Thursday, March 09, 2006

Another Hardball Hangover

I know I shouldn’t do it and every time I do, I hate myself in the morning. I watched Hardball with Chris Matthews again and in addition to his continued selling of Hillary Clinton as the Democrats choice in ’08 and the right wing slant of his guests, he is so insulated in his DC bubble (the one where the fat cats live, not the other DC) that everything he says has a deep and profound irrelevance. I guess he thought he was breaking news when he brought up a poll showing that average Americans don’t agree with Wall Street that the economy is doing great. It’s hilarious to see rich people who are making money hand over fist and getting tax breaks to boot, get news that the serfs aren’t happy supplementing their lifestyles. Especially when those same folks are filling up our television screens trying to tell us how we feel about the candidates we have to choose from and the issues of the day. Of course the economy is going gangbusters if you’re rich, but if you actually work for a living, things aren’t looking so good. Wages for most of us are stagnant while prices continue to rise, healthcare costs eat into our disposable incomes and higher education for our children is becoming a luxury fewer and fewer can afford. The only ones surprised by this “bombshell” were those in front of the camera on Hardball. I’m sure the crew working on the set could have clued Chris in on the reality of our economy long ago, had he cared enough to ask.

Media Matters has been dissecting the right slant of Mr. Matthews for a long time, even honoring him with the 2005 Misinformer of the Year award, quite a feat considering Bill O’Reilly is still performing his shtick over at Fox News five nights a week. Not only does Matthews openly express his manlove for Bush on a regular basis (declaring Bush should be on Mt. Rushmore should his plans to democratize the Middle East succeed, that only lefty wingnuts don’t like the President and even going so far as to compare Bush to Atticus Finch), but he has consistently favored conservative guests and always seems to find the bright side of Bush wrongdoing. Receiving a paycheck from handed down from GE has clearly moved his political leanings farther to the right, and news today that he has been receiving unknown amounts of money for speaking engagements to conservative groups may be another reason for his right turn. Hopefully this revelation will clue his viewers in on his utter lack of objectivity.

But beyond his conservative slant and his Friday roundup of political news featuring the “balanced” views of Joe Scarborough (former Republican congressman from Florida), Tucker Carlson (long time Republican talking head propped up by his bowtie) and Rita Cosby (formerly of Fox News and better qualified to illicit tears from grieving parents for higher ratings than political analysis), is his ineptitude in recognizing the mood of the country. In this he is not alone though. As the salaries of journalists and pundits have propelled them into the elite social strata of the politicians they are supposed to cover, they have joined the tone deaf, out of touch and insulated world of Washington DC. Matthews no doubt was surprised to hear that average Americans aren’t benefiting from Bush domestic policy, which is understandable on a personal level since he is clearly rolling in cash due to tax cuts for his income bracket, but as a political watcher and pundit, there is no excuse for not making the connection between tax cuts for the rich and the rich getting richer. Logic should tell him that the money moving up the ladder must come from somewhere down below.

Without the objectivity to present the political news of the day in an unbiased way and lacking any understanding of how the average voter feels about kitchen table issues, anything Chris Matthews says on his show regarding candidates running for re-election this fall or running for President in ’08 is useless. He, along with a whole host of other political hosts, is trying to force Hillary Clinton down our throats as the candidate of choice for the Democrats. Given Matthews’ slant, Democrats should recognize that Hillary is the candidate the Republicans want to run against making her the candidate we should run from as fast as possible. I’m with Molly Ivans on this one, Hillary will be the death knell of the Democratic Party should she get the nomination and I, for one, will do everything I can to help sink her early.

Hillary Clinton has nothing to offer other than her stockpiles of cash. She is a divisive figure and she has too much baggage when it comes to her position on the war. If Hillary is the candidate in ’08, we will only see a repeat of the ’04 election except she won’t pull as many votes as John Kerry did because Bush won’t be on the ballot. If the Republicans put up a religious right nut, Hillary may be able to squeak by, but if they put up a McCain or a Giuliani, she hasn’t got a chance. On the other hand, if the Democrats put up someone like Russ Feingold, who’s got a great record that the base will love and credibility on the war he voted against, the Democrats can pull off a convincing win that will reflect the mood of the country. We can’t be suckered into the “frontrunner” crap that Chris Matthews and crew are trying to sell us. They get their money from the right, not the left, making it quite clear where their loyalties lie and what their agenda really is.

56 Comments:

Anonymous diddythegeek said...

Mr. Matthews is all strikes and no balls. If I were the umpire I'd say he's out!

12:48 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

How would you feel about Barbara Boxer?

It's interesting to see the other guys telling us who our nominee should be(the one they feel they can most easiy defeat). They are clever.

1:29 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

diddythegeek--Nice!

yellow dog--I like Boxer, she's shown some real spine and leadership and she's got a great record (I was proud to cast my very first vote for her). I've never heard her make any mention of a Presidential bid though. But Feingold has and he's great!

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

LGNS: Shame on you....going home with 'Tweety Bird'!
"I taught I taw a speaking fee!" Buy a canary and stick with Olberman!

How about Warner/Feingold or vice versa?


Help Kossacks! Which '08 Dem can win? (poll)
by The Democratic Instant Message
Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 09:48:33 PM PDT
Simple question: Which of the 2008 Democratic hopefuls CAN win both the Democratic Primary and General Election?

My thoughts:
Warner:
PROS: Won in Red State, Effective Governor
CONS: Needs a charisma transplant - maybe even more than Gore/Kerry - if anyone has video to prove otherwise, please direct me to it

Clark:
PROS: He's a general
CONS: Poor campaigner, slow on his feet

Edwards:
PROS: The golden boy, Southerner, 2nd in '04
CONS: Lost twice (primary/general), not tough

Feingold:
PROS: Strong, attractive, Campaign Finance Reform
CONS: Jewish, northerner, liberal

Hillary:
PROS: Money, name ID
CONS: Woman, very hatable

Kerry:
PROS: Name ID
CONS: Loser, "flip-flopper"

Richardson:
PROS: Southwest governor, personable
CONS: Not much money, Latino

These are not what I think neccessarily but how I think they will be spun. Am I off? Who, if anyone, can win?

2:17 PM  
Anonymous diddythegeek said...

I think we need to stop thinking about who can win and focus on who would actually represent what matters to us. Focusing on electability, the lesser of two evils and the anybody but Bush meme don't seem to be working out so well for us.

Dennis Kucinich spoke right to what I honestly want on just about every issue in the 2004 Presidential campaign, but I failed to put my support behind him, following the conventional wisdom. I won't be making that mistake again. It's time to stand up and be strong advocates for the things that we do really want rather than get behind what we think will be popular. at least that way when we "lose " we can know that we went down swinging.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

diddythegeek--- If I want to know what it feels like to 'go down swinging' I'll pick up my Louisville Slugger and visit a batting cage.....or talk to a "Naderite'! Remember how 'pure' they felt in'00?

We need a confluence between electability
and sound principles

2:44 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

Someone who energizes the base AND has crossover appeal

2:56 PM  
Anonymous diddythegeek said...

I don't subscribe to the notion that Nader cost Gore the election. If the Al Gore we've seen lately had run I think the debacle of 2000 wouldn't have happened. I bet he'd still be President now and the downside would be that we'd be looking at Leiberman as the presumptive nominee (how scary is that?).

I think that if we build it (the platform and the message) they (the votes) will come. Maybe I'm just being idealistic, but I'm trying to remain hopeful in these dark times.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

I think we've already tried playing the game of selecting an electable candidate. Remember when we had a really smart nominee that actually got us excited. Boy, I'd sure like to know where that person is. And if that person happens to be a pot-smoking philanderer, so much the better.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

The largest single block of 3rd party votes in FL were Green(Nader). Reasonable to infer that a majority of those would've gone to Gore
obviating the U.S Supreme Court 'intervention'



The Florida Vote

Republican
2,912,790

Democratic
2,912,253

Green
97,488

Natural Law
2,281

Reform
17,484

Libertarian
16,415

Workers World
1,804

Constitution
1,371

Socialist
622

Socialist Workers
562

Write-in
40

3:10 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

I'm loving this debate! I fall more in line with diddythegeek and yellowdog on this one. If the Gore we see today had run in 2000 the Nader vote wouldn't have been an issue (either because those voters would have voted for Gore or because he would have mopped the floor with Bush or both). And if Dean or Edwards would have won the nom in '04 the contrast with Bush would have been plain and inspiring (with Kerry, he was only marginally better in most voters minds). So I'm of the opinion that we should pick a candidate in the primary that reflects our ideals and hopes for this country and then get out in the streets and fight for it.

Electability is the crap brainchild of the DLC and their way of controlling the outcome. Finding a candidate that excites the base and has widespread appeal is the way to go. That's why I think, so far, Feingold's the one! He's got passion, conviction and he'll go to the mat for what's right, not what's right for himself and his cronies, but what is right for the American people. Tell me that won't sell to middle America.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

LGND,

You hit the nail on the head with this post. I admire Hillary. I think she is a thoughtful, informed, intelligent, and capable person. She is my Senator and I voted for her in 2000 and plan to vote for her in 2006.

But if she runs for the presidency in 2008 I will vote for someone else in the primary. She simply will not get elected to the presidency. She is despised by the right wingers who are still sore about what a successful president her husband was and how much the country prospered under his policies. Not only that but I think there are still people, mostly men, who will not vote for a woman for president. I personally think that a woman politician would do as well, if not better, than the men have been doing in that role. But that is the reality of it as I see it and our country is in such a mess from 5 years of republican misrule that we can’t afford to have that issue help elect another republican.

I have been paying quite a bit of attention to potential democratic presidential candidates. Russ Feingold has earned my respect and my admiration. Not only do I think he is a viable candidate but I also believe he is a man of integrity, intelligence, and courage who’s values are in line with mine and many other Americans. Should he run I will donate my time, my labor, my money, and my vote to see that he becomes the 44th president of the United States.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous diddythegeek said...

Feingold is an appealing choice. I'm anxious to see who puts their hat into the ring and also who the R's will run. Just remember that LGND said it first, "I Charles Timothy Hagel do solemnly swear..."

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

I think the GOP would love to have Feingold be the Democratic nominee in 2008. Just think of the way Rove & Co. made Kerry, a decorated veteran, look like a wimp...then think what they'll do to the anti-war Feingold. Yeah, it'd be ugly.

There is a couple of electoral trends to keep in mind. The south is gaining population (and Congressional seats + electoral votes) and the Northeast is losing population. This trend is going make it even more difficult for a northern liberal to win, and frankly it is already almost impossible for any Democrat north of the Mason-Dixon line to win the presidency.

There is a reason the DLC tries to be GOP-lite, it is the only formula that will work for the left. Look at these trends:

Gore - Tennessee (he did win the popular vote)
Clinton - Arkansas
Carter - Georgia

Kerry - Massachussetts
Dukakis - Massachussetts
Mondale - Minnesota

Do you see the trend? It seems pretty obvious to me. If Feingold were to become the '08 nominee, he might just challenge Mondale for biggest electoral college loser in modern history.

Progressives only make up a tiny fraction of the Democratic party, maybe 5-10%. Most Democrats are middle of the road and prefer moderate candidates. Sure, Feingold might excite the "base" of the Democratic party, but its likely to turn off a huge number of moderate Democrats - who will either vote for a moderate Republican (McCain or Guiliani) or stay home.

8:32 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

The DLC conventional wisdom has failed miserably. Bill Clinton is an anomaly not someone to build a theory around. He is a charismatic leader, end of story. He would have won even without the southern drawl. And Kerry was effectively painted as a wimp because he ran a wimpy campaign and didn't stand up for himself or his ideals (perhaps because he didn't have a solid grasp on them). Feingold is a fighter and he is charismatic and he's not of the Northeastern elite, he's from Wisconsin, a state of solid and hearty folks who love him like crazy. And the rest of the country will too, if they get the chance to know him. I still say the Rove machine wants Hillary (just like they wanted Kerry), that's why their pushing her so hard. And she will lose, there is no doubt in my mind about that.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

LGND,

"Electability is the crap brainchild of the DLC and their way of controlling the outcome. Finding a candidate that excites the base and has widespread appeal is the way to go"

Mollie, you've nailed it with 'wide spread appeal'. I don't know how you reach across the abyss of 'god, guns 'n abortion' to shake the necks of the 'What's Wrong with Kansas' crowd to confront them with voting against their interests, if in fact those interests are not intellectual but rather emotional/values. Values that do not include either freedom of choice, secularism and the simple competence to govern.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous dave said...

Of course the GOP wants Hillary to run, it'd be a great fundraiser and motivator for their base. That said, I still think they'd make mincemeat out of Feingold.

The big issue Feingold is associated with is campaign finance reform. While it is an important issue, for most Americans it is an abstract issue for the average voter, unlike something like national security, which everyone understands. The same problem exists with a lot of lefty issues - the enviroment? Global warming is a huge issue, but more people care about the cost of gas than they do about rising sea levels. Poverty? Most people would rather forget about the homeless/poverty than address it. It is hard to run a lefty campaign when most people don't care about those issues.

The issues voters care about right now:

National Security
Taxes
Morality

Who is perceived to be better on these issues? This is why the DLC strategy is the only strategy for the democrats. They can't run on left wing policy and win. Perhaps the policy has failed miserably as you say, but it'd much worse if they ran a true progressive party.

And it matters little, whether these policies are actually bad for us, because the perception is and always will be that Republicans are better on security, morality, taxes. Perception is what matters.

In the end, unless the Democrats elect Jesus to be their nominee, it doesn't matter who they nominate It will just be a matter of how badly they lose by. The GOP have 2 near guaranteed victors in McCain & Guiliani who would win against anybody the left can throw out there.

11:26 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

Aint that a bitch.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

We, the above mentioned 5-10%, are doomed to a life of misery. But what if wehad an issue that was important to all Americans that we were perceived to be better at. Like freedom. And what if we had a cndidate who had actualy fought for freedom and had the balls to say, "Sit down, absentee National Gaurdsman. It doesn't matter if I pissed my pants every time I heard a loud noise in (insert favorite war here), I WAS THERE DOING MY DUTY AND YOURS TOO, APPARENTLY. (Clearly, I am never going to be a speech writer)

I am still an Al Gore fan myself. He did win the popular vote once. Can he be personable? Kinda sucks that that even matters.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

Oh, and what if you had a guy who once did win the popular vote AND you had alot more pissed of people this time?
I'm gonna go be all progressive now and make me some biodiesel.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

I know how we win in 2008!!!!

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Cossack said...

LGND:

Bravo! I agree, the DLC seeking of the lesser of evils still leaves us with...evil!

Jonathan: You have Hillary and welcome to her...just keep her to yourself. You senatorial bunch (Shumer and Clinton) have done nothing to crow about.

As far as the DLC and the question of electability go, pandering to the brain dead is NOT the way to go. In doing so all you get is a repetition of the Bush admin (shudder). What needs be done is we each have to do what we can to educate our fellow voters; talk to people in the check-out line, have coffee and krumpets where the topics of the day (and not American Idol or Survivor) are the topics, call in to local radio shows (no matter how RED they may be) and attempt to inject some sense in the endless streams of bile and nonsense.

Dave: You top your list of concerns with 'National Security'. Why not inquire of those who hold this to be true how it improves our 'National Security' to exponentially multiply the number of those who detest us simply for being 'American'? As I have stated elsewhere, if we refrain from running around the world acting the part of a brain-dead bully, kicking all and sundry in the nether regions that, in and of itself, will immensely reduce the number of people who want to do the same to us. Granted, Bush states that we were 'not in Iraq' on 9/11...but Iraq had no connection to 9/11. Our policies vis-a-vis Israel, the Palestinians, Middle Eastern tyrants, etc. were the paving stones that led to 9/11. And, remember, Osama is our baby; we recruited him, we supplied him, we funded him. Just because you train a dog to attack and set him loose you cannot complain when that dog turns on you as well.

1:36 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Dale—The god, guns, abortion crowd will always vote Republican so I say, leave them be and focus on the people with active brain cells.

Dave—Security is not a Republican issue and any Democrat can win on that one. Government is the vehicle for security and Republicans don’t know how to run it. Taxes are too high on the middle class and too low on the uber-rich, another winner for a progressive candidate. And morality needs a liberal to frame it properly, poverty is a moral issue, unprovoked war is a moral issue, leaving people without healthcare is a moral issue. Like I said above, the god, guns, abortion crowd are never going to be on our side so the DLC needs to quit courting them!

Yellow Dog—I’m heading over to your site to see your winning strategy.

Cossack—I’m with you. Talk to as many people as you can, some of them are lost causes but most of them aren’t all the way gone and they are starting to see the light. And it is critical that we start to repair the damage we have done to our reputation around the world. You are right, it is the only way we will ever be safe.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

LGND,

I am still doing some research. Stay tuned.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Rory Shock said...

brilliant post

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You folks seem to be confused about the situation. You seem to think that the only reason people don't vote for "progressive" candidates is because the positions of "progressives" have not been adequately explained to the voters.

The fact is your positions on issues are well-known, and continue to be rejected at the ballot box. Your candidates continue to be rejected at the ballot box.

You merely explain away your chronic losses to this notion that you failed to get your message across. Trust me; your message IS getting across.

No democrat, save Joe Lieberman, would ever be trusted with National Security but you guys loathe him.

I would like to see a strong, two-party system return to this country, but until your party finally lays in ashes, and SOMEBODY decides to rebuild it with people who are not members of the far left, I don't see that happening for a long time.

Or the Republican Party implodes, which is always a possibility.

And once people get a whiff of your side's condescending, disdainful and contemptuous opinions about people with whom you disagree politically, you'll NEVER get their vote. Ever.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Cossack said...

Anonymous:

I can only observe that you are most definitely wrong! What most of the ill informed voters "know" and object to are (a) the Repuglican mis-tortion of classic 'progressive' positions (b) the watered down, diluted, wishy-washy attempts at triangulation which render rational progressive positions non-descript, shapeless and meaningless.

When you frame the questions rationally, most people admit (even dyed in the wool Repugs) that the healthcare system, as we know it, is a shambles, our national security is now far worse than it was when we eschewed the roll of global bully boy.

I read a good column recently which I think admirably addressed the question of societal disintegration and, oddly enough, it was not the 'hippy dippy' generation of the 60's that is solely to blame. The point the writer made was that the kids of the '60s made an admirable point that the society they inherited was too regimented and stultified. However, those kids of the '60s had been brought up assimilating the necessity of responsiblity (need to care for others, need to work so society would, etc) from their elders. Later generations grew up in a permissive environment but, in many cases, were not imbued with the responsibility aspect of the equation. In other words, many people grew up with a hypertrophied sense of rights without a balancing of responsiblities.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Cossack said...

Anonymous

"And once people get a whiff of your side's condescending, disdainful and contemptuous opinions about people with whom you disagree politically, you'll NEVER get their vote. Ever."

Showing your Repug true colors, eh? I, for one, am sick and tired of "...your side's condescending, disdainful and contemptuous opinions..." How is it that whenever 'our side' attempts to bring 'your side' to book, we are being 'condescending, disdainful and contemptuous'? Your side continues to flog the dead horse of Clinton's 'lying' when it comes to a personal matter and yet, when 'your side' defends a crony administration that lies with a facility unseen before on a national level about matters of war and peace and life and death these matters are beyond question? These are not matters of private morality...these are issues which affect each and every one of us personally. Don't get me wrong; I'm no lover or defender of either Clinton but fair is fair. If lying about a personal matter of sexual morality is sufficient to impeach a president, what then about lying about the justification for a failed and unnecessary war? What about the lies about New Orleans, not only the response to Katrina but the defunding of the Corps of Engineers which starved them of the funds necessary to maintain the very levees that failed? What of the contortions the administation has gone thru to dispose of treaty obligations (such as the Geneva Conventions) to jail thousands without recourse to courts or justice?

Before you condemn the other, best look carefully in the mirror!

5:23 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Anonymous--Again, please forgive me if I refrain from taking political advice from a Karla Rove. America likes Democrats once they see what we can do (remember FDR, the reason for term limits and we'd be well into our fourth term of Democratic governing had poppy Bush's pals on the Supreme Court NOT stuck their noses where they didn't belong) and they are wary of Republicans once they see what they can do.

Cossack--Boy am I glad you're on my side!!! You're doing fine on your own, I just couldn't resist.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous dave said...

The basic problem is the country is TOO conservative right now for the left to win.

As for National Security, while I feel the left has a better idea of how to secure America (not pissing off the entire world would be a good start), the Republicans have a better way of promoting National Security. They scare people to death. There just isn't any easy way to counter that in a short time frame. To re-frame the debate to show that the Iraq war is hurting our National Security will take many years. I think it won't happen until we are out of Iraq and we can take a deep breath and look back at it in retrospect. And any progress we have in convincing people that the GOP is wrong and we're right could be thrown out the window with another terrorist attack. The perception for the last 30-40 years has been Republicans are tougher on crime & stronger on national security. You're not going to change that perception overnight.

Let me ask you...how are elections won? With 30 second ads and short news clips. The audience has a short attention span. The liberal arguments are too complex and nuanced for 30 second spots. The Republicans have figured this out, which is why they have simplistic messages, like:

- Tax cuts are good.
- Liberals = weak, Conservatives = Strong

These types of messages are incredibly effective, because A) they are easy to remember & B) Most voters don't have the time or inclination to do in depth research on issues. C) They emotionally appeal to everyones base selfish interest. So most viewers tend to only know the political hyperbole, and the right is SO much better at that.

Ultimately, I am just so pessimistic at how conservative our country is right now. I just can't imagine there will be a liberal uprising when, for example, only 12% of Americans believe evolution is a fact. This country is deep Red and I don't see how that changes in the next 10-20 years. Basically, I am resigned to conservative rule for the next 2 decades. My only hope is to wait for the death of the Robertson/Falwell generation. When that happens maybe there will be an opening for the left. I'm mean for god's sake, Tom DeLay got 64% of the vote in his recent primary. With all the bad news about Abramoff & other DeLay scandals he still got 64%!!!!!!!!

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By all means, I want you to stay the course. Nothing would please me more. It's not that I want 100% Conservative rule, as I said prior, I want a strong two-party system, but I certainly don't want any of you guys running the show either.

And keep telling yourself that "progressive" ideas are too "nuanced" for the stupid American public. Shout it from the rooftops if you can.

You simply make my point for me. Thanks.

6:40 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Dave—30 second sound bite on national security: Republicans don’t like government, they prefer to outsource. But since 9/11 we all understand how important government is to our national security. Democrats know government and we know how to make it work for America.

30 second sound bite on tax cuts: taxes are a burden we all must share. Under Republican policies, working Americans have shouldered that burden alone. It’s time for everyone to pay their fair share, even the wealthiest among us.

30 second sound bite on healthcare: The Republican Party’s answer to the healthcare crisis is giving our tax dollars to pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry. Is that helping your family? Democrats believe we all deserve to be healthy, not just the fat cat CEO’s.

Democrats = working government, fair taxation, healthcare for all

Republicans = crony capitalism, tax breaks for the rich, windfall profits for big business

And it can be done on every issue.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Cossack said...

Anonymous:

…“And keep telling yourself that “progressive” ideas are too “nuanced” for the stupid American public. Shout it from the rooftops if you can.”

There you go again, Anonymous, arguing with yourself, erecting straw men for the pleasure of demolishing them.

I never suggested, much less stated, that progressive ideas are too nuanced for the stupid American public. What I did say was that most of the American public has been dumbed down by listening to the likes of Limpbaugh or O’Really and have relied on such “truth detectors” to spoon feed their version of progressive ideas. Now, you may buy the Repuglican neo-con spin cycle whole hog, and more power to you. Go ahead, sell our strategic assets to foreign concerns (whether British or UAE is of little consequence). Please, send your children (or, better yet, yourself) to the neo-con meat grinder in Iraq (or, if things go according to your ill begotten script, Iran). Hope against hope that your health is good and your health insurance coverage better. Pray to your God that your job doesn’t get off-shored. And, if you’re independently wealthy, pray very hard that the crony predations of this misbegotten maladministration don’t cause the economy as a whole to collapse for, if it does, I advise you recall the scene from Dr. Zhivago where the imperial officer goes out to calm the starving mob and his inglorious end. This is exactly where your insane, greedy, crony maladministration is leading this once glorious country.

And may God have mercy on your soul, for I have none!

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't even talking to YOU, cossack. I was referring to what dave said.

Sorry for the confusion.

You'll have to forgive me that I don't find anything in your rants worth responding to.

I'll let you know when I do though, if ever.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

Anonymous:

Have you decided already that you will not consider anything that a progressive has to say? Or do you beieve that you've heard everything we have to say already?

8:17 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

anonymous-- I am being genuine here, what is your concern will 100% conservative rule? And how, in your mind, is the current administration true to conservative ideals?

8:38 PM  
Anonymous dave said...

Anonymous...

Where did I say the American people were stupid? I said they weren't inclined to follow politics any closer than what they see on the 6:00 news clips and the political ads that flood the airwaves during election season. That is where most voters get most of their information on who to vote for. Its not because they are stupid, its because they are more interested in other things, like paying the bills, raising their family or god forbid having a good time. There is a relatively small number of people who really find politics interesting enough to follow closely.

And if you have a criticism of progressive ideas, that is fair, but I would argue progressive ideas are (or at least CAN be) more complex than can fit in a tidy 30 second ad. I think it is much harder to argue against a tax cut, in a concise way, than it is to argue for a tax cut. I mean arguing for a tax cut is as about as easy an argument there is to make in politics. Its like saying you like apple pie. Being against a tax cut, is in my belief, a much more nuanced position (if you have good logic, not just a knee jerk reaction), because you have to explain why we shouldn't have a tax cut.

Explaining why the Patriot Act is bad policy is a much more complex arguement than saying "The Patriot Act will make us safer. Trust me." And it goes on and on. It is harder for progressives to win, in large part, because it is harder for progressives to package themselves in a politically viable way.

Put another way, as long as Karl Rove stalks this earth, the GOP will have a pretty large advantage. While I personally think Rove is a criminal, I can't deny he is a political genius. There is no one on the left with that kind of instinct for politics.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous dave said...

Liberal Girl:

By and large I agree with you on the content of the arguments you make, I just disagree with your assessment that it is a successful political strategy.

For instance, the argument against tax cuts for the wealthy has been a staple of the left's argument the last 6 years. It hasn't exactly worked. The problem, to me, isn't in the progressive ideas itself, it is entirely a marketing problem. Frankly, the left is just terrible at playing politics. Politics is a blood sport, see Jack Abramoff. Ideas are bought & sold, and when it is convenient (to get say, a better plea bargain) you sell your old ideals (& friends) out. The left isn't as ruthless or politically clever as Karl Rove. Until that changes, the left will always be at a strategic disadvantage.

Winning elections is not about who is right and who is wrong, or what is true & false. It is about perception and the ability to alter that perception by whatever means necessary. The Democrats tried to alter the perception they were weak on security, by running a veteran in John Kerry. Unfortunately, Rove was more successful in making Kerry look weak. It doesn't matter, in the end, whether the Swift Boat Veterans were all liars - they successfully altered the perception of Kerry, despite the fact the basic facts of Kerry's war history remained the same.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

I find it interesting that Dave and Anon both believe that the Dems can’t win the White House and gain control of Congress in the current political climate. Two folks clearly from different positions on the political spectrum.

The data seems to indicate that Anon should be very, very concerned (and Dave should be cautiously optimistic) about how the Dems will do in the next couple national elections.

To wit:

1) Bush’s favorability rating is stuck below 40% (and I think most of the recent numbers I have seen are pre UAE port debacle).

2) By something like 47% to 36% (if memory serves) the voters are saying they are going to support the Democratic candidate in the 2006 midterms.

3) In a very recent poll 70% of the nation says we are heading in the wrong direction.

4) In the 2005 elections the democrats achieved huge gains in local and state races. (A small city where I used to live for example had been run by the republicans for years. Prior the 2005 election they held every seat on the city council and both of the county board seats representing the city were republican held. In the 2005 election it was a clean sweep. The dems now have every seat on the city council and both seats on the county board.)

5) The black box voting equipment is on its way out (except in regressive Ohio maybe). Anon will say I’m a conspiracy theorist or a sore looser but the data from the last 2 or 3 elections shows that something is terribly wrong with the vote tabulation with these machines.

One of the issues with Bush and his cabal is that not only do their policies fit nicely into 30 second sound bites but it appears (after disasters like Katrina and Iraq post invasion activities for example) that 30 seconds is about how much time the administration spends developing their policies. And we are going to pay dearly for this in the future.

The results of Bush’s failing policies are just now coming home to roost. The world is seeing more terrorism as a result of the illegal and ill advised war in Iraq for example. What does Anon think is going to happen to the dollar and our economy when Iran starts trading oil in Euros later this month and China and Japan start dumping their dollars because of our deficits? If he bought precious metals even as recently as a year ago he will be in fine shape. Otherwise there is not a lot you can do to protect yourself from what is to come. The best bet (after precious metals) is foreign bond funds. Next best is foreign stock funds. But if the US bust is contagious they will become nearly worthless as well. I’ve started to move my assets. Have you?

Remember, the republicans caused the Great Depression by doing many of the same things the Bush administration has been doing for the last 6 years (tax cuts for the rich, tax cuts for corporations, reducing estate tax, giving subsidies to corporations that don’t need them, etc). Apparently they can’t even learn from their own mistakes.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate the opportunity to participate in a civil discourse with people I don't agree with, politically. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. I go to many, many "progressive" blogsites, the big ones AND the small ones. I don't get my ideas and my views just from one-sided political research. I do make the effort to understand both sides of political issues. And I find that when I post an opposing view on these "progressive" blogsites the result is total war. Against ME! Not discussion, not debate. Complete villification of my person and my beliefs based completely on my party affiliation. I am not just "wrong", I am "evil!". I was even banned from commenting on one blogsite simply because I posted views and opinions that were in opposition to the views and positions of the blogauthor and her regular readers. But somehow I'M the fascist.

So seeing an opportunity to discuss oppositional politics on a "progressive" website such as this is thoroughly refreshing and wholly unexpected.

To answer yellowdog: In my youth I was a registered democrat. From the time I was legally able to register for a party affiliation I was a democrat, a liberal democrat even. This lasted for 14 years. I voted for Clinton twice.

Then...I started to look around me. I started to look into the results of "progressive" policies. For example, the "War on Poverty" which began, I believe, in 1964. We're still in it. That should tell you something. What happened when the government inacted programs aimed at the "War on Poverty"? Crime rates went up, teenage pregnancy and venereal disease rates went up. Murder rates went up and the status of the Black Family disentegrated into the liberal welfare state that appropriated federal monies for unmarried pregnancies and morphed the program from an emergency aid program to a career. The War on Poverty has been an abject failure.

The slow and gradual decline in public education is significantly the result of the efforts of teacher's unions, like the NEA and they are "progressives". They have developed policies and structures that serve only to protect the teachers themselves, with jobs for life. The changes in curriculem over the last 2 decades at least have been disasterous. And the failures in public education dovetail with those same failures in the "War on Poverty".

Those are just two examples, but my general impression over the past 2 decades in looking at the agenda of "progressives" is a band-aid approach to problems and no real desire to solve the problems at their roots.

And this doesn't even address the overt hostility of "progressives" towards people of Faith that I've also been observing at least in the past decade.

Now do I worship at the altar of the Republican Party? No. Do I agree with everything every politician with an (R) next to their name says? No. Do I think the current President has made zero mistakes? Hell no. And to answer Liberal Girl's question: there isn't a whole hell of a lot that the current administration has done that could technically be interpreted as "true" to the ideals of conservatism. The reason I don't want 100% conservative "rule" is because no one party has all the answers. And I think it is dangerous for all branches of government to be in the hands of a single party, although the SCOTUS is not party affiliated technically.

That being said, if the opposing party is unable to offer a real choice to people like me, despite my criticisms of republican leadership and some of the crap ideas coming from that party, the other party offers me NOTHING. (poorly constructed sentance. Sorry.)

And there is more, of course. I am opposed to gay "marriage" yet I am supportive of civil unions. I want people protected in the same manner as married heteros but I don't want the definition of marriage changed.

I could go on and on, I suppose;) But the point is, I WAS a "progressive" until it became clear to me that the social programs put out by "progressives" are failing the people. I reject them. But, I still listen. I'm still listening for NEW ideas to old problems to come from the "progressive" candidates. I'm not closed off, I just don't see anything new and I certainly don't support their old, failed policies.

You guys are my neighbors. You are my fellow citizens. I go to Church with some of you, my kids go to public schools with your kids. We live and work side-by-side. I will try to avoid villifying you and insulting your intelligence if you care to do the same. I don't see the nation going to hell in a handbasket because of the current administration, I just don't. We are not rich (well, according to democrats we are) and we don't view Bush as the anti-Christ and the root of all evil on this earth.

Okay, I'm babbling now. Sorry.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

Anonymous:

I am an ultra-liberal of the highest order, and I agree with many of the things you have just said. Allow me first to say that I appreciate your willingness to start a dialogue on a forum that is clearly generally opposed to your ideology. I think that here you will find a place that will respect your opinions. Especially if presented in a researched (or at least with considerable forethought) and respectful manner. I am a blogwhore and I have seen the vilification of which you speak, so I welcome any opportunity to build bridges.

Well, at least you were a liberal in your youth. It is clear that you are open-minded. Oddly enough, I have become more liberal with age. I was in the military at the time I voted for Poppa Bush. I am a full-time, non-traditional college student, and I can tell you that our youth are not as liberal as they once were, and I fear for a country whose young people aren’t progressive.

I believe that you’re statement about LBJ’s war on poverty is flawed ( I am skeptical of any “War on…” policy). Just because all of the bad things that you outlined occurred after the declared “War on Poverty” was declared, doesn’t mean that the “War on Poverty” caused them. There’s a Latin term for this form of logic that isn’t coming to mind right now. I could just as easily (and, in my mind, more aptly) attribute all of these things to Reagan’s “War on Drugs”.

Let’s talk about the NEA. My wife is an elementary school teacher. Make a note of this, because it may be the last time this happens, but I agree with you on this issue. While I believe “No Child Left Behind” is horribly flawed, I do believe that a meritocratic (yeah, I made that word up) system is required. However, it is a government operation and where else does that occur. Besides, you get what you pay for. Imagine the schools we would have and the quality of educators we could attract, if we paid them like professionals.

My hostility is not towards people of faith. I am an atheist. My hostility comes from having to hear about your faith from public officials. The last inauguration was a sermon.
There is supposed to be a separation of Church and State in this country. I should ever hear the words “Faith-based initiative”. The phrase itself illustrates a blatant disregard for the separation of Church and State. If I was hostile toward people of faith, I would indeed be a very lonely man. Hell, I wouldn’t even be married. Although we have argued about this. Is that hostile? If it is, then I’ve gotten hostile over whose turn it is to do the dishes twice this week.

Maybe you can explain to me what “true to the ideals of Conservatism” means. Seriously, I am having a hard time understanding what either party stands for these days.

I think the gay marriage issue is a matter of faith, which, again, has no place in the public debate. How does Steve and Rick being married affect you? Are you gonna go to hell?

Hell in a handbasket? I don’t know. Unfortunately, we won’t know until it’s too late, but many of us can smell burning wicker.

10:21 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Anonymous—Thank you for articulating your views so clearly. I hope that your experience here will continue to be a good one, sure there will be those who will react with anger as many of us are on a hair trigger right now, but I truly believe that political discourse should be beneficial to all parties involved rather than a chance to lash out at the “enemy”. We are all Americans and we all want our country to be better.

I agree with you that one party, one ideology, should be tempered by the other and consensus has served us well in the past. Have liberals, when holding the power, made mistakes in implementing solutions? You bet. But liberal ideals are what this country needs right now, admitting mistakes and coming up with fresh and logical solutions is what we are about. Total Republican rule has shifted so much of the power out of the hands of the people and into the hands of a few who seem to think they have no accountability to us, we need a radical shift to bring us back to the center. All of the problems you mentioned, poverty, violent crime, teen pregnancy, etc. all went down under Clinton. He was a moderate, a fiscal conservative and he was great at growing the economy. Bush has managed to erase all of those gains and we are sliding downhill fast. Poverty is an epidemic now and the middle class is one paycheck away from joining their ranks. Should we go back to the old ways of dealing with the problem? Of course not. But growing our economy and putting people back to work is a job that liberals can do (remember FDR pulled us out of the depression). So far, Republicans have only managed to make the situation worse.

I believe that you represent a large segment of the Republican Party, not radical, socially somewhat liberal and fiscally conservative. I also believe that the liberal perspective has changed, it’s not nuanced but rather practical. Throwing money at our problems is not something we are interested in, but rather using our money wisely to the greatest possible effect. Liberals are, for the most part, fiscally conservative because we have seen the value in that. Conservation is now a liberal ideal (in government money as well as resources) and Republicans have taken to big government and wild spending like flies to a dead carcass, they just choose to spend our money on tax giveaways to big business rather than social programs (neither one is the answer). I think you belong on our side. We are no longer interested in giveaways, even to social programs, but in finding workable solutions. Don’t believe the old lies about what we believe that are thrown out by the other side. They don’t want us to talk, they’re afraid we might agree.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

Yes, LGND. How many times have we found ourselves having heated discussions with the opposition when we agree in principle?

10:49 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Yellow Dog-- Too many.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous dave said...

Jonathan: I didn't say the Dems can't win one or even both Houses of Congress. I think it is possible, but:

1) Despite the great opportunity the Dems have in '06, don't underestimate their ability to blow it.
2) If they win, it will be because of a centrist Clinton-esque
platform.

Liberal Girl said:

"All of the problems you mentioned, poverty, violent crime, teen pregnancy, etc. all went down under Clinton. He was a moderate, a fiscal conservative and he was great at growing the economy"

This has been my point I've been trying to make all along, rather poorly apparently. Clinton is a model for how the Dems can get elected. It may not be a true progressive platform (Clinton was a DLC chairman afterall), but it is surely more progressive than our current leadership.

I'd prefer a candidate that didn't vote for the Iraq war, is pro-gay marriage, pro-legalization of marijuana, anti-illegal wiretapping, for seperation of Church & State, etc. I just don't see how that candidate can win a national election right now. Those candidates may win in certain areas, like Seattle, but that won't win a national election. If the Dems are to win the White House back it will be a Clinton clone...

3:08 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Dave-- My point is, there are no Clinton clones! Again, he is an anomaly, not someone to build a theory around. I'm also not saying we should put up candidates that are pro gay marriage or for legalization of drugs (although these are good ideas) but rather candidates that have a firm belief in the core principles of liberalism rather than an extreme liberal position on any given issue.

It's about making government work for the people, tax policies that are sensible and fair, healthcare for all, family wage jobs for all, making government work in a crisis, a foreign policy that respects the rest of the world and conservation of our tax dollars and our resources. Now is not the time for "pet issues" or accepting Republican frames for the debate. It is time to speak to working Americans who are playing by the rules and getting beaten down by Republican policies. This is who makes up the bulk of the electorate and they know they're getting screwed. A progressive can do this just as well, if not better, than Hillary Clinton.

You said, "The GOP have 2 near guaranteed victors in McCain & Guiliani who would win against anybody the left can throw out there."

If that is true, why give the DLC another chance to lose? What good does it do to put up a clone of Guiliani? People are tired of two candidates with marginal differences. Let's put up a progressive candidate with broad based appeal and see what happens when Americans are given a distinct choice. If we lose, you can blame us for it (we'll surely blame you when it goes down the other way, again). :-)

3:30 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Dave—I almost forgot, I know that we are on the same side and we agree on content (I think generally Democrats do for the most part), and you’re right, our differences come in strategy. I just wish that the DLC would focus its energy on packaging liberal ideals rather than changing ideals for more easily sold ones. It leaves the party hollow and the voters cold.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Cossack said...

LGND:

"I just wish that the DLC would focus its energy on packaging liberal ideals rather than changing ideals for more easily sold ones. It leaves the party hollow and the voters cold."

Though I agree with you in the main, I have to take issue with you on this one. What needs be done, IMHO, is to draw a stark line of delineation between the policies of the neo-con right wing (including, I must say, members of the Democratic party, i.e., Lieberman, Sen. Clinton, et al) and those of the progressives. We must NOT cave into the definitions of the right wing, i.e., "If you're talking to Al Queada we want to know why." and define it as it is in actuality, millions of unwarranted instances of evesdropping on general telephonic conversations and/or e-mail communications. We must point out that whatever information is so collected is kept forever in government databases and passed on to other entities, governmental and private! That these neo-cons are, quite literally, enacting laws and provisions analogous to those imposed in Nazi Germany in the Enabling Act! We are not dealing with hyperbole here, folks! This is deadly serious. Perhaps some among us are willing to sell those very freedoms we were brought up to believe defined us as Americans and accept the yoke of tyranny but ask yourselves this, "What would our Founding Fathers say to this?" I know what at least one of our Founding Fathers did say on the matter. "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin.

4:35 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Cossack-- I agree with you completely, which is why I think the DLC should go ahead and take the leap and join the Republican Party. My point to Dave was that if they want to be part of the solution, and they want to be Democrats, then they should spend their time figuring out how to sell what we believe in rather than believing in whatever will sell. Until they quit staking out the middle ground with a vengeance, triangulating their position on every issue, I've got no use for them.

The Democrats need to get real and passionate and tough! No more dancing around the issues, no more weasel words on the war, NSA spying, etc. If Sandra Day O’Connor can use the word dictatorship, Democrats can too. In fact they should get real comfortable with it.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Dave - Sorry. Guess I misinterpreted what you wrote. You make a good point about the inability of the democrats to make hay when the republicans misstep.

I’m wondering if Anonymous would consider picking a moniker when he posts in the future. Just so that we do not mistake him for any future Anonymous posters. He could indicate in his next post under a new nickname that he is the poster formerly known as Anonymous or he can let us figure it out (if we can). I used the masculine form simply because I don’t know the gender of Anonymous. If the poster is a female I apologize, it was not my intention to insult you.

Anonymous and others have expressed an opinion that I agree with whole heartedly. It is undesirable for either party to be in complete control (for long). I think our nation is stronger if the parties balance each other and block each other from adopting extreme policy positions on any issue.

I think I have to agree with something Yellow Dog wrote about Anon’s most recent post. Anon seems to be saying that the war on poverty lead to several social ills (or made them worse). I’m skeptical, which is my nature, of some of them. To say that the war on poverty, for example, caused venereal disease rates to increase is what I think is known as a spurious correlation. It is like saying that ice cream eating causes rape to increase because both increase in the summer. I think it is more likely that the cultural changes that started in the same decade, particularly among the middle and working classes, is what lead to the increase in venereal disease. I have to agree that some of the social ills Anon mentions may in fact have been exacerbated by the war on poverty.

The other thing is that Anon is disillusioned by the fact that the war on poverty is still going on. Forty two years is a long time to fight any war and I can understand how someone could become disillusioned. But I don’t think the war on poverty will ever be “won”. I don’t think that, the way our culture is, that it can be won. But that does not mean we should stop trying to minimize the suffering of the least fortunate. The thing is that the numbers (from census bureau?) clearly show that the suffering of the least among us has increased in the last 5 years. Which is why I would like to see us try something different from what the republicans have been doing. Assuming that the correlation between republican rule and increasing poverty numbers in not spurious.

Now, the faith part is delicate. By and large my extended family is a traditional Christian family (immediate family – not quite as much). I have recently come to the conclusion that I can not accept the beliefs that most in my family have. I’m an engineer so I have quite a lot of training is the sciences, and like I already said I am skeptical by nature. I simply have to have proof of anything. Show me the numbers, the data, perform an experiment so I can watch and see it for myself. Until I was about forty I kept an open mind. But I saw no proof. Maybe some day I will find some proof, but today I am an atheist.

But as far as being hostile to people who can, by their nature, take it on faith that there is a God and an afterlife and so on; that is not what I am about. With two pastors and a missionary in the family it would be hard to keep the peace if I was. What I don’t like is when people of faith try to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us. And my observation is that that happens much more often than atheists being hostile to people of faith. In fact, I would hazard a guess, that if the faithful kept their religion to themselves atheists would have no reason to be hostile toward them.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous dave said...

Liberal Girl said:

"If that is true, why give the DLC another chance to lose? What good does it do to put up a clone of Guiliani?"

That is a great point.

3 reasons:

A) McCain/Giuliani may choose not to run in 2008. Then the DLC candidate would have a pretty decent chance of winning against Jeb Bush, Pataki, Rice, Allen or someone else.
B) And given a choice between a sure disaster, say Jeb Bush, or a known mediocrity like Edwards, I will gladly accept mediocrity.
C) Running a Presidential candidate out there who gets crushed at the polls also hurts the Dems chances of keeping or gaining seats in Congress, so even if the Dems lose the Presidency, I want to see them lose in a tight race.

Also, I don't believe Clinton was an anomaly. Yes, he was very charasmatic, a quality a lot of Democrats sorely lack, but I believe that the idea of moving to the center is a very credible political strategy. Yes, it freezes out the left, and compromises some (many?) ideals, but I still think it can win, given the right candidates, because I believe most Americans are in the middle of the political spectrum.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

jonathan:

I'm really hoping I get a couple minutes just before I kick it to find God. I hope shes a hottie.

6:11 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

From the tone she has struck, I'm pretty sure I recognize anonymous as the one previously commenting as SAHMmy. She’s sometimes a flamethrower, sometimes sarcastic and always very cordial (funny, I could describe myself the same way). But I'll let her clarify that if she wishes. Either way, I'm enjoying the thoughtful comments and the serious effort by all to elevate the level of discourse. Politics may be a blood sport, but consensus building is a long, exhausting and at times tedious long distance run.

8:02 PM  
Blogger GraemeAnfinson said...

feingold all the way

1:37 AM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

I've been holding my tongue, which totally fucks up my karma or mental health.

Fiengold may be the erson who would best represent us. He might be the one who tirelessly works to ge all the thingsdone that WE wold like to see done.

I've been wrong before, but I don't see an ultra-liberal, single, twice-divorced man getting the nomination, let alone winning the general Election. I was going to say Jewish, but the General really comes down to handful of swing states, so that may help him.

I really don't like bein a naysayer. I hope that I am wrong.

6:09 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Yellow Dog-- If we're going to look at the superficial "negatives" of Feingold, then we should also consider the positives. He's tough talking which the men like, he's also not perceived as extremely liberal (so much so that I've had to convince liberals that he's one of us)and he could easily be the best looking candidate for President ever which the women will like a lot! Don't underestimate the power of that.

10:36 AM  

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