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The Morning Plum

* Can a Dem win by (gasp!) trying to persuade voters that Dems are right? The read of the morning is E.J. Dionne's piece on Dem Rep. Tom Perriello of Virginia, who seems to have gotten it into his head that Dems can win, even in tough districts, by forcefully arguing that the stimulus, health reform and cap and trade were the right things to do.

The silly deluded Congressman -- who actually criticizes Obama's economic policies from the left, if you can imagine that -- doesn't realize that once Republicans go on the attack, Dems can never win an argument about anything and it's already game over.

In all seriousness, even if Perriello ends up losing, standing up for what you believe in, and proceeding from the assumption that you can persuade voters that you're right, even if it seems difficult or unlikely, seems like a worthy experiment.

* Think Progress pounds U.S. Chamber again: The blog hits back at the Chamber of Commerce's attack from yesterday, and breaks down its charges:

1) The Chamber acknowledges that it receives foreign sources of funding.

2) The foreign funds go directly into the Chamber's general 501(c)(6) entity.

3) At least $300,000 has been channeled from foreign companies in India and Bahrain to the account.

4) The foreign sources include foreign state-owned companies, including the State Bank of India and the Bahrain Petroleum Company.

5) The Chamber's 501(c)(6) entity is used to launch an unprecedented $75 million partisan attack ad campaign against Democrats.

* Charlie Melancon won't get pushed around by Obama or anyone else: The Dem Senate candidate in Louisiana is up with a new ad that touts his opposition to health reform and the "energy tax," and boasts that he told Obama to take his offshore drilling moratorium and stuff it.

* White House would support an interfaith center near ground zero? David Axelrod says he supports a compromise that would replace the "ground zero mosque" with an interfaith center.

* The Tea Party won't stop partying until all the GOP is a Tea Party: They're already laying plans to take out Olympia Snowe, Richard Lugar, and Bob Corker, yet another reminder that the Tea Party's impact on the GOP is only beginning to be felt.

* Dems on offense over minimum wage: Mike McAuliffe takes stock of the new Dem campaign to tar the GOP as hostile to the minimum wage, an "effort to brand the GOP as a bunch of reactionaries bent on rolling back popular pieces of the social safety net."

* Is the Dem message about whackjob Tea Party extremism failing to resonate? The Hill's new poll of 12 key battleground House districts held by Dems finds that more approve of the Tea Party than disapprove, and a majority of independents says the Tea party won't influence their vote.

* The "repeal" sham is chump bait for Tea Party rubes: Ezra Klein predicts that it's unlikely that Republicans will ever go through with repeal of health reform in any meaningful sense.

* The Terrible Two will campaign together in Delaware: Sarah Palin is set to campaign with Christine O'Donnell.

* O'Donnell and Sharron Angle are Pat Toomey's best assets: Jesse Zwick argues that the Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate's extremism on the issues is passing for moderation when seen against the backdrop of the visibly eccentric candidates who are sucking up all the media oxygen.

* And she's a rock star -- but only among Tea Partyers: A new CBS poll finds Palin is viewed favorably by barely more than one in five Americans (22 percent), and by less than half of Republicans (44 percent). By contrast, she's seen favorably by 61 percent of Tea Party supporters.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | October 7, 2010; 8:33 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, Campaign finance, House Dems, Independents, Morning Plum, Senate Republicans, Tea Party, economy  
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Next: `Hicky' actor in GOP ad tries to cash in: I'm available for more work!

Comments

"Charlie Melancon won't get pushed around by Obama or anyone else: The Dem Senate candidate in Louisiana is up with a new ad that touts his opposition to health reform and the "energy tax," and boasts that he told Obama to take his offshore drilling moratorium and stuff it."

Melancon is going to lose by 20 points to a repulsive hypocritical snake. Meanwhile, he is undermining Obama, the Democratic Party, and Progressive principles. Tell me again why Democrats won't run real Democrats for office in "Red States."

Posted by: wbgonne | October 7, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

What else?

Big trouble brewing.

"This won’t make President Obama’s anti-war base very happy: The White House sent word late last night that Obama is backing Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s goal of having Afghan forces lead security operations there — in 2014. Karzai announced that goal last summer at the multi-national summit in July, and Secretary of State Clinton seemed to back his plan. But Obama put his personal approval behind that timeline for the first time in a readout emailed by the White House around 11:30 p.m., after Obama and top officials held a half-hour video conference with Karzai.

“The two leaders agreed that they should continue routine engagements to refine a common vision and to align our efforts to support President Karzai’s goal of completing transition to Afghan lead security responsibility by 2014,” the White House said. Many analysts would call 2014 an optimistic target, at best. But from the prospective of people tired of fighting wars, it commits the United States to the lead role in Afghanistan until two years into the next presidential term, whether it’s Obama’s or someone else’s.

It means that even if the American withdrawal begins, as the President pledges, next July, it will take three more years before the U.S. cedes control to Afghans, let alone withdraw to the equivalent backup role U.S. forces now have in Iraq. America will have been waging war in Afghanistan for 12 years by then."

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dc/2010/10/obama-backs-us-lead-in-afghani.html#ixzz11g0xJXZu

Permanent War indeed.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 7, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Will anything ever get done in the Congress because of the tea party?

I don't think anything will.

Posted by: maritza1 | October 7, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Will Independents like gridlock?

I don't know. They will see that NOTHING gets done in 2011 because of the Republicans.

Posted by: maritza1 | October 7, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Ah yes, another day, another gross micharacterization of the left's political opposition brought to us by Mr Sargent.

Now I can only look forward to the vague and misleading blog post from Adam Serwer. Let's see, my guess is that Mr Serwer will provide a biased and untruthful tale of Republican "malfeasance" like oh say taking pension money that was earned or getting paid a fee for service by, gasp, Medicare.

Honestly, between Mr Sargent and Mr Serwer the temperature has gone up, but the honestly has declined. What sorry state of affairs for modern American "journalism"

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 7, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Re O'Donnell/Palin

The strategists at the top of the GOP are clearly cognizant of the danger in so many of their party's candidates being perceived as extremists and nutcases. Which is, of course, why Rove has jumped in to convince at least two of them (posts media disasters) that they ought to remove themselves from any/all media appearances that might further damage their reputations (go Fox young man).

O'Donnell, as Rove (and Kristol) understood, presents a serious PR problem - she's a flake (territory settled by liberals, in their narrative). So the funding boys are coming to her assistance along with the media pros.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 7, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne

Your book arrived this week and I'm looking forward to it. I have at least one book to finish first.

Re Olympia Snowe, didn't she just have a few comments regarding the lack of compromise positions from her "teammates" in this Congress. If I remember correctly she felt Republicans hadn't done a very good job. I'll go search for the link and post it below.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 7, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

skipsailing, they hide behind the label of "political opinion making."

Speaking of Palin and O'Donnell, in all seriousness, even if they end up losing, standing up for what you believe in, and proceeding from the assumption that you can persuade voters that you're right, even if it seems difficult or unlikely, seems like a worthy experiment.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 7, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Tomasky also figures Obama/Clinton a bright idea for 2012 and adds some rationale beyond what I wrote yesterday. I'd underline the 'grizzly mama' thing more than he (for reasons I've written previously) but that's a small complaint. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2010/oct/06/barack-obama-hillaryclinton-2012

Posted by: bernielatham | October 7, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Here's the quote from Snowe:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"There's all this partisanship and polization," Snowe explained, "and ultimately it yields two outcomes: either scorched-earth victory for one side or political stagnation."

As a lawmaker from a swing state, Snowe has been in the difficult position of casting deciding votes on major legislation such as health care reform.

"We need the political center in America," Snow told her audience at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington. "If we lose the center, which I actually call the 'sensible center' -- it's where most Americans are. People should be sitting down, around a table, talking about the disparate ideas and what we can do to make life better and come up with better solutions to the problems."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/06/post_543_n_752959.html

Posted by: lmsinca | October 7, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Money-making idea for anyone who wishes to have it (the generosity of liberals, case in point).

Halloween masks of Witch O'Donnell.

Help yourselves.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 7, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

@Ims - I'm afraid Olympia has a short future now. And I'm not terribly sympathetic. With some rare exceptions, the more moderate conservatives have been quiet regarding what has happened to their party up until the point where they find the Red Guards marching into THEIR house.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 7, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Imsinca:

I hope you like it!

""We need the political center in America," Snow told her audience"

The "political center" Snowe laments is Left of the Establishment Democrats and light-years from the GOP's Radical Right agenda. That is why there is such a disconnect between average Americans and our political leaders. The GOP's strategy is quite simple: Label every sensible policy "Liberal" and then laugh uproariously as Democratic pols fall all over themselves running for the hills.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 7, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Palin should react to a last-minute, Hail Mary pass to Hillary Clinton as follows:

"Being the first woman nominated by the Republican Party for Vice-President, I extend my congratulations to Mrs. Clinton and am excited that we will finally have a female as either Vice President or President. Now, I am running for President because America's best days are ahead ..."

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 7, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Yglesias has just begun his first visit to Israel (he's Jewish). I'm keeping track of his observations. Here's the first...
http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/10/jerusalem/

Posted by: bernielatham | October 7, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

"In all seriousness, even if Perriello ends up losing, standing up for what you believe in, and proceeding from the assumption that you can persuade voters that you're right, even if it seems difficult or unlikely, seems like a worthy experiment."


If only this wasn't such a rare thing now!

Posted by: akaoddjob | October 7, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"Tom Perriello of Virginia, who seems to have gotten it into his head that Dems can win, even in tough districts, by forcefully arguing that the stimulus, health reform and cap and trade were the right things to do."

Politicians would, generally, be better off if they stuck to their principles (such as they were) and argued for what they believed in, left or right, rather than what seemed politically expedient at the time. With the understanding that, in that round, they might lose, but they could get up and do it again in some other context, at some other time. But most of them aren't advancing policy ideas or ideological points of view so much as their own political careers.

Most of them, it turns out, like DC. And once there, it's rarefied air. They enjoy it, and they want to say.

@bernie: 'I'm afraid Olympia has a short future now. And I'm not terribly sympathetic. With some rare exceptions, the more moderate conservatives have been quiet regarding what has happened to their party"

Now, this simply is not true. Since the days of Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller, moderate and liberal Republicans have been howling about conservatives. Many (Chaffee, Specter) end up jumping ship. This is not the first time Olympia Snowe has held herself up as an exemplar of political moderation, and it probably won't be the last.


That being said, if Olympia Snowe were, and had been, a squishy DINO who had tried to distance herself from Obama, the Greg Sargent's of the world would be critiquing her for not having the liberal courage of her convictions.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out that we want milquetoast moderates on the other side (and applaud them) while we do not want them (and thus deride them, and vote against them) on our own.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 7, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Bernie

It's usually after the Red Guards have marched through their house and destroyed it when they finally find their voice. I agree Snowe's days are probably numbered but so far she hasn't pulled a McCain.

wbgonne

I believe the days of the Republican party may be numbered over the long run. They seem to have decided that sex, abortion and religion are winning issues for them. This old broad is ready to hand off to the younger generation and I don't think in general they'll be buying. SOOOOOOOOON

Posted by: lmsinca | October 7, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I find it both hilarious and sad that both Greg and TPM have noted that people like Toomey and Rubio have been able to stay under the radar despite their extreme positions because of the wealth of stories about O'Donnell and Angle.

Maybe, maybe, maybe...maybe Greg and TPM could start (I don't know) reporting on them more? Try to actually cover what they claim isn't getting enough coverage?

Naaaaaaaah. Snark is much easier.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | October 7, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

"This old broad is ready to hand off to the younger generation and I don't think in general they'll be buying."

History actually isn't as progressively teleological as you might believe, and reality has a way of reshaping minds away from juvenile fantasies and errors.

I wouldn't celebrate prematurely if I were you.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 7, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

"I believe the days of the Republican party may be numbered over the long run. They seem to have decided that sex, abortion and religion are winning issues for them. "

Yeah, Imsinca, but don't underestimate the Plutocrats' resources and skill. Those "culture war" hot-buttons you mention are simply wedge issues the Radical Right uses to split off working-class Dems and get them to vote Republican, i.e., against their own economic interests. I imagine the Radical Right is even now searching feverishly for a new set of wedge issues that will appeal to the younger generation. Dems must recognize and neutralize the Radical Right's propaganda campaign. Dems must win back the white working class (including the newer generations) to succeed. Maybe the Dems can identify wedge issues they can use offensively but I doubt it. Anyway, there is no reason for it: Dems should just focus on bread-and-butter economic policies and remind the white working class that the Radical Right is out to scr*w them not help them.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 7, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

@akaoddjob: "If only this wasn't such a rare thing now!"

It's not that rare . . . on the right. In this election cycle.

@lmsinca: "but so far she hasn't pulled a McCain"

I'm probably just a contrarian, but I was not a fan of McCain during the presidential election (or before), but really kinda started to dig him during his primary challenge. I mean, he went so far right, so unapologetically and un-ironically, and presented many conservative arguments (previously disavowed) so cogently, I had to applaud the New McCain generally, and then his chutzpah for doing it.

And I realize I should not applaud genius-level forked-tonguedness in politicians, but I didn't think he had it in him. And he's an old guy to prove so agile on the political dance floor.

"I believe the days of the Republican party may be numbered over the long run"

A future utopia of 100% democratic rule coming at some point?

The Republican party isn't now what it was 20 years ago and wasn't then what it was 40 years before that. And the Democrats are different, as well. But the idea that any party or ideology is going to get an enduring majority indefinitely is--well, let's just say, it's highly unlikely. People are dichotomous. There is partisanship and bickering for a reason, and even if all politicians agreed 100% on everything, there would still be vicious battles as to who was best to implement the otherwise identical political philosophies.

But people *like* the idea that there are bad or greedy or selfish people out there with bad ideas who want to ruin the nation for their own selfish gain, or lust for power under the cloak of social justice. There are going to be Americans debating the conniving schemes of those ultra-right wing Democrats and those socialist-liberal Republicans in 100 years, (or possibly, Federalists and Whigs), but there will still people ideological polar opposites, and most folks on either side with consider the other side transparently, obviously, indisputably wrong about almost everything.

Oh, and someone will be predicting that the socialist Republicans are about to spend 40 years in the wilderness while others are predicting the imminent demise of those right-wing Democrats. "I sea all that protesting, and those so-called 'Tupperware Parties', as being the last gasp of their dying Sargentism (so named after liberal blogger-turned radical vegan libertarian solipsist, Greg Sargent)," will be a comment often heard (via stereoscopic 3d brain implants).

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 7, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@bernie, re: Ylesias writes: "It makes perfect sense, of course, when you think about it for a minute. But in general I hadn’t."

Man, for us right-of-center folks, that comment could apply to so much of what Yglesias has to say. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 7, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"Think Progress pounds U.S. Chamber again"

The Chamber of Commerce is a Big Business propaganda outfit designed to infiltrate and brainwash American society at every level, from courts to schools to politics, all with the aim of elevating Big Business at the expense of American citizens. Its odious head Tom Donahue looks like Central Casting for the sleazy used-car salesman he is.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 7, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 7, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

The left's triumphalist fantasy assumes that when Utopia arrives it will be Utopia. They don't realize their big political moment is already over. What you see is as good as Utopia will get.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 7, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

The left's triumphalist fantasy assumes that when Utopia arrives it will be Utopia. They don't realize their big political moment is already over. What you see is as good as Utopia will get.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 7, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"People are dichotomous."

Maybe. Certainly, people enjoy competition but I don't see any intrinsic reason the political competition must be reduced to a duopoly. It is the fact that both parties have been co-opted by Big Business that is causing our political distress; regular people are no longer represented by either of the two major parties. While there is no viable alternative presently, I see no reason that can't change. The Greens, for example, just made dramatic gains in the recent election under the two-party Brazilian system.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 7, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

"What you see is as good as Utopia will get."

Hope.

Less.

Ness.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 7, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Clue

Less

Ness

The "hope" in statism is false hope. That is the false hope O gave you. You are just the latest generation to believe that lie.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 7, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

the mischaracterization of the tea party movement is really very funny.

Mr Sargent, that paradigm of sober judgement used the term "whack job". wbgone uses the term "radical right".

Let's try a bit of perspective here, shall we?
Mr Sargent, apparently caught in a moment of weakness, writes this: "The Hill's new poll of 12 key battleground House districts held by Dems finds that more approve of the Tea Party than disapprove, and a majority of independents says the Tea party won't influence their vote."

so is Mr Sargent propounding the thesis that a large portion of the American citizenry are "whack jobs"? Really? How then does he define the term? Wouldn't it seem that if a significant number of people hold the same view they cannot, by definition be "whack jobs", rather aren't a norm?

And let's talk about radical. Most would agree that Mr Obama's BFF Mr Ayers is a radical. And where is he now? Other than being a close associate of our president, he made news recently when he was denied emeritus status by the university of Illinois.

so, "radical" must mean: "having significant influence in American politics and holding a prominent position in Academia"

these things are clearly in the eye of the beholder. The left, imho, is unhappy because their political opposition is using their own tools and techniques against them.

Oh well, as I've been saying for two years now: sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 7, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "but I don't see any intrinsic reason the political competition must be reduced to a duopoly"

Neither do I. Although I would argue that tri- or quad-party systems are no better (globally, there is ample evidence that the two-party system gets, at the very least, no worse results), and that most people end up being on the "right" side, with all the other parties being lumped under the "wrong" side. It remains relatively dichotomous, even though there are more than two political parties being represented.

My argument is mostly that you will never really have single-party rule in a democracy, and there will be not be indefinitely extended periods of single-ideology domination. Republicans are not going to crack up and go away and leave everything to the Democrats and the Green Party for the century after their passing. At least, I consider that outcome highly unlikely.

In fact, I think any predictions of either the Democrats or Republicans doing irreparable damage to themselves as being way overblown. But that may just be me.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 7, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin - I'll let Ims responds but I suspect she meant to say that she expects the GOP will not retain its present shape because, particularly, demographic change will force it to alter. Many conservatives predict something like that, of course.

Your notion of humans acting/thinking in a binary fashion is an interesting one. Are you familiar with anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss? His observation (I find it completely compelling) is that human thought is built on a structure of binary opposites. That's one of the most insightful and helpful notions I've ever bumped into.

but we might also add into this picture the differences between the US which has a strong two-party history (had to imagine that changing outside of something quite dire) whereas many other nations spread their political allegiances with more variation.

Still, something like a right/left opposition can be seen everywhere I look. And that's damned interesting in itself.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 7, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Must run.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 7, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

What exactly is the Tea Party? I'm not sure they are thru fighting (have they even started?) amongst themselves. Seems to me they are only *for* kicking out moderate GOP.

Well, that and a host of other impossible things like killing medicare/17th Amendment or whatever whack ideas that happen to stick.

I say, "more Tea Party!". They will be exposed for the incoherent, sourpuss, reactionaries they really are soon enough.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | October 7, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Soon enough Chuck? When is soon enough?

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 7, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

@qb: re: Utopia. I disagree. Life will be much more utopian (if somewhat chaotic) 100 or 200 years from now, only that will be achieved not by government fiat, but in spite of the best-intentioned machinations of the nanny state.

It will be the next generations Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezoses, Mark Zuckerbergs, and hundreds and thousands of other innovators working in medicine, engineering, chemistry, physics, etc., that will push us closer to the only kind of achievable utopia that can be imagined.

Yet there will still be complaints that, despite all the technological innovation, people in 3rd world countries still often don't live past their 103rd birthday. And that, despite the fact all disease has been eradicated, we have yet to force everyone with genetic disorders to have their genes cleansed--you know, just in case. And that, despite the fact nobody ever has to go hungry, because evil capitalists have made free food synthesizers available to everyone, the flavorful nutrient pastes don't incorporate enough of many peoples historical cultural food preferences, and are thus racist (and destroying these cultures by depriving them of their aboriginal foods).

And, don't get me started with the conspiracies. "They put mind control nanobots in the nutrient food paste!" -- "We could be living to a thousand years old, but Big Pharmabot doesn't want anybody to live past 200!" and so on.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 7, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I think Bernie is correct that humans have a natural tendency towards binary analysis. That said, it surely can be overcome and generally is since binary thinking is easily subjected to manipulation and distortion.

Kevin: If you are suggesting that there will always be competing views in America -- or any democracy for that matter -- I totally agree. The salient question is what constitutes accepted mainstream views, whether in our current binary system or elsewhere. My view is that Radical Right Conservatism has proved a complete failure in the modern world and, therefore, is no longer a viable position philosophically. However, due largely to the ineptitude and fecklessness of the supposed proponents of the opposition view -- the Democratic Party -- the Radical Right has been given what appears to be a second life. I remain convinced, however, that reality will overtake our political dysfunction. Most Americans realize that whether we like it or not we simply have no choice but to work together to solve our common problems and that government is the only way to do it. IMO, this is why the Democrats are failing: they are unable or unwilling to capitalize on the seismic shift away from the Radical Right's discredited policies.

Posted by: wbgonne | October 7, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The jury will always remain out on the stimulus, because extraordinary events like this can never be run backwards to look for other outcomes. Health care was the right idea, drawn up in a financially irresponsbile way, and sold based on out and out lies. Cap and trade is an enormous boondoggle that does nothing for the environment but attempts to simply switch the winners and losers financially to companies favored by Congress. Luckily, it will never pass.

Posted by: 54465446 | October 7, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Another thing Perriello has going for him is he's a non stop town hall guy. He never backs down from explaining his position and does it well.

Also, there's been a few debates where his Republican rival just didn't show up and Perriello was left there answering questions on his own till they were exhausted of questions.

It made Perriello's rival look like a chicken.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | October 7, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

kevin

I believe the rightward bent of today's Republican party will disappear over the next decade and we will begin to see the more moderate voices again. I am referring mostly to the "social" and immigration issues as not being much of a draw for either the youth or Hispanic vote. Electorally, the more extreme right may win a few elections as a reaction to a Dem president but overall the strategy they are pursuing now is unsustainable I think.

I doubt we'll see the emergence of a third party in any significant numbers although I do think Libertarians will have a greater influence as far as the economic policies of the right going forward. Count me as unhappy with that development.

I'm out as well, have a nice day all.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 7, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

@bernie: "Are you familiar with anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss? His observation (I find it completely compelling) is that human thought is built on a structure of binary opposites"

Indeed. I also find that theory compelling. I'm also a fan of Marvin Minsky, whose "Society of Mind" I read in college, and found transformative. The argument is essentially that all thought is binary at the bottom, but that human intelligence is the product of large interactions of a society of binary opposites. Eventually, one side in the societal debate wins (for a time) and you eat the piece of cake, even though you are on a diet. Another time, the other side of the mental societal debate wins, and you go for a jog, even though you're exhausted. And so on. I'm explaining it very poorly. There are only a few books I'd recommend that everybody should read (because expecting someone to duplicate my entirely library, or my love of Tolkien, is not really reasonable), but "Society of Mind" is one of those books. The two others that come immediately to mind are Stephen Jay Gould's seminal treatise on intelligence testing, "The Mismeasure of Man" and K. Eric Drexler's "Engines of Creation".

Which is not to diss Levi-Strauss. You could do a lot worse than "Tristes Tropiques". And the man does make a fine pair of jeans.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 7, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

@ilmsinca: " I am referring mostly to the "social" and immigration issues as not being much of a draw for either the youth or Hispanic vote."

Ah! Gotcha. I tend to agree. Illegal immigration can be an issue--I don't have it at my fingertips, but I recall seeing surveys that suggest legal immigrants are less supportive of amnesty for illegals or open borders than natural born citizens--in the future. Especially depending on the overall economy. I suspect people would be less concerned about illegal immigration if we high low unemployment and low crime rates (even when employment rates and crime rates have very little to do with illegal immigration).

But social issues--especially on unmarried people having sex, and gay people having jobs where they interact with the public--are going to be losing issues in the long run. I think there will be a place for social conservatism ("I am opposed to pre-teen orgies!") but not at the level of conflating pre-marital sex and m@sterbation with political issues that politicians should be developing policy to deal with. Unless it's going to be some sort of "marital aid entitlement coupon". That . . . I can see that.

"overall the strategy they are pursuing now is unsustainable I think"

It may be, although I think with some adjustments, it would probably perform as well as can be expected with other factors (the economy, etc) in play. Part of the strategy is taking strong positions and sticking to them--I think this is a pretty good strategy, and will probably continue to pay dividends for either party, when attempted (and meant, sincerely).

Another part of the process in this cycle has been ousting RINOs in favor of political neophytes, some of whom are complete poseurs (O'Donnell) or imperfectly vetted (any number of Tea Party winners). I think Karl Rove is going to turn out to have been prescient in his concern over completely unvetted candidates competing in important national races, even if he's backtracking on O'Donnell now.

But the Tea Party strategy, such as it is, is a product of the time. I think it would probably be impossible to pull off, without a bad economy and strong Democratic majorities in the house and senate, plus their ownership of the Whitehouse. However, I certainly agree that it's not a strategy that's going to work next time, should Republicans get the house and/or senate this time.

The other issue is, the strategy wouldn't be working at all (and would work much less), if liberals, lefties, and the Democratic base were as fired up and motivated as the right is, in this cycle.

No matter what happens in demographics with the youth and immigrants, a Tea Party strategy that appeals mostly to old white guys can work if those demographics don't show up at the polls.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 7, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

All, the "hicky" actor in the GOP ad speaks:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/10/hicky_actor_in_gop_ad_speaks_l.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 7, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Kevin,

I don't think we disagree re utopia, although it depends, a bit. Perhaps I was too terse.

My point was that the left-wing triumphalists assume that conservatism will die because they assume that when left-wing utopia arrives, when we "really try communism" (to use an incendiary analogy), when the "young people" institute leftism over the dying gasps of us geezers, it will be utopian and will be recognized as such. And of course that assumption is totally wrong. Good folks like lms just don't realize it yet (how many times must they learn?).

But this does not mean there is no hope for the future. There just isn't the false eternal hope of left-wing utopia. Obama's "hope and change" could not have been a more pedestrian retreading of the same old statist dream.

Hope lies instead in the other directions. Not utopia, but hope. I agree with you that in 100 years, things will likely be materially better, and still the pining for utopian "spreading the wealth around" will be alive.

That's what my response to wb was intended to convey.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 7, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Still NO MENTION by Mr. Sargent of this:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/10/07/2010-10-07_krystal_ball_congressional_candidate_in_virginia_outraged_over_raunchy_photos_le.html?r=news/national

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 7, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The left's triumphalist fantasy assumes that when Utopia arrives it will be Utopia. They don't realize their big political moment is already over. What you see is as good as Utopia will get.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 7, 2010 9:56 AM

...............

I'm not a witch. I am Utopia.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 7, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

@JakeD2: "l NO MENTION by Mr. Sargent of this"

Well, the question is, would he mention it if this was Nikki Haley?

Oh, wait, of course, he would. ;)

That being said, I really think it's a resume enhancement. There's nothing about posing for racy pictures that should disqualify you for public office. Unless you're really not attractive, and Krystal Ball is pretty cute.

And, come on, her name is "Krystal Ball". With a name like that, you know there's going to be some racy pictures in her background. If not a full-length x-rated motion picture, or illustrious stripping career. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 7, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't believe it's a resume enhancement (now, if Ms. Ball had studied at Oxford ... )

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 7, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

qb

I don't know why you insist on believing that I believe in some sort of leftist Utopia. I'm a progressive activist, not because I think even in my wildest dreams that all the things I say I want will ever come true, but as a means to move the discussion in my direction, and then BOOM, compromise.

As a business owner, owner of property with a stock portfolio and four kids active in the economy (not on the dole, to be incendiary), I have an interest in capitalism just like everyone else. As such, I am disturbed by the disparity in income between the top 5% or 10% and the rest of us, the state of health care coverage (business and personal), home ownership and educational and economic opportunity for the middle and working class.

I believe trickle down economics (supply side) has been a disaster as has been the destruction of our manufacturing base and out sourcing of jobs. If the government can somehow partner with private industry in the short term to generate economic activity that can be sustained over the long haul, I'm all for it. I don't call that socialism or utopia, I call it progress.

But, I also have much more open values on social issues re sex, abortion, religion, etc. and I believe the conservative right is making a mistake appealing to the shrinking minority with 20th century views. The Jim DeMints are a dying breed IMO. The majority of young women out there will simply not put up with having their personal space violated by a bunch of old men.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 7, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"The majority of young women out there will simply not put up with having their personal space violated by a bunch of old men."

And prudish women.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 7, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

@imsinca: "I believe trickle down economics (supply side) has been a disaster as has been the destruction of our manufacturing base and out sourcing of jobs."

If you look at what is sold and how, there are probably other factors that how high upper income tax rates were. Technology and automation are big factors, as are migration, demographics, inflation, interest rates--most of which are relatively independent of tax rates. If you want to think supply side economics is the factor that led to our current economic doldrums, you certainly can, but I would warn you not to expect much to change if you turned back the clock.

Our once robust buggy whip industry is not coming back, whether tax rates are tailored for or against the rich. The market for bootblack and AM-only transistor radios is mostly gone. Alas, makers of VHS cassettes (and the most awesome 8-Track) will also not return.

Jobs replaced by automation would have been replaced at some point--if not in 2005 then in 2015--and that's not likely to change. Taxing the wealthy at higher rates and spending more on social programs and infrastructure may or may not be desirable, generally, but unless disincentives to hiring, from regulation to minimum wage to workmans comp, are changed, just taxing the wealthy more progressively isn't likely to change very much.

I understand that you don't believe (and are not looking for) some leftist utopia (and hopefully, I wouldn't never accuse you of it). However, I would urge you not to vest too much hope in vanquishing a right wing bogeyman (the flipside of subscribing to leftwing utopian visions).

Much of what has happened would have happened, in some form or fashion, without supply side economics (which, even so, was only partially implemented, so it seems unlikely that it was the whole culprit, if to blame in any significant way at all). There are a lot of policies, and natural economic occurrences, that aren't inherently about supply side vs. demand side, or left vs. right. A presumption that "deregulating" the supply side ethos will magically lead to a time of unprecedented prosperity is likely to end in tears. All I'm sayin'.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 7, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Kevin

My supply side vs. demand side was obviously a simplified difference of philosophy. I'm well aware of all the mitigating factors inherent in the last 30 years that seem to have put a strain on the middle class. I also realize that tax policy is only partially responsible, after all, they give us a tax break in one hand and then take it away with the other.

BTW, I also fought like hell against NAFTA, so I'm not as naive as you may think. If I saw a new conservative idea that I thought would actually work I'd embrace it, but additional tax cuts (deficit enhancement) and de-regulation just don't make my heart sing anymore.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 7, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

lms:

"I am disturbed by the disparity in income between the top 5% or 10% and the rest of us..."

Why?

"The majority of young women out there will simply not put up with having their personal space violated by a bunch of old men."

If you are talking about abortion (please correct me if you are not) I think you are 1) operating under a gross caricature of what opposition to abortion means and 2) probably wrong in your prediction in any event.

In the first place, opposition to abortion has nothing to do with "old men" "violating" anyone's "personal space".

And in the second, large percentages of women (although admittedly not majorities) actually oppose abortion, and although "young women" now do tend to support abortion in bigger numbers, young women are not young forever. I for one would bet that in the distant future, as our understanding of life increases and our technologies make sustaining life at earlier stages easier, opposition to abortion will grow, not shrink.

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 7, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Scott

"Why?"

I'll give you a few reasons off the top of my head. First, at the end of the century and into the beginning of this one a great deal of wealth was created by moving money between different financial instruments. Those who benefited by taking risks, then shifted the risk to ordinary Americans in the form of bailouts.

In other words systems were created that ended up benefiting higher vs lower earners differentially. At the same time the power of making economic decisions shifted into the hands of a select few rather than spreading down through the economy.

We're seeing a lot of that now with the COC and their influence in the political process, a few wealthy donors are dumping millions into the process to buy favorable outcomes. You'll claim it's comparable to unions and some donors on the left but I don't believe it is.

One of the reasons the recession is so slow in recovering IMO is because the spending power of the middle class has been depleted while the top income earners seem to have both survived and are again increasing the disparity by some counts.

Another issue is when the lower earners thrive so does everyone else, the opposite does not seem to be true. A rising tide and all that.

And last but not least, it creates and increases polarization in both politics and social issues. I'd say we're in the midst of that now.

Regarding women's issues I was not only referring to choice issues but also some of the comments from legislators or potential legislators regarding pregnancy and health care and single women teaching who also are sexually active etc. Really? I don't think you'll find too many women jumping on that boat.

I was still in High School pre Roe v Wade so I remember those days well. You don't have to be pro-abortion to be pro-choice and I think you'll find a number of young and older women who don't want to time travel back to those days.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 7, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

lms,

Perhaps referring to utopia was exaggeration. Fair enough, but I was using the reference to try to convey a point, which is that the belief you have and many share on the left that the future will be progressive (with conservatism dead) because young people are progressive assumes some things. It assumes of course that young people are in fact predominantly progressive (don't be so sure that California is representative) but more importantly that they will stay that way.

And that in turn assumes either that, after the youthful revolution, with the old white guys and their prudish women cleansed from the seats of power and submerged by demographics, the fruits of the new reign of progressivism will be happy and satisfying, or that, if they are not, people will be impervious to reality anyway and won't rethink their progressivism. It assumes, in other words, that progressivism not only "works" but that history has an inevitable teleoology toward a progrssive ideal, and, once we reach some point of progress toward it, life will be so much better that people will never want to change course.

The other day ruk struck this same theme and referred to it as a Hegelian theory of history. Indeed, in a crude way it is, in the sense that society is portrayed as progressing through history and has an inevitable teleology. That sort of view of history of course runs through Marx as well. It is, truly, a characteristic view of history by the left, which tends to see history marching inevitably toward greater "social progress."

That is why it strikes me and most conservatives as utopian at heart, and why we think it is quite misguided, not just ideologically but empirically. There is a lot of modern literature -- you undoubtedly know some of it -- questioning whether the progressive march in fact leads to dystopias. Short of that (short of Huxley or Orwell, for example) I think we are simply suggesting that, thirty years from now the world of Obamacare, more central economic planning, free sex, gay marriage, a culture of casual abortion, security traded for freedom, etc., might not turn out to be all it was cracked up to be and might not have the permanent hold on "young people" that you believe it will. Indeed, the next generation might just as well turn against the failed and disastrous progressivism of this one.

We see history and society, in other words, as changing but not inevitably moving in your direction. Things get better in some ways. Technology certainly advances. But human nature remains what it is, and progressive dreams will always eventually run up against it. These ideas of conservatism and progressivism are perennial. Neither is going to go away. They will just continue their ebb and flow. I hope we move more permanently in the "right" direction, but permanent victory is a dream, not an inevitability.

Hope that made some sense.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 7, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@lmsinca: "BTW, I also fought like hell against NAFTA, so I'm not as naive as you may think"

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest your naive (but I guess I did, there, oops).

That being said (if you come back here) what's the objection to NAFTA, generally? I tend to feel, over time, free trade (and freer than even NAFTA has given us) is the best way to go.

"but additional tax cuts (deficit enhancement) and de-regulation just don't make my heart sing anymore"

Fair enough. I'm actually not as enthused about tax cuts as I once was, and would rather see a reduction in the corporate taxes (while closing loopholes that let leviathan corporations that do billions of business in America pay no income tax). But I still subscribe to a supply side doctrine, I've just come to believe that we've already passed the point where additional income tax cuts will do any good, and may in fact be pretty well past it, but we should be cautious about sucking too much money out of the private sector (and no one seems to be proposing any such thing, directly) under the assumption that supply side economics is completely without merit. I think it just turns out that it's not a panacea. And just cutting cutting taxes on rich people is not going to be stimulative to the overall economy. Nor is a slight tax increase on those making over $250k going to strangle the economy.

@lmsinca: "Those who benefited by taking risks, then shifted the risk to ordinary Americans in the form of bailouts."

Testify! I agree 100%. And that was a bunch of bs. If banks are too big to fail, and they must therefore be bailed out by the tax payer, then they should all be broken up into much smaller banks, so they won't be too big to fail anymore. Or something. That doesn't involve tax payers bailing about billionaires.

@lmsinca: "Really? I don't think you'll find too many women jumping on that boat."

Yup. Men have definitely won the cultural argument re: pre-marital sex. They finally got it to where young women feel it's an inalienable right to have no-strings-attached sex with guys who make no commitments to them whatsoever. Win! /snark

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 7, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

"I believe trickle down economics (supply side) has been a disaster as has been the destruction of our manufacturing base and out sourcing of jobs."

Inasmuch as we have never had other than a progressive income tax, the idea that we have even had an experience with "supply side" economics, let alone what you call "trickle down," is debatable at best.

The idea that lower taxes have something to do with loss of manufacturing jobs or outsourcing is simply far fetched. It is just populist rhetoric. If you want to look at causes of that phenomenon, I would start with unions and globalization and minimum wage laws. Sorry, but that's the truth of the matter.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 7, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"Yup. Men have definitely won the cultural argument re: pre-marital sex. They finally got it to where young women feel it's an inalienable right to have no-strings-attached sex with guys who make no commitments to them whatsoever. Win! /snark"

I wonder how the girl from the recent Duke "F List" email scandal feels about the sexual revolution now. Wonder what she'll teach her daughters, if she has any (if anyone will marry her).


Posted by: quarterback1 | October 7, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"Or something."

This sounds like a winning platform, one I could certainly get behind. : )

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 7, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

qb

"thirty years from now the world of Obamacare, more central economic planning, free sex, gay marriage, a culture of casual abortion, security traded for freedom, etc.,"

Once again, I get your point and I'm not saying that I believe in all these things taken to their extreme. You may be missing my point though, I'm trying to counter the pull to the right, not necessarily get there. I think you'd find that most liberals while being more accepting of these "themes" and less judgmental, do not advocate necessarily for free sex or casual abortion for example. But we do believe that the government should stay away from the bedroom, consenting adults and all, and let women make decisions regarding their reproductive rights. We also believe in the reality that sex happens so let's deal with it realistically and not like a bunch of granny ostriches.

I didn't mean to imply that the progressive tax system lead to the loss of manufacturing jobs, I think we can at least partially blame NAFTA for that, heads up Kevin. And considering that the top end of the tax system has seen their taxes fall steadily for the last 30 years, and quite dramatically I might add, while at the same time the middle class has lost jobs and income, we've at least seen that trickle down hasn't exactly worked as sold.

You're right though we've never seen a true supply or demand driven economy, probably because the middle of the road generally seems to be the path of least resistance. To me economics is as much theory as psychology. LOL

"They finally got it to where young women feel it's an inalienable right to have no-strings-attached sex with guys who make no commitments to them whatsoever."

That's pretty funny actually, but you guys forget my age, remember I grew up during the sexual revolution. It just may be that some women don't want strings attached or commitment either. LOL

I know I neglected a lot of your comments but I'm trying to work at the same time, sorry.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 7, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

@qb: "This sounds like a winning platform, one I could certainly get behind."

Yeah, there's a reason I'm not a politician. ;)

@lmsinca: "It just may be that some women don't want strings attached or commitment either. LOL"

Oh, no doubt. I was just funnin'.

Sexual puritanism, whatever it's positives, will not survive in a world of birth control and antibiotics. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 7, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"I know I neglected a lot of your comments but I'm trying to work at the same time, sorry. "

How dare you set an example of responsibility on this blog.

It's fine. I only wondered if my explanation got across what I was trying to say.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 7, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

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