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Bill Keller
Bill Keller
Former New York Times editor Bill Keller, waxing poetic about how great it is that Mitt Romney has already won the Republican nomination because it means Republicans are finally a party of sanity, informs us that the key to Mitt Romney's success or failure in the 2012 general election will be that most mythical of creatures, the moderate independent swing voter. (My emphasis.)
Despite efforts to polarize our politics into ideological base camps, in presidential elections the deciding vote still belongs to the middle. These voters have been drowned out lately by the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, but they are the main prize in 2012. Bruce Gyory, who is a consultant and teaches voting trends at the State University of New York at Albany, calls them the “40 within 40” — 40 percent of the electorate self-identify as independent, and 40 percent of those independents describe themselves as moderate. That means about one in six voters are up for grabs. Obama won them in 2008. The Democrats lost them badly in 2010.

Lost them badly? Uh, in 2010, moderate independents split fairly evenly between Republicans and Democrats: 48 percent of them voted for Republicans while 47 percent voted for Democrats. And keep in mind that these numbers come from a sub-sample of a sub-sample of a poll, so there is some margin for error. If it were a pre-election survey, most people would consider those numbers too close to call. And in assessing them after the fact, nobody can fairly describe these numbers as showing as showing that Democrats lost moderate independents "badly."

Keller should issue a correction, if not withdraw the full column. His entire argument is built around the belief that 2012 will be determined by a group of moderate independent swing voters who delivered the election to Democrats in 2008 and to Republicans in 2010. That may sound reasonable and logical in the abstract, but absent evidence to back up his claim, Keller's analysis becomes a statement of faith rather than facts. It tells us more about how Keller wishes the world worked than it does about how the world actually works.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Mon Nov 14, 2011 at 03:06 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's time to marginalize these schmucks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RonV, drawingporno

    In exactly the same way they've marginalized those speaking out for the 99% for the past 30 years.  Dismiss them with contemptuous disdain on those rare occasions that it becomes necessary to acknowledge them at all.

    If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. ~Malcolm X

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Nov 14, 2011 at 03:22:44 PM PST

  •  The moderate independent... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smeesq, drawingporno, murrayewv

    flying monkey vote is very much up for grabs this year, too. I wonder what Obama has to do to capture that vote. Or, the talking apple trees. They went heavily for the repubs last year.

    "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

    by RonV on Mon Nov 14, 2011 at 03:27:03 PM PST

  •  Tea party times OWS, divided by two... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    just a sec...
    carry the one...

    Ah, answer: Bill Keller.

    Politics is so simple.

    •  The man is obviously confused (0+ / 0-)

      He is equating a political ideology that hijacked an entire election cycle 2 years ago with a protest movement that has existed for 2 months. But they're clearly the same thing, right? All those extremist Occupy protesters, wanting economic justice and a fair shake...

  •  Keller and his ilk... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drawingporno, karenc13

    ...need the "straw man," in this case the moderate independent, to preserve their dominant worldview that nothing of value can ever be gained by radical approaches.

    In an earlier column, he marginalized OWS, for the same reason.

    The establishment's beloved notions of checks and balances, of moderation, of reaching across the aisle, or -- my personal favorite, of "bipartisanship" are the myths that sustain their world and that keep the rest of us down.

    That's why OWS has proven so disruptive to the power elites: it doesn't fit the master narrative. So it must be dismissed.

    "Archaeological description is . . . an abandonment of the history of ideas, a systematic rejection of its postulates and procedures, an attempt to practice a quite different history of what men have said." --Michel Foucault

    by Adelard of Bath on Mon Nov 14, 2011 at 03:40:08 PM PST

    •  checks and balances would be wonderful (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldcrow, Matt Z, Dirtandiron

      if there were any, the 1% wouldn't be running roughshod over the rest of us and we wouldn't need an OWS.

      when they threw out the checks and balances and went full-bore toward plutocracy, they created this.  So screw them.

      Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:22:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  more on checks and balances (0+ / 0-)

        Actually, it was conservative Federalists like John Adams who looked to Newtonian physics for a model of self-regulating government contained in the notion of 'checks and balances.'

        Adams meant to keep the riff-raff down, just as Bloomberg et al are out to do the same, by their invocation of balancing free speech with public safety. This only serves to preserve the status quo.

        "Archaeological description is . . . an abandonment of the history of ideas, a systematic rejection of its postulates and procedures, an attempt to practice a quite different history of what men have said." --Michel Foucault

        by Adelard of Bath on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 06:13:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Proves Operation Mockingbird (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The press has been totally controlled for years now. When the ruling elite wants a war or any other cause they puppet the talking points.

  •  like the dodo, there was an independent moderate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    swing voter in that moment just after the Bull Moose Party, but like the mimeograph machine got replaced by the electrostatic copier, we all learned to leave those historical moments and embrace evolutionary change

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Mon Nov 14, 2011 at 05:47:37 PM PST

  •  It will serve us all well to acknowledge and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    remember that everything you see, read, or hear in any major media is created and delivered by one of the 1%.

    Every talking head, talk-jock, columnist, pundit, movie star, foundation spokesperson, et al.

    Every one.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Mon Nov 14, 2011 at 05:51:34 PM PST

  •  Driving on the Jersey barrier (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drawingporno, Notreadytobenice

    The least safe place to drive is down the middle of the road.  The Democrats who tried that in 2010 failed badly. Banana Republicans swerved in and out of the right shoulder, rarely even touching the pavement, and in so doing, got a high off-year turnout from an enthusiastic minority.

    The Village Press likes this imaginary middle because it plays to their traditional narrative, which focuses on horse races, not issues.  They tend to give too much support to "centrist" groups like "third way", "no labels" and "".  These groups are traditional big-business Republicans.  They oppose Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, want a foreign policy based on containment of some enemy or other and a fairly large "deterrent" force, and a domestic policy based on racial equality and religious tolerance.  Basically like Eisenhower, but a bit more conservative.  It's traditional New York conservatism, what the richest of the rich (who tend to not be religious, and who have nothing against teh gay) like.

    Of course this is utterly inimical to the 99%, since this "center" is still all about diverting money to the rich and hurting the poor and middle class.

    •  yeah at what point did "middle of the road" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and "cut Social Security" exist in the same universe

      Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:23:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I find it more useful (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Corporate Dog, Dirtandiron

        when considering the term "centrism" not to think of some imaginary point on a linear political spectrum, but rather as representing the center points of the system, the power centers.  From this vantage point "centrism" can be understood as the representation of the interests of entrenched power, "power centrism".  And that fits with the practical reality of how political "centrism" acts in our society.

        If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. ~Malcolm X

        by ActivistGuy on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 10:31:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've always co-opted Diogenes' phrase. (2+ / 0-)

          "I'm looking for an honest centrist."

          Because you're absolutely right: if you look at a line of political belief that stretches from flaming liberal to militant wingnut, the Washington notion of centrism doesn't exist anywhere on that line, let alone in the center.

          That's why you're finding Paulbots and even a few, rare, disillusioned teabaggers mixed in with the OWS crew.

          That's why every challenger to Mitt Romney is meeting their own, personal, highly-publicized media Waterloo.

          That's why "The best we could do." in Washington always ends up to be policy that supports the wealthy and the status quo, policy designed to placate the masses in some way (but not improve their lot at the expense of the rich), or a mixture of the two.

          Centrism, as it's practiced, is really Percentrism (trademark, Corporate Dog).

          Corporate Dog

          We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

          by Corporate Dog on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 04:21:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Jim Hightower: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      K S LaVida

      "The only thing in the middle of the road is yellow stripes and dead armadillos"

      Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

      by blindcynic on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 11:51:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Keller is the guy... (9+ / 0-)

    ...who brought us Judith Miller. he is a genius.

  •  FTFY (0+ / 0-)
    Bill Keller is very proud of his imaginary friend, the moderate independent swing voter who will magically vote Republican because shut up, that's why.

    Occupy the voting Booth!

    by anonevent on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:06:42 PM PST

    •  The problem with the "independent" voter (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Is that many of them are actually Republicans that were scared off during the Bush years. They aren't really "independent" so much as Republicans that don't like to say so. Another large chunk of "independents" are low information voters that don't like the idea of labels so they don't pick one and then pick a candidate based on the color of his tie or who they would rather knock back a couple miller lights with. Mmm, moderation.

  •  Clap louder, Bill. Clap louder. (5+ / 0-)

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:07:56 PM PST

  •  DLCshite. Don't scare the middle or you'll lose. (5+ / 0-)

    of course us bottom 90% aren't supposed to notice all those top 10% DLC sell outs doing GREAT selling us out - while we get our asses kicekd!



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

    by seabos84 on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:13:08 PM PST

  •  break out your pluralism notes for historical (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SouthernLiberalinMD, Dirtandiron

    context, but we're a long way past thinking about how political power has the possibility of distribution as a representational voting equilibrium and that journalism fairly and ethically reproduces that activity

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:14:48 PM PST

  •  Apples and Oranges, Jed. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dksbook, Matt Z

    Which doesn't make Keller's column any less mushy, just means your criticism is a "maybe" at best.

    A couple of things:

    1.  Keller refers to moderate swing voters.  Those folks might or might not be independent.  An awful lot of the votes cast for Scott Brown in the Massachusetts general were cast by Democrats.  By the same token, I'm damned sure that Obama got more than a few Republican votes in his 2004 Senate campaign against the execrable Alan Keyes.

    2. I wonder how many people call themselves moderates as opposed to being considered moderates by others?

    For example -- I'm a conservative, but I'll bet my views on health care, the environment, and keeping one's nose the hell out of people's bedrooms would cause a number of other conservatives to call me something else.

    I'm not sure what moderate means anymore, but I think the general definition ends up being somebody who's not on your side but doesn't seem to be running with the enemy, either, without regard for what they call themselves.


    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:15:03 PM PST

    •  good point: these terms have gotten fucked up (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dksbook, Matt Z, Dirtandiron

      along with the political spectrum itself, so it's hard to say what they mean anymore

      for instance, what are conservatives "conserving?" other than their own pocketbooks?

      when I was a kid, you could be a conservative and an environmentalist.  you could be a conservative and believe int he rule of law.

      Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:25:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What is being generally called 'conservative' in (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron, SouthernLiberalinMD

        the media these days are in fact 'radical regressives'.

        •  I've been starting to use the term Tory... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Matt Z, SouthernLiberalinMD

          a la the Tories during the American Revolution.  Part of that, I'll admit, is  a certain snarkiness given their fondness for wrapping themselves in the country's founders.

          If you dissect what some of these people say, they turn out to be

          1. Anti private property except for the extremely rich and powerful,

          2.  Anti free market when it comes to oil companies, and

          3. anti right to contract when it comes to the right of employers to make a contract with workers (a la right to work states) and when it comes to the right of workers to organize together and negotiate with employers.

          More than anything, they are the next Social Darwinists (we've got our loot because we deserve it and that's the way it ought to be), which is what you are if you really think of yourself as nobility in a society that doesn't officially recognize a peerage.

          Sounds like the Tories to me.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 04:10:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  They are reactionaries. n/t (0+ / 0-)

          Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

          by Dirtandiron on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 05:39:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Moderate means nothing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac, Dirtandiron

      Everybody wants to say they are "moderate". Moderate is a nice, milquetoast word that really doesn't mean anything, but allows an individual to imbue it with whatever meaning they wish. The political discourse in this country has cause the words "liberal" and "conservative" (especially liberal) to be viewed negatively. The media tries to portray them as being political extremes. who would want to be seen as extreme in their political beliefs?

      I have many friends who claim to be "moderates". What it actually means is that they don't really have a core set of political beliefs that they can personally identify (although when you ask them, they nearly all tend to be at least somewhat liberal) and want to appear to be rational and reasonable, leading them to claims of being "moderate".

      •  Oh, it means more than that, but doesn't get (0+ / 0-)

        used properly very often.

        I believe that somebody can be moderate (adjective) but have no idea what it means to be "a" moderate (noun).

        In that sense, Keller's use of "moderate swing voters" makes a lot more sense than the poll's effort to identify themselves as moderates.

        A moderate person can possess strong views but find ways to work with moderate people of other views, based on common ground.

        You need core principles to work from.  A compromise without principles is no compromise at all, simply a capitulation.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 05:06:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Why is the son of the former CEO of Chevron (7+ / 0-)

    ...cheering how great Mitt Romney is and so scornful of the OWS movement?"

    Glenn Greenwald spells it out for you.

    Journalist and author Glenn Greenwald argues that media coverage of Occupy Wall Street has ranged mostly from critical to non-existent, thanks to mainstream media journalists who are now part of the elite class the movement is protesting. Speaking of former New York Times editor Bill Keller and CNN journalist Erin Burnett, Greenwald asks, "Why is the son of the CEO of Chevron and the fiancé of the second highest ranking executive at Citigroup scornful of Wall Street protesters? It's because this is who our media class is, they are integrated fully into the political class."


    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:29:31 PM PST

    •  He calls it the Establishment Media (6+ / 0-)

      Because that's what it is. Not Traditional (because there's nothing traditional about lying), not Corporate (although it is that too), not big (that too), but Establishment, because it's owned, run and staffed by the establishment, and reports the news according to the establishment's predeterming narratives, biases and priorities. It is our Pravda, Isvestia and Tass.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:48:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  GG is such a stunningly brilliant man. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      His later post today included a video of the debate with Bush's drug 'czar' about the failed fiasco the powers that be still subscribe to with regard to interdiction. It's incredibly long but reveals the limp promotion the prohibition crowd still grasps.
      As usual, Greenwald slices and dices the lack of logic, let alone pertinence, of the "arguments" of the staus quo.
      The guy has a mind like a steel trap and I love to watch  self-righteous authoritarians waltz right into it.

    •  At the end (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      he touches on the most important point. The desire amongst elites that the OWS movement quiet down and go away reflects their anxiety about the fact that if scrutiny were ever brought to bear, massive amounts of corrupt and criminal behavior would be revealed in an instant. Protecting their friends from jail, literally. That's what's in it for the media class.

  •  Evidence? You got it. (0+ / 0-)

    Here's the link.

  •  Dear Mr. Keller (5+ / 0-)

    Your father was a rich and powerful oil company executive and you grew up knowing only the best, never wanting for anything material. You have held a string of increasingly more powerful and enriching jobs while hobnobbing with your fellow rich and powerful friends. You hired Judy Miller and helped her sell a war that unless you're even dumber than I think you KNEW was based on lies. You are an elitist in the worst sense of the word, a pampered peacock who hasn't experienced a second of real want in your whole misbegotten life. And you fucking DARE to lecture us little people about being too extreme?!?


    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:42:04 PM PST

  •  Why does this barely commented-on diary (0+ / 0-)

    have a timestamp of:

    Mon Nov 14, 2011 at 03:06 PM PST

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:44:04 PM PST

  •  The only constant in this country (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrblifil, Dirtandiron

    is that some people are constantly full of shit.

  •  Nice hair. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This elusive, finicky voter could only be appeased by the archetype of equivocation, Mitt Romney? He is the Super Hero of nothingness. Janus must be his secret God.

  •  2010 was about who voted. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    demongo, Val, Matt Z

    Everyone voted about how you'd expect they would.  It was just a matter of different turnout numbers than in 2008.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:50:33 PM PST

  •  There is some kind of ad (0+ / 0-)

    from AT&T overhanging the first part of the article as it appears on the front page.

    I think it's an interesting piece but hard to tell with the damn ad that won't close obscuring.

    The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it is difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine. -- Abraham Lincoln

    by Mnemosyne on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:51:21 PM PST

  •  "Moderate Independent Voters" = Unicorns (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They're both mythical.

    "When and if fascism comes to will not even be called 'fascism'; it will be called, of course, 'Americanism'" --Professor Halford E. Luccock of Yale Divinity School; New York Times article from September 12, 1938, page 15

    by demongo on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 08:52:27 PM PST

  •  Lovely title, Jed. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  No conversation about Bill Keller (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, Dirtandiron

    can be complete without acknowledging his killing of the story of the Box on Bush's Back.

    The story’s life at the Times began with a tip from the NASA scientist, Robert Nelson, to reporter Bill Broad. Soon his colleagues on the science desk, John Schwartz and Andrew Revkin, took on the bulk of the reporting. Science editor Laura Chang presented the story at the daily news meeting but, like many other stories, it did not make the cut. According to executive editor Bill Keller, "In the end, nobody, including the scientist who brought it up, could take the story beyond speculation. In the crush of election-finale stories, it died a quiet, unlamented death."

    You're welcome.

  •  Bill Keller cannot do 3rd grade level math. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That or he's a liar or clueless or all three. Who knows, but a big ole snap on deconstructing Keller's dystopian worldview.

    Radio Free Moscow -- A Blue Beacon in the Red State of Idaho -8.5219, -2.0592

    by brentbent on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 09:54:10 PM PST

  •  The more I learn about NYT the less I trust it n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  He's trying hard to make it sound close. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They all do that. Every four years. That's why no one who knows politics gives a shit what they say.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 10:00:48 PM PST

  •  DONT BE SO SURE OF YOURSELVES!!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    Here's one, (to paraphrase the late great Dimebag Darrell) right the fuck right here.

    And we aren't going which way the wind blows, we're twisting in the breeze until somebody comes up with some goddamn real world solutions to really big problems.

    The right pisses me off to no end with their sanctimonious bullshit, trampling the rights of gays and women because they're too chickenshit to admit there's a vast black nothingness beyond the ionosphere, and no benevolent Ward-Cleaver-sky-daddy with all the answers.

    The Left pisses me off because they think it's just fine and fucking dandy to sell our kids financial future to the bloody handed Chinese so every Capitol City janitor can pull a six figure pension after the age of forty.

    Keep on dismissing the swing voter. See how it ends up.

    Left Coast Libertarian

    by pacspeed on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 10:19:55 PM PST

    •  Six figure janitors? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm supposed to listen to you when you spout insanity like that?  I've worked as a janitor, have you?  I KNOW what janitors get, because it was my paycheck for several years.  You most obviously do not.

      If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. ~Malcolm X

      by ActivistGuy on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 10:40:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And Mr Libertarian let me add (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You can "Go Galt" and clean your own fucking executive washroom from now on.

      If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing. ~Malcolm X

      by ActivistGuy on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 10:42:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  rw talking points (0+ / 0-)

      Trollish, imho.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 05:47:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup. Ignore. Dismiss. Ridicule. (0+ / 0-)

        You are the left wing version of ditto heads. Preaching to the choir. Yelling into the echo chamber. Telling each other how awesome you all are, and never even attempting to understand an opposing point of view.

        And as a result, far left politics are pretty much an irrelevancy in America. But not here. On DKos, you're all righteous warriors, fighting the good fight to bring justice and enlightenment to the poor benighted slobs who don't agree with you. Except those slobs don't really want to hear it, so you tell it to each other, in a chorus of head bobbing and self-affirmation.


        Left Coast Libertarian

        by pacspeed on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 07:31:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  1) We understand the opposition quite well. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          They have been attacking us for decades, sucking in multitudes of uninformed voters along the way, and using their media to create more of them. Their goals are to eliminate the New Deal and any vestige of congressional oversight in business. For the most part, they are intractable and remorseless killing machines (not metaphorical--witness their stated goal of making people homeless and stripping the poor of assistance, let alone activists like right wing terrorists assassinating doctors.)
          2) If you think we are "far left", you are either 20 years old, or ignorant, or both. Nowhere in these pages have I seen community-approved calls for violent revolution, or even radical changes in governance; most of the time all we call, work, and strive for is a government that works for the general public, not the rich and powerful. Just like it is supposed to do.
          3) We are quite different from dittoheads. For one thing, not only do we respect facts, research, and the truth, we actually are able to use them when we speak and write. That in and of itself makes us parsecs removed from whatever universe you think we inhabit with them. We also do not advocate harm to others, act/vote to disenfranchise or impoverish people, or present anywhere near of an unthinking or monolithic mindset, which is the very definition of those with whom you would place us (hence the term "dittohead"--most acolytes have nothing to add to any discussion other than saying "Ditto", as if repeating Rush's blather somehow makes one appear smart or informed.)
          4) Left wing politics have been marginalized because for decades both major political parties have been taken over by, or simply are, tools of the rich and conservative (which is fairly reasonably considered a redundancy.) It has nothing to do with what we do or say, because we have few, if any, avenues to communicate to those not able or willing to find us. We control no media networks, and few standalone medial outlets of any sort, and by and large are poorer by far than our opposition. If you think otherwise, you have been deluded once more, or are just too lazy to do any of your own research. (Think, for a change: who owns all of the tv/radio/publishing businesses in this country, and therefore who signs every person's paycheck who works for any of them? Do you think that might be somewhat of a factor in how those businesses are run?)
          5) Try harder to be annoying; we're used to far more than what you've got . . .

  •  There might once have been such a creature, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    back when the rethugs were  a sane, reality based group, before lies and fantasy became their stock in trade. Now, the 'independents' are just the people who believe Fux Nuz, but don't say they support rethugs.

    May you live in interesting times--Chinese curse

    by oldcrow on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 10:26:02 PM PST

  •  Never underestimate the power of self-delusion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...even among intelligent people.  I once had a university dean (of science, no less) tell me that he was sure that his students never pulled all-nighters to do their assignments.   I barely managed not to laugh in his face.

    Unfortunately, believing in something despite a preponderance of evidence to the contrary isn't limited to morans.

  •  Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there (0+ / 0-)

    data showing that there are "moderate independents" that tend to vote Dem, and "mod. ind." that tend to vote GOP?
    I think the equivalency between the Dem/mod/ind. and OWS and the GOP/mod/ind. and the "tea party" is false.
    I think the OWS resonates completely differently than the "tparty" with the general audience.
    Frankly, I think the story of 2012 will be the women's vote around kitchen table issues and it will be about rational decision making, which will leave the GOP out in the cold.

    •  OWS resonates like this (0+ / 0-)

      "I am done with Obama"

      Get used to saying the words "President Romney" because that's where that leads. Romney can probably get more votes than McCain did (fundies didn't like him so much either) and Romney won't have the baggage of Palin. Add the youth vote and soi disant revolutionaries sailing away from the voting booths on an ice floe and Pres. Obama loses.

      Same goes for Congress and the Supreme Court. More and worse Republicans.

      I think many in OWS sense this, making statements like "This isn't going to happen overnight, we have to look beyond the next election."

      •  I'm not that intimately aware of what OWS people (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jmknapp, Dirtandiron

        on the street are saying. I got the feeling a lot of them are activists and will be voting, volunteering when the time comes.
        I think the general critique can be made toward Dems and Repubs without ignoring the difference between the two.
        I agree with your opinion that the real change will come through the electoral process.
        I think there's room for a progressive political movement within the current structure, and a movement that demands a curb on Wall Street control over the process.
        There's really only one place where the 99% conceivably have power over the 1 %, and that's at the ballot box.
        If 99% of the electorate votes.

        That hasn't been happening and that's one reason the minority has had so much leverage.

        •  That's a bit optimistic (0+ / 0-)

          Yesterday Jesse LaGreca (aka MinistryOfTruth) said on the livestream that "We are the ones we have been waiting for, no matter what Obama tells you, no matter what Romney tells you, or any of these sold-out politicians... I'm done with it."

          That's pretty representative.

          •  To be honest (0+ / 0-)

            I have doubts that many of the most hardcore OWS participants voted for Obama in the first place. Many of them are people that didn't believe they had a political voice in the system as it currently exists, and probably didn't vote at all. OWS is not at all electorally oriented. Most of them want to upend the system and remake it in a more democratic image, and you aren't going to be able to do that in the system that we currently have. The problem is that you can't really change the system from without.

            •  Just look at how this blog (0+ / 0-)

              ...formerly dedicated to electing Democrats, has become an assembly line of anti-Obama, anti-Democratic Party screeds. That's a pretty good indication of the sea change.

              •  As much as many here would like to think (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                that OWS supports Democrats, they dont. Most of them are nonvoters that felt excluded from the system. The only real benefit that Democrats get from OWS is that it changes the media narrative from "we have to cut everything" to "we need to make sure there is some semblance of justice in our economy". It's put the ball back in a court where Democrats can play and win, because Dems saying cut cut cut is never going to excite the base.

                •  There was a discussion earlier on in the OWS (0+ / 0-)

                  action about whether Dems should try to "join"  or "coopt" OWS , and it was my feeling that they should stay separate but that since the basic thrust of OWS is about pointing a finger (well-deserved) at Wall Street, that the Dems should respond in a positive way to the general sense that the movement was expressing the obvious as perceived by most people in the country.

                  Non-voters should feel excluded by the system, because they are, by definition. Or rather they're choosing to exclude themselves from the system.

              •  The OWS keeping its independent status (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                is one thing.
                The "screedsters" are another. They're either GOP trolls or they might as well be.
                The "both parties are the same" meme is intended to drive down Dem voting numbers.

            •  Some of them probably wrote in "Nader" or Eugene (0+ / 0-)

              Debs, or Abbie Hoffman.

            •  The weakness of the voter is directly proportional (0+ / 0-)

              to the voting percentage. Anybody who thinks they're going to bring forward a "marxist revolution" in this country is in a more opaque bubble than DC ever was.
              Having said that, I think OWS is a positive step in the right direction. One of several that needs to take place.

          •  I like that. I was advocating that when Obama (0+ / 0-)

            (whom I supported and still support), was elected. My progressive friends tended to fall asleep and think that all things had been solved and that all that Obama had to do was wave his magic wand. I knew there would be a vicious backlash, especially among the  religious right.

            As far as I know, Obama never thought he could do it alone and continued to remind people that it would be a long hard slog and that everyone needed to put their shoulder to the wheel. etc.

            He stuck pretty close to his campaign promises, and he's governed the whole country.
            I don't think there's any problem with a firm, uncompromising backbone on the left. I don't think we all need to think the same in order to get our country back on track.
            We do need the GOP to get out of the way .
            That will take votes.

      •  ps One very important thing I thing OWS has done (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        has been to force the narrative onto the fact that Wall Street is a massive tumor on the middle class economy, and that the big money interests have been obstructing progress.
        I think there's a drastic difference in the general media narrative and the nature of the news cycle pre and post OWS, and pundits are being forced to discuss things that were being ignored previously.
        The GOP is the repository of prostitution to Wall Street, but there has been too much cowardice and there's a few bad Senators on the Dem side.

        It's now up to the Dems to respond with action to the OWS challenge. Hopefully they'll go beyond pandering.

        Obviously the GOP will just keep obstructing.

  •  As a long time NYT reader, let me publicly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    state that Bill Keller couldn't get his thumb up his own ass with the aid of a funnel and an inspection mirror.

    The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

    by magnetics on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 11:45:29 PM PST

  •  When the press doesn't respect our intelligence (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    or facts, what use are they to us?  Why should we pay for their "talent" and their "service" of digging up facts when, they do not in fact dig these up?  Propaganda and mindless, fact-free commentary is free on the internet and around the water cooler.  Why should we pay for it in the newspapers and on air?  If idiot "editors" like this wonder why newspapers are increasingly going the way of the dinosaurs, he has only to look in the mirror for the cause.

    America needs a UNION NEWS channel. We (unions) have the money, we have the talent. Don't buy 30 second time slots on corporate media, union leaders; fund your own cable news channel and tell the real story 24/7/365

    by monkeybrainpolitics on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 01:51:55 AM PST

  •  Just watch Keller in "Page One". (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In this documentary about the NY Times, Keller is the utterly clueless Nero fiddling while Rome burns. The paper is disintegrating around him, dedicated writers with decades of experience being fired and shown to the door by security....and Keller is fecklessly musing about how he can serve his corporate masters more abjectly.

    He's the worst kind of amoral corporate enabler.

  •  $21 billion tax break for millionaires' gambling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Yes, I know it is Redstate.  Oh, the irony.

    "I don't want to blame anyone. I just want to know how lowering taxes on the rich creates jobs" --Informed citizen at Congressional town hall

    by Time Waits for no Woman on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 04:17:46 AM PST

  •  It's a wonderful belief that doesn't work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Keller just wants to believe we're really all one big happy family with a few malcontents on the fringes, and that parties don't really matter.

    In a sense he's almost right about party affiliation not being all that important. But if  you run the idea of Oligarchies owning both parties past him, it probably doesn't register. Not in his world. And since those oligarchs are more comfortable on the right end of the political spectrum, it explains why there's so much media hand-wringing about lefty extremists.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 04:32:57 AM PST

  •  there are no independents (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They are made up of democrats and republicans who are embarrassed to admit who they are. The few real unattached voters are just people not paying attention who could care less about politics.
    There are very few agnostics in politics.

  •  Whow, what a firestorm of comments! (0+ / 0-)

    Reading the first 70-plus comments, it seems there are almost no voters other than Democrats and Republicans. The few who aren't are called "unattached" or "middle" or [    ]. According to some comments. the problem - apparently for both parties: the GOP in 2008 and Democrats in 2010 - was turnout. (I agree, though that's an incomplete and unhelpful explanation.)

    As a very committed Democrat who will do a lot of volunteering this election season, I'm concerned that this commenting crowd puts aside the need to convince voters of anything, since they're all one persuasion or the other anyway. So get out the vote and damn the torpedoes of facts, reason, analysis, the result being: "We don't need to convince anyone of anything, even if they could be convinced which they probably can't because the other guys are so dumb."

    That seems to me to be very self-defeating.

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 06:11:04 AM PST

  •  GOP pushing a "silent majority" narrative (0+ / 0-)

    Thing is, a small group of old white people that didn't vote for President Obama last time does not make a "majority".

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