Monday, November 29, 2010

Speaking Of Which ...

I was recently un-friended on Facebook by a Republican business associate, who took exception to the fact that I objected to his use of Facebook to tell me and my "Liberal freinds" (his spelling) what part of our anatomy we could kiss.  That's okay.  I'm well rid of him, too.  This will give you some idea of why.

Power Whores

That's the only way to describe these people.  They and the horse they came in on know what they can do with themselves.  The Democratic Party is well rid of these people; jellyfish have more spine than they do.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A War Between Generations?

This comes as no surprise, given the fact that over-65 voters were the only ones who tilted toward McCain in 2008.  (Interestingly enough, boomer voters split down the middle between the two tickets; one wonders to what extent the relative evenness of support for Democrats and Republicans in the past decade is something of a boomer thing, like so many other things both good and bad.)

But it also offers yet more evidence of why this month's election does not signify a hard tilt to the right.

Aside from the fact that the incumbent party almost always loses seats in midterm elections (2002 was, as has been said elsewhere, a 9/11-derived fluke, inspired by an electorate determined to give an unelected President a vote of confidence), the voter base in midterms is almost always smaller, and skewed demographically toward the elderly, who have ample time for voting and who are highly dependent on government spending.  And a lot of them voted their fears, based on right-wing propaganda on health care reform.

In time, both of these factors will disappear.  First of all, as health care reform makes health care more available to the general public, the cost of providing it will go down--protecting seniors' access to it.  And second, if this is the Republican base of the future, then (without being undiplomatic about it) the future is relatively short-lived.

We lost a battle, folks.  Not the war.  Time, and the truth, are on our side.

If We Can Find A Way To Come Together On THIS ...

... perhaps things aren't so hopeless, after all.  Liberals just need to make the core argument they should have made from the beginning:  abortion is terrible, but outlawing it is even worse.

"Big Government Never Created A Job?" HA!

Big government has helped to create millions of jobs when it has been willing to invest in new, unproven but ultimately beneficial technologies.  The history of our country, from the transcontinental railroad to the Internet, has demonstrated this time and time again.

The space program is one notable example, and can be again.  Interstate automobile travel is yet another example, and can be again.

One day, when we start deriving public policy from facts, and not feelings, these fantasies can become reality.

Yet ANOTHER Example Of What I'm Talking About ...

... in the not-feeling-sorry-for-ourselves department.

It's not about holding onto power.  That's a goal that eludes us all.  It's making the most of it when you have it.  Democrats in the current Congress did an effective, if not perfect job of doing just that.  And that matters because (and I can't say it enough) we have the ideas that work, and that the American people need.

The tragedy of American politics is that, in no small part due to the upward shift in wealth over the past three decades, it's now the wealthy who have the clout to promote our ideas and translate them into reality.  This is but one example.

Why should the American people have to wait for the intersection of wealth and wisdom before something good happens for them?

The real us-versus-them in our society is no longer about left and right, but rich and poor.  But the left still needs to be strong, and even dangerous, or else it will be about rich and poor forever.  Once, it was.  But all of that changed, in part because of the other side's ruthlessness, and in part because of our innocence, and our willingness to worship it at the expense of everything else.

It's time to once again embrace Mother Jones' advice:  "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living!"

... And An UN-Predictable Impeachment Of Republican Economics

... from an unimpeachable source.

Change course?  How about the one we've been on for most of the past 30 years?  Let's change THAT course!

Predictable Burying Of Good News ...

... perhaps because it favors Democrats.  Like FDR before him, President Obama really did save capitalism from itself.  Statistics prove it.  And a leading capitalist is proudly willing to admit it.

Mr. President, when they tell you to "change course," throw their own putrid words back at them, and say "HELL NO!"

Predictable Bragging, And Why It Should Be Ignored

The pundits aren't the only source of hot air about the election results.  There are, of course, the politicians themselves, for whom hot air is, as slavery was to the landholders of the Old South, a peculiar institution and a cherished way of life (which apologies to Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards, the authors of "1776").

The soon-to-be Republican leaders in the next House of Representatives have taken to the airwaves (and cable lines, and Net servers) to inform the world that the 2010 election is nothing less than an anti-liberal referendum, and a demand by the American people that all conservative wishes be enshrined into law.  Anyone who dares to say otherwise is guilty of the capital crime of national approval--not "getting it."

Never mind the fact that their own approval ratings are not much better than the President's--or the fact that the Democrats still control the Senate as well as the White House.  Being elected is always the by-product of many factors beyond the control of any candidate--the economy, in the case of this election, for example.  It is never a ringing endorsement of all of the winning candidates' "ideas."  (See my previous post regarding the question of whether many of them have any real "ideas" in the first place.)

When it comes to a number of key issues, such as health care, and airport scanners, the public isn't on their side.  When it comes to the overall tax-and-spend question, the best they can get are mixed results.  Even on the question of whether their majority even exists, they strike out.

Perhaps this is why the putative Speaker of the House is so willing to let President Obama set the agenda.  It gives him and his party the freedom to go on doing the only thing they really do well--say "no."

Predictable Punditry, And Why It Shouldn't Be Heeded

Every setback for the Democrats in the polls predictably leads to calls from various members of the talking-heads class what I call the "two Republican Parties" solution (with apologies to the late David Brinkley, from whom I have borrowed the phrase).  All the Democrats need to do is to become more "moderate" (translation:  more conservative), and all will be well with the two-party system and, therefore, with democracy itself.

The persistence of this line of argumentation is amazing, inasmuch as it amounts to saying (in the face of massive evidence to the contrary) that Republicans have such a monopoly on good ideas that we should take every possible step to ensure that there's no such thing as a national political debate.  Ever.

Of course, they have no such monopoly.  And the greatest proof of this is the fact that even they don't believe in their own alleged ideas.

For example, they oppose public health insurance for the American people, but want to make sure that they get it as quickly as possible for themselves.

Their supporters claim to be the voice of ordinary Americans, but are in fact financed by the super-rich--and oppose any effort to change that.

They pretend that President Obama and the Democrats are nothing but liars, while they systematically engage in spreading their own poisonous lies.

Perhaps worst of all, when it comes to criticizing specific laws, programs and policies, they openly admit to applying one standard for themselves, and another to their opponents.  It's bad enough to lose a civil liberties champion like Russ Feingold; it's even worse to lose him to a four-flushing hypocrite who uses the Patriot Act to effectively say that Republicans should have one set of laws, and Democrats should have another.  Such an individual has no real concept of the United States of America-- and is certainly under both a moral and intellectual disability when it comes to taking an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Somebody needs to ask the George Wills, Michael Goodwins and Mickey Kauses of the world:  which one of these perfidies do they want the Democrats to adopt first?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

An Example Of What I'm Talking About ...

... when it comes to not sitting around and feeling sorry for yourselves.  Frankly, if I have a vote in the debate described herein, it would be for investing in attack ads, not think tanks.  We don't suffer from a lack of ideas.  We suffer from a nearly-terminal fear of punching, in a country that expects nothing less.

25 Days Later ...

... well, first of all, I have to admit I didn't expect to stay silent for this long.

Frankly, even though I thought I was braced for this year's election results, the reality of it hit me a lot harder than I thought.  It's not me, the Democrats (and certainly not the ones in Congress), or progressives in general for whom I'm depressed.

It's this country.  And its seeming inability to to think, and to treat voting as something worth thinking about.

Why else would you vote back into power (or, more precisely, one-third of power) the same gang of lying thieves who trashed this country in the first place?

In fairness, the voters in this election were enabled by three factors:

1.  The Supreme Court, which decided that corporations are people with unlimited rights to buy elections;

2.  Wall Street, which thanked the Democrats for saving capitalism by investing their record profits into buying said elections, instead of creating jobs for voters (except for Tea Party organizers and promoters); and

3.  Last, and certainly not the least, President Obama, who in hindsight has largely conducted an in-box presidency, allowing everyone but him to define the debate--its substance, its terms and, sadly, its conclusion.  Unwilling to see, until too late, that Republicans in Congress had no sense of national self-interest, he allowed Congress to do all of the heavy lifting, with the result that both he and Democrats in Congress paid a steep and perhaps tragic price.

As I've said previously, there's no reason to give up.  The nature of our political system, at its best and at at its worst, allows both sides to win their share of battles.  But this is ultimately a war of ideas, even if it is often fueled by raw and ugly emotions, and our side has the ideas that work.

But we're not going to get there from here to there without changes.  And the biggest change of all has to come from us.

We can't count on elected officials to do it all.  If history teaches us anything, it's that we've never been able to.  Real change in this country has always flowed up from the streets.  Only then does change trickle down from Pennsylvania Avenue.

And we might as well take a page out of the other's sides book.  They never sleep.  They never go away.  And they certainly don't wait a generation or two for the "right" candidate.

We had a rough 2010, but it wasn't 1994.  We still have the Senate, as well as the White House.  We've seen major changes in health care, student loans, and financial regulation--and we may yet get the DREAM Act for immigrant students, as well as the end of "don't ask, don't tell."

The future is still waiting for us.  But it's not waiting for us to cry and feel sorry for ourselves.  It's waiting for us to work, sacrifice, organize and stay together.

And, above all, to never, ever go away.  Presidents and Congresses come and go.  The American people and the American dream are forever.

Monday, November 1, 2010

This Time, They're Both Right

But, unfortunately, Brooks' wisdom is canceled out by Krugman's.

Fasten your seatbelts.  It's going to be a rough road to 2012.

On WHAT Planet Has He Been Living?


Social Security was passed doing a time of prosperity?  The last two years have seen American become more liberal?

It's official:  conservatism is now a fact-free zone.  Get ready for two years of non-stop lies.