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October 29, 2015


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Are journalists that unknowledgeable or just afraid to confront politicians?Their desire to be fair and balanced is wrecking our democracy.

Can one report the facts and be fair and balanced?
Not sure why but fair and balanced sounds like compromise of the facts? Maybe some of the intelligent folks here can help me understand?

This past summer I was watching the C-SPAN History channel. It ran news clips from the 1960's. The particular clip covered civil rights in Los Angeles after the Watts Riots.

It was amazing how in-depth and factual the news coverage was in that era. My guess is today's audience doesn't possess the focus and intellect to follow that type of former routine news coverage.

Republican candidates act as they do because that is how to relate to today's news audience. The country has been intellectually dumbed down and of course you have to keep matters very basic for Republicans.

He hasn't made a grab for the presidency yet, but that weird little Louie Gohmert thing from Texas already resembles life from the primordial soup.

The toxic cult that is the Republican Party didn't happen over night. Ronald Reagan bears much responsibility for mainstreaming right-wing extremism. And Richard Nixon before him located the GOP soul where the reptilian brain is located. It wasn't just the Southern Strategy, either. It goes back further to Joe McCarthy, red-baiting, and even America Firsters like Charles Lindbergh. A party predicated on paranoia and racial anxiety will condemn facts, distort context, and demand purity tests.

The tipping point for any political party occurs when the so-called moderates no longer command a majority. This has already happened in the GOP. Jeb Bush, much further to the right than his own brother, is losing because he's perceived to be a moderate, if more in temperament than actual policy positions. The truth is that every GOP presidential candidate is now an extremist. The last moderate to run, Jon Huntsman, struggled to get more than 1% support in 2012.

The Republican establishment was happy to go along with this devolution when it seemed they could control the low-information rubes and wide-eyed zealots with tribal allegiances. Reaping the whirlwind would be the first step to recovery. For a nation without a vital center, however, political passion is too mercurial to be contained in a partisan vehicle. The Republican Party abetted the crazies and can no longer contain their anarchic energy, which is poison to the rationale of buffering institutions. Democrats are struggling with their own rump of purity zealots on the left. You need their energy but at a certain point, it can collapse the coalition necessary for victory.

The Republican counter-revolution began when Nixon cynically racialized America's civic heart. This poison is now systemic. Republicans are the party of the Deep South, gun nuts, evangelical yahoos, and greedhead libertarians. No one really knows how to break the impasse or if it can ever be resolved short of national suicide. The worrying paradox is that the worse things get, the better the saboteurs perform politically. It's almost as if they're locked into this fatal pact.

I've been tuning into the R debates because I love good entertainment, and each candidate provides that. Marco Rubio's carefully prepared remarks, that you just know he practiced in the bathroom mirror, Ted Cruz's McCarthy-like theatrics, Jeb!'s brotherly love for Worst ever, Carson's droopy eyes and Chauncey Gardener persona, Trump's breezy attack comments.
When the Democrats had their debate, everyone saw there were adults in the room. It just could be that America is ready for something different. But then what do I know? I voted for George McGovern.

Yes, the Republican party is in disarray. And, yes, they've earned it, fair & square. However, this civic catastrophe could never have come to this without the stupid, complicit work of the Democratic party.

The Democrats have pandered to the crazies as surely as the Republicans. Democrats have adopted Republican positions, including Republican/voodoo economic theories, and abandoned traditional Democratic issues.

Does anyone remember Democratic nominee for Governor Fred Duval's pitiful, "moderate," please-the-corporate-masters economic plan for Arizona? Ducey would have been happy with it.

The Republicans may have had a plan, of sorts, over the years to dominate elections and control the U.S. legislative branch, but it would never have worked if the Democrats had not been co-opted and turned into the Republican-Lite party.

Democrats have earned a flogging, too.

Well if that doesn't beat all! So now the Democrats are responsible for the pathetically horrible slate offered up by the Republican Party? S.j., you show the ultimate in irresponsible blame-gaming. Amazing.

Democrats run to the center while Republicans race to the far right. The simplest explanation for this is not perfidy, or Wall Street money, or the various apostasies that Democrats engage in. Rather, the easiest way to understand political positioning is the Overton Window. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

I have a childhood friend who I became reacquainted with on Facebook. She's an ardent feminist and liberal and she hates Nancy Pelosi with a passion. Why? Because the meme the right sprouted about Pelosi that she's a heartless bitch who's married to millionaire and has had bad plastic surgery and is from evil San Francisco eventually swamped all other ways of viewing her. That's the advantage of having several thousand hate-radio stations, a full-time "news" channel that functions as an arm of the Republican Party, and crazy chain e-mails that spread like wildfire courtesy of Breitbart.com and other media lowlifes. Republicans get to create not only their reality, but ours as well. And Karl Rove probably gets an erection every time a Democrat blames his own party for failing to fight back with the same Pavlovian vigor the hard right exercises.

We think Democrats are feckless because they're insufficiently liberal but the truth is that this nation is hamstrung by idiocies because they're much easier to understand than actual reality. Try explaining the Fed to some mouthbreather who buys gold. Try getting your neighbor to understand that foreign aid might be more effective as a tool than military hardware. Try making the case that the death penalty is not only ineffective, it's capriciously applied and mainly to minorities. Or try to get someone to understand that torture not only injures our moral standing as a nation but is also completely bogus as a way of gathering intel. The list is endless.

If you think only stouthearted liberals can win elections, let me remind you that the last one to win the presidency was LBJ over 50 years ago. We're America for a reason and it has nothing to do with the calm weighing of facts or even one's self-interest. It's much worse than that. We're children having a conversation with the various goblins right-wing media have substituted for actual issues. I wish this were not the case but that changes nothing.

Republicans active attempt to move the Overton Window, Democrats accept public opinion as given. Guess which ideology triumphs which one side lets the other define the window of acceptible discourse?

I think SJ has a point about the complicity of the Democrats, as there has not been a lot of pushback from the party, especially after Clinton showed the success of triangulation (short-term though that may be). The press has had a role to play, too, by not being more demanding. A big part of that is reporters don't want to lose their access. Chuck Todd, in a rare moment of candor, admitted as such on Meet the Press late last year. From politicsusa.com: Lewis Black asked Todd how he put up with guests who babble on with their talking points without barking at them, and Todd’s answer revealed why people don’t trust the media. The Meet The Press host said, “We all sit there, because we all know, the first time we bark is the last time that they do the show. You say something, and sometimes it is last time they will ever come on your show. There is that balance.” There, it takes a fucking comedian to shed some light on this, just as Jon Stewart did when he pointed out how empty were the arguments on "Crossfire" several years ago.

A side point, Jon. The evolution chart is effective in that everyone knows what it illustrates, but it's wrong, just as the atom symbol is wrong about their effect. Evolution is not linear, it's more like a tree with thousands of branches, many of which bear fruit only briefly. And to the evolution deniers (several of whom populate the Republican debate stage), no, we did not descend from apes, but we share first cousins with them.

I think you're all correct. The National D Party HAS been feckless and let money interfere in their decision making. They abandoned the 50 state strategy of Howard Dean and allowed many state legislatures to be taken over by Rs. They failed to field candidates or failed to support their own (e,g. Barbara Bueno, D-NJ)

Current structures allow conservatives to have more advantages in government. R gerrymandering at the state level keeps people in place in congress that would never ever have made it on their own merit. (e.g. Steve King, R-Iowa). Ds received more votes than Rs in 2014, and Rs still took the House.
In the senate many sparsely populated states have the same clout as NY or CA.

Boor, I'm not sure the Democrats have a choice in this matter. The tension in our public discourse is not between one set of mind-fucks and another. It's between a party that relies almost exclusively on reptilian triggers to create a motivated party while the other party appeals to the common good, which means taxes, tolerance, and respect for consensus reality. The former essentially makes stupidity sound plausible while the latter tells us to eat our veggies. It's easy to understand why one party has a very easy time setting up false choices between bad government and no government. Democrats are by their very nature defending complexity. Republicans are not similarly constrained.

Maybe you have a plan here that no one else has thought of. If so, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

We R currently in stage 2.
The raised jaw bone as a killing tool.

Top shelf stuff @ soleri.

Regarding your litany of "Try"s....
I'd suggest adding this one:

Try telling the unisured that they are eligible for subsidies under Obamacare.

Lots of People Still Aren't Aware That Obama Wants to Give Them Cheap Health Care

36% of the uninsured still don't know? All that hard work to get this legislation passed and these ignorant zombies can't be bothered with even mildly paying attention to their country's policies?


Which brings me to Mr. Talton's litany of Teddy, Abe, Ike, and Dick:

Walt Whitman wrote that to have great poets you have to have great audiences. What we have in this country is great Football. Which tells you plenty about out National audience.

Still things are never as dark as they seem...

American Democracy got Mr. Obama elected.
And American Democracy will see Mrs. Clinton to the helm as well.

As bad and clumsy as this democracy of ours seems...
It still gets the job done and moves the world forward.

And I would submit, the destruction of the modern Republican party that we are witnessing right now, is a vital part of that forward process.

Side comment:

Loved this paragraph from Frank Rich. It nicely shows the devolution of the Republican Party. Of course they did it to themselves:

“What’s also remarkable is how little Jeb is aware of the changes in his own party. He has seemed perpetually surprised by the heathens in the GOP’s midst. He should not have been. His own father, with his race-baiting Willie Horton campaign against Michael Dukakis, helped invite in the crazies. His brother and Karl Rove gave sotto voce encouragement to the gay-bashing forces of the religious right, and looked the other way as Sarah Palin paved the way for Trump, Carson, and Cruz. Yet Jeb still clung to a belief that the old-school patrician ethos of his parents could run to his rescue in 2016. History will look back at him, if it looks at all, as a world-class fool and the last exhausted gasp of a GOP that no longer exists.”

It's one thing to be on the wrong side of history that's in the making. It's entirely another to be retrogressive to history that is already been long decided. And that's the sorry lot of today's failed and moribund Republican party.

Frank Rich: Is the GOP Cracking Up?

I remember Dogpatch and I remember Mammy Yocum, its unofficial mayor. But Mammy was lovable, intelligent and highly principalled. None of those 10 yokels (including John Kasich) is fit to hold Mammy's corncob pipe. As far as negotiation and compromise are concerned, Rob Bohannan, we Democrats have been trying that. But while we are moving toward the supposed center to meet the Republicans, the Republicans are nowhere to be found. It's like Dogpatch's Sadie Hawkins Day race, where the winner catches a bum for a husband.There's no point in running after those Republican bums. They're not worth catching.


You write: "[T]hings are never as dark as they seem. . . . American Democracy will see Mrs. Clinton to the helm . . . ."

AAAaaaarrgh! That is SO dark and positively soul-crushing.

If HRC wins it will have nothing to do with democracy or the will of the people.

This is one of those great threads where I teed it up and you guys took it to a higher level. We crossed 23,500 comments today. Many thanks to all.

If HRC wins it will have nothing to do with democracy or the will of the people.

I hesitate to pick a fight with the purity caucus but you don't get to decide democracy is worthwhile only when your guy wins. Whoever wins will prove that we're still America, for better or worse. In 2000, we self-inflicted George Bush because the vastly more sentient Al Gore was deemed insufficiently pure by the Naderites. Two devastating Supreme Court picks later, we have a significantly worse terrain on which to fight. Thanks, guys.

Sanders will not win the Democratic nomination but it's looking increasingly likely that our beautiful losers will take their virtue mongering to the lip of another abyss. It's going to be a cliffhanger, not because Hillary Clinton is a bad candidate but because the economy is sputtering, and the party that occupies the White House is debited with that responsibility.

You have two liberal lions running for the Democratic nomination. One is a national candidate and the other one is from Vermont. One makes deals, compromises, and takes corporate cash. The other one is from Vermont. The one blurs distinctions enough to remain viable with the duhs and ignos, and the other one is from Vermont.

I wish life were a Frank Capra movie in which the last honest man is found living in some New England village and whose savior-like qualities are obvious to those with pure hearts. It's a nice fairy tale but this isn't Hollywood. We're a deeply damaged nation built on the backs of slaves and slaughtered aboriginals. We call ourselves Christian because unconscious irony is the necessary price we pay for believing a fairy tale like American Exceptionalism. And that's what makes our story tragic: given the choice, we'll pick the fairy tale that strokes our id, not the one that challenges our core self-conceit.

It's a cliché but I'll go there: don't make the perfect the enemy of the good. Electing a Democrat president will not lessen our national crisis but it will ensure that we live to fight another day. Hillary, warts and all, can beat the Republican. Bernie can't.

Don't be fooled.

When the oligarchs choose their figurehead candidates, before the people even have a notion, it is not democracy. It is oligarchy with a show election.

So, how did the HRC juggernaut get started? Think about it, friends.

Ask yourself, do the big banks tremble at the thought of an HRC presidency? Are the working poor heartened? Are the college-aged voters filled with optimism for the future?

No? Why do you suppose that is? Oh, yeah . . . because HRC was chosen by the banksters and the big corporations to be the Democratic show candidate for 2016. She will dance with the one that brung her--and that ain't the American people.

Just because we vote on the first Tuesday in November, with the red, white and blue bunting flapping in the wind, that doesn't make it democracy.

Lol- http://news.yahoo.com/alabama-version-skull-bones-publicly-exposed-163633150.html

Girl finds out that the oligarchy starts with birth, then finds out how cold it is outside their warm, all encompassing embrace. Lol.

As one of the few to go on the official record at the leg as a member of the public opposing the scam settlement, I have to laugh when I realize that I am now entirely unemployable by any republican. What a badge of honor that is today!

Yeah, that was a particularly hilarious moment of the day when http://www.azleg.gov/MembersPage.asp?Member_ID=17&Legislature=52&Session_ID=114

voted against the amendment which would have limited tax credit donations to STO's, given he is paid from those donations. America, grift at it's finest.

So let us admit that honesty is dead, and there is no point to attempting to reform the oligarchy, because it has always existed.

The best part is when people vote directly against their own interests, and feel smug about it.

Oh yes, and the best part of irony regarding the State Senator- "He continues as chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee."

You can't make this stuff up- it is all in plain sight.

Why do thy Republican eyes burn, because people live in darkness, and the merest glimpse of reality destroys their complacent world view.

Back to the cave, so that we might be safe....

sj, if you want bankers to tremble, you better get a Congress full of liberals like Alan Grayson issuing subpoenas like firecrackers. Sorry, that's nowhere near reality. The president could conceivably get the Justice Department to indict them on various charges but that would unleash a resistance from the money class that would make that president a one-termer.

The president is not a dictator. He or she needs the cooperation (and probably permission) of the Deep State to govern well or at all. It's why Obama has been such an uncertain trumpet in this arena. And it's why Berniemania is more like an opium dream than a promise of systematic change. It's going to take more than a president to move this nation back to sanity. It's going to take a majority of Americans.

The problem is that a deeply divided nation will err on the side of fear. As you may have noticed, state governments across the nation are taking their marching orders from ALEC, the Koch-funded group committed to undermining regulations and effective government. The House of Representatives is thereby easily gerrymandered to increase the right's power in Congress. The Senate is actually the more liberal body now since its Constitutional prerogative provides a check on popular passions, which are coming largely from the right.

I don't disagree with your sense of despair. I do disagree with the idea that there's a one-time fix (whose name is Bernie) that can change any of this. I'm a bomb-thrower in this forum because I want people to be angry at the cause of our political dysfunction. It's not "wimpy" Democrats who are the problem. It's the Republicans. They're crazy, they're cruel, and they're very, very greedy. We're not going to defeat them by getting rid of the wimps. That's delusional. We'll defeat them by getting involved ourselves, not with purity candidates but candidates who can win. Baby steps, baby steps. It won't be easy, but if enough people simply do the bare minimum (i.e., vote), we can move this leviathan. Or, we can decide everything is too compromised and do nothing. Karl Rove is banking on that.

Oligarchy: I agree the world has always been run by the now 5000. Soleri is probably right that Bernie cant beat the GOP. But Hillary probably can. She has all the right credentials. A very conservative Southern Republican in disguise. Owned by the financial world and the Neo Cons-CIA (as is Obama). Hillary is a Military Hawk and
a un-convicted murder of innocent people. She has little compassion for anyone not in her camp and will destroy those that challenge her. She is a great liar and is married to one, Bill. And she has become wealthy upon the backs of others and in violation of most financial laws and ethical boundaries. Given her above skills she will make a great leader for a country that continues to act like a Militaristic Roman empire. She will make LBJ look like a wimp.
So until the democratic primary is over this Republican is supporting that crusty little Vermont Hippie.

Yessss! Cal!


In your support of the Vermont Hippie during the primary you stand shoulder to shoulder with right wing dark money and the subtle messages from the right wing media that the Vermont Hippie is an "honest" choice for the"left".

With enough momentum, Vermont Hippie can be the write in candidate in the general election carrying Republican Presidential Candidate Cruz to the White House in 2016.

HRC is the best and only choice for sanity in governing in the 2016 presidential election.

soleri: It doesn't really make any difference if we elect a crazy Republican or an establishment Democrat. They are all in the same creaky bed together.

jmav, you and Soleri are correct. Hillary is better than anyone in the clown car. But knowing that just makes me want to go into exile and hang out with folks like Jose Mujica.

I agree Ted Cruz is insane but I not sure the Clintons are not homicidal sociopaths. But then maybe thats what makes a good president

jmav: Ha! I haven't heard of many liberals taking their marching orders from the subtle messages they get from right-wing media.

Bernie Sanders has made it clear that he is in the primary to WIN the primary, and the election. He is not going to be a third party candidate.

Hilary is sanity? Take a look at Cal's post, again.

Most progressives are not going to vote for HRC; they will vote Green.

soleri: It doesn't really make any difference if we elect a crazy Republican or an establishment Democrat. They are all in the same creaky bed together.

I saw a great line someplace on the internet.
It went something like this:

"I'm still waiting to here back from all those people who told me there was no difference between Mr. Gore and Dubya."

My response, after the guffaw, was:

And you won't hear back from them. They've moved on to telling everyone there is no difference between Hillary and whoever wins the Republican dunce cap.

"It doesn't really make any difference if we elect a crazy Republican or an establishment Democrat. They are all in the same creaky bed together."

OK, koreyel. Granted, that was a pretty broad brush that I was painting with.

However, given what we know about policies from the various Republican candidates and from Hillary Clinton, where is the difference on (1) Wall Street regulation? (2) Military policies? (3) Private prisons/sentencing/policing? or (4) Income inequality?

Are we talking lesser of two evils, again? Or baby steps, baby steps?

Sanders and Warren is the ticket. But I think You will see Clinton try and bring Warren into her administration where she will have control over this dangerous senator.

Today's political war is as important as the "Civil" War.
The New Yorker magazine has an appropriate piece by Nicholas Lemann, " The Price of Union" the undefeated South. There are also two old but interesting books on the subject by Agar and Calhoun.

I think it's funny that JMAV thinks "hippie" is an insult. Now, "Goldwater Girl," there's a handle a woman can wear with pride!

Does anyone on this blog really want to argue that the choice of President doesn't make any difference? The election of GW Bush was enormously consequential for the nation – the Iraq War and Citizens United for starters. If Obama weren’t elected, there would be no “Obamacare.” On the latter example, I think sj can agree that none of the Republican presidential candidates would veto the latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act – at least one significant difference.
As Larry Sabato points out, in 2016 the most contested Senate races where control of the Senate could be determined are in states where the presidential race is competitive, suggesting that the outcomes will be linked. (http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/03/senate-elections-2016-115674).
My read of Sabato’s analysis suggests two scenarios: (1) Democrats win the White House and possibly retake the Senate, and (2) Republicans win the White House and retain control of the Senate, in addition to the House. Except for the most cynical among us, it’s clear that these two scenarios lead to very different directions for the country.

I scan The Drudge Report daily to see how the right is playing the "news", or manufacturing it for the right's benefit. They hate Hillary with a passion. Bernie, hardly at all. I suspect all the vermin on the right know something our purists can't fathom: Hillary is electable and the nominal socialist would be a much easier opponent to defeat. If the left had the same media infrastructure that the right has - and its Leninist tactical sensibility - it would be doing something similar, attacking the GOP's most formidable challenger, probably Rubio, in order to advance the interests of its most extreme candidate, say Ted Cruz.

Parties, insofar as they still function as vehicles for broad-based coalitions, have an interest in avoiding ideological outliers as their presidential nominees. There's no point in being right if you can't win. Ideals without power = masturbation. This means parties cut and tailor their agendas to maximize their chances. Hillary, for example, dances daily on this tightrope of positioning. Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing, per Vince Lombardi. Hillary's a pro in that she understands this. Bernie is an idealist, much more interested in being right than being effective.

If political theater is simply a projection screen for your own internal dramas, you won't care if you're ineffective as long as you can make it about something emotionally salient in your own life, say betrayal or personal virtue. Both the right and left play this game but the right has been able to herd their cats much better than the left. I think it's partly because right-wingers see themselves as a tribe (white Christian nationalists) while the left has a rather more amorphous sense of tribal identity.

The over-the-top rhetoric in this thread is troubling. I even get the sense of some mind-fucking going on here. Is this really Cal typing extremist nonsense about "homicidal sociopaths"? Say it ain't so, Cal, or just say it's your pal playing you as his convenient sockpuppet. It hardly matters what we personally think in this small community but we need to respect it instead of gaming it. Manipulating other people with fake opinions is what professional apparatchiks do. It's also called propaganda.

Soleri, “Sociopath” is a practiced word in a number of your posts here. I added Homicidal as to Hillary I firmly believe she is devoid of honest compassion and has no problem doing whatever it takes to destroy “her enemies” and advancing herself. I believe her record speaks for its self when it comes to United States military policies. I believe she will bomb baby bomb. She will keep twenty year old kids in the Nevada desert launching speeding drones into “our enemies” with horrendous civilian collateral casualties (because winning is what counts). And she will drill and she will further enrich herself in her wall street interests. She is the European that would have domesticated the American savages.
Being a cop I would like to interview Vince Foster.
My problem is that that in my Idealistic world Sanders and Warren seem to lie less than the rest of the crowd. But when it comes to Hillary and the GOP candidate I guess one has to vote for the least worst in the presidential election. Will that be Hillary?
Maybe i should just become a citizen of a less hostile country.

I am not a great intellect and therefore I respect those that inhabit this blog that bring great debate to the forefront. Without a doubt, Jon, Soleri and Petro are the folks I go to when I need an intelligent and honest answer to things I do not understand. That’s why I hang out here.

Soleri said “Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing, per Vince Lombardi. Hillary's a pro in that she understands this. Bernie is an idealist, much more interested in being right than being effective.”

I never liked Lombardi or football (or the Clintons). Football is the national felony gladiator sport and furthers the roman militaristic postures that inhabit our politics. So Soleri I find it puzzling, are your saying you favor Violence over Idealism. Dishonesty over being right?

Cal (if it is indeed Cal I'm having this discussion with and not Ruben), you have absolutely no proof that the Clintons have killed people. This stuff, which the right loves to propagate, is insane. It's not serious. It's so far outside the realm of reasonable political discourse that it renders our feeble efforts to find common ground impossible.

Hillary is a smart lawyer who ducks and weaves, parries and thrusts. She's a practiced fighter as is any successful politician. Bernie, on the other hand, is a gadfly from a small liberal state. He could not be elected senator from any other state in the union. Massachusetts wouldn't vote for him (Elizabeth Warren had her hands full defeating a male model there). The idea that this nation is going to elect as president the senate's most left-wing member is insane. If this were the United States of Berkeley, Seattle, Manhattan, and Cambridge, he would be a shoo-in. But not in the actual America I know.

Hillary's Neo-con positions are the most troubling part of her portfolio. But would she bomb Iran or invade Syria? Not if she cares about her base, which would openly revolt if she did anything that brazen. My own theory is that she has to pose as tough to the point of stupidity because this nation demands that female pols prove they will "protect America". It's a necessary burlesque because most citizens confuse reality with entertainments like Walking Tall.

I don't watch football but the reality principle Lombardi espoused is identical in politics. That's why lefties have a difficult time getting funding for campaigns based on things like cage-free chickens, abolishing chemtrails, and overthrowing the NSA. Serious money is not interested in virtue-mongering or Aquarian fantasies. It wants specific things. And if you don't get their money, you either better be a billionaire yourself, or just fall on your sword. You won't win.

I know how frustrating politics is to people who want a quick solutions based on doing the right thing. But it's not that simple. You get to a say in politics only to the degree you participate in the dominate tug-of-war between America's two major political tribes. If we could get all of America to vote, the left would easily win. But most people are vague to the point of incomprehension about politics improving their lives. So, millions upon millions of young people will condemn themselves to much harder lives because the beneficiaries of their agnosticism, Republicans, won't support the safety net and a full-employment economy. I have tried talking to them but I usually give up. They'll vote for Bernie, but not in local elections or mid-terms. And they think they're being savvy by voting the candidate and not the party. They've confused real life with American Idol.

I'm a proud left-winger but I don't see the point in noble defeats. I'm willing to push that Sisyphean rock up the mountain only if I think there might be a tangible benefit. If it's all an existential parable, it no longer matters. It's okay if you've given up on the process. But then this entire discussion is pretty much pointless. If you don't want to win, you've chosen the wrong hobby.

Bravo soleri! Thank you for your time and effort in responding spectacularly to Cal/Ruben and sj(Republican troll?) comments.

The Arizona cop Cal calling HRC dishonest. No one lies under oath, writes misleading police reports, nor disrespects court orders more than Arizona law enforcement officers. A national reputation for thuggery. Sheriff Joe is an accurate image of the typical Arizona cop"s respect for honesty. An Arizona cop should be the last person pointing at someone else's dishonesty.

Bernie Sanders is doing precisely what is needed to shift the Overton Window to the left: staking out positions to the left of mainstream Democrats and keeping his message simple. Democrats like Kyrsten Sinema are doing precisely what is necessary to help Republicans shift the Overton Window to the right: reinforcing Republican talking points with her public statements and her votes. Will Sanders win the nomination? Doubtful, but whether he wins or not, he is performing a public service whether people like soleri appreciate it or not.

As for the "electability" argument:


Drifter no argument about most your post but keep in mind there are a few honest cops.
When I became a cop one could do a lot of things and not get fired but the one thing you were sure to get fired for was lying. Times change.
And if you noticed I just said I like Bernie as he appears to lie less than most pols.
Soleri i have not been channeling Ruben.
And can we trust a poster with an anonymous handle of Drifter. What is it that makes people want to hide about who they are?

Boor, I don't really disagree with you. Bernie is performing the Lord's work here in de-stigmatizing "socialism". But I can already see how this ends with hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Bernie-philes sitting out the 2016 election and ceding the result to the Republicans. We've seen this movie before and it had a very unpleasant ending. That's why I'm preaching this way. You don't win with purity and virtue. You win any fucking way you can. Pushing the country left is great but let's not get so carried away that we end up electing a Republican president to go along with a Republican Congress and Supreme Court. The presidency is the only thing we have standing between us and the abyss.

Drifter, thanks for your support. I like Cal and I think he's a great soul. I have no idea what kind of cop he was but I can't imagine someone who loves Talton and Charles Bowden was ever an Arpaio-like goon. I'm also certain he didn't write those comments above. Main clue: his signature reads Cal Lash, not the usual cal lash. Moreover, those comments above have an edge and aggressiveness about them that are unlike Cal's gentle and resigned good nature. Ruben, if you're reading this: please stop this trolling. It's maddening. I really feel awful when we get into it because even though we're on opposite ends of the political spectrum, I know you're a decent human being. The greater the variety of opinions, the better this blog is. I promise to leave you in relative peace. Just sign your own name and we'll be good.

I'm gonna vote in the general for whoever wins the primary, like I always do: not gonna let the primary make enemies of my ideological allies. I wish there was maybe one other strong candidate to stir into the Democratic debates, because having it down to Clinton and Sanders so soon is creating some division within the base, and I don't want to be distracted from enjoying the extreme vitriol displayed toward one another on the Republican side. Those guys might as well trot out Fred Thompson's corpse and run that at this point. And I'm about to overdose from schadenfreude watching Jeb kill off the family dynasty. And Mr. Boor has a point about Sanders: even if Clinton wins, she can never be the happy go lucky board member of Walmart she once was, and I've never cared what someone's motives are, as long they more or less do what I want them to.

Cal, its over, you can stop asking people for their ID now!

One thing that can be discarded is the argument that Clinton would be able to better work with Congress: nobody's gonna be able to work with Congress in its members' current state of frenzied self-promotion and jockeying for position. They won't work with a Republican President either (each is now the only true Scotsman), thank God.
The concern that Sanders can't win in the general is valid, though: unfortunately, tragically, optics and media narrative are everything in our culture now, and Sanders better comb his hair and tell a joke pretty soon or he's gonna end up spending his last years in relative happiness back in Vermont.

Indeed, upper-case "Cal Lash" does not have the same ISP address as the real cal lash.

Please either use your name or an original nom de plume.

What a great thread, thanks to all for the food for thought.

I do believe Hillary is more conservative than she lets on these days, but I also believe her values and views are quite fungible at any time for any expediency. She is very much an establishment candidate and all the New World Order nonsense / conspiracy theories will continue unabated on the extremist internet under her watch...Obama as a leader with a notable lack of corruption on his watch has nonetheless inspired incredible conspiracy theories, so imagine what the creative minds out there would come up with once Hillary was in charge.

In terms of the "unaccomplished" / "unqualified" Republican field...it's not the fault of the more qualified candidates that they are either debating at the kids' table or running as also-rans behind the two leaders, neither of whom seems to stand any chance of getting the nomination in the end. I just keep repeating, "Herman Cain" as a means to stay calm and wait for time to pass and things to shake out.

To posit a theory: The election cycle is far too long. Therefore, in order to stave off boredom and keep things interesting, voters like to support in the early stages candidates who are amusing, unusual or out of left field, but whom they would not vote for in the real election.

"You get to a say in politics only to the degree you participate in the dominate tug-of-war between America's two major political tribes."

On the contrary. The tug-of-war is no longer a real contest between competing ideas; the contest is rigged and the candidates are chosen for us by the oligarchs. Mayberry is dead.

Follow all that money, and except for the Sanders campaign, you will find banksters and corporate evil-doers footing the bill to get a cooperative pet pol into office.

Sanders can't win.

So is anyone going to argue that Hillary and any Republican are going to make the same Supreme Court nominations, as well as those to the federal bench elsewhere?

Yes, the neoliberal/oligarch establishment has much control. But if Al Gore had been inaugurated as president in 2001 (he was elected, but St. Sandy had to extraconstitutionally give W. the Electoral College), no John Roberts, Sam Alito or Citizens United.

The courts, the courts, the courts. If nothing else, that matters.

Will Hillary make better fed judicial nominations than the Republicans?

I have my doubts. He who pays the piper calls the tunes. Hillary is bought and paid for by the same interests that support Citizens United.

sj, I can't argue with conspiracy theories like yours so I won't try. I will say this: even if Bernie were elected, nothing would change. The oligarchy has pretty much an iron grip on our government. The best we can do is work though the process for systematic change. It will require a confluence of positive events - a Democratic Congress and president, a chastened Republican Party no longer in hock to its most extreme elements, and a nation that actually walks away from the Goebbels-like media that whip them into idiotic frenzies.

Your Bernie mania is not a plan, it's a daydream. The first order of the day is to defeat the complete capitulation of the federal government to the hard right, which will happen if enough of your tribe sits out the 2016 election. If you think Hillary and, say, Marco Rubio are the same, this won't matter to you. You're simply too far gone. But the last time your kind of zealotry was in fashion, George W Bush was the result (along with Citizens United, which you apparently don't like). I'm not sure why anyone would want to follow you down a similar path.

Extremism of the left and right are equally cynical and insane. When you're agreeing with Ruben, a Rand Paul-type Republican, it's an indication just how loopy your politics are.

So, incremental change . . . how's that goin' for ya?

I've been there, with bells on. I'm over it.

I haven't seen one enthusiastic endorsement for HRC on this site. I'm as sure as I can be that she is not going to represent my interests. She may mouth the words, but her fingers will be crossed behind her back.

When it comes to an appointment to the SCOTUS, do you really believe that YOUR interests will outweigh those of corporate America? Have you been following HRC's nearly-worthless suggestions for Wall Street regulation?

You can call me a zealot or a cynic, or even loopy, but I'm over believing that voting for the lesser of two evils makes me a good American, or a good democrat.

I have to agrre with Soleri (not hard for me) regarding the SCOTUS. The age and health of some of the current justices makes some appoinments likely by the next POTUS.
I will certain endorse Hillary very strongly. I believe she is the most qualified candidate.
Those of you who choose to believe the bull pucky being spewed by the R's and fellow travelers have the right, as Americans, to be wrong.

RE: The use of an alias:
This is, obviously, an accepted practice in these formats. I have several myself.

Full Disclosure: My frontname really is Roger and the surname is Simpson.
I am not trying to hide - it just simpler to do.

sj, we got into this mess incrementally, so I suspect we could conceivably get out that way, too.

You're not smart enough to know whether Hillary's Wall St re-regulation proposals are "nearly worthless". You're not prescient enough to know her Supreme Court appointments will be corporate stooges. Since I imagine you conflate Hillary and Bill in your Parade of Evil Malefactors, what do you think of Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsberg? Stooges? They voted against Citizens United, which is far better than what Ralph Nader's picks decided.

At the same time, you share this delusion that the presidency has magical powers. Many on the left blame Obama for not "passing" single-payer health care. They blame him for not pulling the plug on the Deep State by curtailing the NSA. And they wanted him to sic DOJ on Wall Street grifters despite the firestorm the financial community would have unleashed. The president has huge powers, but by himself he's constrained by not only public opinion but the consensus reality of Washington insiders. One germane example: when the manufactured debt hysteria overwhelmed public opinion in 2010, Obama did what probably any president would have done - he tried to strike a deal. Fortunately for the nation, Republicans were so intent on destroying his presidency, they refused a deal that would have given them 90% of what they wanted.

Hillary would, as president, be the leader of a center-left coalition. She would preserve Obamacare, protect and probably enhance the EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, appoint liberals to SCOTUS and appeals courts, and use her veto pen to keep woman free of right-wing uterus cops.

What would Bernie do? Pretty much the same. Anything else? Please tell me, because you do understand the House would still be Republican, right? So, there would be no great legislative achievements or initiatives. And as America's "first" socialist president, he would be demonized worst than Obama.

I wish America were a better country and we would be if young people and Hispanics simply voted. This is a problem that we, you and I, can actually do something about. You can talk to your friends, register voters, canvas neighborhoods, work for the powerless, network, and support liberal groups already in place. You're not without power, however limited it might seem.

The False Equivalency is one of the most enduring and disempowering myths we have in America today. Democrats are not equally culpable, or equally insane, or equally greedy, or equally stupid in comparison to Republicans. Democrats have, by and large, kept their heads while Republicans have overdosed on Aryan Jesus, Ayn Rand, Arthur Laffer and Grover Norquist. There is such a gulf between the parties that we use the phrase "cold civil war" to describe what's happening in America today.

I know you want change badly. So do I. But a far-left critique better have an army of resolute soldiers because without them, you're not going to win. You need more than righteousness and purity. You need big numbers, organization, and discipline. When you get them, come back and show us. Right now, you're spinning your wheels carping at people like me.

A possible path out of our civic wilderness:


Will someone let me know what happened 2009-20011 when Dems had sizable majorities in House and Senate? Was this a missed opportunity when Dems might have delivered programs that made kept those 2008 voters coming back for more? I truly don't recollect- but have the sense of inertia and compromise. What wasn't apparent was the very aggressive pursuit of their ends that GWB's administration showed.

HMLS skrev :

today's audience doesn't possess the focus and intellect

Close. Colbert nailed it when he addressed the Press Corps(e) Dinner:

"We didn't want to know, and you didn't tell us."

A large segment of the US electorate actively avoids accurate information because it conflicts with the comforting lies they've been clutching since Reagan.

Dawgzy, Democrats are strong majorities in both chambers but given the arcane traditions of the Senate, you needed 60 votes to pass anything. Al Franken wasn't seated until June of 2009. That meant Obama had to get Republican votes to pass the stimulus bill, which meant watering down the package with tax cuts. Conservative Democrats like Ben Nelson, Max Baucus, and Joe Lieberman prevented truly progressive health-care reform from passing. For example: we could have had Medicare buy-in at age 55 if not for Lieberman - the House had already voted for it. Instead, we ended up with Romneycare. Dodd-Frank was also watered down but, as Paul Krugman likes to remind us, it was still a monumental achievement.

If you want Democrats to be more of a purely liberal party - a kind of mirror image of the ideologically uniform Republicans - you're in luck. Both parties are sorting themselves politically, geographically, and demographically. I can't imagine living to see another Democrat elected from Nebraska, for example. We used to elect liberal Democrats in places like Idaho and Wyoming. You won't see that again in our lifetimes. The election of 2008 was like a strong El Nino. We got the rain but it didn't last. Droughts are more the rule than the exception now.


Dodd-Frank was also watered down but, as Paul Krugman likes to remind us, it was still a monumental achievement.

Indeed it was. And Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been making the news with some wonderfully aggressive acts against the dishonestly moneyed. Not sure anybody's paying attention though. Nevertheless, how long do you think her agency would last under a new Republican President? A few months?

Then there's the Fed and Janet Yellen. Do you suppose a Republican president would have nominated her? Anybody claiming to be worried about Too Big To Fail and Wall Street excesses needs to read this:


Both of these items represent tectonic shifts in the governing of our country. They are victories for the Left promulgated by a Democrat President.

Why is this so hard for some to see?

A major problem is that the scale of our lives isn't sufficient to allow us to "feel" these particular changes. Yellen and the CFPB are changing things steadily, but sotto voce...

Change, unless it slaps us in the face (like a Supreme Court decision allowing gays to marry), often doesn't count as change. That's unfortunate. For the very reasons soleri warns upthread.

Call it an inconvenient truth: Slow tectonic changes can sometimes makes it appear that the difference between Republicans and Democrats is moot.

The trick is to think outside the box that is your lifespan. Or as one of my favorite authors put it:

"Perspective, use it or lose it."

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