Skip to main content

The news media and pundits love to use sports analogies when discussing American politics. When describing the 2012 race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, boxing is their sport of choice.

Obama's supporters have inaccurately described his defeat by Romney in the first debate as a version of a deep game that is modeled on Muhammad Ali's legendary "rope-a-dope" strategy against George Foreman. Romney's backers claimed that he scored a TKO over Barack Obama, leaving the President flat on his back in the ring after the first debate.

In keeping with the boxing metaphor, the second debate in the 2012 presidential campaign featured Joe Biden, a wizened, experienced pugilist from the mean streets of Scranton versus a scrappy upstart with much to prove named Paul Ryan.

But what if the analogy is inaccurate?

Boxing is a poor fit for describing the presidential race between these two candidates. Boxing is a sport prefaced on merciless violence. People have been killed in the ring, or left handicapped, brain damaged, and physically broken by a match.

I am not not discounting the substantive differences between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama's approach to governance, public policy, or stewardship of the Common Good. This election represents a clear difference on issues such as reproductive rights, public schools and education, tax policy, and health care reform. I also think that a Romney presidency would border on the disastrous for a country struggling to find its way out of the greatest economic downturn in 80 years.

While the stakes are very high, a choice between Obama and Romney cannot be reduced to a blood sport. Yes, political polarization, the rise of the New Right, and the White populism of the Tea Party do signal an increasing chasm and gulf in our society, that if recent surveys and research are to be believed, has limited our ability to relate to one another and imperiled the ability of the State to respond to issues of common concern.

However, there are great areas of overlap between the Republicans and Democrats which are little discussed. Neither Obama or Romney will engage in a substantive discussion of wealth inequality, the destruction of unions and manufacturing, a flat minimum wage, and the power of economic elites in this country to subvert democracy.

Both will continue a policy of American empire and intervention abroad. Both Romney and Obama have demonstrated a lack of willingness to address the rise of the surveillance state, and the continual erosion of privacy and personal liberty under the guise of "the War on Terror."

And of course, Obama and Romney will not discuss the realities of the color line, the semi-permanence of white racism, and how race and class intersect to limit the life chances of many tens of millions of Americans.

In all, the 2012 election features a centrist Right-leaning Democrat who would have been a Rockefeller Republican in another era running against a flip-flopping, quasi-moderate, near sociopathic Republican who will do anything to win the White House. Regardless of the outcome, the Republic will survive; moreover, a fight over a very narrow area of public policy which does little to challenge Power will continue unabated.

Contemporary American politics is more like professional wrestling than a boxing match.

The outcomes are predetermined in the former. Consequently, the force of personalities, storytelling, and the to and fro between competitors (what we wrestling fans call "in-ring generalship" and "workrate") are the elements of a great match. Professional wrestling is a spectacle that succeeds by drawing the audience into the story and manipulating their emotions.

The same logic holds true in the race between Obama and Romney. All one needs to do is examine the 24 hour news cycle and the media's desperate effort to find a story--any story at all--to keep the public's attention. Alternatively, the pundit classes' obsession with the presidential "horse race" is another example of where the story is the thing, and the narrative will be told in such a way as to produce the illusion of a very competitive race. Consequently, the public will be caught up in the action--and not necessarily the substance (or implications) of what is being discussed.

There are other parallels between boxing and professional wrestling as well.

1. Before the rise of the World Wrestling Federation (now called the WWE), professional wrestling was divided up into various territories. The South, Northeast, Mid Atlantic  Texas, Florida, the Northwest, Chicago, the Midwest, and California all had their various wrestling fiefdoms run by individuals or families. Wrestlers would move from place to place, building up their popularity by doing shows, and then if lucky, challenging the regional champion. Eventually, those regional associations were eaten up and collapsed into two large entities. They controlled the stars, put on the big shows, and got the TV time. The smaller, independent promotions were left to fend for themselves and fill out the rest of the market for a niche audience.

The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are the big wrestling companies and territories of contemporary politics.

2. Who has the "book?" This is wrestling-talk for who controls the outcome of the match and plans the storylines. Depending on the era, the booker could be a trusted older wrestler who paid his dues, knows how to tell a story, and can mentor young talent. In other situations, the book was held by the owner. If it is your money on the line, what better way to serve your own interests than to determine the outcomes of your own shows? Vince McMahon is that figure in the WWE. In the now defunct AWA, it was their champion and owner, the legendary Verne Gagne, who came up with the stories and (for a long time) was also their star performer.

In American politics, this matter is a bit more complicated . It is true that the big money interest groups have an outsized influence in what transpires. They help to influence the "storylines" and to shape what is placed on the national agenda. The Super Pacs, and the Koch Brothers for example, are the guys playing politics in the locker room and gaming the system for themselves.

However, the real bookers are those centers of power in American society that always seem to benefit regardless of who is in office. These are the military industrial complex, the financier class, the banksters, and other global plutocrats. All they care about is that the tickets are sold, and that the concessions are purchased because he who holds "the book" is often the owner as well. Regardless of the outcome, they are going to get paid.

3. The talking heads and news analysts "frame" the news for the public. In professional wrestling, there are announcers who favor the villain or "heel." Others talk up "the face" or good guy. And there are commentators who break the rules and wink at the audience by balancing a discussion of a wrestler's in-ring ability and prowess, with a subtle concession that none of this is in fact "real." In fact, the commentators are being told what to say by the bookers backstage. Just like the referees in the ring, the announcers are all part of an elaborate and highly choreographed show that is designed to win over the audience's emotions.

MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and the other major news networks are doing the color commentary for American politics. Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity, Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, Joe Scarborough, and others are the Jim Ross and Jerry the King Lawlers of the TV pundit class. Their job is first and foremost to spin a story and keep the public interested in the shows. High ratings equal more ad revenue.

4. Managers were once featured characters in professional wrestling. Managers were a great asset because they could help a physically gifted wrestler who was not talented verbally to get his story across to the audience. Some would babysit and mentor wrestlers on the road in order to keep them out of trouble. A great manager could also add an "X factor" to a wrestler, by being a secret weapon of sorts to help him or her win a match. The greatest wrestling managers were amazing personalities who had devoted followings: their relationship with a wrestler could guarantee them a shot at instant credibility and popularity with the fans.

Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly are the best talkers on the Right. Ed Schultz and Lawrence O'Donnell are the best talkers on the Left. In professional wrestling, the former would be amazing heel managers because of their smugness, craftiness, and ability to make the audience hate them; the latter would be great assets for a face who was not particularly gifted on the mic, and who needed someone sharp and passionate to help them tell their story.

5. Fans are integral to professional wrestling. If we do watch on the TV, attend live shows, buy the DVDs, share our stories, and pass on the legacy from one generation to the next, then the hobby and the "sport" will die. The greatest matches in professional wrestling manipulated the crowd's emotions, took the fans on a journey, and played out an epic struggle between two titans. From Andre vs. Hogan, to Steamboat vs. Flair, the epic battles between Flair and Dusty, and the amazing series of matches between Michaels and Undertaker, the common element was the hot crowd and the fans who were deeply and personally invested in what happened inside of the squared circle.

There are two types of fans. There are "marks" who believe--even in this era--that professional wrestling is not scripted. There are "smart marks" who know that professional wrestling is an elaborate soap opera. But for those of us in the latter group, this fact makes us want to follow the sport even more closely, to learn its history, and to really try to figure out the various angles. Why? Because on some level most smart marks wish they were either professional wrestlers themselves or somehow directly involved in the business.

In American politics the Obamabots, Right-wing mouth breather Tea Party types, the foot soldiers, as well as low information, yet nonetheless very enthusiastic and passionate voters for both the Democrats and the Republicans, are the marks. They are so caught up in the show, the spectacle and its transcendent rhetoric and simple storylines with "good guys," "bad guys," and its accompanying moral clarity, that they do not see that it is all a work, a charade of sorts.

The bloggers, and those others who aspire to be members of the chattering class, are the smart marks. Their level of information, sophistication, and knowledge about the game is much deeper than the average fan. However, because they know more--and have invested time and energy to gain this expertise--the smart marks of American politics are much more invested in the outcome because on a basic and practical level many of them are invested--financially, personally, career wise--in who wins the match.

The activists and real change agents are those who go beyond a "worked shoot." They actually run in to the ring, tell the truth about what is going on backstage to the public, or shake things up by exposing the fraud that professional wrestling (and American politics in general) has become). Sadly, there are few such folks in either game.

6. The professional wrestlers are the human fuel that gets ground up and spat out in order to tell a physical story for the pleasure of the fans, and for the promise of fame and fortune. Without "the talent" there is no professional wrestling. Every part of the card matters. But, those who really "draw," i.e. bring in the big money, are at the the top of ticket. These are the marquee wrestlers--the Rocks, Hogans, Snukas, Austins, Flairs, Undertakers, Harts, Punks, Andres, Jerichos, HHHs, Angles, and Michaels.

Obama and Romney are the two premier professional wrestlers in the game today. If I held the book, the story would go as follows.

Obama is a face, the good guy, who worked really hard to win the belt. He overcame impossible odds and took on a stable of established wrestlers, beating them or otherwise outsmarting them. Obama even enlisted his foes, the Clintons, to his side as enforcers.

Never a physical powerhouse, Obama is a great technical wrestler who was weak on the mic but had flourishes of passion and raw talent that won over the crowd. Now, the face champion is tired and exhausted. He has defended the belt against all comers. He has even compromised his values in order to win a match at the risk of alienating some of his fans. Obama is loved by his people with a passion; he has disappointed and worn out his welcome with some of his most enthusiastic supporters (who are down on his workrate as of late); Barack Obama is Hogan in his later years, or John Cena in the present. Smart marks want Obama to become CM Punk. However, he is apparently incapable of making that turn to a more direct and real persona

Mitt Romney is the perfect heel. He is cold, calculating, sophisticated, indifferent to the little guy, entitled, smug, has money, and can play the victim with expert conviction. Romney will do anything at all to win. He is Ted DiBiase, the million dollar champion (or perhaps even HHH, Buddy Rodgers, or Nick Bockwinkle). Yes, Ric Flair played the rich guy heel role. But, he was too charismatic and likable to hate.

Mitt Romney would be a great villain in any era. Romney's obliviousness to just how offensive his demeanor, speech, and attitude really are to the common man makes him an archetypal villain. There is something about Romney that drives a person to hate him. Romney is so despised that and even his allies reluctantly support him as the best of the worst available options.

Originally posted to chaunceydevega on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 10:17 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Oof. That's gonna leave a mark (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks, Chauncey. This might be a tough pill to swallow, but I feel your analysis is very accurate.

    Another metaphor I like to use is good cop/bad cop. No, one of them is not really your friend just because he brought you a cup of coffee.

    Aren't we supposed to wait until after the election to bring up painful points like this? LOL. And after the election, it will be a  different reason why we aren't supposed to talk about it.

    •  painful? how? i love hearing various (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, Shockwave

      folks' reactions as you know.

    •  How. DARE YOU.....compare Obama to Cena. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alain2112, Shockwave, sacrelicious

      To state the truth All Smarks Hold To Be Self-Evident, Cena Sucks.

      Sucks in the ring.

      Sucks on the mic.

      Sucks as a face.

      Sucks as a character.

      Sucks Sucks Sucks.

      Obama is a great technical wrestler who was weak on the mic but had flourishes of passion and raw talent that won over the crowd. Now, the face champion is tired and exhausted. He has defended the belt against all comers. He has even compromised his values in order to win a match at the risk of alienating some of his fans.
      >great technical wrestler

      >weak on the mic

      >Barack Obama is Hogan in his later years

      LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL NO

      The analogy you're looking for is "Obama is Bret Hart during the build-up to WM13".

      Of course, I don't think DKos will suddenly start booing Obama and cheering Romney after Mitt passes out in a pool of his own blood while Obama holds him in the Sharpshooter, so uh.............

      boy, analogies are HARD

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 04:35:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can see Limbaugh as Sir Oliver Humperdink... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purdue219

    ....Hannity as the Grand Wizard, and Beck as Jim Cornette! (With tennis racket of course).

    I can see romney as Ted Dibiase (WWE version of course), calling President Obama "Bo Bo  Brazil", throwing him into the turnbuckle, but BO is too quick and raises his leg high, bashing romney on the top of the skull with his mighty calf muscle!

    (Sorry if I am getting carried away here.  I LOVE sports analogies, especially football relating to business....but this is a joy to read and respond to!)

    Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand. ***Buy ALDUS SHRUGGED on amazon, and ALL royalties will be donated directly to Democrats in contentious Downballot races. @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 10:59:34 AM PDT

    •  i didn't want to get too deep with the (0+ / 0-)

      references but i thought of cornet or the wizard or even kevin sullivan for the Right-wing talkers.

      chris matthews could do a good freddy blassie.

      Who is Uncle Pat? Old school Col. Debeers?

      •  OMG! Matthews with the white/yellow hair.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SC Lib

        as the Classy one??!!  YES!

        And for background/resume alone, yes, debeers/buchanan!

        (Yer right.  These fun references are better left to the comments and not a serious diary).

        (And Linda McMahon as Vince McMahon???  Who could tell the diff at this point??  hee hee)

        Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand. ***Buy ALDUS SHRUGGED on amazon, and ALL royalties will be donated directly to Democrats in contentious Downballot races. @floydbluealdus1

        by Floyd Blue on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 11:18:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  First off, this is a *great* diary. (0+ / 0-)

      As a smark since the days of Bruno, the Killer and the Count I love the wrestling analogy, especially given the droves that seem to be willing captives these days of the Fox Filibuster Federation.  But you just can't put Jim Cornette on the heel side--his rant after former ECW commentator Joey Styles let loose with some wingnut badinage has become legendary in rasslin' circles:

      And that's just part one!  I know it's long, but listen to the whole thing if you have time--it is pure smackdown on the right-wingers.  He sounds more like Ed Schultz than Ed does.  Mebbe someday Big Ed'll have him on and the two of them can roast Michael Cole and Michael Medved over a slow fire.

      It ain't free speech if it takes cash money.

      by Uncle Igor on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 01:58:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sadly in your booking scenario (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, sacrelicious

    ...Obama would have to have a heel turn coming soon because he's been booked as such a weak face that that would be the only way for him to get his heat back.

    Or, you know, put Romney through a table at the next debate setting up a steel cage debate to blow off the feud.

    Actually, I'm sorta having fun picturing Biden as Tully Blanchard, Bill Clinton as Arn Anderson and Hilary as I dunno? Barry Windham? Sorry, I was a NWA/WCW guy back in the day.

    "I chose to change facts, reality, and the meaning of words, in order to make a much larger point." - Paul Ryan John Oliver

    by SC Lib on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 01:08:30 PM PDT

  •  I don't buy it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vivadissent, duhban, XenuLives

    If it were wrestling, the match would be rigged.

    If it's rigged, please tell me which candidate is going to win.

    If it's rigged, why vote? If it's rigged, why GOTV? If it's rigged, why donate money?

    Sorry, but fuck that. There is a difference between the two parties and the two candidates. Is it as much of a difference as I would like? No. My nickname is Comrade, if that gives you any indication of my political leanings.

    But to sit here and compare the American political process to some fixed wrestling matches is just childish and frankly overdone analysis.

    Take Occam to this and you'll see not a conspiracy, but a series of self-interested calculations. The problem, as always, is MONEY.

    The candidates need money to compete. With unlimited donors, this limits what candidates can reasonably advocate, which limits who can truly emerge as a candidate for office.

    Media needs money to operate. Billions in political ads, plus a few hundred million eyeballs per week certainly sells newspapers and tv/radio ads.

    Big Media Personalities are in it to make money as well, but this time for themselves more than any company. They are a brand. Bill O'Reilly is a brand, as is Limbaugh, Maddow, etc. They see news, they filter it through their brand, and they report it/opine on it.

    Corporations are acting rationally as well, too -- just not in a way that we like or in a way that is compatible with democracy. It is perfectly rational to spend $20 million on lobbying to get $500 million or more in defense contracts.

    So no, it's not pro wrestling. It is a lot more like pro boxing, where you have an interlocked group of self-interested people (boxers, promoters, managers, pay-per-view companies, tv companies, advertisers) circling around the sport like vultures.

    They aren't in on some conspiracy and they're acting purely out of self-interest.

    Want to fix the system? Get the money out of it. Want to get the money out of it? Quit voting for asshole Republicans who put other asshole Republicans on the Supreme Court.

    I know you're a regular diarist and I'm just some guy, but still, this particular entry is just garbage. Go piss on someone else's parade; we have an election to win.

  •  There's too much truth in what you write (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sacrelicious

    for me to argue against it in toto. I wish it weren't so.
    However, I think around the edges there are still some meaningful differences to stress and meaningful interventions to make (especially the lower down we go). And despite all claims otherwise, no system of power lasts forever, and predicting the moment of change--or the manner in which it will arrive--is still not simple.
    You didn't make it explicit here, but I'm assuming a fair amount of Foucault, particularly in relation to the accumulation, exercise and diffusion of power, also underlies your analogy. Can't let the marks in on the game, after all; WYSIWYG.

    •  Yup...there's too much truth in it for most people (0+ / 0-)

      here to fully engage in.  It goes counter to the Us -vs- Them meme.  I'm not a Marxist, but I have read several books written by him.  Regardless of how it has played out in real time, the observations he makes about politics/economy/society strike pretty true.  The devil is in the details.

      Maybe it's a better critique than it is a prescription...but it does describe the illness in exquisite detail.  

      Both Parties are captives of Wall Street.  Anyone who argues differently is being willfully obtuse.

      Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

      by Keith930 on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 04:19:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  don't forget dumping on the refs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sacrelicious

    As a wrestling fan I love it! Also know that fake wrestlers do take one serious hell of a beating. Re intimidating the moderators, in one match the awesome Chyna picked up and threw a referee on top of three other refs. I think major league players are jealous of that one!   Also I wait for a version of Mankind's soliloquy about eating worms. Or was that Nixon & Checkers perhaps?  

  •  Well I'll be honest (0+ / 0-)

    in that this is too dense to fully inhale in one sitting right now.

    As an immeditate reaction though I reject utterly you're centeral framing that there is no real difference between the parties, I'm sorry but that's just wrong. Further insulting the people you're trying to convince (Obamabots) is not useful not to mention it makes me wonder.

    There are indeed aspect of 'professional wrestling' to politics especially in the 'story aspect' and style over substance. I would point out that this is a framing that even many here buy into automatically as shown just last week.

    Overall an interesting diary but not without flaws I think

    •  let me add (0+ / 0-)

      that I also think your framing of you being special and 'knowing the truth' while everyone that disagrees with you being 'poor saps' (or marks as you called them) is an incredibly dangerous and slippery slope that leads to conspiracy theories and egoism. So you might want to beware or not, up to you.

    •  i didn't say there was no difference (0+ / 0-)

      reread if you would. opening paragraphs are important.

      •  you seem to be splitting hairs here (0+ / 0-)

        not to mention that  you do indeed talk a lot about how politics is not a blood sport then try to turn it into one while completely misrepresenting Obama.

        You need to pick one because your opening paragraphs are not a defense nor explaination

        •  it matters, but too what degree and (0+ / 0-)

          how are those differences exaggerated in a system historically defined by a consensus model and the 2 parties overlap much more than they disagree.

          •  and this is where we utterly disagree (0+ / 0-)

            because while I would say there are some things both parties disagree on the motivations, choices, decesions and even reasoning are vastly different. The fact is that historically the parties have changed over the years with idealogies and platforms being exchanged, modiefed  and so on.

            There is absolutely no basis to say what you just said

            •  are either party (0+ / 0-)

              going to have a real discussion about redistribution of wealth, american empire, war socialism, the submerged state, globalization, the corporateocracy, etc. etc. etc.?

              nevermind the "war on terror" or privacy issues.

              the googles and internet and the library are your friends. as i said wholin's work is probably among the best introduction to this concept in some time. or look up neoliberalism and democratic leadership counsel.

              or just "neoliberalism explained".

              you can go more old school and start with "consensus liberalism" or "american political development" and "post world war 2 bargain" or even string together "new federalism" in the search.

              just because you want to believe a thing is true does not make it so. don't be a leftie version of the mouth breathers who watch Fox or go to Townhall or Free Republic.

              •  real according to whom? (0+ / 0-)

                I don't that according to you this is true but I see Biden talking about Romney's 47% comment, tax cuts for those that don't need it  and all of Obama's commnets on the matter and frankly think we can't possibly be living on the same planet.

                Honestly it irritates me that you want to just sweep Obama into some nice neat box and then ignore the fact that you had to use a saw, hammer and chisel to make him fit.

                And while we're giving out free advice, you're not an arbiter for truth and certainly not a decider for what is and is not true. You're enittled to your own opinion not your own facts

                •  'I don't doubt that according to you...' (0+ / 0-)
                •  i am an empiricist. the facts are the facts (0+ / 0-)

                  there is also a difference between mere opinion and folks who spend a good amount of time thinking, writing, lecturing, and if lucky, getting paid for their thoughts on these issues. i know this is a facebook culture where all opinions are created equal; in the real world that simply is not true.

                  like i said, use the Google and your library. or track the money. alternatively, make a list of all the things you want, and how most of them are off the table.

                  there are differences; there are also whole areas of convergence, out of bounds areas that neither party--because they are part of an institutional system of corporate capitalist governance/market democracy--that neither will touch.

                  they depend on your support for legitimacy, even while the Common Good is not served. smile, grin, and go along if you like.

                  •  oh you want to make this about experise? (0+ / 0-)

                    okay I'm a chemist with training in numerical methods, statistics a couple computer lanuages and a number of other things that likely are further and further not relevant here so what are your formal qualifications?

                    I recognize that on politics I'm not the best writer but to call this a 'facebook culture' is a slap in everyone's face. Just who do you think you are? Becuase you'd better be some world famous politcal analyist with all that arrogance.

                    You made a claim, I cited a plethora of counter examples to show that no what you're saying really isn't true becuase Obama and Biden do talk about wealth imbalance and inequality. Granted they might not always talk about it but with everything to cover really? I mean that sounds really insecure to me that you need them to constantly mention it.

                    And we've not even gotten into the thing that really bothers me, you're constant and false equviocation between Democrats and Republicans. I get that you're probably left enough on the specturm that you're disappointed that there's not really a party that speaks for you but then neither party is a perfect fit for me. That doesn't  mean I pretend there's no difference

                    •  relax, chill out, inhale, exhale it is (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      duhban

                      good for you.

                      "becuase Obama and Biden do talk about wealth imbalance and inequality. Granted they might not always talk about it but with everything to cover really? I mean that sounds really insecure to me that you need them to constantly mention it."

                      if you don't see that as one of the preeminent issues of the day, you are really an amateur. just being real.

                      we do live in a facebook culture where opinion trumps facts--i.e. the all sides do it meme. social networking, blogging, and other mediums where anyone can hang a shingle regardless of expertise is a sign of that problematic.

                      great. you have expertise in the natural sciences. i have expertise similar to your own assuming you are  all degreed up in the social sciences.

                      you offered no substantive counter-examples. yes, there are policy differences. but, we are not talking about grand changes in the game or in distribution of power relationships. i think you are missing the meta game at work here that i am alluding to.

                      again, the Google is your friend.

                      there is a difference between the lifestyle politics and war of maneuver vs. position that is the reality today--see Gramsci for example, a classic I am sure you read at some point--and the struggles over power and access that were the civil rights or even women's rights movements (and there are smart folks who would say the "radical" nature of those movements and elite surrender is much over-rated).

                      I will test your politics chops for a second for fun--have the democrats and the republicans converged with one another since the 1980s--or even late 1960s?

                      your answer will reveal much. you are fun. keep swinging. i mean that nicely.

                      •  a pet peeve of mine (0+ / 0-)

                        don't tell me to chill because you don't know me and frankly I could be typing 'calmly' while screaming my head off or vice versa. If I want to convey emotion I'll use italics, bold, caps or something else. The point is I'll make it utterly crystal clear that I am trying to convey emotion. Until I do frankly if you're going to make any assumption you're better off assuming a cold montone 'tone'.

                        Let's be clear here sure it's important but it seems like to me you're saying that unless Obama mentions it every chance he gets he's not 'really' for it, which well to me is strange.

                        As to opinions, opinions are equal without facts. Your opinion isn't any more surperior then mine the equalizer is facts and evidence. You keep saying 'google it', I've pointed out specific things Obama and Biden have said and did. You tell me who is providing more convincing truth?

                        And frankly I think you're confusing the forest for a tree here, there is no 'meta game' no conspiracy amongst democrats and republicans. Yes there is a lot of self interest in the money aspect but there's no grand conpsiracy on that either just greedy sad sobs that are consumed with making money. That's no conspiracy just the worst aspects of humanity.

                        As to your question, you'll have to be more specific here, converged to what? I'd posit you're refering to the 'Reagan Democrats' and though really those Southren Democrats had been leaving the party for a while

                        •  You just don't get how power works son (0+ / 0-)

                          as the expression goes.

                          "And frankly I think you're confusing the forest for a tree here, there is no 'meta game' no conspiracy amongst democrats and republicans. Yes there is a lot of self interest in the money aspect but there's no grand conpsiracy on that either just greedy sad sobs that are consumed with making money. That's no conspiracy just the worst aspects of humanity."

                          Meditate on that comment. The last sentence especially.

                          "don't tell me to chill because you don't know me and frankly I could be typing 'calmly' while screaming my head off or vice versa"

                          You try to make an appeal to bonafides. There you are outclassed. When folks go there I say they are "upset." Feel free to disagree. You are the math stats guy. Do either party offer up any policies that will substantially move the issues outside of a very narrow part of the distribution, i.e. the approved part of the discourse and issue positions that are considered "fair game" for discussion?

                          I am not talking about southern dems--although that is part of the story. I am talking about a rightward shift in the issue space such that democrats are taking the positions of republicans from not even ten years ago and being branded "socialists" because of it. and even then the most conservative democrats are to the left of the most liberal tea party gop types.

                          If you are such a flag waiver that you can't take off the blinders to see the con game I don't know what to tell you.  I am giving you stuff to read in the spirit of collegiality; I am not going to process it all for you.

                          That is my standard line. Look back at my many earlier posts. Search your heart; close your eyes, ask yourself hard questions if you feel that the dems and republicans are that fundamentally different then you have your answer. there is nothing i can tell you otherwise.

                          if obama wins check those gini coefficients and see what is up in a few years; if romney wins check them; i bet you the numbers won't be that hugely different. the state is most responsive to the interests and lobbying of rich people, monied interest groups--in all narrow interests.

                          that is not a revelation for any student of history.

                          am i wrong? the kool aid is good. i like it too. in private, we need to be sober so we can play the game to win.

                          •  I have been remarkably honest about my background (0+ / 0-)

                            both in terms of formal education and not so formal, you have so far been remarkably not honest about yours. As such I'm going to conclude your formal background is even less relevant here and you're just deflecting.

                            Also I appealed to nothing, I stated my background (well in broad strokes) while inquiring about yours because you were being rather arrogant and frankly if you are going to act as if you are an expert you'd better be prepared for that to be questioned. That's not 'emotional' that's just logical.

                            I should also point out being condescending isn't going to help your case and emotional appeals matter not to me. Logic, reasoning, statistics, facts that's what matters. Insults while I am sure amusing are ineffective and silly.

                            You're right, the nation has been moving right for decades really since civil rights was passed and yes people that aren't even close to actually being socialists have been called socialists and worse. The nation also looks to be finally in the process of another realignment, but if you think you're going to wake up tomorrow to see a colossal shift in ideology you've not nearly studied as much history as you should have. It's going to take time and yes Obama is not a raging populist but then he never really presented himself as one. That said Obama has still accomplished  a hell of a lot given everything and so far has a good legacy. Yes I get that you don't particularly like him on certain choices he's made on fighting the terrorists but I don't agree with you there.

                            You know what else I know about  history? That  history has been a cage match between the unprincipled, sociopathic  and moneyed interests and just about everyone else. That while often slow history has not been kind to those interests and if you don't believe me review your history of even a hundred years ago. Never mind what conditions were like 1,000 years ago. Sure sometimes the moneyed interests win but it's always temporary because people generally don't like them. Ayn Rand and her zealots might think that the 1% is irreplacable but that's a lie and always has been.

                            So we're going to have to disagree on the validity on your conclusion because it's not factually supported. You can insult me, call me emotional and do anything you want in response but unless you actual facts you've got nothing

                          •  google me and see if i am a pretender (0+ / 0-)

                            listen to my interviews, etc. etc.; read what i have written elsewhere, go to my own site.

                            I don't impugn people's expertise. if we were talking about the natural sciences and you seemed to know your stuff i am not going to ask for a cv. not interested in that game because 1) you can't prove it and 2) i know many "dumb" folks who have taught at harvard and stanford.

                            your pettiness and hardheadness is likely a function of projection, you are 1) exaggerating your expertise or 2) can't accept that because you are an expert in basket weaving 101 that you know something about painting 101. that is a very common problem with folks who have an advanced degree in one field--taking you at face value, but who knows?--and everyone around them gives them all sorts of shine for stuff they don't know about.i laugh when i see how laypeople treat a few letters after a name.

                            as i said, it is self-evident that i know what i am talking about. are there folks who know more? absolutely. can one reasonably disagree with my claims? absolutely. are you doing so? no.

                            am i making some amazingly nuanced and deep argument that requires you to go through the annals of apsr or the ajps to follow? no.

                            do i know more about these matters than you? absolutely. no biggie. just relax. there are areas i am sure you know more about then me.

                          •  there is nothing petty or hardhead about my (0+ / 0-)

                            response. You have been generally insulting me since the begining by calling me son, saying I am emotional and need to calm down, accusing me of projection and now you are not so subtly calling me a liar.

                            Now if I was truly petty I'd return barb for barb; I have not. I have pointed out what you are doing simply because I am not a door mat. If you expected differently well too bad.

                            I have never presented myself as an expert on this topic becuase I am not one. I am however very well informed both in general on this in specific. I have given you far more in support of my view on this then you have. Your responses have ranged from 'google it' which is frankly a really poor response when you are trying to persuade to 'well because I say so' which is an even poorer response still.

                            I actually have had te privilege of interacting with experts in a multitude of fields ranging from Political Science to Ethics to 'harder' sciences like Physics and Chemistry. And every single one of them not only never hestitated to instantly support their conclusions with copicious amounts of proof and evidence but they never had to resort to the insults and chicanery that you have so far. In point of the fact the professor of Political Science I had the absolute luck to talk to was not only highly respected in his field but able to quote so much that it was utterly obvious I was swimming in deep waters.

                            You've not convinced me you have this expertise you purport nor have you converyed it. I may eventually go spend my own time doing your work for you but a curosry search shows that you write for Salon and that is one of the  sites I can not currently access. Then again you've not really done much to make me curious, if anything you've pushed me away.

                          •  dude, this is a comment section on the daily kos (0+ / 0-)

                            do your own work, look up some of those concepts, and let it go. this is not a seminar or a conference.

                            you have demonstrated that because you have expertise in one area that you ought to be catered to in another. i gave you some info, some big ideas, and concepts.  you can choose to proceed or not.

                            if you feel that both parties are not institutional parts of the gov't as opposed to being change agents, and there are not broad areas of overlap regarding consensus on the big questions regarding the economy, foreign policy, and corporate power in this country, i don't know what to tell you. yes, there is party polarization--very much if voting scores in congress are examined. my point here, is despite the areas of apparent difference how much of this is all smoke and mirrors to distract folks from the bigger game, those settled issues, that are not going to be discussed by either group?

                            that is the whole point of the theme i presented here.

                            "I am however very well informed both in general on this in specific."

                            You prove my point about having expertise in basket weaving 101 and thinking it applies to painting 101 or even 202.

                            Whenever someone says they are well-informed about matters general and specific i get really nervous. Ignorance is salvation; humility can lead to growth. I have expertise on one narrow area. That is it. I am not made insecure by that fact. If you want to write a post about the hard sciences and your narrow area of expertise I will read and learn.

                            What do your comments about being "well-informed" reveal about your own inadequacies? Just a self-reflective thought.

                          •  I am going to respond only here (0+ / 0-)

                            and only one last time as you have proven to be uninterested in actual conversation and instead want to cram your ideas down my throat and when I baulk because you've not really shown anything or offered any real proof you really are what you claim.

                            1. I misrepresented nothing, if you choose to assume I was some tenured professor that's on you. What I said applies regardless of your assumptions. Though personally I find it interesting you've chosen to become even more rude, insulting and arrogant now that your assumptions have been corrected. And in point of fact I never called myself an expert at anything partly because I  still have far to go but mostly because it's my opinion that 'expert' is not something you give yourself, it's a title given, a title earned. And you have done absolutely nothing in this exchange to earn being called an expert. I don't know you from a hole in the ground and frankly right now I feel more inclind to be charitable about said hole then you. Just think about that and how badly this exchange has gone because of the choices you have made. I'm always willing to listen to someone that proves themself worth listening to, your failure to do so is on you and you alone.

                            2. As I said and you ignored I've talked to actual experts on Political Science, they make you look like a joke simply because they not only can back up everything they say but they will. Which is something you've refused to do. That you won't, that you ignore when it suits you the fact that the majority of the time the majority of the community is no more or less formally educated on a topic then I am and yet still add their own opinion. Well to me that's utter hypocristy  to then turn around  and act like being honest about my limits is a bad thing. Especially when you've yet to do the same thing.

                            3 Lastly, your pompous attitude is absurd and so far unearned, maybe if you ever understand that  we can talk again but as it is I can say right now we could never interact again and it would be entirely too soon. You have utterly poisoned this exchange and then in feigning that you haven't as if I am stupid you poisoned it further. I've met a few people like you among my interactions in life, older people convinced 'them whipper snappers don't know a single thing' so congrats I suppose. Maybe you should start mixing in a couple 'get off my lawn' quips while you are at it.

                            I willl not be responding to anything you write so please insult me some more if you wish, make some more 'subtle' comments about me lying when I haven't or go ahead and make one more comment that reinforces every single negative perception I have about you in your rather vain attempt to not only be right but to be that 'expert' you seem so desperate to be.

                            And yes I am angry so feel free to throw in emotional a couple more times never mind your behavior or how much of an utter jerk you've been

                          •  you are fun! more than TV! you don't want (0+ / 0-)

                            to play anymore?

                            "And yes I am angry so feel free to throw in emotional a couple more times never mind your behavior or how much of an utter jerk you've been"

                            do you need a hug? i could care less about your feelings or silliness like calling someone a "jerk" because they won't go along with your program.

                            i tried to give you advice. it is normal in one's emotional and intellectual development at your stage, i.e. just graduating college, to overstate your chops. much of growing older and wiser is realizing what you do not know, finding comfort in it, and also realizing when you are dealing with someone who has more expertise than you on a given subject.

                            it ain't personal. there is no shame in it. you can deny that obvious fact at your own peril. there is a definite reality to the Facebook helicopter millennial generation and the particular challenges they face in realizing that their opinions are not substitutes for hard work, research, empirical rigor, and dues paying.

                            as i said, do a little work with your Google friend and you may be surprised.

                            back to listening to the director's commentary on Prometheus. Did you enjoy that movie?

                          •  read your posts and "bio" now i see (0+ / 0-)

                            "First a little background, I recently graduated from a fairly prestigious university with a B.S. in Chemistry(well kinda, I'm having to fight with my philosophy professor), not ivy league but a university that has enough of a name that I was able to get a job within a month of graduating (with a lot of luck too). "

                            was giving you too much credit. you made it sound like you were all degreed up--assuming i am reading your post correctly.

                            if you are a recent undergrad, i can see where the overconfidence is coming from. we all go through that transition period. grow by realizing what you do not know; it is a good life skill. years ago when i graduated college i went through your phase too.

                            ignorance will save you.

  •  A Rockafeller Republican? Have you gone nuts? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    duhban, sacrelicious

    You have been following the President's entire life and career, correct?

    I appreciate the boxing vs. wrestling metaphor and agree that it makes some sense -- although for different reasons than you've laid forth here -- but I really, strongly disagree that the President is a fucking Republican-by-another-name. I dislike the ideology of Republicans beyond belief, and I am a Democratic Socialist, and I don't see it and actually, find it in poor taste considering that it only helps the Romney media spin cycle at this critical juncture.

    •  obama is center right republican of another era (0+ / 0-)

      look at his voting positions, issues, etc. don't buy into the Right's meme that he is a liberal or socialist.

      •  No, but he's what we've got (0+ / 0-)

        He's our guy right now. You can complaing all you want, but now we need to rally behind the best choice in this election instead of wishing that things were different.

        We can wish that Jill Stein had a chance. We can wish that 40% of the country wasn't insane with Fox News conspiracy theory bullshit. OR we can be realistic and realize that a large chunk of the population is out to destroy this country, and we NEED to outnumber them in the polls in order to save ourselves.

        No, Barack isn't perfect. No candidate is, and no candidate ever will be. You won't get money out of politics in four weeks by throwing your vote away. Your best option is to vote for Obama, and then work on change for 2016.

        Occupy had a shot to change this election's narrative, and it did to some degree. The fact that the "99%" is such a powerful meme is testament to that movement. However, they screwed up by fighting to keep symbolic physical camps erected instead of running candidates when they had a chance.

        I have a lot more to write about this, but to sum up: You can't change the election now. Complain all you want, but vote Obama. Work on change for 2016 starting on November 7th of this year. Until then? Lets get our President re-elected!

  •  Mitt Romney is JBL or Bradshaw (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sacrelicious

    I mean the wrestler himself was a former investment banker on wall street and was a heel who was know for being an entitled filthy rich asshole. I think that comparison fits the bill for Romney perfectly.

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

  •  Your truth is fierce, but it will not deter me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sacrelicious, XenuLives

    from voting.  Nor should it deter anyone else.

    As Bill Maher said, "The Democrats scare me a hell of a lot less than the Republicans."

    The Koch Brothers, or the Banksters, or dudes that own coal mines, may be giving money to both parties.  

    But those one percenter types are only going to conventions, and shindigs, and get-togethers at the country club, and cocktail parties where they disrespect the 47%, and issuing white papers from The Heritage Foundation, and affixing their names to full page ads in the Wall Street Journal, with the GOP, not with the Democrats.

    These big money donor people are throwing (substantially less) money at the Democrats "just in case."  

    If the Dems had no chance of winning anything, they wouldn't give them ONE DIME.  It's just good business to cover all your bets, especially when there are only two viable options (yeah, how much money do the Libertarians or the Greens get?).

      •  and then too i never expected (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive

        obama to be a radical change agent. such folks don't win the white house. once his most vocal supporters and critics realize that fact the better off they will be.

        •  That, I agree with (0+ / 0-)

          Completely. We're electing a President, not changing the structure of Government itself. I think the two get remarkably confused at times. I don't think we can accomplish the kinds of reforms that many radicals (myself included) would dream about through any election; we can, however, accomplish good reforms that are incremental and thus worth getting ourselves to the ballot box for.

          I like President Obama. I think, as a person, he's a Leftist. As a President, I don't think he's been allowed to be nearly as Left as he is. If you, or I, were in his position, I'm not sure if either of our records would look so different, to be honest. That's the entire Governmental system with all the money involved in it, the structures of power invested, the MIC, the PIC, the lobbyists, and having to work in a bipartisan fashion with some people who are outright bigots, that system is going to hamstring anyone. It doesn't mean the hamstrung individual is a poor candidate per se. It means that they're working in a fucked-up system with its own vested interests which are dissimilar from their own.

          I think Barack has a lot of his mother in him. I really appreciate the guy, his writing, his stuff from college, and his more radical moments which come through: the overturn of DADT, the strong support of immigrants, the attempts to shift away from private deportation facilities, a non-hawkish approach (for someone appointed to be "the hawk"), non-military intervention into Syria right now, or Iran before, and support for women's reproductive health. Off the top of my head, I appreciate these things and feel we're in good hands, even if they're reaching through the miasma of lobbyists and bad politicians and dysfunctional Capitalisms.

Click here for the mobile view of the site