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When D.C. Democrats lose
[T]here is a path for Democrats to get heard. [...] Democrats will make progress when they wake up every day focused on the issues most central to the struggling middle class. In order to be heard, Democrats must [u]nderstand that the main economic issue is the future of the middle class. —Democracy Corps.

Stan Greenberg and James Carville are pretty sharp D.C. political operators. And indeed what they say above seems not only obvious, but unassailable. What is interesting though is how they translate, in part, the above into political action:

Show serious concern with the pervasive debt at the heart of the crisis and commit to a progressive program of reduced personal and public debt, from helping homeowners to achieving long-term deficit reduction. [Emphasis added.]

The highlighted portion of the quote has been the received wisdom of D.C. Democratss since President Obama took office. Indeed, the president said, in his 2010 State of The Union Address:

I know that some in my own party will argue that we can’t address the deficit or freeze government spending when so many are still hurting. And I agree — which is why this freeze won’t take effect until next year when the economy is stronger. That’s how budgeting works. But understand if we don’t take meaningful steps to rein in our debt, it could damage our markets, increase the cost of borrowing, and jeopardize our recovery -– all of which would have an even worse effect on our job growth and family incomes.

I understood the political reasons why the president said what he said—he could point to polls showing the American people care about deficits. There was no policy reason for it. It was, at best, meaningless from a policy point of view—nothing a Congress does today will bind future Congresses; at worst, it was bad policy in that it called for Austerity Now! when what was needed was much larger government action on the economy. No doubt the president was presented poll findings like those Carville and Greenberg point to in calling emphasis on "achieving long term deficit reduction."

No doubt the 60 Democrats who signed the letter to the Super Committee calling for a "Grand Bargain" have been shown similar poll findings.

The problem of course is if asked if they care about deficits, everyone will say they do. But it is a meaningless poll finding. No one actually does care about the deficit. No one will vote on the deficit. What they care about is, yes, jobs. While the Democracy Corps' "closed ended" poll questions (PDF) show a mishmash of utterly contradictory responses, common sense and history tell us what people want—jobs and a better economy.

Since the debt ceiling debacle, President Obama has, in his words, demonstrated that he understands the political imperative. He no longer is in search of the approbation of The Washington Post and David Brooks. In terms of policy, there is of course nothing he can do with a GOP House and a Beltway-centric Senate.

Unfortunately, the president has not persuaded the rest of the D.C. Democrats to follow his lead. They still live inside the Beltway bubble—a bubble whose interests lay with the 1 percent, not the 99 percent.

Because of this, it remains imperative that the Occupy Movement pressure the D.C. Democratic Party to do what is actually in their best political interest—fight for jobs, the middle class and the 99 percent.

In 2006, a similar phenomena was seen—where the D.C. Democrats, led by Rahm Emanuel, did not want to run against the Iraq Debacle, instead wanting to focus on Jack Abramoff and other political minutia. The anti-Iraq Debacle movement forced their hands to some extent and Democrats won a landslide, despite the D.C. Democratic braintrust.

If D.C. Democrats insist on playing the "inside game," a game the president has clearly rejected at this point,  there seems a good chance that many will be, like in the political cartoon that illustrates this post, seeking new employment after the next election. And yet, it does not have to be that way. Consider the Democratic Party's history. In 1932, FDR ran on a platform that promised to cut federal spending and balance the budget. Of course FDR did neither in his first term. In his book The Democratic Party, Peter Ling describes a likely apocryphal conversation between FDR political lieutenant James Farley and FDR:

Legend has it that en route to Pittsburgh in 1936, FDR discovered that his speech was supposed to show how he fulfilled his 1932 election pledges given there, notably to balance the budget and cut the federal government. Having patently done neither,  he turned to Farley asking "what do I do?" Aware of the public's shallow memory, Farley replied, "deny you ever said it or that you were ever in Pittsburgh."

FDR did not precisely do that, but he did harken to other things he said in 1932, like his Oglethorpe University speech:

I believe that we are at the threshold of a fundamental change in our popular economic thought, that in the future we are going to think less about the producer and more about the consumer. Do what we may have to do to inject life into our ailing economic order, we cannot make it endure for long unless we can bring about a wiser, more equitable distribution of the national income.

[...] The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach.

That spirit was reflected in FDR's 1936 nomination acceptance speech:

For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor - other people's lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people's mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.

The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business. They granted that the government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.

Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place. These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.

[...] We are poor indeed if this nation cannot afford to lift from every recess of American life the dread fear of the unemployed that they are not needed in the world. We cannot afford to accumulate a deficit in the books of human fortitude. In the place of the palace of privilege we seek to build a temple out of faith and hope and charity.

And of course, in the famous "I welcome their hatred speech":

In the 1936 election, FDR won 61 percent of the vote and 46 of 48 states. The Democrats won 7 Senate seats to hold 76 of 92 occupied seats. They won 12 House seats to hold 334 of 425 House seats.

FDR and the Democrats had not balanced the budget, reduced the deficit or the size of the federal government. The opposite in fact. I'm sure polling would have shown the American people in favor of all that then too. But what they cared about was jobs. And that's what they care about now.

If D.C. Democrats don't know that by now, when will they? When they are voted out?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Whenever anyone, (51+ / 0-)

    be they Democrat or Republican mentions debt or deficit, simply remind them that in 2000, before Bush's tax cuts for the 1%, we had a budget surplus. Then tell them to STFU about deficits. Period.

    Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

    by drewfromct on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 01:38:02 PM PST

  •  This is right on (53+ / 0-)

    And the reasons so many of the DC Democrats are stuck inside the beltway bubble has three basic pieces:

    (1) In a typical day, they talk only to other Congressional staff, other Members of Congress, lobbyists, or donors -- not generally to normal Americans;

    (2) For the Dems in swing districts or tough elections, it's far easier to get campaign contributions and support from businesses & the wealthy than any other source, so to offend those folks risks their political future; and

    (3) We have far too little infrastructure on our side to make it easy for them to do the right thing. Lobbyists come in well-prepared and do the internal organizing needed to move stuff. There are right wing and right-leaning think tanks that analyze legislation, provide talking points, and hand Paul Ryan his budget. Our side doesn't have that kind of infrastructure, so it's actually far harder to be an effective progressive than either a conservative or a so-called centrist.

    But these are problems we can fix...

    •  Thanks for the contribution (20+ / 0-)

      to the discussion.

      I'll be sure to return the contribution (in money) to your campaign.

    •  Hmmmm (28+ / 0-)
      It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
      --Upton Sinclair

      Thanks for coming in to contribute, Darcy.  I think your comment somewhat de-emphasizes the confluence of campaign contributions, post-office employment opportunities and self-interest of a wealthy class that Congress lives with.  This confluence is something a lot of us consider institutionalized corruption, although I'm sure it doesn't appear that way inside the Beltway bubble.  I support your latest candidacy and will contribute, but I urge you to remember this view from the cheap seats, and do what you can to combat  the reality it reflects.

      Economic populism is a gigantic, yawning political void in Washington.  The thirst for a party strongly advocating for the bottom 99% is visible on the streets of hundreds of cities around the country.  It is what the Democratic party is supposed to be about, but Washington Democrats -- the president included -- have for the most part forgotten that mission over the past 3 years.  If Democrats ran on the right platform they wouldn't need to match Republicans dollar for dollar.  Lies are a lot more expensive to sell than truth.

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. --Meteor Blades

      by Dallasdoc on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:17:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  All of what you say is true (24+ / 0-)

        There's a vicious cycle set up where the easiest way to get elected is to pander to the 1%; the easiest way to do your job once you're there is to pander to the 1%; and such pandering means that when you're done you're comfortable for life in jobs that pander to the 1%.

        We progressives sometimes look only at the elections piece -- which is extremely important -- and overlook the ways things are just as rigged in the governance process itself. We'll need to engage on all fronts to make real progress.

        #OWS is a good start at moral pressure, though. :)

        •  Any signs of an #OWS caucus in Congress? (15+ / 0-)

          That'd be a good start -- a faction within the DC party that explicitly supports the goals of the OWS movement.   It's hard to see how we outside Washington can influence the vicious cycle you identify without threatening to withhold our votes:  they don't need our money, and clearly most don't have enough conscience to be moved by that.

          I don't expect the president to support #OWS, except to the extent it is politically expedient to his re-election effort.  But it would be nice to see some strong support for #OWS among House Democrats, and some pressure on the White House to move their way.

          BTW, I think a lot of progressives here are quite aware of the corrupting influences in the legislative implementation and executive arenas of government.  Some of us, for instance, are a lot more skeptical of the achievements of Dodd-Frank than others, for precisely this reason.

          Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. --Meteor Blades

          by Dallasdoc on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:32:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The real problem in this era in my opinion (10+ / 0-)

          is rooted in the price of admission - not in terms of dollars as much as in terms of the lack of political coalitions that are born out of the working and middle classes.  The demise of unions - the deliberate attempts to eviscerate them is a big piece of this puzzle - but it also the trend away from local political activism - gone are the days of the ladies luncheon club engaging in political activities - the local mens clubs rallying around political causes and challenges - going to the town hall meeting because it was the place in town to be - that level of political participation has all but disappeared by comparison to other eras.  

          And aside from the fact that it means that a lot of people live their lives under rule from other people that they do not know and are not guiding - it also means that there are very few people in the political class anymore who come from humble beginnings - few people in the political elite who do not come to the party with some sort of elite background - except in the GOP where they are selected like Palin was to act as a foil whilst the elites in the party had their way with the agenda.

          I am not sure that I am making sense here, but the gist is that we don't have a large enough pool or regular folks participating and therefore the machine that controls the gateway into Washington power is far more powerful and in control of what kinds of people get to come in.  That's why you can't find the rabble rousers who might take a political fight - because the selection process by the party bosses basically keeps those folks from ever having the chance to run or get elected, much less be heard.

          There are a lot of sheeple in Congress on both sides.  Middle managers rather than forces unto themselves with beliefs and ideals that inspired them to run.  The people we have elected across the country are foot soldiers - not generals - and it is kind of amazing when you think about it because even just one Congressional seat can be exploited to wield much power if the person in that seat chooses to use it.

      •  DC Dems can learn the easy way (16+ / 0-)

        or the hard way, it's their choice.

        As someone who has spent more than a decade lobbying Capitol Hill as a grassroots advocate, its appalling how much things have gone downhill.  But make no mistake, the Dems in DC know they've gone downhill. They know what they're doing isn't right, they know the influence of corporate lobbying and campaign finance is wrong.

        They already know these things.  They also know in their hearts that they can give them up and govern sensibly and be re-elected because doing so solved the problems of the 99%.  But the consultants and lobbyists keep whispering in their ears, telling them they can still have their cake and eat it too.

        Corporate money and influence is as addictive and destructive as crack or heroin.  It's up to them to decide whether they want to get off the gravy train.  They are the only ones who can make that choice.  

        If they don't learn it soon, I know I'll be working to replace them through primary challenges.  

        "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

        by Betty Pinson on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:48:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I continue to believe that the fundamental reason (9+ / 0-)

      ...that Democrats support deficit reduction is not because they think it's a political winner (which it pretty clearly isn't...especially for Democrats), but because they honestly believe its good policy.

      The problem with the Democratic Party's position on deficits is that a very sizable majority of DC Democrats, including the President, are old-fashioned fiscal conservatives.  

      They honestly believe that they are doing the right thing.

      Those of us who believe that a dogmatic attachment to balanced budgets is bad policy really have two choices: 1) put enough pressure on Democrats so that they behave in ways that they believe to be wrong, but do so to save their skins; 2) elect people with more progressive economic ideas.

      So long as we believe that the problem is that DC Dems are spineless progressive who want to do the right thing but think they can't, we' re misunderstanding what we're up against.

      And I honestly think that solution #2 is more likely than solution #1, because, when push comes to shove, too many DC Democrats would actually prefer the GOP's low-tax, government killing fiscal policies to actually progressive policies that are less "free-market" in their orientation.

      Tunis...Cairo...Tripoli...Wall Street

      by GreenSooner on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:29:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Many progressives feel a sense of hopelessness (12+ / 0-)

      because they suspect the system is rigged against them.  How can you bring about meaningful change when the conservatives (republican or democratic members of Congress) simply change the rules when reality doesn't suit their agenda.  Here's a good example re: the debt-reduction program:

      Members of both parties and both chambers said they increasingly feared that the 12-member committee would be unable to bridge deep partisan divisions and find $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction as required under the law that raised the debt ceiling and created the committee in the summer.

      As talks sputtered, one panel member publicly lamented that the process was not working, and the group was chastised by a bipartisan group of budget experts at a public hearing for failing to show progress. Several members of Congress, especially Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, are readying legislation that would undo the automatic across-the-board cuts totaling nearly $500 billion for military programs, or exchange them for cuts in other areas of the federal budget.

      http://www.nytimes.com/...

      Many of us have been saying for sometime, that the automatic cuts would end up gutting our social safety net programs, not the military, and now we see the conservatives laying the groundwork to accomplish what we feared most.

      Something has got to give, and we know the changes won't be coming from our leaders in Washington.

      If there are any significant cuts made to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, then the blame will fall on the democrats, even if the republicans are the culprits.  Someone inside the democratic party's leadership has got to get a clue...OWS is as much a threat to our side as it is to the republicans, because most people can't tell the difference between either party.

    •  Math Problem - 100's of 6 figure elected Dems, (4+ / 0-)

      100's of 6 figure elected Dems, who employ

      1000's of relatively well paid public relations press relations communications flunkies, all of whom cost

      TENS OF MILLIONS IN SALARIES A YEAR,

      and who get to spend 100's of millions in campaign cash every year,

      and we got excuses.

      The Raygun - Prop 13 - Tim Eyman crowd MUST lie -

      and we got excuses.

      other than ... Alan Grayson ?

      "Our" side has gigabytes of excuses and terabytes of tomes that would serve as great essays to get that high level job at the Kennedy School Of Government - Rodin Chair For The Thinker (with mega frequent flyer miles between Logan and DC)...

      and we got excuses.

      I'm 51 and when I was a 7 buck an hour cook in Boston in '84, and when I was a 9 buck an hour cook in Boston in '88 I couldn't count all the times some upper middle class Ivy'd up Democratic pooh-bah wannabee would deign to en-lite-en the knuckle dragging cook on how no one could beat Raygun's blatant lies cuz ...

      cuz ... we'll scare the middle and lose.

      and we got lots of excuses.

      Fast forward through my 22 years of living in Seattle, and I've got Adam Smith & Rich Larsen putting their names on that stupid petition from a few days ago.  My rep Jim McDermott isn't a hard ass, so he gets rolled or ignored. Inslee votes for that stupid fascist Patriot act & against the income tax initiative last year. Patty & Maria (U.S. Senators) & Chris (Governor) & Gary (Ex-Gov Current China Ambassador) & Ron (ex King County Exec & Obama admin admin) & Dwight (WA Dems Chair) & ...

      all of them got all the 20 year old excuses for repeating right wing memes on all issues pertaining to money.

      It is time to pass the torch to a NEW GENERATION,

      NOT born into privilege,

      NOT tempered by getting their asses kicked,

      NOT disciplined by incessant cowardice,

      and HELL WILL FREEZE OVER before I do anything but bad mouth any of the current office holders.

      R. Murphy
      Seattle

      Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

      by seabos84 on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 03:18:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Darcy, "problems we can fix", I'm such a cynic. (0+ / 0-)

      Tell me how this can happen in our current political environment?  Details for the cynic...(I can provide details, but don't  let me poison your optimism. )

      As for Paul Ryan, he is toast.  Don't join the ranks of "over easy', if ya know what's expedient.

      You can't fix it.  I can't fix it.

      •  I didn't say it would be easy :) (5+ / 0-)

        And the how is a long answer.

        I did a panel at NN called "Structural Barriers to Progressive Success" which laid it out in about 12 minutes. Short version: highly concentrated power is the problem; there are 6 different kinds of power (political, economic, military/police, cultural, moral, communicative/connective). We are so focused on the first three that we forget the second three -- which can be used to our advantage.

        And: there are rules changes which could do a lot to fix Congress with simple majorities in both the House and Senate, such as revising Senate rule 22 at the beginning of the new session, and reinstating in the House the ability of members to pool resources for internal think tanks like the DSG.

  •  Dems threw middle class overboard 30 years ago - (15+ / 0-)

    now it's time for them to either get on board with OWS or go away - they have proven to be of little value of late. No surprise to me you have FDR (1930s!?) politician up there.

    I'm done listening to Democrat Party leaders apologize for what they claim to believe (so is everyone else - left, right and center).

    It's well past time to step up and defend the 99%. If Democrat politicians can not do that, they are worthless to the country.

  •  Isn't it sad that all our leaders today (12+ / 0-)

    are only paying lip service to our nations great history?  It is like the leaders all know that collectively over the past 30 years both Democrats and Republicans have jointly driven this great country into the abyss.  Our 112 trillion dollar debt is nothing to talk about or even discuss, let's just stay on the gravy train and drive it until it collapses of its own design.

    •  Omigod! What Would The Pundits (3+ / 0-)

      And talking heads say about FDR. I loved those quotes of his that Armando put up. If you contrast them to what, Ben Nelson, say are reported to be saying it's like FDR must've come from an alternate universe: the 1930's.

      It should also be pointed out that the 1930's for a lot of reasons were very, very trying times for the world with both fascism and communism abroad and at home. Much tougher time for the US that anything we face today. That WWII followed on the heels of the great depression simply seemed to be history piling on.

      The "greatest generation" as Brokaw called them stood up to communism, stood solidly against the rise of Nazi Germany and prevailed, grew stronger and thrived even in those times. The source of their strength was democracy with a small d.

      "Always remember this: They fight with money and we resist with time, and they’re going to run out of money before we run out of time." -Utah Philips

      by TerryDarc on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:20:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you comment (5+ / 0-)

    I'll respond at some point tonight.

  •  Part of the Dems problem (7+ / 0-)

    is that there seems to be no Huey Long around.

    FDR would not have become the president that we have come to know him as (for better and worse) without Huey Long.

    •  Huey may not be around (4+ / 0-)

      ... but the movement he led has come back to life.  The parade has formed up and started to march.  Will the president scramble to the front, or will he be left behind?

      Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. --Meteor Blades

      by Dallasdoc on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:19:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  DD, I think it is too late for that. (4+ / 0-)

        It seems to me that the OWS Movement is in response to the lack of good policies, the lack of political accumen and lack of leadership from this administration.

        He might chose to change course and support the issues via what policies he promotes, but he won't be able to jump to the forefront of the OWS parade.  

        Nobody wants that, him riding on the coattails of this movement, front or back.

        I hope he changes course.  It would be good for his administration and good for the nation.

        •  Obama won't be leading the movement (5+ / 0-)

          ... even if he chooses to pander heavily to it.  I don't know anybody protesting I've talked to who trusts him, nor should they frankly.  

          Obama can choose to reorient his administration's policies to reflect #OWS' concerns, although I don't really expect him to.  Or he can continue talking populist while governing for the oligarchs, and lose whatever ability he might still have to fool anybody.

          Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I'll tell you what you believe. --Meteor Blades

          by Dallasdoc on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 03:28:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Hell, Rand Paul is a POPULIST! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alice Olson

      He's not the solution to anything. I understand and sympathize with someone needing to rouse some rabble but I'm sure that Tea Party (faux) populism is not a help to anyone.

      If someone on the left were to appeal to the people at large, I expect he'd have trouble getting his message out. The Tea Party had/has Fox News.

      What do we have? Facebook and Twitter, maybe a la Arab Spring.

      "Always remember this: They fight with money and we resist with time, and they’re going to run out of money before we run out of time." -Utah Philips

      by TerryDarc on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:24:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  what I do not understand is this (14+ / 0-)
    If D.C. Democrats insist on playing the "inside game," a game the president has clearly rejected at this point,  there seems a good chance that many will be, like in the political cartoon that illustrates this post, seeking new employment after the next election.

    given how POTUS negotiated with health insurance industry for his Romney health plan and his dealings with wallstreet, the pentagon, etc., how can this bold
    be true?  

    Proud Socialist Whore.

    by Muggsy on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 01:47:19 PM PST

  •  Most of this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, chuckvw, mightymouse, ohmyheck

    is still irrelevent.

    The core economic challenge is to address how to sustain the middle class in the face of globalization and automation.  The public is way ahead of the political class on this: they see the rise of China, the erosion of their standard of living, and worry about the future.

    Until the Democratic Party understands that free trade is the primary cause of the increase in income inequality it will remain blinde to the real economic challenge we face.

    Raising taxes on the rich, which I support, is not an economic agenda.

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 01:52:08 PM PST

    •  I should add (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson, chuckvw, ohmyheck

      that on no issue is the political class more on one side of this issue and the public at large on the other.

      This include several FP posters on this site, who have said they are for free trade.  

      No other issue is more buried by DC insiders than this one.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 01:57:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The free trade myth (5+ / 0-)

        was disproven long ago, its deleterious affects on the US economy have helped bring us to our current economic state.   Exporting all US production overseas is ridiculous on its face and obviously unsustainable.  

        The US can't survive on a service economy, nor should it try to do so.  

        "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

        by Betty Pinson on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:27:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why do you want to contribute (0+ / 0-)

          to the derailment of the point of this post, which that commenter said was "irrelevant?"

          You want to debate free trade, then let's do it in another post please.

          I do not appreciate your encouragement of to a thread that is nothing more than an attempt at distraction and a snide attack on me.

          Poor show by you.

          •  Economic recovery (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Orange County Liberal

            and jobs are the topics you're discussing. Fair trade is the most important part of fixing those problems.  There are few other magic wands to wave.

            Unless you're not interested in jobs and economic recovery?

            "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

            by Betty Pinson on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:58:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Aggregate demand (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Alice Olson, andgarden, eps62

              is the most important issue.

              Excuse me if you think fair trade is the most important issue and that the points in my post are "irrelevant" then we have little to discuss as I do not think you would know what you are talking about.

              You are displaying a basic misunderstanding of depression economics.

              •  Where does aggregate demand (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Orange County Liberal, eps62

                come from?   It comes from people who are gainfully employed.  How do we get full employment?  By increasing consumer demand.  

                We used to be able to do that.  But, when most of the products consumers can buy are made outside of the US, there's less stimulus and job creation for us.  

                "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

                by Betty Pinson on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 04:11:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Smoot and Hawley agreed with you (0+ / 0-)
                  •  Smoot and Hawley argument (0+ / 0-)

                    is a red herring.  You know it.

                    The US had fair trade regulations for decades that supported our own economy and growth without being protectionist.    As soon as those regulations were dropped, our economy began to crash, our standard of living declined, we experienced ballooning deficits and we lost our ability to make economic stimulus work again.

                    The Smoot Hawley red herring is a DLC boogeyman and may work on a younger voter who doesn't know history.  Attempting to trick naive people to believing that fair trade is bad to their own financial detrimient is immoral and beneath contempt.

                    "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

                    by Betty Pinson on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 05:46:25 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

                      My point is not that "fair trade" is not an issue - but that in a depression economics scenario such as we are in, what I write about in my post is the most important issue, not "fair trade," which is the red herring here.

                      Back to my original point - you have contributed and abetted a commenter intent on derailing my points and attacking me personally.

                      Bad show.

    •  Irrelevant is what DC Dems think as well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alice Olson

      Like you, they are wrong.

  •  How do you envision OWS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson

    involvement in shifting the Dems. to the correct pathway?

  •  The Tea People (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drewfromct, Alice Olson

    Note that the "We'll all rally around the eventual nominee" came from a Republican official, while the voters themselves were talking of writing in, etc.

  •  dc dems (11+ / 0-)

    are by ows revealed.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam (The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers)

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 01:59:20 PM PST

  •  there is no price to be paid for ignoring (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, ohmyheck, Alice Olson

    or even actively advocating against the interests of the rapidly shrinking middle class, and in favor of the corporations.

    i used to think that the dems and rethugs were content to take turns at the helm of power. "our" government is now so brazenly corrupt, so thoroughly divorced from any notions of advancing any kind of public good, that the "two" parties actually are in competition. this time it's not for the power. at least not for it's own sake. but rather for the money that it can make them.

    "I'm all for pragmatism just as long as it's not just a slight pitstop on the road to hell." - TJ, 11.30.10

    by output on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:00:46 PM PST

  •  I care about the debt. (6+ / 0-)

    I want to see it reduced, by taxing the wealthy to the point where there is a fundamental limit to how much wealth a person -- or a corporation, for that matter -- can accumulate.

    This is the only economically sustainable, mathematically coherent approach to managing our financial affairs.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:02:26 PM PST

    •  That will only go so far (0+ / 0-)

      It is only a partial solution, if that, on a planet with 7 billion people on it, all of whom want to live like Americans. They will find a way regardless of our tax policies.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 03:40:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No they won't. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eps62

        They're late to the party, and global weirdening is going to cut their knees out from under them before they have their own USA 1950s.

        Ironically, they will be adding as much pollution to the system as they can manage, trying to get in while the getting is still here.

        How many divisions does OWS have?

        by Diebold Hacker on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 05:44:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Partial or not, it is necessary if not sufficient. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eps62

        If we do not alter our economic system so that exponential accumulation of individual wealth cannot happen, we are doomed to endless crisis -- probably with the occasional century of serfdom thrown in. And the fundamental fact of our current tragedy is that the fraction of the populace that understands this is somewhere in the single digits, and is viewed as comically extremist by the conventionally wise.

        As to "living like Americans", you don't have to live stupidly in order to live well materially. It isn't clear to me that when others look enviously at America, what they primarily envy is that we get to live comfortably without ever giving it any thought or concern.

        And of course, one of the fundamental evils of the right wing is exactly their adamant stance that the only ethical question that ever needs to be asked with respect to consumption of resources is, "Do I earn enough money to be able to afford this expenditure?" Ironically, though they love to tell the rest of us how to live, they cannot abide having anyone question their right to their venality. In this, they reveal themselves to be emotionally and intellectually arrested at about a 3-year-old's level.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 08:23:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  How different things might have been (12+ / 0-)

    If Obama had taken FDR's approach of facing down his opponents instead of seeing how he could get along with them.

    I envisioned Obama doing the 21st century version of Fireside Chats, the first one beginning with, "Folks, things are way worse than you can imagine.  We need to take bold action now.  The status quo is not an option."

    Instead, we got way too much compromise, and many missed opportunities.

    •  This was my Hope too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foresterbob

      It was required.

      Now it's too late. He's done a lot of not much his first term, and who knows if he gets another go. Even if he wins, it will be more of this nibbling around the edges of the infection when what we need is to cut the damn leg off before it kills us.

      Of course if the R's win, it will just get worse more quickly.

      We had our shot.

      How many divisions does OWS have?

      by Diebold Hacker on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 05:48:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  DC Dems Won't Get Voted Out (5+ / 0-)

    They will just keep moving to the right in their search for voters who are more likely to support their policies. How many conservative parties do we need?

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:04:10 PM PST

    •  But the sad truth is no policy today will work (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ohmyheck, barleystraw, eps62

      The two options by either side will not fix any of this.  We need a fundamental change in the system short term gimmicks will only give an illusion without any sustainable correction.  Unfortunately by artificially suspending the corrections that need to take place we are only making the road to recovery more difficult and longer.

    •  Some of them will (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barleystraw, eps62

      as they did in 2010.  Obama, as well, no longer has a lock on re-election, simply because Independents care about unemployment, too.

      I hope they come to their senses and win, but I'm not so sure that will happen.

      "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Betty Pinson on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:52:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Think I Will Disagree with You Here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eps62

        And it's a rare occasion for me to do so.

        But I think that Obama is very likely our next president as well as the current one. The GOP field is crazy enough to scare moderates -- even moderately Conservative Republicans into either voting for Obama outright or staying home.

        I feel that our real battle is more about shaping Obama's agenda during his second term.

        This isn't about beating the GOP, if I've read the cards right. This is about roping the Dems back in and dragging them to the center (or even the near left) from their current right-wing station.

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 04:08:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hope you're right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          barleystraw

          My fear is a third party challenge or disillusionment of voters making them sit out the election.

          I know I'm being the pessimist here, but how many people thought we'd get drummed so badly in 2010?

          "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

          by Betty Pinson on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 04:14:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Remember, FDR was a politician... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antirove

    His nominating speech and speech on the eve of the 1936 election where full of wonderful rhetoric (Like Candidate Obama) and the election eve speech told it like it was about the see-nothing, hear nothing, do nothing Republicans he was up against.

    FDR was responding to the desperation of the country, many having taken to Hooversvilles (to occupy public space to get attention for their plight like today's Occupy Movement) and the very slow but gradual recovery from The Great Depression.

    However, FDR was still a politician, he (Like Pres. Obama) caved to the same people he so well pigeon-holed and began a period of governmental auserity which almost immediately doubled the unemplement and stopped growth bringing on the Recession of 1937-38.

    FDR realized quite fast that the government could not step aside and by 1940 the economy had stabilized.

    If only politicians would match their inspiring rhetoric with corresponding deeds.

    *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

    by josmndsn on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:09:34 PM PST

    •  But things didn't really correct until (0+ / 0-)

      the debts of nations got reorganized through war.  Austerity is the opposite of leniency.

      •  re: But things didn't really correct until (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Betty Pinson, eps62

        As I stated, the economy had stabilized by 1940.  

        WWII and the massive governmental commitment and personal sacrifices of the American people brought about the prosperity that was enjoyed for over three decades.

        Then, the policies of the Reagan administration began to errode the effects of that prosperity and accelerated the upward transfer of wealth away from the then very healthy middle-class.

        We are living in the dream of the Reagan administration, which to many Americans has turned into a nightmare.

        *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

        by josmndsn on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:31:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nothing wrong with being a politician (5+ / 0-)

      as long as you're a smart one who knows to pay attention to economic experts during an economic crisis.

      "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Betty Pinson on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:29:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans are not serious (9+ / 0-)

    about deficit reduction because they refuse to consider revenue increases.

    If we had Clinton-era tax rates, and Clinton-era employment, the deficit would be negligible, in real terms and politically.

    The Bushite Republicans cut taxes for the rich, mostly, and helped cause the Great Recession and its too-long-lasting double-digit real unemployment.

    That's why we have annual trillion-dollar deficits.

    Democrats in Congress and the White House should be telling that truth, and working to increase employment and marginal tax rates on the upper class.

    Both of which are overwhelmingly popular.

    They are not doing that, and they will suffer at the polls as a result.  

    A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

    by devtob on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:12:43 PM PST

  •  Trying to have it both ways (8+ / 0-)

    It seems the political consultants and the DC Dems who hire them are trying to walk a fine line these days by saying all the right things about "saving the middle class" while kowtowing to corporate donors.

     The public opinion polls on these issues have been pretty clear and consistent for quite some time - US voters want jobs and economic recovery, period.   If DC Dems fail to deliver real economic improvement, they will lose.

    It's a sad situation for the good Dems in Congress who do favor the right policies, but are rowing upstream against the WH, DLC Dems and the GOP.  Our party's failure to come to terms with joblessness and do what is necessary could spell doom for us for years to come.

    "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Betty Pinson on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:15:29 PM PST

  •  Am reading Erik Larson's non-fiction (0+ / 0-)

    "In the Garden of Beasts."  Despite FDR and his administration;s certain knowledge by at least 1933 that Jews in Germany were being assaulted on the streets by Hitler Youth and SS, detained, imprisoned, and barred from practicing their professions, FDR would not publicly condemn the Nazis.  He didn't want the political downside of Jewish immigration to U.S. during the Depression.  In addition FDR's administration's primary concern was whether Germany would repay it's debts to U.S. banks and financial institutions.  

  •  First Comment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando

    As my first comment, I'd like to say the earthquakes we've had in OKC are a sign of what's happening with OWS, either that or Jerry Lee is more powerful than we assumed.  As for the Dim-ocrats, its been over for that moribund bunch of hacks since they sold their collective souls and formed the DLC in the mid-eighties (translation-GOP Lite).  Obamanation is just the exclamation point to the obvious.    

  •  OWS' signal achievement: a new narrative (14+ / 0-)

    This was what many of us expected from Obama when he took office in 2009, a new narrative that clearly placed the blame for our economic crisis where it belonged—on 30 years of Reaganomics and trickle-down (albeit aided and abetted by the Democratic Party)--and charted a course for a green New Deal for the 21st century, a revivified social contract.

    But Obama was not interested in breaking with Reaganism. Many of his biggest supporters contended that he could not do so, that he had to operate within the Reaganite narrative.

    OWS has shown, within the space of little more than a month, that the argument that there is no way to break through that right wing economic narrative was completely wrong. From non-stop yakety-yak about deficits and austerity we have gone to a situation where the political discussion is filled with critiques of income inequality, Big Bank malfeasance, money in politics and corporate greed. (Regularly, I now see local and national news reports on OWS protests that refer to protesters criticizing "corporate greed" and not "what they decry as corporate greed." That may seem like semantics, a small difference, but it is in fact a Big Deal.)

    And thanks to Armando for pointing out the narrative shift in 2006. Here in Connecticut, I put more hours into phone-calling for Ned Lamont--lots of hours--than I have ever done for any candidate (and I hate phone calling). When he won the primary, the commentariat bloviated that it spelled doom for the Democrats' chances. Au contraire, mon cherie.

    Lamont's campaign showed how the Democrats could win--although, unfortunately, not how Lamont himself could win. They could win by going on offense, not playing their usual role of whining whipped dogs, fearful of being yelled at by their GOP masters. (Of course, they did little productive with their mandate...) Lamont lost but he showed the Party how to win. After the 2008 election, they appeared to forget everything they had learned.

    OWS has shown the way but it has also forced the Democratic Party to choose: They won't get away anymore with offering the masses rhetoric and their Wall Street patrons policy and positions.

  •  Here we go again (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chitown Kev, protoplasmoid

    with the FDR comparisons. geez give it a rest. FDR was a rich white guy who kow-towed to the racist southern democrats. he was no friend to my people although he played like he was. he would not even sign off on an anti-lynching law.
    So lets deal with the present. we are still facing a southern strategy albeit with nuance and all this "obama shouldness" ala FDR or JFK needs to stop.

    •  heh, AAMOM (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AAMOM

      in my comment I did say "FDR would not have become the president that we have come to know him as (for better and worse) without Huey Long" for a reason.

      In part, it was Huey Long's idea that blacks should be included in social programs like Social Security.

      Now, yes, Long was a product of his time and that included, at times, electoral racism so his record on racism was a bit more complicated than what is stated here.

    •  I dunno (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      andgarden

      A lot of African Americans of the time disagreed with you.

      But of course FDR was a terrible President according to you.

      You have said so many times.

      Many people play the same note regarding Obama - except they say he kowtowed to Wall Street.

      I like to think we can have more nuanced views than the knee jerk reaction you and others provide.

      •  The FDR/African American relationship (0+ / 0-)

        is very very complicated. (Generally, I think Northern blacks suppoted him but Southern blacks didn't)

        Generally, Northern African Americans liked FDR's economic policies but that didn't mean that they trusted the Democratic Party...and who could blame them.

        FDR and J Edgar Hoover were also ready to try black newspapers for sedition for reporting on Jim Crow conditions on Southern bases in the South.

        And I could add that he did not segregate the armed forces by executive order either.

        •  The relationship between AAs and any pol (0+ / 0-)

          is complicated. As it is with any voting group.

          FDR meager to try black newspapers for sedition is a new on to me. Perhaps you can substantiate that one.

          Like your claim that Huey Long was a forward thinker on race, I doubt what you are writing.

          •  It was the subject of a book (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            antirove

            by Patrick Washburn.

            Here's another link with text

            http://www.blackpressusa.com/...

            Its blistering coverage of the horrible treatment Negro soldiers were receiving caught the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the War Department, and the Justice Department. Voss writes that Negro newspapers began to be banned at some Army posts and were stopped in the mail.

            The question was beginning to be asked: could the Negro press be charged with sedition (read: treason)?

            Charged with telling the truth?

            A June 1942 meeting between Attorney General Francis Biddle and Chicago Defender publisher John Sengstacke cooled the matter.

            Wrote Black press historian Patrick S. Washburn: "Biddle, an outspoken advocate of Blacks, unusual in Washington's southern atmosphere, promised that the Justice Department would not indict any Black publishers for sedition during the war if they did not become any more critical than they already were. Sengstacke, in turn, said Black papers would be 'glad' to cooperate with the war effort if they were granted interviews with top government officials that previously had been denied. He then quickly conveyed Biddle's promise to the other publishers, who were delighted."

            But, according to Washburn, the meeting "did not end attempts to silence the Black press."

            "FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover tried to obtain numerous Espionage Act indictments of the Black press until 1945, but the Justice Department refused to go along with his wishes," wrote the historian. "Meanwhile, the Post Office wanted to revoke some second-class mailing permits, but the Justice Department would not support the moves in court, which quickly ended the threats."


          •  Oh, I never said that Huey Long was (0+ / 0-)

            the forward thinker on race that his followers claimed that he was.

            But he was better on racial issues than FDR both in terms of rhetoric and policy...at least initially. His economic policies benefited blacks...and we're talking about in Jim Crow Louisiana.

            Those were many of the policies that FDR eventually adopted.

            Without Huey Long, the (Northern) black community might not have become FDR Democrats.

            ~2/3 of (Northern) blacks voted For Hoover in 1932, so it's not like FDR was politically indebted to the black community at that time.

      •  sorry I did not know I had to (0+ / 0-)

        respond to you the way you wanted. Never said FDR was terrible. I did note many issues he avoided regarding Black folks. Now if you cannot deal with that reality it's on you not me to provide for more nuanced views.

        •  Absolutely (0+ / 0-)

          you have the right to post any silly comment your heart desires.

          •  not supporting an anti-lynching (0+ / 0-)

            law may be silly to you and I feel for ya bro.
            Nevertheless, we still on the same side most of the time and I thank god for that.

            •  Right (0+ / 0-)

              that's all FDR did.

              You know Lincoln opposed freeing the slaves too.

              And Obama is a tool of Wall Street.

              I will leave to your own devices.

              •  Armando, by any objective standard (0+ / 0-)

                FDR's civil rights record was very mixed (i.e. the internment of Japanese-Americans is a part of this piece), in large part, because the Southern Democrats were in the coalition.

                Eleanor, on the other hand, is a different story.

                I do have to be fair here, though.

                I don't think that it's exactly right that FDR didn't support the anti-lynching law...it did pass the House, IIRC.

                That law wasn't getting past the Senate Southern Democrats, though. And with war approaching in Europe at that time, FDR decided to cut his losses.

                Same with desegregating the armed forces.

                Also...I personally don't mind Obama/FDR comparisons. Any and all post-WWII Dem presidents will be compared to FDR. PBO is no exception to that, he can't escape from it, and to some extent President Obama has invited FDR comparisons every bit as much as he invited comparisons to Lincoln.

                •  It's not a comparison (0+ / 0-)

                  FDR was the most successful American politician of the 20th century.

                  Why would we not want to look at his approaches to see if some of them might work today?

                  The objections to that are beyond bizarre.

                  Silly in fact.

                  •  I mean, if you want to call it (0+ / 0-)

                    a derailment than call it that. I would probably agree with you.

                    Any Democratic president will be compared and contrasted with FDR for better or for worse; that is the gold standard of Democratic Presidencies.

                    Again, FDR was successful in large part because of the majorities that he in Congress and the fact that he really did have a left that was pressuring them.

                    And I mean, sure, let's look at some of his approaches but let's also look at where FDR was advantages in terms of what he could do.

                    FDR didn't do it alone.

    •  So I guess you are defending (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      output, wsexson

      Third-Way-espousing, DLC-loving, Corporate-Sponsored, Neo-Liberal-ensconsed Democratic Party Leadership.

      Good to know! I guess the term "DINO" means nothing to you?

  •  Who is really controlling things? (0+ / 0-)

    Who runs our media?  Who runs our government?  

  •  God forbid the DC Dems mention the poor (9+ / 0-)

    which is 50% of America these days.  That's right.  50% Earn less than $26.5 K.   50% of families earn less that $42K.

    Twenty years ago my family barely scraped by on $80K.  No big trips, no big fancy purchases.  A very moderate life of a moderate home, good food, money for movies and a few short road trips.

    Middle Class my ass.  How long are we going to fall for this meme.  They have destroyed the middle class.

    I hate them all for what they have done to what used to be good and wholesome in this country.

    For the past thirty years the neo-liberal economic policies of GOP and Dems alike have all but destroyed this country.

    And Carvilles wife is one the most heartless of them all.  I'll never forget her "If they don't work, they don't eat" line on Colbert show.

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:28:22 PM PST

  •  2009 Version... (7+ / 0-)
    A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor - other people's lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

    Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government. The collapse of 2007/2008 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 2008 was the people's mandate to end it.

    So, the government responded by propping up the small group of people and further entrenching their power and tyrannical rule because, well, god only knows why they thought that made good sense, but that's what they did...

  •  A superb, thought provoking diary (7+ / 0-)

    as always, Armando.  The only thing I respectfully disagree with you about is our President.  I remain unconvinced President Obama has given up pushing his disastrous austerity agenda.  I hope I'm wrong but I have a feeling the Obama administration is behind the recent Dem. Super Congress proposals.  

  •  As a homeowner with a mortgage that I can (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando

    neither afford nor renegotiate, I'm all for the government

    helping homeowners to achieving long-term deficit reduction [empahsis changed from diary]

    We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

    by NoMoJoe on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:33:58 PM PST

  •  Can we now finally all agree.... (11+ / 0-)

    ...that President Obama's handling of the debt ceiling (pseudo-)crisis was a policy and political disaster?

    Here's moderate Dem and rigorously objective political analyst Nate Silver from today's NYT Magazine:

    [T]he conventional wisdom long held that Barack Obama would most likely weather his midpresidency slump to win another term.

    Then came the debt-ceiling debates of July and August, which seemed to crystallize Obama’s vulnerabilities in a way that even the Democrats’ midterm disaster of 2010 did not. It’s probably because he handled the situation so poorly, simultaneously managing to annoy his base, frustrate swing voters, concede a major policy victory to Republicans and — through the fear imported into the market by the brinksmanship in Congress and the credit-rating downgrade that followed — further imperil the economic recovery. On Aug. 12, a week and a half after the debate ended in Congress, Obama’s stock on Intrade, a popular political betting market, dipped below 50 percent for the first time. It has hovered just below the 50 percent threshold, usually at about 48 percent, ever since.

    Obama has gone from a modest favorite to win re-election to, probably, a slight underdog.

    I think this is 100%. Then again, like a lot of folks around here, I said it was politically disastrous at the time, too.

    Tunis...Cairo...Tripoli...Wall Street

    by GreenSooner on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:34:10 PM PST

    •  I'm not sure who "we" is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, GreenSooner

      But I'm pretty sure you know that I thought it was a grievous mistake that  could be traced back the last December's Deal.

      •  "We" = progressives (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, eps62

        My comment was certainly not directed at you, Armando.

        But I remember that the President's handling of the debt ceiling fiasco had a lot of fans among Kossacks, some of whom felt it was the best possible outcome to a bad situation, others of whom (even less credibly) argued that it was brilliant 11th-dimensional chess.

        Tunis...Cairo...Tripoli...Wall Street

        by GreenSooner on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 05:25:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Of course it was a disaster (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NyteByrd1954, chuckvw, mightymouse

      we knew that before he fell for it.  He's not the sharpest tool in the shed, let's face it.  He believes far too much in the strength of his good PR to carry him through policy decisions that harm voters.

      "When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Betty Pinson on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:55:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, OLinda, chuckvw

    but the President is indeed playing the game, too bad he's not on our team most of the time, just pretends to be.

    I didn't abandon the fight, I abandoned the Party that abandoned the fight...

    by Jazzenterprises on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:36:56 PM PST

    •  I'm not saying the President is on any team (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JC from IA, eps62

      but his own, like any pol.

      I am describing what I perceive to be a change in the President's view on what is best for his team.

      •  To reiterate: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chitown Kev, Eric Nelson

        I am more convinced than ever that the President saw giving Congress the opportunity to redeem itself was in the best interests of the country, since a dysfunctional Legislative Branch clearly is not.  So, he gave them a number of opportunities to do just that, and to assume, again, their proper role in governing.

        I think the debt ceiling debacle changed his mind.  What should have been routine housekeeping was made into a divisive issue by the opposition.  They clearly were willing to hold hostage not only the well-being of the country, but of the world.  Not only that, Cantor's involvement disrespected not only Obama but the office of the President as well.  And, I believe the POTUS saw that as a threat he could not abide any longer.  A disabled presidency is easily as harmful to our system as a dysfunctional Congress.

        It is usually unwise to piss off an easy going POTUS who is trying to do you a favor.  They tend to stay pissed off.

        •  You may be right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JC from IA

          I think it was the wrong approach but I have been complimenting the President since then.

        •  The HCR debate in the Senate (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JC from IA

          should have been enough to change President Obama's mind on that score.

          But I agree with you that PBO was trying to restore what he feels to be the proper balance of power between the legislative and executive branches.

          He should have seen long ago, though, that Congress (and I mean the Democratic-controlled Congress) wasn't interested.

          •  Actually, I'm pretty certain the POTUS knew the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eps62, Eric Nelson

            score when he took office.  But, he had little choice, IMO, to give Congress the opportunity to be reasonable or to demonstrate their lack of reasonableness to the voters.  Just going out and bitching about Congress prematurely wouldn't have accomplished much, until the people could see for themselves what he was talking about.

            My question is: Will Congressional Dems "get" it.  The POTUS has clearly given them a political opportunity here, largely by expending some of his own capital.  Will his party members in Congress take advantage of it, or will they go on bitching that the POTUS hasn't won all their elections for them?

  •  They're half right. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, JC from IA, josmndsn

    The massive debt overhang is preventing economic recovery.

    Show serious concern with the pervasive debt at the heart of the crisis and commit to a progressive program of reduced personal and public debt, from helping homeowners to achieving long-term deficit reduction.

    The primary debt problem is personal debt -- mortgages, students loans, and credit card debt -- not government debt. Congress should be addressing that, and they are not.
    •  They are contradictory goals (0+ / 0-)
    •  re: They're half right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eps62

      I thought helping homeowners was a primary goal of the first stimulus package.  Didn't happen did it!

      The Repugnants starve the beast with outrageous tax-cuts and then complain the Richest Nation on the Face of the Earth is BROKE.  Illogical isn't it, yet so many believe in that right-wing wacko meme designed to maximaize the retention of wealth for the few at the top to the detriment of the many.

      That's exacting the same thing that caused the problems for Greece.

      *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

      by josmndsn on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:56:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Certainly, those margins in Congress would be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eps62

    welcome about now.  Failing achieving similar Congressional control, I am having a hard time seeing anything getting accomplished.  The Republican party simply does not care about the welfare of the country or its citizens.  Their dogma is all that matters to them.

    This is a different political climate than any I've seen or read about before.  The only hope is to defeat the obstructionists at the polls; appealing to their patriotism, or even their own political self-interests is meaningless at this point.

  •  It's almost as if (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, chuckvw, eps62

    Establishment Democrats do not represent the middle class.  Should not be a huge surprise.  How many hail from their ranks?

    No nation can be great if it allows its elites to loot with impunity and prosecutes its whistleblowers. Geithner is destroying the things that made America great. -- Bill Black, white-collar criminologist & a former senior financial regulator

    by jboxman on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 02:52:28 PM PST

  •  That political imperative (0+ / 0-)
    Since the debt ceiling debacle, President Obama has, in his words, demonstrated that he understands the political imperative.

    The only political imperative Obama has been shown to understand is he needs to dust off his 2008 campaign script to better his chances for reelection.

    Candidate Obama:  Take two.  

    I also thank the one who rearranged deck chairs on the Titanic so those on board ship could get a better view of the iceberg.

    by NyteByrd1954 on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 03:09:01 PM PST

  •  Send Letters. (3+ / 0-)

    To your congressfolk and the White House.

    Not a rant. Just an explanation about how you live your life.

    If money is an issue, be sure to bring it up. For example, why you can't get healthy food at a decent price nearby. The fees the bank has charged you. How much it costs you to gas your car. Whether you can or can't afford to weatherize your house.

    In a simple story format.

    And end in a question.

    "Please explain how a congress with a 40/60 ratio of millionaires (per MSNBC) can understand my life, my needs, my hope for a better America."

  •  From your lips Armando, to shatter their deaf ears (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, eps62

    hate to pessimistic but if they haven't figure it out in the last ten years (or 30 if you are really counting)...I'll keep a small flame of hope alive

    meanwhile, I'll moneybomb Alan Grayson, No on sB2 Ohio, yes on same day voting Maine, and recall Wisconsin Walker and pray the votes get counted...

    People, not corporations. Democracy, not totalitarian capitalism.

    by democracy is coming on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 03:16:41 PM PST

  •  Tarnished brand (6+ / 0-)

    The current DLC or Third Way Dems have tarnished the brand so badly...people don't trust dems. Seriously...we've heard all sorts of populist rhetoric before....and yet when push comes to shove ...there's always the rotating villain coming to the rescue of the 1%, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Of course the RNC media arm (aka corporate media) and rightwing propaganda blowhards have also misinformed/brainwashed a sizeable portion of the electorate so Democrats will never get those voters. But many democrats and many indendepent voters no longer trust or care for batshit insane republicons, but also many democrats. That's a recipe for disaster right there.

    Tarnished Democratic brand for the past decade with their actions/inactions.  We've had keeping our powder dry for the past decade. We've been told we need majorities..and then well those majorities aren't big enough...yet it's amazing to me how much republicons were always able do accomplish in minority compared to when dems are in the minority. It's rigged by the 1%. Two parties in name only but both  really only representing the 1%.  Trust..I despise republicons, but don't trust democrats anymore either. Just take a look at that stupid Super Committee...even if it fails we get screwed and yes that is brought to you by the Democratic Party...no thanks. And then we get apathy because of it. Anyway most people are fed up with both parties at the national level...and don't trust anyone anymore.

    Fool me once...shame on you fool me twice shame on me. The evils of two lessers is a big fat FAIL. Permanently tarnished the brand? or just tarnished the brand?..thanks to the Third Way Democratic crapola.  

    48forEastAfrica-Donate to Oxfam The Plutocratic States of America, the best government the top 1% and corporations can buy. We are the 99%-OWS.

    by emal on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 03:36:28 PM PST

  •  However After Winning in 36 They Started Reducing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw

    deficit and we slid back into deeper recession again.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 04:05:51 PM PST

  •  Democrats seem to be the most hostile to (6+ / 0-)

    ...the Occupy Wall Street movement.  The Democratic mayors of Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, Denver, and Atlanta have used police state tactics to try to shut down Occupy Wall Street encampments.

    The Democrats inside the Beltway for the most part have studiously avoided commenting on their local Occupy movements.  The exceptions to that are such that they stand out, beginning with John Lewis.

    One NC Democratic Congresscritter would sacrifice Social Security and Medicare to keep research subsidies for the university with which he is affiliated.  Three others might as well be Republicans.  

    But one, Brad Miller, has participated in a generali assembly at Occupy Raleigh.

    My sense is that the system truly is broken when the real world can no longer intrude on these guys, who are being set up for the same sort of dishonest campaign that was run in 2010.  They have so isolated themselves from communication with voters who don't have money that they don't understand what is going on in the country any more.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 04:31:28 PM PST

  •  Yes, and the first party that grasps this.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, eps62

    ..opportunity OWS has provided, achieves a credible message and makes it the hallmark of their platform will win.

    FDR and the Democrats had not balanced the budget, reduced the deficit or the size of the federal government. The opposite in fact. I'm sure polling would have shown the American people in favor of all that then too. But what they cared about was jobs. And that's what they care about now.
    It's true that promises unkept or waylaid don't count for much against the politician if that pol can take up the cause that we the people care about most at this time - immediate action on jobs

    If the Democrats don't get to it pronto & mean it honestly, the republicans will; (in word only for sure) but that will be all the head start the GOP needs to neutralize Democrats who wait around to see where the wind blows.

  •  Well said, as always (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dkosdan, eps62

    When I saw David Brooks flipping out a couple of weeks ago, I know Obama was on the right track.

    It might be too late, though. The voters might make the wrong (but fully understandable) decision to fire the President for not delivering them from economic misery in time.

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 05:03:46 PM PST

  •  Armando, I can't say I'll laugh them into a grave. (0+ / 0-)

    Cremation is so much more Eco-friendly.  

    The idea of going into the ground, the Egyptian way, is ...
    so yesterday. Of course, my ideas are a bit stale.

  •  Well said, Armando. As usual. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando

    My forthcoming book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity will be published in Summer 2012 by Potomac Books.

    by Ian Reifowitz on Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 05:41:38 PM PST

  •  I welcome their hatred! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, Eric Nelson, eps62

    Let me qualify that by saying that I expect the opposition to work with me to make a bipartisan Grand Bargain that will best serve the interests of the...oh, fuck it.

  •  to say that there is no policy reason for (0+ / 0-)

    long-term deficit reduction is delusional.  This is where the left can't see thw hole picture.  And to say that before Bush's tax cuts and wars there was a surplus, does not make deficits good.  

    •  Define "long term" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, eps62

      You realize THIS Congress can bind no future Congresses right?

      Delusional are people who pretend otherwise.

      The "Grand Bargain" of the 90s lasted how long exactly?

      This is where "pragmatists" are especially foolish.

      I admit to having lost patience with such fools.

  •  This Is Not 1936 (0+ / 0-)

    FDR and the Democrats had not balanced the budget, reduced the deficit or the size of the federal government.

    And it will never be 1936 again. Deal with it.

    I won't be coming home tonight, my generation will put it right - Genesis 9:3

    by superscalar on Mon Nov 07, 2011 at 05:24:06 AM PST

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