Power to the people

by Henry on February 7, 2005

“David Brooks”:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/05/opinion/5brooks.html?ex=1265346000&en=ae72d590be931a39&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland has another op-ed expressing the emerging right-wing wisdom that Dean’s chairmanship of the DNC shows that the lunatics have taken over the asylum of the Democratic party. In Brooks’ account:

bq. Howard Dean, in his fervent antiwar phase, mobilized new networks of small donors, and these donors have quickly become the money base of the party. … They tend to be to the left of the country, especially on social and security issues. They may not agree with Michael Moore on everything, but many enjoyed “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Perhaps they are among the hundreds of thousands of daily visitors to Daily Kos and other blogs that savage Democrats who violate party orthodoxy. …

bq. Many Republicans are mystified as to why the Democrats, having lost another election, are about to name Howard Dean as party chairman and have allowed Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy to emerge unchallenged as the loudest foreign policy voices. … The answer, as Mickey Kaus observes in Slate, is that the party is following the money. The energy and the dough are in the MoveOn.org wing, which is not even a wing of the party, but the head and the wallet. Only the most passionate and liberal voices can stir up this network of online donors from the educated class.

This analysis is quite wrongheaded. Brooks is right that the Moveon wing (if wing it be) is playing a newly important role in the party, but he fundamentally misunderstands its motivations. Moveon’s supporters have been quite ruthless in their willingness to dump the ‘most passionate and liberal voices’ in favour of centrist candidates when those centrist candidates seem to have a better chance of winning elections. More willing than lefties like me would prefer, but that’s another debate. Nor do Republicans sound especially credible when they complain about power in the Democratic party following the money. Which is more democratic in principle: a party dominated by networks of grassroots activists, or a party dominated by Tom DeLay and “plugged-in business lobbyists”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64725-2005Feb4.html? The question surely answers itself.

It strikes me that Brooks’ real complaint (and the complaint of many other Republicans) is that Democrats are finally figuring out that the job of an opposition party is to oppose. As the Democrats find themselves increasingly locked out of influence on legislation and the corporate donation structure, the balance of power is shifting from traditional insiders to a new, hungrier group of people, who aren’t especially worried at disrupting previously-existing cosy relationships, especially because those relationships aren’t paying many political dividends any more. The Democratic blogs that Brooks complains about have done a fine job (especially Talking Points Memo) in marshalling opposition to plans to privatize Social Security, and in figuring out straightforward ways to articulate why a very complicated set of policy proposals are a bad idea.

There are serious risks to the Moveon strategy, but they’re not the ones highlighted by Brooks. Mark Schmitt is the person who has perhaps thought most seriously about this – see this “very”:http://markschmitt.typepad.com/decembrist/2003/12/deans_pengun_or.html “interesting”:http://markschmitt.typepad.com/decembrist/2003/12/a_little_more_o_1.html “series”:http://markschmitt.typepad.com/decembrist/2004/12/making_more_dem.html “of”:http://markschmitt.typepad.com/decembrist/2004/09/can_there_be_a_.html “posts”:http://markschmitt.typepad.com/decembrist/2005/01/membership_and_.html. As one of Schmitt’s correspondents points out, a ‘transactional model’ of party organization is perhaps going to be unable to get people to commit to sustained activity and scutwork; hence the continued importance of trade unions. But there are also some very clear advantages. For the first time in a generation, the organizational interests of the Democratic party are consonant with the goals of the broader movement interested in political reform (less corrupt relationships in Congress; fairer procedures for drawing up House districts). This creates some real political opportunities for reform.

{ 53 comments }

1

jet 02.07.05 at 8:39 pm

“fairer procedures for drawing up House districts” riiiiiiiight. Perhaps you’d like to bring up Texas? ;)

2

Sebastian Holsclaw 02.07.05 at 8:40 pm

“For the first time in a generation, the organizational interests of the Democratic party are consonant with the goals of the broader movement interested in political reform (less corrupt relationships in Congress; fairer procedures for drawing up House districts). This creates some real political opportunities for reform.”

My cynical mind would suggest that for the first time in a generation the organizational interests of the Democratic Party are consonant with the goals of political reform solely because Democrats are comprehensively out of power. That isn’t likely to create many opportunities for reform because the party in power isn’t that interested–just as is true when the Democrats were in power. The problem with fixing things like the gerrymander is that the party out of power always tries to challenge the ability to gerrymander right up until the second they gain power.

If now is really an opportune time for political reform, it is most likely because once party is only recently ascendant, and there may be enough members of the party who have not yet abandoned their thinking on the subject who could join with the new minority party in pushing them through. It doesn’t seem likely, but that strikes me as the best basis for change. It might of course be thwarted by people in the minority party who have not yet adjusted to that fact…

3

abb1 02.07.05 at 8:54 pm

Which is more democratic in principle: a party dominated by networks of grassroots activists, or a party dominated by Tom DeLay and plugged-in business lobbyists?

Actually, the Republican party has a lot of grassroot support, cultivated mostly in churches all over the country. The Democrats on the other hand have no community organizations because the labor unions are gone.

I don’t think those silly meet-ups and phony internet communities will be able to replace the labor unions. Forget it, just leave the country, it’s doomed, taken over by the fundies for the next few decades.

4

x 02.07.05 at 9:13 pm

“Forget it, just leave the country, it’s doomed, taken over by the fundies for the next few decades.”

That’s a bit difficult for an entire party to do, I mean, leave the country. Where would they go?

5

P O'Neill 02.07.05 at 9:18 pm

Brooks is also trying to fit everything into his own crap sociological theories which essentially amount to “Expertise = Elite = Class Warfare.” Whereas George W. Bush, son of George HW Bush and grandson of Prescott Bush is just a real salt-of-the earth manly man.

6

abb1 02.07.05 at 9:23 pm

Where would they go?

I was just trolling; according to the etiquette you aren’t supposed to respond to this kind of comment.

7

tps12 02.07.05 at 9:24 pm

“Marshalling”? Groan.

8

Thorley Winston 02.07.05 at 9:28 pm

This analysis is quite wrongheaded. Brooks is right that the Moveon wing (if wing it be) is playing a newly important role in the party, but he fundamentally misunderstands its motivations. Moveon’s supporters have been quite ruthless in their willingness to dump the ‘most passionate and liberal voices’ in favour of centrist candidates when those centrist candidates seem to have a better chance of winning elections.

Really, evidence please.

9

X. Actomundo 02.07.05 at 9:40 pm

thank god they didn’t elect hillary.

“The Democrats on the other hand have no community organizations because the labor unions are gone.”

yes and the jews no longer attend synogouge.

personally, I think that the problem is the way that the civil rights movements evolved. The weakness of these agencies have been exploited to an obscene degree in the past 10-20 years. Feminism is not this exaggerated even in Europe. The sad fact is that there are very simple economic justificiation for these so called values that ACLU et al are designed to protect. thus the younger crew who have no respect for the value banners from the 60s. Another important aspect is the exploitation of American values by outsider groups. There are countless groups that the democrats act( but not necessarily try ) to protect, and they in turn exploit America economically and socially. Mainly Asian and middle eastern nations, and to a lesser degree Europe. There is a large class of unaccounted lefties who pick up these political ideas from ‘alternative media’ sources that have a very distinct muslim and french/continental component. The Political PR firms know exactly how to doctor American consent through media channels, it is no mystery to those abroad as to how the American machine works( they probably know more about it than the average american ).

Thus the right-wing has become a unlikely haven for the intellectually tempered and reason minded individuals.

10

Henry 02.07.05 at 9:41 pm

Thorley – a substantial majority of Moveon people voted in a poll for either Dean or Kucinich as their preferred candidate; they rapidly switched to Kerry when Kerry began to do well.

11

x 02.07.05 at 10:00 pm

abb1, it was just funny the way you said that, leave the country… It made me visualize thousands of depressed party members marching off a cliff on the coast of Maine, like lemmings, falling into the ocean, because they couldn’t all get to Canada…

12

junius ponds 02.07.05 at 11:26 pm

>Really, evidence please.

Kos on “Reform Democrats”:

“Would an ideologue liberal blog endorse SD’s Stephanie Herseth, who voted for the Hate Amendment? Or Kentucky’s Ben Chandler, or Richard Morrison in Texas, or Brad Carson in Oklahoma, or Tony Knowles in Alaska, or Daniel Mongiardo in Kentucky, etc, etc? Would the site’s community embrace these candidates and send money their way?”

13

Thorley Winston 02.07.05 at 11:38 pm

Thorley – a substantial majority of Moveon people voted in a poll for either Dean or Kucinich as their preferred candidate; they rapidly switched to Kerry when Kerry began to do well.

A couple of points.

First of all, the online straw poll you’re referring to was open to any and everyone so long as you sent in an email. I know about a dozen people from my side of the aisle who voted in it for Dennis Kucinich (who was never a serious candidate) to throw off the results. I don’t think that’s a very scientific basis for gauging the preferences of MoveOn.org.

Second, I’m on their email list and I don’t recall receiving any emails from the organization that ever promoted the candidacies of either Dennis Kucinich or Howard Dean during the primary, so I’m not sure what you’re basing the alleged “switch” on.

Third, what’s your basis (besides Iraq) for the suggestion that somehow John Kerry isn’t as far to the left as Howard Dean issue-wise? It seems to me that while neither was quite as nutty as Kucinich, they both ran and are about as far as each other to the left of the spectrum.

14

mondo dentro 02.07.05 at 11:40 pm

This is just the latest of many many examples proving that, when it comes to the contemporary GOP, it’s attack or be attacked.

The right-wing coalition–between Neocons, Theocons, Neo-Confederates, Apocalyptic Death Cult members, rapacious crony capitalists, robber barons and would-be American aristocrats–is rife with lunacy, not to mention corruption and treason. But the left, inexpicably, maddeningly, has been very demure about saying so.

So what happens? We’re the loonies. We’re the corrupt insiders. We’re the betrayers of America.

The same thing is true of virtually every other framing device of the right. Which group is more closely aligned with the values of the founding fathers? Which group is guilty of outrageous biases in the media? Etc. etc. etc.

15

Mary Kay 02.07.05 at 11:58 pm

They tend to be to the left of the country, especially on social and security issues.

This is what we call a lie. In poll after poll after poll, the country opts for Democratic positions, IF, the poll is phrased neutrally. Those of us who are MoveOn members ARE the country. Or at any rate a part of it.

I think the grass roots moibilization is real. I know a number of people who became involved online and showed up t do “scut work”, yours truly included.

MKK

16

jet 02.08.05 at 12:13 am

Here’s whats wrong with the Democrats. The Republicans run Bush, who has tons of bad press, and the Dem’s run Kerry, whom no one likes. The Republicans run Coburn, a scary right wing fire and brimston’er, and the Dem’s run Carson, a slick lawyer who comes off as a pathological liar. It is like a contest of who can run the weaker candidate and the Dem’s seem to be winning.

17

Thorley Winston 02.08.05 at 1:00 am

Mondo Dentro wrote:

The right-wing coalition—between Neocons, Theocons, Neo-Confederates, Apocalyptic Death Cult members, rapacious crony capitalists, robber barons and would-be American aristocrats—is rife with lunacy, not to mention corruption and treason. But the left, inexpicably, maddeningly, has been very demure about saying so.

Probably because anyone who would believe or write much like speak aloud such a statement is someone who is “rife with lunacy.”

So what happens? We’re the loonies. We’re the corrupt insiders. We’re the betrayers of America.

No comment.

18

Thorley Winston 02.08.05 at 1:11 am

Mary Kay states:

This is what we call a lie. In poll after poll after poll, the country opts for Democratic positions, IF, the poll is phrased neutrally.

Interesting claim. Please provide examples of the polls that were “phrased neutrally” showing that a majority of those polled opted for the Democrat position on national security and social issues.

Also if the country really has opted for the “Democratic position” on social issues, how does one account for things like the 11 States that had constitutional amendments on the ballot pertaining to the definition of civil marriage that passed overwhelmingly last November? Seems to me that if the Democrats were really in the mainstream on social issues, they should have at least won the two in Michigan and Washington, States that both went for John Kerry.

Seems to me that, with the notable and unfortunate exception of physician-assisted suicide, that when it’s actually put to the people to vote on a particular social issue, they tend to be more likely to support the de facto conservative position rather than the leftist position.

19

mondo dentro 02.08.05 at 1:29 am

Thorley Winston is apparently under the delusion that I give a shit what he thinks of my opinion.

The facts are on my side, and I know it, 50% of the voting population in the US knows it, and many more will come to understand it in the future. That you might think otherwise, being a peon in the aforementioned anti-American coalition, is of no consequence. I’m not submitting an article for peer review, and I’m not at all interested in providing you with “proof.” I’m not trying to persuade you of a goddamn thing. You’re not part of the fact based community, anyway, are you? You’re just a Neocon water-carrier.

20

am 02.08.05 at 2:53 am

You mischaracterize the donor bases.

A year ago 830,000 people had donated to the Republican campaign and only half that number to the Democrat campaign.

And in the 2000 election, 95% of the >$1M contributions went to Democrats.

This makes it rather hard to characterize the Republicans as the party of plutocratic elites, no?

21

ogmb 02.08.05 at 3:08 am

The emergence of the Dean/MoveOn demographic is a direct upshoot of Karl Rove’s successful turnout campaign. Elections are no longer won by those who can claim the “soccer mom” middle ground, but those who can coax more issue voters on the politcal fringes. Surely not a good development, but unavoidable. The question is really whether the liberal fringe is nearly as numerous as the conservative fringe.

22

MQ 02.08.05 at 3:36 am

OGMB has it. Right wing talk radio, churches, etc. have built up a substantial number of right wing fringies — like our own Thorley Winston and others — who base a substantial part of their self image around their fantasies about the left wing, fantasies that are constantly fed and nurtured by the right wing media machine. They are more or less impervious to the facts about how conservative governance has been harming their country. They are objectively an anti-American vote, although subjectively they no doubt feel quite patriotic. However, a small plurality of voters still identify as “moderate”. Dems win that vote, but not by enough. The problem is that moderate voters can’t quite bring themselves to believe how mendacious and dishonest the Repubs have been in power. The mainstream media cannot afford to be clear about it either, they need to be “balanced”. The question is how much damage needs to be done before the mistakes become obvious to the majority.

Pushing minor, unimportant but divisive social issues is of course part of this tactic. Notice Thorley turning immediately to the “gay marriage” issue as an example of where the Repubs are in tune with the country, a trumped up pseudo-issue if there ever was one.

23

Passing Fancy 02.08.05 at 8:57 am

Good post.

Nice to see that all the Rethuglican trolls are out in force, too. It’s amazing, given the quality of their arguments, that there aren’t more conservatives in academia, isn’t it? No, wait, it’s really not…

Take “Thorley”, for instance. “Thorley” claims that anyone who suggests that there are lunatics or corrupt individuals on the right is “rife with lunacy” himself.

Curious.

Is he suggesting that there are no corrupt individuals on the right?

Surely not. What about Armstrong Williams? What about Maggie Gallagher? What about Bernie Kerik? What about Tom DeLay, for goodness sake! – he attempted to intimidate Supreme Court justices in 2000, his daughter laundered $60,000 in donation money, he sold meetings with Bush to top GOP donors and he has received huge amounts of secret money from Enron and other energy corporations.

Then there’s http://liberalslikechrist.org/about/gopcorruption.html, which records an amazing list of Republican corruption over the years. It’ll blow your hair back.

The best “Thorley” can do in the face of this is sneer? What the hell is wrong with the right?

Certainly it isn’t sane. What about Reverend Moon? This guy is a cultist ex-con who thinks he’s the Messiah. And yet…

“Moon has paid the Bush parents up to $10 Million…he’s the biggest backer of the Rightwing Media Machine… he’s the owner of the Washington Times and UPI…he helped bail Jerry Falwell out of debt to the tune of $2.5 Million … he has his representatives in several Rightwing think tanks, media outlets, and the major Religious Right group, the Council for National Policy…Moon went on a tour to African-American churches around the country … and one of his groups is encouraging African-American churches to remove their crosses…”

But ‘wingnuts’ are all over the place. What about the buffoons in Cobb County who wanted to slap stickers on textbooks claiming that evolution was just a theory?

Or what about James Dobson claiming that Spongebob Squarepants is encouraging homosexuality? Or the pathetic-but-Orwellian conservative defense of Dobson? (You should check this out – it really is remarkable – the columnist basically says that we need to redefine the word “toleration” so that it doesn’t mean actually tolerating anything -see http://www.townhall.com/clog/archive/050116.html).

And let’s just pass over the sheer inhuman savagery, the psychopathic callousness, implied by the phrase “frivolous Asbestos claims”.

No, what “Thorley”‘s post looks like is just yet another example of right-wingers sneering at a good point rather than answering it.

When are they going to start holding their own side to the same standards they so glibly apply to other people?

24

abb1 02.08.05 at 9:45 am

The question is really whether the liberal fringe is nearly as numerous as the conservative fringe.

Well, the liberal fringe is minuscule: the number of people who are really excited about gay marriage and abortion rights is very very small.

Liberals used to be a small part of the Democratic coalition; fellow travelers of the massive labor movement. Now the liberals pretty much are the Democratic party and that spells doom.

Most people who vote for the Democrats vote anti-Republican. The whole Democrats’ campaign, their rallying cry is “We are just like the Republicans, only not crazy!”. This means that Republicans are in total control of the political process and they can easily change outcome of elections by simply fine-tuning their rhetoric. It’s quite hopeless, you know.

25

bad Jim 02.08.05 at 9:53 am

What does it tell us when the exponents of policies that exclusively benefit the wealthiest among us claim that the elitist left is out of touch with the average guy?

26

abb1 02.08.05 at 10:25 am

Bad Jim, where’s the contradiction? Exponents of policies that exclusively benefit the wealthiest among us just may be correct on this one.

27

Brett Bellmore 02.08.05 at 11:10 am

“The question is really whether the liberal fringe is nearly as numerous as the conservative fringe.”

Probably not, if you insist on pretending that the center of the political spectrum is somewhere in the middle of the Democratic party, as Mondo does. A more realistic approach would be to accept that “fringes” are defined by the actual distribution of the population, not by one’s own location in that distribution. The Republican fringe is, more or less by defintion, about as large as the Democratic fringe.

28

bad Jim 02.08.05 at 11:11 am

Our representatives in Congress are necessarily personally wealthy, and it’s likely also the case that the biggest donors to liberal causes are precisely those with some spare cash.

Who else, though, stands up for the kind of people whose hopes and needs have been casually tossed aside in the administration’s new budget? Who else speaks to the more generous nation we ought to become, the nation our parents thought they were building?

29

bad Jim 02.08.05 at 11:15 am

Our representatives in Congress are necessarily personally wealthy, and it’s likely also the case that the biggest donors to liberal causes are precisely those with some spare cash.

Who else, though, stands up for the kind of people whose hopes and needs have been casually tossed aside in the administration’s new budget? Who else speaks to the more generous nation we ought to become, the nation our parents thought they were building?

30

bad Jim 02.08.05 at 11:19 am

I meant to do that!

31

bad Jim 02.08.05 at 11:36 am

Perhaps it’s not entirely coincidental that at the same time that executive compensation has nearly burst the bounds of comprehension that taxation of the same has been handily removed.

Nor is it particularly surprising that when news of the resulting fiscal imbalance can no longer be contained, that the weakest among us are the first to be tossed overboard.

God bless the child that’s got his own. Let’s hear it for the ownership society.

32

abb1 02.08.05 at 11:55 am

Who else speaks to the more generous nation we ought to become, the nation our parents thought they were building?

I think it’s like there is a group there with a doctrine that the sheep need not be fed, just sheared; the sheep should be able to find their own food. And then there is another group that insists that the sheep do need to be fed – they’ll produce more wool that way.

Fine, the first group is stupid, the second is smart, I don’t disagree with that. But who is speaking for the sheep here? Is anyone proposing to triple the minimum wage? To implement universal healthcare? To introduce a 98% tax bracket on income above a million bucks? To close all military bases overseas? To hike the estate tax to 90%?

Nope.

33

Steve 02.08.05 at 12:34 pm

The problem with the Democratic Party is that it is made up of two groups: the smug, self-righteous elite (Michael Moore, Barbara Streisand, Hillary, the judiciary and academic elite), and the pathologically dependent (the poor, the government/academic/legal workers). Neither is psychologically healthy-if you were raising a kid, the absolutely two worst role models you could come up with are welfare dependents and Barbara Streisand. There has been a strange marriage between the two (support my views on gay marriage, poor folks, and I’ll give you some of the ‘man’s’ money), but there just aren’t enough unhealthy people left in the country for the Democrats to sustain power.

Steve

34

Doug 02.08.05 at 1:15 pm

Passing F, When are they going to start holding their own side to the same standards they so glibly apply to other people?

On a cold day in hell. So let us keep calling them on it.

Henry, we both know that there isn’t anyone as chairman of the DNC that Brooks wouldn’t have criticized. That’s what he does, along with reciting one or two tired tropes about Democrats being elitist or out of touch or whatever. For this comforting of the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted, he earns a very tidy living, at whatever peril to his soul (positing existence of same).

And Kaus, Kaus claims to be a Democrat but cannot bring himself to write positively about them; in fact, his trademark seems to be that he dislikes all existing Democrats. At some point, decency would commend that he come out as a Republican, though that would probably end his media niche as ‘contrarian Democrat,’ and so self-interest conflicts with honesty.

Kos yesterday reported the first salvo fired against Harry Reid. This was as predictable as the sunrise. I hope that Democratic voters and organizers have lost the illusion that there exists a candidate or office-holder whom Republicans will not attack in the lowest terms possible. For the foreseeable future, to be a Democrat, particularly a prominent Democrat, means being attacked relentlessly in most imaginative ways. It may not always have been thus, but thus it is now. Fighting back is just the first step.

35

JO'N 02.08.05 at 1:21 pm

Wow, Steve. let’s see if I can do this, too…

> The problem with the REPUBLICAN Party is
> that it is made up of two groups: the
> smug, self-righteous EVANGELICALS
> (Dobson, Santorum, the Heritage fellow-
> travellers), and the pathologically CRIMINAL
> (Enron, WorldCom, and the think tank/
> lobbyists). Neither is psychologically
> healthy-if you were raising a kid, the
> absolutely two worst role models you
> could come up with are HYSTERICAL
> FUNDAMENTALISTS and STEPHEN MOORE.
> There has been a strange marriage
> between the two (support my views on
> SOCIAL SECURITY, CHURCH-GOERS, and I’ll
> give you some of the ‘man’s’ money), but
> there just aren’t enough unhealthy people
> left in the country for the REPUBLICANS to
> sustain power.

Wow, Steve, that *was* satisfying, wasn’t it!

36

Steve 02.08.05 at 1:56 pm

far more satisfying for me.

the most important difference between us is that there are, in fact, plenty of republicans in this country to maintain power (we’ve got it, after all-the legislative, executive, governorships, and in a few years, the judiciary).

Thank goodness. I suspect, in fifty years’ time, our era will be seen as a 40 year bubble of narcissism-maybe WWII drove the West insane, and the Democratic Party was the US manifestation of that insanity. In any event, I’m optimistic towards the future. The last holdouts of Democratic power-the judiciary and the press-are sinking fast.

Steve

37

Barry 02.08.05 at 2:14 pm

Ya know, Steve’s comment summed up an important aspect of the right – they look upon the post-WWII golden era as something evil.

38

John Isbell 02.08.05 at 2:33 pm

That could be a fake abb1.

39

Steve 02.08.05 at 2:42 pm

“Ya know, Steve’s comment summed up an important aspect of the right – they look upon the post-WWII golden era as something evil.”

Really? I thought we were all stuck in the ’50’s. You really should try to be more consistent in your insults.

Steve

40

Uncle Kvetch 02.08.05 at 2:49 pm

Interesting claim. Please provide examples of the polls that were “phrased neutrally” showing that a majority of those polled opted for the Democrat position on national security and social issues.

“Which comes closest to your view? Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry. OR, Gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry. OR, There should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship.”

Legal Marriage 21%
Civil Unions 32%
No Legal Recognition 44%
Unsure 3%

Source: CBS News/New York Times Poll. Nov. 18-21, 2004.

“Looking back, do you think the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, or should the U.S. have stayed out?”

Did Right Thing 45%
Should Have Stayed Out 49%
Unsure 6%

Source: CBS News/New York Times Poll. Jan. 14-18, 2005.

41

mondo dentro 02.08.05 at 3:13 pm

Stevie the Troll says:

I suspect, in fifty years’ time, our era will be seen as a 40 year bubble of narcissism-maybe WWII drove the West insane, and the Democratic Party was the US manifestation of that insanity.

I’d love to hear what you mean by “narcissism.” Let me guess: those wacky, hedonistic hippies? All the sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll? Feel free to use a broad brush, just fill in the picture a bit for me.

As for WWII driving the west insane–yep, you got that right. And the current rightist surge in the US is the culmination of that insanity. Today’s GOP: praising the greatest generation, and taking a big dump on everything they really stood for.

“Each year, 2 million people who fought in the Second World War and lived through the Great Depression die. This generation has been an exception in American history, because it has defended anti-American policies. They voted for the creation of the welfare state and obligatory military service. They are the base of the Democratic Party. And they are dying.”

–Grover Norquist, Stevie’s hero

42

mondo dentro 02.08.05 at 3:18 pm

Stevie the Troll says:

I suspect, in fifty years’ time, our era will be seen as a 40 year bubble of narcissism-maybe WWII drove the West insane, and the Democratic Party was the US manifestation of that insanity.

I’d love to hear what you mean by “narcissism.” Let me guess: those wacky, hedonistic hippies? All the sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll? Feel free to use a broad brush, just fill in the picture a bit for me. I’m sure it will be instructive.

As for WWII driving the west insane–yep, you got that right. And today we can see the festering boil of that insanity burst with the current rightist surge in the US. Today’s GOP: praising the greatest generation, and taking a big dump on everything they really stood for.

“Each year, 2 million people who fought in the Second World War and lived through the Great Depression die. This generation has been an exception in American history, because it has defended anti-American policies. They voted for the creation of the welfare state and obligatory military service. They are the base of the Democratic Party. And they are dying.”

–Grover Norquist, Stevie’s hero

43

mondo dentro 02.08.05 at 3:21 pm

Oops. So, Steve, you’ve got two versions. Pick yer favorite.

44

abb1 02.08.05 at 4:03 pm

That could be a fake abb1.

I protest: Michael Moore is a good guy, he is exactly what the Democratic party is lacking. And I don’t get what his second group is: ‘pathologically dependent’? ‘legal workers’? Lol. That’s nonsense.

45

MQ 02.08.05 at 4:28 pm

Steve is a good example of the large crowd of people who are “pathologically dependent” on right wing rhetoric to give them scapegoats to feel superior to. No doubt a beleaguered guy stuck somewhere in the middle of the income distribution, he can feel contemptuous of welfare recipients and soothe his envy of the Hollywood “elite”, who he correctly suspects have a lot more fun in life than he does, by feeling morally superior to them. His politics aren’t about policies or their outcomes at all, but about various forms of envy and resentment. That’s what we’re up against, folks.

46

Thorley Winston 02.08.05 at 5:05 pm

“Which comes closest to your view? Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry. OR, Gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry. OR, There should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship.”

Legal Marriage 21%
Civil Unions 32%
No Legal Recognition 44%
Unsure 3%

Source: CBS News/New York Times Poll. Nov. 18-21, 2004

That’s seems like a two-to-one margin in favor of “no legal recognition” versus “civil marriage.” Although the phrase “allowed to” seems rather biased IMO as there is a difference between withholding legal sanction from something versus prohibiting it. It also doesn’t change the fact that when people actually vote on the issue, they tend to overwhelmingly prefer the conservative position.

Legal Marriage 21%
Civil Unions 32%
No Legal Recognition 44%
Unsure 3%
Source: CBS News/New York Times Poll. Nov. 18-21, 2004.
“Looking back, do you think the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, or should the U.S. have stayed out?”
Did Right Thing 45%
Should Have Stayed Out 49%
Unsure 6%
Source: CBS News/New York Times Poll. Jan. 14-18, 2005.

I wouldn’t take this as an endorsement of anyone’s particular policies so much as a reflection of the fact that the polls are going to reflect the public’s perception of the news from Iraq at a given moment rather than a particular policy preference. If the news being reported that week is “good” things must be going well. If the news being reported that week is bad (compared to what?), then it must be going poorly.

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Thorley Winston 02.08.05 at 5:19 pm

“Which comes closest to your view? Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry. OR, Gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry. OR, There should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship.”
Legal Marriage 21%
Civil Unions 32%
No Legal Recognition 44%
Unsure 3%
Source: CBS News/New York Times Poll. Nov. 18-21, 2004

That’s seems like a two-to-one margin in favor of “no legal recognition” versus “civil marriage.” Although the phrase “allowed to” seems rather inaccurate IMO as there is a difference between withholding legal sanction from something versus prohibiting it. It also doesn’t change the fact that when people actually vote on the issue, they tend to overwhelmingly prefer the conservative position.

“Looking back, do you think the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, or should the U.S. have stayed out?”
Did Right Thing 45%
Should Have Stayed Out 49%
Unsure 6%
Source: CBS News/New York Times Poll. Jan. 14-18, 2005.

Putting aside the fact that both Kerry and Edwards voted to resume hostilities with the Iraqi dictatorship, I wouldn’t take this as an endorsement of anyone’s particular policies so much as a reflection of the fact that the polls are going to reflect the public’s perception of the news from Iraq at a given moment rather than a particular policy preference, particularly over the long term. The phrase “looking back” asks the respondent to look at the policy in the context of the information they have at the moment. If the news being reported that week is bad, then it must be going poorly. If the news being reported that week is “good”, then things must be going well. No doubt you’d have much different numbers after the recent Iraqi elections than you would in a week in which the news from Iraq was an attack that leads to American or coalition casualties. If the question had been phrased “looking forward” you would ask the respondent to make a prediction as to the outcome of the policy which IMO seems more reflective of their policy preference or at leas what results the policy will lead to.

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Thorley Winston 02.08.05 at 5:28 pm

MQ wrote:

Pushing minor, unimportant but divisive social issues is of course part of this tactic. Notice Thorley turning immediately to the “gay marriage” issue as an example of where the Repubs are in tune with the country, a trumped up pseudo-issue if there ever was one.

Actually the context in which it was brought up was specifically in response to Mary Kay’s earlier claim that the public supported the Democrat’s position on social and security issues. Had this been the case, then one would have expected the two States (Michigan and Washington) that voted for Senator Kerry in the last election to have rejected their State’s constitutional amendments to codify “civil marriage” as being between a man and a woman.

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Thorley Winston 02.08.05 at 5:31 pm

MQ wrote:

Pushing minor, unimportant but divisive social issues is of course part of this tactic. Notice Thorley turning immediately to the “gay marriage” issue as an example of where the Repubs are in tune with the country, a trumped up pseudo-issue if there ever was one.

Actually the context in which it was brought up was specifically and solely in response to Mary Kay’s earlier claim that the public supported the Democrat’s position on social and security issues. Had this been the case, then one would have expected the two States (Michigan and Washington) that voted for Senator Kerry in the last election to have rejected their State’s constitutional amendments to codify “civil marriage” as being between a man and a woman.

50

Uncle Kvetch 02.08.05 at 7:31 pm

That’s it, move them goalposts, Thorley. Heave ho!

51

abb1 02.08.05 at 8:15 pm

Liberal social issues like gay rights, abortion rights, capital punishment – these are all losers for a center-left party, because ordinary people are socially conservative.

Normaly, the liberal elite (Barbara Streisand and so on) gets a chance to advance their (indeed noble) causes by piggybacking on blue-collar bread-and-butter issues like the minimum wage or overtime pay or something. A guy in Cincinnati will vote for doubling the minimum wage – while accepting gay mariage or ban on capital punishment as a mildly unpleasant part of the deal. This is how the center-left works, IMHO.

When these vote-losing social issues become your only agenda – that means you have no chance.

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MQ 02.08.05 at 11:23 pm

I think abb1 is right (and by extension Thorley too, at least partially). My own reading of the public opinion evidence is that the majority of hte public supports the Dems on a wide range of moderately liberal economic policies (including, recently, tax cuts, or the lack of necessity for them). On social issues I think there are a number of Republican policies that are more popular. On “security” issues public opinion always seems to be weird and driven rather primitive and atavistic tribal loyalties (we’re at war!) rather than considered policies. Which is why war mongers so often find it easy to start one.

No, I’m not going to hunt through the internet for polls to support my position, I waste enough time here already.

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Anon 02.09.05 at 9:19 pm

So Steve you are apparently pissing on my father who served in WWII, and my grandfather-in-law, who also served as insane.

Fuck you.

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