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View Diary: Winning elections IS all about gifts (76 comments)

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  •  But Democrats need to own it (4+ / 0-)
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    mungley, peptabysmal, jck, PorridgeGun

    Democrats need to make it clear that "We will deliver for YOU".  And I don't think Obama gets that well enough.  It is absolutely about delivering the goods.  It's about getting your share of the pie.  

    It's not about "shared sacrifice".  THAT is the terminology that's the loser.   Because no one wants to sacrifice and no one believes sacrifice is going to be shared.

    •  Yeah.. but no one wants to pay for it either.. (0+ / 1-)
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      Obama has been successful in that he has talked the GOP into letting him keep borrowing for all the goodies.. and, at the same time, to pit his constituency against the boogie man rich folks who really should be paying for all this (according to him).

      In other words.. there has been absolutely no downside to promising and delivering more and more because it's all on the credit card!  And no one will ever get the bill!

      If we did things like social democracies in Europe did things, then the middle class would be paying up the ying yang, and might feel differently about voting for the guy with the biggest promises to the biggest voting bloc.

      So.. "own it" if you like.. but some day there may come a reckoning.

      •  Either this is snark or you are an ignorant troll (1+ / 0-)
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        Liberal Capitalist

        I hope the former. I withhold judgment for now. That whole concept of the national "credit card" is hilariously wrong.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:57:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  When they stop putting needless wars on credit (1+ / 0-)
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        and Americans have healthcare equal to the French I'll consider worrying about the debt.   As it is I'm too busy listening to my mother complain that she's getting almost no interest on her government bonds.

        •  I was the first to rail against unpaid wars (0+ / 0-)

          which, BTW, were a drop in the bucket compared to our current mess.

          But you completely miss the point.

          The French PAY for their healthcare.  Every taxpayer pays multiple times what Americans pay.  They don't put their healthcare costs on borrowed money.

      •  Money is a figment of the imagination, much as (0+ / 0-)

        the written word is an iconic representation of speech and thought. How many units of money we use also provides a measure of relative activity and value. Still, whether as a representation or measuring tool, money ought not to be artificially constricted or rationed. It would make more sense to ration nails because steel is actually scarce. Modern currency can be generated without limits. So, rationing it is merely a power play on the part of Congress.
        Unfortunately, money is no different than any other comodity in that, when it is rationed, people start hoarding. And the hoarding leads to stagnation.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 01:22:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah.. You keep saying so.. (0+ / 0-)

          But you have yet to come up with any reputable economist who backs you up.

          You and the internet "experts" you quote have zero credibility.  Debts will be paid.  If we get lucky and the economy soars, and revenues start pouring in, then we can pay those debts off.

          If not, your kids and mine will be slaves to government debt.  Their taxes will go, in large measure, to pay off the interest and principle of our spending and they will have that much less for their own services.

          •  Debts will be paid, but not necessarily in (0+ / 0-)

            money. And some people will continue to be exploited by people who promise compensation and don't deliver.
            It is estimated that $40 trillion in debts simply disappeared in the collapse.
            Every dollar is a debt, a certified IOU. Every person can issue personal IOUs. Whether anyone else will credit them is questionable.
            Credibility is in the eye of the beholder. "Credo" means "I believe." If you do not believe, that's your problem -- not something I can do anything about. Like Obama, I am not possessed of the Jedi Mind Meld.

            I can see, btw, why some people are upset by the combination of two principles. Binary thinkers do not get the union of forces. Togetherness is not their forte. Things have to remain in opposition. If there is no opposition, then that's a sign that one side has been destroyed. I suspect they are not nihilists because they don't aim to destroy. Resistance is enough.

            We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

            by hannah on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 01:34:01 AM PST

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    •  I think this is complicated. Of course we want to (1+ / 0-)
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      call BS on Mitt's claim, but I don't know that we want to give up on the whole idea of un-selfish political motivation, certainly where the Left is concerned, and we don't want to give up arguing for policies on the basis that they are, precisely, good for the whole country and not just some segment or 'interest'.  

      This btw is a very old debate, between the idea of a 'Republic' formed by people coming together and at least momentarily transcending their personal interests to act for the public or general good, and the more modern (like 17th C) idea of the State existing purely to divvy up the goodies to various specific interests, based on how much pressure they can exert by way of 'civil society.'    Both conceptions are wired deeply into our own political traditions and were there from the start.  I think it's a losing game to cede the 'republican' model to the Republican party.

      I'd say the republican (or "good for the general public") idea is even trying to sneak back into Kos' post here, near the end:

      Democrats are winning because our gifts are more relevant to people's lives than theirs. We offer health care, education, a living wage, and a focus on building stronger families and communities. They appeal to the bigotries and self-interest of their shrinking base.
      But if it's really just about "gifts, gifts, gifts", then their gifts are no less "relevant" to people's lives; they're just relevant to fewer people's lives.  Which is fine, but I think it's a meager basis for a politics.  I think we need to keep arguing that healthcare, living wage and education are better policies than the GWOT, the theocon state and Big Oil subsidies because they're better for the whole country, not just because they have somewhat broader constituencies.
      •  You have to make it personal (2+ / 0-)
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        mmacdDE, bartcopfan

        You need to convince people that the common good is in THEIR interest not that it's an altruistic goal.  You need to convince people that government is effective.

        Like I was arguing with someone about snowplows in DC.  He says they can't afford them.  I say they can't afford not to have them.  A national capital needs to work.  

        I'm sitting here retired in my cold blue city and glad I didn't have to make the effort to go to work today with 10 inches of snow but the plow has been down my 2 block street THREE times in the last 24 hours even though only our 2 blocks need the street.  Because the snow plow cleared the street, the garbage truck picked up the garbage, the mailman delivered the mail, the kids went to school and the neighbors went to work and all manner of commerce continues because the government is delivering effective essential services.  

        These are not gifts, this is civilization.

        •  I think that's very well put--the common good is (1+ / 0-)
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          in everyone's interest.  Civilization is in everyone's interest.  I'd say that's what gets obscured with the language of "gifts".   But it IS tricky, because although we do still (vaguely) live in a democratic republic, we also live in a vast, modern bureaucratic state where civil society DOES serve to allocate the state's resources based on the demands of the loudest interests.  So the game in this country is usually to define your own interests as 'general' and your opponents' interests as 'special'.  That's what Mitt was doing.  I can see why Kos might want to duck out of that game completely, having watched it play out for so long.  But I don't think we can, without unraveling basic ideas like public or civilization.  Or snowplowing...

          (fortunately the snow isn't sticking today in St Louis, but I feel for those further north and east)

          •  I suppose my "me generation" gets some blame (0+ / 0-)

            My mother's WWII generation totally gets the common good argument.   It was the narrative of their lives.  We lost that narrative in both the left and right during the 60's and 70's and without it the right has been able to hijack the narrative to the point that we have the gun nuts living in their fantasy gunslinger shoot out at the OK corral world. It was the "It's a Wonderful Life" story.  People used to just totally get this.  Nothing like watching movies from the 30's and 40's to see how the narrative has changed.  Now, it's "Survivor" - who can we throw off the island next.

        •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

          and while I might choose to live on a private road and pay for it to be plowed, having MY road plowed does zero good if nobody ELSE has plowed the roads, or if the main highways are impassable.

          Its the inter-connectivity that people forget.

          No man is an island. Truer now than ever before.

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