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It’s no news at this point that this party is in real trouble and heading for disaster come election time.  The left side of this party has been raising a hue and cry for over a year and the right side of this party keeps trying to shut them down.

Don’t kill the messenger, listen to the message.  In past three by-elections - MA, NJ and VA - around three million former Obama supporters stayed home. This happened last year. How many have returned since then?

Exactly none.

Now multiply that by the other 47 states that haven’t had a chance to make their feelings known and the magnitude of the disaster should be apparent to everyone.  The left side of this party didn’t create this mess, those in command are responsible.

But we all will be screwed if the ship goes down, so do the math and pay attention, because this party has two months to save itself. Staying the course is the road to disaster.

Please read on . . .

Understand the Problem
You can’t solve the problem if you don’t understand it. So first get a grip on the problem, its roots and its depth.

This is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and we are still in the middle of it. The pain experienced by this crisis is felt most intensely by 25 to 40% of the population. The poorer and more economically vulnerable people were before the collapse, the more devastating this crisis is felt by them. That crisis rippled through industries, communities and families, so there is an enormous knock-on effect here.

Those who were most responsible for this disaster have also been the greatest beneficiaries of government intervention. Those in greatest danger are the most like to have been ignored and abandoned to their fate in a predator's paradise.  

Now here’s the hard part: this crisis is the direct consequence of more than thirty years of neoliberal and neoconservative, free trade economics that has led to an orgy of downsizing, outsourcing, reckless automation - including the ridiculous replacement of teachers with computerized education - privatization, mergers and the cynically described ‘economies of scale’ and the radical shift to low-wage, part-time and contingent labor practices. The sum of this effort has wiped out our pool of living wage jobs and many of the industries that were the fruit of that labor.

This bears repeating: free trade, supply-side economics destroyed out living wage pool, much of it before the economic crisis. The collapse of our economy simply exposed the sinkhole of economic destruction that began with seamstresses, then steel workers, manufacturing, clerical staff until the tidal wave of greed wiped out the job markets for college professors, IT researchers, journalists, editors and other highly skilled professionals.

Both political parties signed up enthusiastically to these ‘bipartisan’ economic policies, agendas and agreements, heavily financed by campaign contributions. Everyone affected and everyone who participated in this madness knows the truth, so don’t waste people’s time pretending it was just the "Republican’s fault." Obama’s economic team is full of people responsible for this disaster and they have shown no interest in any other agenda than the furtherance of this spiraling ‘status quo’.

Because the pain inflicted by the economic collapse was experienced almost entirely by the poor, the working class and the economically endangered, their patience for incrementalism is nonexistent. As is their respect for those who perpetuate those policies.

They voted for Obama and the Democrats because they were asked to hope for a better and more equitable America that included their needs in the greater political calculus. They voted for immediate triage and long-term policies that addressed the damage caused by bipartisan economic agreement and the policies that came out of that consensus. In the midst of devastating economic crisis, they voted for the party that gave them the ‘New Deal.’

But this is not what they got. The first utterance of the word ‘bipartisan’ sent up a collective groan from those who were endangered. Their despair turned to anger as they watched the government save the banks, Wall Street, the war machine and their bloody wars, the auto industry and the health care insurance industry - adding a new mandated expense to their already devastated incomes - and never once seeing anything that made a material difference in their lives.

Do the Math:
Because they were and remain in desperate economic danger, they required immediate economic action. Thus, their reaction to yet another sad example of neoliberal betrayal was swift and angry. They stayed home in droves in the by-elections in Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey.

850,000 Obama votes were lost in Massachusetts Senate race, when Coakley ran on a DNC position sheet and a plan for economic development that read like Boston investment bankers’ wish list. Brown won with only 64,000 more votes than McCain got the year before.  The voters didn’t switch parties, they just stayed home. A 44% decline

Another 1,130,000 lost in the NJ governor's election, lowest turnout in NJ governor race history. As if a former investment banker was a good standard bearer after the worst economic collapse since 1929, in a state heavily hammered by those losses. More Obama voters stayed home than showed up for Corzine. A 60% decline.

1,140,000 lost in the VA governor's race, led by African Americans, who just stayed home. The candidate, Deeds, only got 818,000 votes, so most of the people who voted for Obama stayed home instead of voting for Deeds. A 58% decline.

Yes, these are by-elections, which usually have lower voter turnouts. But while the Republicans suffered a 24% voter decline in these three elections. Democrats suffered a 52% voter decline overall.

Now look where the missing votes were: every poor and working class neighborhood in those states, a trend even more pronounced when those communities included people of color.

For those out there still clinging to the fantasy that ‘centrists’ delivered them to victory, here’s another bit of basic math to add your political calculus: Obama won by 9.5 million votes. 9 million of which were new voters, most of them poor, working class and people of color, many - if not most - of them in immediate economic danger.  Centrists didn’t deliver the greatest political mandate this party has seen since the 1970's, poor and working class voters did.

Never underestimate poor and working class alienation from mainstream political discourse, or their anger with the status quo, before the economic collapse. They have been the main victims of thirty plus years of supply-side, free trade economics.

Now consider their anger in the aftermath.

Calculate how many people may be angry: 15-25 million people more are unemployed or underemployed. The numbers would be much higher if we counted them European-style. Millions more have homes on the edge of foreclosure. Another 40-60 million are living in permanent poverty. Again, tens of millions more would be considered ‘poor’ if our measure of poverty wasn't based on a ridiculously defined 'three times a thrifty basket of food'. Lots of overlap, but clearly at least 60 to over a 100 million Americans are in economic trouble, many for the entirety of their lives.

These people didn’t switch sides, they just stayed home. And the Democratic party voting totals were cut in half. It was a spontaneous, unorganized political protest by the Democratic Party electoral base, who voted with their feet to deliver the riot act to the leadership. Nobody organized them, they just reacted with mass disgust toward a party that asked them to hope, that raised their expectations with the ghosts of Roosevelt, Kennedy and - because we had a Black man as our standard bearer - Martin Luther King, Jr.  This party raised their expectations that they were returning to the New Deal/Great Society roots, after abandoning them for 30 years. They heard the clear promises regenerate this economy and rebuild our society from the bottom up, only to watch this party go right back to its neoliberal ways. This is the heart of the bait-and-switch charge.

When Obama finally started addressing the joblessness crisis, he repeatedly said that jobs were gone and wouldn’t be back for years. And then did nothing more about it. What was he thinking? That the unemployed and economically endangered would just sit quietly, in full confidence that all would be right in the end, many years down the line?  When you tell people that jobs are gone and won’t be back for years - and then do nothing - you are really saying, "jobs are gone and they are never coming back for you, because you don’t matter to us."

All that was offered to the unemployed, many from industries destroyed by national and international economic policy, was unemployment insurance ad infinitum. Leaving the unemployed in limbo for two years, while occasionally using that flimsy safety net called unemployment insurance as a political football to win up the cheap seats in opposing camps did not convince the unemployed that this party ‘had their back’, it showed quite clearly how little this party cared about their fate.

What do you think happens when you leave the economically endangered to rot in unemployment land? Some of them watch too much Fox News and turn into teabaggers.  All of them learn to hate your guts and regret ever believing you, whether they buy a Republican analysis of the problem or not.

Left to drown in this situation, these people and their communities walked away from this party, last year, in an angry effort to read the riot act to Washington elites, by withholding their vote in by-elections.

But nobody in the White House or the Senate listened. Obama simply repackaged his infrastructure and tax credit proposals as a ‘jobs creation’ and kept this economy on the neoliberal road. Geithner, Bernanke and Summer trotted out reports declaring millions of jobs created to a disbelieving public. It didn’t help that Geithner and Bernanke had given us a bank bailout that read like a sellout to that industry. Nor did it help that these two, plus Summers were responsible for creating the economic conditions that led to the collapse.

The Senate continued to act like fools lost in a campaign contribution wonderland and ignored the economic realities of those who elected them.  As the details became clearer, the President’s Commission on Social Security became rebranded by the party’s activist base as the ‘catfood commission’ and that nasty, sick feeling in the pit of everyone who needed or would one day need social security washed over them, that yet another bait-and-switch was in the offing.

Thus, while President Obama assures us all that he will protect Social Security, activists are increasingly asking why he stuffed his commission with people who want to cut Social Security or pour it into the stock market? Did they not see what happened to Bush when he tried that? Even the right-wing Christians rebelled.

At a baseline level of political calculus: what do you think that army of angry grandmothers are going to do, if they think this commission is a set-up to cut their benefits? Or deny their children the same safety net they enjoyed?

Throw in a never-ending, but ever-widening and always bankrupting war in the Mideast, and the failure to honor campaign pledges to various constituent groups and this party is a train that has completely gone off the tracks and is crashing into the town square at lunch time. Worse, still the credibility of its political leadership is gone and everyone now looks for the double-cross when they hear Democrats talk about the issues that matter to them.

So what can the party do?
While there’s no way to avoid loses at election time, whether this is a truly historic wipeout or not will depend on doing how substantially, honestly and ethusiastically this government deals with joblessness.

We need a massive public employment program - creatively designed to cover a very wide range of skills, talents and needs - and we need it pushed through Congress before the next election. Anything less than that and this party’s goose is cooked. So burn any Democrat who blocks the shot and be prepared to play really hard ball with Republicans in hard hit communities. If all else fails, die on that hill keeping the bill clean of corruption or meanspirited compomise.  

We need a moratorium on primary home foreclosures. If this economy isn’t coming back for years, then we need to keep people in their homes until it does.

Obama needs to address the nation and directly confront the issue of joblessness and the economy. He needs to embrace New Deal Democratic economic policies and publicly disown neoliberalism.  He needs to back that up by firing as many of his political and economic advisors - including all his Goldman Sachs alumni - as is possible, with special attention to those who are proven vote killers like Geithner, Emmanuel, Duncan and others. He has too many advisors and cabinet members who are held in near-universal contempt by both his party’s activist base and its electoral base and virtually nobody with any respect among the activist or electoral base.

This is just the downpayment on the really hard work that must follow, triaging the damage in people's lives. It will take years to correct 30 years of bipartisan betrayal of working class and poor Americans. And there are a host of promises made to a variety of constituencies that remain unhonored. Attending to their economic needs will give time to address their political concerns. And by dealing with joblessness - in the short and the long term - it will be politically easier to inclusively deal with immigration reform, if the unemployed do not feel they are being passed over again for another constituency. The last thing anyone should want is for Republicans to be able to exploit working class antagonism toward immigrants. Taking care of the jobless will go a long way to improve the political climate for inclusive immigration reform.  

Once confidence has been rebuilt, it will be easier to attend to economic subtleties, without it looking suspiciously like a campaign contributor payback, or a cesspool of potential corruption. And with economic activity restarted on the ground, the multiplier effects of economic activity will should spread upwards through the food chain.

Crucially, Obama needs to put as much clear blue water between the failed policies of neoliberalism - including his own - and convince the public he is committed to the policies that the electoral base thought they were voting for. He needs to bring in people who still have credibility with the base and give them a free reign to take his economic policies in a radically different direction. Forget Wall Street, take care of Main Street and don’t forget for a single minute the thousands of ghettos in this country. Because that’s where the margin of victory will be found.

Rolling heads and making speeches are the easiest of tasks, but without substantial attention to bread and butter issues, it will just look like spin, smoke and mirrors.  Tricky or subtle actions that require translation are a waste of time at this moment because nobody believes a word anyone in the political realm says, particularly those who might vote Democratic. So play it strong, keep it clean, make it big and do it fast.

A public employment program can be done quickly, but it cannot be done cheap. You can control overhead costs by running hiring through General Services and assigning hired workers to existing programs and departments, developing them as you go.

Under no circumstances should the private sector get a dime of this money. Privatized infrastructure development produces very few jobs in the era of automation and outsourcing. And even if jobs are created, there is no guarantee they will be created in this country as previous stimulus efforts have shown. Moreover, government contractors have a near unbroken record of gouging the public coffers and doing little to create jobs, let alone living wage jobs in this country. (see previous diary ‘Audacity of Hope and the Betrayal of Unemployed America’ for examples).

With public confidence at such low ebb and the cynical belief that anything this government does is solely for the benefit of their corporate campaign contributors - no matter what line of shit they hand us - is widespread. Letting the private sector into a public employment program threatens to turn it into a festival of graft and corruption and - once again - the money will never make it to the streets.

The Take Away
No amount of messaging can cover the arrogant neglect of this party’s electoral base or economic reality at the ever-widening bottom of our social economy.  Symbolism will be received with heavy doses of cynicism. Empty gestures will be understood as such.

All of this should have been started in January 2009, not September 2010, so cynicism will not be washed away simply by engaging in these three actions. All political action will need to be brutally strong and completely straightforward, because for the past 20 months Washington Democrats responses have been pathetically weak, and dishonestly slippery.

But however belated, last minute, cynical or reactionary these actions may be seen to be, this party needs to mark in time and space the moment when it fundamentally rejected neoliberalism and embrace its New Deal/Great Society legacy. And every step forward from that moment needs to be treated seriously to rebuild trust between the political leadership and an economically and politically battered electoral base within this party and the wider society.

Anything less, and the problem will grow worse with each passing day. And we still have two more months to fall before election time.  All we have to show for two years of neoliberal, Republican-lite economic policies was a jobless, non-recovery that benefitted only the privileged and those who were ‘too big to fail.’ Neoliberalism has become a cancer that is killing this party and we need to cut it out.

The electoral base has already shown its disgust, but we still see no evidence that our political leadership - particularly in the White House and the Senate - shows any understanding of just how badly it has blown its political mandate or any evidence that it even hears the alternatives its activists have been articulating since the first wrong moves were made back in January and February 2009.

Two months to election time. If nothing is done, this will be the bloodbath everyone fears. But it doesn’t need to be. Clearly neoliberalism isn’t working, it is bankrupting this party faster than the wars are emptying the treasury. Its time to return to New Deal political solutions.

If not, this party will richly deserve what happens next.

Originally posted to Tom Taaffe on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 05:46 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well written (12+ / 0-)

    There is a tendency here to act as if the left wing is the problem ... to shoot the messenger, so to speak.

    I live in a rural town with a large percentage of working poor. They aren't teabaggers. They don't have time to be ... nor the means. In 2008 they were somewhat hopeful, a bit skeptical but hopeful nonetheless. After the disaster of the Bush years they were willing to give the Democrats a chance.

    These people were there for the taking. They wouldn't have become committed Democrats any more than they were committed Republicans. But they would have voted for the party that brought real change.

    In their opinion, real change didn't occur. They aren't interested in long-winded explanations about "long term" solutions. As Harry Hopkins once stated, these are people who eat in the short run. They aren't interested in listening how the bailout of Wall Street will  eventually trickle down to them. When reminded of the Bush years they don't care. Their situation hasn't improved.

    Now they won't be running back to vote for the Republicans. Unfortunately they won't be running anywhere. As you wrote in your diary, they simply will stay home. And that is sad. An opportunity squandered by the Democratic leadership.

    A proud member of the Professional Left since 1966.

    by slatsg on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 06:40:49 AM PDT

    •  Well said (9+ / 0-)

      Its interesting your observations of the reaction of those in your rural town mirror my observations in urban areas. Complete with mood you described as "hopeful, a bit skeptical but hopeful nonetheless." I think that described the Hartford I worked in and the urban, poor neighborhoods I grew up and lived most of my life in.

      But if that was their mood in January 2009, it is not their mood today. Its not as if the Democratic Party hasn't betrayed them before. So that skepticism you mentioned, was punctuated by reminders of what Clinton did to them, the countless smaller acts of more local politicans and the brutal reality of where they live and who's responsible for sustaining their misery.

      Now they have fresh examples of being betrayed and can compare the generousity of this government toward those who wrecked this economy and how little was done for them.

      •  I see that a well-written diary (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sychotic1, Jagger, Pris from LA, whoknu

        that makes, regardless of whether one agrees or not, a rational analysis; such a diary gets little response here. Obviously not enough meta.

        A proud member of the Professional Left since 1966.

        by slatsg on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 07:11:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, the silence is stunning (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          slatsg, Jagger, whoknu

          I think that speaks to how many people have left DK as well, leaving only the loyalists,the opportunists and a handful of dogged activists behind.

          It reminds me of my old union after the international staged a coup and drove out all the honest veterans, so they could plunder our dues money and keep a potentially high-profile and definitely militant union domesticated, weak and under control, for the petty profit and political advantage of the few.

          You could see the tumbleweed rolling across the membership floor. Nobody trusted the new leaders and no one would get into a foxhole with them, because they knew they were craven thieves.

          They went on to fine careers in the labor movement.

  •  Excellent Diary (6+ / 0-)

    Well written and I believe it makes many valid points.  I don't have any scientific data, and I know that the plural of anecdotes is not "data," but my gut says that you are right on.

    Tipped and Recc'ed

    Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

    by Sychotic1 on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 07:24:15 AM PDT

  •  Those he professed to help (6+ / 0-)

    are the ones least able to vote if there was not a concerted effort to get them working/better off.  

    If a homeowner is foreclosed on and is now living with family or friends, they will not get voter info in the mail. If a union member is no longer working, they will not get the organizer coming around to their workplace to talk to them about getting out the vote.  If the underemployed are working two part time jobs (if they're lucky), they are too tired to go vote. If local bus service has been cut because of lack of funds, the low income voter will have no transportation to go vote.  If the unemployed person is now standing in line to get food stamps, they will have little time to go vote.

    If a person voted in 2008 and saw no change, what is their incentive to go vote?

    Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

    by whoknu on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 07:52:48 AM PDT

    •  Least able to vote? That mentality is the is the (0+ / 0-)

      reason the country skews right.

      "Because I am a river to my people."

      by lordcopper on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 08:51:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, killing off any viable difference between (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Corwin Weber, Tam in CA, Rabbithead

        the parties skews the country to the right, because everyone else is left without a political party to rally around. They abandon the party at the polls and the party moves to the right some more.

        Call it the DNC one-step. Just move your foot to the right and follow. Then move your foot to the right and follow.

        Keep going moving in the same direction until you have left the room and your party disappears from political relevance.

        That's the DNC one-step. And we're sick and tired of that dance.

        •  Well enjoy the return of the GOP, because you're (0+ / 0-)

          literally asking for it.

          "Because I am a river to my people."

          by lordcopper on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 09:11:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Clearly you didn't read the piece (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Corwin Weber, Rabbithead

            If you think that.

            I'm just trying to stem the losses and rebuilt what was lost in the last 20 months.

            Ignore us at your peril.

            •  There is no excuse for not exercising your right (0+ / 0-)

              to vote. Stop making excuses for those who don't participate.  They need to realize that they're sealing their fate by not participating.

              "Because I am a river to my people."

              by lordcopper on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 09:30:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Again (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Corwin Weber, Tam in CA, Rabbithead

                you can't order people to the polls. You have to give them a reason to vote for you.

                You get out there and convince the 3 million people who didn't vote of your line of thinking - or their fellows in the other 47 states who haven't spoken yet - and see how far that gets you.

                I'm trying to warn you of trouble ahead and why. Ignore me if you like, yell at me to go to the polls, if it makes you feel better.

                But until this party starts addressing bread and butter issues in the manner that makes sense to the people who might vote for you, they have 3 choices:

                1. vote for you despite the fact that you've done nothing for them.
                1. vote for the 'other' party, in the hopes that they'll do something for them.
                1. stare at both parties as if they are one and the same and walk away from the polling booth.

                Those who cannot vote for republicans either vote for the Democrats or not at all. It is the margin of victory or failure for this party every time.

                Republicans take care of their electoral base, Democrats treat theirs like total shit. And then they lose the next election.

                •  If you won't fight for yourself, don't expect (0+ / 0-)

                  another person to fight for you.

                  "Because I am a river to my people."

                  by lordcopper on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 10:00:45 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm fighting for myself and others (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Corwin Weber

                    I've been doing that all my life. So I know something about what it takes to organize the poor and working class to better their conditions.

                    The extension of that mentality you suggest its that its every man for himself.

                    And that's how we lose elections.

                    Its not so hard to figure out, because we have about 80 years of election results to back up my point: when you mobilize and protect the interests of the poor and the working class, this party wins huge margins and mandates.

                    When you sell them out or pull a bait-and-switch on them, they abandon the party at the polls and we lose so fast and so hard it makes our heads swim.

                    Yelling at people to go to the polls and vote for you - when you've given them no positive reasons to vote for them - is fucking suicide. We lose every time.

                    •  It sounds as though you're making excuses (0+ / 0-)

                      for their lack of participation.  I'm a Democrat because I believe in the principles the party stands for.  I actually vote against my economic interests because I believe that a vibrant middle class is good social policy, and good economic policy.   If the primary beneficiaries of said policy can't be bothered to exercise their right to vote because the POTUS won't just press the "Easy" button and make their lives better, that says everything you need to know about the future of progressive legislation.

                      "Because I am a river to my people."

                      by lordcopper on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 10:15:39 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The poor & working class (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Corwin Weber, Tam in CA, Rabbithead

                        aren't the primary beneficiaries of this administration, Wall Street, the banks and the war machine are the primary beneficiaries.

                        Those with good jobs and resources could take advantage of mortgage reform, but nobody in economic danger could do the same.

                        We've poured trillions into Wall Street and the banks and gotten nothing back in the way of jobs. We could have poured a lot of that money into jobs and the results would have been immediate.

                        And plowing onward with trickle down, free trade economics is precisely why the jobs did not return and why no one should hold their breath for a second in the hopes that it will address the continued destruction of living wages.

                        I've made my point and you don't agree. Fair enough. Party elites agree with you and not me. I'm not blind or naive.

                        But I will be right about the outcome if this party doesn't start taking perspectives like mine to heart and show it on the street.

                        You can't grow the middle class if you ignore the classes below them. And this neoliberal shit is just growing the poverty classes, which means death to this party's fortunes.

                        •  That's a very simplistic reading of the economic (0+ / 0-)

                          situation.  You may not understand it, but TARP was necessary to stabilize the economy.  Failure to enact it would have produced mass destruction across the entire economy.  Of course those with better financial circumstances have advantages that those with weaker circumstances don't enjoy, that's hardly a poignant statement.  The goal should be to create an economy that offers opportunity to progress (and digress, unfortunately) from one's current circumstances.  There are very few guarantees in life.

                          "Because I am a river to my people."

                          by lordcopper on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 10:34:33 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

              •  So explain how else.... (0+ / 0-)

                ....the party leadership is going to get the message to move back to the left.

  •  Thank you, well written and on point... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Corwin Weber, Tam in CA, Tom Taaffe

    advocating this point of view will probably get you attacked for not being "pragmatic" or being "naive" about how Washington works or Anti-Obama, or ...

    My experience in California is mirroring your analysis, the young voter, the working class voter and the poor are so stressed out and angry that they aren't listening anymore. I've been doing GOTV for Brown campaign, they may vote for Jerry, still getting mixed responses, but national Democrats are going to have a very tough time getting backing in this election. This is really going to hurt Barbara Boxer and she doesn't deserve to be hurt by this, she is a good Senator.

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 08:09:57 AM PDT

    •  Cynical pragmatism breeds alienation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      especially in an economic depression.

      It will not be kind to a lot of national politicians, and the loss of voters, thanks to Obama's negligence and Harry Reid's corrupt Senatorial managing, will negatively affect a lot of them, whether they deserve to get hammered or not.

      That's what happens when the poor and working class don't come to the polls.

      But perhaps that's the point of cynical pragmatism: to keep the power to themselves, even if that means being a minority in the political realm.  

  •  Great diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Tom Taaffe

    Those numbers are striking. The "stay-home" party is probably the most important in American politics. A jobs program is way past due.

    •  thanks (4+ / 0-)

      They stunned me. I remember that it was a very low voter turnout that paved the way for Gingrich and the 'contract on america' gang to come into power (I think it was 25 or 28% turnout).

      NAFTA killed this party in that election, because it was seen as a bottom line betrayal by the party that was supposed to defend the working class.

      Conditions are much worse for the poor now. While all by-elections suffer from lowered vote totals, the fact that Democrats lost 52% of its 2008 totals, while Republicans lost only 24% of its 2008 totals, should be sending up red flags everywhere.

      But it seems as though Democratic Party elites will satisify themselves by playing the margins and staying the course, because that's what benefits their campaign coffers, whether they are a majority or minority party.

  •  He's about a year too late (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Corwin Weber, Tom Taaffe

    in pushing for this weak, pro-business jobs bill.  Even before HCR, Obama should've been talking about jobs, jobs, jobs.  There is no more important thing in the world than a steady job producing income.  All of our economic ills are related to the fact that people can't pay bills, mortgages or buy stuff.  I am so disappointed in this president and congress I can't even put it into words.  

    •  Indeed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Corwin Weber, Rabbithead

      He should have started from day one setting himself as far apart from the pathologically narrowminded neoliberal/neocon economic debate.  But he filled his cabinet and advisor pool with neoliberals, conservative Democrats, 'moderate' Republicans and didn't pick a single progressive.

      In hindsight, we should have seen this coming when he picked Bankruptcy Joe Biden as his running mate.

  •  Here in the land of Bipolar Weather (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks to black ice in the winter and triple digit temperatures in the summer; Utah has a constant program of infrastructure improvement whether we want one or not.

    Our weather is one big employment program.

    Our unemployment is a little lower than the national average.  It used to be a lot lower.

    At some point, private enterprise becomes involved in infrastructure improvement.

    The government should open gravel pits, own bulldozer factories and manufacture hardhats?  I think that's been tried.

  •  This diary is the best explanation as to why (0+ / 0-)

    progressives are not a potent political force.  To use a sports analogy, progressives are a football team with extremely talented players, and no heart.  We're experiencing a worst in a generation recession, caused by the excesses and bad policies of the Republican party, and because Democrats can't "fix" it in 20 months, progressives aren't motivated to vote?  This is truly sad.

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 09:07:54 AM PDT

    •  Wrong (5+ / 0-)

      We're in trouble because the party forgot to take care of those in economic trouble, or pulled some bait-and-switch nonesense like phony mortgage reform or throws corporate welfare at the problem, despite the fairly consistent evidence that the money never hit the street.

      The most cynical and ignorant observation is that somehow all of this is the fault of 'progressives' or 'liberals' or 'the hard left', when I just showed the evidence that its the perspective of those in economic trouble that this Republican-lite bullshit is a dog that won't hunt.

      Nobody organized those 3 million votes to stay home, that was their unorganized and spontaneous reaction to posturing neoliberal bullshit and the failure to address the economy where people live.

      And who's more heartless, the leftie that calls attention to this neglect or the overprivileged, private school fops who just forgot to deal with the economically endangered? Or thought they could tell us that jobs would not be back for years and not pay a penalty for doing nothing?

      •  It's impossible to "take care of those in (0+ / 0-)

        economic trouble", especially when the Republican party is obstructing 24/7.  Furthermore, there are no "innocents" here.  All of American lived above their means, running up credit card debt, buying homes via dubious financing mechanisms, etc.  All you do by "not voting" is guarantee that your interests will be relegated to second tier status.  Legitimizing this point of view is counterproductive to turning this voting into a potent political force on par with "seniors", or "vets".  In case you haven't realized it, the characteristic progressives lack in comparison to these groups is that they vote consistently.

        "Because I am a river to my people."

        by lordcopper on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 09:27:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ignoring their concerns (4+ / 0-)

          is fatal.

          Had they started with jobs, instead of wall street and the banks - and that was a 'bipartisan' moment, so the Dems can't walk away from that - the mood in the streets would be a lot different.

          Instead it was the problem they never dealt with.

          Ignore what I'm saying if you like, but it will be this party's ruin if you don't. You can't force people to the polls and blaming folks like me for dragging your attention to this problem won't add a single vote to the bucket.

          For the entirety of this 30 year deconstruction of living wage work, we substituted wages for easy debt, so don't just tar everyone for their debt, much of it was created just to keep a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, food in their bellies and their kids in school.

          I find that atttiude dismissive and ignorant of reality of being economically endangered.

          •  This administration has been in office for 20 (0+ / 0-)

            months, arriving in the midst of a crisis.  You're holding this administration responsible  for 40 year economic trends?  The only thing that can be done for those "in need" is to provide a social safety net and grow the economic pie.  There is no "button to push" that results specifically in "help for those in need".  The economy doesn't work that way.  

            Over the longer term those "in need" need to develop as a political force, and stop giving their votes to cultural bigots and economic  demagogues.  Do you know the group Obama polls worst  with? Whites without a college education.  This demographic is single handedly wrecking the future for working class families.  Even unions deliver 40% of their votes to Republicans.  Their Republican counterparts will vote, so Democrats needs to get off their asses and invest 15 minutes (the time to cast a vote) to positively effect their future.

            "Because I am a river to my people."

            by lordcopper on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 09:59:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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