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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during swearing-in ceremonies on the West front of the U.S Capitol in Washington, January 21, 2013.   REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS)
President Obama speaks at his second inaugural (1/21/2013).
(Dialogue taken from season four of The West Wing)

Sam Seaborn: You have me preaching to the choir...why?!

Toby Ziegler: Because that's how you get them to sing.

Allow me to start this piece by stating perhaps the most obvious statement you will ever read about the 2012 election cycle:

It was substantially more successful for the Democratic Party than the election that immediately preceded it (2010).

While you sit there and mutter "no shit" quietly to yourself, allow me to follow that up with a statement that may very well surprise you: According to exit polling, President Obama actually did marginally worse with liberals than the vanquished House Democrats did in 2010. And he did only two points better on the margin versus moderate voters (56-41, versus 55-42 for House Democrats in 2010).

If the math doesn't seem to add up for you, allow me to explain. Let's dispel the easy answer: No, it was not inspired by right-wing love for the president. While it is true that Obama did do better with conservatives, it is hard to say that his margin of victory was forged by his 17 percent support among the cons (as opposed to 13 percent for House Democrats).

What changed was actually one of the lesser reported phenomena of 2012. As it happened, 2012 became a base election. And that was a very, very good thing for the Democrats. Follow me past the fold for what may well have been the most stunning single statistic of the 2012 election cycle.

How did Obama turn what was a seven-point deficit for the Democrats in 2010 into a four-point win in 2012, in spite of roughly similar numbers among the three ideological subgroups?

The answer was that the ideological makeup of the electorate fundamentally shifted between 2010 and 2012. In 2010, 42 percent of the electorate self-identified as conservatives, while only 20 percent of the electorate self-identified as liberals.

In 2012, the gap narrowed to a historic low. Only 35 percent of the Obama-Romney electorate called themselves conservative. Meanwhile, a full quarter of the electorate (25 percent), the high water mark for the modern era), self-identified as liberal.

Therein lies a big part of the victory. It wasn't Obama's marginally better performance among conservatives that saved the day, it was the simple fact that conservatives comprised a substantially smaller share of the electorate than they had in 2010.

What's more: the narrow con/lib gap in 2012 was actually narrower than the gap in 2008, the Obama "landslide," when the gap was 12 points in the favor of the conservatives (22/34). So, it is difficult to dismiss this as the mere difference between a midterm electorate and the larger mass of voters that turn up during presidential elections.

This is a bigger deal than you might think. It's been over a decade since the gap between the two ideological anchors has been so narrow. And, for years, the chattering classes have based their idiotic notions about America being a "center-right" nation on the evidence that polls routinely show a wide gap between self-identified conservatives and self-identified liberals.

What those simplistic analyses tend to forget is the fact that Democrats almost always carry moderate voters, and often by an outsized margin. This stands to reason: A whole lot of "moderate" voters are actually liberals who cannot bring themselves to self-identify with a term that right-wingers have spent decades turning into an epithet. In recent years, you can count the number of Republicans that carried moderate voters in exit polling with one hand. Two notable ones, for example: Chris Christie in 2009, and Scott Brown last year. Of course, a common thread between their states is that those are two states where self-identified liberals match, or exceed, the number of self-identified conservatives. Ultimately, this may well mean that their "overperformance" with moderates can be owed to the fact that there are simply fewer liberals-in-hiding in those two decidedly blue-tinted states.

For just one example of how this translated in raw votes, let's look at the state of Wisconsin. It is easy to forget this, but Wisconsin was a coin-flip state in both 2000 and 2004, as Democrats Al Gore and John Kerry both won the Badger State by less than half of a percentage point. The narrow partisan divide of 2000 and 2004 has been obscured by the recent Obama landslides, as the Democratic standard bearer carried the state by 14 and 7 points, respectively, in his two successful bids for the White House.

But hard as it might be to believe, President Obama carried roughly the same number of counties than John Kerry did in 2004 (for those who care, the county "score" was 27 for Kerry and 34 for Obama). What allowed Obama to win comfortably over Mitt Romney, while Kerry squeaked by George W. Bush, is the fact that his "base" county, Dane County (Madison) turned out big time.

Consider the difference in the bases for the Democrats and the GOP. In the "WOW" counties that ring Milwaukee (Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington), turnout increased a total of 6.3 percent. Those three counties, which totalled 378,000 voters in 2012, are the home base for Wisconsin Republicans, and have given the GOP their margin of victory in their occasional statewide wins in the state.

Dane County, meanwhile, saw its turnout increase a total of 10.9 percent in the past eight years. For the first time in a presidential election this year, Dane County crept over 300,000 votes cast in a presidential election.

The 2012 election cycle demonstrated quite clearly that Democrats might actually benefit from a base election, and in a way, that makes total sense. Poll after poll of the Obama-Romney trial heat last year showed that Mitt Romney performed substantially worse when the screen was "registered voters" than he did among "likely voters."

The quandary has long been, at least in the eyes of the pundit classes and party regulars, how to reach the base without "alienating" centrist voters. But if the last election cycle proved anything, it is the fact that those centrist voters are already alienated ... by the GOP. The marginalization of the national Republican Party began long before the tea party revolution, but that has done nothing but accelerate it. In 2012, the GOP became the party of "makers versus takers," "rape is God's plan," and the like. It is become ever more difficult for a Democrat to make even a base appeal that would repel the nonpartisan voter more than what is becoming standard campaign fare from the candidate class being nominated out of Republican primaries.

This could create an amazing window of opportunity for the Democrats. For the first time in a long time, the Democrats, if they wish, can eschew the mealy mouthed "third way" rhetoric that has afflicted far too many Democratic campaigns. They can appeal to their base, and possibly cajole some mildly dissatisfied base voters back into the fold with bolder, more partisan campaigns. And they can do so with less fear of watching those voters defect to the GOP, which seem to have recently positioned themselves several light-years away from the center.

After all, let's be frank, if there are still "centrist" voters out there, and they are legitimately undecided in their vote between the Democrats and today's GOP, they are well right of the center line. Ergo, it is reasonable to assume that there is little that can be done to appease those voters.

Of all the polling stats, the one that seems to portend success for the Democrats is this one: Look at what percentage of the vote is self-identified as conservative. If that number is 35 percent or less nationally, you have to like the Democrats' chances. If it heads much north of that (as it did in 2010), things get considerably more perilous.

If you are the Democrats, it's pretty tough to control what the GOP can do in terms of turning out their base. What Democrats can do is turn out enough of their own devotees to rival any potential Republican surge of voters. That is why a base strategy, in the final analysis, makes good political sense for the Democrats.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Appeasing the base (51+ / 0-)

    Would also include governing like a Liberal, and getting his teammates (I'm talking to you Harry Reid) to do the same. Winning an election is one thing, enacting the desires of the people who elected you is another, and Obama's second round has started off in a mixed fashion at best.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:05:59 AM PST

    •  I thought Obama did govern as a liberal (21+ / 0-)

      After all, the legislation he passed was so alarming to the conservatives that they put on an all-out push to destroy him completely. And they failed.

      My question to all the naysayers re Obama is this: WHY did the populace become less identified with conservatives?

      You think Obama and his policies had nothing to do with it?

      •  because of demographic changes (43+ / 0-)

        that had been long in the making, and had nothing to do with him.

        The Southern Strategy of Nixon/Reagan/Bush II is failing because WASP males are becoming a smaller part of the electorate. The fastest-growing immigrant populations, Hispanics and Asian-Americans, tend to vote heavily Democratic.

        Obama did not cause those changes, he simply took advantage of them.

        In fact, they were so much of an advantage that he felt free to coddle the banks, ignore labor, step up drone warfare, and drag his feet on climate change, knowing that identity politics and the unpopularity of the Republicans would be enough to get him over the finish line.

        If he had not had that advantage, he would have had to fight harder and do more for his base, instead of simply floating through like he has.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:19:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  ^^^This^^^ (13+ / 0-)

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

          by Puddytat on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:48:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Also voters are seeing results of liberal policies (4+ / 0-)

            It's only a taste but we avoided a depression and for all the hand-wringing Obamacare is demonstrating that it's helping people even in it's half formed phase. The stimulus did not slow down or stop the recovery as some claimed it would. And another after 2014 could seal the deal. Allowing ever greater fairness may be permanently altering the landscape. And at long last Obama is finally stating to explain to non -liberal voters the values and strategy behind liberalism.

            Perhaps someday he'll use the fully formed examples of strong Keynesian policies used through the 30's to the mid 60's or so before we got off track and remind everyone of the means we used to become the greatest nation in the world. Let the Neocon / Teabagger fascists explain away those 30-odd years of progress.

            •  My biggest beef with ObamaCare (11+ / 0-)

              is that Obama and the Dems didn't step up each and every time some new benefit came in to make a proud and public announcement like:

              Hey, folks!  Starting now anyone on Medicare or with health insurance will get a free annual physical without deductables or co-payments.  This includes routine testing that will uncover any diseases very early when they are the easiest and least expensive to treat.

              Women can also get a free annual gynecological examination with PAP testing, mammography, or other routine tests in addition to their annual physical.

              Enjoy your new health benefits from ObamaCare which will go far in reducing future costs of health care in this country.

              They didn't do that so most people think their health insurance company, out of the goodness of their hearts, gave them some new benefits.

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

              by Puddytat on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:25:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You've just IDed the 2010 election debacle. (5+ / 0-)

                Democrats everywhere hunkered down, as if ACA was something we must avoid talking about. The Republicans came out swinging. Our Congresspeople didn't.

                Turnout was an issue. The young in particular do not tend to turn out in an off year election. Their votes might not have made that much difference (they didn't in most states in 2008) but their energy was missing in the 2010 campaigns. And the Obama vote-gathering team wasn't in place or cloned.

                That cannot be allowed to happen in 2014.

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

                by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:28:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Excellent point. Where is the professor-in-chief? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Puddytat, Calamity Jean, MrJersey

                He needs to correct all the lies and misrepresentations about libralism. Actually he might be getting up behind that podium tho it's sill a bit early to tell. Hopefully he's learning to start the bidding high when proposing policy so that he has entry of room to come down and win what can be reasonably expected. Again too early to say.

                But for now I'm cautiously hopeful that he's learning and listening to our side this time. Don't forget, he's a moderate with a bit of a conservative streak. I doubt that he'll ever be another FDR. But he's generally standing behind liberal principles and may still move further left. We'll see.

            •  Explaning values is not enough. You've got to (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MrJersey, Noodles

              follow-up with appropriate progressive legislation.

              Passing legislation that contains a Grand Bargain is not the way to go, if you're hoping for gains during the mid-terms.

              That's the first hurdle that progressives must negotiate.

              For now, we need to be sure to burn up the phone lines to the White House, our Senators, and our Congresspersons to make sure we avert a Bowles-Simpson type of austerity package or framework from passing.


              “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 27, 2013 at 08:00:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sure. But debunking lies gives us an easier path (0+ / 0-)

                towards getting policies in place by softening the opposition. Even to get conservatives to consider that what we are trying to do is credible may keep them from encouraging their side with phone calls and emails and petitions. It helps in polling too which can make politicians weak in the knees if they have poor support there. I want more conservative citizens in the undecided catagory at the very least if we can't bring them to our side on issues.

      •  What? (9+ / 0-)

        You are blaming the all-out push the destroy Obama, which started before he was even inaugurated, on his policies? Really? Sorry, no.

      •  Conservatives set out to destroy him (33+ / 0-)

        five minutes after he was inaugurated in 2009. Or maybe five minutes after the networks declared him the winner in Nov. 2008. They did not wait until any of his legislation had passed; they would have labelled as radical, extreme, unAmerican, etc. etc. anything the man did even if it was just proposing naming post offices after white male combat veterans.

        That's why their responses to his Second Inaugural Address were so inane: They wrote the response and the talking points before he opened his mouth.  

      •  as far as the "all-out push to destroy" Obama, (19+ / 0-)

        it's a red herring.

        Sure, the GOP base is sincere in its desire to get rid of Obama. Not because of his policies, but because they are racist. If he had done everything the teabaggers wanted him to do, they'd still hate him.

        But the GOP base is not really in charge of the Republican party at the moment. The 1% are, and they want Obama. If they didn't, he would never have made it to the Oval Office. They would have removed him, as SCOTUS did in 2000 when the candidate of the 1% failed to win the election. That's just the way it works.

        John Roberts' vote for the ACA was a vote for Obama by the 1%. It was not, as some people thought, an attempt to "secure the court's legacy" or whatever other silly explanations people suggest.

        They want him to keep sheltering and empowering the big banks, they want the individual mandate which will force people to buy a product from private corporations, and they want the austerity program he's pursuing. That's why the 1% support him. They don't want to destroy him--although it is useful for them to pretend that they do. If they really wanted to do him, he'd already be done.

        But the threat of "ZOMG! Obama's in trouble!" is useful to compel Democrats to fall in line behind Obama and to silence opposition to his policies. That is all.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:42:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They're counting on him to (33+ / 0-)

          start the destruction of Social Security and Medicare for the 1%, too.  They realize that only a Democrat could do that and his proposal for Chained CPI, even though Social Security doesn't add a penny to the deficit, should make all of us very concerned.

          Unless Obama and the Dems start governing like real Democrats rather than caving to the RW, I fear that 2014 will be a repeat of 2010.  The voters are waiting.

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

          by Puddytat on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:52:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The 1% are divided (9+ / 0-)

          They are not monolithic, except they are all very rich. Some care at least as much about liberal positions on social issues as about narrow class advantage.  Some realize that anti-science, anti-education positions are bad for their business in the long run.  Some probably think Obama and the Dems are easier to deal with because they are more rational.  Some are far-right nut jobs.  Some are protecting declining extractive industries.  They have differing motivations.  Many of them were ok with Romney but wouldn't be with someone like DeMint and obviously weren't with McCain.

          The "all-out push to destroy Obama" came from the GOP political class, some of whom like McConnell are overt racists and some of whom are just interested in power.  

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

          by Mimikatz on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:08:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Limp, are you seriously suggesting that Roberts' (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ChurchofBruce, Joe Bacon

          ... vote and his opinion retaining ACA on tax, not commerce grounds, was directed "by the 1%"?

          What that suggests is collective action by your "they" to keep President Obama in office and being a leader. If that's a correct reading of your views - Why would they do that?

          If "they" are that powerful, that united and able to be that manipulative, why not just see to the nomination and election of a compliant Republican president? Who, again, constitutes the 1% They?

          And Tat, if you're right that "only a Democrat" could "destroy" SS and M&M because the GOP can't ... again, Why? Do you seriously believe that if Mitt Romney had been elected, he wouldn't or couldn't cut those programs back at least as much as you think Obama will? Are you sure adjusting the chained CPI will actually "destroy" SS? (I agree SS is not contributing to the deficit and its funding need not be changed in this term, but ... "destroy"?)

          As for those voters in 2014 you predict "are waiting," do you mean us liberals?

          Seriously, these views sound apocalyptic to me. I'm looking to understand why the 1% Right counts on Obama and how, why and which voters you think will react ... and in what way.

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

          by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:44:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I realize that you've addressed this to someone (8+ / 0-)

            else, but I feel compelled to answer as to why would they do this?

            From all that I read and hear, the 1% have always wanted "the individual" to have the responsibility, NOT BUSINESS, for providing healthcare.

            Remember, the ACA put the main legal responsibility for having healthcare on the individual.  

            This is a MAJOR WIN for the 1% and the business community.  Again, the ACA came staight out of the Heritage Foundation (see my previous comment).  Not to mention the insurance industry, and other health care related industries.

            And the reason that only a Dem could eviscerate Social Security is being demonstrated right here.

            When George Bush tried to implement means testing (progressive price indexing), the progressive community went ballistic!

            But, tragically, many in the progressive community are now totally compliant in regard to cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

            I find it hard to believe, however, that progressives would not have found their voices to oppose Romney, had he been the one to propose the implementation of the Chained CPI.  (And rightfully so.)

            The implementation of the Chained CPI is the "lesser of the three evils" of the three likely cuts to Social Security which were recommended by the President's own Fiscal Commission (Bowles-Simpson).

            Once you "touch the third rail," coming back to it again, will be a piece of cake.  It's called "the slippery slope."

            Granted, for some folks (especially the top quintile) the loss of 9-10% of their monthly benefit check over years, wouldn't be critical.  Remember, though, this loss compounds.  Alone, it would be very damaging for low to moderate income folks.
            But, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the other two proposed cuts [proposed by the Fiscal Commission.]

            Raising the FRA two years will result in a almost 14% loss of benefit (6-1/2-7% for each year that the FRA is raised).

            And as Rep Schakowsky pointed out in her Reuters Op-Ed, all the cuts to Social Security will come to approximately 35% of their check, for many beneficiaries.

            Try telling all of this to a senior who has no other source of income.
            Lastly, according to the NASI (National Academy of Social Insurance), the BOTTOM FOUR quintiles depend "heavily" on Social Security.  That means that it is either their primary or only source of regular or steady retirement income.
            I have a video clip of Ms. Janice Gregory, then President of the NASI, saying this in 2010.  If I get a chance, I'll post the video clip here.


            “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 27, 2013 at 01:05:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Nixon to China. Clinton passing nafta. Obama (3+ / 0-)

            passes Doles 20 yr old healthcare plan. That's how it seems to work.

          •  of course it was (5+ / 0-)

            the brilliance of Roberts' opinion was that it used the taxing power, which conservatives hate, rather than the commerce clause, to implement the mandate.

            They want commerce to be as unregulated as possible; therefore the ruling appealed to the taxing power to achieve the same goal.

            If the ACA had been passed under a Republican president, it would have been one of the "liberal" judges who had a sudden epiphany and cast their vote for it. They know what kind of ruling they want, and they simply invent some convoluted legal justification to get it. The rationale is (almost) nothing; the result, everything.

            Why did the 1% support Obama? As another poster explained, Bush's attempt to privatize SS failed miserably. It was an all-out frontal assault by a conservative Republican, and so it drew massive resistance. Even though he had just won reelection and had what he called "political capital," he was soundly thrashed. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Republicans lost the next Congressional election.

            Obama, however, stands a much better chance of beginning the assault on the New Deal programs. He's a Democrat--and African-American, too--ergo people don't think he would be capable of doing it.

            The first black president, a Democrat, to be the one who cuts SS? Absurd, impossible! everyone exclaims. Which is precisely the reason he's perfectly suited to do it. And he's spent his entire first term setting up how to do it, and during his second term he will do it.

            It also helps that Obama's style is to engage in a complicated, convoluted process of "negotiations" to cut SS, rather than a straightforward, head-on bull-rush like Bush tried. The "debt ceiling" crisis, the "fiscal cliff", all an elaborate charade intended to put the Democrats in a position where they are forced to cut the New Deal programs.

            Obama zigs and zags and twists and turns until everyone is too confused and disoriented to follow what's going on, let alone muster any resistance. He disarms, where Bush arouses opposition.

            That's one of the big reasons the 1% have allowed him to be president. Where a conservative Republican failed, maybe a centrist Democrat can get the job done. And they had a good idea of this since before he was running for president.

            It's Obama who is Reagan's true successor, not Bush. And we will know beyond any doubt once the Grand Bargain is finally consummated.

            They will lionize him just as they did Reagan. George Will will stop talking about Reagan the Great Communicator and start talking about Obama the Great Compromiser. The entire media will sing paeans to Obama's wisdom, courage and bipartisan statesmanship in slashing the safety net.

            It's just a matter of time now. Perhaps less than a year.

            "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

            by limpidglass on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 02:11:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, I see how strongly you feel Obama is a tool, (0+ / 0-)

              ... and this all-powerful 1% is responsible.

              As for ACA, Yes, I think Limp is right. Conservatives would have demolished ACA (they did, after all, excoriate Roberts for upholding it ... for a while). But if it is to be sustained, justifying that on the taxing powers is far preferable to them than the obviously correct rationale - the Commerce Clause. Ruth BG's opinion does a beautiful job of showing Roberts' "crabbed" reasoning and skewers the conservatives' Commerce Clause rationale.

              I don't agree the 1% loves the mandate, though. Heritage disavowed its proposals and Romney, of course, retreated completely. You might try to argue they're being disingenuous rather than hypocritical, or that the 1% believes things differently than the next, say, 4%, but I doubt it. I've talked to Republicans in the 4%; they hate Obamacare to the core. As for insurers, they do get a clientele, but they'd rather juggle the conditions of policies, have pricing to themselves and enjoy profiteering freedom. (Unlike Medicare, which they now pretty much love for taking the highest cost cohort out of the basic universe.)

              I think you're selling Progressives short when you say, "But, tragically, many in the progressive community are now totally compliant in regard to cuts to Social Security and Medicare." No one is "compliant" in any Progressive blog I read. And very few are willing even to think about Chained CPI. (The only way Progressives address the obvious M&M funding problems is to raise the roof on revenues to support Medicare. I agree that revenue is far preferable to cost cutting.)

              My biggest disagreement, however, is with the notions that "the 1% have allowed [Obama] to be president" and that they are capable of that much fine tuning and manipulation at that level. Regulatory intrusions and lobbying legislative matters, Yes. But I don't think it was or is in the power of the 1% to "allow" someone to be President.

              Conspiracists obviously disagree. And let's face it, the bigger the boogeymen, the more interesting the myths. But we don't need boogeymen to point to; the GOP base and its leaners are scary enough.

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

              by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 02:45:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, thanks for your reply. Disagree on a couple (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                US Blues, TRPChicago, limpidglass


                Briefly, I'm from an insurance and securities brokerage "family."  My family members are quite happy with the status quo of the ACA.  And the soon to be mandated private retirement accounts that Senator Harkin's trying to get passed.  (Commented on them in a couple of blogs yesterday.  Won't repeat.)

                The rank and file Republicans HATE the ACA.  I know that.

                But, the 1% are one of the biggest beneficiaires of the ACA.  The much heralded "pre-existing condition" clause pertains to private individual health insurance policies, which makes up approximately 8% of the industry, and are obviously carried by mostly affluent and/or wealthy individuals.

                [Group health insurance policyholders are usually affected only by a 30-, 60- or 90-day 'exclusionary period' for pre-existing conditions.]

                Heritage did later disavowed Romneycare (as did Romney, at times--he took both positions, as I recall, LOL!), but that's mostly for partisan reasons, IMO.

                True, the 1% doesn't care about mandates in the sense that they "care if everyone has access to medical coverage."  But they DO care that their taxes will not be subsidizing a large number of Americans.  

                So, the way that the ACA is set up, putting the "responsibility" on the individual as opposed to the government for insuring most folks, is right down their alley, so to speak.

                It was not my intention to "sell anybody short."  I did qualify the statement, using the work "many."  If I recall correctly, you were questioning what was so bad about the implementation of the Chained CPI.

                That is discouraging to me.  But clearly you have every right to be in support of it, if you are.

                Regarding "My biggest disagreement, however, is with the notions that "the 1% have allowed [Obama] to be president" and that they are capable of that much fine tuning and manipulation at that level."

                I have no comment, since I never addressed the issue.

                Admittedly, my views are possibly influenced by several generations of brokers in my family, in regard to the ACA being a windfall to the insurance industry.  [That will also be true of the mandatory private accounts that Senator Harkin is working on getting passed.  The life insurance and annuity industries are both "foaming at the mouth" over the prospect of Harkin's legislation passing.]

                Look, "to each, their own."  Guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on a couple of issues.  :-)  

                Enjoyed the discussion.


                [Hope this is not too much of a mess.  Short of time.]



                “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 27, 2013 at 04:11:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Progressive health care (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  musiccitymollie, Odysseus

                  Would look like the national plans the rest of the civilized world enjoys. The very fact that private companies are still in the insurance game is the first clue that the ACA is not a progressive policy.

                  "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

                  by US Blues on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:15:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Agreed. We couldn't get single payer. You gotta... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    ... live with that as a practical matter. The votes to do that were not in the House, thanks to the Blue Dog Democrats.

                    The best, most defensible program would have been Medicare without an age limit. It was not to be.

                    Obamacare will, over time, be a fine idea ... But it's a long time evolving already and it's only just begun!

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

                    by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:33:11 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  TRPC, I'd rather have seen Medicare-For-All, (0+ / 0-)

                      in lieu of the ACA, but I truly hope that you're right that the ACA will evolve into a "fine" health care system.  :-)


                      “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 27, 2013 at 06:14:35 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I have hope. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        Mostly because ObamaCare suggests more coherence will come to a system with so many moving parts, so many individual players each maximizing its own slice of the pie, that it has not been possible to grab ahold of the pressure points for change.

                        In a population of some 306 million or so people, we have 50 million uninsured, meaning more than 15% of us will to a certainty enter the health care system at some point. Ways to provide care targeted to their needs also offers hope for us all. Amazing - in my experience - how quickly lessons can be learned by example.

                        Specifically, I like the changes already in place, the Patient's Bill of rights and particularly coverage for pre-existing conditions and ending lifetime dollar limits on hospital care.

                        Going forward: (1) Emphasis on preventive care and "public health" programs for a broader range of the public. That alone is a significant societal value. Saying the poor and the uninsured have access to health care because they can get into to an ER is ignorant, callous and mean-spirited. (And refusing to fund parts of Medicare is vicious public policy.)

                        (2) Encouraging primary care physicians and health professionals like nurses and physicians assistants for the same reasons. Yes, now some physicians have been turning to "concierge practices" and opting out of treating Medicare patients. I put this largely to pique, to being wedded to a very lucrative system, to resistance to the kind of change that other businesses have been incented to undergo. This is mostly a generational problem; time will wound these heels.

                        (3) Funding community health centers. More clinics are desperately needed throughout urban and rural areas. They allow many forms of care at far lower cost than big central hospitals with large atriums and overcrowded ERs.

                        (4) Attention to reducing huge and growing administrative costs and "overheads." Simplification of systems will help everyone from patient to providers.

                        Bottom line: Making health care more available and more affordable. None of this was going to happen by itself under the current system.

                        Yes, I have hope.

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

                        by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 07:36:23 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Ditto. N/T (0+ / 0-)


                    “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 27, 2013 at 06:08:49 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Democratic Presidents don't need to govern as (16+ / 0-)

        Liberals 24-7, they just need to make sure that everybody in the coalition gets something very important to them. Like say a Public Option. It makes hearing no on tough Wall St reform and other issues a little less disappointing and demoralizing.

        The Rahm playbook of telling Liberals to go fuck themselves, because he's not a Liberal, didn't work in 94 or 2010 and won't work in 2014.

        Somebody tell the party leaders.

      •  Respectfully, it is a "ruse" that conservatives (5+ / 0-)

        are alarmed by the President's legislation.

        The ACA is straight out of the Heritage Foundation, and essentially the same plan that was put forward by Republican Senators Dole and Chafee in 1993.  If anything, I believe that their plan was more liberal, because it included a public option.

        The "right" will always "yammer" about Dems being socialists, etc.  It's strategic--just a way to keep the Dems running to the right.

        And, from where I sit, seems to have been a very effective strategy.

        The MSM has all but villified the Tea Party, because they (the Tea Party) stand in the way of Pete Peterson getting his Grand Bargain.  It is his Foundation that is calling for cutting the social safety net in exchange for putting money into corporations pockets via increased "discretionary spending."

        Including everything from the ill-conceived public-private infrastructure bank, that even Robert Reich says will punish working class folks due to the the "tolls."  

        I will try find (and to post) the video of Peterson himself  touting that he wants increased spending on education.  

        I reside in the state that won the Race to the Top contest.  The "take" was 501 million dollars, which is mostly being funneled into charter schools and school vouchers.  Including a church school that adjoins a property of ours, built before the ink was dry to open up charters and school vouchers.

        IF the money for education were going to bolster our public schools, I would be in support of that.  But it isn't, at least not here.  Instead, the bulk of their efforts have gone to making it easier to 'let go of' teachers, and turn public schools into charter schools.

        I would also support infrastructure repairs/improvements if this project was slated to be carried out under the auspices of DOT, not a private infrastructure bank.

        Heck, at this pace, we may as well just continue the selling off of our interstate roads to multinational corporations.

        One other thing--the yammering and posturing by the Republicans that everything that the President does is "socialism," is intended to give him "cover" (with his base) to go more to the right.
        It's just more Kabuki Theater.


        “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 27, 2013 at 12:25:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i don't think it's a ruse, actually (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TRPChicago, Odysseus, svboston

          i think it's a signal of how far past the right the GOP has moved, that heritage foundation policies from the 90s are now anathema to them. there are hardly any regular old conservatives left in the elected GOP, it's all birchers and dominionists these days. the shift in the past decade is mind-boggling.

          •  Maybe "ruse" was not the best choice (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            of words, wu ming.  Sorry.

            What I'm saying is that the "move to the right" is a continuing and very deliberate effort.
            IMO, there's really only a relatively small faction of Republican "lawmakers" who find the Heritage Foundation policies "not right-wing enough."  

            Remember, John Boehner is a corporatist Republican, whose ideology is very similar to corporate Dems.  

            His only problem is the good-size number of Tea Partiers in the House.

            Notice, in the Senate, there's not that much difference between Democrats and Republicans on many issues.  Look at the Gang of Six (now either Eight or Ten, etc.) in the Senate.

            IOW, with the help of the MSM, the "yammering" about how the President is a socialist, or very liberal (surely you'd agree that this is beyond ridiculous) is done to propagandize the general American populace, and to mollify the Dem base.

            What it boils down to is a "redefining of the word liberal."  That's what it's all about.

            And it's worked.

            [I apologize for not expressing my position very cogently.  It is difficult sometimes to communicate when you don't know the age of the person you're "talking to."  Or, at least, it is for me.]


            “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 27, 2013 at 01:46:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  bohner is part of a dwindling rump (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              musiccitymollie, Odysseus

              of corporate GOP, for whom the crazy stuff is a lever to get at the stuff they care about, not an end in itself. i agree that his ilk are numbered more in the senate, but even then their star is waning.  crazy is on the ascendent.

              agreed that there's a lot of overlap, esp. in the senate, between corporate GOP and corporate dems.

              (why would the age matter for communication?)

              •  Good timing, LOL! Just got back to my computer. (0+ / 0-)

                About "age" mattering.  At one time I would try to engage in a number of specifics, but soon found out that it was often a waste of time, now that Civics is no longer taught in schools.  Discussing the union movement is one example.  So now, I just stick with generalities.  [BTW, nothing personal was meant by that, and certainly no offense is intended.]

                At any rate, I agree that the corporatist Repubs are diminishing somewhat, especially in the House.  But, they are for the most part representative of the 1%, so I'm not really alarmed by it.  

                IOW, there will NEVER BE a Tea Party take over.  Just look at how the press has savaged the Tea Party members when they wouldn't go along with the 1%'s desire to have a Grand Bargain.  The MSM will keep any outliers in line, if they get in the way of the corporatist agenda.  :-)

                Thanks for your reply.


                “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 27, 2013 at 02:36:20 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Because they can't stand the GOP. (4+ / 0-)

        Voters were FAR more turned off by vouchers for Medicare, the 47%-57% meme, legitimate rape, and austerity, than they were turned on by Obamacare, drone wars, Dodd-Frank, and killing bin Laden.
        Democrats will win elections by landslides once they figure out that the very same demographics that apply to the Republicans, apply to the Democrats, too.  We need to quit running after conservative voters and concentrate on running toward the issues that the new voting demographics care about: equality for all, the green economy, healthcare for all, and equal justice for all.

    •  my thoughts exactly... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, Puddytat, US Blues

      A standing army is like a standing member. It's an excellent assurance of domestic tranquility, but a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure. Elbridge Gerry - Constitutional Convention (1787)

      by No Exit on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:14:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, but it isn't about that. (3+ / 0-)

      At least it wasn't in Ohio. I know some people here love to insist that we've been betrayed by the Democrats in Washington and by Obama personally, and THAT caused our losses in 2010.

      Not in Ohio. Our losses were caused by in-state issues — the state party focusing too much on undecided and unmotivated voters, and also their cavalier unconcern with the importance of women's issues, which were not yet in the spotlight they are now, but which played a large part in our Ohio losses in 2010. And that had nothing to do with anything going on in Washington, and everything to do with what was happening with our state ticket.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:28:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can you say filibuster reform? (0+ / 0-)

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:19:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree. I honestly don't think that "rhetoric" (19+ / 0-)

      will be the determining factor in the 2016 campaign.

      If a Grand Bargain is struck and austerity measures put into place before the next Presidential election, appeasing or mollifying the base won't be possible.

      This is particularly true if Social Security takes the hit that NYT reporter Annie Lowrey predicted on XM radio the other day.  [Just found out that she is Ezra Klein's spouse.]

      Lowrey believes that a comprehensive standalone package of "cuts" will be put forward and passed.  [She didn't specify that she was referring to Bowles-Simpson's three (3) recommended cuts, but it would only make sense that she probably was.]  They are:  means testing, raising the FRA to 69, and the least in "severity," implementing the Chained CPI in regard to COLA for all transfer programs, and to index tax brackets.

      If these three cuts go through, I can't see "all the rhetoric in the world" making any difference.

      I just hope and pray that the Dems recognize this.


      “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 27, 2013 at 10:33:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Base election has to include (10+ / 0-)


    If Republicans can throw monkey wrenches into the works in either the House or Senate, it makes a lot of things difficult or impossible to accomplish.

    •  2014 is the base election for us. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's what will preserve our majority in the Senate, however much Harry tends to keep us in the thrall of the minority, and stands the best chance of winning some marginal House districts.

      We do not need to concede 2014 to the GOP gerrymandering redistricters! There are districts we can win.

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

      by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:33:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The so-called alienation of centrist voters (31+ / 0-)

    USED to be a kind of dog-whistle for "moderate" (read: softly bigoted) approaches to social issues. When President Obama embraced marriage equality, for instance, last Summer--well ahead of the election--he did so because this time around, a goodly number of "centrists" approve of it. It looked heroic, because it is certainly a unique and history-making moment, but frankly, he was simply agreeing not only with his base and "centrists" of both party but also with a small but not insignificant number of Republicans and Libertarians, who also make up a large majority of "unenrolled" voters in places like Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire.

    The social issues which have dominated national politics for far too long distract us, however. The fact of the matter is that the President (and I did vote for him, twice) is far from his base when it comes to the New Deal and the Great Society. Lots of people--and people who surprise me a little, like Tweety--agree with the President that our current political reality is that we will have to start dismantling the social contract in order to pay our respects to the private concerns who feel the need to profit. That was my problem with "Obamacare", and my problem with "Romneycare" back when I lived in Massachusetts.

    The brilliance of the Obama campaign was this, IMO: he played to an ever-rightward leaning base and showed that he will play ball with the people who detest what they think he stands for. He did this, in large measure, by coming out for women and gays and immigrants. But in doing so, he also has come out against those demographics as well as others, in showing his willingness to reverse the labor and social safety net advancements we have made since the 1930's for the fun and profit of--wait for it--some of his own donors.

    I'll give Obama credit where it's due, but I'll be damned if I will pretend that he is willing to stand up for the best and most effective legacies of his own party.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:12:40 AM PST

  •  No surprise here (18+ / 0-)
    allow me to follow that up with a statement that may very well surprise you: According to exit polling, President Obama actually did marginally worse with liberals than the vanquished House Democrats did in 2010
    I have to work constantly to keep progressives engaged here because his "centrism" is so disheartening.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:13:20 AM PST

  •  How does it go-"The beatings will continue...." (6+ / 0-)

    "until moral improves"

    I don't need patronizing lectures on things like comity or any other topic from unnamed senate staffers......

    There are times these day; as brutal as the era was to the working man; I long for the days when members of congress tried to kill each other with the nearest blunt instrument........

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:21:23 AM PST

  •  My guess is that the Obama admin will spend most (8+ / 0-)

    of 2013 doing base-politics, and then reevaluate around October or November.  Reality is the GOP establishment needs to sideline/shut up the Tea Partiers (aka the Bush base) to be viable past 2014.  Obama, Reid, and Pelosi have a unique opportunity to exploit it and get a lot done.

    Progressives and Liberals are in a great position right now.  We can all point to 3 or 4 swing states Democratic activists won for Obama.  We can't point to a single one Tea Partiers and GOP activists pulled across the line for Romney.  Not really even North Carolina, because if they'd done their job it wouldn't have even been close.

    The GOP needs to drop the Tea Party like a hot potato.  I consider it my sacred duty to help make it as difficult as possible.

    •  A noble endeavor indeed :-) (5+ / 0-)
      The GOP needs to drop the Tea Party like a hot potato.  I consider it my sacred duty to help make it as difficult as possible.
    •  Agreed. We didn't turn out Buncome County... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Woody, Cameron Hoppe, svboston, Chi

      ... AKA Asheville AKA Hippieburg, NC. The turnout in this relatively populous area (pop. 238,318) was smaller than some  rural counties down east that I've never heard of... This is the most "liberal" area in the state, and the votes for Obama in 2012 were slightly higher than in 2008, but Romney did a lot better here than McLawn did. Seems like some people weren't very excited to register and vote.
       Although, I might be wrong here, since the turnout in Buncome did increase 2008- 2012 (123,725 & 127,696) but the margin for Obama was smaller in 2012 by several thousand.

  •  Then we can expect increasingly Liberal Policy (9+ / 0-)

    If this pans out, I would expect we will see increasingly 'liberal' policy coming out of Washington, DC.

    For sure the base is growing due to many factors, but the tide of disinformation and money-bound lawmakers (who reside on both side of the aisle with the weighting of course to the GOP) is only increasing.  We aren't going to earn those percentage points easily.

    I think a lot of people I know who called themselves 'Republican' in the past were a lot more shy with that as a self-descriptor (that their usual bloviating selves would previously have brandished like their favorite assault weapon) since G. W. Bush, and I guess we can all understand why.  

    Still, your point is well-taken and in a way, we are getting a small taste of what the new fabric of America can bring about, even in the face of Billion$ spent by the Koch machine and other enablers.

    I'll tell you, another way to really make a few more points would be for this administration to realize the study done previously leading some to believe pot lowered IQ scores, has been now disproven.  President Obama, please be the administration that stops the Federal government's ill-informed war on a plant.

    HAM RADIO OPERATORS! Come to the LEFT side of the DIAL join our new group: Amateur Radio at Daily Kos

    by jackspace on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:24:45 AM PST

  •  speaking as someone who rings bells and knocks (4+ / 0-)

    on doors for OFA, there seemed to be a lot more of that in 12 than 10.

    Even in my state where OFA in 2010had a larger presence than many places and we turned out the vote upsetting Nate Silver's polling predictions to put our guy in the senate, we far outdid that effort in 2012.

    Liberal is also a term that covers shades of gray. I always score as liberal on those internet tests of political leaning. Here on DK I think it often means Dennis Kucinich and leftwards.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:28:36 AM PST

  •  Re your statement ..... (0+ / 0-)
    Ergo, it is reasonable to assume that there is little that can be done to appease those voters.
    Is this our version of "The 47 percent?" - but instead of "moochers and freeloaders" we are talking about an ideologically locked in worldview unchangeable by fact, logic or reality?
    •  I Don't Think So... (0+ / 0-)

      What I am saying is, if you have someone who sees Barack Obama and...say...Paul Ryan as equidistant from their own political position, it is hard to seriously call them "centrist".

      Put it this way: if today's Democrats are at a 30 on the ideological scale (with 0 being purely left, and 100 being purely right), and the GOP is at a 95, "in-between" is going to be in the 60s.

      It is the belief that the political bases have both grown more partisan, but not symmetrically so, that is the basis for my point.

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn" (BRMC)
      Contributing Editor, Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections

      by Steve Singiser on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:04:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agree with this post and would add (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    organicus, shaharazade, Woody, Chi

    That by actually standing for something you win a lot of 'moderate' centrists as well. Not all, but certainly a good many that are no longer confused  in that you don't seem to stand for anything anymore.

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:35:07 AM PST

  •  Enthusiasm flows outward from the base (22+ / 0-)

    This makes sense. The idea that pissing on and betraying your base will somehow make you more attractive to other voters less invested in your party has always eluded me.

    That being said, this post doesn't deal with a key question and problem regarding the relationship between the Democratic Party and its base: delivering on its promises. Say one thing for the GOP: They run on crazy and are willing to move heaven and earth once in office to try and deliver on crazy.

    The Democrats run on sanity and change and other good things and then too often get into office and start whining and backpedaling and betraying core promises--even when those betrayals arguably weaken their future ability to win elections. Case in point: the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have had the salutary effect--both on the economic justice and political levels--of strengthening unions. Once the 2008 election was over, this key measure--necessary to the survival of the essential component of the Democratic coalition--fell by the wayside as a priority.

    As a related note, it should be acknowledged on this site how important the role of the Occupy movement was in making this a base election on Democratic turf. To take just one example, Mitt Romney's "47%" remarks would not have resonated nearly as deeply if not for the "99%" meme propagated by Occupy. I would argue that without Occupy making issues of economic justice and inequality so prominent, the Democrats would not have run nearly so well as they did. But do the Party honchos recognize that and will they act accordingly? I wouldn't hold one's breath.

  •  Know your electorate (14+ / 0-)

    This post of course is talking for the most part about national presidential elections where the "district" is the totalilty of the country.

    My experience is however that the principal outlined applies is smaller districts too. But... you have to know the make-up of your electorate.

    My small town is supposedly a republican one. Republicans here out number Democrats by about 7 to 5 (it was 7 to 4 when I took over almost a decade ago). By the "blanks", our term for unaffiliated voters, make up another 4 so Democrats + blanks creates an 8 to 7 or 9 to 7 edge. My strategy all along has been to maximize my Democratic base and get as many blanks voting as possible. When motivated Democrats vote at a high percentage. When motivated blanks come out at over 50%. What this has made for are close elections but close elections that Democrats have won... and in elections where republican turn-out was depressed it has made for strong Democratic victories.

    Depsite being out numbered heavily by Republicans we have not at any time tried the "third way" appeal to Republicans that we were republican-lite. Doing that would depress my Democratic base and provide no particular reason for blanks for vote for my guys instead of theirs. It would be self defeating.

    The result of maximizing the Democratic base and turning out blanks at as high a rate as possible is that we have a Democratic majority in town, a functional town government, and are likely to retain our majority in this years coming elections.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:39:51 AM PST

  •  For a macrocosm check out CA (10+ / 0-)

    We have pockets, some of them large, of rightwing idiocy. Everyone knows that. However, the majority f the state is relatively sane if not "liberal" in the demonized sense of the word. By the time a Republican candidate for statewide office has cleared the crazy in the Republican nominating process, they are toxic. Meg and Carlyfornication proved that in 2010. You can't appease the Republican base and still have any room to pivot and appeal to moderate centrists. You will not carry the Independents and conservative Democrats with the stench of Republican crazy sticking to you so firmly.

    They haven't gotten that message to their base yet so they keep firmly racing towards the bottom. I'm waiting for the day that the Greens, Independents, and Peace & Freedom parties are chasing the Republicans for the label of biggest minority party.

    As goes CA, so goes the nation?

  •  The problem is the money. (9+ / 0-)

    The Pete Petersons and the Third Ways of the world want to corrupt the Democratic Party and turn it into Republican Lite--basically a one party corporatist government.

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

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:45:01 AM PST

  •  Take no prisoners (8+ / 0-)

    It's easy for the president to slam the Republican­s as nothing but a bunch of extreme Tea Party radicals with a horrible agenda for America. The people of this country generally agree, with the recent poll showing the Tea Party is less popular than atheists, or whatever it was. But Obama needs a positive agenda of his own. He can't simply trust that voters will flock to him because he';s not as crazy as his opponent. We need jobs. We need government investment in our future. We need a leader who will not simply "compromis­e," but who will, you know, LEAD. His second inaugural speech is a promising start to a more progressive agenda.  -  progressive

  •  Quantifying Charisma (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    midwesterner, Woody

    How many percentage points does a charismatic presidential candidate add?

    This I would like to see.

    Have 100 randomly-chosen people hooked up to an MRI and electrode caps, and subject them to speeches by Senator Kerry and Senator Obama.

    And see which parts of the brain light up during each speech.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:56:31 AM PST

  •  Only 2 Things Possible: Govern and Message. (8+ / 0-)

    Between the 2 of them that's what it takes to motivate the base. No base, no power.

    Especially for 2014.

    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 27, 2013 at 11:11:57 AM PST

    •  Governing is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      first as messaging with no connection to the policy, direction or agenda once you win really is cart before the horse politics. At  a time when both parties only represent the corporate security state, it's  hard to convince voters regardless of where they stand in the fictitious political spectrum that your going to deliver or even fight for decent democratic governance.

      Jerking people around with fear of theocratic maniac RWer's having power may win elections. When the Democrat's once elected turn around and enable and are complicit with teh evil people voted against it just won't hold a lot of voters. Most people indies included are just not this stupid, they know a bamboozle when it bites them. The ones that are this fearful, pig ignorant and stupid vote for the Republicans.

      As the 40year old FDR Democrat next door said 'What choice do we have?" If it's just between Koch Bros. or Goldman Sachs and we end up with both, all the populist messaging in the world won't help. Better stick to fear of something worse that will probe your vagina. FDR was right about fear.

      I think most voters are immune to Democratic bait and switch populism at this point. So bring out the crazies and try to work up a better quality of Kabuki once elected.  This season's post election show really put a damper on the fear factor. Reality really does have a liberal bias that no amount of pandering and parsing by this administration and the Third Way party machine can pass off as democratic let alone Democratic.

      Ass backward cart before the horse politics that makes people losers even when they win. Victories for compromise with and for who?        

  •  This should be Required Reading for Dems (5+ / 0-)

    This post should be required reading for Democratic politicians before they consider cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, or "chained CPI".

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

    by coral on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:22:37 AM PST

    •  Does DKos have a few million (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to donate to each of them? No? Then forget about them listening to DKos.

      The Democratic Party is just as corrupt, venal and self-serving as the GOP, and just as much the abject servant of the 0.1% at the top.

      It's just less nuts than the GOP.

  •  So... (5+ / 0-)

    So I'm guessing that Obama won't send his (now former) press secretary (Robert Gibbs) about a month before a crucial midterm election and diss the base (snidely calling them "the professional left" and demanding "stupid" things like Canadian style health care), like he did in 2010 which helped the Dems lose the House (and probably many governorships and state legislatures).  One of the stupidest political moves EVER.  

    Hopefully Rahm's mantra of "f*** the progressives, and get in their face about it" is done.  

  •  If by "base" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    you mean urban communities of color (the true base of the party), then the real question for Democrats is not so much about the left/right continuum, but how effectively future candidates will be able to spur the kind of turnout needed in this "new America."

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by NLinStPaul on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 11:35:02 AM PST

    •  Bravo! (0+ / 0-)

      Urban and suburban communities.  Not just color though.  Color is just to divide us.  Without education our CLASS stands no chance.

    •  My fear is they divide and conquer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Divide the parties by race and then the fight becomes ethnic not economic and the plutocrats just pull the strings.

      •  Division is self-defeating, period. And wedge (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and divisiveness is all that elections have been about for years, as I can tell.

        I'd say that it's intentional.

        If the PtB keep the masses squabbling and fighting one another, it makes their jobs of fleecing the rest of us, much simpler.


        “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 27, 2013 at 03:25:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  the base needs inspiration (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    organicus, 84thProblem

    Appealing to the base can only be done through inspiration.  Parties' bases aren't bread-and-butter voters nor are they savvy, circumspect public intellectuals (like the Villagers fancy themselves).  Quite the opposite: they're tribal, they're ideological, they're utopian, and they're spoiling for a fight.  They're not people who are drawn into politics by "kitchen table" issues, except perhaps on someone else's behalf, and that's how you have to sell it to them: a call to service rather than self-interest.  They're not people who are easily satisfied with the thin gruel of "the art of the possible".  They're definitely not people who see compromise and deal-making as the stuff leaders are made of.

    At the same time, I think there's a deep wariness of inspirational and visionary politics in American society.  As a nation we think it's the kind of thing that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union did: rile people up with pie-in-the-sky fantasies that implicitly can only be achieved through mass mobilization and totalitarian dictatorship.  Freedom is held to be a very humble and almost mundane thing, realized more by forsaking battle than embracing it.  That this plays right into conservative rhetoric is perhaps by design.  But while conservatives don't make a habit of going around admitting that they're radicals who want to fundamentally transform the way the country works, liberals have a problem even admitting it to themselves.

    Something's wrong when the bad guys are the utopian ones.

    by Visceral on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:06:45 PM PST

  •  Fundamental issues (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kentucky DeanDemocrat

    Who self-reports as "liberal" varies in ideology from Congressional District to Congressional District.

    Members of Congress and to a great extent the President as well work for K-Street and campaign donations more than they do for any base of voters.  And K-Street backs winners regardless of the rhetoric they use to win.  But K-Street does not back people who would dismantle K Street.  Thus the situation in DC where the talk is different and the results are constrained to a lot of things that voters do not want.

    The deliberate deception of voters on issues that affect their lives when there is reporting about the actions of the government in Washington is greater than I have seen it in my lifetime.  And Democratic politicians who are claiming weakness are among the worst.  For example, Max Baucus is so corrupt and lying he's a disgrace.  And this whole debt crisis debacle is at the doorstep of the former Senator Kent Conrad.  And Joe Manchin and Mary Landrieu are major blocks to dealing with climate change because they put their oil and coal industries ahead of the welfare of the people in their states.

    Business as usual means another defeat for Democrats in 2014.  They must reform their caucuses.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 12:22:01 PM PST

  •  The republican base are far right extremsist, but (0+ / 0-)

    the Democrats base in s not the far left. Teh base of teh Democratic party is progressives and progress is made through moderation and consensus., & compromise.

    Noting ever gets done when both the far left and the far right dig in and follow their  "my way or no way' agendas.

  •  Obama's speech wsas based on the issues he (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ran on in the 2012 eletion...why the surprise from the press & right.

  •  For most of the comments I have read in this post: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xndem, 84thProblem, MichiganChet

    I'm sorry, didn't we hear over the last few years that the Democratic base turned out in 2010?  That it wasn't the base's fault, it was that while the Democratic voters turned out as the usually do in midterms - way lower than a presidential year - the Republicans turned out in greater than usual numbers?   Commenters here cannot argue that the party is insulting the base and suppressing turnout, and then turn around and say "we turned out" when someone gets onto them for not voting to keep Republicans out of office.

    What were debating here is how to turn people out who aren't angry or paying enough attention to know what the other side is doing.  While I agree that it's better to put out more liberal positions on some things, the people we are going to need to turn out aren't going to hear it.

    What it's really going to take to win in 2014 is putting into place the same apparatus that got people out in 2012:  GOTV, volunteers, and money.  The party, and all of those groups - like Daily Kos - are going to have to act like it's a presidential year every election.

    "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 27, 2013 at 12:43:32 PM PST

    •  I don't know, I remember reading (0+ / 0-)

      On this site several diaries that actually convinced me that the base did not in fact turn out in 2010. I would say that was indubitably the case for my home state.

      Agree about what we need for 2014, especially here in 'Michissippi'

      An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

      by MichiganChet on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:49:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  most amazing exchange on Bill Maher (5+ / 0-)

    One of the conservative guests says that Obama was being mean by using the phrase 'right-wing' which is an epithet.

    Bill Maher is stunned and doesn't know what to say.  He asks if right-wing is an epithet, what equivalent word would he prefer be used.

    The guest doesn't really have an answer and just sort of pouts.

    That right there is how far the Republican brand has fallen.  Center-right country my foot.  None of liberal, progressive, and left-wing are considered bad words anymore and that is a sign of how far the Democratic brand has risen.

  •  fascinating. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Kentucky DeanDemocrat

    get the choir to sing. love it.

  •  Between Obama raising the tax cut to $400k, (0+ / 0-)

    and Reid taking a stinking dump on Jeff Merkley,  I don't know why the fuck I should ever trust any party again.

    And, no, the fact that the other side would be worse isn't nearly enough, but thanks loads for playing.

    "Life is short, but long enough to get what's coming to you." --John Alton

    by Palafox on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 02:21:50 PM PST

  •  Please, please Appease me, Now Appease me harder ! (0+ / 0-)

    Study  the demographics
    Parse  the message
    Target the audience

    And tell me that you love me -- you big beautiful wooden bastard ...

    (As  the  Blue Fairy said to Pinocchio)  

  •  Wow, what a concept (0+ / 0-)

    playing to your base!  Who'd have thought?  Golly, I don't think that's been tried since I can't remember when.  Unless the DNC, the DCC and the DSCC along with all the state Democratic parties get a clue and start listening to and playing to their base, we are going to have a repeat of 2010.  Howard Dean was right and Rahm Emmanuel, is well Rahm Emmanuel.  The republicans fight for every seat on the local, state and national level.  And we are kind of getting rid of some of the DLC.  I don't mind working for candidates but I am not going to kill myself just to watch the state and national Dems do it half assed and lose.

  •  Another possibility... (0+ / 0-)

    is that liberals hold positions which moderates are not comfortable with.

    I love it when people tell me what I really believe, then tell me that I'm just afraid to say that because I'm too dumb to know it.

    Labels are pretty fucking stupid anyway. There are simply more than two types of people in the world.

    You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

    by Eric Stratton on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:47:07 PM PST

  •  Some lessons to take from this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Good diary. It's worth thinking about what kept base turnout low in 2010.

    The Democratic Senate failing to pass large portions of Obama's agenda was a major reason. Union members, environmentalists, and young people saw their top issues pushed to the side while healthcare became the focus. And even the health care bill that passed was unsatisfying for many liberals.

    We have to admit the progressive pundit and blogger corps depressed voter turnout by spreading defeatist cynicism and portraying everything Obama did in the worst possible light.

    I believe it's also important to look at a Presidential candidate's ability to increase turnout beyond being liberal. Obama increased turnout among African-Americans and young people in particular.

    It's also significant that you picked Wisconsin. Obama's Midwestern appeal made a huge different by making Michigan and Wisconsin safe while putting Iowa, Missouri and Indiana into play. Democrats win when we nominate a candidate from the South or Midwest. That has held true for over 60 years. Even Kennedy would have lost without putting Johnson on the ticket to stuff the ballots in Texas.

    The '16 Presidential candidates mentioned by the media are all from the northeast and it's difficult to see any of them doing much to turn out the base outside the solid blue states where we'll win anyway.

  •  What do you mean by "base strategy" (0+ / 0-)

    What of the campaign characterized that? How was the "base" appeased, and enlarged?

    "Liberal" is a more attractive label because Republicans suck?

    There is something conspicuously missing in your equation.

    The performance and message of the President's entire first term. How that affected the growth of the self identifying liberal base.

    And, a lot of the most obnoxious criticism of the President from both the 'real' left base and from the far right abated in the second half of his first term.

  •  Get with the program!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    The headline tells the tale... We're not an un-reasonable lot, but 10 more seconds of this being ignored will trash this whole little rocket-ride.

  •  Is there less movement by same voters between (0+ / 0-)

    self-identification as liberal-moderate-conservative than between Democrat-independent-Republican?

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