and extrajudicial murder.

    The only reason he won is he ran against the most clueless candidate a major political party has ever nominated in history. If Romney-Ryan 2012 had NOT insisted on running the entire GOP general election cycle GOTV operations while making general election GOTV entirely dependent on an untested digital strategy, the election would have been far, far more competitive. (Obama 2012 was actually taken by surprise by how mismanaged the opposing campaign was. They were expecting a late night because the data suggested he’d win–but by an extremely thin margin. He didn’t win by that thin of a margin because the GOP could not get their IDed voters out.) I don’t really think I can adequately explain how insane it is to “fly blind” on E-Day to a civilian.

  • That’s bullshit. Hillary had all the elites in the bag in 2008, too. All it took was a smooth talking hustler with a big bank behind him to convince young people that he was the ‘electable’ progressive to beat her.

    ‘Clinton is Neither Inevitable Nor Desirable’ should be the mantrum of progressive Democratic activists from now until the 2016 primary.

  • Cephalus commented on the blog post More Signs Obama Will Likely Approve Keystone XL

    2013-05-16 15:59:36View | Delete

    This is the main reason that 2016 seriously needs to be a street fight for control of the Democratic Party. In 2016, the conservative wing of the party will have been in the driver’s seat of the DNC for 24 years. We’ve not had anything resembling an actual progressive Democratic administration since LBJ. If we let the rank-and-file fall in behind Hillary or some other DLC or OFA leftover without a bloody, grueling fight of historical proportions in the streets and on the convention floor, we really deserve the party we’ve had since 1992.

  • Your claim that you respect the rule of law is kind of laughable. You’re aware that assassinations and killing civilians without due process are against both the laws of the United States and international law, right?

  • Watch any documentary of Clinton’s re-election campaign. He was routinely caught on camera discussing strategies for how to bypass campaign finance law with advisors and contributors during the 1996 campaign. In light of that, it is really hard to argue that he only “seems” corrupt because he had a Republican Congress for much of his term. (Which, surprise, surprise, is the same argument O-bots used.)

    The Democrats lost Congress for the first time in a generation because of the DLC takeover of the Democratic Party, not because Clinton was “too liberal.” An actually liberal Democratic Party held both houses of Congress for most of the post-war period just fine. The DLC just chose to prove once and for all that the public will, in fact, always vote for the actual Republican when given the choice between a Republican and a right-wing Democrat.

  • “If that were true, Clinton wouldn’t have raised taxes on the rich.”
    He raised taxes on the rich merely by a few percentage points during his presidency. That is a drop in the bucket compared to what he did for the super-rich, such as signing the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

    “downsized the military”
    Nobody in the post-war period has ever “downsized” the military. At the very most, they have just not contributed to its monstrous growth. At no point during the Clinton presidency did the United States ever not, say, maintain a force equal to the combined armed forces of every other industrialized Western nation on Earth.

    “passed meaningful gun control”
    The only moneyed interest this pissed off was the NRA/the gun manufacturer’s lobby. Those people were never going to vote for Clinton or cut him big checks after he left office. The risk-reward ratio here clearly benefited Clinton.

    “taken meaningful steps to preserve the environment”
    Um, outside of setting aside land for monuments, Clinton’s environmental record is not great. The amount of “energy produced on public lands”–code for “public lands raped by the energy industry for private gain”–either kept pace with or exceeded his immediate GOP predecessors.

    “and begun paying off the deficit.”
    First, “paying of the deficit” actually means “austerity,” which is the last thing our economy needed after the Reagan-Bush fiasco. Second, he did no such thing. Most of the “budget surplus” he left behind was comprised of fictional revenue gains from deregulating Wall St and the tech bubble that speculation in the wake of that created. The last few market contractions–including the one we are currently in–can be directly attributed, in part, to Clinton’s actions.

    “Unless he forgot he was bought and sold.”
    He never forgot, he was just better at hiding his true colors than Obama. Namely, because he always made sure to at least have a progressive veneer covering his Thatcherite raping of the public sector.

  • Cephalus commented on the blog post Late Night: It’s Gonna Be Alright

    2012-11-10 01:03:42View | Delete

    The main problem with the Democratic Party can be broken down like this:

    1) The “Team Blue” mentality. For the few months every other year in which there is no major election on the immediate horizon, you do have organized “progressives” in the Party. However, most of them come in just two flavors: Faux Prog and Spineless Simpering Fool. Both flavors have this in common: an al-encompassing fear of the Republican Party.

    The Faux Progs are really smug, entitled establishment assholes who don’t want to admit that’s what they are until they are at least 40. You can tell them apart from other kinds of activists because they are, at heart, bullies. They talk all about “respect” and “inclusion,” until you start to question Party hierarchy . . . then they start to call you names, claim you just sit at home on your computer all day while they do ‘actual work’ and regurgitate Party talking points until you either agree or just give up hope of a rational dialogue and go away.

    The Spineless Simpering Fools are the people who actually do have progressive values but cave to the bullies every single fucking time in the hope that, someday, a movement will emerge like magic where nobody in the group says anything mean to the other people in the group. Generation after generation goes by with them never taking time to realize the Faux Progs become the fucking Party leadership every fucking time because they never actual stand up and fight.

    Both of them are basically motivated by an all encompassing fear of the GOP. The Faux Progs use it as a pretext for putting aside their silly liberal ideas to ‘get things done’ and the SSFs buy that line of reasoning.

    2) OFA now has an iron grip on the national Party infrastructure. Meaning that they will be the one choosing the next nominee, unless the base actually stands up and demands that they leave. Good luck to you if you think that’s going to happen.

    Honestly, I think the best way to pressure the Democratic Party to change is not from within due to those two things–notice how groups like DFA ALWAYS back the Party elite, even though their stated mission is to challenge those people?–the way to change them is to do what third party activists do and create places for them to go. It’s not useless. If it were, the establishment wouldn’t have spent Bush’s entire first term crucifying Nader. Nader frightened them because progs actually broke with the Party in small yet statistically significant numbers. You have to nip that shit in the bud. (A ‘weed can become a tree’ and all that.)

    Given that, yes, this election shows the demographics are irreversibly on the side of a progressive movement, I think it would be worthwhile to go and help the Green party build infrastructure that isn’t laughable–which they are actually now starting to do, Stein actually had ballot access in most states and was denied matching funds she qualified for in violation of law.

    The other thing I’d do is join the Republican Party. In states in which they are dead, like California, I don’t think that’s a laughable proposition. You can let the crazy teabaggers have the handful of rural counties that are still reliably Republican. If you think a local Party in a major city is going to turn away activists that aren’t on Medicare yet, I think you’re wrong.

  • Cephalus commented on the diary post Will Obama Encourage a Purge at the DCCC in a Push to Take Back the House in 2014? by EdwardTeller.

    2012-11-07 20:39:01View | Delete

    It’s like quite a few people here forgot that Obama actively hates the base of the Party during GOTV weekend. Did you read the interviews with the campaign staff? When they weren’t demonstrating selective memory by touting a “flawless” campaign–anyone remember their messaging changing completely a handful of times during the first half of the [...]

  • Cephalus commented on the blog post Late Night: The Limits of Rovianism, Cont’d

    2012-09-14 19:27:11View | Delete

    Romney was the only guy in the race rich enough to self-fund, that is why he was always the favorite to win, even before it was apparent how comically weak the rest of the field was. If we go with the conventional narrative (that the people who would have been actually respectable Republican presidential contenders sat this one out because they didn’t realize just how weak the president is–he’s running against freaking Mitt Romney and barely winning in the polling) I have to imagine that a lot of these people are kicking themselves.

    However, if that were the case, I have to imagine that the GOP PTB wouldn’t have worked to crush Paul’s influence over the convention. If there were that kind of buyer’s remorse over letting Romney run away with the nomination when the Democratic incumbent turned out to be weaker than anyone anticipated, I think they would have probably let his little stunt play out to appease him and then worked with him to get someone they actually liked in the top slot during a brokered convention. I think Romney being a self-funder, the field being as weak as it was, and the GOP just going along with a disaster of this magnitude all point to the idea that Wall St. knows they already have their guy in office and the actual contenders knew that there would be no funding of a serious challenger from without.

  • Cephalus commented on the blog post The Goal for CTU is Better Schools, Not Better Pay

    2012-09-12 14:32:55View | Delete

    Mayor Emanuel basically pushed through laws that make negotiations related to compensation the only legal grounds for a strike by CTU. That is why the frame CTU is using to capture their concerns is based on compensation. If they went on strike explicitly to improve conditions in the schools they would have little to no legal ground to stand on.

  • Cephalus commented on the blog post The Goal for CTU is Better Schools, Not Better Pay

    2012-09-12 14:17:48View | Delete

    Thanks for the kind words. I do, however, have to disagree that the “independent” nature of the school boards in Texas make it harder for the boards to steal money. I worked in San Antonio for two years. Conflicts of interest and graft connected to the local political operatives are rampant in ISDs. The only reason it isn’t a bigger issue is that the major political contributors in Texas state and municipal politics happen to also own controlling interests in the television stations and newspapers or have friends who do.

  • Cephalus commented on the blog post The Goal for CTU is Better Schools, Not Better Pay

    2012-09-12 14:02:11View | Delete

    If most people knew just how corrupt the local political parties, school boards, and local governments are, I think they would be shocked. Putting any public service under direct control of the mayor’s office in any city is a huge mistake, it’s begging someone without any morals–like Rahm Fucking Emanuel–to make money off the back end of said service by awarding appointments and contracts to contributors who happen to have stakes or business associates or interests with stakes in said service. If the aims and message of the strike spread awareness of how these things work, I will count it a great success.

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