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This is not Ike's GOP
Atrios' feature series the Wankers of the Decade reminds us that from Bush v. Gore until recently, the warnings many of us who blog were sending about the extreme and radical Republican Party were ridiculed as the rantings of DFHs, dirty f*cking hippies, not to be taken seriously by the Very Serious People.

Last week, E.J. Dionne wrote, "Right before our eyes, American conservatism is becoming something very different from what it once was. Yet this transformation is happening by stealth because moderates are too afraid to acknowledge what all their senses tell them." With all due respect to Dionne, who really has been good on this issue for some time, this is not a recent development. They are who we (the DFH bloggers) thought they were—a radical, extreme party intent on returning the country to a pre-New Deal state.

This past week, President Obama sounded like "one of us," warning that a Court overturn of the Affordable Care Act would hearken a return to the the Lochner Era of economic substantive due process, when the Court struck down federal and state laws that prohibited child labor. The president also delivered a speech in which he said of the proposed Republican budget:

This Congressional Republican budget is something different altogether. It is a Trojan Horse. Disguised as deficit reduction plan, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly-veiled Social Darwinism [...]
I think we can safely say that the era of the Post Partisan Unity Schtick is over. And well buried. But it was not always so. In a 2005 Daily Kos diary, Tone, Truth and the Democratic Party, then-Sen. Obama wrote:
I read with interest your recent discussion regarding my comments on the floor during the debate on John Roberts' nomination.  [...]  I thought this might be a good opportunity to offer some thoughts about not only judicial confirmations, but how to bring about meaningful change in this country. [...]

According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party.  They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda.  In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in "appeasing" the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda.  The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era.

I think this perspective misreads the American people.  From traveling throughout Illinois and more recently around the country, I can tell you that Americans are suspicious of labels and suspicious of jargon.  They don't think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent.  They don't think that corporations are inherently evil (a lot of them work in corporations), but they recognize that big business, unchecked, can fix the game to the detriment of working people and small entrepreneurs.  They don't think America is an imperialist brute, but are angry that the case to invade Iraq was exaggerated, are worried that we have unnecessarily alienated existing and potential allies around the world, and are ashamed by events like those at Abu Ghraib which violate our ideals as a country.

It's this non-ideological lens through which much of the country viewed Judge Roberts' confirmation hearings.   A majority of folks, including a number of Democrats and Independents, don't think that John Roberts is an ideologue bent on overturning every vestige of civil rights and civil liberties protections in our possession.  Instead, they have good reason to believe he is a conservative judge who is (like it or not) within the mainstream of American jurisprudence, a judge appointed by a conservative president who could have done much worse (and probably, I fear, may do worse with the next nominee).  While they hope Roberts doesn't swing the court too sharply to the right, a majority of Americans think that the President should probably get the benefit of the doubt on a clearly qualified nominee. [Emphasis supplied.]

I was among those who Sen. Obama was addressing, issuing broadsides against Sens. Baucus, Leahy and Feingold (yes, Feingold) for announcing their intention to vote to confirm John Roberts as chief justice of the United States (Sen. Obama voted against confirmation). Seven years later, I believe we have been demonstrated to have had the better of the argument.

John Roberts is who we thought he was. The Republican Party is what we thought it was. They are who we thought they were. As for tactics, it seems the president now sees it our way—a Fighting Democratic Party is a more progressive and politically successful Democratic Party.

One of the most important fronts in the fight is the Supreme Court. Let's discuss the extreme and radical Roberts Court on the other side.

(Continued on the other side)

Consider just two decisions that the Roberts Court has handed down (especially since Justice Alito replaced Justice O'Connor):

Citizens United v. FEC—from Justice Stevens' dissent:

The basic premise underlying the Court’s ruling is its iteration, and constant reiteration, of the proposition that the First Amendment bars regulatory distinctions based on a speaker’s identity, including its “identity” as a corporation. [...] The conceit that corporations must be treated identically to natural persons in the political sphere is not only inaccurate but also inadequate to justify the Court’s disposition of this case.
Parents Involved (where the Roberts Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down local desegregation plans in Seattle and Louisville) again, from Justice Stevens' dissent:
There is a cruel irony in The Chief Justice’s reliance on our decision in Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U. S. 294 (1955) . The first sentence in the concluding paragraph of his opinion states: “Before Brown, schoolchildren were told where they could and could not go to school based on the color of their skin.” Ante, at 40. This sentence reminds me of Anatole France’s observation: “[T]he majestic equality of the la[w], forbid[s] rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.”1 The Chief Justice fails to note that it was only black schoolchildren who were so ordered; indeed, the history books do not tell stories of white children struggling to attend black schools.2 In this and other ways, The Chief Justice rewrites the history of one of this Court’s most important decisions. Compare ante, at 39 (“history will be heard”), with Brewer v. Quarterman, 550 U. S. _, _ (2007) (slip op., at 11) (Roberts, C. J., dissenting) (“It is a familiar adage that history is written by the victors”).

The Chief Justice rejects the conclusion that the racial classifications at issue here should be viewed differently than others, because they do not impose burdens on one race alone and do not stigmatize or exclude.3 The only justification for refusing to acknowledge the obvious importance of that difference is the citation of a few recent opinions—none of which even approached unanimity—grandly proclaiming that all racial classifications must be analyzed under “strict scrutiny.” See, e.g., Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peńa, 515 U. S. 200, 227 (1995) . Even today, two of our wisest federal judges have rejected such a wooden reading of the Equal Protection Clause in the context of school integration. See 426 F. 3d 1162, 1193–1196 (CA9 2005) (Kozinski, J., concurring); Comfort v. Lynn School Comm., 418 F. 3d 1, 27–29 (CA1 2005) (Boudin, C. J., concurring). The Court’s misuse of the three-tiered approach to Equal Protection analysis merely reconfirms my own view that there is only one such Clause in the Constitution. See Craig v. Boren, 429 U. S. 190, 211 (1976) (concurring opinion).

If we look at cases decided during the interim between Brown and Adarand, we can see how a rigid adherence to tiers of scrutiny obscures Brown’s clear message. Perhaps the best example is provided by our approval of the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in 1967 upholding a state statute mandating racial integration in that State’s school system. See School Comm. of Boston v. Board of Education, 352 Mass. 693,227 N. E. 2d 729.5 Rejecting arguments comparable to those that the plurality accepts today,6 that court noted: “It would be the height of irony if the racial imbalance act, enacted as it was with the laudable purpose of achieving equal educational opportunities, should, by prescribing school pupil allocations based on race, founder on unsuspected shoals in the Fourteenth Amendment .” Id., at 698, 227 N. E. 2d, at 733 (footnote omitted).

My take at the time. Oh, by the way, the Roberts Court has granted cert to a case which directly challenges Grutter, which upheld affirmative action programs designed to promote diversity. Who thinks it will survive? In case you were wondering, Justice Kennedy dissented in Grutter.

Now what of the Affordable Care Act case? Let's remember who we are dealing with here—four extreme radical hacks (Thomas, Scalia, Alito and Roberts) and a fifth Justice (Kennedy) who thinks it is his job to legislate from the bench.

In a rather remarkable (to me at least) turn of events, some kossacks are heartened by the possibility that these five justices will create "limiting principles":  

My concern is that we (both Kosters and liberal legal thinkers) are fooling ourselves on this point.  The only way out of the problem -- both with the Justices and with the American people -- is to articulate a clear limiting principle.  Verrilli didn't; neither do you, because preventative health also impacts the health care market.  But you gave it a good try, which is valuable. [...] My life would be much easier and happier if I agreed with Armando that the other side is simply stupid, unreasonable, and vile.  But I think that we're making a huge mistake here, and that we really need to think of ways to limit the damage.
There is something incongruous to me about a progressive expressing concern about the need for "limiting principles" from THIS Court with regard to the exercise of the Commerce power to regulate commerce. Those demanding "limiting principles" here argue that those of us who are of the view that the individual mandate is clearly constitutional are ignoring the "slippery slope." To the contrary, we are concerned about the "slippery slope," a declaration that ACA exceeds the Commerce power would lead us down. Especially considering the Roberts Court.

Here is an illustration: In the recently decided Florence v. County of Burlington (PDF), the Roberts Court (with Justice Kennedy writing  the opinion) saw no need for limiting principles:

Correctional officials have a legitimate interest, indeed a responsibility, to ensure that jails are not made less secure by reason of what new detainees may carry in on their bodies. Facility personnel, other inmates, and the new detainee himself or herself may be in danger if these threats are introduced into the jail population. This case presents the question of what rules, or limitations, the Constitution imposes on searches of arrested persons who are to be held in jail while their cases are being processed. [...] The case turns in part on the extent to which this Court has sufficient expertise and information in the record to mandate, under the Constitution, the specific restrictions and limitations sought by those who challenge the visual search procedures at issue. In addressing this type of constitutional claim courts must defer to the judgment of correctional officials unless the record contains substantial evidence showing their policies are an unnecessary or unjustified response to problems of jail security. That necessary showing has not been made in this case. [Emphasis supplied.]
Coming from Justice Kennedy, who demanded a "substantial justification" from the government for the individual mandate, this is rich:
Assume for the moment that this is unprecedented, this is a step beyond what our cases have allowed [...] If that is so, do you not have a heavy burden of justification? I understand that we must presume laws are constitutional, but, even so, when you are changing the relation of the individual to the government in this, what we can stipulate is a, I think, a unique way, do you not have a heavy burden of justification to show authorization under the Constitution?
Think about that. Justice Kennedy demands "substantial justification" from the government for the individual mandate but a "necessary showing" from persons who are strip searched. Are we really concerned about "limiting principles" for economic regulation from THIS COURT? This "concern" strikes me as otherwordly. They, the Roberts Court, are who we thought they were.

Beyond that, the limiting principles of the Commerce power are clear. In U.S. v. Carolene Products, the Court stated:

The power to regulate commerce is the power "to prescribe the rule by which commerce is to be governed," Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat. 1, 196 [...] The power "is complete in itself, may be exercised to its utmost extent, and acknowledges no limitations other than are prescribed by the Constitution." Gibbons v. Ogden, supra, 196. [...] it is no objection to the exertion of the power to regulate interstate commerce that its exercise is attended by the same incidents which attend the exercise of the police power of the states. [Emphasis supplied.]
What's the limit? It is this:
There may be narrower scope for operation of the presumption of constitutionality when legislation appears on its face to be within a specific prohibition of the Constitution, such as those of the first ten amendments, which are deemed equally specific when held to be embraced within the Fourteenth. See Stromberg v. California,283 U.S. 359, 369-370; Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U.S. 444, 452.

It is unnecessary to consider now whether legislation which restricts those political processes which can ordinarily be expected to bring about repeal of undesirable legislation is to be subjected to more exacting judicial scrutiny under the general prohibitions of the Fourteenth Amendment than are most other types of legislation. On restrictions upon the right to vote, see Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536; Nixon v. Condon, 286 U.S. 73; on restraints upon the dissemination of information, see Near v. Minnesota ex rel. Olson, 283 U.S. 697, 713-714, 718-720, 722; Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U.S. 233; Lovell v. Griffin, supra; on interferences with political organizations, see Stromberg v. California, supra, 369; Fiske v. Kansas, 274 U.S. 380; Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 373-378; Herndon v. Lowry, 301 U.S. 242, and see Holmes, J., in Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652, 673; as to prohibition of peaceable assembly, see De Jonge v. Oregon, 299 U.S. 353, 365.

Nor need we enquire whether similar considerations enter into the review of statutes directed at particular religious, Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, or national, Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390; Bartels v. Iowa, 262 U.S. 404; Farrington v. Tokushige, 273 U.S. 284, or racial minorities, Nixon v. Herndon, supra; Nixon v. Condon, supra: whether prejudice against discrete and insular minorities may be a special condition, which tends seriously to curtail the operation of those political processes ordinarily to be relied upon to protect minorities, and which may call for a correspondingly more searching judicial inquiry. Compare McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 428; South Carolina v. Barnwell Bros., 303 U.S. 177, 184, n 2, and cases cited. [Emphasis supplied.]

Until the Roberts Court, these limiting principles were well understood. As for the Necessary and Proper Clause, as recently as U.S. v. Comstock, the Court said:
The question presented is whether the Necessary and Proper Clause, Art. I, §8, cl. 18, grants Congress authority sufficient to enact the statute before us. In resolving that question, we assume, but we do not decide, that other provisions of the Constitution—such as the Due Process Clause—do not prohibit civil commitment in these circumstances. Cf. Hendricks , 521 U. S. 346 ; Addington v. Texas , 441 U. S. 418 (1979) [Emphasis supplied.]
The assumption being that if the exercise of the Commerce power (in Comstock it involved the ultimate in denial of a liberty right—it involved a federal statute to civilly commit persons—indefinitely) does not violate other prohibitions of the Constitution, then the test of constitutionality is:
We have since made clear that, in determining whether the Necessary and Proper Clause grants Congress the legislative authority to enact a particular federal statute, we look to see whether the statute constitutes a means that is rationally related to the implementation of a constitutionally enumerated power. Sabri v. United States, 541 U. S. 600, 605 (2004) (using term “means-ends rationality” to describe the necessary relationship); ibid. (upholding Congress’ “authority under the Necessary and Proper Clause” to enact a criminal statute in furtherance of the federal power granted by the Spending Clause); see Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1, 22 (2005) (holding that because “Congress had a rational basis” for concluding that a statute implements Commerce Clause power, the statute falls within the scope of congressional “authority to ‘make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper’ to ‘regulate Commerce … among the several States’ ” (ellipsis in original)); see also  United States v. Lopez, 514 U. S. 549, 557 (1995); Hodel v. Virginia Surface Mining & Reclamation Assn., Inc., 452 U. S. 264, 276 (1981).
That's the law (and has been the law for nearly 80 years at least). And unless it is changed by the Roberts Court, the mandate and its enforcement mechanism are clearly constitutional.

Should a progressive REALLY be concerned about "limiting principles" regarding the Commerce power as opposed to the Roberts Court employing "limiting principles" to eviscerate our modern national state (Medicare, Social Security, EPA, etc.)? Really?

Here is what progressives should really be concerned about—the reversal of FDR's transformation of our national government by the Roberts Court. In 2001, Jack Balkin described it well:

I think the notion that conservatives want to restore a "Constitution in Exile" is helpful on the one hand but also a bit misleading on the other. What Republican constitutionalists seek, I would argue, is not so much a pre-New Deal Constitution but a pro-business Constitution. That means that the New Deal precedents will not be completely rolled back, but rather will be narrowed in order to facilitate a conservative domestic agenda. Indeed, some New Deal innovations-- particularly those regarding the increased scope of federal regulatory power, actually assist a pro-business agenda. Tort reform is a good example. The tort reform packages presently before Congress would have been unconstitutional according to the understandings of the pre-New Deal Constitution because they would have imposed too great an interference on state tort law, reaching, for example, both manufacturing and commerce.
They are who we thought they were. The process Balkin predicted is well under way. And progressives should be concerned about "limiting principles" for the Commerce power? Not in this reality. Sorry.

They are who we thought they were. And we must fight them. First battle is the presidential election - or, Why Obama:  The Supreme Court.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As for the various Wars (146+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wdrath, Dave in Northridge, Gowrie Gal, Habitat Vic, oxfdblue, BMarshall, TRPChicago, deha, claude, Egalitare, RhymesWithUrple, bnasley, the OTHER rasmussen, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, Elwood Dowd, oysterface, caryltoo, TexDem, Friend of the court, GreenMother, ask, nyceve, Meteor Blades, frsbdg, muddy boots, shaf, vcmvo2, pollwatcher, Naniboujou, Skennet Boch, RubDMC, Words In Action, porchdog1961, wyldraven, deepsouthdoug, Unitary Moonbat, jck, donnamarie, Sychotic1, Matt Z, psilocynic, Hillbilly Dem, davehouck, a2nite, LOrion, rogerdaddy, Lily O Lady, DarkestHour, Chi, kamarvt, sharman, Rick B, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, Alumbrados, CT Hank, jeannew, zestyann, anyname, sea note, sillia, J M F, Heart of the Rockies, moltar, spooks51, OLinda, angel d, profh, historys mysteries, GrannyOPhilly, coral, dagnome, msmacgyver, implicate order, hepshiba, OjaiValleyCali, Mistral Wind, Involuntary Exile, Black Max, tb mare, noweasels, vet, magicsister, radarlady, Monitor78, majcmb1, wishingwell, think blue, Mighty Ike, Eric Nelson, oldcrow, lcrp, owlbear1, cpresley, gwilson, CTDemoFarmer, cocinero, Miss Blue, oceanview, cybersaur, Tx LIberal, salmo, jethrock, sidnora, wasatch, DaNang65, pwwwayne, Danish Brethren, lcbo, radical simplicity, davelf2, qofdisks, bythesea, ER Doc, squarewheel, Carlo, Horace Boothroyd III, greengemini, Jim R, 42, boophus, AaronInSanDiego, MikePhoenix, chuckvw, SoCalJayhawk, rambler american, Jeff Y, Lorinda Pike, CTMET, Dvalkure, dsb, OregonOak, Detlef, smokem2271, Los Diablo, monkeybrainpolitics, andgarden, Calamity Jean, pat bunny, MadEye, AZ Independent, TampaCPA, Terri, BeninSC, Larsstephens, Oh Mary Oh, pioneer111

    on Women, Voters, Immigrants, Non-Whites, well, we can write books.

    They are who we thought they were.

    •  With regard to the ACA section of the post (21+ / 0-)

      Some will object to the evocation of Lochner. Yet, the analysis of "limiting principles" for the Commece power are very much based on an economic liberty argument.

      It is Lochner thinking that undergirds the demands for "limiting principles."

      •  One of your finest works yet, Armando . . . (17+ / 0-)

        So predictions please. Does the mandate live or die? Does the ACA live or die? Will 50 million uninsured Americans live or die?

      •  Wish I had seen this earlier, since you quote me (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc

        I'm about to head out to a birthday party, Armando, so I can only give this ten minutes, and here goes:

        The PPACA case is in some ways similar to Kelo, wherein the Court had to address the question of whether something that many had presumed to be a limitation on a power of government (state/local, in that case) was challenged.  Then, the common assumption was that a government taking had to be for a public purpose that was undertaken by the government rather than just being handed off to a different private owner.  I think that Kelo, while somewhat offensive and certainly inconvenient and disturbing, was rightly decided, but I understand the criticisms that by allowing government to "take from enemies and give to friends" it potentially was a fundamental change in the structure of government.

        I've had some interesting and wonderful conversations about the PPACA cases recently.  I think that the "usually unstated belief" in what I see as a case of first impression is this: even using the Necessary & Proper Clause, a regulation under the Commerce Clause has to regulate commerce, and commerce must imply activity.

        The "limiting principle" terminology is somewhat unfortunate because it can lead people in the direction you take, as regards a test that one should (or shouldn't) use once the Commerce Clause is invoked.  In that respect, you'd be right: if there is a Commerce Clause power to regulate something that does not require activity, then of course Congress could do this.  What is at issue, though, is a threshold question: is this even an area where the Commerce Clause can be invoked, because the susceptibility of regulation does not derive from an action?

        Now, you can thumb your nose at that all you want, but I think that a lot of people (including well-intentioned ones) have a visceral understanding that something is being contemplated here that has not gone on in any other Commerce Clause + N&P Clause case ever -- and the examples you've chosen of "regulating inaction" have uniformly missed the point.  It's both a political problem (a la Kelo) and a jurisprudential problem for our side.

        If it's a threshold question and one of first impression, then (as you know) justices and scholars will reason by analogy: what sort of model that we currently have in law fits this novel circumstance.  (I know that you don't agree that it is in any novel, which may be the crux of our disagreement.)  In asking that question, a wise judge will ask questions such as "well, what are the implications of this or that formulation?  Does choosing an assumption lead to an absurd result?"

        That's what's going on here with the talk about "limiting principles."  The concern is that electing to believe that inactivity can be regulated the same way as inactivity -- to draw people into a regulatory regime -- leads to absurd results, so that that can't be the correct answer to the question of whether the Commerce + N&P Clauses allow the government to act in something outside of its domain.  The search for a limiting principle is asking a very deep and basic question: is this outside of our previously (even if implicitly, as there had heretofore been no reason to question it) understood operation of these federal powers?

        I don't know if you don't get this, or are pretending not to get it, or simply don't see a distinction there.  I think that those who think that this is simply a power play, rather than a question that people will see as justified because it is seen as potentially changing the nature of relationship between citizen/resident and government, are badly missing out.

        I solicited simple explanations of our pro-PPACA position in this diary.  I was disappointed in the results.  We're not taking this seriously enough, partly because people are accepting the assurances of liberal thinkers like you that there's no real issue there, and no real problem there, so that if we lost it could only be by treachery.

        To me, that's a failure to accept the seriousness of our opponent's argument, which is bad lawyering.

        Sorry I probably won't be around for 3-4 hours.

        Democrats must
        Earn the trust
        Of the 99% --
        That's our intent!

        "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinsky OCcupy!

        by Seneca Doane on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 12:04:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think your comment (0+ / 0-)

          adequately addresses my points to you in this post. Indeed, you do not address my points at all.

          I'll address a couple you make here. You write "Now, you can thumb your nose at that all you want, but I think that a lot of people (including well-intentioned ones) have a visceral understanding that something is being contemplated here that has not gone on in any other Commerce Clause + N&P Clause case ever -- and the examples you've chosen of "regulating inaction" have uniformly missed the point.  It's both a political problem (a la Kelo) and a jurisprudential problem for our side."

          I don;t think those are valid points and I think the case law backs me up. You don't agree. Well, you don't agree. I'm sorry that you do not like that I do not think your position is a serious one, as a constitutional question, but I don't.

          As a political question, I think your position is not only wrong, but myopically so. Please address my points in this post in which I explain why I think that.

          And FTR, I do not like the mandate AS policy. If a replacement to it arise from this, that would fit MY policy preferences. But I do not live in a fantasyland.

          The risks to our national state are the more likely consequences.

          Final point - you wrote "The PPACA case is in some ways similar to Kelo, wherein the Court had to address the question of whether something that many had presumed to be a limitation on a power of government (state/local, in that case) was challenged.  Then, the common assumption was that a government taking had to be for a public purpose that was undertaken by the government rather than just being handed off to a different private owner.  I think that Kelo, while somewhat offensive and certainly inconvenient and disturbing, was rightly decided, but I understand the criticisms that by allowing government to "take from enemies and give to friends" it potentially was a fundamental change in the structure of government."

          That was wrong as constitutional law and it was clearly wrong in terms of what the policy risks were.

          Is there an epidemic of takings "for private corporations" in the country? Of course not. Your concerns then were misplaced, as they are now. You misunderstand who we are dealing with.

    •  In the class war as well. (24+ / 0-)

      Having spent many years in the conference and board rooms, I'm here to testify that they are who we think they are. They would sooner lay off a hundred people each than give up so much as their auto allowances...

      The suffering will continue until it is sufficient to mobilize a counterforce sufficient to overwhelm the plutocracy. And no sooner.

      by Words In Action on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:52:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please don't forget LGBTQ Wars, too. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc, Calamity Jean

        (And I have put this up twice and it has been removed, Armando, WHY?)

        NO LCR's and GOPRoud and HRC you don't get any slack for catering to these enemies of the American People!
        either do you Meghan McCain, Cheney kids, Bush girls or military-dodging Romney boys!

        We are the 99% ... we will be heard. We are WOMEN... we Will be Heard.

        by LOrion on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:36:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They've internalized (8+ / 0-)

        that they really are Entitled-- and that if something isn't a problem for them, it can't really be a problem that deserves attention.  (Or if they do recognize important issues like the need for public education reform, they have all the top-down answers, which don't require them to actually ask any questions.)  Even their philanthropy is another form of control.

        In short, they worship at the altar of the Omnipotent God Market, and nothing else has value.

    •  Maybe... (4+ / 0-)
      a radical, extreme party intent on returning the country to a pre-New Deal state.
      Given their policy agenda, I'd say they want to take us back to the pre-Progressive Era. President Obama got it right last week when he referenced Social Darwinism. It seems they want to return to those sweet sweet days of the Gilded Age.

      Is that a real poncho, or is that a Sears' poncho? - Frank Zappa

      by JoesGarage on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:40:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  absolutely...which is why, (46+ / 0-)

    it seems to me, every single Democrat running for office this year (or at least every single progressive/liberal) should be asking their Republican counterpart the following question:

    Why do you support radically changing Medicare & Social Security when only modest adjustments are necessary to ensure the solvency of both of these programs well into the next century?

    It seems to me that that should be at the heart of the entire Democratic campaign this year, in order to put the Republicans' extremism rut out there, front-and-center on two of the most popular government-run programs in American (if not world) history.

      •  It's never too late to start... (6+ / 0-)

        "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

        by Candide08 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:57:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think Maddow is making a real start (17+ / 0-)

          Her show in which she identified Mitt as a serial liar of a type even hardened politicians consider extreme was a great start. Similarly  her focus on the radical anti-democratic nature of the special manager law in Michigan was a real eye-opener.

          Digby's column this week pointing out that the Republican Party is too far gone to merely bring back to its good senses and let it once again learn to act as a rational opposing party was another. She's right. The Republican Party must be destroyed.

          Your post above, Armando, is another great reminder. You told us that the Republican Party was off the rails and you were right. Of course, those of us who live in the great Southern Baptist and Libertarian Theocracy of Texas have been aware of this since Bush Jr. defeated Ann Richards for Governor in 1994. The continued reelection of the West Texas farm boy Rick Perry as Governor continues to prove that.

          It's not just that the conservatives have thrown lots of money at elections, often illegally. They have also defunded Democratic money sources at the same time. That's been the purpose of the anti-union legislation at the state level, especially the Right-to-Work laws. They have similarly been doing everything possible to weaken the federal government, both by limiting what it can regulate,  by reducing funds to the federal government, and by spending federal funds on dead end projects to include the most wasteful of them all, unnecessary wars.

          A modern industrial nation requires a mobile workforce which is very educated (making universal public education a necessity.) This creates relatively uniform mass markets for businesses to serve (well paid consumers),  it creates a work force which can operate the businesses those markets need to serve them, and the science that goes along with it creates the continual improvements required to cause the economy to continue to grow. But this requires a strong central government to coordinate the very highly specialized workers such an industrial economy requires.

          Conservatives hate the continual change and diversity such an industrial economy demands, so they want to go back to the pre-1930's model. Only that was a rural agricultural economy and a much, much smaller population. That traditional economy cannot feed today's American population.

          It doesn't matter. The conservatives want to destroy the modern industrial and urban America and especially its culture of education, diversity and tolerance. They blame the federal government for forcing them to modernize their slow-moving mostly unchanging agricultural states (i.e the South and Midwest, as well as southern Illinois and Ohio.) The Constitution gives these small states an effective veto in the Senate.

          Do you begin to see the pattern? The Republican Party has been taken over by the John Birchers and their like-minded angry people who demand an end to social changes. The State power centers (mostly agricultural and extraction industry wealthy families) have control of the US Senate and with the 2010 teaparty elections, control of the House. All they have to do is delegitimize Obama and defeat him and they can stop the entire process of modernization.

          Ask them. This is the fantasy that drives them. And they don't care who gets in the way, because the farm boy culture (see Rick Perry) is a very narrow one that says defend and enrich your friends and to Hell with your enemies.

          Needless to say I did not start out to write all this, but it is so damned obvious I don't understand why everyone doesn't see it and talk about it. The Republican Party must be destroyed if America is to survive and move into the next century!

          Democrats stand for Liberty, Security, Support of Families and Opportunity Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

          by Rick B on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:02:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  i think that many democrats buy into the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        neo-liberal capitalism will solve all problems bullshit.

        in many instances the democrats you think need to grow a spine are, in fact corporatist hacks.

        there's a reason feinstein voted for roberts.

        she's not a democrat.

        big badda boom : GRB 080913

        by squarewheel on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 12:23:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here's where a comparison between gov't and biz (13+ / 0-)

      actually helps us.  I ask people: "If you were running a business, and you found out that if you did absolutely nothing different, you'd be solvent/in the black/making money for 43 more years, would you consider your business in trouble?"

      Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

      by nominalize on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:40:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great work, Armando (28+ / 0-)

    Exactly, wdrath.  If we don't hold EVERY republican candidate's feet to the fire on Medicare and Social Security, we will have failed in this campaign.  The press won't do it -- 1% and lazy, and just as incurious about public policy as Bush 43 -- but it has to be done.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:08:31 AM PDT

    •  Yes (12+ / 0-)

      what are the political "limiting principles" to attacks on Medicare and Social Security?

      The ACA case is very much about that imo.

      Some would argue that the "taxing power" is different. It is not.

      •  Medicare and Social Security (5+ / 0-)

        are extremely good government programs which the federal government operates and which provide badly needed services directly to the American people. They do not go through any local intermediary government agency to do this, so they strengthen the federal government and weaken the state and local governments.

        The conservatives are frightened people who live by rural American values and expect slow, even glacial social changes. The state and local governments represent the local wealthy and upper middle classes (the winners in the American culture and economy of the past) and they will lose when American move to the diverse and better educated cities to get better jobs. Those moneyed elites are funding conservative politicians who promise the crowds that they will stop all the changes simply by getting the federal government out of their lives.

        That means that Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and the Department of Education all have to be abolished. All of those threaten the local wealthy families who run the various states and who (collectively) elect most of the members of the US Senate.

        Since the ACA is a massive increase in the services that the federal government will provide to individual Americans, it too must be killed if conservatism is to survive in American politics.  The problems with the ACA are not that it won't work (in spite of the Rube Goldberg nature of the bill) - the problems are that it WILL work! By providing an essential service from the federal government the feds become more important to everyone.

        The result is that the American population will be less likely to defer to the rich family that runs the local town or county. The kid will have to be competent before becoming Mayor. It will no longer be enough just to come from the powerful local family as Paul Ryan does

        Competence before being hired is an industrial value. Coming from a well-known powerful family is a rural value. That's a symptom of the cultural difference. We are right now it the major battle of the culture war.

        Democrats stand for Liberty, Security, Support of Families and Opportunity Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

        by Rick B on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:20:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I like the new (22+ / 0-)

    Fighting Obama.

    He's fierce.  

    may we not be strangers in the lush province of joy - Charles Wright

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:15:14 AM PDT

  •  All Politics Is Local Is Inefficient (15+ / 0-)

    What is needed is a national campaign against the extremism of the Republican party to not only keep the Presidency but to get the House majority back and to increase the Senate majority. It will help to create a backlash against the Citizens United groups that will try to obfuscate issues in every swing district and state.

    •  Such an effort needs philosophical underpinnings (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Words In Action, cocinero

      The left, I would argue, lacks a philosophy of progressive government that, at its root, disagrees vehemently with libertarianism on the role and status of government and the individual.

      •  I disagree with that (11+ / 0-)

        I think some are abandoning the FDR philosophy of progressive government, but it exists and has existed for nearly 100 years.

        •  I agree with you (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe wobblie, zizi, basket, Dvalkure, Armando, Terri

          I have been pushing for people to recognize that this is a culture war between the older rural agricultural culture with its slow social pace and rigid status groups against the new industrial city-based culture that requires mass education and demands social equality.

          The problem is that it's not just the two cultures. If it were, everyone would prefer to be modern (except the evangelical preachers who survive by scaring frightened people.) Right now the federal government is gaining power because it has to in order for an industrial-based consumer society to function. When no one personally knows the seller they are buying from then the opportunities for fraud multiply and a referee has to exist. With the Internet, that referee must be the federal government.

          The federal government puts limits on local power leaders. The family that has run the city since Christ was a Corporal hates it when someone outside steps in and starts demanding they quit ripping off Blacks, working class people and Hispanics. The local professional people (especially lawyers, CPA's physicians, real estate developers, etc.) who have succeeded in the existing system hate it when the system is changed. Those are the funding sources for the propaganda being spewed to motivate the frightened conservatives who simply hate any change.

          All the changes and regulations that are disliked come from outside - that's the federal government. So the feds are the ones to be attacked. (government is too big!! Taxes are too high!! Grover Norquist and Ron/Rand Paul, etc.)

          When you name those local power brokers they get angry and defensive, so editors are not going to publish stories exposing them.

          The FDR philosophy was an pro urban philosophy, and it was allowed to grow because after the depression the modern urban society was needed to win WW II. The Pentagon was and remains a modern industrial bureaucratic power machine, so government simply handed off the decisions of hos the economy would function to them. That allowed the FDR philosophy to get more powerful but it also created new local power and wealth centers in the Military Industrial Complex. Small Wars weren't enough to allow the FDR philosophy to continue as local power families worked to destroy union interference.

          1980 was about the time when consumer income stopped rising and the increased value of GDP started going almost entirely to investors. Banks also got usury laws removed, so that it was more profitable to invest in consumer loans (Including mortgages and student loans) than in loans to build businesses. Reagan was elected and destroyed the Air Traffic Controller's Union. We have also had the collapse of the savings and loans, the dot com boom and bust, and the Great Recession since then.

          Progressive government is government for an urban industrial nation. But since that requires a central government to coordinate sales and production between highly specialized workers and businesses which are characteristic of industrial cities (and not of farm communities) the local power centers are losing power to the federal government. They blame the government and use it to frighten the already afraid conservatives.

          By the way, the 'federalism' pushed by the conservative Supreme Court Justices - who does that benefit? Not progressives, that's for damned sure.  

          That's a rough overview of what is happening to America politically since the end of the Vietnam War.

          The conservatives know they are losing, but it's like the Battle of the Bulge. The Germans knew they were losing but wanted to prolong WW II to get better terms. Instead they leveled Germany and most of Europe to where there were few walls standing over two feet about the ground. in most cities. Our American conservatives are similarly involved in an all-out push to delay their loss. Since their kids mostly do not believe conservative crap (see the voting stats) they cannot win. But they can destroy America before they die off. And they are trying.

          Democrats stand for Liberty, Security, Support of Families and Opportunity Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

          by Rick B on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 01:12:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am thoroughly enjoying your comments (6+ / 0-)

            Could you please put all your comments together in a comprehensive diary. I had not thoroughly considered the rural/urban divide as the main nexus of the extreme radicalization of the GOP.

            It totally makes sense when we look back on Sara Palin's 2008 mantra about "the Real America". That it was not simply a schtick about culture differences and contempt for an urban and urbane Candidate Obama. It was the ground zero of the corporate war on the Middle Class.

            No wonder Harold Simmons is declaring Pres. Obama the most dangerous person in America all in his greed for total deregulation so he can make billions storing nuclear waste on his Texas rural land.

            The corporations have decided they want America as real estate minus the people in it, so they can abuse it anyway they want.

            Very interesting points you make. Kudos.

            "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

            by zizi on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 02:17:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, but I'm back in grad school right now (5+ / 0-)

              My writing is going towards social work. I have never written so much in my life, and I may actually learn how to do it a bit.

              This idea really hit me early last fall when I read Francis Fukuyama's new book "The Origins of Political Order."

              Yeah, yeah I am aware that he was a Neocon and is based at the right-wing think tank at Stanford. He also previous wrote a book with the unfortunate name "The end of History" which I have not bothered to read. Still, he's really on to something with this new book. Unfortunately it ends with the French Revolution so I have been on my own for the last two centuries.  He did, however, describe the problems the last French kings had with the aristocrats and how leaving the Aristocrats free from taxation meant that the French could never field a military/Naval force sufficient to defeat the English during the many wars of the 1700's. England had only about a third the population of England, but they had the Bank of England, an effective central government and a tax system that fielded an effective long term professional military/naval force.

              I see that America has its financial elites (top corporate executives, bankers, and wealth families like that of Erik Prince or the Coors family or Adelson, or Bob Perry [Texas Real Estate tycoon and crook], and so on.) Kim Plillips-Fein provides a lot more names in Invisible Hands: The making of the conservative movement from the New Deal to Reagan. I've skimmed but not had time to read Invisible Hands.

              If you compare the demands of the French aristocrats on the French king, you'll find them almost identical to the demands the conservatives are making on the US Federal government.

              Read E. J. Hobsbawm's book "Nations and Nationalism since 1780" and you'll see why. Nationalism is the ideology that accompanies modernism and the Industrial Revolution. Prior to the industrial revolution any central government had an indirect relationship to the population. They all worked through local leaders and priests/preachers. But with industrialism that changed sharply.

              In an industrial nation there is a central government which directly coordinates the efforts of very specialized workers and businesses (which operate mostly in cities.) Power is shifted from the intermediate powers to the central government. Microspecialization and the great productivity it offers is otherwise impossible.

              An industrial nation also has to have a policy and public belief that people are all equal, and it has to have mass public education to make that work. So in the twentieth century America has gone from a nation that did not issue birth certificates or demand passports in 1900 (minor exceptions only) to one that demands passports to go to Mexico and Canada. In 1940 there were about 5% of the work force with college degrees and most workers without high school diplomas. Today the talk is that workers need at least as associates degree.

              The workers who are losing on the credential front are angry and frightened. The same is true of the bourgeoisie who have succeeded and are afraid someone will take away what they have. The wealthy elites are hiring politicians, preachers and propagandists to rile up those who fear loss of what they have. Face it, those people have already lost the belief that they are inherently better than Blacks, and since the advent of the birth control pill they are losing that superiority over women. Now, somehow, queers are also escaping their grasp.

              This is a fast first draft, and when I get time I am going to collect them and give you your diary. Probably get the usual three readers, too. But thanks for the encouragement.

              Democrats stand for Liberty, Security, Support of Families and Opportunity Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

              by Rick B on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 04:23:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Great stuff (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joe wobblie
              •  Thanks for the copious analysis and references (0+ / 0-)

                Rick B, I hope you don't mind me quoting you at length in a debut piece I am writing on "American Tribalism" using the lessons of the Rwandan Genocide for .  I will also certainly read up the references.

                My question is this. If the plan is to create a neo-Feudal America, how do the plutocrats think this country will stack up next to 21st century-charging vibrant economies like China, India, & Brazil who are racing for new energy and technological frontiers? The rest of the world is not pausing to wait for  America to work out its delusions and ya-yas. And launching new wars abroad to feed the MIC as well as frighten the rest of the globe into compliance with America's madness will not work.

                Have they considered what the endpoint is if they succeed in decelerating progress by stymieing the growth of the people's creative intellectual, technological & productive potential? It seems ultimately nihilistic to me. What is the point of clutching on to fossil fuel industries that will soon be put out to pasture by superior technology probably innovated in other countries? What is the price of courting mass social unrest with such neo-feudal agenda? Prisons will not be enough to quarantine that powder keg. Stoking bigotry will not be enough to sustain divide and conquer.

                I don't get it.

                "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

                by zizi on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 08:06:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks for the kind words. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joe wobblie

                  Feel free to use what you wish. Credit would be appreciated.

                  I don't think there is a "plan" as such to create a neo-feudal America. I think there is simply a set of values and attitudes which generally match the values and attitudes of America's plantation owners. The social changes of the last two generations have been too fast and radical so the conservatives want to return to the values and social structures of the past when America was "great." The conservatives are those people who fear they those changes  - forced on them by the federal government are continuing and they want to stop them. Only it's not the government driving the changes. It's the economy and population growth. The feds are only ratifying the changes after they have happened and creating an America in a rather uniform mold so that businesses can better serve the larger markets at lower cost. This is primarily a business decision rather than one government wants. Large businesses need the larger markets.

                  The Census Department put the 1940 census details on line last week. That census describes an America whose work force was still largely in the agricultural industries and which was born on farms. That's also the same rural agricultural culture and economy that the founding fathers lived in, and it matched rather closely the economy and culture of the South at that time. The industrial revolution had not started yet.

                  The New Deal changed some of that, but the biggest change was first WW I and then WW II. The Pentagon took over the economy and instead of leaving everything to the markets the Pentagon redesigned the economy to rationally create the truly massive weapons systems in numbers the world had never before seen. Which was not new. They had done the same thing for WWI, just not for nearly as long and not at nearly as large a scale.

                  In both wars the draft also took the most eligible white workers. The new factories then hired Blacks and women to do the jobs men had done - and those Blacks and women did fully as well as the white men had done before the wars. They just needed training and the belief that they were equal to any other worker. Remember that an industrial economy is characterized by social equality and mobility because that is required of the workforce for flexible and efficient businesses. Similarly mass education is required, so we have seen that provided by the government.

                  Blacks had also started migrating from Southern farms to Midwestern urban factory jobs in the 1920's and that continually increased after that. The second generation was born in cities and they were the ones who Martin Luther King attracted to the Civil Rights Movement. The conservatives did not realize it but even in the 50's the rural way of life in America was disappearing. That was particularly true as farms mechanized (industrialized) and required less labor. That labor moved to the cities.

                  Women needed to break the cycle of unplanned pregnancies before they could start the feminism movement, and the birth control pill permitted that. Like the Blacks, the women already had the understanding that they could perform the urban jobs as well and men, but they were delayed by not being able to plan pregnancies.

                  The Civil Rights and feminism movements frightened the conservatives and the sermons from conservative preachers even then proved that. But the anti-war movement along with TV coverage of the news on top really disturbed them. The slowly changing well-ordered rural world was breaking down. LBJ's Great Society legislation - which really just updated law to match the social changes which had already occurred - was the signal to conservatives that they had to do something.

                  Goldwater and then Nixon were the answers. Both failed. But they did not quit. 1980 gave us the Reagan Revolution and the beginnings of the real pushback against modernism. But to the conservatives it wasn't modernism they were fighting. It was federal government overreach. As usual, the conservatives had no real clue about what was happening to them, just that everything they had valued since they were children was being changed and the federal government was in the center of all the changes.

                  Conservatives were not attempting to create a neo-feudal society. They just wanted to take America back to the values and attitudes held by the founding fathers and to the slowly changing stratified society they grew up in and were the dominant class in. They probably do not recognize the recent reports of the various cultures of North America and they will not accept that the South is culturally descended from the aristocratic losers of the English Civil War.


                  Here's one point to consider, though. The younger generations were born and raised in cities. They don't recognize the cultural values of rural America. That's why in large numbers they are not voting for conservatives. My experience is that the first generation off the farm that moves into the cities came with rural values intact and that culture never changes. What happens is that the second and third generations change cultures, must as is true for immigrants moving to a new society. The baby boomers were second generation. We're deep into the third generation now, but the politicians and preachers are still the older people. There's the mechanism for the cultural lag.

                  I grew up in the 40's and 50's in a Gulf Coast refinery and shipping town of about 100,000. The lawyers and doctors at that time all came from farming families and when they made a lot of money the first thing they did was buy a weekend farm for vacations. They also hunted and fished. The next generation was a lot less likely to do either and today almost none of them do.

                  In the larger Texas cities those culturally rural people got city jobs and then moved to suburbs where they voted Republican as soon as they could afford the car. Today the suburbs with two generations of residents are voting Democratic because they have all the same problems as the big cities they surround. The rural people went to the further out suburbs where they could afford more land and larger houses. Those people are now very suddenly being driven back to the city by gasoline prices, and those prices are only going up from now on. Public transportation is going to be a lot more popular.

                  I hope you get some good use of these ideas.

                  Fukuyama in "Origins of Political Order" has an interesting discussion of tribalism, war and the development of civilization. His scope is much like that of Max Weber - it's all human history up to the French Revolution. He intends the "Origins" to be the set up piece for his history of the most recent two centuries, but he hasn't finished that yet.

                  Democrats stand for Liberty, Security, Support of Families and Opportunity Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

                  by Rick B on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 12:37:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks for this extended reponse. Wow (0+ / 0-)

                    This piece is more than a full-blown diary. Actually adding this to your earlier comments makes no fewer than 4 diaries.

                    One question though. If, as you say,  the wealthy rural-based plutocrats are not necessarily 'planning a neo-Feudal" America but simply reacting delusionally to a fast changing world, that still doesn't explain what their other corporate bedfellows who do depend on a Middle class with adequate disposable income to purchase their products, are getting out of the movement conservative alliance? Why would they want to kill the goose that lays their quarterly profits?

                    Even the financial corporations need the monies of an EMPLOYED middle Class to continue the Wall street Russian roulette. Granted that Bush's TARP & the Fed's unpublicized nearly free-cash giveaways in 2008 gave the investors the cash cushion that they now fund Superpacs with, but at some point there is bound to be cat fights among the billionaire class when ideological alliances or tactical political coalitions stand in the way of making serious money.

                    For example, I doubt that the regressive worldview of the rural-wealthy class helps the technology, chemical, pharmaceutical & healthcare industries with their bottom lines.

                    And the billionaire class should also know (if they are as savvy as their billions make people think they are) that they cannot count on consumers in emerging markets to make up for a destroyed consumer base of the American middle Class. After all there are fast growing billionaires in those countries too who will be fighting any foreign usurpers tooth and nail for control over their national human assets.

                    If, as you say, the only thing the rural wealhty class ins thinking about is to stop Modernity, then I wonder how smart they were greed-ing their way into that money in the first place.

                    "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

                    by zizi on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 08:26:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's because of the way businesses estmiate sales (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      joe wobblie

                      Essentially business planners are not economists. They take the previous sales history and project it into the near future. The assumption is that any existing trend is already built into the prior data and that breaks in those trends are unpredictable. Statistically and economically those are good assumptions. That's the data the people you are asking about depend on and the political propagandists are happy to feed them further propaganda. .

                      Remember, these are the same people who could not recognize the housing bubble or the prior bubbles in dot.coms or in fact in Savings and Loans. They ignore the people who are predicting market downturns.

                      Atrios was predicting the market collapse in 2007, based on information from Nouriel Roubini. Taking that information even further back I found that CountryWide had reported that their mortgage foreclosures had become unsustainable in Fall of 2006. But all the business people were riding the market on the way up and ignored those warnings. The sales data still trended upwards - until September 2008.

                      Essentially, the markets are short-term thinking and create a bubble mentality that no one dares publicly question. Most in the business simply ride the bubble and spout the propaganda they are being fed. That includes the big corp executives, the academics (often  getting research grants from those executives) and it includes especially the business press whose job is to sell more financial products. You can't sell financial products and at the same time predict economic troubles. So the market press sells happy talk and pockets the advertising budget from more financial sales.

                      Exceptions to followers of those trends are heavily penalized. Just like whistle blowers.

                      Democrats stand for Liberty, Security, Support of Families and Opportunity Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

                      by Rick B on Wed Apr 11, 2012 at 12:20:30 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Rick B

                        So, in short these greedsters are actually not very smart people who make billions just because they are in the right place, with the right Rolodex, and ruthless beyond measure. Hmmm

                        "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

                        by zizi on Wed Apr 11, 2012 at 07:50:49 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Connections and power are what (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          joe wobblie

                          usually makes money. They sugar-coat that by calling it "Networking" but it comes down to connections and power.

                          I am a cynic whenever I hear someone trying to describe the complexities of investing. There is some theory behind it, but it is statistical theory rather than anything to do with creating real value. I've never met a statistician willing to admit that much of what he or she does is document the weird random happenings in whatever phenomenon they try to study.

                          Overall investing through a market is just like sitting into an honest poker game. It's a zero-sum game (less the mordida paid to the house for the privilege of sitting in) as long as everyone is playing by the rules, and if you call someone out for not playing by the rules you normally get banned from the game. That's bad form even, maybe especially, when it's true.

                          Democrats stand for Liberty, Security, Support of Families and Opportunity Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

                          by Rick B on Thu Apr 12, 2012 at 01:08:25 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

      •  The progressive philosophy is... (15+ / 0-)

        ...that government is a tool that should be used to make life better for the common man.  Or, in more modern terms, government is there to help the 99%.

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:06:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Needs Practical Underpinnings (6+ / 0-)

        more than philosophical. Has to be made clear to the struggling middle class that it is the Republicans who want to wreck havoc on Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits as well as the ACA, are not working in the best interests of their families.

    •  ALEC really did turn that on its head (13+ / 0-)

      The central premise of ALEC is that "All politics is local. Therefore, let's create a "federalized" structure to essentially nationalize policy that we can assert was "locally desired and implemented."

      The trick is to be able to get folks to understand that some un-elected cabal of Financial Elites have decided they alone are entitled to set the agenda for such a nationalized policy. Like any worthy movement, that will transcend any handful of election cycles.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:40:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sort of like what I've been thinking about -- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl

      Socialism (well, Democratic Socialism) needs a good PR campaign.

    •  Patriotism (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leo Flinnwood

      We need to accuse the "Pubs of lacking patriotism whenever possible.

    •  Well (8+ / 0-)

      At least he is with us until then. As opposed to the other side.

      Other people dream of being President in the Dem Party. Make them do it.

    •  This summer will tell us (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Words In Action

      whether it's just all election talk.  Especially this year's budget.

    •  Will Romney be with you EVER?! (7+ / 0-)

      Obama has been disappointing in many respects, but he's been exactly what we needed in many, many other respects.  Imagine a President McCain.

      One of 2 people will be president for the next 4 years.  One will push this country into a long depression, may very well condemn your children to a life of hell in an overheated climate, will do away with the social safety net...

      The other wont, and may very well turn out to be the person we wanted in 2008.

      The choice is clear.

    •  We know what comes after that. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cslewis, coral, tb mare

      The consolation prize is that it would be even worse if he weren't elected. There is tacit agreement that the middle class prefers slow to swift death.

      To get substantive change requires direct action, the kind of action applied against Rush Limbaugh, ALEC and the banksters. Direct action may not be perfect, either, but indirect action alone will never actually reverse the environmental, economic and social trend lines.

      Unfortunately, even most Dems will not respond effectively until the bondage is literally undeniable. Virtual, metaphorical bondage is not enough. Only then, when we are least influential and most vulnerable, will they participate in real efforts to achieve real democracy. And even then, their support is only hypothetical. But at least we have that going for us.

      The suffering will continue until it is sufficient to mobilize a counterforce sufficient to overwhelm the plutocracy. And no sooner.

      by Words In Action on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:49:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It depends on what he is free to do (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie, zizi

      after election day. We've got to hand him both houses of Congress somehow and we've got to expose the destructiveness of conservatism and the tea party crazies.

      Obama has to keep the government running and the lights turned on. Expect him to deal with the Devil if he must to accomplish that. It's the Devil that has to be weakened and if possible, destroyed. The Devil is the Republican Party.

      Democrats stand for Liberty, Security, Support of Families and Opportunity Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

      by Rick B on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 01:18:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ladies choice! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rick B, blueoasis

        The exploitative bullying and aggression against Our American women and the many scurrilous insults that have been flung at them by the REPigs will cost them the 2012 election!
                        "Obama 2012!           Ooh Rah!"

        ! The swinistic greed and racial hatred of the American ruling elite is abysmal !

        by joe wobblie on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 01:45:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hope you are right. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe wobblie

          But a month before an election is a lifetime and we've got over six months to go for this one. And the Republican clown car is no longer spewing out idiots to attack Romney for the Democrats.

          The money the rethugs will spread before Romney's path is going to be amazing. No more yellow-brick road. This one is going to be conservative cash green. And the lies! We ain't seen lies yet, we just think we have.

          These people are scared, so they are going to really open their pocket books and bank accounts. This is not an investment, it's a defensive counterattack against the inevitable future.

          Also, this is tribal warfare to the conservatives. You can tell from the way so many of them reflexively went into a crouch around Zimmerman to defend him for killing a Black teenager. There are no rules for fighting fair against an outside tribe and that's how they see us.

          Democrats stand for Liberty, Security, Support of Families and Opportunity Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - over

          by Rick B on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 04:35:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  And we CANNOT ever ever let them off the hook. (18+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:23:31 AM PDT

  •  So in a nut shell, they were wrong -- (14+ / 0-)

    the president was wrong, and we are now in the midst of a social-Darwinist tour de force.

    They, including the then Senator and now President, not we, were suckered into believing the neo-cons were "within the mainstream of American jurisprudence".

    We knew who they were and it was the fault of the weak democratic leadership not to have done a better job unmasking them to the American mainstream.

    And now look at the mess we're in.

    Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

    by Pescadero Bill on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:27:13 AM PDT

  •  You Nailed it! (8+ / 0-)

    I am reminded of a scene from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

    When Martin [the serial killer] is pontificating to his latest-would-be victim, he asks:

    Why do people not listen to their instincts?

    He points out that people are more concerned with being polite than they are with mere survival.

    •  Haven't seen it (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, GreenMother, Matt Z, tb mare

      But thanks for the kudos.

      •  Well, the scene reminds me of many conversations (11+ / 0-)

        I have had with other women regarding, dealing with predators.

        To me, this larger, broader issues seems to echo that, with the whole denial thing going on.

        People would rather be polite, and *assume that there are no ulterior motives, because that is temporarily more comfortable than listening to their instincts.

        Instinct told me a long long time ago what this whole thing was about.

        But as you pointed out, no one believed "us"--meaning the collective of people who saw the train coming, or the subsequent wreck that followed.

        People do this when they feel trapped. They freeze up. They feel put on the spot. If they say what they think and are wrong, they feel the consequences will be catastrophic. Like a false alarm.

        If they say nothing, they bank on the idea that the perp will not carry through with the threats, or the target convinces themselves that they can escape somehow.

        Each time some of the Dems have tried to act on that fantasy, the GOPers change the rules.

        Dems don't know it yet, but they are already at the Secondary Crime Scene.

        The crime has already been committed.

        The next part involves wet work and burial.

        •  Graphic and sadly true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tb mare

          A personal example is my own failure to recognize how important Limbaugh has been for twenty years.  I did not listen to him, didn't know anyone who did and while I did read Sen Franken's book, thought Limbaugh was just one loud and obnoxious voice spouting foolishness.  Limbaugh spawned an entire genre of hate talkers and rabble rousers.  The RW was listening and eating it up.

          McCain's choosing Palin was an Aha Moment and proved beyond any doubt that, Yes, They Really Are Who We Thought They Were.

          When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

          by msmacgyver on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:12:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Sen. Grassley calls Obama 'stupid' (19+ / 0-)

    Just yesterday Chuck Grassley (A-hole, Iowa) called the President 'stupid' in yet another example of utter disrespect and the ongoing campaign to delegitimize the administration. These are the same people, like Olympia Snowe (Dried Up Lying Crone, Maine) who complain that the President is not bi-partisan.

    After three years of trying to work with these venomous, lying serpents who have done nothing but show a traitorous disregard for the good of the country, perhaps hopefully the President has wised up and is dropping the whole attempt. You can only 'hope' for change for so long, until you must fight for it.

    I would like to point out that I was an 'old school' Republican for over 30 years, worked on both Reagan campaigns and the first McCain campaign, until the despicable Rove/Chaney wing took over and gave us what we have today, and I say we have to stop playing nice and start calling today's 'Republicans' exactly what they are - TRAITORS, fully aware and proud of it.

    Hi, I'm Mitt Romney, and I love America! I have some very good friends who own it.

    by Fordmandalay on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:32:51 AM PDT

    •  Grassley is stupid (10+ / 0-)

      But yeah, that is tremendous disrespect.

      •  And Olympia Snowe is a coward... (9+ / 0-)

        ...really, I don't begrudge her for choosing to step down because of the current political environment.  At heart, I think she is a moderate Republican in an environment where moderate Republicans really don't have a place.

        But for her to place the blame on Obama was cowardly and assinine -- even in retirement, she still doesn't have the spine to call out the leadership in her own party.  Even though it is that leadership (not Obama) who made her irrelevant.

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:10:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  She and her husband have ongoing interests (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rick B

          Maybe this is a little out there, but she is married to Jock McKernan (Maine's former Governor and a former Congressman), and he/they have a number of interests in which abandoning political relationships would be detrimental, if not ruinous.  For example, he/they are rumored to be nearing indictment in connection with his/their for profit college scam.  If that is true, then she and Jock are hanging onto all the political support they can muster.

        •  Sorry, she gave up her claim to 'Moderate' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          By being a party to the 'I'm voting with the Republican bloc against everything President Obama tries to do', just as John McCain lost all respect he might have been due when he picked Palin, and then went down the same hate-filled mindless lemming route of the modern Republican party.

          Hi, I'm Mitt Romney, and I love America! I have some very good friends who own it.

          by Fordmandalay on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 12:46:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Obama's once "good friend". (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      Obama once called Grassley his "good friend".  Obama was courting Grassley for support of his health care bill, and Grassley awarded Obama by spewing the "death Panels" stuff.  

      Obama needs to pick better "friends".  

    •  Grassley sux (0+ / 0-)

      Grassley pretended to try to negotiate on the ACA with Max Baucus, and delayed the legislative process while he was going around Iowa telling people at town halls that the ACA would have the government "pull the plug on grandma."

      Grassley was also the author of Medicare Advantage provisions that gave wasteful subsidies to insurance companies.

  •  As for the search for "limiting principles" ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... I think it is a legitimate question Justice Kennedy asked. After all, ACA should rise or fall on the power of Congress "to regulate commerce". Even I - a Progressive on most issues - want to see some limit to Congress's authority beyond the idea that we voters can just vote the reprobates out.

    But unlike the barrage of questions tormenting Verrilli on the subject, as I wrote this morning in the "Baseball/commerce" diary, health care and insurance for it are undeniably activities in interstate commerce. So the question is a valid one, but the ACA cases before the Court now don't come close to the edge of Congress's commerce clause powers. After all, health care is 17% of GDP; getting it and covering it occur in a national market; the government has its own compelling interest in health care costs, etc.

    All this aside, however, and strictly as a matter of compelling advocacy, the proponent of ACA had better have an answer to the question, even if it is unreasonable to ask in this case.

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:36:07 AM PDT

    •  I disagree strongly (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RubDMC, sharman, v2aggie2, cocinero

      Kennedy;s question is a complete misstatement of the applicable law and the burdens on the parties.

      I think you are absolutely wrong in what you write.

      •  OK, but the justice asked it, it is an obvious ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ... question and reasonable or not, it does need an answer from any lawyer who argues to uphold ACA. After all, judges misstate the law in questions from the bench all the time, and this is the one Court that can change the law dispositively.

        As for the burden the government carries, Verrilli knew he didn't have two votes, probably three and almost as probably four. There's the burden that realistically he faces.

        On the merits, I'm sure you've noticed that my "answer" to the question sidestepped it. Health care and insurance for it IS commerce, so these cases do not reach the limits of Congress's Article I powers. The rest is speculation ... Although I'm surprised Verilli didn't have a snappier set of responses to such a foreseeable line of inquiry, however wrong-headed you and I might think it is.

        Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

        by TRPChicago on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:59:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  As has been stated many times (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, tb mare, Eric Nelson

        the limiting principle is the ballot box -- namely, the 2012 election.

        And I would hope that the Supreme Court allows that to be the final judge of it.  Because it is an election debate that I welcome and relish

        Barack Obama for President '08

        by v2aggie2 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:38:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  voting out IS the best and ultimate authority (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, v2aggie2, tb mare, Eric Nelson

      It's the authority of us the people as the root of all governing.

      Anything less is a dangerous cop out as is now so clear.

      "Life is a bitch, and then you die. And then you come back." Old Buddhist proverb

      by RubDMC on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:57:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, we can vote 'em out ... but most of us don't. (0+ / 0-)

        Poll after poll for years has shown voters disapprove of Congress and want the miscreants out ... But typically, a majority of us votes for our own Congressman. Funny how that is!

        Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

        by TRPChicago on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:03:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  my view is the ideal... (0+ / 0-)

          ...yours is the reality. T.S. Elliot called the place between the two "the shadow."

          That's where our work is found.

          "Life is a bitch, and then you die. And then you come back." Old Buddhist proverb

          by RubDMC on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:08:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I think E.J. nails it: (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, a2nite, Chi, Eric Nelson, salmo
    "Right before our eyes, American conservatism is becoming something very different from what it once was. Yet this transformation is happening by stealth because moderates are too afraid to acknowledge what all their senses tell them."
    He may or may not be late it shooting (who knows how long he has been holding this arrow?), but he does split the apple.

    The moderates share a crucial trait with conservatives: they have a fundamental fear of change. They are afraid of acknowledging the change that has happened, because it just might ethically and/or morally obligate them to implement changes they fear. It can be said that conservatives want to go back in time. It can also be said that moderates, for the most part, effectively want to preserve the status quo, or at the very least to pursue progress ever so cautiously. While they share many positions with progressives, moderates, like conservatives, fear substantive change (and the requirements of achieving substantive change) more than the status quo. This, I would argue, is the distinction between a moderate and a progressive: progressives do not approach change from a position of fear.

    The suffering will continue until it is sufficient to mobilize a counterforce sufficient to overwhelm the plutocracy. And no sooner.

    by Words In Action on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:36:30 AM PDT

    •  He really is not late (5+ / 0-)

      It's interesting that Dionne uses this rhetorical device, because he has said so previously. Indeed, many years ago.

    •  I don't think the moderates fear change (7+ / 0-)

      most moderate voters are not paying attention.  It is easier to say you are moderate than to research and take a position on either side.  They are busy people who think politics is boring.  When they actually get interested in an issue to the point of paying much attention, most of the time they fall on one side or another.  The trick is getting them to feel like they have skin in the game.

      As far as moderate politicians.  They are just spineless whores.  I believe somewhere in there is a real person, but they are afraid of the voters, not change.

      "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

      by Sychotic1 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:07:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (5+ / 0-)

        One of my oldest friends is highly educated and all that, but she's isn't following ANYTHING political that's going on in her own state, Florida. She can't stand Scott, but can't articulate why, nor has she been following issues like the voter suppression going on there. If something is brought to her attention, fine, but she doesn't have any interest in actively educating herself.

        Reaching these low-information folks, who hear just enough of right-wing media spin to "know" what they hear is true, and then engaging them, is a huge, huge challenge for us.

    •  Progessives do not approach change (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      from a position of fear, I agree.  Rather, we approach change from a position of possibility.

      This is what bothers me about recent speeches in terms of that one diary, "Tone, Truth and the Democratic Party" - which I also reference frequently in comments here on Daily Kos.  President Obama is a moderate, yet the 2008 campaign was based on change.  It got him elected and kept Sarah Palin the hell away from the Presidency.  But once elected he started preserving the status quo and reviving the Republican brand with all that bipartisanship stuff.  

      Now he is appearing to concur with things we had observed a while ago.  But the question I have is, is that just to get re-elected?  I want President Obama re-elected.  I do not want Mitt Romney running this country.  Heaven forbid.  But I also want more.  I want possibility, explored.

      ♥ Medicare For All. ♥
      "Our health care system is like a casino. The insurance industry is the House... The House always wins." -- UnaSpenser

      by Chi on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:39:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, when are we going to start talking about (8+ / 0-)

    A Democratic permanant majority? It's not like the GOP and Karl Rove have given up on the idea. Troubador was talking about going on offense because it's our best defense. Let's face facts: the Republicans are hell-bent on destroying any kind of political power they don't control. They're fascists, and we need to break them. Otherwise, they'll just keep at it. And my concern is not just a partisan one. The rest of the world knows what the GOP is about, and we have an obligation to remove the GOP threat to our planet permanently. So, what do we do and how do we do it?

    Catch St. Louis' progressive talk show, The Murdock Report, every Tuesday @ noon! Stream or download it: I do the twit thing too @SmokinJoesTruth

    by Da Rat Bastid on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:37:03 AM PDT

  •  Things take a long time (5+ / 0-)

    This is maybe all the inevitable result of the Santa Clara County vs Southern Pacific Railroad decision.

    Once we give corporations citizenship rights of course we have a party devoted to them. The social issues are ephemeral.

  •  This is the most effective anti-Obama diary ever (14+ / 0-)

    It illustrates how his fundamental misunderstanding of what Republicans are about not only hampered the understanding of others, but actively stymied and stigmatized those who had the correct understanding from the outset.  

    And you know what? It was a fundamental misunderstanding at best.  At worst, Obama knew even in 2005 that the notion of a new and ultra-dystopian Republicanism was essentially correct...but that it wouldn't give him the opening he needed to challenge Hillary Clinton, so he'd deny its correctness and argue instead that we "all worship an awesome God" etc. etc.

    I'll now return to my support and even enthusiasm for President Obama and his re-election.  But wowie zowie, how he's made a hash of what should have been a real showdown and beat-down.

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:38:32 AM PDT

    •  Shit (10+ / 0-)

      I really did not mean it to be so.

      It's not like Obama was alone in his outlook.

      Besides, great credit for realizing his mistake.

      •  In part I'm reading it that way b/c it's you (8+ / 0-)

        So to that extent it's not at all your fault.  And let's face it, that 2005 excerpt isn't the crux of your diary.  But it's a reminder that at a key juncture in our party's definition of how to confront Republicans in 2008 and thereafter, our future leader staked a claim explicitly against the notion that Republicans were anything more (or less) that some folks just as concerned for our country as we were, just a little different at the margins.  

        But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

        by Rich in PA on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:45:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Better late than never (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Matt Z, Sychotic1

      But the GOP is obviously going all-in, and cashing in all their chips.  Obama's not fierce enough for my tastes even now, considering the threat.

    •  He coulda been a contenda (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, Chi, sea note, OLinda, coral

      When he was inaugurated, he failed to use the bully pulpit and exercise leadership and vision.  He had enormous political capital to do good, and he failed to use it, assuming he wanted to.

      He squandered that, and helped create a republican come back.

      •  Trickle down economics was on the ropes (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OLinda, Chi

        instead of delivering a knock-out punch, he chose to step back and let it regain its footing. Some would call that sportsmanship aka statesmanship; others call it the careless, irresponsible misuse of the most potent Democratic Moment of at least one generation; still others call it the shrewd calculation of an opportunistic social climber.

        Ditto for climate change. The deniers were backed into corner. Now they are toe-to-toe with the scientists...

        The suffering will continue until it is sufficient to mobilize a counterforce sufficient to overwhelm the plutocracy. And no sooner.

        by Words In Action on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:07:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  in his inaugural address (0+ / 0-)

        In his inaugural address, President Obama said, "That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood.  Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.  Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some...The challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many.  They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.  But know this, America:  they will be met..."  

        And when he uttered the words, "they will be met," I felt an exhilerating sense that justice would be served.  I dared to think, for a moment, "Great; he has a spine.  Not only will he allude to the 'greed and irresponsibility on the part of some' but he will name names, and he will hold people accountable."

        But it was not to be.  The bold defiance and promise of a nation restored were just brief flickers.  Those who committed moral and/or legal treason were not singled out or punished as they should have been.  And when the Republicans saw that there would be no direct consequences, they had renewed confidence as they began to hamstring the nation yet again, knowing they were safe and the new president would not make the meaningful change many expected.  

  •  I am one of the few "R" lurkers registered here... (21+ / 0-)

    And it pains me how the GOP has morphed into literally a corporate party using incredibly assonine ideas to attract independents.  I used to be active with the GOP 20 years ago in Kansas, till I was told not to bother coming to party committee meetings because I was pro choice, and they wanted to purify the party.  I still stay an R, because I want to enjoy that "told you so" moment.

    I honestly think, that if Reagan were still alive, he would be villified as a communist.  And Lincoln......oh boy.....Mao Zedong reincarnated.....

    Running on issues such as birth control is incredibly 13th Century.  I am witnessing the death of the party I am registered with.  Democrats are, to me, not enough in the personal responsiblility factor for me, but it's politics. It's an open forum, one that makes the internet and smart phones brings the ideas (and sometimes lack thereof) to where I live.   And I find the issues discussed here, relevant to shaping my views and opinions of others.  We are not all the same.  But it's depressing going to Red State Nation, and the topics revolve around slogans and of course REALLY bad ideas.  It's why I refer to Red State Nation as "3rd world Nation".  An economy, to survive as a first world nation MUST maximize economic participation of its citizens, and provide the "tools" for their development.

    End of rant.....

    •  If you're still in Kansas, why not just switch? (6+ / 0-)

      The state party is likely conservative enough for you on those issues that keep you at least nominally Republican.

      But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

      by Rich in PA on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:43:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •   get over the "personal responsibility" myth (7+ / 0-)

      in contemporary America, poor people are poor not because of of poor choices, but because of limited options and unequal distribution of government resources.
      Rich people are rich not because they try harder and are smarter- most have inherited their wealth/privilege and maintain and expand it through a system that favors wealth and privilege.

      •  His responsibility point is valid. (0+ / 0-)

        Nancy Pelosi's daughter had a good report on Bill Mahr's show a couple weeks ago.  She went down to the local Welfare office and interviewed people in line, and many of them said they weren't looking for a job, collecting the check was easier than working.  Most of those people probably don't vote, and most of those that do were probably Dems.

        There are also a lot of people who were underwater in their mortgages and who could easily keep up their payments, but walked away because of a simple financial decision.  Most of those were probably Republicans.

        Many Republicans won't do due diligence on their investments, or want a hand out from the government for their businesses, or want to dump their business pollution on their neighbors, or want to use deceptive business practices rather than take personal responsibility to use innovative and efficient business practices.

        So we need equal opportunity for all, and a safety net for some, but it wouldn't hurt if both Dems and Repubs understand that being more reliant on your own abilities helps the entire community.  

    •  i don't think lincoln... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, Chi, tb mare, wishingwell

      ...was ever really embraced as a republican by the folks I've always known as Republicans over the last 50+ years.

      To me Lincoln was an endless seeker of possible solutions looking for whatever would work. He seems to me the ultimate progressive in that regard.

      "Life is a bitch, and then you die. And then you come back." Old Buddhist proverb

      by RubDMC on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:04:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's to really GOOD ideas! nt (0+ / 0-)

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:09:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are a paleo republican (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, tb mare, wishingwell, wasatch

      I recognize it, because I lived it.  My old party left me behind when they started caring about what went on in people's bedrooms and started moralizing about personal life decisions.

      Right now, paleo-republicans have no place and no representation in their party.

      As for personal responsibility.  In the years since I left the GOP I learned that you cannot force people to learn personal responsibility.  Starving them, throwing them on the streets, denying them healthcare only kills them, it doesn't teach them personal responsibility or anything else.

      "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

      by Sychotic1 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:12:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Personal responsibility (5+ / 0-)

        should be required of the bankers and financial industry executives, most of whom are still getting  huge bonuses and multi-million dollar compensation packages after nearly bringing down the global economy.

        Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

        by coral on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:08:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Another way of looking at (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare, Sychotic1, wishingwell, wasatch

        personal responsibility--

        I've been involved with several nonprofits that work with low-income and poor folks (food banks, career development services, inner-city schools, etc). Just about all of the folks who use those services want to be self-sufficient, but they don't have the skills, tools, or resources to be so (although that's exactly what they're striving for!).  More fortunate folks take their own circumstances so much for granted that they can't fathom people who don't know how to be self-sufficient and thus blame them for making poor "choices" or not having enough "personal responsibility" -- while that may be true in some cases, tarring an entire demographic is just wrong, vindictive, and no way to run government policy.


        •  Exactly, what I tell my Republican friends (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Silverleaf, wasatch, Calamity Jean

          (the sane ones) when they talk about abuse of the workers comp, unemployment, foodstamps etc. system is, "Sure, some people are going to game the system, which is an argument for more strict enforcement of the rules, but it isn't an argument for ending the entire system."

          I tell them I am a Democrat because I don't want poor/old people living in a box and eating cat food.

          "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

          by Sychotic1 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:31:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, paleo Reps do have a party-- (0+ / 0-)

        the Democratic Party, which has assimilated most of Republican ideals as they were defined in the 1960s and 1970s. The only Democratic ideal from back then that they have kept is the notion that discrimination in all its forms is wrong. If actual liberals/progressives succeed in recapturing them  to pursue a continuation of New Deal economic and Great Society socio-political policies, then you will have no place in either party.

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 09:39:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The President is a nice guy. (7+ / 0-)

    Nice people often like to think that everyone else is also nice, or good, or will be if you only appeal to their better natures.  Unfortunately, not everyone's better nature is in the same place.   On a scale in which we run from (right) self-interest to (left) betterment of all, John Boehner's better nature is far to the right of most folks on the left's worse nature...

    •  I disagree (5+ / 0-)

      It was a political schtick - (shocking I know that politicians sometimes engage in politics.

      But it was the wrong choice imo. Especially after the financial meltdown.

      There was real room for substantive transformation.

      •  Yeah, 2008 could have been (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare, wasatch

        a transformational moment. A huge movement, especially of young energized voters, helped elect Obama. He effectively disbanded that movement and abandoned it after the inauguration.

        Most young people I know, including my kids and their friends, worked their butts off for Obama in 2008. Now I can't even get them to register to vote in their new residential addresses.

        The turn around has been stunning.

        Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

        by coral on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:12:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  R is for "Reactionary" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, Words In Action

    You say that the Rebublicans

    are who we (the DFH bloggers) thought they were—a radical, extreme party intent on returning the country to a pre-New Deal state.
    And here I thought that their jurisprudence based on "original intent" was returning the country to the eighteenth century.

    I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by Blue Knight on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 08:50:35 AM PDT

    •  Heh (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, coral, tb mare, andgarden

      It's kind of a misnomer though - because the 18th Century view of the Federalists on the nature of the federal state is pretty much the New Deal view in constitutional terms.

      See in particular the Federalist SCOTUS decisions in Gibbons and McCulloch,

    •  Actually, I think kos was right when he said (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blue Knight, sillia, wishingwell

      that Republicans, with the 2012 elections, were angling to knock us back to the year 1200, which is why, despite our differences, we should focus on getting Dems elected.

      I'm guessing he chose that date because it's pre-Magna Carta, which sounds about right.

      The suffering will continue until it is sufficient to mobilize a counterforce sufficient to overwhelm the plutocracy. And no sooner.

      by Words In Action on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:12:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It started with Reagan. The crazyness. (7+ / 0-)

    Ever since Reagan, the Republicans have been bat-shit crazy and getting worse every year.  But the party as a whole has been crazy for a hundred years.  1980 is when the nutcases finally seized power from the moderates.

    You should be VERY, VERY, VERY, afraid of these people!  Their anti-science anti-education, anti-reason approach to justify their greed, could very well result in the suffering and deaths of billions of people by the end of this century.

    At an historic time of Peak planetary resources, and a human induced climate disaster, the right decisions need to be made NOW, and we can't wait for a pendulum swing that might not come.

    •  Actually before then, imo (4+ / 0-)

      Nixon was truly evil. My parents were leery of him and his ilk since about 1956...and they knew what he was up to. I have memories of Nixon's proto-Rovian political style from the late 60's early 70's. Also, if you talk to anyone who remembers the Hoover administration, they know that Republicans have ALWAYS been who we think they are.

      ~On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Raise her glowing flame!~ I am proud to say three generations of my family lived in WI. Though I live elsewhere, am with you in spirit!

      by sillia on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:42:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As an "R" , to me ,the Budget Deal of 1990... (0+ / 0-)

      Began the acceleration.  I will admit many of my fellow Rs thought tha George H W Bush sold his soul to the Democrats, which ignorantly raised a luxury tax on the people that can put off large purchases such as yachts, and wound up with lots of layoffs of people who made such items.  It was shortsighted.  And the leadership decided they wanted nothing more to do with Rs even approaching a moderate level.  It's just that the boundaries got stretched further and further, till that point where it seems downright insane in ideas....

      But just my views.....

      •  I think it was a courageous move by HW (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        v2aggie2, Calamity Jean

        Reagans tax cuts ran up more than 3 times more debt then the previous 200 years.  The deficits were still out of control when HW took office.  If he hadn't sacrificed his presidency and raised those taxes, we would have had a horrible debt-currency crises by the mid 90's.  HW was the last of the half sane R's to hold office.

        It will be awful hard to mourn the loss of a couple of thousand yacht building jobs while condemning the saving of millions of Auto industry jobs.

        By the way, welcome to the forums and I hope you're one of the few remaining R's who can make an argument based on facts and reason and not just regurgitate right-wing talking points.

  •  DW nominates indicate that the trend toward (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, Words In Action, Eric Nelson

    a radicalization of the GOP started away before 2000, somewhere around 1994

    Don't give a damn a/t each & every politician currently alive in the US. Last time i voted for the top part of the ballot was 1972. Never missed SB elections

    by Mutual Assured Destruction on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:03:38 AM PDT

    •  Well u can argue 1964 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sillia, wishingwell, Eric Nelson


      •  1956 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Tricky Dick is Veep.

        ~On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Raise her glowing flame!~ I am proud to say three generations of my family lived in WI. Though I live elsewhere, am with you in spirit!

        by sillia on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:44:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ideologically (2+ / 0-)

          Nixon continued the Ike approach on domestic policy.

          •  He helped foster the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Armando, wishingwell

            Cold War anti-Communist there-are-enemies-among us mentality, the Silent Majority (sheep) are the good people, disagree with my policies or you are anti-American, etc. that underlies the protestors-are-terrorists attitudes we have today. Enemies list?
            He was a supporter of Joe McCarthy, and this is significant. Oh, I know you know all this, just putting it out there.

            ~On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Raise her glowing flame!~ I am proud to say three generations of my family lived in WI. Though I live elsewhere, am with you in spirit!

            by sillia on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:54:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  He was joined by a whole host of (0+ / 0-)

              Democrats in being anti-Communist--that is not a valid distinction between the parties. JFK and LBJ, after all, pushed us far into war against those evil VC to stop the dominoes from falling. Republicans were actually far more isolationist than the Dems. Nixon's Southern Strategy, though, can be seen as a real turning point, as he began emphasizing "social" issues around which the Rs could coalesce. So, Nixon yes, but only after 1968 . . .

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 09:46:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, that would be 1952 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Barack Obama for President '08

          by v2aggie2 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 11:05:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  True, and actually (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            his true evil would have been revealed earlier, as a participant in the Army-McCarthy hearings. So around 1950.

            ~On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Raise her glowing flame!~ I am proud to say three generations of my family lived in WI. Though I live elsewhere, am with you in spirit!

            by sillia on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 11:52:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  There was a definite ratcheting up of the scorched (0+ / 0-)

      earth policy in '92, when Clinton "Stole" GHB's rightful 2nd term. That's when the Arkansas Project took off, which led to Ken Starr...

      The suffering will continue until it is sufficient to mobilize a counterforce sufficient to overwhelm the plutocracy. And no sooner.

      by Words In Action on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:14:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In partial defense of the Prez (9+ / 0-)

    He did not say that the Rs were not batshit evil intent on destroying the New Deal.  He said, the rest of the country does not so perceive them.

    Ever the pragmatist, let's say a lot of that message from Sen Obama was, you can't sell that message, not now.  The rest of the country does not see it.  

    Where he was wrong was, giving the Rs the benefit of the doubt that the majority of the country (his perception) gives them, and making the right overtures, etc., was what had to be done.

    To some extent, sadly, he's still correct.  Even after all the excesses have been revealed, following the 2010 R victory, the polls show only grudging movement to the left.

    I do completely agree with this diary tho:  It is way past time to call this spade a spade, loudly.

    To some extent, this message is strengthened by O's undeniable efforts to find common ground, to allow at least some of the Rs to work with us.  No one but the mendacious Rs can say otherwise.

  •  possibly a lot (6+ / 0-)

    of Republican voters in the midwestern states are GOP from inertia: their parents and grandparents were, and their great-grandfathers were Republicans because of Lincoln - they would have been, many of them, veterans from the Union Army, like my great-grandfather.
    Unfortunately, sticking with a party because it's how your family has 'always voted' is a bad reason to not change when the party goes insane. And when your minister and all your local politicians are reinforcing the insanity as well as the 'stick with us' message, it isn't going to improve.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:06:05 AM PDT

    •  That is very common here where I currently live (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      People are Republicans because their ancestors were. They simply register Republican as it is expected of them and they say it is part of their heritage. It is very ingrained in them and they feel it is their duty to their ancestors.  It is bizarre as I had not seen that before to this extent.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:29:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry, Disingenuous Fail (0+ / 0-)

    The contradiction to your anti-Obama screed is right in your readers' eyes to see but of course you are counting on the fact that they won't see it. Candidate Obama never said that he does not see the Republicans for the scoundrels that they were/are. He disagreed with those, like the writer, who assume a majority of Americans see things political the same way as political junkies do. He correctly figured out that you couldn't build a coalition to win an election by a landslide by usurping dastardly Republican tactics and he was right. The average voter is turned off by lies, fights and dirty politicking and when you engage in them the difference is blurred and GOP has always banked on that strategy to win elections. He knew and knows exactly what the republican party has become and he has now exposed them to a lot of Americans and this is precisely why his prospects of winning a second term are bright this year. The sharp contrast that even ordinary people are now beginning to see between the parties are due to the President's strategy rather than the self proclaimed true progressives attempts to emulate the far right tactics.  PBO has not changed any of his methods and tactics since 2005 and is exactly where he was then. He has just been proven right in his assessment that the way to get the general voting public to come to understand the bad state of the GOP is to take the high road and let them expose themselves. Sorry sir, you and your followers are still as wrong in your anti-Obama stand as you were for the last 4 years. You are now using Rovian tactics (Mitt Romney style) to take the President's successes and pretend that they were your successes. Of course your promise to now support PBO for reelection is, I am sure, welcome to him but some of us who never left the President are not fooled. He won without taking a lot of the wrongheade but arrogant advices emanating from this blog and he is headed for a win without same advices so yes welcome on board everyone. lets suspend our fights and resume them in Novemebr 8th shall we?

    •  I don't think (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, Chi, tb mare, Eric Nelson

      it is fair to call this an anti-Obama screed in that I am arguing that he agrees with me.

      But you think he has not changed his rhetoric from 2005 so it is really not much of a comment anyway.  

    •  He's winning (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, squarewheel

      because the Right has NO viable candidate, because it has adopted a crazy litmus test for them.

      If a sane Republican could make it through their primary, Obama would be in an entirely different position.

      He will be the default victor for all but his most ardent supporters. That, IMHO, is nothing to praise, particularly given the broad mandate he received in '08 when he was clearly swept into office but a strong surge of populism,  concern for Climate Change and anti-Republican fervor.
      Nothing practical, realistic or clever about playing it safe when the cards are in your favor to clear the table.

      The suffering will continue until it is sufficient to mobilize a counterforce sufficient to overwhelm the plutocracy. And no sooner.

      by Words In Action on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:22:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  2010 election was a "win"? That was a pushback (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to the nice guy and a compromised, complicated maze and mystery of a health care bill.  People want simple solutions.
      The health care bill passed, with all its myriad delays on implementations and years to go before demonstrating the real results, and private insurance companies jacked up their rates once again.  A whole year of confusing debates, and the same old same olds with nothing to show for it except a   verbose and overly detailed bill passed.

      That was political malpractice.  On this blog there was a great deal of worry that the compromised, lobbyist pleasing bill was twisted out of all recognition and support, even its good parts.

      We paid a price for accepting this mishmosh and betrayal of the Lieberman's, Snowe's, Blanche Lincoln's , and the President's brain trust like Emmanuel and others who wanted a minimal bill to appease their supporters but not enough to inconvenience the big donors.

      We got the worst of all worlds, a 2200 or 3200 page monster designed to shoehorn the bad actors, the "centrists' and all their loyal tools into conntinued good health, keeping their profit centers humming  and future office terms.

      We had a huge drop  in general turnout as all those expecting transformative  politics saw a defanged, impotent bill that didn't make much of a dent and in fact was helpless with what counted- costs and the rule of private insurers and the corrupt deals in selfinsurance by Corporate America.  Most people saw nothing, or saw costs RISE.  end of the story. You think we can sell 'health care reform" again?

      You think we get a do over in 2012? We get a better chance or a better deal from this bunch?

      OK, we hold on, don't get the House back but it is the same as the last four years.   We drift in stall mode for four years and lose as people get tired of the gridlock.

      That is how centrism and appeals to bipartisanship get thanked.  Seeing as it defaults to the people holding the cards behinds the scenes, it is reasonable response to a vexing and no results process. Those in power get blamed.

      We, as a people lose.  The game goes on.

      This currently under construction..

      by BeeDeeS on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:49:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for this diary, Armando. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, OLinda, coral, wishingwell, tb mare

    I have wondered for some time how any friend of reality could imagine that the Roberts Court would uphold the ACA.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:13:01 AM PDT

    •  It's more about the things we should be (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lily O Lady, coral, wishingwell, cocinero

      worried about (at least on the ACA portion of this post.)

      It's is bizarre to me that some progressives are worried about establishing limiting principles to the Commerce power and seem pleased that the Roberts Court will probably do so.

      Weird opinions in my view.

      •  Whatever the Roberts Court does (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, Chi, cocinero

        will further the agenda of those who want to see the coporatization of the US. I find it hard to look forward to any decision coming from this court.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:37:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some people seem to want to see the (0+ / 0-)

        glass as half full, even when most people can see that it is completely full--of crap.

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 09:49:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good job (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, coral

    Dark days.

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

    by muledriver on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:18:41 AM PDT

  •  One of the best in a long time (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, tb mare, Eric Nelson

    I'm glad to see this.  I appreciate the research and thorough presentation.  Bravo!

    "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

    by leftreborn on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:20:38 AM PDT

  •  As I understand, then-Senator Obama was very (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, coral, Calamity Jean

    conflicted over the Roberts nomination, went back and forth a number of times, and did defend those Democrats who voted to confirm. (Source: Richard Wollfe's Renegade, which I am currently reading on my Kindle)

    "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

    by CitizenJoe on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:24:02 AM PDT

  •  What we need is a full-scale attack. . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, Chi, Calamity Jean

    on the mainstream media, particularly its leader, The New York Times, for utterly failing on a daily basis to tell people the truth about how absolutely WRONG and extreme the Republican Party is. Their failure to tell the truth is having horrible consequences for our nation and the world, and this is just the beginning of it.


  •  Best comment section I've seen in a long time. (7+ / 0-)

    Due to a substantive, thoughtful diary.  I'm glad you're here, Armando.

  •  We have indeed entered an era (7+ / 0-)

    Where only corporations have inalienable rights, while human beings don't (except to buy a gun).

    Too many of my friends aren't paying attention to any of this, which is really scary-- or they shrug, because if it isn't a problem that directly affects them, it must not be a real problem.  More face-to-face stories help, though, so that's what I've been trying to do to get them more energized and informed, and sometimes it even seems to be working!

    Thanks for this great post!

    PS- can't stand hearing the term "pro-business" all over the place to justify "anything goes" economics. I'm not anti-business, but I'm certainly anti-corporate-management-gets-to-operate-with-no-constraints-whatsoever!


    •  Corporations and big business (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, Silverleaf, wasatch

      control more and more of our lives and personal choices. The threat that the corporations will merge with government is very real.

      A more progressive view of government is that the government of, by, and for the people will protect us against the abuses of corporations, business, and the super-wealthy.

      That's the key to the reigning right-wing anti-government rhetoric. It's inherently pro-corporate and anti-individual, using the rhetoric of individualism to further its political goals.

      Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

      by coral on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:27:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Whatever happened to "pro-consumer" policies? n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  The comparisons with Comstock and Florence (10+ / 0-)

    both of which deal with the most basic instances of personal rights that it is the Court's role to protect, with the possibility of a negative decision in the ACA case, is really telling.  Why local jailers deserve such great deference when it comes to the 4th Amendment is beyond me.  This is the way to fight back, it seems to me. This isn't about liberty vs. power, it's about different versions of liberty. Ours says SS and Medicare are ok but unreasonable searches are not (or at least, it should).

    Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

    by David Kaib on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:41:21 AM PDT

  •  I said Roberts was a POS in 2005 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Armando, wishingwell, Eric Nelson, Chi

    I still recall people on this blog and others telling me I was wrong.  That he is an okay person.  Bullshit!

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:50:07 AM PDT

    •  Everything is relative, I guess (0+ / 0-)

      You were going to get some POS in 2005, regardless

      Barack Obama for President '08

      by v2aggie2 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 11:07:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not relative (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi, chuckvw

        was the errors made by many in thier assessment of who Roberts was and is.

        I urge you to demand better analysis from folks.

        We can debate how we handle what is being proposed, but first we have to be honest about what is being proposed.

        The folks who told us Roberts was "mainstream" were wrong. They should admit that.

        •  Fair enough (0+ / 0-)

          but it begs the question -- what is "mainstream?"

          And was the GOP going to nominate anybody "mainstream?"

          I ask these questions not really knowing the answers

          Barack Obama for President '08

          by v2aggie2 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 12:11:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Begs the question? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I think at the time, and indeed now, I've answered the question.

            If people disagree with my answer, let them explain their disagreement.

            You keep wanting to change the question or ask a different question.  I'm sure we can all have reasonable views on how to respond to a radical SCOTUS nomination.

            But first things first, let's call it a radical SCOTUS nomination.

            A lot of people,then Senator Obama included, did not want to do that.

            I submit that this was the wrong approach.

            Certainly PRESIDENT Obama is not endorsing that view now.

  •  we knew & still allowed them 1000 radio stations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, Calamity Jean

    from clarence thomas to alito and roberts and the lack of true liberals  - this is the result of allowing the think tank fed talk radio gods to determine what is and what isn't acceptable in US politics and media.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 09:58:23 AM PDT

  •  btd vs. danby (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    great post, btw.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:00:02 AM PDT

  •  That whole "Post Partisan Unity Schtick" --- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, chuckvw

    That meme.. that Obama ever actually believed in bi-partisanship is nothing more than bullshit.

    It's a false meme.

    Does anyone really think someone as intelligent as Obama is actually misjudged the opposition?  Really?

    It's simply one aspect of the many memes as to why we haven't had "Change We Can Believe In".

    And I will call it out as such whenever I see it mentioned.

    There is a reason that Obama's Chiefs of Staff come from Wall Street Banks. And it has nothing to do with Change We Can Believe In.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:00:59 AM PDT

  •  Are the Supreme Court "activists" or not? Are they (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    pro liberties or not?  What they are is mainly to help the business class have an easier time dealing with individuals vs. the power of the corporation, and removing impediments or forbidding individual encroachments on the power of the private concerns to work their will. That is the central theme in decisions which seem to expand or restrict liberties.  Not for persons primarily, but for their centers of power and influence, their companies, banks, landholdings to be freed from annoyances from lesser fry.

    In this respect the defeat of a ACA mandate for the Federal Government means a batch of 50 states will have to sooner or later do their own deals.  The ending of the political backroom deal, the tradeoff  of prexisting conditions, raising age of children in policies for support of the ACA will be exempted as something OK if the states do it , but not if the Feds do it.

       Why such?  because each company (in all states it is a defacto monopoly already in private health insurance) is in a powerful position in each state, rather than in a disadvantage dealing with the full weight and power of the national government.  States are more deferential and may be manipulated into sweetheart deals for most of these companies.

              This really is a reassertion of the power of private interests and a cutback of the Federal power even when the federal power speaks for all citizens rather than the few associated with these various companies.

    Decision in June  is at its root another triumph for the big business class and their tools among the majority of

    This currently under construction..

    by BeeDeeS on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:06:55 AM PDT

  •  One of the very few times (5+ / 0-)

    ...I was gravely disappointed in Russ Feingold was the vote to confirm John Roberts.

    If ever there was a time to be an obstructionist, grandstanding, idealistic ass, it would have been during an attempt to install for life a reactionary, neoconservative Chief Justice to the US Supreme Court. One who could - health permitting - stay on the bench for upwards of 30 years.


    The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

    by lotusmaglite on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:12:45 AM PDT

    •  Agreed. And Leahy. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando, Chi, Calamity Jean

      I was a Vermonter at the time -- proud to be so with the representation I had.  But that vote took the air out of me for a long time.

      A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen, and philosophers and divines. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by tb mare on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:38:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If not Roberts, then who? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Those arguing for the Dems to filibuster Roberts ignore one reality. If they had filibustered Roberts, what would have been the result?

    Would Bush have offered up a new, more moderate nominee? Not bloody likely. Would the American electorate have responded badly to a Democratic Congress that would have taken a lot of hits for partisan politicking? Much more likely.  Would the Democrats have gotten the 59-60 seats they briefly held in the Senate? Maybe not. Throw in the blue dogs, and we might not even have had the majority that voted for the ACA with budget reconciliation rules.

    So, what would Democrats have accomplished by blocking Roberts' nomination, or the nomination of Alito, who is even more radical and partisan?

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

    by FischFry on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:20:06 AM PDT

    •  False choice (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, Chi, chuckvw, andgarden

      And false point.

      The question was not if not Roberts then who? It was who is John Roberts?

      I remember you were one of those telling us he was "mainstream."

      You were wrong.

      Time for you to fess up.

      •  Doesn't it come back to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "elections have consequences?"  Once Bush got re-elected, we weren't going to get good Supreme Court judges under that administration.

        Barack Obama for President '08

        by v2aggie2 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 11:12:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not this question (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chi, chuckvw, andgarden

          This question was about who John Roberts was.

          That came down to being honest or actually understanding what John Roberts was and is.

          Fischfry and many many many others were wrong about who Roberts was.

          It would be nice if they took the time to acknowledge their error.

          We can then discuss the issue of tactics regarding Roberts.

          But first, let's be honest about who he was and is.

          •  Roberts vs. Alito (0+ / 0-)

            I think the evidence is pretty compelling that compared to Alito, Roberts is mainstream conservative closer to the center than Alito's radicalism. So, I wasn't that far off, even if I did write what you claim I wrote.

            Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

            by FischFry on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 01:03:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  There you go (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Looking back... The dems largely took a powder... while keeping it oh so dry... on this and much else.

            The memory hole is deep, dark, and meant to be silent!

            If only donkeys could have elephant balls... Occupy!

            by chuckvw on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 01:56:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'm pretty sure you're misremembering (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I said he's extremely gifted and intelligent, which qualified him for the Court. I might have even said he's within the mainstream of conservatism -- but, as this piece notes, that has really shifted to the right. I'm sure I said then and still say it's not a false choice. The President nominates...if Dems "borked" a nominee, especially one who didn't trip up the way Bork did and expose ultra-radicalism, it would only cause the right to push Bush into nominating an even more extreme or equally extreme candidate.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

        by FischFry on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 01:01:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It seems logical (0+ / 0-)

      that if the Democrats continued to refuse to confirm radical nominees, then the Republicans would have been forced to come up with more moderate ones.

      ♥ Medicare For All. ♥
      "Our health care system is like a casino. The insurance industry is the House... The House always wins." -- UnaSpenser

      by Chi on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 11:59:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Logical? We're talking about the radical right. (0+ / 0-)

        Logic doesn't enter into their political equation. They create their own logic, which is the logic of the Overton Window. They're happy to be extreme because they think it moves the country in their direction.

        Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

        by FischFry on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 01:05:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I hope so, but.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    I think we can safely say that the era of the Post Partisan Unity Schtick is over
    I hope so.  

    But I have a feeling that if Obama wins re-election, he's going to go right back to it and be even more aggressive with his "deals".  Remember, the debt deal is still on the table.  

    I don't trust Obama.  I don't think "he's got this", as he (and his followers) like to say.  His previous deals have been complete shit, and while the Wisconsin protests were going down, he was in DC chasing Boehner around trying to cut Medicare and Social Security.  

  •  My 2 cents on President Obama's change (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think that President Obama is predisposed to working with others across the board.  He's a pragmatic liberal.  This dates back to his tenure as President of the Harvard Law Review, where conservative law students praised him for reaching out to them, though they were certainly in the minority.

    And when people talked about change in 2008, for many out there, it wasn't necessarily about the progressive change desired here as much as it was about the fatigue of the Clinton and GW Bush eras that were associated with an overall nastiness and a lack of accomplishment that wasn't very satisfying.

    It should also be noted that President Obama arrived on the national scene when he gave his 2004 DNC speech.  It was a speech noteworthy not for its partisanship but rather its call for a greater national good and getting rid of distinctions such as a "blue" and a "red" America.  You can choose to disagree with it, but it shouldn't come as a surprise when President Obama came into office with a tone that emphasized working together.  It was basically in line with the breakout 2004 DNC speech.

    The election of President Obama was basically, in my view, a call for action on issues but it should not be confused for a call for a liberal revolution -- though the beginnings of one (like 1968 for the GOP) could take hold.  And the 111th Congress answered the call for action by becoming the most productive Congress since at least the the LBJ era.  And that was despite the complete obstructionism of the GOP over this time.

    As this obstructionism has continued, President Obama has now adopted more combative tone towards the GOP's policy proposals.  And he is in a better position to do so because his overtures to work together have been so thoroughly rebuffed.

    It's one thing to say the GOP is obstructionist.  But when you have actual proof of it -- as the last 3 years have shown -- the case makes itself.

    Really, here is the GOP today -- a party of nothingness.  They are suing to overturn policy proposals that they themselves created.  If that doesn't indicate a dearth of ideas and the goal of solely gaining power at all costs, I don't know what does.

    President Obama can say he tried to work with the other side but they wouldn't budge.  It's a much easier case to make when you can use reality and not theory.

    Now -- feel free to flame away!  :-)

    Barack Obama for President '08

    by v2aggie2 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 12:01:24 PM PDT

    •  This comment seems a nonsqequitor to me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, andgarden

      For example, you write "It's one thing to say the GOP is obstructionist.  But when you have actual proof of it -- as the last 3 years have shown -- the case makes itself."

      That's not the case that was made or disagreed with, at least tactically, by Obama in 2005.

      The argument is "they are who we thought they were" - extreme and radical.

      In a vacuum, being  "obstructionist" is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, it can be a good thing, obstructing bad things can be the right thing to do.

      I do not see how your comment relates to my post.

      •  My point is (0+ / 0-)

        yes, they are who we thought they were.

        But people often have to experience what that is to fully believe it.

        As for being an obstructionist, you are correct, it is not necessarily a bad thing.  But when you are obstructing your own ideas, well, it shows an emptiness in your philosophy and that power is the only goal.

        Barack Obama for President '08

        by v2aggie2 on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 12:19:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well, I know that they knew this would go to (0+ / 0-)

    the Supreme Court with Kennedy and his super conservative "I have a right to all my money!" friends.  I don't know what the calculus here is. I am not optimistic about the single payer result, because many people going after ACA do not want ANYTHING done about healthcare.  I actually had a person compare health care to an Ipad the other day.  These people are not going for single payer.  They think people have a right to leave other people to die.

  •  modern gop -> Party of Hate (0+ / 0-)

    Today's republican party is clearly the party of hate.  That is their platform, that is their base.

    They hate Obama, they hate equal rights, they hate the evironment, they hate our allies.  At least they still hate our enemies as well.

    No where is this more evident than in the reaction to any positive news.  Stock market up?  hate it.  Sign agreement to increase trade?  hate it.  Increase domestic oil production?  hate it.  Propose that teachers are important.  hate it.

    Evan hate each other - as apparent from the primary.

    This fundamental hate needs to be a campaign.  The modern repbulican party needs to have a timeout;  do some soul searching, rediscover the real meaning of patriotism, get in tune with Eisenhower, Reagan and even Nixon.

    Put America first.  It's people.  It's place in history.  One nation with justice for ALL - a land of laws and the rule of law.

    They have most certainly lost their way.  They need a purge and a new generation.

    This election would be a good time to start.

    Oil of Hate

  •  Obama isn't stupid (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    v2aggie2, Timeslayer, Terri

    He knew the Rs were like his all along.

    But, he had to try because:

    1. If there was even a chance to turn them around

    2. To establish his credentials for later (i.e. now)

    3. To wait for the American public to figure out what the rest of us knew.

    People forget that. Obama had to wait until the public figured it out on their own. He couldn't tell them, because they understandably wouldn't listen to yet another politician, and they didn't know.

    •  He didn't have to do anything. (0+ / 0-)

      He did what he wanted to do, as he always does.

      To a large part of the Democratic Party establishment, none of this really matters.  

      •  It doesn't matter (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        v2aggie2, Terri

        because it isn't true.

        You seem to think that the President is a dictator, who can enact any policy or law through executive fiat. This reveals both a deep failure to understand the details of our government, and the principles of democracy. Ironically, it is also what Republicans think presidents are supposed to be.

        Your unchecked worship of centralized authority compels me to ask... are you sure you're not a Republican?

    •  He didn't establish his credentials-- (0+ / 0-)

      with anyone who already didn't cede to him some to begin with--he re-established Republican credentials, when they were on the ropes, having 100% owned the economic devastation. He didn't need to wait; we had already elected him after having surprisingly taken back the Senate in 2006. What clearer signals did he want that the American public was ready for a return to sanity? How much larger of a mandate could the public have given him and the Democratic Party? We sure won't have one now . . .

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 09:56:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just a note: (0+ / 0-)

    I hate Roberts, hate the Republicans, hate Alito, etc., etc.

    But I remember a diary -- was it by Armando? -- that castigated the Supreme Court for its finding, a few years back, limiting the ability of local governments to seize private property through eminent domain for specious reasons.  I was thrilled to hear the ruling -- less thrilled to hear that the dissenters were the progressives on the court.  And surprised to find myself agreeing with the conservatives on the court.  Republicans saw it as a blow against big government.  I saw it as a blow against  just taking shit away from ordinary people and giving it to corporate developers.

    Sometimes good things come from bad people, and vice-versa.

    The Republicans are so corrupt that they long-term implications of the things that they do and the blowback possible doesn't always seem to sink in with them.  For instance, if they overturn the individual mandate portion of the ACA, then that puts the permanent kibosh on all previously floated Republican plans to privatize Medicare.  If you can't force Americans en masse to purchase shit from large corporations -- well, that's an embarrassment to Obama, but it's a bigger embarrassment to Republicans that have wanted to and will want to do the same thing.

  •  To Independents and NonParticipants... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    v2aggie2, Terri

    which together, make up north of 60 percent of all adults in the US, Obama had to make sure he was seen as a man opposed to gridlock, able to work with all American factions, ready to compromise to get things, anything, done, and in general, be reasonable and non-ideological.

    Republicans fell hard into the trap. They became rigid, self-contradictory, reactionary and opposed to ANYTHING which Obama proposed and rallied their dwindling base on attacks on women, minority citizens and civil rights.

    It is now patently obvious to anyone who cares to actually look that the R's are out on Pluto somewhere, and the rest of us, Democrats, Liberals, Greens and many Independents actually have some credibility for being RIGHT about a ton of things since 1980. War, the Banking System, the Tax System, and Civil Rights all fall into our category of being right about the consequences of conservatives.

    Obama, in this regard, is following Lincoln's script to the letter. It may result in a political declaration of the rebellious side much as the Civil War as they become more unhinged and exposed.

     At the least, there will be strife, and possibly blood until the violent and irrational right wing can be exposed and humiliated, some changed, some in jail, and some gone to other countries. The push has not yet come to shove, but it is very likely to in the next year.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 06:04:13 PM PDT

  •  Somehwere between Watergate and Iran-Contra.... (0+ / 0-)

    ....The Rule of Law in the United States jumped the shark.

    The Constitution, the electoral process, the legislative process, the judicial process and all the other institutions that are required for civilization to flourish in the US have been turned into hollow facades.

    Where Conservatives are able to use the Rule Of Law to their advantage, then they enforce it with vigor. Where the Rule Of Law works to their disadvantage, then they routinely ignore it. The Democratic leadership's acquiescence to the latter, is the reason why the political process in the US continues to deteriorate, with no good end in sight.

    A cynical and world weary person would wonder: is the Democratic leadership's acquiescence due to the fact that the Democratic Party is heavily influenced by the very same interests which are served by this erosion? The contemporary Democratic Leadership has been chosen from a limited pool of contenders that has been selected through a decades long process of party machinations. There are no limits to the amount of money which can be spent to strategically influence how the Democratic Party chooses its leadership and its candidates.

    Contemporary US politics is a manifestation of the maxim that you can't buy all of the politicians all of the time, but you can buy enough of the politicians enough of the time.

    While I don't hold Obama in high esteem, that doesn't mean I would say he's the Devil Incarnate and the lessor of evils. He is merely the lessee of evils.

    by xynz on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 06:28:41 PM PDT

    •  If you think Obama is bought (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you are beyond hope.

      News flash: when somebody shows up and promises you the utopia you think want, complete with whatever fantasy polices you imagine, exactly as you imagine them... that person is lying.

      Do you understand? When someone tells you exactly what you want to hear, and only what you want to hear, they are lying.

      You probably think you project world-weary cynicism, but all I see is a childish attachment to fairy tales and Prince Charmings.

      •  Your incisive point by point rebuttal.... (0+ / 0-)

        .....of my critique on the last 3 decades of American politics, was truly breathtaking.

        A lesser counter-argument would have resorted to a lazy, false equivalence and then summed it up with an ad-hominem attack.

        Your comment exemplifies the intellectual integrity of a true Obama apologist. I congratulate you, for frankly and honestly demonstrating your intellectual fortitude and your depth of character.

        While I don't hold Obama in high esteem, that doesn't mean I would say he's the Devil Incarnate and the lessor of evils. He is merely the lessee of evils.

        by xynz on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 03:05:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great, great, great diary (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks Armando. I've been feeling basically this for a while.

    See also just about everything Paul Krugman has written since 2000. :(

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Sun Apr 08, 2012 at 10:20:59 PM PDT

  •  So Where Do You Draw A Line In The Sand (0+ / 0-)

    with this Court?  If ACA is overthrown, I would like Obama to eviscerate the decision, prounounce it the work of an unconstitutional super-legislature and an illegal arrogation of power, and then announce he finds it too corrupt to comply with.

    The problem is that the Republicans have the numbers to impeach.  As long as this is the case, we are at the Court's mercy.

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