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President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton appear together in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House for statements and to answer questions from the media, December 10, 2010.
I think it’s fair to say that the outcome of the latest battle in America’s endless fiscal war hasn’t done anything to improve President Obama’s image with what Paul Wellstone used to call the Democratic Party wing of the Democratic Party.

Progressives of all stripes have roundly condemned the POTUS for signing a deal that preserves 82 percent of the Bush tax cuts (even though Obama said, all along, that he wanted to extend something like 75 percent of them).

Depending on who’s talking, this amounts to either a total surrender of the hard-fought progressive gains of Clinton’s first term in office, or the bid of a sociopath (yes, the word was used) to overthrow what remains of the New Deal.

Now I have to admit: Up until now I had not realized that the Clinton years were the Progressive Golden Age. Nor was I aware that the president who pushed through, at great political cost, national health care coverage (an admittedly half-assed version, but still), expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit, and gave us the largest peacetime Keynesian stimulus package in U.S. history, was actually Paul Ryan in drag.

But if I’m not here to bury Obama, I’m also not here to praise him. I’ve got my own alphabetical list of betrayals—beginning with drone strikes, continuing through extraordinary renditions (i.e. kidnapping), Gitmo, and Palestine, and ending with warrantless wiretapping. As far as the dirty war (a.k.a. the war on terror) is concerned, the Obama presidency looks to me to be basically Bush’s third and fourth terms—albeit with less torture and more competency.

Given how bad the Bush years were, maybe I should be thankful for that much.

However, despite the round-the-clock Twitter agonizing, I’m finding it hard to feel the burn over the tax deal. Call me a running dog reactionary (these days, it’s probably true) or maybe I just expected to be sold out, but this just doesn’t strike me as worth all the progressive anguish.

What’s a Few Hundred Billion Between Friends?

As Krugman points out, the amount of revenue forgone by lifting the top bracket from $250k to $450k is practically a rounding error, at least in budget terms. And while tax rates on investment income (capital gains, dividends) are still too low, at a time when the Fed is trying to use asset inflation as a backdoor out of the liquidity trap, should fiscal policy really be pushing in precisely the opposite direction?

More to the point, it escapes me why people who claim to understand that the primary economic risk right now is austerity, not a lack of it, are howling for tax increases—on anybody.

If you need to have something in the deal to be indignant about, how about the payroll tax hike? Not only will it put more than million people out of work, the tax itself is about the most regressive and destructive one imaginable. In a sane society we’d be talking about how to replace it, not raise it. But I digress.

Look, I understand the argument for raising the mortality rate on the Bush tax cuts: Over the long run, the federal government needs that money to safeguard the social safety net and keep the deficit boogey monster at bay.

Leaving aside the fact that the deficit monster (even the king-sized version allegedly lurking in the out years) might be a lot less scary than our indoctrinated media portends, the bottom line is I’m with Keynes: In the long run, we’re all dead. That being the case, I don’t think we should sacrifice the economically vulnerable to our fears for the future, including our fear that taxes might be hard to raise in that future.

The idea that the remaining Bush tax cuts are now “permanent” may be clever GOP marketing spin, but that doesn’t make it true. Does anything about the fiscal history of the United States, or even the post-Reagan era, suggest marginal tax rates are immutably carved in stone? Nothing is permanent—“nothing is written,” to quote Lawrence of Arabia (or actually, Peter O’Toole playing Lawrence of Arabia).

Recreating a Party of the Left

In that sense, I guess maybe I don’t stand with Keynes: I plan on sticking around for awhile, and I suspect most of you do, too. And, like you, I intend to go on fighting for the society I want my children—and their children, if I’m lucky—to live in.

That being the case, how you feel about this deal—or the debt limit deal to come, which almost certainly will smell even ranker—logically should depend on how immediate you think the harm will be, and what the chances are for fixing the bad stuff before it seriously damages the social safety net.

That, in turn, should depend on where you think we stand in the political cycle that more or less began with the election of Ronald Reagan almost a third of a century ago.

The point I’m getting to, at last, is that this is about much more than Obama and his alleged sociopathology. This is about the future of the Democratic Party, and, for that matter, about what we dare to call the progressive movement—which, let’s be honest, to past generations of progressives, wouldn’t look very progressive at all.

Conservative apostate Bruce Bartlett (last seen in this space getting his hide ripped off by Markos for daring to compare the modern Democratic Party to the segregationist Dixiecrat party of old) puts it this way:

the nation no longer has a party of the left, but one of the center-right [i.e. the Democrats] that is akin to what were liberal Republicans in the past—there is no longer any such thing as a liberal Republican—and a party of the far right.
Can anyone deny this? It’s not even new: Readers of Bob Woodward’s book about the Clinton economic plan, The Agenda, may recall the scene where Bob Rubin informs the president that the plan is for him to kneel down and suck Wall Street’s dick (instead of the other way around), and an exasperated Clinton shouts: “I hope you're all aware we’re the Eisenhower Republicans here!”

Truer words never spoken. And it took a bunch of guys like Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey and Tom DeLay to make us all fully appreciate the enlightened liberalism of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

But I’m here to argue that the “liberal Republicanization” of the Democratic Party, currently on full display in the ongoing fiscal talks, is actually evidence of success, not failure. It is a success that could—not certainly, not probably, but just possibly—lead to a more progressive future. But getting from here to there obviously isn’t going to be easy.

Obama’s Not the One

My analysis starts with the observation that there are some striking similarities between the current political cycle (the Age of Reagan) and the previous one (the Age of Roosevelt).

A short-hand way of explaining those similarities—and their significance—would be to say that I look at Obama as the Democratic Nixon.

I realize that probably doesn’t go down well with the Obama fans out there, so let me add immediately that it isn’t meant to be taken literally. Nixon really was a sociopath, if not a psychopath—a criminal of monstrous dimensions (See: Hanoi, 1972 Christmas bombing of). And that’s not even bringing Watergate into the discussion.

Unless Michelle Bachmann’s paranoid fantasies about Solyndra are actually true, or the drone program is much worse than we now know, Obama isn’t even close to being in Nixon’s league. He actually seems to be a pretty good guy, for an Emperor.

But in the current political cycle, Obama sits right there in Tricky Dick’s spot—after the Democratic Eisenhower (Clinton) but before the Democratic Reagan, i.e. the one who will free the Matrix and bring balance to the force.

A long time ago, back at my old blog, I wrote a couple of long posts about the dialectics of American politics—the back-and-forth flow of power between the two major parties—and how the parties themselves are constantly being changed thereby.

This reflects the reality is that in a democratic (well, quasi-democratic) system, victories and defeats, even big ones, are never final. Rather, they set in motion the partisan changes that eventually drive the next cycle.

In the American system, this process can be very deceptive, since it usually (but not always—just ask the Whigs) results in the transformation of the two existing parties, rather than their replacement by new ones.

So it has been both in the Age of Roosevelt and the Age of Reagan.

The coming of the New Deal hived off big chunks of the old Republican coalition (Midwestern farmers, small business owners, blacks), turning the Democrats into the majority party. To survive, the GOP was forced to adapt, and did so by becoming the “New Deal Lite” party, much to the fury of its own conservative base. The moderates—i.e. the Eisenhower Republicans—prevailed because they knew how to win elections in a typically hostile environment.

But majorities are inherently fractious and hard to manage—and even harder to reform. Through the ‘60s and ‘70s, the competing demands of old and new Democratic constituencies first undermined and then shattered the New Deal coalition.

The GOP, meanwhile, grew increasingly receptive both to conservative ideas (in an era of New Deal failures, being the New Deal Lite party was no longer advantageous) and to disaffected Democrats, especially those who could be persuaded to overlook their economic interests with cultural and/or racial appeals.

Once Reagan had consolidated these forces, the way was clear for the GOP to demolish the Democrats in the 1980 and 1984 elections and emerge as the new majority party.

The Nixon Transition

But between Eisenhower and Reagan there was Nixon: By political pedigree, an Eisenhower Republican (Ike’s veep), but by personal style a conservative—not least in the way he drove the liberals of the time absolutely ape shit.

A transitional figure, in other words, not a transformative one—acceptable to both wings of his party at key moments (like the 1968 primaries), but not really trusted by either of them.

In terms of domestic policy, economic policy in particular, Nixon was also something of an enigma—in part because he didn’t care much about it, but also because he and his political team were wary of alienating the Democratic crossovers who had put him in the White House. This meant he lacked the political strength to challenge an orthodox Democratic Congress, as Reagan would and could do a decade later.

On the other hand, Nixon’s rhetoric very much prefigured Reagan in its contempt for Ivy Leaguers, liberal bureaucrats, and welfare queens—the Satanic trinity of the conservative imagination. And he wasn’t entirely impotent when it came to policy: He was able to kill or cripple the more progressive, activist elements of LBJ’s Great Society program—but only because conservative Democrats helped him do it.

If you flip that story over, so that you’re looking at the reverse image, you can see the Democratic Party, and its leader, as they stand today.

It definitely isn’t the party of my childhood, which rested on a four-legged stool of industrial unions, minorities, Southern whites, and a smattering of liberal professionals. The first leg has been whittled to a toothpick by globalization and white flight, the second is now painted in rainbow colors, not basic black, the third detached and joined itself to the GOP's stool, while the fourth has grown by leaps and bounds—almost to the point where the party now looks more like a leg of the stool that educated and affluent liberals sit on, rather than the other way around.

On the other hand, those changes also put the Democrats in a position once again to credibly claim to be the nation’s majority party—on cultural and demographic grounds, at least.

Between Past and Future: Obama in the Middle

But the process isn’t complete, and the Democrats still bear the scars of their years in the minority, just as the GOP did in Nixon’s time. The formerly GOP-leaning suburbs that voted for Obama twice are still largely Republican in their local politics, and battlegrounds at the congressional level. To a certain extent, Democrats are still looking over their shoulder, nervous that their new suburban supporters will abandon them.

These are the political realities that have shaped Obama’s presidency, and his economic positions. The Democratic Party has always had a fiscally conservative wing, sympathetic with (if not wholly owned by) Wall Street. The influx of affluent professionals into the party, and the parallel collapse in labor power, have greatly empowered that wing.

Where we stand now isn’t exactly the inverse of the positions of the two parties in Nixon’s day (history may rhyme; it never repeats) but it’s close enough for government work, so to speak.

This is why it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Obama, the transitional leader of a coalition in transition, is governing from the center or even the center right, his progressive campaign rhetoric notwithstanding—just as Nixon often appeared to be governing from the center or center left, his conservative rhetoric notwithstanding.

But it’s also important to recognize that Obama, for all his policy centeredness, still represents a break with the “Eisenhower Republican” phase of the Democratic Party revival.

Whatever you think of Obamacare, it marked a shift to the left from the Clinton program (or at least the Clinton accomplishments). So did the stimulus, Dodd-Frank, the auto bailout, and the Obama NLRB.*

*It's funny how almost all of the recent coverage of the NLRB that I can find on Google is from the right-wing press. Don't progressives care about this stuff any more?

These weren't just products of the financial meltdown (after all, the Democratic Congress that approved them was elected two years before the crisis hit). They were early signs that the political cycle has turned.

Emphasis here on the word "early." Every political trend has its counterfactuals. The 1974 post-Watergate blowout election, for example, looked like a GOP death blow at the time, but merely postponed the party’s triumph for a few years. It’s a lesson the teabaggers of 2010 are now chewing over in the wake of 2012—although I don’t expect them to digest it any time soon.

Looking for Hope Without the Proles

But while the Democratic tide seems to be rising again, we’ve no way of knowing if it will turn into a progressive flood that eventually washes away the remnants of the Reagan coalition and changes the “center right” party that Obama inherited into a center left (or just plain left) party that a Democratic Reagan might lead.

Certainly, there are plenty of reasons why it won’t, and can’t. One is the enduring power of the corporatist wing of the party, and the corresponding weakness of organized labor: the traditional powerhouse of progressive economic policy.

God knows I don’t want to be accused of being an optimist here—I have a reputation to protect. It’s laughably easy to imagine a majority party that staunchly backs a woman’s right to choose, supports gay marriage, appeals to African Americans and Hispanics with a carefully selected set of valence issues—and quietly cooperates in dismantling the social safety net under the guise of “reforming” it.

It’s easy to imagine such a party because we already have one.

On the other hand, the economic trends don’t appear very friendly to such a party. Prospects seem dim for a growth resurgence that would take the edge off high unemployment, stagnant wages, and rising income inequality. At some point, being the pro-choice, pro-immigrant, pro-racial sensitivity party might not be good enough.

If there is hope, Orwell said, it lies with the proles. I’m not that naïve. (In any case, in a globalized economy, the old industrial proletariat mostly lives in China, and doesn’t get to vote, here or there.) But I can think of two specific reasons to think a more progressive Democratic Party might be possible to build:

  • The Democrats (or at least the Obama machine) has re-learned how to organize, and taken it high tech. If those tools could be applied successfully at the local level, and/or by allied forces (unions, nonprofits, etc.) maybe the party itself could develop the grassroots muscle the unions once provided—which in turn could be used to advance an economic agenda, not just win elections.
  • The white-collar professionals and paraprofessionals who have defected to the Democrats on cultural grounds are also now in danger of being proletarianized. Technology is rendering their skills (e.g. medical diagnostics, legal research, engineering design, etc.) obsolete. This might make them amenable to a more progressive economic approach.

Don’t Mourn, Organize

We all know the obstacles: A sluggish, corporate-controlled media that likes the status quo just fine, thanks; billionaire donors with money to burn (almost literally, in Sheldon Adelson’s case); a largely de-unionized white working class that clings to the GOP even more tenaciously than it does to its guns and religion.

Modern technology notwithstanding, there are no magic wands, just updated versions of the same old democratic (small d) tools: organize, agitate, contribute, vote. But it might not hurt to remember that the original progressives, the people who built the unions and fought for the New Deal, did what they did with those same tools.

In any case, we have to try. Sooner or later, the Republicans are going to learn how to adapt, and will find their own tools for chipping away at the Democratic coalition. The GOP won’t always be held hostage by the teabaggers.

Or, even worse, an economic crisis—one that corporate Democrats have no answers for—will drive otherwise sane and rational voters into the arms of the teabaggers, fueling a resurgence of angry right-wing populism. And if you’re not worried about where that could lead, you haven’t been paying attention.

Either way, if progressives just bitch about Obama, instead of trying to shape his Democratic Party to their own ends, we may wind up looking back on his presidency, and his crummy budget deals, as the progressive Golden Age—or as close as we ever came to one.

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Comment Preferences

  •  good points, OWS actually replicated that history (26+ / 0-)
    Modern technology notwithstanding, there are no magic wands, just updated versions of the same old democratic (small d) tools: organize, agitate, contribute, vote. But it might not hurt to remember that the original progressives, the people who built the unions and fought for the New Deal, did what they did with those same tools.....Either way, if progressives just bitch about Obama, instead of trying to shape his Democratic Party to their own ends, we may wind up looking back on his presidency, and his crummy budget deals, as the progressive Golden Age—or as close as we ever came to one.
    NMFW

    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama XIV (-9.50; -7.03)‽ Warning - some snark above‽

    by annieli on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:05:46 PM PST

    •  Those Tools Are a Bit More Difficult To Use (25+ / 0-)

      these days when you've got a 24/7 news stream pumping 1% propaganda into nearly every home in the country (AKA, TV "news").

      As for me, I'm getting awful tired of voting for candidates who act like Republicans from less crazy periods in history. I didn't like those Republicans then, either.

      The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

      by teacherjon on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:20:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's why SMS/Twitter has viability /nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Puddytat, BlueJessamine

        “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama XIV (-9.50; -7.03)‽ Warning - some snark above‽

        by annieli on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:21:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Go find microfilms of Col. McCormick's (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ORDem, kaliope, annieli

        Chicago paper, or any Hearst paper, from the 30's or 40's or 50's -- when people read two, three papers a day. The medium is different, that's all.

        The propaganda has always been there. Cable, etc. is nothing new, not essentially.

        "Politics is not the art of the possible.
        It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable" J.K. Galbraith

        by Davis X Machina on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:45:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And here's the thing about dissing Dems who commit (4+ / 0-)

        the worst offenses, even when they make smaller ones like various half or quarter measures billmon is talking about: if you don't apply the pressure at all times, they will become even more like the GOP.  The graph that shows that the middle class in this country ends somewhere in the low to mid $100k range is enough to say that Obama gave away a sizeable chunk of the farm when he gave into the $450k floor.  

        If the deal was "meh," then the meaning of "meh" has changed as much as the philosophical underpinnings of the two parties have.

        "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

        by nailbender on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:41:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  OWS got put down by a militarized (42+ / 0-)

      police force aided by the federal government.  

      I looked at it very much like the early union days - pro-unionists being violently attacked by the bought and paid for (by corporations) Pinkertons.  Except now it's us, the taxpayers, that will foot the bill for our own suppression (and the monied elite don't have to spend a dime - bet they're laughing all the way to their Swiss Bank accounts on that one).  Worse, there has yet to be any upside for it (at least the early organizers got unions for the dealths and injuries suffered in the earlier uprising) except for a brief change in the national conversaion.

      Polls show that people aren't fools.  Even the drooling viewers of Foxaganda don't want Medicare or Social Security cuts and want the wealthy and corporations to pay much more.

      What's really changed now is that neither political party listens to Americans although the Dems pretend to when campaigns are in full bloom and they want our money, volunteer hours, and votes.  Virtually all the politicians are listening to the rich, corporate and financial industries because they all believe that money buys elections and that propaganda influences opinion and, oh, well, those pesky little people can't do much about it anyway.

      I had high hopes for Obamas second term because he's been talking like a progressive for a year.  Nope.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.  And I'm feeling suckered again.

      I'm sorry, but I'm just feeling downtrodden lately.  OWS got shit canned like this is a Third World country where it's just awful that such terrible things can happen to people, but, oh, well, what can we do.  The banks and Wall Street are still robbing us blind and forclosing on folks, but Washington DC still doesn't give a crap because, oh, well, the Banksters and Wall Street Thieves just keep on buying them off and their money and future cushy jobs for washed up politicians is worth so much more than us little people.   And the GOP keeps on taking away our rights to control our ladyparts, but that's OK because we're all just tsk tsking at them and, yes, some of them lost their jobs but Republican gerrymandering in the states made sure enough nutjobs got reelected in the House to maintain the status quo.  And say bye-bye to worker rights in this country because they're going away, too.  And don't count on OSHA to even keep you safe on your job, because they've been underfunded for decades and your life is worth a whole lot less than the nickle your corporation will save putting you at risk.  Too bad, but your family might get a bit of Workers Comp for a short time while they circle the drain into poverty.  And if that isn't enough, there's contaminated food that will probably kills us all because inspection programs have been cut to nearly nothing and, oh, well, we can't possibly send anyone rich and powerful to prison - even for killing people to make an extra nickle.

      Sorry, but I'm really feeling bummed.  I need some good news (just read Taibbis new article) and the Packers win last night just wasn't enough.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:57:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  indeed it did, and life does suck but the good (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Puddytat, 3goldens, turdraker, timewarp

        news aside from the usual ones for John McCain is that we're still here and still trying, as Pyrrhic as our progress might seem. I had hoped when I reached my 30s that we would have had a revolution that might have merited trusting anyone in that age bracket or above. Alas, we all still suck at this and we will continue to get suckered if we don't continue the very hard work of fulfilling the promise of democracy without capitulating to the all-too-patriarchal fascist tendencies that dominate the planet and everyday life even in this country. Even OWS exhibited the kinds of petty opportunism and base stupidity of all mass movements but moving Forward(sic) is what we still must do as long as we still have breath.

        “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama XIV (-9.50; -7.03)‽ Warning - some snark above‽

        by annieli on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:09:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I dunno (19+ / 0-)

          I'm tired.  Been an activist since the 60s and I've got little to show for it.  I'd like to leave this world with a few accomplishents for people that I can be really proud of - just as my parents and grandparents were proud of the roads and highways they built with their tax dollars, the Social Security, Worker Comp, and Unemployment Comp they left behind, and a whole bunch of money for schools and education they didn't mind paying in for the betterment of the country.  

          It was a "we" society and not a "me and mine" place.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:14:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I just don't worry about what one has to show for (8+ / 0-)

            it. History will be that arbiter or abattoir. I am still alive, despite the fact that globalized capitalism not yet being smashed or withering away, the forces of domestic fascism have only gotten beaten back temporarily, the MIC is still there, but despite that, there's still enough freedom not to make me too paranoid. I live in a country that still has monetary predation, hunger, exploitation, oppression, racism, bigotry, but I am grateful that I am relatively healthy, cognitively aware and morally responsible, although in terms of political involvement, as with others my TTFN is coming if only because the discourse gets messed up here for structural as well as personal reasons and the connection between DK and the forces for institutional change needs to be stronger.

            “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama XIV (-9.50; -7.03)‽ Warning - some snark above‽

            by annieli on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:27:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you for fighting; (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Puddytat, radical simplicity, annieli

              I am glad you were able to fight the good fight, and still do in the ways that you do now.

              I cannot go to sleep some nights because I worry about what kind of world is getting left for my son.  I am a young father struggling to get my family out of poverty and I see the world around me, let alone my nation, going to absolute shit.  I watched as the nation's social safety net shredded.  When I volunteered for a local crisis center, the last-stop for people who had housing issues and trouble paying their electric bill, I had to turn away at least every 3rd, if not every other person.  

              I watch as we are given bullshit rhetoric despite voting and doing the best we can, and for every person on the bottom we're penalized more and more for being poor while we look up, dreaming of someday no longer having live paycheck to paycheck, balancing life on the edge of dollars here or dollars there.  And I have it better than most, and I recognize that.

              Yet some days it is hard to have hope when I look and I see the trenchant, deeply-funded forces arrayed against people like me.  It makes me wonder, and I hate to be overblown or bombastic, but some days it hard to think otherwise: is anything besides shit going up in flames going to make this change?  Because voting, activism, and pushing for change as best I can has not really done anything for me.  

              How can this nation continue to operate destroying the poor and lower middle class?  Millions, if not billions of dollars of food rotted in fields because illegal immigrants were not there to pick it.  Austerity measures punish the poor and reward the rich.  We were looking as seriously big price hikes on food not too long ago.  Still might, given the droughts, it'll just take awhile to come.  Then there's the fuel costs I have to pay just to get to my low-paying job...

              I'm sorry to dump like this, but it is hard for me not to worry.  It is hard for me not to be disheartened with the people who I voted into office arrayed against me at seemingly every turn.

              I get that Obama can't wave a wand and magically fix everything.  I get that the Democratic Party cannot either...but the least they could all do is take a stand and stop allowing the poor to get fucked because it is politically expedient to do so.

              "You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind." -Morpheus, The Matrix

              by Sarenth on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 01:06:20 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're living your life under a raging (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sarenth, radical simplicity, annieli

                plutocracy.  It's become more and more clear as time passes.

                When I was a kid, my parents wondered how high I would rise.  30 years ago parents wondered if their kids were going to be able to maintain a middle class lifestyle.   Today parents wonder how their kids will avoid being poor.

                Back in the day we knew our food was safe because it was inspected.  Today, because of budget cuts to inspection programs very little is inspected and business finds it more profitable to cut corners even if people get sick and die because they won't face real consequences - if caught they'll pay a bit from their profits as a fine.  

                Ditto worker safety.  OSHA inspectors made sure workplaces are safe.  Now, budget cuts have made OSHA inspections rare events and given corporations lots of opportunities to avoid compliance or responsibility if things go wrong because profits trump worker safety.  

                Ditto education.  I went to a state university where tax payer dollars paid 70% of the costs.  I graduated, made more money and paid more state taxes as a result.  A good deal for me and for the State of Wisconsin.  Today, college students pay 70% of the costs and leave college with huge debts they will pay for the next 30 years at the expense of things they would buy that would stimulate the economy.

                Ditto banks and credit cards.  Banks were "safe" - living on the margin between the interest paid to savers and the interest they collected on loans and mortgages.  A credit card had higher interest, but it wasn't obscene.  Bankers made a decent living.  Not so much today where customers are raped with usury rates, pay "account maintainence fees" on their savings accounts and get charged fees for almost everything banks used to do for free.  Bankers now expect millions in salaries and bonuses, living the lifesyles of the rich and infamous.

                I could go on, but you get the picture.  In fact, you're living the nightmare.

                It isn't supposed to be like this.  It is because our governments have been bought and paid for and peons like us are given the illusion of a democratic government.

                There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

                by Puddytat on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 09:56:29 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  I hear ya on that. (4+ / 0-)
            I'm tired.  Been an activist since the 60s and I've got little to show for it.  I'd like to leave this world with a few accomplishents ....
            But you'd feel even worse if you didn't even try. At least I would.

            Reaganomics noun pl: belief that unregulated capitalism can produce unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources and we the people can increase revenue by decreasing revenue.

            by FrY10cK on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:23:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  everything we get done (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Puddytat, Sarenth

          gets undone without notice.

          See for instance, the gutting of a major part of Obamacare by the Fiscal Cliff Deal.

      •  One thing they don't teach you about the early (11+ / 0-)

        Days of the union/worker struggle - Back in the Haymarket riot days, the 1890's, Republican Party came out with quarter page and full page ads in the Chicago newspapers, letting the average person know they were supporting the workers in the strikes! (Citation: Howard Zinn.)

        Now we don't have anyone in Leadership roles in Either Party who gives a damn about the average person.

        If you think anyone connected to the Obama Presidency cares one whit about the average person, take a good hard read of Matt Taibbi's latest. Discover how much we have been lied to, basically by two people who are totally under Obama's power: One person being Tim Geithner, who spent the last five four and a half years seeing to it which top firms on Wall Street went  under, which got Bailouts, and also seeing to it that no decent and needed reforms of the banking industry were ever made. Then also, consider ben Bernanke, who has generously doled out as "loans" some 15 to 16 trillions of dollars of loans, to the world's biggest financial people, some 4.7 trillions of which experts tell us will never  be paid back.

        If anyone in DC wanted to remove some 4+ trillions of dollars from the deficit, with maximum benefit to the nation, and without using "austerity programs" then those elected officials  could apply the same "re-capture abilities" tot he bank accounts of those bankers who haven't been paying the Fed back. If money can be captured out of terrorists like Bin Laden, the nation of Libya, Iran et al, then money can be recaptured from the accounts of the banking cabal. except of course for the fact that the banking cabal owns our political "leaders."

        Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

        by Truedelphi on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:21:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  we have to get past the idea of "average person" (9+ / 0-)

          in a country where the middle class person can have an income that could buy entire third world villages. We can still speak Truth to Power if we would only speak up collectively.

          “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama XIV (-9.50; -7.03)‽ Warning - some snark above‽

          by annieli on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:31:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  well, except that the monies from (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Puddytat

          Libya, Iran, bin laden, et al, we're captured through the banking system, with the help and cooperation of the banking system.  And you can bet they were well pais for that cooperation.  How are you going to convince the banking system to capture money from itself, cooperate, AND not get paid??  There's a little flaw here...

      •  His second term hasn't really started (4+ / 0-)

        And you are already giving up? Not trying to be offensive, but as the article suggests we need to stay involved. 2014 is going to be very important.

        Also, as for Taibbi, take everything he says with a grain of salt. He writes some good stuff, but he also has a pretty strong reputation for sensationalism.  

        "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

        by 815Sox on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:46:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, you pointed out the weakness of (6+ / 0-)

          your own argument:

          His second term hasn't really started
          And how many campaign promises has he already broken?  It is no wonder that many Democrats are discouraged.  He didn't even wait to take the oath of office before stabbing his constituents in the back.

          I supported Democrats because I wanted a party that put a lot of distance between their policies and those of the republicans, but in truth, just like Matt Damon said, we know the system is rigged against us.  

          Earlier there was a diary asking "Can't we all get along?"

          I ask, "How?"  You see, many of us who believe in traditional Democratic values are finding out that we are being sold under the bus by people who should be our allies...does getting along mean that we take Chained CPI off the table, or does getting along mean we have to stop protesting a president who is willing to put the only means of support for many elderly people on the table?  (See Matt Taibbi's article to see how much we're getting screwed)

          Does getting along mean we have to shut up about global warming just because this president has failed to protect our planet, choosing instead to crawl in bed with the major energy companies?

          Does getting along mean we can't question the legality of killing innocent children with drones?

          All of these arguments have been made many times, and after years of it, one thing is clear: Joan was right when she asked if there would be a civil war within the Democratic Party if our leaders place any of our social safety net programs on the bargaining table -- especially when she said, "There damn well better be."

          Many of the elderly on this site fought for equal rights for minority voters, for women, for gay rights, and fair immigration policies...but when we asked our fellow Democrats to join us to protect our futures, we were told to shut the f*(k up.  

          The same thing is true for environmentalists.  They get little support from many members on this site.

          So, how can we get along, when we feel betrayed by the people who should be on our side?

          •  Campaign promises always get broken. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            praenomen

            Especially because of the "grinding" process by which political sausage is made.

            The biggest problem is that the Democratic Party has no single operating principle. If a nonRethug wants to run for office, s/he joins the D[efault] Party.

            I'm a Democrat from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party...a party which as many wings and is thus a very strange bird indeed.

        •  It's not off to a good start, now is it? Right (4+ / 0-)

          off the bat, SS was put on the table as an item to cut when we had zero reason to do so and then

          Obama broke a campaign promise to veto anything over $250,000.  

          We made permanent over 82% of the Bush tax cuts, when we should have only allowed 25%...if that.

          We choose Kerry instead of any number of others and thus may lose a Senate seat to someone we spent ungodly amount of time and money to defeat

          We just decided once again that we need a hard ass republican to be our babysitter for the Secretary of Defense position

          and this is off the top of my head and all of this is happening before we even get to Inauguration Day!

          Yeah, I'm not very optimistic for a better 4 years....sorry.

        •  Taibbi is very good at taking the deliberately (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KingBolete, Puddytat

          Complex story and distilling it down into it's constituent parts, rendering it easier to understand, without changing the story.
          I like to think of it this way:  Taibbi's takes the unnecessarily complex verbiage and changes it into common accessible language.  To wit, the phrase " commence aerial intercourse with a perambulating pastry"  becomes "take a flying fuck with a rolling donut".  The first phrase is unnecessarily obtuse.  Changing the words into the vernacular renders the phrase understandable and relatable  WITHOUT changing the meaning.
           That's what Taibbi does so well.  The fact that he has a reputation for sensationalism largely stems from the fact that he's translating the stories of the economic class and press from their carefully crafted, designed-to-be impenetrable language into common, more accessible language, without changing the stories.  He makes economic stories simpler to understand, without making them simplistic.  And they DON'T like that.  The last thing the economic class/press wants is for most people to be able to understand what is actually happening in our economy.  They depend on our not being able to understand.

        •  I'm not giving up (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sarenth

          just acknowledging reality.  I'm glad some folks still have optimism - while I think it's somewhat a fantasy, it helps bolster my own spirits.

          I've been active for decades - seen too much - done so much - and seen so little results.  To have the campaign over and Obama himself Etch-A-Sketching his promises is rather sad.  I really had hope that he had "gotten" the message that the people were sending to him.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 09:18:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  So we takeover the Dem Party exactly how? (13+ / 0-)

      In mhy neck ofthe woods, you can only run for dogcatcher, water board member, city council with the Dem Party approval, and that means  you have those who are totally aligned with Di Feinstein on your side.

      Diane Feinstein is, on many issues,  to the right of Barry Goldwater.

      I think it is very difficult to think about the "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" recapturing anything until money gets out of elections. And other very major re-structurings of the  whole electoral process come about.

      Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

      by Truedelphi on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:13:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  if you've lived in CA long enough (0+ / 0-)

        she's always been the tool of corporatist elements and she's almost done in terms of public life so for every Gavin Newsom there is a more pragmatic Jerry Brown and a new generation like Kamala Harris ready to move leftward

        Diane Feinstein is, on many issues,  to the right of Barry Goldwater.

        “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama XIV (-9.50; -7.03)‽ Warning - some snark above‽

        by annieli on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:42:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Learn from the TP and become a precinct committee (4+ / 0-)

        person. I myself recently became a precinct committeeman a few months back. It gives you the chance to help pick and choose the candidates that the party is going to support. Now, my local Democratic party is very diverse and never really had a problem with that. However, it wasn't until recently that younger people like myself started to become involved.

        "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

        by 815Sox on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:42:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL "Learn from the TP" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          winsock, kaliope

          “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” - Dalai Lama XIV (-9.50; -7.03)‽ Warning - some snark above‽

          by annieli on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:47:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hey, they did shift things in the GOP (0+ / 0-)

            No reason we cannot do the same

            "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

            by 815Sox on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:57:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But the "shift" took over 30 years. We don't have (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              annieli, kaliope, Sarenth

              30 years to effect the change that is desperately needed.

              And, the shift to "the right" was well-funded.  Can you give me an example when "big money" has funded "the left."  I honestly can't think of one.

              So I agree with Truedelphi, "it is very difficult to think about the 'Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party' recapturing anything until money gets out of elections."

              Mollie

              “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

              by musiccitymollie on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 08:22:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  awesome picture though n/t (0+ / 0-)

            "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

            by 815Sox on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:58:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I concur (12+ / 0-)

      One of the more sensible articles I've read of late. I like especially the focus on the long term, and the view of President Obama as a transition figure - if we are smart enough to take advantage of that!

    •  Me, Too (5+ / 0-)

      Excellent. Always great to have Billmon's insights.

    •  Yup. Excellent as always, Billmon. (10+ / 0-)

      I have long thought that Obama occupied a position similar to Nixon in his contradictory politics: still subject to the conservative expectations of a decaying Reagan Era, but somewhat successful in introducing an emboldened rhetoric of progressive values to the public. Particularly on social issues: Democratic leaders no longer feel the need, as they did during the Bush era, to genuflect before a certain notion of "Christian family values." And Obama has successfully introduced something of the notion that we are all our brothers' keepers -- whether we think he's embraced that in substance, as well as rhetorically, is another question.

      My only concern is that I don't necessarily see the pendulum swinging back to progressive values on the economic front, at least not to the degree we might like. The SCOTUS Citizens United decision is only the most recent and flagrant manifestation of a political system that has, since the beginning of the Reagan era, relied upon campaign donations from the wealthiest, particularly in the financial sector -- and Democrats have had to become good at playing that game, too. I don't see that changing anytime fast, not unless some of the key concerns of OWS find a way to seep up into everyday mainstream discourse.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:12:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Clinton said "era of big government is over" (12+ / 0-)

        Obama has never said anything like that, not even after 2010 blowout.

        Clinton didn't really mean it (I think), but Obama doesn't even see a need to give Reaganism the lip service.

        On the other hand, Obama also doesn't appear to see any need to pledge allegience to the New Deal (e.g. defending Social Security).

        Don't know if that's because he's a closet Republican, or because he sees activist government -- not entitlements -- as the real soul of progressivism.

        We'll find out, I guess.

        •  How about bc it pigeonholes him to easily? He can (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ian Reifowitz, sethtriggs, timewarp, ORDem

          be for a 'balanced' approach, pushing the meme of basic fairness, which will become the ultimate club to destroy the New Aristocracy's nar stranglehold on wealth and wealth policy, without simply being rejected by thinking non-progressives (the suburban/weak R voters he carried twice) bc he sounds like 'Old Left', which they have been conditioned to reject automatically.

          You have to open the mind first to change it.

    •  A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity (10+ / 0-)

      But not of our national economy amd social power structure. Which kinda sums up my argument.

      •  That's a reasonable assessment, yes. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        timewarp, ORDem, kaliope, TomP

        I see you're acknowledging my book here, which I appreciate. And you're right, he is no radical on the economy or social power structure. Mainstream liberals are not radicals on those issues, as you know.

        I argue that his concept of national identity can build stronger support for liberal (not radical) policies, by countering hyper-individualism and building a stronger sense of national community, in particular across racial lines. "We're all in it together" as opposed to "you're on your own," is his credo, with a specific focus on strengthening inter-ethnic/cultural bonds on the basis of our shared Americanness.

        •  It's the difference between Clinton and Obama (7+ / 0-)

          Clinton, pandering (at least rhetorically) to the Reaganauts, announced that the "the era of big government is over." Obama never says anything like that. In fact he constantly appeals to communitarian values -- "we're in this together," etc. -- although never in ideological terms.

          I agree that Obama is assembling an electoral coalition that should (knock on wood) be more supportive of progressive economic policies. But if my analysis of the economic crisis is correct (more on that in a future post) they are going to need radical, not liberal, solutions.

          •  Seems like liberal solutions would do a lot (0+ / 0-)

            Like more government spending (on education, research, and infrastructure), more regulation (on bankers and polluters for a start), more progressive taxation, a better safety net, removing restrictions on unionization, public financing of elections, and the list goes on.

            Anyway, great post, I look forward to your next. (And one last thing, did you ever finish that post recounting your trip to Egypt? You left us hanging.)

            •  Oh jeez, 7 years later and people still ask about (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ORDem, Sarenth

              the Egypt post. Trust me: the train ride was the most interesting part. The rest was tourist trap city (of the dead).

              If you ever saw TV documentary about Luxor, tombs, you saw what I saw -- plus people desperately trying to sell you stuff 24/7. Shoulda just stayed on the train.

    •  Billmon is one of the greats of the blogosphere! (0+ / 0-)

      Even if you disagree with all or parts of what he says, his combination of pithiness and broad perspective makes you think.

      "..The political class cannot solve the problems it created. " - Jay Rosen

      by New Rule on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 10:16:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who is the "sociopath" in your diary? And ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smartdemmg, Seeds, sethtriggs
    Depending on who’s talking, this amounts to either a total surrender of the hard-fought progressive gains of Clinton’s first term in office, or the bid of a sociopath (yes, the word was used) to overthrow what remains of the New Deal.
    Who is doing that talking?

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:06:31 PM PST

    •  Do you want a name? (4+ / 0-)

      LOL

      "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

      by high uintas on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:16:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Clinton bashing is a dishonest deflection (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laconic Lib, Sarenth

        Obama is the POTUS now. He's 1000% responsible for what is happening NOW.

        The constant Clinton bashing is a ridiculous form of denial and diversion.  It's bullshit.

        Obama is president. He has been for 4 years, he will be for 4 more.  He alone owns any mistakes he makes.

        If you have a problem with the way the Democratic Party is being run, the policies its pushing or not pushing - take it up with the Dem Party's current leader - Obama.

        Geez. The Clinton obsession is insane this late into Obama's time in office.

        For folks who want to see real progress please keep in mind

        - Clinton bashing is a diversion.  Its a tactic to get people to stop criticizing Obama and the GOP for whatever mess is on the table

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:57:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  WHAT progressive gains? (12+ / 0-)

      I'm not saying that Clinton didn't have some leftist accomplishments (gun control bill, tax raise) but doing an item-by-item comparison the Obama administration looks better.

      Is Obama ideal? Not at all. I think he royally screwed the pooch on not pushing harder on a larger stimulus package. And he's wedded way too hard to the monetarist/Third Way/VSP idiots of the Democratic Party.

      But honestly, it's really no contest. The Clinton years were a straight-up holding pattern. They were an extremely important holding pattern, considering that this was when the religious right and neocons were at their strongest, but this kind of revisionism does leftist no favors. I'm all for constantly fighting for leftist gains, but the hagiography that liberals do for FDR, Kennedy, and Clinton strikes me as dishonest whining.

      •  Progressive gains = NAFTA, DADT, DOMA, welfare (11+ / 0-)

        reform, oh and a big tax hike in 1993.

        •  Was that sarcasm? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Trevin, joanneleon

          If that was sarcasm, ha ha, you so silly. If that's not supposed to be sarcasm, this comment greatly confuses me.

          •  The most progressive President since FDR (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            puakev, wishingwell

            At least according to Rachel Maddow. And that's not Bill Clinton.

            I don't think that's necessarily true. I place him with LBJ.

            But I think that should tell us something here.

            •  Most Conservative Dem President since Truman (13+ / 0-)

              Easily.

              And if you consider Truman took on the military establishment and forced racial integration, that may not even be true.  

              Obama has done nothing that revolutionary.  (Forcing people to buy corporate for profit "health insurance" isn't it.)

              You probably have to go back to before Woodrow Wilson to find a Democrat as accommodating to modern Republican policies and theories as Obama has been.  

              •  More conservative than (12+ / 0-)

                Carter, Kennedy, and Clinton? Really? I'll float you Carter depending on how strongly you feel about foreign policy, but Obama being more conservative than Kennedy and Clinton is just more whiny liberal historical negationism.

                •  I vote Johnson (7+ / 0-)

                  for passing the most progressive legislation and implementation: Medicare, Civil Rights Act, Head Start. . . . oh, and his VP, HHH, would have continued the agenda. . .

                  the fact that you're right is nothing more than interesting

                  by Egg on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:31:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  True but LBJ was much more hawkish on war (6+ / 0-)

                    and escalating the war in Vietnam..no matter how bad it was going..he continued to push and push and push it ..and the draft and all of that. I remember being a teen but my parents and I were so excited when he decided not to seek a second term. We were all excited about Bobby Kennedy running for President because he wanted to do more about civil rights and also get us out of Vietnam.  

                    Johnson was great on a lot of issues with a congress that was not teabaggery like we have now...but he was not good on foreign policy..horrid in fact.

                    Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

                    by wishingwell on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:51:02 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Obama didn't "force" anything. If you mean he... (7+ / 0-)

                ... should have gotten single payer? I don't believe that was possible. Should he have fought harder? Maybe, but that would only have been a good show because single payer was not in the cards.

                ... should have abandoned ObamaCare when he couldn't get better? Ridiculous, for there would be no more next fight. We weren't going to be that close to reasonable health care reform for a very long time.

                2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:39:59 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  LBJ and FDR did not have these teabaggers and (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TRPChicago, wwjjd, v2aggie2, duhban

                  the Liebermann, Ben Nelson type of Democrats always threatening to vote with the Republicans....both LBJ and FDR had much larger majorities in Congress.

                  Past Presidents never had to deal with this teabauchery on display of those who want the government to shut down and want to tear down the government.

                  Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

                  by wishingwell on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:52:32 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  But they had the Dixiecrats (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    coral, Glenn45, sethtriggs, praenomen

                    They were the ancestors of the present day teabaggers don't you think?

                    Sadly FDR calculated that he had to sacrifice civil rights for African Americans if he wanted to get his New Deal legislation passed.

                    LBJ on the other hand was able to counter balance the Dixiecrats with liberal and moderate Republicans before they were chased out of the GOP in the 1970s and 1980s.

                    •  The Dixiecrats supported the New Deal (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      sethtriggs, praenomen, wishingwell

                      yes, they were racists, but the New Deal was something they supported.

                      The Tea Party, needless to say, wants to dismantle the New Deal

                      Barack Obama for President '12

                      by v2aggie2 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:04:30 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes because LBJ passed civil rights legislation (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        v2aggie2, wishingwell

                        Once Dixiecrats were forced to share the New Deal with minorities, it suddenly became poison.

                      •  No (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        KingBolete, wishingwell

                        The Dixiecrats didn't support the New Deal.  After 1936 and the failure of FDR's court packing attempt, he never passed another major piece of New Deal legislation.  This was because Dixiecrats -- read Vice President John Nance Garner and his ilk -- joined with Republicans.

                        In one sense, the Dixiecrats have always been with us, always afraid of being overwhelmed by free-thinking liberals, abolitionists and free blacks.  This Dixiecrat fear of being outnumbered and out-voted was why the Constitution had the 3/5 compromise and why we have an electoral college.  And the flames Dixiecrat fear -- fanned by large influxes of free-soil anti-slavery immigrants, refugees of the 1848 revolutions in Europe -- finally ignited into the Civil War.

                        FDR tried to purge the Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party and to get by without them, to institute a form of parliamentary government here.  He failed.

                        One way to look at recent American political history is to see its evolution as the gradual expansion of the non-white and non-Dixiecrat voting blocks, an unfolding that eventually isolates and emasculates the Dixiecrats/Tea Baggers.  The last election could be seen as a late stage in that evolution.  The non-white and dissident-white voting blocks have finally arrived at the point where they can overwhelm the Republican-Dixiecrat alliance.

                        In that sense, the transformative political figures are Bob Moses, who lead the struggle to expand voting rights for black people in the south (providing crucial inspiration to the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and SDS) and Lyndon Johnson who -- in a legislative tour de force -- passed the Voting Rights Act.

                        Like billmon, I look forward to the next stage -- where we have enough of an upper hand to clamp down on the windpipe of the Wall Street-Tea Bagger alliance.

                        This aggression will not stand, man.

                        by kaleidescope on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 08:17:51 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  No (0+ / 0-)

                        The Dixiecrats didn't support the New Deal.  After 1936 and the failure of FDR's court packing attempt, he never passed another major piece of New Deal legislation.  This was because Dixiecrats -- read Vice President John Nance Garner and his ilk -- joined with Republicans.

                        In one sense, the Dixiecrats have always been with us, always afraid of being overwhelmed by free-thinking liberals, abolitionists and free blacks.  This Dixiecrat fear of being outnumbered and out-voted was why the Constitution had the 3/5 compromise and why we have an electoral college.  And the flames Dixiecrat fear -- fanned by large influxes of free-soil anti-slavery immigrants, refugees of the 1848 revolutions in Europe -- finally ignited into the Civil War.

                        FDR tried to purge the Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party and to get by without them, to institute a form of parliamentary government here.  He failed.

                        One way to look at recent American political history is to see its evolution as the gradual expansion of the non-white and non-Dixiecrat voting blocks, an unfolding that eventually isolates and emasculates the Dixiecrats/Tea Baggers.  The last election could be seen as a late stage in that evolution.  The non-white and dissident-white voting blocks have finally arrived at the point where they can overwhelm the Republican-Dixiecrat alliance.

                        In that sense, the transformative political figures are Bob Moses, who lead the struggle to expand voting rights for black people in the south (providing crucial inspiration to the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and SDS) and Lyndon Johnson who -- in a legislative tour de force -- passed the Voting Rights Act.

                        Like billmon, I look forward to the next stage -- where we have enough of an upper hand to clamp down on the windpipe of the Wall Street-Tea Bagger alliance.

                        This aggression will not stand, man.

                        by kaleidescope on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 08:17:51 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Dixiecrats supported the New Deal, FDR did not (0+ / 0-)

                      want to lose their support by opposing segregation and  Jim Crow. LBJ knew he would lose support but he did the right thing with the Civil Rights act. And those Dixiecrats mostly became Republicans. LBJ knew that would happen and he did not care and I admire him for that.

                      LBJ was too much of a war hawlk for even my marine dad veteran at the time but on domestic policy and civil rights, he was very strong.

                      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

                      by wishingwell on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:21:14 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  "teabauchery", LOL, appropriate phrase you coined! (0+ / 0-)

                    "..The political class cannot solve the problems it created. " - Jay Rosen

                    by New Rule on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 10:21:58 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  How was LBJ on gay rights? (0+ / 0-)

                Yes, yes, yes, I know. Achieving National Healthcare, something no other Democratic President did, is nothing.

              •  lolwut? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bubbajim, Heftysmurf, maracucho

                clinton was a progressive hero if and only if you restrict 'progressive policy' strictly to the idea of 'raising taxes a good amount'.

                on every other policy issue he was pretty bad from a progressive standpoint. except maybe the FMLA, which was pretty good.

                the way middle class white progressives on the internet lionize clinton and bag on obama really is a shining example of how it all really comes down to how well the economy does when you're president. which i guess makes sense, since middle class white people did great during the 90s.

                of course it's ironic that today's economy sucks first and foremost due to the aftermath of a huge wave of neoliberal policies that clinton supported. but hey, that's some other president's problem.

                anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

                by chopper on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 08:04:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I remember being so disappointed with Clinton (7+ / 0-)

              about DOMA, NAFTA, and DADT among a few other things.  I think overall Obama is much stronger on these issues and social issues overall.

              While FDR was great, fantastic , wonderful on economic and jobs issues..probably the best...he was weak on civil rights issues. Much has been written about how Eleanor was pushing him to make a stand on civil rights issues ..he would not..but she tried her best to do what she could as First Lady. But FDR was not good on civil rights at all.

              Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

              by wishingwell on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:48:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you look at the income disparity between the (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sarenth

                wealthy and everyone else, it's hard to believe that Obama has helped people at the bottom end of the scale.  Everyone I know is worse off than they were when he took office.  And those who are working, are scared their jobs might not last.

                Obamacare?  Take a look at the big medical insurance rate hikes that are being passed in California (announced today in the LA Times) and you can see the future of Obamacare.

                Matt Taibbi pointed out the failure of his policy to rescue homeowners...anyone who has touched that program can tell you it was a piece of crap.

                17 million children going to bed hungry every night.  Under a Democratic president.

                Almost 200 innocent children killed by drones.

                The Obama administration was the biggest obstacle to progress in the latest global warming talks in Doha.

                These are not Democratic values, and watching progressives trying to spin those failures into something positive is very discouraging.

                •  I admitted that FDR and LBJ were stronger on (0+ / 0-)

                  economic issues and the poverty programs that became stronger because of them. I will not argue that at all.

                  But they had their flaws too..LBJ on foreign policy, FDR on civil rights, equal rights, and those internment camps during WWII are part of our national shameful past in how we have treated people.

                  I look at all the issues and Obama is much stronger on some issues than others. ...just as other Presidents were.

                  But it is absolutely still almost miraculous that this African American President with an African name became our President and got a second term. It is amazing and wonderful and a huge step forward for this country.

                  Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

                  by wishingwell on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:25:44 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  don't forget deregulation of Wall Street (20+ / 0-)

          with Gramm-Leach-Bliley (repealing Glass-Steagall) and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act, which were, yes, passed by a GOP congress, but were signed by Clinton and I believe were supported by Rubin.

          There was also the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which allowed greater media consolidation.

          Clinton was highly intelligent and a very skilled politician, and his communication abilities in speeches (including his ad-libbing) are the best I've ever seen, but a progressive hero he was not.

          Yes, he was battling a difficult Congress, and his second term was sabotaged by the impeachment nonsense, but he supported economic policies that were very damaging and are still exacting a toll on working Americans.

      •  You've Nailed It (8+ / 0-)

        I very much agree with maltheopia. It seemed like a good time, in contrast to the stupidity that came before and after, but it was purely a holding operation, and left no policy or political fingerprints.

        What I thought at the time and still think was that it was important to show the country that Democratic presidencies didn't ALWAYS end in tragedy or disaster. Carter had clearly been a failure. After a great start with the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts and Medicare, the last years of LBJ were a nightmare. Kennedy was murdered. The Truman administration was seen as weak, corrupt, and out of steam. The last Democratic President to serve two full terms had been FDR, a half-century before. It was Clinton's task to show the country that his party was capable of managing the government without creating major crises. In that sense, at least, he was an important figure.

        •  And not to keep beating on a dead horse but (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          v2aggie2, sethtriggs, duhban

          I have studied and read a lot about how FDR was tone deaf on civil rights issues in this country and it was bad in the south....very bad..Jim Crow and the Native Americans being treated horribly as well as other minorities..not a good time for women or minorities.

          Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

          by wishingwell on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:55:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Sociopath (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs, duhban

      I think I recall Matt Stoller calling Obama a sociopath on Naked Capitalism.  The noun is sociopathy.

  •  Fine as long as when the Republicans come for (29+ / 0-)

    Social Security and Medicare the reply is let's go back to the tax rates when Medicare was enacted and see how that works out first.  

    If he wants to give away the tax rates and slash Defense I am just so totally cool with that too.  WWII is over.  Bring the troops home.  

    But if we get any more of this "reform", "fix" and "strengthen", aka CUTs to Medicare and Social Security  so we can pump up the wealthy and the MIC like Arnold on steroids I am seriously done.

    •  Shape? We couldn't influence them with a hammer. (10+ / 0-)
      if progressives just bitch about Obama, instead of trying to shape his Democratic Party to their own ends,
      The far right knew "if you can't/won't hurt them, you have no power".   If this place is any example, it will never be replicated on the left.

      What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

      by dkmich on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:25:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They 'hurt' them by primarying the non-Pres office (0+ / 0-)

        holders.  There is no reason liberals can not do the same - and in 2016 support the most liberal Potus candidate that can also win (bc purity and losing is just losing, it accomplishes nothing but pushing the next Potus candidate to the right seeking to win).

        Indeed, that is pretty much what Kos does during election cycles.

        And during non-election cycles it serves a good soounding board for policy issues.

        You got a problem with that?

    •  SS and Medicare have to grow over the next 40 yrs. (9+ / 0-)

      Simply to keep pace with baby boomers. And there's good evidence from the past that expanding them would be advantageous. Without a well funded Medicare (which still pays doctors adequately) to compete against ever more expensive private health care costs, our out-of-pocket costs will so exceed our taxable expenses that it will be breath-taking at how poor, or unhealthy, individuals will become.

      We also need the dollar for dollar balanced approach to a not-so-currently-dangerous deficit paydown. We must get back to historically higher taxation to invest in jobs for infrastructure and for bringing nearly every house and building in the US up to maximum energy efficiency. All in order to stop wasting tons more money over the next couple decades don't ya know?

      •  Good comment, but (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ron Thompson, TracieLynn, Noodles, Sarenth

        Baby boomers have long been factored into Social Security (and   Medicare).  The rationale that was used for the '83 increase in the Social Security tax was to account for the baby boomers, they started paying more 30 years ago to account for their retirement now. I read the actuaries' report every year (I need to for my work) and they are consistently accurate and a good read.  The recent decreases (from 2042 in 2007 to 2033, now)  in the longevity of the trust fund in the actuaries annual report is due almost exclusively to high unemployment for four years.  Lack of contribution to FICA now, does long term damage in the future.  

        I'm interested to see if the analysts and ultimately actuaries change their formulas  more aggressively for future contributions and payments to account for continued flattening and declining average wages and chronic low labor participation.

        the fact that you're right is nothing more than interesting

        by Egg on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:44:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What did you think of the analysis in the NYTimes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sarenth

          Of the actuaries?  Granted, they don't seem to be off by that much, and the authors didn't factor everything, for example an increase in the death rate from global warming in the 2020s and beyond.  But it seems no one really knows how to forecast allmthat well, and here is a real amount of subjectivity in the actuaries' report.

          The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

          by Mimikatz on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:20:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I wonder about increased longevity though (0+ / 0-)

          There is some possibility that some boomers and younger people might see extraordinary increases in lifespans. We've added decades in the west to lifespans  over only the last few hundred years. And the exponentially increasing pace  of science and technology suggests that we may reduce aging effects significantly within a generation. While that's admittedly a lower probability it's not out of the question that we'll see seniors living currently unexpectedly long lifetimes over he next fifty years. Perhaps a couple decades more than now past 100 years of age.

      •  Dare we say it? Government creates jobs. (6+ / 0-)

        Essentially the only reason trying to make "permanent" the Bush tax cuts for anyone was as a form of economic stimulus. And that's only because salaries weren't going up, so taxes had to come down to give the less fortunate -- that is the middle class in our current economic earnings stagnation -- some spending money. Hell, some pay-off-the-bills money. On top of that, it was geared to trying to boost the private sector 'job creators' sacrificing government jobs in the process.

        So, in essence making any of the Bush tax cuts no longer subject to expiring, or not simply letting them expire, does at least two things: It denies the government too much of its own 'job creating' money, and it creates a situation where back-door regressive taxes get written into the small print of 11th hour bills while leaving states starved from lack of federal help passing their own, often regressive taxes.

        The thing is, when the private sector refuses to pay people better, it should be incumbent on government to create competitive job markets (in some sectors) forcing the private sector into a bidding contest of sorts. Government keeps the private sector honest. Government assures economic stimulus constantly and in many different proactive ways.

        So, I still say this deal is a fairly giant leap in the wrong direction and that being to the right. As in right into a more conservative form of government. And that will compound our economic malaise.

        I mean, maybe -- and that's a big maybe -- we can turn the government back around in a progressive direction, but I ain't seeing much will for that from this administration. At least not beyond progressive legislation that includes big payoffs for the corporate leeches.

        Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.

        by Pescadero Bill on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:46:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is a serious diary worthy of serious debate. (17+ / 0-)

    But seeing the tenor of this site today, I fear it will soon descend into name-calling and nastiness.

    Please prove me wrong, everyone.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:12:57 PM PST

  •  Luv you billmon! (15+ / 0-)

    This was great, some of your best work. Don't worry about your reputation, there are plenty things to be pessimistic and grouse about without talking about the future of the Dems. Still, IMO we are moving in a better direction than I had hoped for at this moment in the big time line. Especially on LGBT rights and drug reforms.

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:15:12 PM PST

  •  Both the liberals and conservative wings of their (16+ / 0-)

    respective parties are unhappy with the deal.

    It appears to me that it's because neither faction wanted their side to give up anything yet we ended up with both sides compromising.

    But really, that's the way negotiations work and, from my perspective, our side had more leverage and therefore ended up with more of what we wanted.

    So, I'm not surprised there are people here who are grousing just as there are people at RedState that are grousing too.

    •  Do you work for CNN? n.t (13+ / 0-)

      What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

      by dkmich on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:26:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I can't get very excited about it either way. (9+ / 0-)

      The big deal will come in 60 days.

      This was just an opening skirmish.

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:45:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would disagree. (8+ / 0-)

      That sort of analysis implies that there is no objective measure of 'good', and that the things each side desire have equal value, and thus any 'good compromise' requires that each 'give up something', based upon the ideologically-driven demands made by each side.

      Far better would be to find out just what the actual desire of each side is, and find ways in which to accommodate the desires in ways that do not actually hurt people.  If two sides are arguing, and one proclaims 'I believe in Y, and therefore I demand W', while the other side knows that 'W' will, demonstrably, result in unnecessary harm, the approach should instead be to find a way to accommodate 'Y' without 'giving in on' W.

      Unfortunately, the 'Y' that the other side believes in is the smallest possible government that only addresses things specifically enumerated in a 200+ year old document written by men who simply couldn't envision modern life, because they had no way to see the future.  Such a belief is deleterious to the ability to actually govern modern society.  Still, in the spirit of 'negotiation', the desired outcome would be a way to show that the things we need are in fact needed, and do in fact help preserve the strength of the America they desire.  Not to say 'We want these, because we want them', but 'We want these because they help all of us, you included'.  To 'right-size' government to the tasks needed.  Not to always try to shrink it, nor to always expand it, but to allow it to be flexible - to grow when needed and contract when no longer needed.

      •  Confuses politics with truth. One problem is Thug (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        duhban, GMFORD

        s actually don't know what they want.  Not movement conservatives, they know they want all the money and screw everyone else, plain and simple.  But not all House Thugs are movement conservatives.

        However, those Rs must deal with the prospect of a political challenge by movement conservatives (primaries, primarily).  And so, therefore, must we.  

        Hence, the problem is not convincing those Thug House members that our ideas are better policy.  They do not care.  And if they do, they can allow themselves to act on that.  They are about being re-elected, first, foremost andpretty much exclusively.

        The result is we need to find ways to give them 'politcal cover' if they are to vote for better policies.  Sadly, the nature of the present beast is that that cover must always look like a betrayal of liberal desires.  Whether, when the dust settles, it truly is or is more like the relatively small real concessions given in the 2011 'debt ceiling deal' is the real issue.

        All imo, of course.

      •  Totally agree with you but it doesn't change (0+ / 0-)

        the negotiating process.  The right believes the left is aiming for true socialism and the left believes the right is aiming for a feudalistic, theocratic oligarchy.  There is a granule of truth in both notions.

        It's the fact that we are so diametrically opposed that has kept us from going too far down either road up until the last couple of decades when the right won through much better messaging.  That's changing now and we are pulling things back little by little.  

        Many of us didn't realize what had begun during Reagan until it was almost too late.  I do believe the silent (darned near comatose) majority (us) has been awakened.

  •  I'd tend to agree with Barry Ritholtz about Obama (8+ / 0-)

    When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

    by Unbozo on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:17:34 PM PST

  •  Wow, front page, really? (9+ / 0-)

    This site deserves its growing irrelevance.

  •  That is very true. (10+ / 0-)
    Either way, if progressives just bitch about Obama, instead of trying to shape his Democratic Party to their own ends, we may wind up looking back on his presidency, and his crummy budget deals, as the progressive Golden Age—or as close as we ever came to one.

    He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

    by Sophie Amrain on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:18:50 PM PST

    •  It does nothing but baffle me when (9+ / 0-)

      liberals say that they are so disappointed with the Democratic party that they are not even going to vote.

      Hey, liberals, guess what? If you withhold your vote (especially in the primary, but also for the general election) and the Democratic Party candidate wins without you, you better believe that they are going to continue to ignore your vote.

      The fact that Tea Party furniture-chewers get this but apparently engaged and skeptical liberals don't imply some very unkind things about the average liberal intelligence.

      •  I'm just wondering .. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, coral, Laconic Lib, mrkvica

        It does nothing but baffle me when liberals say that they are so disappointed with the Democratic party that they are not even going to vote.

        what liberals are those?  Also .. you need to give people a reason to vote .. telling them to vote .. or else the Teahadists will take over isn't a reason

        •  pretty good reason to me....... (3+ / 0-)

          tho I'd like something more positive, like gun control or Single Payer....but baby steps in the right direction will do for starters

        •  Ugh. (5+ / 0-)

          1.) Are you kidding me? People whine on this site that since Democratic person X didn't do this or didn't do that, they don't see a reason to vote at all.

          2.) Tea Party goons don't get what they want, either. Have you listened to them lately? They are much more disappointed with their politicians than we are with ours.

          But here's the thing: when they're disappointed with their politicians, they don't throw up their hands and snivel that they have nothing to vote for. No. What they do is vote for the Republican in the GE anyway and then punish them when it comes time to primary.

          When you don't vote, all that does is encourage the politician to look towards other constituencies to vote. Since proportionately more moderates and conservatives vote than liberals, this pushes the party to the left.

          The fact that Tea Party morons get this but apparently media-savvy and skeptical liberals don't makes me think that the average firebagger/Green Partian/socialist is some kind of wall-licker.

          •  Sorry. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            basket, sethtriggs, chrismorgan, HeyMikey

            Pushes the party to the right.

            There isn't some mysterious sell-out conspiracy to secretly implement a conservative agenda using the Democratic Party as its stalking horse. What you see is just a simple liberal refusal to vote in primaries.

            I'm quite baffled at how liberals can whine that because the Democratic party panders too much to the center-right that they will punish them by not voting. How can liberals not be embarrassed to spew this nonsense?

            •  All of the above. And Green coalition. (0+ / 0-)

              1. Yes, absolutely, in the general election we have to hold our noses and vote for the Democrat 99.999% of the time, even though they're often just the Lesser Evil.

              2. Yes, absolutely, the human tendency to skip voting unless emotionally motivated is idiotic. But...

              3. The human tendency to skip voting unless emotionally motivated is also a known fact of life. The Dem party collectively are idiots for not giving people something to be excited about. Holding your nose and voting for the Lesser Evil is nothing to be excited about.

              4. Yes, absolutely, we need more progressive candidates--who aren't just the Lesser Evil--in the Dem primaries.

              5. The balance of power in this country is on a knife edge--there are no votes to waste. Thus the Dems should be building coalitions with Greens. Two ways this might happen:

              a. Candidate X runs in both the Dem primary and the Green primary. If that's not allowed by state law, then the Greens should have an unofficial endorsement process and pick a candidate in the Dem primary after receiving pitches from each Dem. Then in the general it's a single Dem/Green candidate vs. the GOP nominee. If the Green Dem doesn't win the Dem nomination, the Greens need to re-read #1 above.

              b. Or the Dem & Green candidates could pursue their separate campaigns until about 10 days before the general election. Then whichever one trails in the polls withdraws and endorses the other. In return, the remaining candidate promises to do something in office that suits the endorsing party's agenda (sponsor legislation, implement new regulations, appoint agency heads, etc.). This should not be a secret deal; it should be very, very public. And all the Greens and all the Dems need to hold their noses and vote for the remaining non-GOP candidate.

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 08:32:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  If u don't care to prevent things getting much wor (0+ / 0-)

          se at least, then you really don't care anyway.  

          IOW, 'giving a reason to vote' is nonsense.  If you mean, giving a reason to vote with gusto, then say so.  If not, you really shouldn't be surprised that your agenda is not addressed by those who win elections.  

          The quickest path to irrelevance is not showing up.

        •  the only reason that should ultimately matter (0+ / 0-)

          is that votes are influence

          And frankly if you can't handle reality then I just feel sad for you

          •  I could agree with this sentiment (0+ / 0-)

            if my votes produced the results promised by the candidates I voted for.  

            You know what really influences my choice of representative?  Their agenda?  Their ability to get things done in their own aisle, let alone across it?  The usefulness of government entities like OSHA and the EPA?

            Money.  And I have very little.  My vote goes so far, then, its relevancy winks out of the equation until it is time to vote again.  This, despite calling and emailing and signing petitions and doing all the things I can to agitate for change.

            I won't stop voting, but I won't pretend my vote is the do-all end-all either.  

            "You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind." -Morpheus, The Matrix

            by Sarenth on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 11:58:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  All the liberals I know vote, the young (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glenn45, TracieLynn

        seemed especially motivated in 2012...at least those I know. Even though it took until October before they began to pay attention.

        Jon Stewart and Colbert have been very effective with that group.

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

        by coral on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:40:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Brilliant but maybe too hard on Tricky Dick (16+ / 0-)

    who as advised by Daniel Patrick Moynihan was willing to consider a negative income tax as a way to fight poverty.  And don't forget detente with both Russia and China, which no Democrat could have gotten away with.  Of course I hated him at the time and I was glad when Watergate ended with his resignation, but it didn't end the Imperial Presidency which is still with us.  As for the Clinton era being the Golden Years, that's when deregulation (repealing Glass-Steagall) set the stage for the economic debacle of 2007-8.  W did many bad things, but he did not do that, Clinton/Rubin did that.

  •  What's not mentioned here (13+ / 0-)

    is how much some of the mainstays of the progressive movement have themselves betrayed it.  There is a marked selfishness and lack of vision displayed by unions, various liberation movements, and our party itself which plays into the notion that what material things I want matters most and that "free" markets work, despite their acknowledgement that the present system is unsustainable and does not adequately take into account what we owe to the future.

    "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

    by Publius2008 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:18:56 PM PST

  •  Less torture? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherjon, Simplify

    How would we know? Ask Bradley Manning about it.

  •  This analysys omits an important variable: (5+ / 0-)

    Sooner or later, the Republicans are going to learn how to adapt, and will find their own tools for chipping away at the Democratic coalition. The GOP won’t always be held hostage by the teabaggers.Namely, the demographics are shifting, hugely, right under our feet. The angry white males who have traditionally made up the Republican bloc, are dying out. Because the generation coming up is much more liberal, and racially much more mixed, than its elders, nobody is really coming up to replace this Republican Old Guard. Don't think this couldn't be a game-changer. Don't think they don't know it, and aren't absolutely terrified.

    Otherwise, thanks for the perspective.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:20:22 PM PST

    •  Oops, that's "analysis," NOT "analysys"... (0+ / 0-)

      And why didn't my "blockquote" around the diarist's remark work? Oh, hell.

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:22:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  it's going to (3+ / 0-)

      take them a while. So far, they're trying very hard not to change.
      Now is a good time for the Dmeocratic Party to learn how to get their messages out without being wordy or going over the heads of voters who didn't finish high school.

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

      by PJEvans on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:32:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And our core democratic-humanist message (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        basket, wishingwell

        can sell way better than theirs of austerity and exclusion.

        We already had this guy (forgot  his name) try to sell Republicanism to the inner-city kids of the "hip-hop generation." He was laughed off the stage. In the city where I live, these "pro-life" idiots keep putting up big, expensive bulletin boards of adorable pink-cheeked, blue-eyed infants (this is who will die if mommy has an abortion) in low-income minority neighborhoods. Yeah, you'll reel 'em in that way.

        It won't get better, is my point. Republican and conservative messaging to people besides straight white males, isn't still "working out the kinks." It is doomed to fail.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:50:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  To sell your core democratic-humanist message: (5+ / 0-)

          Step 1: Vote in primaries.
          Step 2: If the person you voted for in the primary fails, vote for them in the General Election anyway.
          Step 3: After the next election comes around, repeat step 1.

          Until liberals start voting in primaries at the proportion that conservatives or even moderates do, I don't want to hear any whining about how they need to sell their message better.

          •  Collective punishment? (5+ / 0-)

            Why exactly can't I 'whine' if I do vote in primaries?  I vote in them 100% of the time.  How exactly am I responsible for how other people do or do not vote?

            •  Sorry, that's the downside of being more (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              karmsy

              politically and ideologically enlightened than your peers.

              You'll feel like you're getting punished more often for being smart because there's only so much you can do individually to push your views in a democracy.

              But nothing you can do about it. Other than continue to vote. Hope maybe that yours is the one that makes the difference. It's happened.

              •  "Nothing you can do about it." (0+ / 0-)

                "Other than continue to vote."

                That's all you can do in a democracy? That's a consumerist idea of democracy. It might appeal to Plato or the Roman apologists or Republicans, but they call it what it is, a republic, not the oxymoron "representative democracy".

                I'm a software developer. We have something called Extreme Programming which is real participatory democracy.  OWS, union actions, running for an office yourself - even starting a company - are potential democratic actions.

                You want to live, you want to la la la la la la, you want Ordinary Life.

                by Tom Rossen on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:02:42 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Is that a bad thing? Other than for partisanship? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Williston Barrett, karmsy, TracieLynn

      If the Republicans have to start taking on Democratic ideals to win votes, won't we actually achieve more of those ideals?  What matters isn't whether people proclaim themselves 'liberal' or 'conservative',
      'Democrat' or 'Republican', but what policies they vote to enact.  If Republicans want to 'win seats' by voting in sections of the Democratic Party platform, more power to them.  Essentially, it will simply reverse the trend we've seen for years, with Dems moving to the right because we get more 'Blue Dogs' who call themselves Dems but advance RW policies.  They'll wind up with their own Red Dogs or whatever, who call themselves Republicans, but actually believe in and vote for minority rights, fair pay, and so on.

    •  you sure? (0+ / 0-)

      because right now that  doesn't look likely any time soon

  •  Not "progressives of all stripes" (13+ / 0-)

    More like, "some progressives, especially those who have never liked anything the President has done."

    Plenty of the left is happy with the tax deal.   Some are not.  But roundly condemned by all of the left it is not.

  •  Sorry, just not true (29+ / 0-)

    "Progressives of all stripes have roundly condemned the POTUS for signing a deal..."

    And just because you want to think such a thing doesn't make it so.

    Many of us progressives fully support Obama, knowing full well that change takes time, agreements can be modified, and political realities often trump ideology in real life.

    Seriously, please don't think you speak for everyone here - I find this incredibly insulting and divisive.

    Someone please get me out of this alternate reality...I can't take it any more!

    by Cinnamon Rollover on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:20:38 PM PST

    •  At last....the mature voice of reason! (8+ / 0-)

      I concur wholeheartedly that diaries like this are incredibly egocentric (assuming that many progressives have condemned POTUS), insulting, and divisive.  Many progressives maturely recognize the time necessary for change to be implemented and with a gang of thugs on the opposite side of the aisle who have no interest in serving anyone other than their corporate fascist overlords, much of what this Administration has already accomplished is nothing short of incredible.  

        This diary refers to things typically involved in the world of negotiation.  Despite an overwhelming victory, this POTUS realizes that it's not only the Democratic Party (or the progressive wing of it) that he represents - but ALL AMERICANS.

      It would not be my style to begin any negotiation with what I ultimately expect to be granted; however, that would assume that the POTUS would be something other than what we've always known him to be.  He may not be as progressive as I may be on some issues but he's certainly much more progressive than any of the Republicans out there - these people function to the right of Ghengis Khan, for goodness sakes.

      Remember:  United We Stand; Divided We Fall

      Nowhere is this more obvious today than viewing the GOP and it's constellation of inside schisms.  What we need now is positive support to unify us toward our common ideological goals - not attempts to divide us.

      Call me an idealist but so be it!  

    •  It doesn't say every progressive (0+ / 0-)

      It says there have been progressives at different levels of ideology that have condemned the deal.  And I have seen it and the admittedly small list of progressive blogs I read, including - but not limited to - here, Balloon Juice, Little Green Footballs.

      "But the problem with any ideology is that it gives the answer before you look at the evidence." - President Clinton

      by anonevent on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:53:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was wondering if there was polling among (0+ / 0-)

      progressive Democrats and those independents who call themselves progressive, to determine if this is true. Did most progresives condemn the POTUS for this deal? Is there polling to back that up where people can self identify as liberal perhaps ? Could such a poll be done?

      I think a poll is needed so we can settle this and get an idea if a clear majority of self identified progressives felt one way or the other.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:08:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  still this is diary is (0+ / 0-)

      peaches and cream compared to just about every other diary on the topic.

  •  clinton accelerated (34+ / 0-)

    the democratic embrace of neoliberal economics. he did a couple of good things early on, like raising taxes- which was huge. but rubinism was wrong in the 90s, and it is wrong now. welfare reform was wrong on substance and narative. free trade couldn't work without international labor and environmental standards.

    the best thing clinton did, economically, was when he let gingrich shut down the government. it was tense, and there was short term pain, but it saved social security.

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

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:20:49 PM PST

  •  Does being "Progressive" mean (23+ / 0-)

    not seeing what an extension to Unemployment benefits, or stopping the reduction to Medicaid payments made to doctors, or even the farm bill mean to the people in real need right now to whom the fiscal curb was an actual immediate cliff?  And for that matter does it mean to ignore what guaranteeing health care for people with pre-existing conditions meant in real terms to those people who had been trying to manage their lives?

    •  To some people, being "progressive" means (10+ / 0-)

      getting EVERYTHING you want with no exceptions, RIGHT NOW, if not YESTERDAY!

      Never mind that no two of these "real" progressives want all the same things.

      And who the hell is Grover Norquist???

      by ZedMont on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:38:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And never mind that they can't give you a (7+ / 0-)

        plausible explanation of how their goals can be achieved with a Republican House blocking anything their sweet little hearts desire with no fear of repercussions at the ballot box.

        And who the hell is Grover Norquist???

        by ZedMont on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:41:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Public opinion" will sway the right. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sethtriggs

          It really will.

          Blow up the country with the fiscal cliff.  The bully pulpit and "public opinion" will make the Republicans cave eventually. In two hundred years or so.

          The scene on November 6, midnight: Barack Obama holds up newspaper reading "Romney defeats Obama" as he heads to give his second term acceptance speech.

          by alkatt on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:02:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I remember holding my nose and voting (9+ / 0-)

        for Clinton solely because of his promise of Health Care Reform. (I was for Jerry Brown). He failed as did every other politician in my lifetime and then Obama does it in the beginning of his first term and it gets characterized as a "half-assed version".  I guess the progressive thing to do would have been to tell Parents whose kids would go through their life-time caps in the first 4 years of their lives to just wait for the full-ass version to come along.  I'm glad Obama is a humanist and not a progressive if that what being a progressive means.

      •  Purity trolls... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zizi, ZedMont

        ...they want everything 100%, and any deviation from that ideal is a sell-out and betrayal.

        That said, I'd note that the number of folks on the left who feel that way seems to be fairly small compared with what I see on the right.

        It's worth remembering that we're talking about a small part of the progressive coalition, whereas the right wing purists are a sizeable plurality on their side.

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:13:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  oh, jeeze. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrkvica, Clues

        step 1: misrepresent the position of people you disagree with

        step 2: attack that new position you made up as ridiculous

        step 3: bask in the glory of the recs and confirming comments you get.

        way to go, doug.

    •  The progressive thinking was: (14+ / 0-)

      That not only could Obama hold the line on raising taxes on >250K but that they could also wheedle out a debt ceiling agreement AND get all of the aforementioned liberal weregild along with some other things.

      I don't think that doing so was impossible or even unlikely. But I do think that pretending that going over the fiscal cliff and THEN piecewise-implementing the liberal agenda (which a lot of people floated as an alternative to compromising) would been imminently doable is irresponsible poker tilting. The Republican Party still controls the House after all. And if we've learned anything from Obamacare is that the American public is stupid enough to hate the gestalt even when the individual steps are overwhelmingly popular. It's likely that not only would we have gotten an austerity bomb but ALSO have been fighting for UI and EITC and green energy tax breaks for several months to come. Which we may not get at all.

      So I can understand why the Democrats chose to play it the way they did. Therefore Kossack whining that Obama is a sellout and we could have gotten a lot better deal confuses and frustrates me.

    •  Does being "Progressive" mean.... (3+ / 0-)

      Apparently being progressive for some means we risk losing EVERTHING because we didn't get EVERYTHING.

    •  You do know .. (0+ / 0-)

      that plenty of "red" states might not see any benefit of ObamaCare at all .. or very little .. right? .. or that re: the fiscal cliff BS .. a deal made in the middle of January would have had the same effect basically .. re: U/E .. and the farm bill .. speaking of which .. you do know that the farm bill is basically corporate socialism .. right?

    •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

      The people calling themselves 'progressives" these days are keyboard utopists. No grounding in the real lives of struggling Americans.

      They are wedded to ideology, devoid of any grounding.

      The people I met while canvassing in Ohio never heard of a place like Dkos or any of the media 'progressives". No they were concerned about their next meal.

      That is the level of hot air fueling diaries like this one.

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

      by zizi on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:26:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Clinton was Nixon, Bush was Ford (7+ / 0-)

    and Obama is Reagan. How often do we say around here that Reagan would never make it in the modern GOP? Nevertheless, he ushered in a generation of Reagan Republicans that inched rightward over time, until they got to the extremes of today. Twenty years from now, people will lament that Obama could never make it in the Democratic party of 2030, but he will be seen as the Democratic Reagan.

    This is a gathering place for, as the author put it, the Democratic wing of the Democratic party; the majority of voters are more moderate and far less distraught over Obama's "cave" on taxes - a characterization I wholeheartedly and vehemently disagree with (ask Lawrence O'Donnel if this was a "cave").

    •  Disagree to extent with both this and Bill, more (0+ / 0-)

      like BO is between Nixon and Reagan.  

      Reagan was far less conservative in policy than those 'Reaganites' who came after, and even when he was conservative it was in easy areas like tax cuts.  Imo Obama is somewhat more liberal than Nixon, given the context tho not in 'unadjusted' terms.  Nixon came closer to the middle of liberal-age, on the heels of Great Society, while Obama comes on the down slope of the Age of Reagan but fiscal constraints (largely the result of Bush and Reaganites fetishizing tax cuts) force seeking liberal ends thru less liberal means.  IOW, Nixon's policy could not be less liberal than it was; Obama has achieved to variously debatable degrees about as liberal policy as he could get except in those cases when he got much more liberal policy than reasonably expected, e.g. ACA, CFPB.

      (This addresses only domestic policy, since 'liberal' vs 'conservative' foreign policy is something of an absurdity.  By and large, f/p is driving by what is considered in the US national interest, regardless of its placement on the ideological scale.  Thus, FDR built Stalin's army to fight Hitler.)

  •  Historically speaking (12+ / 0-)

    for a President who inherited two wars post 9/11, this has been one of the least deadly Presidency. That's from the Interment, through the Korean War, Vietman and Kosovo.

    • Ordered an end to the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, withdrew flawed legal analysis used to justify torture and applied the Army Field Manual on interrogations government wide.

    • Abolished the CIA secret prisons.

    • Says that “waterboarding is torture” and “contrary to America’s traditions… contrary to our ideals.”

    No reports of extraordinary rendition to torture or other cruelty under his administration.

    • Failed to hold those responsible for past torture and other cruelty accountable; has blocked alleged victims of torture from having their day in court.

    http://www.aclulibertywatch.org/...

  •  If it was a progressive sellout, why did most memb (15+ / 0-)

    ers of the CPC vote yes for it?

    and Clinton was not a progressive, DOMA,DADT,NAFTA, and repealing Glass-Steagel all say hi.

    •  To me clinton was the center-right (11+ / 0-)

      president. Obama is center-left.

      •  Most definitely! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rubthorn, wishingwell
      •  I agree, I would become more disappointed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        decembersue, sethtriggs

        with Clinton more often than with Obama.

        I think people often forget that although LBJ and FDR were great on economic and labor issues, LBJ was quite the war hawk,..always escalating a losing war where many lives were being lost for many years on a much larger scale than we are seeing now..but a long long mile....and FDR was weak on civil rights issues.

        I also do not think LBJ or FDR had a teabagging far right Congress..teabaggers who want to see the government shut down or even collapse.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:15:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here's a good piece by David Leonhardt: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, zizi
      For Obama, a Victory That Also Holds Risks

      By DAVID LEONHARDT

      <...>

      Perhaps the best prism through which to see the Democrats’ gains is inequality. In the 2008 campaign, Mr. Obama said that his top priority as president would be to “create bottom-up economic growth” and reduce inequality...In the 2009 stimulus, he insisted on making tax credits “fully refundable,” so that even people who did not make enough to pay much federal tax would benefit. The 2010 health care law overhaul was probably the biggest attack on inequality since it began rising in the 1970s, increasing taxes on businesses and the rich to pay for health insurance largely for the middle class.

      As part of this week’s deal, Mr. Obama did make several major compromises. He accepted much less in overall tax revenue than the government would have received absent any deal. He allowed a payroll-tax cut, which applied to most households, to expire. And he yielded both on aspects of the estate tax and on the level at which the top marginal income-tax rate would start, moving it to $450,000 for couples, from $250,000.

      Still, using inequality as a yardstick, he won much of what he had wanted. By holding firm to a top rate of 39.6 percent — up from 35 percent — he locked in a substantial tax increase for the very richest, who have received the biggest pretax raises in recent years.

      On average, the top 0.1 percent of earners — whose incomes start at $2.7 million and go much higher — will pay $444,000 more in taxes in 2013 than they otherwise would have, according to the Tax Policy Center. The increases stem from both the fiscal deal and the new taxes in the health care law...the deal preserves the “compassionate conservative” part of President George W. Bush’s tax agenda — reducing federal income taxes on the working poor, sometimes to zero — while limiting the parts that most helped the affluent.

      <...>

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

    •  The "facts" do matter! Thank you for reminding (0+ / 0-)

      us all.

  •  what seems fundamentally different (18+ / 0-)

    from the Nixon era...notwithstanding the cultural hangover from the '60s...is the changing balance of power we now observe.

    As noted, the unions are eviscerated.

    Which leaves only government to counterbalance the increasing size and power of big business. Very big business. Enormous business. And government, in the thrall of the big dollars it takes to run for office, which can only be provided by the scions of big business, isn't interested in the job.

    Point being...I think we're closer to the Robber Baron era than to Nixon's. Globalization was a limited thing back in the 1970s, unions were still strong (arguably too strong, depending on whose history you're reading), and the big box store was a dream...sorry...nightmare whose time had not yet come. Now we live in a world dominated by a handful of chains, all of them too big to fail. Most retail markets are dominated by two key players, and one of them is bound to fall beneath Amazon's sword at some point. Or WalMart's. Or Google's.

    I don't know that the left has answers. I don't know that anybody has answers because I don't know that anybody asking the question has access to sufficient levers of power to change anything.

    "Good Lord, how can the rich bear to die?" -- Nikos Kazantzakis

    by Shocko from Seattle on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:29:51 PM PST

    •  We may need a movement larger than the party (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Teduardo, coral

      Both parties seem desperately provincial and fossilized.  I don't think the answer is working within the party alone.  The problem as you say is really global and Europeans and others face similar challenges.  Maybe we need a new international movement.  The challenge is avoiding the anarchy of recent such movements.  We need people with ideas, ideology, and messages not just people occupying public space.  We need to occupy the public's mind.

    •  You've zeroed in on the hole in my argument (12+ / 0-)

      The political cycle may have turned but the economic cycle hasn't. We're still in the Age of Neoliberal globalization -- contrary to my expectation in 2009.

      If the last financial crisis wasn't enough to bend the curve, what will it take?

      On the other hand, what other options do we have?

      •  Same Thing It Took in Early 20th Century. (7+ / 0-)

        A major discontinuity befalling the power structure.

        But since we now protect the power structure from misfortunes of the country, the dimensions of what's needed are frightening.

        Climate change is the same kind of problem, also clearly beyond the ability of our system in our time to address adequately.

        If a coalition of top owners does not come together, or is not solicited to come together to address these problems, they're not going to be addressed.

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

        by Gooserock on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:05:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No it did not. We actually had the (0+ / 0-)

          Republican Party deciding to look out for the workers.
          (Citation: Howard Zinn) Now leadership in both parties could care less about the workers.

          And although it was in the Nineteen Teens, that the Federal Reserve was established, there was absolutely NO EQUIVALENT of a Ben Bernanke loaning out the entire yearly GDP of the nation to various Banking elites around the world, many of whom will not be re-paying those loans.

          Nor was there any Anti- Terrorist Principle operating, calling for the country to offer up huge amounts for endless unwinnable perpetual wars, and continual surveillance of every citizen. the local police were not militarized.

          Things sucked if you were not a white skinned person,but many aspects of life were much better. Many people raised their own food, for example, as it was not until after WWII that most people lived in cities. And even food sold in stores was almost all organic - with only 10 to 15% of the food being sprayed with toxins. And there were no dictates to drug your kids if they wiggled around in class, or vaccinate children with a half dozen vaccines a piece.

          Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

          by Truedelphi on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:30:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I really doubt you'd think life was better c. 1900 (8+ / 0-)

            if you'd had to live it. Check out some of Jacob Riis's photos os the Lower East Side slums. Life was nasty, brutish and (often) short.

            On the other hand, there was more class consciousness and (sometimes) solidarity.

            Those two facts were not unrelated.

          •  A horrible time for minorities and women, even (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sethtriggs, mrkvica

            those glorious 50s that white Americans love to dream about and want to relive..were horrible for women and minorites...really bad times.

            Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

            by wishingwell on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:17:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  What!?! Things were not better in 1910s!! (0+ / 0-)

            Children were working in factories, child labor was a huge problem. Kids had much more to worry about then a Doctor recommending them medicine or giving them vaccines to protect them against disease. They also struggled to find food, so I doubt that they would really care if it was non organic.

            "The Gilded Age" was not a fun time for the large majority of citizens. The average street urchin or low wage worker would give anything to have even a fifth of what we had today. Actually, a large majority of them would very likely be able to comprehend just how easy we have it today.

            To be honest, its almost offensive that you pine for those days. People couldn't even attempt to organize without the threat of massive violence.

            We have it much much better today and we should not forget who made that possible for us. People died for things rights that we would consider minor today.

            But seriously, to suggest that things were better during the reign of totally unregulated capitalism is absurd.

            "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

            by 815Sox on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 06:41:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  wha? (0+ / 0-)
            Many people raised their own food, for example
            because they were completely broke.
            And even food sold in stores was almost all organic - with only 10 to 15% of the food being sprayed with toxins.
            of course half the other stuff you bought was loaded with lead, or mercury, or god-knows what. your kid had a cough and you'd end up giving them heroin.
            And there were no dictates to drug your kids if they wiggled around in class
            of course not. if your kid wigged around in class the teacher kicked the shit out of them. so much better!
            or vaccinate children with a half dozen vaccines a piece.
            of course then your kid would die from smallpox or be crippled for life with polio, but yeah shots are way worse than that.

            anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

            by chopper on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 08:27:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with every word you write. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Offer your heart some Joy every day of your life, and spread it along to others.

      by Truedelphi on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:23:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Back then television was more Progressive. (5+ / 0-)

      There was a movement in the right direction. Now big business controls the message. That factor can not be overstated.

      Impeach Norquist!

      by kitebro on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:32:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  facile and unfair. n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smartdemmg, dougdilg, alkatt
  •  State and Local focus, yes! (10+ / 0-)

    Building a better Democratic Party means we elect more Dems at the State and Local level. And start now for 2014.
    Nothing will push Obama more than adding more of the Elizabeth Warren wing to the mix.
    Even in Texas, we have some bright lights, e.g., Rep. Castro.
    We get the party we build, and demographics are on our side. IF we work for them.

    Or we can continue to bash Obama, dream of third parties, and criticize in our fellow Demcrats at every opportunity.

    Thank you for the great overview and call to move forward!

    We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

    by Urban Owl on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:31:35 PM PST

    •  Not only state and local focus (4+ / 0-)

      Focus at multiple levels within and outside of the party.  If we aren't ready for a 3rd party, we do need a coherent movement.  Otherwise, the established party just comes in and strong arms individual candidates and they're coopted before they are sworn in to office.

      What's despairing is how few times ANY elected Democrat is willing to sing a new tune.  

  •  Stick to the New Deal. (14+ / 0-)

    It is time tested.

    It should be the central organizing principle of the Democratic Party.

    Defend it at all costs.

    Build upon it when you can.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:31:54 PM PST

  •  We now have the most progressive tax policy since (11+ / 0-)

    before Reagan.  The first sentence of this article is a laugher.

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

    by lockewasright on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:32:59 PM PST

  •  The Donkey ship has sailed (0+ / 0-)

    Let's build occupy 2.0 and get stuff done!

    Although the two are not mutually exclusive.  And reformers should never give up.  But look at moveon on the left and Ron Paul's movement on the right -- the respective party machines effectively neutralized these factions in the context of broader policy.

    I keep coming back to  the corruption of American politics and the need to reform that, not the parties themselves.

    http://www.mefeedia.com/...

    PS - billmon, thank you for this excellent writeup!

    •  What did occupy 1.0 get done? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zizi, maltheopia, Rick Aucoin

      Nothing.  It was a big circlejerk.

      Praxis: Bold as Love

      by VelvetElvis on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:48:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yours is one perception (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrkvica

        With experience one learns framing debates has as much influence as "winning".

        The tea parties ability to primary career pols out of office looks good.  But it actually weakens their side when done piecemeal.

        On a micro level, talk to a person with loved ones in Rockaway New York and ask if occupy is useful to them.

      •  Occupy changed the terms of the debate (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TracieLynn, mrkvica

        Without Occupy, in the 2012 election we'd have heard President Obama droning on about deficits and need for austerity.

        Occupy helped change what we are actually talking about.  Which is the single most important battle to be won.  And something all the self-styled "pragmatists" have failed to do for a couple of decades now.

        What's wrong under Republicans is still wrong under Democrats.

        by gila on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:54:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You keep acting.... (0+ / 0-)

        ....like politics is about getting things done. It's about self-expression. It's about telling the world, and my friends how I feel about things, and about me, via my choice of consumer goods. OWS is my brand, dammit.

        "Politics is not the art of the possible.
        It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable" J.K. Galbraith

        by Davis X Machina on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:00:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  the 99% vs. the 1% (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sethtriggs

        They changed the conversation. That was huge, and may have helped Obama win the 2012 election. Certainly influenced the weird Romney "47%" comment that helped tank his election effort.

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

        by coral on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:50:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What I remember (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    betelgeux, Laconic Lib

    about the years Clinton was president is that I spent the first two unemployed and the second two in a part-time minimum-wage job. He was more conservative as a president than I liked, but I haven't thought much of most of the nominees since Carter (although I would have voted for Eagleton.)

    It would be nice to have a left-of-center party again.

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

    by PJEvans on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:36:53 PM PST

  •  DADT and NAFTA! Ahhhh! Good times! (9+ / 0-)

    And failure on keeping his promise for a health care bill! Gosh, what a golden age that was!

  •  What does Progressive mean? (10+ / 0-)

    When Paul Wellstone was still with us, Progressive meant moving forward on issues. President Obama is not static or regressive. And where are all these progressive Republicans in Congress that support the Progressive agenda? I'm sick of this platitude that all the President has to do is ask Republicans to pass progressive legislation and they will without fail. Bull.

  •  The body didn't deliver the headline (6+ / 0-)

    What so often occurs in these discussions is that there is a wealth of detail in arguing the immediate headline as it relates to the past, but the concept of sustained strategy which would actually address what we face seems to be something that never entered either K-12 or college educations in America.  

    The current fiscal cliff drama is about whether the conservatives who fought the New Deal and the Great Society will finally win their Armageddon, or whether a long term basis for American civilization will emerge finally.  

    This battle always gets fought in skirmishes or battles that are seen as not part of the context.  

    When progressives learn to see the whole and to be able to think a few moves ahead strategically to what the next twenty to thirty years ought to look like, then maybe we can move ahead a bit.

    We need to be dealing with climate issues, global finance and labor issues, and population versus resource issues as well as numerous derivative concerns.  We can either do that by simply staying in reactive mode all the time, or we can devote some brains to the problems that are really in our future.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:39:41 PM PST

  •  Here's the SOLUTION (8+ / 0-)

    Defeat as many Republicans in the House and the Senate as humanly possible in 2014.

    Remember, from 2009-2010, Obama and the Democrats in Congress passed some of the most sweeping reforms and pieces of legislation in YEARS.  Since then, Congress has been dysfunctional.  Why?

    The GOP.

    Why also?

    Because people in the U.S. are treating the change Obama offered as if it's supposed to happen in a month.  We need to remind people and even ourselves on Kos that it is not Obama we should be fighting, it's the GOP.  

    I will not allow Kos to become the Green Party, which spends most of its time criticizing the Democratic Party instead of focusing on the GOP.

    •  Here's the new liberal strategy, courtesy of GOTP: (6+ / 0-)

      1.) Vote in primaries, vote in primaries, vote in primaries. If any liberal whines that the Democratic Party is too far to the right, the first thing you should ask if they voted in the primary. Paulites get this, Tea Party furniture chewers get this, but apparently they're smarter than the average liberal.

      2.) If the Democrat who you voted for in the primary doesn't win -- vote for them anyway. When the next election comes by, repeat step 1.

      Do this for 10-12 years, then BAM. Democratic Party instantly becomes much more liberal.

      Liberals vote proportionately fewer in primaries than moderates than conservatives than far-right goons. When an idiot liberal whines that the Democratic party moves to the right and the Republican party moves too much to the right too, what they're really whining about is that they are too lazy and thick-headed to vote in a primary and want their Congressman to do what they want anyway via telepathy/magical thinking.

      Now, I don't believe in pushing it as strongly at the Tea Party. But that's because they have a contradictory and/or unpopular agenda. But if the policy you are pushing for is popular with the majority, why wouldn't you do this.

    •  The Solution indeed. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      princesspat, wishingwell, TomP

      I canvassed in 2010 that still stings. I'm off to Youtube and watch Karl Rove's reaction to the 2012 election results while listening to Coltrane's My Favorite Things, so I can stop feeling so bad.

    •  Your words are important...... (5+ / 0-)
      Defeat as many Republicans in the House and the Senate as humanly possible in 2014.
      Thank you

      Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

      by princesspat on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:09:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Straw man much? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    auron renouille

    Yep.

    The 1 percent doesn’t vote against their self-interest. Why should the 99 percent? -- Joan Vennochi

    by Martin Gale on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:46:51 PM PST

  •  What Krugman said -- if the fiscal curb deal (0+ / 0-)

    portends a "Grand Bargain" in response to the debt ceiling hostage-taking by the Republican nihilists, then it's just another example of PBO's lousy negotiating skills and/or not-so-unspoken agreement with the "debt-crisis" bullshit promoted by the plutocracy.  However, in the context of PBO's actually refusing to sell out SS or Medicare to the hostage takers in the next couple of months, it would represent an unpleasant but reasonable trade-off to achieve some important benefits -- as a previous poster pointed out, unemployment benefits extension, farm bill, etc.   That unemployment extension was extremely important IMO -- to quote Pierce, " People got no jobs, people got no money." First priority is to help them keep body & soul together.

  •  One of the best articles I've seen on this site (5+ / 0-)

    in a long time.

    When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

    by Unbozo on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:49:58 PM PST

  •  I'll take Obama over his progressive critics (9+ / 0-)

    Any day and all day long.

    I don't agree with Obama on everything, but I'm fine with most of what he's doing.

    And, I understand that guys like Obama and Clinton win. If progressives are angry, they can try to have one of their own win the Dem nomination and then actually win the presidency. When was the last progressive president according to these critics? Probably Johnson as the left idolized Teddy and basically undercut Carter, thus making it easier for Reagan to be elected.

    Oh, and I remember hearing there was no difference between Gore and W in 2000.

    I don't want anyone like W elected again, so I'll go with the Democrat, understanding I'll never get 100% of what I want.

    Gerardo - www.northcoastblog.com

    by orlandoreport on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:52:35 PM PST

  •  interesting article (4+ / 0-)

    I don't know, though ... the populace may, as a whole, be seeing through the RW BS a little better than in the 80s and 90s.

    But the underpinnings of society continue to worsen - inequality is growing, we have persistently high unemployment, globalization marches on, and we have shown little in addressing the climate catastrophe.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:52:49 PM PST

  •  BWAAAHHHH MORE WATB (2+ / 4-)

    just another Tea-Party in reverse rant. Good Luck winning a National Election.

    "I am no longer a candidate. I'm The President" - Barack Obama 2012 DNC Convention

    by AAMOM on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:53:02 PM PST

  •  Austerity and taxes (5+ / 0-)
    More to the point, it escapes me why people who claim to understand that the primary economic risk right now is austerity, not a lack of it, are howling for tax increases—on anybody.
    My view is that a broad tax increase that affects the middle and working class would be a bad idea.

    Billionaires are not likely to decrease their spending due to a modest tax increase.

    A financial transaction fee would add stability to the market and may motivate more investment with less speculation.

    A higher estate tax would serve to decrease inequality.

    I think you suggest a false choice. There's no reason we can't increase revenue and stimulate the economy at the same time.

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 01:58:20 PM PST

  •  We Need a Sufficiently Activist and Significantly (8+ / 0-)

    independent progressive movement to create replacement Democrats for nomination races, because it's only possible to pressure existing politicians so far.

    And punishing Dems by refusing to support them in a general election is progressive suicide. It'll either get a Republican elected or it'll tell the Dems to move right in search of voters who will show up.

    We have to be vocal about policy making, especially so long before an election when the pols are least inclined to worry about popular sentiment.

    But we have to get serious about creating elected progressive Democrats.

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

    by Gooserock on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:00:16 PM PST

    •  Depends on the level of betrayal (0+ / 0-)

      I don't punish them for not breaking new ground but I flat out refuse to vote for the Democratic Party if they sell out Social Security and Medicare benefits.  I have drawn a line in the sand.  

      •  Why not just vote them out in the primary? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell

        And if they don't get voted out in the primary, why not just vote for them in the GE, then support their primary opponent next go round?

        •  Again depends on the level of betrayal (0+ / 0-)

          That works if the candidate just generally disappoints you on a set of issues and you prefer the challenger.  But I believe everyone should have a few core values that are moral guideposts.  (I also believe in doing your best to evaluate the character of the candidate. I have very rarely ever voted for a Republican but the few times I did, I was not disappointed.  In fact, one of the ones I voted for in the past former Governor Arne Carlson recently was instrumental in working with the Democratic Governor to help defeat the voter id amendment in Minnesota.  Character does matter.)

          I will not vote for the Democratic Party if it sells out Social Security or Medicare.  Period.  

    •  "progressive suicide" indeed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs

      Let's just look at all the regressive legislation that has passed in the States now controlled by republicans. Attacks on unions, "stand your ground" laws, tax cuts for the wealthy, lay-offs of teachers, cops, firefighters, attacks on women's rights etc.

      If 2010 hasn't thought "progressives" a lesson, nothing will.

      Despite the fact that on 'issues', the american people are quite progressive, they keep voting for republicans. Add to that the fact that the republicans benefit from many structural advantages.
      So in its culture and political tradition, the USA is much more to the right than other western countries. In THAT context, the only way to block republicans is for the democratic coalition ( blue dogs, moderates, center-left and left) to stay together. It leads to frustration, no question.

      President Obama has begun the task of "turning the ship" away from thirty years of the right and the plutocracy gaining power. He has motivated a lot of center-left people to get involved in politics. All this is good. But the task of bringing change is proving to be difficult. And it will take a loooooong time. I was excited in 2008, but not realistic enough. And frankly, I think Barack Obama himself wasn't realistic either.

  •  We Must Raise Pressure On Him To Push (8+ / 0-)

    for a progressive agenda.  What should that be.  Exapand
    Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Universal Health Care,
    Prison Reform,  Immigration, the Enviraonment:  tall orders, yes, but if we get it together things can happen.  right now the GOP controls things with their never ending horses ass debates about the fiscal this and that.  Let's get at 2014 elections now and get more elected who want change that is progressive.  And 2016, next.  We need to become more like the Chinese and have a "long term view" at least 20 years into the future.  And that's a very short span to our elder brothers and sisters in China.

    •  He as much as said so.... (3+ / 0-)

      If we want him to bring even greater change, WE must unite and demand it.  He's said that he will act in the "best interest of the people - what the people want" and if we just sit here and piss and moan but do zilch, then we have nothing to complain about.  And that's what's occurring here - let's take our complaints up another level and use our voices in a more positive way by making our collective voices heard.

  •  This is the "I LOVE YOU/ NOW CHANGE" syndrome (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tommy Aces, wishingwell

    How many of us have experienced or witnessed a typical divorce where people fall madly in love with one's attributes but believe in their heart of hearts that it's their responsibility (or desire) to change the things in the other's persona which they find unsavory??

    Isn't this precisely what this diary sounds like?

    Come on, guys....we all knew that our POTUS was not (perhaps would never be) as progressive as a lot of us here at DK, didn't we?  Why must we keep going around and around about this every time we find ourselves disappointed in something he's done?

    Isn't the definition of "insanity":  doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome?

    It's time to accept "what is" in this Administration and, in particular, in the persona of the POTUS and laud his accomplishments - for they are many!!  

    You can't please all of the people all of the time and this will occur time and again unless/until WE adjust OUR own attitudes toward it.

    Just as I say to my R friends:  Obama Won - AGAIN!
    Get Over It - AGAIN!  He is who he is and we need to be grateful and thankful to have such a kind, considerate, intelligent man on our side!!

    So much for the preaching....LOL.

    •  Changing the makeup up our government (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs

      is a lot easier than changing your spouse's behavior.

      1.) Vote in primaries.
      2.) Vote in a partisan manner during general elections even if the guy you voted for in the primary fails.
      3.) If the guy you voted for disappoints you, see step one. If the Republican Party wasn't so strongly sorted you might have an option to punish the guy by voting for the Republican. But since they are, vote for the guy anyway. And get him at the next primary.

      Liberals vastly underestimate the influence the power of the vote has, in particular the fear of the primary challenge.

      Until I start seeing 75% liberal voter participation rates in Democratic primaries, I'm going to mentally send all liberal whining about sellouts and VSP shills to the circular file. As it stands, more moderates vote in primaries than liberals. So what the hell does DKos expect to happen?

  •  I have my problems with President Obama, but .. (8+ / 0-)

    I also realize that because he is not dictator of the United States, he has had to deal with a congress and senate that was never optimum.  If the American people had given him both houses with a super majority (absolutely needed in the Senate, even when the Dems had control of the house, because of the Republican misuse of the filibuster) you almost certainly would have seen a much more "progressive" result.  For the current mess you can blame the Republicans AND the American voter, who voted for their own local perceived self interest, even if it costs the country  How else do you explain Michele Bachmann?

    There has never been, nor will there ever be, a liberal or conservative president who satisfies either group completely.  We tend to forget that, with the possible exception of Washington (and I think even he had his critics), every president we have ever had was a disappointment to somebody.  I could say the same about other elected officials.

    Napoleon anyone?

     

    •  I find a bit of hypocrisy with the tone & timbre (6+ / 0-)

      of this piece.  Do we want Obama to be Napoleon?  Of course, not and yet when he doesn't reach as far as we might desire him to do so, we criticize him.  He's damned if he does/damned if he doesn't according to some progressive critics.  

      As you've so eloquently articulated, he must work with the hand he's been dealt and it's an excruciatingly difficult one with a "do nothing GOP Congress" which he realizes he needs in order to accomplish his goals.  

      •  Do we want Obama to be Napoleon? (0+ / 0-)

        No, we want him to be Bush. When I came out of that voting booth in 2008 I said to myself, 'Now that's done. We've got our Bush! Bring on the executive orders! Unleash the signing statements! Payback's a bitch.'

        Because that's what any thinking person expects from a University of Chicago law professor.

        "Politics is not the art of the possible.
        It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable" J.K. Galbraith

        by Davis X Machina on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:03:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Personally, I blame liberals. (4+ / 0-)

      With not even half of American voting in the 2010 Congressional elections, with liberals voting proportionately less in primaries than moderates and conservatives, the failure of liberals to get liberal-friendly politicians is primarily their fault.

      When voter participation rates get up to 75-80% then we'll have a chat on how much our situation is the media/conservative/billionaire/VSP/independent voter's fault. Until then, you're saying that it's okay for liberals to be politically lazy but it's not okay for everyone else to be.

      •  Good point! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes, wishingwell

        I would prefer that people actually voted, rather than just complaining. I can say for myself that I have never missed voting in a major election since 1964.  It used to be considered your civic duty (not to say that things were better back then or that people took their vote as seriously as they should even then - I remember the 50s and 60s as being pretty difficult, but all ages have their plusses and minuses.)

      •  Broken old record (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laconic Lib, TracieLynn, mrkvica

        Minnesota liberals defeated the Democratic Party establishment candidate in the primary and elected a Democrat to the Governor's office who openly ran on a platform of taxing the rich in 2010 -- the same year Walker was elected across the river.  

        But hey, you can blame me in 2014 if Democrats cut Social Security or Medicare though.  I'm taking no prisoners there.

        •  So what happens if the Democrats run the board (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wishingwell

          without the help of liberals?

          If the Republican party is so stupid and useless that Democrats make massive gains in Congress despite being abandoned by liberals, what makes you think that the Democratic Party won't go to the right anyway?

          Liberals keep having this fantasy where the Democratic Party will wise up and stop shilling for VSP/monetarists/neoconservatives/etc. if they lose a couple of elections. Well, I ask, what do you think will happen if the Democratic Party wins without facing primary challenges from the left? Do you seriously expect that the Democratic Party will turn on people that voted for them to appease potential voters that abandoned them?

          •  Then the Democratic Party is now the conservative (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TracieLynn

            party and the Republicans are either dead or reincarnate themselves as liberals or we are governed by essentially a one party oligarchy with competing factions.

            I am a Democrat because of policy not because of partisanship.  There's no point in voting for a party that refuses to represent you.  That's a wasted vote.  You can have fun voting 3rd Party or sticking a spoke in the wheels but just marching in to vote against your own interests is about as undemocratic as it gets.  

            I agree the primary challenge should be tried and it sometimes works but unfortunately the establishment party has learned to proactively stop such challenges most of the time.  And there is far too much national party interference in local party elections trying to force bland centrist candidates even on states that can elect liberals like Minnesota and then coaching them to remain bland and risk averse.  So much for thanking me for my 40 years of liberal votes.  They turn on me anyway to appease those supposed swing voters that they don't even need when they fire up people like me to elect candidates like Paul Wellstone.  They don't want to take that chance.  Keep them bland.  Tell them to shut up.  Support the troops, love guns, small business.

            The Dayton primary challenge worked in MN largely because Dayton has Target and Rockefeller money and could stick it to the establishment party and hope liberals turned out which we did.  When the national party is the main source of money, the primary challenge is extremely difficult.  

            •  This doesn't make any sense. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Desert Scientist, sethtriggs

              You can have fun voting 3rd Party or sticking a spoke in the wheels but just marching in to vote against your own interests is about as undemocratic as it gets.  

              Unless there is literally one alternative, this is not true.

              I agree the primary challenge should be tried and it sometimes works but unfortunately the establishment party has learned to proactively stop such challenges most of the time.  And there is far too much national party interference in local party elections trying to force bland centrist candidates even on states that can elect liberals like Minnesota and then coaching them to remain bland and risk averse.

              Yes, that happens when you're up against the establishment. Big deal! The Tea Party was up against a much more regimented and authoritarian party structure and they're whipping the pants off of them.

              Why exactly is the Tea Party able to get what they want but liberals are not? You can whine all you want about being cockblocked by establishment Dems and being betrayed by Manchurian candidates, but simple exit polling shows that liberals vote proportionately less in primaries than moderates less than conservatives.

              When liberals start voting equal or even more, then we can start throwing out conspiracy theories and learned helplessness wank. Until that happens, you'll kindly forgive me for thinking that this is just more liberal whining and self-indulgence.

  •  Thanks Billmon (7+ / 0-)

    Wish you would post here more often. I loved your old blog.

    As for the budget deal, I don't like it, but I wouldn't get too excited over it...except for one thing: it's not the last word on the budget.
       The Republicans have decided that the budget fight is now a two-part battle. The second part involves the debt limit.
       Thus, Obama should have made raising the debt limit part of the budget deal.

    ¡Cállate o despertarás la izquierda! - protest sign in Spain

    by gjohnsit on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:06:38 PM PST

  •  Comparing Obama to his predecessors is not (9+ / 0-)

    ..intellectually honest unless one considers the central role of race in this presidency. President Obama's place in history is already secured no matter what his oh so vocal critics wish.

    I find it interesting that you don't find many people of color doing these types of comparisons.Why is that? I would think the answer relevant given the role they play in the supposed Democratic coalition.

    I suggest if those who fancy themselves Wellstonian desire not to be disappointed, they do less complaining on the internet and start hitting the streets and stay there until they get what they deem "real Progressives" elected to local, state, and federal office. You must win, apparently, without the help of those not as far left as you.

    That's right, deliver your type of candidates into office and good things will happen for you. Until that happens, you'll only marginalize yourselves by insulting those that actually did the hard work, as well as many of the millions of people who voted for President Obama as apparently "not from the Democratic wing of the party".

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:07:13 PM PST

    •  Doubt separates people....Buddha...apropos! (7+ / 0-)

      Each time we criticize and vent about desiring things to be other than they are, we infuse doubt in others.  If division is the intention (of diaries like this), then consider your job well done.  To propose that Obama is "not from the Democratic Wing of the Party" is preposterous and dabbles in absurd hair splitting which only further divides us all.  

      Time to put away the crying towel and as Sebastianguy suggest "hit the streets" and organize to press for our wishes instead of dabbling in negativity.

      •  Seriously? (0+ / 0-)
        Each time we criticize and vent about desiring things to be other than they are, we infuse doubt in others.  If division is the intention (of diaries like this), then consider your job well done.
        You know, I think it's hyperbole when people say the Obama supporters don't want any criticism of the President, but apparently that's true for you and everyone who rec'd this comment. I wasn't aware that the new definition of liberalism is "no criticism and a celebration of the status quo."

        "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

        by TealTerror on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 11:24:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Progressive dominance will = campaign reform (0+ / 0-)

    Unless we shame the electorate into playing on a nationally desired level playing field, Wall St. will continue to rule America. Taking campaign money directly out of the hands of candidates, overturning Citizens United, and making free speech only speech again will help turn the tide.

    Reducing the amount of money needed to buy a political seat to an equal amount for all candidates for any office will give the populous a stronger voice than we do now. I think the fairness argument is our best tool. Where the only advantage is not the money you raise but the negotiation and policy fulfillment skills you bring become the key to an winning an election. That is, the skills you would use on the job. Reducing the length of the political campaigning season might then be within reach as candidates might also then be scrutinized to spend more time on the job rather than raising obscene amounts of money for themselves.

    Not demanding this is where liberals and OWS have failed. It's the most basic of fairness issues which we should demand of our employees.

    Also advances in technology will provide more direct influence over our representatives if we use them wisely and copiously.

  •  I liken Obama a bit to the Emperor Claudius (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, coral, Heftysmurf

    of Robert Graves' I, Claudius and Claudius the God novels and the 70's British TV adaptation in which Derek Jacobi played the adult Claudius. The thing is that Claudius, like Obama, was a bit of a bookish idealist intellect in his youth, believing in the defunct republic and hoping for its eventual restoration.

    When, later in life, a series of unlikely events thrust him into the position of Emperor, succeeding two disastrous emperors, one a decrepit and sadistic old narcissist (Tiberius), the other a delusional psychopath (Caligula), he plotted a long-term plan for restoring the republic that required him, in the short to mid term, to play along with the imperial establishment and shun republicans.

    He was smart and experienced enough to know that there were too many vested interests who wanted the empire to remain, and if he abruptly tried to restore the republic, it would fail, and he would likely be deposed or killed. So he really had no choice but to work with the system outwardly, while secretly scheming to replace it with the old republic.

    I don't think I'll be spoiling the outcome for anyone since we all know that the Roman republic was never restored, and the empire lived on for another 400 years or so. But suffice it to say that old Claudius's classical version of 11D chess didn't work out too well. I'm not saying that a more straightforward plan to restore the republic would have worked. But sometimes you can be too clever and accommodating for your own and others' good.

    Don't take the comparison too literally. Obama has a lovely wife, is a great public speaker, walks with no limp, and is in no danger of being deposed. But I do believe that he tends to be too clever by half, has too much faith in people (especially his enemies, which they are), and too much faith in the established system. And he "talks" to himself too much, meaning he lives inside his own head too much and not in the real, dog eat dog world, where people lie, cheat, steal, negotiate in bad faith, and do not have the public's interest in mind.

    Perhaps he needs to find another oracle?

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

    by kovie on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:20:32 PM PST

  •  not "worth all the progressive anguish???" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, cslewis, Laconic Lib

    which just shows how FAR we've fallen since Roosevelt and LBJ.

    People simply don't appreciate how revolutionary the New Deal and Civil Rights were now.  How much political effort and social upheaval was caused by them, and how giant the steam rollers that were Roosevelt and LBJ had to be, to force through such paradigm shifts over the entrenched existing social order.  

    Presidents and Congresses which passed such epic laws and that changed America so much for the better (and that have caused so much intense Republican/conservative push back even to this day) are FAR "too much" to expect from our lazy latte sipping professional liberals at this point in history.

    Times have changed.  Perhaps even Democrats grow more ossified and conservative as time goes on, without another great revolutionary leader (or a REAL depression).   (Fact:  Obama's not one of those leaders).

    •  Remember FDR was not strong on civil rights (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      v2aggie2, sethtriggs

      and LBJ was forever escalating the war in Vietnam and being a super hawk...both were fantastic on the New Deal , poverty and job programs.  

      But they also had their weaknesses. We cannot glorify past Presidents without also comparing their flaws.  

      Truman was considerably better on civil rights than FDR.

      If we just judge Presidents on labor support and jobs programs, naturally FDR wins hands down

      But if we look at everything, ..I sure as hell would not want to be a woman or a minority living in the 40s, 50s or even 60s in this country...

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:27:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Eleanor Roosevelt was courageous (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        socal altvibe

        on civil rights, and her support was extremely helpful. Truman desegregated the Army, but WWII manpower shortages also led to using blacks in combat (rather than in service units) so the precedent was already there.

        I think FDR chose his battles in order to push his primary policy agenda--the New Deal and the entry of US into WW II to save Britain and Europe. I can't really condemn him for not being stronger on civil rights. He was stronger than the presidents who preceded him, with Eleanor as his spokesperson.

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

        by coral on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:59:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You're denigration of FDR (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laconic Lib, jeopardydd

        to make Obama look better is getting old.

        •  I guess this comes from talking to people who (0+ / 0-)

          lived during this time and minorities who lived in the south during the FDR era. Minority veterans would return from war , especially in the south, and have no rights, they could not vote, and they were spit on and treated like dirt and beaten. And there was no consequences to those perpetrator racists.

          Granted, I think FDR did what he thought he could do but we fool ourselves into thinking he did not speak out because he was afraid of offending southern white Democrats.

          Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

          by wishingwell on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:01:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  My mother who lived during that time said it was (0+ / 0-)

          a good time for white men but not that great for women and minorities. My aunt said no way would she treat this present day and this President for past Presidents. Granted some of this is because progress has been made and it is 2012 but it goes deeper with some.

          Do not underestimate how much this President means to many people and how popular he is.  I think he does not get enough credit for what he has done considering the Congress he has.  FDR and LBJ had much larger majorities in Congerss and no Teabaggers who want to bring down the government.

          Comparing Obama to past Presidents is very difficult to do because of time and place and the era and word events plus the Teabaggers add a whole new dimension as they want to tear down the government.

          And FDR and LBJ were not minorities either and they did not face racism like this President does. Do not discount how much race plays into this Presidency.

          Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

          by wishingwell on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:04:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  People simply don't appreciate how revolutionary.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs

      ... the New Deal and Civil Rights were now."

      Any developmental economist will tell you catch-up growth is always impressive -- but you can only do it once.

      "Politics is not the art of the possible.
      It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable" J.K. Galbraith

      by Davis X Machina on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:05:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One thing (6+ / 0-)

    Can't progressive both bitch and try to shape his agenda without being accused of doing damage to the Democratic party?

    ¡Cállate o despertarás la izquierda! - protest sign in Spain

    by gjohnsit on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:24:53 PM PST

    •  Until liberal primary voting starts increasing, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sethtriggs

      I'm going to say no.

      •  In that case (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger

        I will continue to not register as a Democrat since my views aren't welcome.

        ¡Cállate o despertarás la izquierda! - protest sign in Spain

        by gjohnsit on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:33:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your views will be welcome (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          v2aggie2, sethtriggs

          Once you start voting in primaries more. The Tea Party furniture-chewers have this figured out, why not liberals?

          If you don't vote in sufficient amounts (or worse, don't vote at all) and yet you expect to be pandered to anyway, you don't believe in democracy. Full stop.

          •  That's twisting the meaning (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            badger, jeopardydd, TracieLynn, mrkvica

            You said my criticisms weren't welcome. Period. That's different from being pandered too.

            Besides, when it comes to polls most people in the Democratic Party ARE liberal leaning. Yet the party isn't.
            Still you blame liberal voters.

            ¡Cállate o despertarás la izquierda! - protest sign in Spain

            by gjohnsit on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:47:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, it isn't. (0+ / 0-)

              You said my criticisms weren't welcome. Period. That's different from being pandered too.

              Unless you actually vote in an actual election, this is the same frickin' thing.

              Do you really expect politicians to court constituencies that don't and didn't vote for them? Maybe if they get desperate enough, but if they can win without seeking the votes of certain subsets of citizens, you'd better believe that they're just going to laugh right in your face when you ask for some political weregild.

              The fact that you and many other liberals think that the proper response to 'you didn't vote because I'm not promising or doing what you want, I won off of the votes of other constituents anyway, therefore I have no reason to listen to you' is to complain that you're going to withhold your vote and bitch at them some more is what I'm mocking you for. Seriously, do you even believe in democracy?

              •  Wow (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                badger, TracieLynn, mrkvica

                So actually having my complaints heard is the same thing as pandering.
                  I always thought that having your concerns addressed is what constitutes pandering.
                My how low the bar has been lowered for the left-wing.

                Do you really expect politicians to court constituencies that don't and didn't vote for them?
                 It sure seems that way for Obama and conservative voters. He's repeatedly "reached across the aisle" while telling liberals to shut up.
                  But this isn't what I said anyway. I was asking if my views were welcome in the party, and you said they aren't.
                 liberals think that the proper response to 'you didn't vote because I'm not promising or doing what you want
                 This isn't how I think at all. I try to vote in every election (if at all possible). I just happen to believe that I should vote for someone that will listen to my concerns.
                  You know, how democracy is supposed to work.
                 is what I'm mocking you for.
                 I wasn't mocking you. But it does say a lot about the current Democratic Party.
                Seriously, do you even believe in democracy?
                 I think our point of disagreement is the definition and purpose of democracy.
                  You seem to think it is about the score card. I think it is about people's views being represented. I'm not sure that our disagreement can be resolved in a forum like this.

                ¡Cállate o despertarás la izquierda! - protest sign in Spain

                by gjohnsit on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:12:00 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Look. (0+ / 0-)

                  It sure seems that way for Obama and conservative voters. He's repeatedly "reached across the aisle" while telling liberals to shut up.

                  And THAT is because liberals vote in lower proportion within the Democratic Party (relative to their claimed size) than moderates and conservatives.

                  But this isn't what I said anyway. I was asking if my views were welcome in the party, and you said they aren't.

                  Unless you vote, no, they aren't. Making your concerns heard while not exerting any political influence is the definition of whining. In a democracy, you exert political influence by voting.

                  When you and other disaffected liberals start voting, they will 'magically' start being welcome. Hell, if enough disaffected liberals vote, you might even see the Democratic Party 'magically' start ignoring centrists and conservatives after listening to them so long.

                  If the Tea Party can figure this out, why can't liberals?

                  You seem to think it is about the score card. I think it is about people's views being represented

                  You don't get your views represented unless you vote for the winning candidate and/or policy. If you have a problem with THAT political triviality then you don't believe in democracy.

                  Seriously, more moderates and conservatives vote in proportion to their absolute size in the Democratic Party than liberals. THEY'RE the ones who buoy and support Democrats when they do win. Why should these Democrats support non-voting liberals instead of the people who actually voted for them?

                  •  Two things (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mrkvica
                     I was asking if my views were welcome in the party, and you said they aren't.

                    Unless you vote, no, they aren't.

                     So you are saying the idea of the Big Tent doesn't actually exist in the Democratic Party and that leftists aren't welcome unless they are already a majority.

                      You know what? I believe you. We are in agreement on this point.

                    You seem to think it is about the score card. I think it is about people's views being represented

                    You don't get your views represented unless you vote for the winning candidate and/or policy. If you have a problem with THAT political triviality then you don't believe in democracy.

                     So how do you explain the government repeatedly going against what a majority of voters want and working for what a tiny, very rich minority wants? How is it democracy when a majority of voters can't get the government to represent them?

                      But then that's a whole 'nuther point.

                    My beef is with people like you telling everybody that they must sacrifice what they actually believe in and vote for someone who doesn't represent them simply because the other guy is worse.
                       What kind of democracy is it when people are convinced that they must vote against their own interests/views/values?
                      No wonder things keep getting worse.

                       The whole point of democracy is for people to have their views represented. That's what gives it legitimacy.
                      Your version of democracy is for you to tell me "shut up and get in line" and for me to take it without complaint.

                       Once again I will be voting 3rd party, but now I have another reason: I'm not wanted.

                    ¡Cállate o despertarás la izquierda! - protest sign in Spain

                    by gjohnsit on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:46:05 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  maltheopia (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gjohnsit, mrkvica

                you are saying both that politicians won't do what we say unless we use the power of our vote, and then castigate us if we don't vote for those who don't do what we want. nice catch-22 you are setting up there.

    •  It's important for liberals to push politicians (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, mrkvica, gjohnsit

      as far to the left on policy as possible. If Obama tries to cut Social Security (by promoting chained CPI) then liberals have to fight.

      A crowd of yes-men and women don't make for a lively democracy.

      There are plenty of people screaming from the right end of the spectrum.

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

      by coral on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:01:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  PBO's record looks better when we stop pretending (4+ / 0-)

    that there are only three branches of government.

    The fourth branch - public opinion - is solidly under the control of conservative broadcast media.

    The fifth branch - the campaign money machine - is in contention since the empowerment of small donors via the internet, but I would say it's still dominated by conservative forces in non-presidential years.

    Even when Dems controlled the all three constitutional branches, their advantage was far from overwhelming.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:32:07 PM PST

    •  To be fair, public opinion is on our side (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica

      The majority of the population is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro legalization of marijuana, supports sensible gun control, like unemployment insurance and things like Medicare/Medicaid/SS etc etc. This is especially true of those under 30... oh and we are "spiritual" but do not like organized religion.

      Hell, close to a quarter of Republicans approve of "Socialism"

      "According to a Gallup poll conducted  November 18-19, more than half of Democrats (53%) approve of socialism, which isn’t surprising, but almost one-quarter of Republicans (23%) also do."

      http://www.breitbart.com/...

      "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

      by 815Sox on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 06:48:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You guys do realize (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    v2aggie2

    that the author is saying Obama and his agenda are a bigger break with Reaganism than Clinton, thus the Eisenhower-Nixon comparison.  I basically agree, you now have the entire republican party saying "taxes" are not winning terrain for them and that's why they made a deal. You saw the same dynamic in the election with Mitt Romney denying he wanted to cut taxes for the rich, something republicans were once unashamed of. So we're just beginning to see the tide, just like Nixon was the first break with the Roosevelt tradition, so is Obama with Reagan.

    •  Or the Republicans have gone as far right as (0+ / 0-)

      they can go and even a potted plant could defeat them.  Well, I don't quite believe that, but alignments do swing every 50 years or so, so it's about time for some progressives to gain the confidence to push a strongly progressive agenda because the country may be ready to hear it and if not now, soon.  

      •  Gee... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sethtriggs

        If only there was a process in which liberals could make it so that the choice was between a progressive and a conservative rather than a right-leaning moderate and a conservative.

        Nah! All liberals knows that elections only exist and happen every four years and the first person who claims to be representing their faction automatically gets it.

        Damn! Why is the Tea Party better at pushing their party further right than we are at pushing our party further left? Must be some kind of conspiracy where they go to SECRET VOTING MEETINGS.

  •  what's up with the House? we need a "plan" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

    I know it got gerrymandered all too hell but ... that's the ball game. If Progressives (note capital 'P') want to have more influence then targeting the House from the ground up is the only way. Demographics are on our side and there's 2 years, sort of, to get the game on.

    With a Republican House it's all defensive trench warfare. We need to stand for something more than "defend the New Deal". Make an argument for moving forward. The right effectively makes their "big gummint gives your tax dollars to welfare queens" argument pay huge dividends in state houses and in the House of Reps. \

    We need a plan. Not a tactical electoral plan but a philosophy of moving the country forward that isn't FDR nostalgia. Actually we need both but the big picture has to come first.

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

    by jgnyc on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:37:17 PM PST

  •  Obama's biggest achievement is the Obama coalition (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, zizi, billmon, Eric Nelson, TomP

    and all these demographics are increasing. This is why I am hopeful that the US will indeed fundamentally change during the 8 Obama years.

  •  As Chris Hayes just pointed out this morning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quasimodal, wishingwell

    FISA was re-upped easily and quietly recently, when everything else was being fought over vociferously.  That might be what the article at your link on wiretapping suggests, but if I take it and come back, DK will screw up all my 'read' vs 'not read' tags on comments...

  •  Excellent (0+ / 0-)

    Whether we swing back far to the left, or stall out here at center-right Obama, depends upon our historical view of our position.  Not the moment to moment issues.

    Short term pain versus long term gain.

    That, to me, is the overriding lesson of the just-passed "fiscal cliff" battle.  It wasn't a battle over 250k vs 450k.  Or getting UI to recipients for another year.  It was over long term power.

    Beware when you are warned of the dire necessity of taking small, short-term gains whilst trading away larger, long-term leverage/power.

    What's wrong under Republicans is still wrong under Democrats.

    by gila on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:39:55 PM PST

  •  So they're both liars ... (0+ / 0-)
    This is why it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Obama, the transitional leader of a coalition in transition, is governing from the center or even the center right, his progressive campaign rhetoric notwithstanding—just as Nixon often appeared to be governing from the center or center left, his conservative rhetoric notwithstanding.
    It's the campaign rhetoric that gets them in office and then it's bait and switch time.  Obama, like Nixon, is just a politician more concerned with expediency (sold as pragmatism or bipartisanship in the case of Obama) than statesmanship.  

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:44:11 PM PST

  •  People under 30 are very liberal and involved (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral

    The future is bright, but its not going to just come to us. We need to keep fighting. When you look at public attitude polls, you can see that most people under the age of 30 are very compassionate, have a good sense of community, know how to network and are very socially liberal and pretty fiscally liberal as well. We need to capitalize on this.

    "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

    by 815Sox on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 02:47:56 PM PST

  •  Chris Hayes played a clip of Harry Reid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sphealey

    This morning calling out the Bush administration on FISA in 2008 and the threat to civil liberties, and then in 2012 saying how essential it was in protecting our country.

     I see the same dynamic playing out on DK on a wide range of issues. Long time kossaks (myself excluded) who were calling out the Bush administration on policy differences then are doing the same thing now when they believe the president is going the same route or close to it.

    There are legitimate differences over the pace of progress, but I don't believe any of the long time diarists here who were saying the exact same thing back then about civil liberites, wall street, drone strikes, tax breaks, you name it, aren't being too pure, they're being consistent.

     

  •  So the Clinton years were the Progressive Age (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zizi

    oh ... go on .....

    •  It's 'please procede' actually ;) (0+ / 0-)

      But yeah, Clinton was a mixed bag at best.  Higher tax rates good, NAFTA and other free trade stuff bad, and banking deregulation under his watch, awful.

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

        higher taxes good, pretty much everything else from a policy standpoint ran the gamut from 'seriously?' to 'oh my god, seriously?'

        but the economy did well and jobs were plentiful, which is what people really care about. sometimes I forget that progressive bloggers are typically white and middle class, the sort that did really well during the 90s.

        anyone born after the McDLT has no business stomping around acting punk rock

        by chopper on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:40:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Because wealth disparity, fairness, and justice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agoldnyc, mrkvica
    More to the point, it escapes me why people who claim to understand that the primary economic risk right now is austerity, not a lack of it, are howling for tax increases—on anybody.
    Now is the chance to change our taxation system to create a fairer, more equitable, and more just society. Human beings don't make 1,000 times what other human beings do because their work is 1,000 times more valuable, it's just because they can. This comes out in practical effects such as the underfunding of Social Security, given that too much income is now over the taxation cap. Also, taxing rich people isn't going to hurt the economy. We shouldn't waste this awful opportunity, and yet we are.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:13:25 PM PST

    •  true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify, winsock

      Stop being a surrendercrat and enact some democratic policies. Most of the house dems had voted against the Bush tax cuts before they voted for them.

      "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

      by agoldnyc on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:57:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ironic timing, given today's Nixon centennial (0+ / 0-)

    birthday celebration in San Immunity.

    Having just finished reading Daniel Ellsberg's memoir Secrets, I am glad for one to think of the so many ways President Obama doesn't resemble him.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:15:08 PM PST

  •  Obama A Sociopath? (0+ / 0-)

    "Depending on who’s talking, this amounts to either a total surrender of the hard-fought progressive gains of Clinton’s first term in office, or the bid of a sociopath (yes, the word was used) to overthrow what remains of the New Deal."

    That is why I have given myself the position of First Trumpet -- or at least a seat in the trumpet section -- for FDR, Truman, LBJ, and Bill Clinton.

    I don't remember where I heard it, but I remember someone claiming four years ago, before the First Inauguration, that Obama was a student of FDR.  But as I have followed his presidency these four years, I have seen actions towards the economy that must have FDR AND LBJ both spinning in their graves.

    Why does Obama seem possessed by a need to compromise with the Republicans at the expense of the poor and needy?  Why, as I commented in a comment to another diary, is he incapable of channeling Martin Luther and saying something like "Here I stand!  I'm going only this far and no farther!"?

    I voted for Obama in 2008 partly because I wanted to give him a chance to show me what he was capable of doing.  (I also could not stomach the thought of a "President McCain.")  I voted for him in 2012 because the thought of a "President Romney" made my blood run cold.  I would love to see him redeem himself in these four years, but I honestly wonder if he is able to do so, or even WANTS to do so.

    I'm glad that it was billmon, not me, who used the "S Word."  But now that it has been said, is Obama in reality a sociopath trying to destroy the legacy of FDR?  He has four years to convince me that the answer is NO!

    •   Me, I have seen actions.. (0+ / 0-)

      ....towards the economy that look just like FDR -- whose turn towards austerity triggered what would have been the largest downturn in 20th century American economic history if not for the Great Depression itself.

      Not even FDR was "FDR" -- not until after the war, not until after he was dead. "FDR" is a post-facto construct by historians and other generations of politicians.

      "Politics is not the art of the possible.
      It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable" J.K. Galbraith

      by Davis X Machina on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:10:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I used it - but in the negative sense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      abarefootboy, winsock

      i.e. "too bad Obama isn't also a sociopath (like the GOP) he'd find these budget negotiations easier. Someone else replied that they thought Obama really WAS a sociopath, intent on destroying the New Deal.

      And, no, I'm not going to name names.

    •  Oh for Christ's sake (0+ / 0-)

      get the fuck over yourself.  Sociopath?  Jesus, fire up a dictionary and see what the word means.

      I don't support everything O has done, and think he's mismanaged some things and handled others well, but I've never, ever thought he was anything but a thoughtful, caring and careful individual.  If that makes him a sociopath, I'll eat my hat.

      Sometimes this place is so full of bullshit you'd think it was fucking Redstate.  Come on people, you're better than this.

      Finding Fred A Memoir of Discovery @ smashwords.com/iTunes

      by Timothy L Smith on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 06:31:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Heitkamp getting an early start ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    abarefootboy

    On being a big non-favorite:

    "Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota’s freshman Democrat Senator, blasted post-Newtown gun control proposals that the Washington Post said the White House is mulling over. “I think you need to put everything on the table, but what I hear from the administration — and if the Washington Post is to be believed — that’s way, way in extreme of what I think is necessary or even should be talked about. And it’s not going to pass,” she told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” today."
    Geez, Heidi ... you can't even wait a while before worrying about 2018?  

    Another Democratic profile in jello.

  •  "Because Obama" won't sell. The Rs should have (0+ / 0-)

    learned that but they didn't.  It doesn't work for Progressives either.  Having something to be against only goes so far.  People need something to be for.   A little laundry list of issues like the environment, the war(s), reproductive health, marriage equality, etc. doesn't cut it either.

    Who am I to offer my 2 cents worth?  I've seen the US from inside and outside and it shows in many ways that progressive ideals have been annihilated.  I choose that word deliberately because a version of Nihilism popularized by Reagan is what shut the progressives down.  Pinpoint it to the date of his first inauguration when he proclaimed that government isn't the solution to our problem, government is the problem.  It was like an evil spell and not everyone is awake from it yet.

    Progressivism reaches back to the founders who gave us a government to establish freedom and rights for the common man which Americans later extended to women, and groups that were and still are excluded.  Privilege is still with us and it must be kept on a leash.  Every person must have a clear path to the life he or she wants.  This isn't something that can happen by itself.  It takes a strong government to ensure no one is denied.  It takes education.  It takes support for labor so that its true value is recognized.  There is no capital without the efforts of workers who made it possible.  Having the fruits of labor is a right.  Education, health care and a retirement isn't too much to ask.  A tiny minority that hordes all of the wealth created by increased productivity is abusing its power.  

    Separately, individuals have no chance against the powerful.  The federal government is the collectivized power of people to accomplish more than they can on their own.  The elite that wants privileges for itself to the disadvantage of all others knows that the federal government gives individuals a chance to multiple their power when they work together.  It's not by accident that it has been thoroughly tainted and it hurts because it's still happening right under our noses.

    I think everyone already knows what I've written here.  What will make a difference?  How will it happen?  When will a critical mass awaken from the spell that was cast 32 years ago?  That, I do not know.  

    Keeping people separate and divided ensures they are powerless.  It will take numbers to shake things up.

    "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

    by leftreborn on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 03:42:07 PM PST

  •  well (5+ / 0-)

    Just realize that the very constituency many folks here vilify -- the Obamacrats -- the Obama Coalition, keyboard progressives might as well kiss actual wins good-bye.

    Cuz it really IZ something when Clinton who signed DADT, DOMA, Glass-Steagall Repeal, Welfare Reform, Prison Industrial Complex, Telecom deregulation into LAW. Clinto who along with 6 other President couldn't pass healthcare -- is deemed a hero of progressivism, while Pres Obama is labeled a "sociopath" hellbent on dismantling New Deal/Great Society. Paul Wellstone who voted for DOMA along w/ other poison bills is saint.

    Could we for a fucking moment stop with the LAZY historical navel-gazing? Pres Obama cannot be like any other president cyclically or otherwise because he is sui generis.

    He is dealing with his own set of challenges that have converged in his time. He keeps blowing the lid off stupid -milestones that were not supposed to be in his favor (eg. unemployment above 7%, Repubs would NEVER vote for a tax hike under a Dem President, his race would never lead him to the White House), yet time and again we hear so called "progressives" telling us not to believe our own lying eyes (he's gonna betray us any moment now.. he's a sociopath...he's a corporatist...he's a Manchurian candidate...he's no Democrat....and on and on.......!!!!!)

    Give the man a fucking break!!! Sure go ahead and look "past him" without acknowledging the real breathing coalition he has organized brilliantly. Go ahead and look past him as you heap vitriol on his head, never acknowledging the unprecedented successes he has chalked for the Democratic party.!

    And we haven't inaugurated his second term!!!

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

    by zizi on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:09:54 PM PST

  •  Wanna know why the Democratic Party continues (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sethtriggs

    to be in the thrall of Third Way shills well after their expiration date?

    http://www.people-press.org/...

    Roughly the same proportions of self-identified Republicans and Democrats are regular voters (41% vs. 39%). But Democrats are more likely to be non-voters: 20% of Democrats say they are not registered to vote, compared with 14% of Republicans; among political independents, 27% say they are not registered to vote.

    A registration gap also exists between liberals and conservatives, with 29% of self-described liberals saying they are not registered to vote compared with 20% of moderates and 17% of conservatives. However, there are only modest differences in the percentages of conservatives (38%), moderates (35%) and liberals (34%) who are regular voters.

    Until this gap gets closed, I will call all CTs and whinging and misplaced liberal nostalgia and negationism for what it is: Lazy-ass liberals sniveling that they should be rewarded for their laziness.
  •  Thanks Billmon, for the thoughtful diary. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    manyamile, abarefootboy, winsock, ORDem

    And thanks for forcing me to  think hard about idealism vs the real world. Would i like a health care law And a public option.  You bet.  Would the public option have passed at that time? No.  Would it have hurt Obamas reelection chances? Yes.  Is there a likelihood that there will be a public option now that he has been reelected? Yes.  Would you have been happy if he had tried to hit a home run, every time, against a (product of gerrymandered) just-say-no Congress? And lost to Romney-Ryan because he stuck to his principles?

    The Clinton era was an exciting one. After twelve years of Reagan and Bush, our new president had some decency and humanity, and our guy was winning battles!  But let's just put down our rose-tinted retrospectoscope for a minute and remember that  Clinton expanded drilling on public lands, signed DOMA into law, refused to sign the International Land Mine Ban Treaty, supported "three strikes your out" laws.  In Michael Moore's words: "He was one of the best Republican presidents we've ever had."  So before you wax poetic about the POTUS from 1993 to 2001, look at Clinton's record again, and see the pragmatist who signed legislation that he didn't like, and who supported the death penalty despite knowing that some of the people were innocent (isn't that murder?) or mentally disabled (Clinton refused to pardon a mentally disabled man in his own state, as governor, to show that he was tough on crime).  And you can see if it makes sense to reject all candidates that aren't perfect.  They just aren't there. But I would say that Obama is pretty damn good, worth the canvassing I did, and worth defending at dinner parties, and deserving of my campaign contributions, both times. And he is making progress.

    •  Obama can only be as progressive as the political (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ORDem, TomP, Eric Nelson

      correlation of forces will allow him be.

      Acknowledging this doesn't make one an "emoprog" or an Obama apologist. It's just reality.

      "Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past."

      Karl Marx

  •  with you on this, Billmon,n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  100% agree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeadHead, TomP

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 04:54:59 PM PST

  •  start blogging again Billmon (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    abarefootboy, ORDem

    you are sui generis

    Out of my cold dead hands

    by bluelaser2 on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:23:21 PM PST

  •  gawd Billmon .. it's so very good to have you back (0+ / 0-)

    ... cultivating my political mind

    Humanity is one family ... with one heart.

    by abarefootboy on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 06:11:58 PM PST

  •  I don't see (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jeopardydd, mrkvica, maracucho

    how this changes anything.

    The analysis and arguments here are very good. But I knew what the conclusion was going to be after reading just a few paragraphs.  --- Keep voting for Democrats.  

    And if we keep pledging our votes to Democrats, nothing will change.

    The progressive movement is dead or at least crippled. We don't even know what a progressive is anymore. We have Dems out there calling themselves Democrats and voting for right-wing crap.  I don't even have the energy to cite the examples but we all know who they are.  It's nothing more than a convenient label to use during election season.  It doesn't mean a damn thing anymore.  There is no defined platform.  There's nothing.  It has become a feckless word.

    The upcoming sell out and undermining the New Deal is going to rip the party apart.   Before we go pledging to continue to vote for Democrats no matter what (which has largely been the policy of the progressive movement) we need to have a lot of conversations about where to direct our efforts, our energy and resources.  And it might be a long and loud conversation and a lot of people here will not want to have it and will complain and complain about pie fights and tone and civility.  But this is a turning point for the party and the conversation must happen, whether it happens here or somewhere else, it has to happen.  

    This has to be hashed out.  Preemptive decisions like this about sticking with the Dems no matter what -- just doesn't cut it for me.  We need to have a lot of debates about what our options are, what our priorities are, what the planks on some kind of platform are.  All of this is assuming the progressive movement survives this.  It's limping along now.  It's been a complete failure to date, with a strong start in 2006, but after that it was totally abused by the Democratic party leadership and tossed aside after elections.  Not long after Obama took office his team started attacking progressives... until he needed us again.  It's been an abusive relationship all along.  And then it turned into just a mouthpiece, campaign arm for the D party.

    It's not working.  We need to find new ways and we need new voices in this movement if it is going to survive. I'm much more inclined to promote and join a movement that is not connected to any party and works from the outside.  


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 06:24:46 PM PST

    •  Progressive movt is far from "dead" n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

      by 815Sox on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 06:50:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If not dead (0+ / 0-)

        it's limping along, not really having a key set of policies or a platform.

        There are other forms of activism besides electoral politics and these forms of activism are particularly important between elections, like now.  

        It seems like the progressive movement has become all about electoral politics.  Candidates use the movement to their advantage in the last few months of the campaign and then toss it aside immediately afterward.  Our policy priorities never seem to be taken into consideration. Our votes are expected, but we have no demands beforehand, we have no platform that candidates can refer to or that we can refer to in order to decide if their stances are in line with ours.  And this makes us all the more ineffective, in my opinion.

        What is the difference between the progressive movment and the Democratic party?  It's not defined anywhere.  For that matter, the progressive label and platform is not defined anywhere.   I don't call that a successful movement.  

        We need to be more like Labor, for instance, a defined faction/movement.  And we need to work from the outside, not just as a campaign arm of the party.  We need to pressure all elected officials, not just Dems.  


        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 10:31:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The progressive caucaus is only growing (0+ / 0-)

          Did you not notice the house and senate taking a turn too the left?

          "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

          by 815Sox on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:37:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Largest growing caucus in the house (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winsock

    Is the progressive caucus. Yet, we believe that the Democratic Party has shifted to the right ... Interesting.  I think it's more a matter of working people losing their voices because of de-unionization.  If we figure out another way to organize I believe we will not feel that the political system is drifting more to the right.

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

    by noofsh on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 06:58:08 PM PST

  •  You see (0+ / 0-)

    You see, unlike many here, I don't feel betrayed by Obama's crap negotiation and lurch to the center.  I don't feel betrayed by his once again putting Social Security/Medicare on the table.  

    I voted for Obama for one reason and one reason only:  The 5th vote to overturn Roe v Wade.  I'd rather the choice be in the hands of corporatist Democratic shill like Obama than a Republican beholden to the bat shit crazy Akin/Mourdock Republicans.  

  •  Clinton was the progressive golden age? OMG. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chopper

    Clinton did much right, but he's also responsible for the mess our media is in, allowing for consolidation that has taken us down a very dangerous path. he's also to be thanked for NAFTA, which cost tens of thousands of American jobs.
    Granted, he couldn't do it alone, but NO liberal should have ever even entertained the foolishness of those two events.
    We have paid dearly for them.
    I love the Big Dog. But sometimes he looks good through the haze of the horror that was the Bush II years.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:15:35 PM PST

  •  Sure, I'll keep voting for the Dems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica

    IF somebody can tell me why they would do what I want them to do if they get my support no matter what.

  •  "Palestine" is not a "betrayal" (0+ / 0-)

    Obama campaigned as pro-Israel and anti-terrorist. The Gaza half of Palestine is ruled by a bunch of anti-Semitic misogynist homophobic religious fanatic thugs who make the Christian Right in the US look mild by comparison. Until they are put out of business there isn't anything that can be done for peace. Furthermore, pro-Israel folks are a big part of the progressive Democratic coalition and don't want to be thrown under the bus.

  •  Give Obama a Democratic House and (0+ / 0-)

    60 votes in the Senate and watch miracles happen. But it takes a lot of work. The 2010 elections set us back by a decade.

  •  Actually... (0+ / 0-)

    ...your list should have started with warrantless wiretapping, because [that] was the very first glimpse of who Obama is willing to be.  It may not have been the first sign of who the man is, but it sure revealed who the man is willing to be; pragmatic to an extreme fault.

    :::sigh:::...

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:47:16 PM PST

  •  BillMon, you are a pretty decent writer! eom (0+ / 0-)

    Those who quote Santayana are condemned to repeat him. Me

    by Mark B on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 08:14:04 PM PST

  •  This is very encouraging reasoning (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP
     •  The white-collar professionals and paraprofessionals who have defected to the Democrats on cultural grounds are also now in danger of being proletarianized. Technology is rendering their skills (e.g. medical diagnostics, legal research, engineering design, etc.) obsolete. This might make them amenable to a more progressive economic approach.
    So when enough people, even those disdainful of unions find themselves no longer assured by republican rhetoric.. (austerity as the answer etc.)
    ..iow's they've lost their jobs.
    With cultural issues already bending them towards the Democratic party, unions may start looking a lot more attractive to them and a progressive agenda fits in perfectly as a counterpart to that decision.

    I hadn't considered the effects of white-collar to proletariat status effect before.

    - Thx billmon

     

  •  Your assessment of fiscal cliff law much too rosy (0+ / 0-)

    For example, taxes on dividends will augment from 15% to 20% for those individuals whose total income is greater than $400,000 (families whose income is greater than $450,000).

    In the absence of the fiscal cliff law, tax rates on dividends for these earners would have reverted to their magnitude in the Clinton administration, which was 39.6%

  •  Plenty to Anguish Over (0+ / 0-)

    You are unnecessarily kind to Obama. He has done exactly none of the will of the people in the last few weeks. In a way, he proved that he's irrelevant to politics. If we are to get anywhere we have to look beyond him (or "look past him" as you say) and find a liberal to run.

    An electable liberal, to be sure, in the way that George W. Bush was an electable conservative. But one with a spine of steel when it comes to things like cutting taxes.

    Here's the actual gulf between what Obama did and what a liberal would have done: He didn't let all the tax cuts expire.

    Here's the actual gulf between what Obama did and what a liberal would have done: He adopted a Republican healthcare proposal and got it through Congress.

    Here's the actual gulf between what Obama did and what a liberal would have done: After the BP disaster he didn't permanently suspend new offshore drilling.

    The list could go on, but if you are paying attention at all, I'm sure you get the point. We have to find someone that believes in liberal policy.

    Obama is a great politician and a great man. But he is not a liberal and will therefore continue to make major mistakes on all important issues.

    And, BTW, a liberal President would have ordered all the detainees in Guantanamo transported to the U.S. and put on trial. He would have been pilloried by the right-wing media and the right-wing politicians, and then he would have said what Obama apparently can't say to them:

    Tough. I'm Commander in Chief.
    •  We have to find someone that believes in liberal.. (0+ / 0-)

      ...policy that people will actually vote for.

      Easier said than done. Ask President Mondale, or President Dukakis, or President Udall, or President Jackson.

      "Politics is not the art of the possible.
      It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable" J.K. Galbraith

      by Davis X Machina on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 11:41:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very good analysis. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    I agree that President Obama is more of a transitional figure.  It is up to us to make that transition to economic change.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:25:44 AM PST

  •  I had this same thought (0+ / 0-)
    A short-hand way of explaining those similarities—and their significance—would be to say that I look at Obama as the Democratic Nixon.
    In many ways 1968 was the end of the triumphant FDR Democratic era, but Nixon was not in many respects the hard-liner the GOP would later elect. They had to wait more than a decade for Reagan.

    Let us hope that Obama can, in his way, start the work, but that some future Democratic President, more clearly on the left, will be the one who confirms that the age of Reagan is over, as it damn well should have been in 2008.

    Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

    by fenway49 on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 07:58:47 AM PST

  •  Nixon was our last domestic liberal (0+ / 0-)

    President. I don’t say that Nixon was good; his bombing of Southeast Asia was  criminal, as is our drone bombing in Pakistan, which is equally counterproductive. However, Nixon brought in the EPA, OSHA and was interested in a negative income tax. He was a very complex man. Clinton's welfare reform was more bad than good for African Americans and he signed on to the dismantling of the Glass-Steagall Act, a major factor in the housing bubble.

    Obama is a work in progress. Where does the bogus fiscal cliff fit in? I'm glad that the big O didn't give away anything on Social Security and Medicare in the first inning. But what will he do in the second inning? Newly elected Texas Senator Ted Cruz is calling now for a government shutdown unless there are massive cuts to "entitlement programs". I put entitlement programs in quotes because the media never mention entitlements for corporations, like special tax breaks for big Oil, our ridiculous and harmful agriculture subsidies (why is corn listed as the #1 ingredient in most dog food, including many Science Diet formulations pushed by vets?), welfare for defense contractors (how would the bloated F-35 aircraft control asymmetrical warfare? Conservatives say that China and Russia will build stealth aircraft and sell them to terrorists- the answer to that unlikely possibility is more attention to defense system and antiaircraft missiles, not a boondoggle “superplane” that will cost many trillions). When you hear ‘The American people, small business, entitlements, debt crisis, “ you know that the speaker is peddling garbage.

    I'm glad that Romney lost. Am I confidant that Obama will stand up to the tax cutters? No. This is a nine-inning ballgame that the 98% can't win without cultural change. We can have some small impact if we FAX the White House and our representatives. Even Senator Coburn, no friend of the poor, has complained about tax breaks for the NFL, NHL etc.  a special case of corporate welfare. Until we realize that our tax system is totally corrupt, transfer of money from the poor to the rich will continue, sponsored in some cases by Democrats such as Rahm Emmanuel, Mary Landrieu and LA Mayor Villaraigosa.  

    Further changes in medical care are necessary, Medicare is not sustainable in its current form. T Watch closely and see if Obama agrees to slash the CMS budget to placate the tax cutters. This would probably cause the federally organized insurance exchanges in blue states to  fail and give the whole Affordable Care Act an aura of incompetence. Yes, there are Republican fanatics in Washington. No, accommodating their wishes is not the road to progress.

  •  Per Lawrence O'Donnell, the diff between 250k (0+ / 0-)

    and 400k over the years from early 1990's when it was the rate, is not much considering inflation. I haven't heard anyone else talk about it in those terms. I too cannot get to exorcised about this. Eh.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 03:49:44 PM PST

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