The Blame Election

by: Mike Lux

Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 08:30

We had another one of those stories this week: economists delighted because we only lost 345,000 jobs last month because that was not as bad as expected. Forecasters think the pace by which we are sinking is slowing, but even in the best-case scenario, they expect unemployment will continue to go up for awhile, and for the economy to not add many jobs for as long as a couple of years.

And that's the optimistic scenario.

Another year and a half of this kind of dreadful economy is going to put people in a real grumpy mood in November of 2010. I lived through this before, although the economy wasn't nearly as bad then as it's likely to be in 2010: the 1994 elections, when the economy was still recovering from another George Bush recession. They had put Democrats in charge because they were mad at Bush for that recession, but hadn't yet felt any improvement in the economy, and folks were in a bad mood.

I think people today understand the depths of the mess the second George Bush left us with, and so perhaps they will be more patient with this charismatic young President than they were with the last one. But the similarities in circumstances are still keeping me up nights.

Here's what needs to happen to avoid another 1994 for the Democrats:

Mike Lux :: The Blame Election
1. Pass health care reform and other policies that impact middle-income voters' lives. The mythology around the 1994 election is deep, but I remember the exit poll and turnout numbers with great specificity, along with the numbers on health care reform. We did not lose the 1994 election because people hated Clintoncare, as the Republicans called it: most voters were unsure of what the Clinton plan was, unsure whether they would like it. But the people who had wanted health care reform the most- working class women voters- were very  disappointed that nothing happened, and did not show up at the polls. And NAFTA and an austere budget designed to reassure bondholders and lower deficits and interest rates in the long run didn't jangle anyone's chimes either.
Doing something big about health care will reassure middle-class voters that we are delivering on promises to do something tangible that improves their lives.

2. Take on Wall Street. I know the President is uncomfortable with too heavy a dose of populism, so in a way it's a good thing he is not on the ballot in 2010. The anger at what Wall Street did to our economy is going to continue to build as the economy stays bad for so many people, and Democratic candidates can show themselves to be outsiders if they go hard on this set of issues, if necessary harder than the President is willing to go.

3. Focus on jobs and income. The more tangible investment- whether direct public investment, or directly incentivizing private investment- is made in creating new jobs and higher incomes, the better off Democrats will be. People may accept the line about we have to help the banks because that will unfreeze credit for a while, but if all they see is Wall St's bottom line getting better while theirs is not, that patience won't last very long. Getting more focused on using our trade negotiators to prioritize American jobs sure wouldn't hurt either, and measures to boost incomes like Employee Free Choice Act and an indexed-to-inflation minimum wage would all help improve workers' incomes. One way or another, Democrats need to have that old proverbial laser beam focus on policies that actually create jobs with good incomes.

4. Focus on turnout. The 2008 Obama campaign, along with outside progressive organizations, did an incredible job in turning out young people, Latinos, single women, African-Americans, and other hard to reach parts of the Democratic base vote. They are going to need to do an extraordinary job of doing the same thing in 2010, because those are just the kind of voters it is hard to motivate to turn out in off-year elections- especially if the economy is making them grumpy.

5. Win the Blame Game. I know, this one is tacky. The high-minded among us aren't going to like this bullet point, but it's just a fact: this is not going to be an election where Democrats can win by patting themselves on the back for delivering good times to the American people. With the economy in very bad shape for more than two years by election day, people are going to be in a very bad mood, and looking for someone to blame. That's why a commission to find out what happened to put the economy in such a mess is such a good political idea, and why going hard after the banks is as well. We will have to make this an election about why the economy is such a terrible mess, and we will have to make a compelling case to voters that we got here for the same reason FDR had to deal with the Great Depression: brain dead right-wing economics. If we can win that argument, and if we are giving people real results on a range of issues that matter to them like health care, voters will show us the same patience they showed FDR.

If we do these five things well, we can turn the 2010 elections into a big victory rather than a 1994-style defeat. Democrats need to be very clear about their strategy, and very focused on getting a few key things done well.

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The Blame Election | 42 comments
Great breakdown, Mike (4.00 / 6)

 And I think President Obama (mostly) understands the above. His bitter clinging to the "bipartisanship" chimera suggests to me that he doesn't completely get it, but he's still way ahead of the Democrats in Congress, who seem to have a death wish.

 Health care will be the key. Universal health care with a strong public option immensely mitigates the pain of unemployment, as it covers the one single aspect of one's life that one can't control. You can scrimp and save and live austerely under tough economic times as long as you have your health. If Obama can fill in that gap, he'll buy himself a lot more voter patience.

 But to succeed, he's going to have to pretend the DC punditry does not exist. He's shown little indication of that. And he needs to realize, as Chris pointed out, that the real enemy is not Republicans -- it's blue dogs.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

this is not 1994 (4.00 / 2)
The differences are many: this administration is very much about not pushing very hard against entrenched powers and winning easy public relations points in accumulating political capital- as opposed to the more idealistic (at least on health care) and less savvy 1992-1994 Clinton administration.  But more importantly, the national mood (or if you want to call it the media climate) is entirely different - it is far more headed in a progressive populist direction given that the Republican party, and agenda, has collapsed under its own weight and the evidence of what has been implemented - something that never happened with Reagan and/or Bush I to this extent.  Who will come up with, let alone sell, a new Contract For America?  I doubt Mike Huckabee or someone like him has the wherewithal or competence to do that and simultaneously convince the Republican Party that they need to.  

Plus you don't have the issue of the South finally turning over to the Republicans in 1994 - something you could argue was long overdue in terms of realistic expectations (if LBJ predicted it in the 60s...).  There is nothing like that in this election.

Further, because of this issue of mood and the way that (I think) it's moving, I doubt that an anti-incumbent election would hurt progressives rather than help them - because you would have new politicians who have not lived through the roll-over-and-play-dead Democratic caucuses of the last 8 years.  

Frankly, I would be more excited to see some minimally decent legislation and a lot of easy public relations attacks (e.g. like the Sotomayor nomination) come out of this administration rather than measures that would convince the public that this lot is all that useful.  

Because I think they're not and they should go.  We need more progressives in Congress, not just to retain an overwhelmingly centrist Democratic base, as the bailout debate and subsequent events have shown.  Otherwise, we're playing dice with our future.

The problem is... (4.00 / 8)

 ...that through their coddling of Wall Street, the Democrats are creating a HUGE space for right-wing populism -- and all the Republicans need to exploit that is the right leader. Someone who doesn't have the baggage that Newt Gingrich has.

 Lord help us if the Republicans tap into a charismatic leader, especially if the Democrats continue to diddle around.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

[ Parent ]
I'm not sure they can... (0.00 / 0)
They have one already in Mike Huckabee... But the corporate wing won't support him... I'm not sure a RW Populist can get past the corporate wing.   If he could, I agree... I'd be scared.   Right now, Huntsman is the only one who worries me.  

[ Parent ]
How about a faux-populist? (4.00 / 1)

 They've got those in droves. They can talk the talk without walking it.

 It's worked for them with the religious right.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

[ Parent ]
it doesn't work anymore (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Yes, it does. See Barack Obama. (0.00 / 0)
Want to talk about flip-flops or "he was against it before he was for it", and we have the faux-populist campaign of  Barack Obama.  Democrats will either deliver the change they promised or lose to it.  It is as simple as that, and I'm a good example of someone who intends to vote it.  

If people think Michigan (OH, WI, IN) is going to put up with 20% unemployment, crappy universal health care and a tax on health benefits for people making under 250K, think again.  I predict our new Gov will be red, and Democrats everywhere will take huge losses in this town.  

Further, if unions don't start pushing back at the Democrats, they are going to have really pissed ex-members who will turn against them.   Democrats and unions have both become pretty useless to the working/middle class.  They are no longer a part of the solution have become a part of the problem.  

[ Parent ]
i agree with everything you said (0.00 / 0)
it's just a different tactic though - whereas the republcians used racism (and homophobia and sexism etc.) to depress voting among certain people and get their base mobilised for pro-corporate policies, the democrats are trying to use multiculturalism / diversity to do the same (basic math - split the vote on pretty much everyone, and get one group really really realyl into your party to vote for you).  It's a little more complicated than that because a positive race/gender/lgbt/class argument can feed into more positive thigns in building a social movement, but right now, i think that's where it stands.

[ Parent ]
the main way to direct populism towards social democracy rather than rightwing populism (0.00 / 0)
is to create and maintain social institutions that will foster that.  if you had highly democratic and effective unions rather than rightwing exurban megachurches, it wouldn't even be a contest.  The Democratic party as currently constituted will be a reflection of that, not lead it, and to expect more is to invite disappointment, I think.  

What I DO think is fair to ask of HopeChangeTM, given who they  are, is to stop throwing away trillions of dollars on things like bailouts or to fail to take up easy victories like rescinding the bush tax cuts and to not stand in the way of more radical organising work on class issues.  Being cynical, I assume they will do the latter, but I've been presently surprised in the last few months on at least a few occasions.

Does it drive me nuts that we have a president that appoints people like Hillary clinton and Timothy Geithner? Sure.  But what are you going to do?  You can only work with the world (and the President) you have until you can build something stronger.

[ Parent ]
"We need more progressives in Congress..." (4.00 / 2)
I am not so sure. Would be nice, sure. But before the last election I heard we had to win control of the Presidency to turn the country around. In the election before that it was critical to win Congress to make a change. I do not have answers but there seems always to be an answer that points to elections as an explanation for why we can't get progressive change from Republicans or Democrats. Maybe the electoral route is not the path to go. God knows we have helped Dems win election after election and in terms of progressive change there has been only cosmetic changes. And as Master Jack says in his post, the longer our Corporate Democratic party does not address substantial issues, the longer Obama plays with himself, the greater the opening for a dangerous and potent right-wing populism. We may not see the stew that is boiling under 17% (broadly measured) unemployment and state cutbacks in health and welfare, and rising foreclosures, but it is surely there.

[ Parent ]
Of Course Elections Alone Won't Do The Trick (4.00 / 2)
But electing more progressives (and defeating a few "moderates", most notably Specter) will certainly be very helpful. Why is this even an issue?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
The issue (4.00 / 1)
is where to spend time and money. The issue for me is whether we discourage people by hyping progressive candidates and then end up with a government that reflects the collective approved wisdom of our ruling elite. Look. Obama's and the Democrat's governing from the center (center-right?) makes a certain sense at least to them. Every vote he/they win over from the independents/undecided/centrist is something like two votes. One more for the Dems, one less for the Republicans. He/they do not have such an issue with the left. We are not going to vote or support the right in any lose some support on the left sure...the more important support is in the center...the dopes who cannot make up their minds. Inevitably that means the Democrats themselves more and more reflect the Republicans (who are after all the engine that sets the agenda, and shapes our political discussion. See dynamic two lines above). Inevitably that means a falling off of enthusiasm and support from voters brought into the electoral process in 2008 but who do not see enough change in their lives to justify the continuing effort to participate; it means a part of the left that just stops involving itself in the two-party system disguste by the two parties which represent the same corporate class. What I am raising is, given the meager results that have been produced by the enormous landslide electoral victories of the last two elections, perhaps electoral politics in the sense of going out and working for a progresive candidate is not where we want to concentrate  much of our efforts and exertions. I admit I do not have a real answer...I think we should be thinking about this ...and think outside the box/trap we are in.

[ Parent ]
we're already outside the box (0.00 / 0)
he more important support is in the center...the dopes who cannot make up their minds. Inevitably that means the Democrats themselves more and more reflect the Republicans (who are after all the engine that sets the agenda, and shapes our political discussion.

This is where electoral identity politics and similar strategies come in.  That's how Obama beat Hillary Clinton in the primaries - if you can win 80-90% of a small but highly mobilised segment (in this case black voters) then you can afford to lose by a few points with the remainder of the voters.

You can, as the republicans showed for several elections with things like anti-affirmative action and anti-gay marriage referenda, do the same thing with other segments of the voting base.  The trick is more to get it right rather than that the possibility isn't there and the only option is triangulation.

But both a resurgent progressive wing in the Democratic Party as well as a 3rd party (hopefully the two will get along) to keep the Democratic Party honest would be useful.   And it is certainly worth building both.

[ Parent ]
Because so many people are focusing on elections alone (4.00 / 2)
If other people were doing effective direct organizing that was actually organizing the unemployed and those threatened with unemployment, then "Of Course Elections Alone Won't Do the Trick" would be more than a true banality.  And Paul, you know better.

Strategy is never discussed.  Thus the default strategy is "elect more Democrats."  To say that arguing over what our stance should be towards Obama is a strategic discussion makes a mockery of the word "strategic."  That is not adequate.  In the 60's, people argued over demonstrations, going into poor white communities, colonizing factories, sticking with the campus base, AND electoral politics.  Many foolish things were said and done, but it was a healthy, strategic discussion, and people backed up their arguments by actually trying to do what they advocated.

The disparity today between what is needed and what is possible, and what is done, is pathetic.  You may ask, well, what am I doing?  Not much.  I'm 60 years old, diabetic and have a torn left knee.  And frankly, I'd rather be labeled a hypocrite than a sheep.

Full Court Press!

[ Parent ]
You Have A Point (4.00 / 1)
And I'm keenly aware of it.  I can tell just from the amount of comments I get what sorts of things attract people's attention.

I just think that, in the long run, more people will be won over to serious strategic thought and action by acknowledging the need for a variety of approaches.  It doesn't mean I'm happy with the present mix.  Sorry if I gave that impression.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
you can only get change towards your values from someone who minimally shares them (0.00 / 0)
I don't think that criteria applies to most of the Democrats in Congress (it doesn't for me).  However, I don't think the solution to this problem is singular - some people will get fed up and gravitate towareds third party organising, some people will get fed up and put their energy in non electoral work, some people will try to get candidates they share values with through the primaries, and some people will be cautious and try and maintain the place of the democratic party over all.  it's a big tent right now, of necessity, but the trick is to keep focusing on the shared values, because  it would be good - from my vantage point - to maintain that grand coalition for a time.  that's if we're not envisioning an immediate and complete overhaul of u.s. politics immediately (e.g. publicly financed campaigns, making the senate democratic, and other steps) that would require significant constitutional rewriting and the kind of political power that progressives/radicals don't have right now.  so it has to be contemplated how to get it in the long run.

[ Parent ]
True It's NOT 1994, But (4.00 / 3)
the more things change, the more they stay the same, and the same dynamics of running from hard fights, seeking strength in the center, and marginalizing the left are all being repeated.  So while it's important to keep your points in mind, they don't really undermine the central thrust of Mike's argument.

Which, in turn, is not really at odds with your conclusion:

We need more progressives in Congress, not just to retain an overwhelmingly centrist Democratic base

Which, of course, I totally agree with.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Hate to disappoint. (4.00 / 1)
I hate to disappoint you, but the Clinton administration, with a few notable exceptions, was mostly not about taking on the powers that be.
I do agree that there are plenty of differences between now and then, but there are enough similarities that I think we need to have a good strategy.

[ Parent ]
I wish you were in charge of strategy... (4.00 / 6)
...but with the current adminstration in the lead, #2 is a non-starter, and I suspect #5 is as well, given that they won't even investigate illegal torture.  The battle for #1 can go either way.

Is anyone in power listening to you, Mike?

No matter what happens... (4.00 / 5)

 ...if the Democrats take an electoral bath in 2010, it WILL be blamed on the party being "too liberal", regardless of whether or not any progressive policy is actually enacted.

 And the party PTB's will swallow that crap hook, line and sinker.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

[ Parent ]
No, nobody in power is listening (4.00 / 2)
And the question, then, is what is to be done given that they aren't.

As I stated in another post (forgive my repetition):

One of the interesting features of the war in Iraq, and now in Afghanistan/ Pakistan, is that, despite the bold war-mongering rhetoric, the country is almost ridiculously sensitive to American casualties.  Not to minimize the American dead in Iraq, but there were about 55,000 Americans killed in Vietnam and adjacent battlefields.

Likewise, I believe that there is a similar sensitivity today around progressive acts of resistance.  I think Sheehan's encampment had more impact than the ritualized anti-war bus trips to Washington because they struck a nerve.  The brief sitdown at that Chicago factory facing shutdown got an immediate response.  Paterson again extended unemployment benefits in New York because he is scared to death of the consequences of the massive cutoff of benefits looming there.  Remember the guy who showed up at that federal property auction and started bidding?  Catastrophe looms in California.

This sensitivity to protest is only matched by the utter deadness of the progressive movement to take action that would, frankly, embarrass Obama and the Democratic Party.

Not to harp on a single "for-instance," but every job fair in the country is mobbed!  So a handful of organizers could show up with fliers urging people to join something, do something, anything!  But does it happen?  How has the left become so impotent?  Why?

The why is illustrated by Lux's post above.  Not that I disagree with it, but the issue is what is not said.

Full Court Press!

[ Parent ]
I think there are two (4.00 / 3)
othr metrics that will matter greatly:
1.  Have the banks repaid most of the TARP money?
2.  Are Chrysler and GM on the way to profitability?

Parallel (4.00 / 5)
The 1994 election was tainted by the semi-forced retirement of lots of House Democrats.  All unspent campaign funds were converted to a retirement account but 1994 was the last election that long term practice was allowed.  That turned 94 from a loss to a rout.

The closest parallel may be 1982 when Ronald Reagan initiated a deep recession to "break" inflation.  Some how he was above it all while slicing the disability rolls (pretty fraudulently) and firing the air controllers.  Unemployment peaked at 10.8% and stayed at or above 10% for eight months.  The unemployment was probably less than today as in 1986 Reagan jiggered with the statistics to exclude "discouraged" workers and those not "actively seeking employment."

Reagan somehow came out of the election with the same Senate majority he had before (54 Republicans) but took it on the chin in the House losing 27 seats.  Tip O'Neill and his 269 Democrats would have to be accomodated at least a little.

Going against the bankers is good.  Showing progress is good.  In 1934 and 1936 the economy was awful but things were getting better and Democrats picked up seats after gaining a combined 147 seats in the previous two elections.

For House Democrats this is a YOYO election.  They need to push, as you said, harder than Obama just to stay in the same place.  Obama can play Reagan and claim morning in America in 2012 but in 2010 it is the House and a third of the Senate that is on the line.

Agreed (4.00 / 3)
Many of the points Dr. Anon makes should not be ignored.  Especially the question of where the 50+ seats would come from to produce a '94 style wave election?  The Rs already own the south.  Plus, the demographics, as pointed out by Chris on numerous occasions, have changed substantially from 1994.  Exit polls from 1992: 87% white electorate; exit polls from 2008: 74% white electorate.  Given these two factors I don't see how the Rs EVER return to electoral competitiveness without a significant change in their policies - especially towards minorities.  Tough times under D control will not be enough for a minority to vote for a party who thinks they are inferior because of the color of their skin or the language they speak.  The trends of minorities, specifically Latinos, away from the Rs will only continue under the current R party.  The Sotomayor nomination is cementing this.  Is a 50+ '94 style swing really possible with near-zero minority support for the Rs?  Perhaps there is evidence for minorities not showing up for mid-term elections (I couldn't find any comprehensive stats for midterm elections, but I did not look too hard either), but if minorities vote at the same relative levels as they did in 2008, I don't see how a 50+ swing is possible.  

While I see no way that the modern R party is capable of a '94 style turn around, I still agree with Mike that the issues he raises are important - they would definitely be be very helpful in cementing long term D dominance.  I would certainly agree that the Ds could lose seats in '10 if the current economic picture continues and health care is defeated, and the Ds are seen as doing little to help the average American.  Even a small loss of seats, in either chamber, would give the appearance of weakness (even if the Ds still dominated to a far greater degree than the Rs did during their heyday) and this would make passing progressive legislation almost impossible.  If we want progressive legislation passed for years to come, we need the Ds to pass progressive legislation now (health care), run for reelection on the passed legislation, and win the election.  This would teach everyone (importantly the politicians in both parties and the media) that Americans can be happy when progressive legislation passes, this is not a center-right nation, and Ds can win elections on these issues (not just when the Rs screw up).  So, again, I agree with Mike that these are all very important issues.  But to suggest we could see a 50+ seat swing in the house and an 8-10 seat swing in the senate (8 on election night '94, 10 after Shelby and Nighthorse flipped) if there is no success on any of these fronts seems impossible to me.  

oops (0.00 / 0)
Meant to post this as a reply to Dr. Anon's message.  Thus, the agreed subject line.

[ Parent ]
Where would GOP gains come from? (4.00 / 1)
Things change quickly in politics. Virtually no one in Dem politics in 93-94 thought there was any way we could lose control. But we lost seats on 20 plus year incumbents that no one ever thought were in danger. Our demographics are better today, it is true, but I will remind you that just 4 short years ago, we were in the minority in congress, and very few people in either party thought we could win control before the next re-districting.  

[ Parent ]
Wise words (0.00 / 0)
Thank you for the valuable historical perspective Mike!

[ Parent ]
Mike .... (4.00 / 3)
are you telling this daily to your WH contacts? .. because this is great advice .. and exactly what the Democrats should be doing

It is all about the economy. (4.00 / 2)
That should be the focus - the Administration tirelessly working to improve the economy for working class Americans whether through health care reform or financial regulatory reform.  

RebelCapitalist - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.

The thing that irks me is that (4.00 / 1)
I have been begging and pleading with Obama not to do bailouts and to focus more on things like health care, and union, yet their failure will be blamed on liberals even though this shit came from the conservatives in the party, thus setting us up for an other triangulator in 15 years who will be a flop and end up governing as a total repuke.  That is why I have given up and become green.

My blog  

Not do bailouts (0.00 / 0)
I certainly don't like the method Obama used to bail out Wall Street and would have preferred full receivership, but don't think for a second that the preferred method would have been politically safer.  Had we taken full control of Wall Street then Obama really would be held responsible for everything.  The fight in congress to make this happen would push off everything you discuss is really important.

No one really disagrees with this, I think.  The counter arguement is Obama needed to do something that actually works, which is obviously true.  Failure would be much worse than success regardless of the optics, both politically and in the real lives of real people.  But if what he is doing works, and I'm slowly believing it might, then this course is politically safer.

[ Parent ]
If you think it will work than (4.00 / 1)
you probably agree with his calculation  that our problems are just based in negative psychology, and reinflating the credit bubble.  I think our problems are based on low wages, and I do not see where he has changed this.  I think the green shoots are just U of Chicago spin.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
Ultimately I agree (0.00 / 0)
The real problem is low wages.  Conservatives have been able to cover up the lack of real wage growth since Reagan.  First we had woman entering the workforce in large numbers, which kept family income going up even while individual income did not.  Then we had the credit and housing bubble, which caused this crisis.

But getting real wages to go up is a long term problem.  The banking emergency was short term and another issue.  It isn't like we could get wages to go up in a month.  I think of the banking issue as emergency surgery and the wage issue as proper diet, exercise and giving up smoking.  Yes, they are related, but the surgery was still necessary.

[ Parent ]
Mid-term elections (4.00 / 1)
almost always produce some losses for the party holding the Presidency.

Currently, the number of vulnerable seats appears pretty small, but it is almost a given that some seats will be lost.

No policy will turn the likely modest losses into gains.

Nothing is going to turn the economy around fast enough to satisfy everyone.

There is no question that the base will be less motivated in 2010 than it was in 2008.

Mid-term elections are not defended by a positive message: they are almost an entirely negative proposition.

There is no way that the Democrats can meaningfully take on Wall Street at this late date.

Something may happen between now and the mid-term elections to change the dynamic, one way or the other: a terrorist attack, horrible economic results, scandals.  Barring that, however, the party will continue its "centrist" message.

The party isn't going to hold more seats by moving left. They are going to defend vulnerable seats one by one, by portraying themselves as moderates, since those vulnerable seats are in mixed districts and because the attack on the Democrats as radicals is the leading Republican strategy.

We need to pass progressive legislation now because it is the right thing to do and because we won't have a better opportunity.  But you won't persuade very many in the establishment that passing more progressive legislation adopting populist rhetoric is the best way to minimize losses in 2010, because it probably isn't.

and three months ago you said (0.00 / 0)
it was too early in Obama's Presidency to criticize him. Now it's too late to criticize him.

Join the greens people.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
? (0.00 / 0)
I don't recall saying that it's too early to criticize Obama.  I do recall other people saying it's too early to judge him.

In 2010, it will still be too early to judge him, in terms of his success at a health care plan and the economy, because the plan won't have been implemented and the economy won't have had a chance to recover.

[ Parent ]
It's early enough for me to determine that (4.00 / 1)
I don't share Obama's priorities or political philosophy.  It is early enough for me to determine that I don't give a fuck whether I convince the establishment, because they are selfserving brats, who should be thown out of power not convinced.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
You'd be surprised. (0.00 / 0)
A fair number of folks in the Dem establishment actually do agree with me (I hope that is not a bad sign).

[ Parent ]
1994 (4.00 / 1)
Sorry but Bill Clinton was too conservative for the American people.  They wanted economic radicalism, and he gave them neoliberalism-allied with equal rights issues, of course, which, however necessary they are, have been used more as a substitute for doing anything else. Thats why the Democrats lost in 1994-that, and the long-term cumulative failure to ever really realize the completion of the New Deal and the promise of the Roosevelt-Truman era.

If Obama fails-which is still up in the air-it will be for the same reason.  

Well said (0.00 / 0)
1) "It's the economy stupid"

2) The economy will be permanently in the shitter for many of the formerly middle class (global competition, automation, debt...)

3) Don't give them the false hope that you can fix or reverse this

4) explain how it happened

5) explain who the guilty are

6) punish the guilty

7) build a polity that can accept a 20-40% drop in living standards (still quite high) because it knows that because virtue was embraced, things will get better, and that justice is being done.

I actually believe that Obama et al. understand this, but since they don't believe 7 is possible, they aren't bothering to to try 2 through 6.

I believe 7 is possible given America's multi-century Progressive history, but even if it wasn't, 6 is a good-enough consolation prize.

It shouldn't be that worrisome (0.00 / 0)
Obama is smart enough to compromise and produce something rather than just stalling everything because he hopes to get it right the first time.

People want presidents to take successful action and for there to be a relative improvement.  

That's how Reagan succeeded, by completely compromising any deficit reduction principles he had and just going for a massive inflation of the debt.

I think as long as Obama gets something passed that makes things better than they were before as far as healthcare we will do well.  People like incremental change.  Thats all Obama has to do to succeed.


1994? Come on, Mike (0.00 / 0)
This is nonsense.  That election was fueled by Clintonian mistakes, the remnants of the Southern Democrats finally getting booted, and so much more.  The economy doesn't have to be 'good' in 2010; it has to be improving.  And it will be.  And what is the GOP going to offer?  Tax cuts?  Democrats will lose 5-10 seats in the House and break even or better in the Senate.  You sound like a fundraising letter here.

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