lexington50 commented on the blog post Nearly Half Of Republicans Believe “Armed Revolution Might Be Necessary in Next Few Years”
What you ought to be focusing on is that fact that nearly one in three people in a survey that included Republicans, Dems and independents are so distraught with the state of our nation that they believe revolution may be needed. Maybe you ought to ask yourself why that is so.
I have to say that if I was a participant in this survey I’d be tempted to agree with the statement as well. This has nothing to do with jejune Red Dawn fantasies of citizen soldiers going to the hills and waging heroic guerrilla war against effete liberal internationalists trying to sell the country out to the UN. One can agree with the statement simply as an acknowledgement that since 9-11 the US governments relationship to its own people has increasingly exhibited authoritarian overtones and there is no reason believe this trend won’t continue. Indeed as the interests of the 1% continue to diverge from the rest of the country this trend will likely only accelerate.
It’s dismaying that some people are so obsessed with scoring cheap partisan points that they seem oblivious to the much larger and more urgent issues that are being raised here.
lexington50 commented on the diary post Dear Left, Enjoy Your Pot and Gay Marriage Because That’s All You’re Getting by Kurt Sperry.
Rec’d. Progress on social issues is attainable because a large section of the Republican base -the real base, not evangelical right wing Christian fellow travelers who often serve as their useful idiots- are either libertarian or indifferent to social issues. The Republican leadership’s devotion to culture wars is rooted not in conviction but political expediency. [...]
lexington50 commented on the diary post Learning the Hard Way: The False Promises of Standardized Tests by amerigus.
This is a story that needs a lot more attention.
Thanks to both the OP and the commentors for sharing their experiences and thoughts.
lexington50 commented on the diary post NYT Uses News Story to Express Dislike of Danish Welfare State by Dean Baker.
Nothing new here. The NYT has been railing against “over generous European welfare states” for years. In the past it was usually accompanied by invidious comparisons to the US – e.g. because European countries lack “flexible labor markets” and tax their wealth creators to death they can’t possibly hope to match the dynamism and prosperity [...]
Apologies if someone has already said this but the whole point of the shutdown is to habituate the American people to accepting massive disruption to their daily lives at the whim of the state securty apparatus. One day soon Americans are going to wake up and realize they are living in a police state. And [...]
lexington50 commented on the blog post Howard Dean Says Obama May Drive Him Out Of The Democratic Party
If Dean ever does leave the Democratic party on a point of principle I’ll take it all back – but I don’t see that happening. The extreme equivocation of his non threat to maybe conceivably one day reconsider his membership in the party if certain at this point hypothetical things come to pass tells me he is speaking purely for public consumption -and with all due respect to D.S. Wright, it’s obviously having the intended effect on the target audience.
As for popular support, you don’t need it to win elections. You just need one more vote than the other guys. What you do need is wealthy supporters who can fund campaigns and provide the patronage necessary to attract talent to the party machine and keep it disciplined and focused on the needs of the base – things like tax cuts for the wealthy, suppression of organized labour, cutting the social safety net and free trade. There isn’t going to be any mass stampede out of the Democratic party, at least not on the part of party insiders, because it is one of only two games in town, and if party insiders leave they will lose all access to the perquisites that attracted them to Washington in the first place.
The idea that the Democratic party actually needs liberals, and that the party establishment understands this need, is a self defeating conceit liberals have foisted upon themselves. Perversely as the contrary evidence remorselessly accumulates they seem to cling to it ever more tightly. I personally think a large part of it is that at bottom they are afraid to confront the reality of their own irrelevance to the two party system.
Then they wonder why their agenda can’t seem to make any headway in Washington no matter who is in the White House.
lexington50 commented on the blog post Howard Dean Says Obama May Drive Him Out Of The Democratic Party
Howard Dean isn’t going anywhere.
We’re talking about a guy who, after the Democratic establishment (including their lapdogs in the MSM) united to destroy his candidacy for the party nomination, became the freakin’ chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Here’s a clue: you don’t become chairman of the DNC unless your loyalty to the establishment is beyond rock solid.
Like the good foot soldier that he is Dean is spewing faux outrage in order to reassure the liberals who mistakenly believe they are the Democrats base. This is all about the kabuki theatre of pretending that there are real divisions within the party and that progressives need to stick with the Democrats in order to shore up the left wing of the party against the neo liberals. Except the “left wing” are all sock puppets playing scripted parts to distract progressives so the party establishment can implement the agenda its real base wants unmolested.
You want to know how divided the Democratic Party is? Only 16 of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ 70 members signed a letter vowing to vote against any cuts to social security and medicare (read the ugly truth here).
And this is supposed to be the party’s “left wing”!
The truth is that the Democrats aren’t divided at all, but they don’t want you to know that. It serves their interests to let progressives believe that they still have a home in the party and that there is even the possibility that once in a while the good guys will win a policy round against the centrist establishment. Which of course they never will, but the Democrats will happily string them along for as long as progressives are willing to be duped.
And as the tenor of this article illustrates that’s probably a good long time yet.
lexington50 commented on the blog post North Korea Tells Foreigners To Evacuate South Korea For Safety, Missile Launch Planned
This kid is educated and therefore can’t be stupid
Umm…kind of off topic, but doesn’t the experience of George W. Bush (2 Ivy League degrees) disprove this thesis?
Unfortunately it’s entirely possible to be both educated and stupid.
If the Democrats changed the rules to allow simple majority rule who would be left to blame for their failure to deliver the goods to their base?
Surely you can see their dilemma.
lexington50 commented on the blog post Is Obama Actively Trying to Keep Democrats From Taking Back the House?
Most people in this thread have it backwards: the problem is not that “Obama isn’t a Democrat”. It’s worse than that. It’s that Obama IS a Democrat – but the Democratic party is no longer the party of FDR and LBJ, just as the Republican party is no longer the party of Lincoln. I realize this is cognitively difficult to accept, but trust me, once you make that leap everything else will make sense.
As for Obama “actively trying to keep Democrats fro taking back the House” – the whole framing of the question is wrong. Obama made it plain well before the election that he intended to cut Social Security and Medicare. He handily won re election. He has a mandate to do exactly that. A certain section of the electorate will never vote for Democrat regardless of what Obama does because they have been indoctrinated by right wing media to believe he is the Anti Christ. Another section will always vote Democrat regardless of what Obama does because they prefer to have their civil liberties stripped and their reduction to economic peonage by neoliberal economic policies performed by an intelligent, articulate, socially broad minded president rather than by the village idiot. It’s a more dignified form of death. A third section of the electorate won’t vote at all because they perceive that the choice between Democrats and Republicans is mostly one of style rather than substance and the American electoral system is structured to keep things that way. As Henry Ford said, “you can have it in any colour you want, as long as it’s black”.
When you do the math the inescapable fact is that Obama can do whatever he wants without fear of electoral repercussions. Those that aren’t with him now will never be with him. Those that are will always remain because the only alternative is to abstain from the process entirely.
lexington50 commented on the blog post Despite Sequester F-35 Fighter Boondoggle Remains Funded
The thing you need to understand about the F-35 program is that it was only incidentally about actually producing a fighter designed to counter threads that don’t even exist. It’s essential function is to keep the pipeline of taxpayer dollars flowing to the defence industrial complex. Whether it ever results in a production aircraft is immaterial.
For years now taxpayers have underwritten not only the production of hardware but the R+D costs as well (which contractors used to largely pay for themselves in the hope of developing something they could sell to the Pentagon). As a result Lockheed Martin is living large on the public dime whether an F-35 ever rolls off the production line or not.
Digby voted for Obama because “he is going to hurt fewer people”.
Now she and many other liberals are hurt and confused because Obama is doing something polls say the majority of Americans don’t want him to do.
Well, as a former occupant of the White House put it, “elections have consequences”. One consequence of the last election is that Obama learned that his own base won’t hold him accountable for selling them out. You think the lesson was lost on members of Congress?
Polling is irrelevant. All that matters is that the politicians can keep the electorate divided and subservient by shouting “socialist!” and “lesser evil!”
I tend to agree that it is going to take a genuine catastrophe to break the two party power duopoly, and I think that a catastrophe on that scale is coming. Our elites have made such a dog’s breakfast out of managing the economy, climate change, social justice and any number of other things that it’s probably only a matter of time. The collapse of the dot com bubble in 2000 and the real estate / derivatives bubble in 2008 were -or rather should have been- the early warning indicators that there was something seriously wrong with the state of financial capitalism. But as to when it might happen – well, if I could see the future I’d be in a different line of work.
And when it does happen there is no guarantee that what comes after is going to be an improvement. If there is mass mobilization against entrenched interests then there will be mass repression as the 1% resort to any means necessary to defend their position.
On the other side of the aisle, there is little sign of life. Democrats might or might not see the utter failure of the policies they supported, but they don’t have the stomach to change anything. They don’t lead. They don’t pick up new ideas and try to teach them to people. They don’t listen to the people who got it right, but to a slightly different crowd of rich people who also want government to hammer the middle class and give the proceeds to them. Chicken Chimps.
Masaccio the key point you miss is that from the perspective of the Democratic establishment these policies are NOT failures – they did what they were supposed to do, which is transfer wealth and power to the 1% at the expense of everyone else. In case it needs to be said, the Democratic establishment is as much a part of that 1% as their Republican counterparts. The interests of the elite transcends party lines, and it is those interests that determine public policy.
The only difference is that the Democrats need to make a show of being reluctant plutocrats for the sake of their base.
Great blast from the past!
In this instance though I think the issues are a bit more complicated…
You do know that George W. Bush had two Ivy League degrees, right?
The problem is simply that they fundamentally disagree and our government as currently set up requires broad agreement to enact changes.
Jon I think your coverage of this issue has been excellent, but I have to take issue with your last statement.
The crux of the issue here is exactly that there is NO fundamental disagreement. Both parties want to slash the social safety net, the only problem is that one of them needs some token concessions on taxes to placate their base and the other doesn’t want to give them even that.
My disagreement with the fundamental differences meme is that it perpetuates the myth that there are substantive policy differences between the parties on social security and medicare, when in fact the truth is exactly the opposite.
It’s hard to think of anything Barack Obama did between 2009 and 2011 that would fit this description — in fact, on high-profile issues such as healthcare reform and the ill-fated “pivot” to deficit reduction, Obama’s goal has often (and famously) seemed to be the opposite.
To follow on norecovery’s point, the correct point of comparison would be 2007-8, when Obama was trying to win an election by positioning himself as a progressive, not 2009-11 when he had won the election and governed as the centrist technocrat that he is.
The desperation with which many people want to believe that Obama is something which his entire record since 2008 makes perfectly clear he is not stopped being merely pathetic a couple of years ago and is now downright embarrassing.
You expect leadership from the Progressive Caucus? Go on, pull the other one.
The Progressive Caucus exists as a sop to the party’s base so that they can continue to support Democrats in good conscience, even if the Democrats never actually deliver on progressive policy.
What the Progressive Caucus is NOT intended to do is challenge centrist control of the party establishment or in any way impede the pursuit of corporatist and neoliberal agendas -which is exactly why they keep voting for the policies the progressive label would suggest they would oppose.
It’s a useful piece of kabuki theatre as long as it keeps the rubes in the party base in line, which it’s doing very nicely thank you very much.
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