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The election of 1980 was a pivotal one - perhaps THE pivotal one of our times.  It marked the beginning of the Reagan era and 32 (and counting) years of "trickle-down" economics, foxes guarding the regulatory henhouses, lobbyists writing the very text of Congressional bills, the most extreme fundamentalism speaking (and legislating) on behalf of all faith... basically the whole sordid mess that reached its apex with the Bush II years, and that got us where we are today.

Right now the Republicans like to invoke 1980, because on the surface, conditions are pretty similar, with an unpopular (or at least, divisive) incumbent presiding over an economic slump.  The GOP also likes to invoke 1980 in a spirit of naive hope, because Carter was leading in the polls at this point, but Reagan was nonetheless able to come back and win.  

Which, in turn, heralded a total sea change in the country's view of government - and, as mentioned, 32 years of Republicans utterly dictating the terms of the national debate, making the very word "liberal" into something to be automatically shunned.  The GOP would love nothing more than for Romney to make a similar comeback and allow them to seal their hegemony for, at a minimum, another 32 years.

But walk with me down Crazy Idealism Lane a moment.

What if they have it backwards?  What if this is OUR 1980, and we have a chance to not only win back the White House, but to decisively recapture the national debate for the Progressives, the way Reagan did for the Right?

Follow me over the fold and hear me out.

In 1980, President Carter was deeply unpopular, both within his own party and with the public at large.  As Nate Silver points out here, Carter's overall economic record over his entire four years was nowhere near as bad as it's been made out to be - BUT, his last two years were on a downward slope, with high inflation and economic "malaise."  Times were hard, and Carter lacked Reagan's gift of putting a cheerful face on bad news.  When he talked to the American public, he told them the truth - but the truth wasn't pretty, and he often sounded like a scold.  A lecturer.  A downer.  

Meanwhile, Reagan was selling his unique brand of snake oil, mixed with sunny optimism and a masterful grasp of political theatre.  Even when you knew his policies were horrific and his words "factually challenged" at best - dammit, Ronald Reagan made you feel GOOD listening to him.  (And if you weren't there for the late '70s, trust me - people needed that.)  His popularity drove us crazy the way Clinton's and Obama's popularity drives the Right crazy.

Carter was swept into office in 1976 on a wave of post-Watergate, anti-Republican sentiment; he was the outsider who was going to "clean up Washington."  And Carter, who remains perhaps the most morally upright man ever to hold the Presidency, took that charge seriously.  Unfortunately for him, he considered the clubby Rep-Dem atmosphere in the Senate and House to be part of the problem: his fellow Democrats felt slighted and eventually refused to cooperate.  This climaxed with Ted Kennedy mounting a 1980 primary challenge to Carter from the Left.  Carter barely survived, but the damage had been done.  That year, the Democrats lived up to their perpetual stereotype: disorganized, factional, hamstrung by the needs of competing special interest groups.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, Ronald Reagan had found a way to bridge the gap between the old-money Rockefeller Republicans (left in tatters by Watergate), the Goldwater Republican-Libertarians (read: this year's Ron Paulites) and the burgeoning Religious Right, with its helpful armies of zealous voters and volunteers.  He used Nixon's "Southern strategy," this time combined with Jerry Falwell's brand of "social issues" campaigning, to win over legions of blue-collar voters who had been voting Democratic since FDR's time.  These "Reagan Democrats" solidifed Reagan's lead, and the resulting alliance between the three disparate branches of the party remained in place through at least 2004.

So to sum up: the Democrats were demoralized, half of them were highly unhappy with their nominee, and the Republicans were unified (thanks to Ronald Reagan's unique charisma) like never before.  Then there was John Anderson's third-party candidacy, which siphoned off more left-wing votes than right-wing ones.

The results weren't even close.

And so, as mentioned, we ended up with 32 years of the Republicans OWNING the debate.  Reagan made "liberal" into a dirty word, and Democrats ran from it.  Even when Bill Clinton ran successfully for two terms as President, it was as a triangulating, "Third Way" candidate.  We still bought into the Republican framing that the public wouldn't accept anyone too "liberal."  (You could argue quite persuasively that Clinton and Obama have been the most successful Republican presidents of the past half-century, but let's leave that one alone for the moment.)

But now let's fast-forward to today.

Superficially, President Obama is sort of in President Carter's position - only not really.  He is popular within his own party, the GOP's fervent hopes of PUMAs in 2008 and a "Bill Clinton backstabbing" in 2012 never having come to pass.  He remains relatively popular with the public, hovering around 48% approval for most of this year.  Much to the GOP's frustration, the public at large still doesn't blame Obama for the economic mess he inherited.  And the party is unified around his unique charisma like never before.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney survived a bloody primary battle, just barely, but remains a deeply unpopular choice within his own party.  That alliance between the "serve the 1%" money people, the Ron Paul Libertarian wing, and the fundamentalists?  It was already fraying during the Dubya years, and now it's been shattered.  The Ron Paulites feel stabbed in the back by Romney's high-handed tactics, which shut them out of the process and denied them any voice at the convention.  Ditto with the fundies and Tea Partiers.  Romney was everyone's last choice, and Obama-hatred is currently the only thing unifying the Republicans in any significant way.  Romney's singular lack of warmth and personability puts the nail in the coffin - maybe Reagan could charm these people into putting up with each other, but Romney? Not a chance.

Does this sound familiar?  It's 1980 all over again - but this time the INCUMBENT is the one with unique personal charisma, a unified party, and momentum on his side.

Which makes me think: what if this is OUR opportunity to reframe the national debate, to reclaim it for Progressives the way FDR did for thirty-plus years?

This is the first in (I hope) a series of "Our 1980" diaries about how to accomplish that goal.  It'll mean campaigning like crazy to keep the Senate, ideally with that "supermajority" and/or filibuster reform, and to take back the House.  (Not to mention all those governor's races and state legislatures.)  It'll mean reaching out, making common cause with the Tea Partiers and low-info voters who have been brainwashed by the Fox News media machine all this time.  (They are uniquely vulnerable to being won over right now, since they're still feeling the sting of Romney slapping them down into "their place.") And it'll mean keeping our eyes on the prize, never letting "the perfect" get in the way of "the good" and "the doable."

Call me crazy.  But I believe we can do it! I believe it's our moment.  I believe the election of 2012 could be the Progressives' big chance.

This can be OUR 1980.  Are you in?

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Comment Preferences

  •  This got too complicated for me. (0+ / 0-)

    You want Obama to win this year I presume? When you say you want this to be like 1980 you mean it (somehow) in a good way?

  •  Interesting (10+ / 0-)

    your argument is basically what Obama was talking about when he mentioned Reagan, the transformative nature on the public dialogue and that he wanted something like that.  He got blasted in the primaries for it.

    But there is something to the notion that we have a chance to put us before me in the public mind and to re-establish that government has a place in helping us, being the ref that ensures everyone plays by rules that give everyone a chance to prosper.   There could be no better antagonist for presenting that contrast than Mr. 1% himself.   The guy that was and always has been all about me, doesn't even seem human, and even his wife can't make a credible argument that he is.

    •  pretty sure obama said it after the election (3+ / 0-)

      and the quote was something to the effect of Reagan having changed the trajectory of american politics in a way that no once since him has, and the Obama aspired to do the same because he felt the country needed it.

      and he was taken to task for that in certain circles on DKOS, because they saw the quote as giving Reagan undeserved praise and undercutting a Democratic counter message. then, as now, I thought those critics were missing Obama's point, which was that we're not going to get the change we all aspire to unless those voters Reagan grabbed in 1980 come back to the Democratic party. that's the kind of thing that will cause moderate GOPers to abandon their tactics or even abandon the party itself and have a lasting affect on the agenda for both parties.

  •  Iran, hostages... (7+ / 0-)

    Nightline running the Americans held hostage day whatever every night is why Carter lost. Before the Iran mess Carter was still leading Reagan and Reagan was a babbling idiot talking about trees causing pollution.

    As a nation, the U.S. consumes the most hot dogs per capita. So you'd be wise to never underestimate our powers of denial.

    by jbou on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 10:05:59 AM PDT

  •  It is. See Schlesinger Political Cycle. (4+ / 0-)

    with a Strauss & Howe Generational Cycle overlay, and Viola! the shift to Progressivism is complete.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

  •  The Religious Right Was Martialed By Conservatives (5+ / 0-)

    15 years earlier. They had a nationwide organization of a highly engaged community of millions, purpose-built to persuade people to adopt their ideas. They were an important force in getting Reagan the nomination and the win.

    No such movement or force exists on our side, nor do we have any billionaire fighting to make the US a liberal nation while they have dozens maybe scores on their side fighting to make it oligarchic. We also don't have a party or major power block in the party that opposes Reaganomics nearly as much as the conservatives opposed New Deal - Great Society economics.

    Reagan was effect not cause; we don't have analogous causes driving our direction. So there may be some similarities in circumstances but that's about it.

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

    by Gooserock on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 10:14:40 AM PDT

    •  Hmmm. (4+ / 0-)
      The Religious Right Was Martialed (sic) By Conservatives 15 years earlier.
      By this you would mean 1980 - 15 = 1965. I don't buy it.

      >In 1965, less than a month after "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, AL, Jerry Falwell preached a sermon decrying any use of politics in religion and religion in politics:

      "Believing the Bible as I do, I would find it impossible to stop preaching the pure saving gospel of Jesus Christ and begin doing anything else — including the fighting of communism, or participating in the civil rights reform.... Preachers are not called to be politicians, but to be soul winners."
                            ----Time magazine obituary
      He didn't even go on local television until about 1968 in Lynchburg, VA.
      >Jimmy Swaggert had recorded a gospel music album in 1962 with the help of his cousin Jerry Lee Lewis ("Chantilly Lace" and "Great Balls of Fire"), didn't go on radio until 1968 and didn't get a TV program until about 1975.
      >Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker went live with their Charlotte, NC "PTL" Club about 1974.
      >Pat Robertson started his show on a UHF station in Portsmouth, VA in 1960, true, but it was such a shoestring operation he had to get 700 donors to keep it on the air for years....hence the name "The 700 Club." He didn't get on cable TV with his "Christian Broadcasting Network" (CBN) until 1977.

      So if you mean the electronic, public face of the "Religious Right" 1965 is off by a good 10 years.

      These people WERE around, to be sure, but the Reagan nominating coalition of 1980 picked up the "Religious Right/Moral Majority" only AFTER Falwell soured on Jimmy Carter (a fellow Southerner and evangelical Christian Falwell CAMPAIGNED FOR in 1976.)

      What DID get marshaled in 1965 were the losing members of the Goldwater wing of the GOP. Smashed by the Johnson landslide in '64, they saw the GOP centrists led by Ray Bliss resurrect the party in 1966 and win back the White House in '68 with centrist Richard Nixon.
      It was only AFTER Nixon crashed and burned in Watergate and centrist Ford (having JUST nosed out Reagan or the nomination) lost to Carter in 1976 that they could make the case that if only Ronnie and the RW had been in charge they would have won.

      Adding the Religious Right to the remnants of the GOP liberal wing (VP Rockefeller, Sen. Javits, Sen. Lowell Weicker), the moderate (and mostly dominant) wing (GHW Bush, Sen. Howard Baker) and the conservative branch (Gov. John Connelly, Sen. Bob Dole, Rep. Phil Crane) was enough to produce a winning coalition.

      Now, as the diarist points out, that grouping is fraying. The liberals are gone. The moderates are in decline (Lugar of Indiana, Castle of Delaware). The neo-cons (Giuliani, Dick Cheney) have come and gone, as have the paleo-cons (Dole, Buchanan). The former conservatives have dwindled into pale technicians (John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Karl Rove), been replaced by unhinged neo-fascists (Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Louis Gohmert, Jan Brewer, Nikki Haley) or the hollow, state-less, 1% mannequins (Romney, Gingrich, Ralph Reed, Sheldon Adelson, Koch Brothers.)  The religious right has transmogrified into the Christian dominionists (Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum). And there's also George W. Bush....
           All of which put together is NOT a winning coalition to gain the White House and has a crumbling position in Congress.

      I thought the diary was thought-provoking and hopeful.

      Shalom.

      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:45:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We have a leg-up on Reagan. We already have the (3+ / 0-)

    deficit producing trickle-down tax cuts.

  •  I hope it is like 1980 (3+ / 0-)

    because if anyone (Iran for example) screws with us and creates a national security emergency, Dems win.

  •  i'm not convinced that these analogies apply (4+ / 0-)

    - presidential elections are so wrapped up in their own historical contingencies that it makes comparisons pretty fraught - and i see obama as more of a transitional figure preparing the way for a progressive reagan-analogue, but i do tend to agree that we're moving rapidly towards a real ideological watershed in this country, on par with the reagan-era shift.

    who wins the democratic primary knife fight in 2015-16 will have huge consequences for whether we remain in this neoliberalism-with-tinkering-around-the-edges holding pattern, or whether we see a real progressive break with the reagan-clinton consensus.

    •  At the same time we run the risk of nominating (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pope Buck I

      a left-wing Goldwater. But that is what primaries are intended to sort out for us.

      •  that's sort of facile (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pope Buck I, weinerschnauzer

        to even discuss goldwater as an analogy, you need to take into account the demographic and political shifts that made him such an electoral failure, and then show that similar shifts would strand a left winger should they win a primary.

        quite frankly, the demographic shifts currently in the process of emerging - the explosion in non-white voters + the ideological sh-ft leftwards in the demographically huge millennial generation + the decline of the most conservative silent generation as a % of the electorate - would make a left winger more likely to succeed than in the past several decades, IMO.

      •  A left-wing Goldwater? (2+ / 0-)

        Benn there, done that:

        George McGovern, 1972....complete with rotating VP choices.

        Shalom.

        "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

        by WineRev on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:47:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And then we learned the wrong lessons from it. (0+ / 0-)

          Either that or we couldn't put them into practice.  

          This would make Carter our Nixon.   Problem is, we didn't have a Reagan (unless it was Ted Kennedy, who used up his one chance to become POTUS in 1980 and wound up splitting the party instead, as noted).  Sometimes I wonder if it would've been better in the long run to let Ford win in '76; I suspect the American people would've wanted a Dem in 1980, which would've made things tougher for Reagan.  

          We tend to forget that 1980 was Reagan's last chance; the fact that things could easily have turned out differently should encourage us, because it indicates that the USA isn't necessarily as conservative as the GOP says it is, but instead we let it discourage us.  Time (long past time) to seize the initiative.

          The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

          by Panurge on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 09:27:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's true. If we work hard and sprint through the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pope Buck I, WineRev

    finish line, this can be a landslide and it can mark the moment when the left becomes the winners' side and the conservative movement officially flat lines.  As a result, we can start moving the Overton window to the left so that we can then legislate to our goals and still be within it.  It is only when we have won the national debate that we can legislate as if we have.  To do otherwise is electoral suicide.  This is why we need to show up to canvass, phone bank, control the social media, and VOTE.  It's why we needed to in 2010.  

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

    by lockewasright on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 10:21:20 AM PDT

  •  2008 was our 1980. This is more like our 1984 (4+ / 0-)

    Keep in mind, Reagan's 1st term was not all wine and roses for him, at some points, the economy stayed in a deep recession in 1982, and there were other missteps, as well as successes. Reagan's popularity was pretty low at some points. I think there were even some points when Mondale polled well ahead of him in the 1984 election. It's only in retrospect, after the validation of Reagan in the 1984 election, that the 1980 election was seen as a turning point that it was.

    •  interest rates during Reagan's early years (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State, Pope Buck I

      were ruinous to the average American's budget.

      When we bought our home in 1983 - with an almost perfect credit rating - we were paying about 12% interest for the privilege of 'owning' our home.

      The first few years of 'owning' our home, we weren't even keeping up with just the interest on the loan for our $100K + house. In other words, every month, despite paying $1,200 per month on our mortgage, we were actually deeper in debt to our bank than the month before.

      We re-fied early in GHW Bush's term, and then were able to pay off the entire mortgage by the time Clinton was in office for a couple of years.

      But I can still stun the young ones when I tell them how much we were paying in interest on the home we have now owned free and clear since 1994.

      •  NMR - interest during Reagan's early years (0+ / 0-)

        were likely lower than at the end of Carters term. The prime rate peaked just at the end of Carter's term at 21.5%. You may recall the "misery index" the sum of the prime rate and the unemployment rate. It was a big issue in the 1980 campaign.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 01:16:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree. I thought 2008 was exactly like (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pope Buck I

      1980 with a mandate and a repudiation of Republican policies and values, which (to my view) was diluted by the continued relentless rightward shift of the Overton window so that four years later we find ourselves battling for birth control in employer healthcare plans!!!!

      “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

      by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:01:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is our 1972 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Hamlet, Pope Buck I

    '72 the Dems swung left and had a fringe left that got all the media and was almost controlling the narrative. While I was relatively young I was with them. We got crushed. Nixon ran against the Yippies and won big.

    2012. A fringe right wing has been controlling the narrative. But ... who's the silent majority now?

    Okay, maybe a stretch, but I'm thinking we do better than the polling up and down ticket, unlike 72 when Nixon didn't help his team down ticket.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 10:39:48 AM PDT

  •  No, I'm Afraid this might be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pope Buck I

    more like our 1992-- then, we were just starting to come out of a mild (compared to now) recession... but the upturn wasn't in time for poppy bush.. he got beat by Clinton. the voters wanted a change

    we're starting to see some postive economic indicators now.. but it may not be in time...

    "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 10:42:08 AM PDT

    •  Do voters want a change now? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think so.  

      Besides, what good is playing the downer card?  Sometimes the right thing to do is to be one of (ahem) history's actors.

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 09:32:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have some real issues with your theory here. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Musial, Pope Buck I, VClib

    No disrespect intended but I think you have gotten this wrong.

    First Reagan did not come to terms with moderates. He crushed them. George H.W. Bush was toothless as VP. John Anderson was the Rocky type candidate and he barely qualified for the ballot. Reagan had crushed Ford's hope of re-election and seized the machinery of the party. Conservatives loved Reagan and he ruled from the middle. But they forgave him because he made them feel "good about America again".

    Second going into the last weeks of the election Reagan and Carter were close in the popular vote. Go back and watch election night coverage before they start calling states. Carter was out organized in every state. How much of that is due to Teddy Kennedy withholding support for Carter like Reagan did to Ford in 1976?

    Third remember the October surprise? The sudden downturn in the hostage negotiations. The Rose Garden strategery of Carter not campaigning until the hostages came home? The lies told by the Republicans after the conventions?

    We need to face some facts. The President is not a progressive. His tendency is to compromise with Republicans. He keeps telling us that. At what point are we going to believe him? The Democratic Party lost it commitment to progressivism after 1988. Because progressivism did not deliver victory at the polls.

    If we want a progressive future we have to be better at advocating for progressive positions. And that means not rolling over like we have in the past. Bush did not get rid of Glass Steagall Clinton did. Bush did not sign NAFTA Clinton did. And Tim Geithner was chosen by Obama as Sec of Treasury. Obama appointed no progressives to his economic team that lasted more than a few months. And Obama in an interview published last Saturday said that if he is re elected Republicans will have to work with him and respect the electoral result. Does he really think this? Does he not know who he is dealing with? He will negotiate with them and ignore us. And they will continue to treat him like a servant and not the President.

    Here is the new model of government that Republicans follow - If we prevent government from doing anything we win. Look up economist Joseph Schumpeter and his idea of "creative destruction". It may not be as sexy as Ayn Rand but just as important to understand the modern conservative mind.

    I want the President to win. I will vote for him. If I can find any extra money i will donate. I will volunteer. But I am a realist about what I can expect. And as we turn into 2013 the President will concentrate more on foreign policy and discussions about legacy. Where are the clarion calls to take back Congress? Why is the President even talking about the possibility of a Congress not controlled by Democrats? The last President running for re-election to leave Congress out to dry like this was Nixon.

    •  I agree with much of your reasoning, except for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pope Buck I

      this part:

      We need to face some facts. The President is not a progressive. His tendency is to compromise with Republicans. He keeps telling us that. At what point are we going to believe him? The Democratic Party lost it commitment to progressivism after 1988. Because progressivism did not deliver victory at the polls.
      Which, until recent weeks, was absolutely the truth of the matter.

      But in the past two weeks, I've seen some nattering about President Obama having an epiphany on his approach to bi-partisanship negotiations with the #GOP, and how it has not been working for him or the Nation. The scuttlebutt is that a 2nd term President Obama will not be quite the friendly "can't we all just get along" CinC with the #RepublicanHordes, but more of the 'campaign mode BarackStar' using the Bully Pulpit to use the Electorate itself to push the Republicans to more reasonable negotiations.

      So that the US Congress can start doing it's job, instead of stonewalling every piece of important legislation since January 20, 2009.

      It's just a rumour, but it's coming from places that have historically been more right than wrong.

      I for one would relish a permanently 'campaign-mode' @BarackObama, putting it to the obstructionist, recalcitrant, willfully-ignorant #RepublicanTBagRHorde via regular Bully Pulpit smackdowns. Maybe @MeetThePress and other supposedly-News-related programming would start soundling more like reasonable adults discussing ways to deal with national problems,  instead of 14 year old Anarchists looking for their next big chance to fuck things up.

      "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.''
      -- SCOTUS Justice O.W. Holmes Jr
      "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"
      -- Angie in WA State

      by Angie in WA State on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:59:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mis-diagnosis there. (0+ / 0-)

      It wasn't "progressivism" that wasn't delivering victory at the polls; it was bad campaigning.  Clinton didn't win because he was a moderate; he won because he was a good campaigner.  Progressives and liberals quite simply haven't been good campaigners since Reagan (or maybe even Nixon), apparently because they seem to think good campaigning is something conservatives do, so we shouldn't do that.  No wonder we've been losing.  If you want progressive politics/sociology/culture/style/whatever to win, make them cool.

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 09:52:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good politics, bad policy. (0+ / 0-)

        Just because someone figures out how to sell you a bad idea does not mean it is not a bad idea. The repeal of Glass Steagal was a disaster. And plenty of economists told Clinton not to do it. But he ignored them. Plenty of experts told Clinton to support welfare reform and now people are suffering with no help in sight. Are you more interested in winning elections and being popular or are you interested in governing wisely? Politics is ultimately about implementing policy and good policy at that. What do we believe in? Did you here the story of how a Clinton agency administrator tried to regulate derivatives back in the late 90s. She was the head of the Commodities Agency and had over site. Well Clinton's other economic advisers like Bob Rubin worked with Congress to strip her of this authority. And if she had implemented her policies the banking collapse of 08 probably would not have happened. Check out the episode of Frontline on the PBS site about Brooksley Born.

        How about instead of trying to make truth "cool" we act like adults and advocate for ideas that we know will work. Like the New Deal. Neoliberalism is dying lets stop it from killing us with it.

        •  Because that hasn't worked. (0+ / 0-)

          This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about:  "We're right, so we don't need to do the sales job--that's beneath us.  All those people with bad policy know how to win elections, so that means all those proven campaigning techniques have cooties and we're not gonna use them because we're better than that."  We can't govern wisely if we don't win elections.  You have to know what to say to get people to vote for you, and you don't even have to change the policy to do that.

          The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

          by Panurge on Sun Sep 09, 2012 at 07:50:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This election has no real parallel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pope Buck I

    It is part 2004, 1996, 1984 and 1948.

    No one has performed as well as Obama has thus far in polling with an unemployment rate this high.  As Nate Silver said, what matters most is recent economic performance and the August and September data could make an impact in the overall outcome of the race.  With August's jobs data looking good, there is a good chance that Obama can have a 12 month period of really good job numbers which would cause a lot of voters to stick with him.  Bad reports could give Romney an opening.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:02:20 AM PDT

  •  well, there you go again............. (0+ / 0-)

    Romney is NOT Reagan.

    Romney is not even holograph Reagan.

    Romney isn't even as interesting or as intelligent as the corpse of Reagan.

    Oh, and Obama ain't Carter, either.


    "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous..........got me?" - Don Van Vliet

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:29:12 AM PDT

  •  In 1980 I was 15 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pope Buck I, SteelerGrrl, Shockwave

    and a sophomore in high school, and I remember those times.  The country was dealing with high inflation, the Iran hostage crisis, and recovering from the damage we did to ourselves in the Vietnam war.  The situation today only superficially resembles 1980: a Democratic incumbent President struggling with public approval running for re-election with amidst a sluggish economy.  

    That's where the resemblance ends.  Where Carter failed to unite the Democrats around his campaign, Obama has united the party-- Clinton's address last night made that clear.  Where Carter had trouble in dealing with the Iranians, it seems Obama might have trouble with the Israelis who want to attack the Iranians.  Where Carter was ineffectual in dealing with inflation, Obama has worked hard to tackle unemployment.  Where Carter was hobbled by members of Congress in his own party, Obama has been blocked at most every turn by the 'publicans in this Congress.  

    But just like in 1980, the voters have a clear choice.  But this time, the right wing has gone so far beyond the pale on so many issues they have made themselves unpalatable to many Americans.  So 2012 might be like 1980, a fundamental realignment for the long term; or like 1964, a landslide so strong that many changes can be enacted that will reshape American society.

    "You're not allowed to sell your countrymen out to multinational financial corporations anymore and still call yourself a patriot." --MinistryOfTruth

    by Kurt from CMH on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 11:56:49 AM PDT

    •  Well said (3+ / 0-)

      I was twelve in 1980.  Reagan was a figure of adoration in my small town.  Family, teachers, pastors, everyone I came in contact with loved him.  

      I was too young and sheltered to have an informed political opinion, but I do remember the energy and air of inevitability the campaign assumed after the conventions.

       I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.     -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by SteelerGrrl on Thu Sep 06, 2012 at 12:43:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  not 1980 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, Shockwave

    Both parties are assured a minimum of 48% of the vote. It will be more like 2004. I think it is feasible that Obama loses the popular vote but wins the electoral college. That would be justice.
    Reuters says no bump for Obama yet Romney up 45-44 but still early and also an internet poll.

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