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The Elephant In The Green Room
May 22, 2011 9:37 PM   Subscribe

How Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes Failed At Setting Up A Strong Republican Candidate for 2012: The circus Roger Ailes created at Fox News made his network $900 million last year. But it may have lost him something more important: the next election. A lengthy (7 page) New York Magazine article. Single page link.
posted by hippybear (130 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
If a bogeyman like Obama is better for business than a Republican prez, why shouldn't Murdoch and Ailes throw the election?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:45 PM on May 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


Yeah, and with Democrats like Obama and Reid in charge, Roger Ailes no doubt says "big deal;".

Fox has won something more important than an election; they've won the culture wars, to the extent that Democrats apologize for being Democrats and refuse to call themselves that epithet, "liberal".

Another four years of just means defining "Democrat" and "the center" ever more to the right, which opens up more space on the right, making what was once the marginalized right wing fringe part of the acceptable discourse, while at the same time what used to be left becomes anathema.

Which is fine with Roger Ailes -- and unfortunately with too many Democrats too.
posted by orthogonality at 9:47 PM on May 22, 2011 [69 favorites]


This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Iron Rat at 10:03 PM on May 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


In the summer of 2008, Ailes confronted Murdoch after he learned Murdoch was thinking of endorsing Obama in the New York Post

That's a fascinating little titbit right there.
posted by saturday_morning at 10:06 PM on May 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


This is why we can't have nice things.

"We"? That sounds like socialism to me.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:12 PM on May 22, 2011 [30 favorites]


There's plenty of time to create 'the reluctant patriot who must save the country'.

That's the narrative I'm expecting to surface in GOP-friendly media in 3-6 months.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 10:24 PM on May 22, 2011 [17 favorites]


Correct me if I'm mis-remembering, but didn't Ailes start to make nice to Hillary Clinton when she started to do well? I think he's one of those guys who would like it if Republicans were in office, but Power is the most important thing, regardless.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:26 PM on May 22, 2011


Correct me if I'm mis-remembering, but didn't Ailes start to make nice to Hillary Clinton when she started to do well? I think he's one of those guys who would like it if Republicans were in office, but Power is the most important thing, regardless.

From the article: There was bad blood left over from the campaign. In the bitter primary fight for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton’s advisers, led by Howard Wolfson, courted Fox and fed them negative research about Obama and John Edwards. “She made some kind of compact with Murdoch,” Obama’s former media adviser Anita Dunn told me.

Which is the only mention of Clinton as far as I can see.
posted by hippybear at 10:29 PM on May 22, 2011


There's plenty of time to create 'the reluctant patriot who must save the country'.

I thought Superman renounced his citizenship...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 10:29 PM on May 22, 2011


By October 2008, Ailes recognized that Obama was likely to beat McCain. He needed to give his audience a reason to stay in the stands and watch his team. And so he went on a hiring spree. By the time Obama defeated McCain, Ailes had hired former Bush aide Karl Rove and Mike Huckabee and went on to assemble a whole lineup of prospective 2012 contenders: Palin, Gingrich, Santorum, and John Bolton.

It was, more than anything, a business decision. “It would be easy to look at Fox and think it’s conservative because Rupert and Roger are conservative and they program it the way they like. And to a degree, that’s true. But it’s also a business,” a person close to Ailes explained. “And the way the business works is, they control conservative commentary the way ESPN controls the market for sports rights. If you have a league, you have a meeting with ESPN, you find out how much they’re willing to pay, and then everyone else agrees to pay the same amount if they want it … It’s sort of the same at Fox. I was surprised at some of what was being paid until I processed it that way. If you’re ABC and you don’t have Newt Gingrich on a particular morning, you can put someone else on. But if you’re Fox, and Newt is moving and talking today, you got to have him. Otherwise, your people are like, ‘Where’s Newt? Why isn’t he on my channel?’ ”


Foc hasn't "won the culture" wars so much as they've won the ratings wars.

To the extent that viewership translates into "culture", Democrats have had nothing to offer since Kennedy. I mean there hasn't been a successful presidential spinoff since Johnson - and only then because the Kennedy Administration was cancelled mid-season.
posted by three blind mice at 10:30 PM on May 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


According to the article, Santorum is polling just 2%.

I guess the definition needs to be amended to "an insignificant amount of the frothy mixture .....".
posted by benito.strauss at 10:30 PM on May 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


I thought Ailes held a fundraiser for Hillary?

Oh, sorry, Ailes's boss Murdoch, not Ailes.
posted by orthogonality at 10:31 PM on May 22, 2011


You've got it orthogonality. I was (mis-)remembering the Murdoch fundraiser.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:35 PM on May 22, 2011


I don't buy Fox News as an outfit purely in search of ratings. There has to be room for ONE liberal host in a ratings quest.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:01 PM on May 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


come on furiousxgeorge - they've got shep and colmes. LOL... Shep I can kinda sorta respect, Colmes, not so much.
posted by symbioid at 11:29 PM on May 22, 2011


Wait... it was Roger Ailes' job to set up the Republican candidate? Didn't you guys used to vote or something?
posted by klanawa at 11:32 PM on May 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


You think that it would be easy to get someone to run against (and beat) Obama, if he is as bad as Fox news makes him out to be. And yet, they don't seem to have been able to field even one plausible candidate yet. Strange...
posted by sophist at 11:38 PM on May 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


When future historians discuss the decline of America, his name will be at the top of the list. Ever since he was a speechwriter for Nixon the middle class has been shrinking, since 1973. The middle class, of course, was the greatest liberal invention of all time, and they knew that.
posted by Brian B. at 11:44 PM on May 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


The period 1830s through 1850s was the Golden Age of the Circus in America, which has some parallels with present day politics. The traveling circus was not only entertainment, it was were common folk went to engage in political debate. Fueled by the emerging mass newspaper, the circus was a place where the common man (ie. rube farmer) could go and let his political opinions be heard. The main circus act was often a stand-up routine by a clown pushing political hot buttons - think Beck or Stewart. It almost always ended with fists flying and rowdy cries of "Hey, Rube!". After the Civil War the circus was never the same, it became more gentrified, big business, less rowdy, less political. I see some parallels between the golden circus period and now, except the circus is the Internet, the rubes are us, the center ring is television, and the clown acts are well known. At some point people will be less tolerant of the rowdy circus, and things will change, but it took a Civil War to do it before, and the shooting in Tucson to put it on temporary hold today.
posted by stbalbach at 11:50 PM on May 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


Am I the only one who keeps mis-reading "Republican" as "Reptilian" lately?

ie: How Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes Failed At Setting Up A Strong Reptilian Candidate for 2012

maybe The Rapture happened after all.
posted by philip-random at 12:24 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, the circus industry had at least one principle that Ailes has capitalized upon: "you can fool some of the people all of the time". Ailes has developed a very lucrative cable network that targets those folks that can always be counted upon to be suckered by Republican talking-points.

It reminds me of the commercial for some men's sexual enhancement drug or whatever, where the shill exclaims "if this product didn't work, would we have already sold over a million bottles throughout America?" To which the rational response is: certainly, because there are well over a million stupid people in America.
posted by darkstar at 12:36 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


February 2010: Overwhelming bipartisan majority supports legislation counteracting Citizens United ruling
36. Would you support or oppose an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?
         -------- Support --------   --------- Oppose --------     No
         NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opinion
2/8/10   72       52         20      24        9         14         4
July 2010: Senate Dems lack votes to overcome Republican filibuster of Disclose Act
Senate legislation that would require corporations to make detailed public reports on political spending is expected to fail Tuesday afternoon. [...] Snowe told reporters before the weekly Republican luncheon that she considered it “premature” to support the bill.
October 2010: Republicans' secret formula — 501(c)(4)
Sure, Republicans are exploiting a gap in the law to avoid disclosing their donors. But the real question is how did the Democrats allow themselves to be so badly outfoxed in the big-money competition?
September 2010: Conservatives dominate campaign spending by interest groups
Interest groups and political parties reported $13.9 million in expenditures to the Federal Election Commission last week. Of that amount, 85 percent was spent on behalf of Republicans and 15 percent on behalf of Democrats.
With the enormous amounts of anonymous cash set to pour into GOP coffers next year, does it matter if their candidate is on the weak side?
posted by Rhaomi at 12:42 AM on May 23, 2011 [16 favorites]


Overwhelming bipartisan majority supports legislation counteracting Citizens United ruling

They would need a constitutional amendment, I think.
posted by delmoi at 1:05 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought Superman renounced his citizenship...

Superman was born on the planet KenYa. As such, he was able to become a citizen, but only native-born citizens can become president.

(This is why birth certificates have always played such an important role in every presidential race.)
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:23 AM on May 23, 2011


This article really shows that for all the influence the conservative media machine has, getting people angry is easy, but playing king maker is still beyond its ability. I remember 2008, when I would occasionally tune into talk radio to see what the mood was on the other side concerning the presidential race.

Right wing talk radio HATED McCain and thought he was too much of a moderate. I remember, after McCain won the nomination, Limbaugh would often say that the strategy now was to first defeat Obama and then defeat McCain.

Limbaugh and Hannity really, really wanted Romney to be the nominee (Huckabee has the values chops, wanted to help the poor, so he was really socialist). However, they either didn't want to talk about or didn't want to admit that Romney didn't have a chance because so many conservatives hate Mormons, particularly in the South, which is the GOP's base. Romney won at least two states in every region, but was shut out of the South.

It was interesting to listen to the talk radio guys try to rally support for Romney but completely ignore the elephant in the room, even as they grew more frustrated as McCain's nomination came closer to a done deal. I remember one Romney supporting caller from the South even brought up that most of the people he knew would never vote for a Mormon. Limbaugh sort of squirmed around for an answer before going to commercial because how was he going to come out and say that conservatives are bigots?
posted by riruro at 1:59 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Right wing talk radio HATED McCain and thought he was too much of a moderate.

And McCain ran a feckless, plodding campaign.

And McCain selected Ms Palin as his running mate.

And Lehman Brothers collapsed and the Bush Administration doled out 750b in taxpayer money in a financial bailout of Wall Street less than two months before the general election.

And yet with all of this, Obama did not trounce McCain. His victory was clear, but not overwhelming. Indeed, Obama beat McCain in 2008 by a far less margin than Clinton defeated GHWB (a much better candidate than McCain) in 1992. Clinton received almost 70% of the popular vote in 1992 and 1996, Obama - running against McCain - made it to just under 53%.

You think that it would be easy to get someone to run against (and beat) Obama, if he is as bad as Fox news makes him out to be. And yet, they don't seem to have been able to field even one plausible candidate yet. Strange...

Strange indeed. Whatever the influence of Fox News, it is clear that the Democrats enjoy a tenuous purchase on power. Maybe in a center-right country, the influence of right-wing Fox is enough to tip the scales?
posted by three blind mice at 2:24 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fox has won something more important than an election; they've won the culture wars, to the extent that Democrats apologize for being Democrats and refuse to call themselves that epithet, "liberal".

To be fair, "L" has been the political scarlet letter since at least 1988 when George Bush used it against Michael Dukakis.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:58 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am continually fascinated with the way people--as in human beings--break apart and/or form separate groups--and how we use and define words to assist in that process.

A "center-right" country? The center of the country is the center. That seems like you're saying the majority is slightly in the minority.

A "liberal?" To me, that word is positive, as in, "I enjoy a liberal amount of sauce on my pasta, don't skimp." Or, "I want a liberal number of ideas and sources of information in my life from which to piece together my overall worldview." Then again, when I drive through a park, I take a conservative approach to my speed.

"Politics" in general seem nearly synonymous with the narrow middle. If you want truly liberal ideas--even if those ideas are conservative ones--read some poetry, a scientific paper, some philosophy, or look at some paintings. Watching the so-called news on TV and following politics is like reading the instructions on your shampoo bottle in terms of intellectual fecundity.

I don't deny the real need for decisions to be made about the government of a country, but this directional and dichtomized language seems hollow to me. Political power ends up being more about manipulation than knowledge or ideas, and the details of how that works are often fascinatingly abstruse.

But I'm probably in the minority on this.
posted by ottimo at 3:25 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fox has won something more important than an election; they've won the culture wars, to the extent that Democrats apologize for being Democrats and refuse to call themselves that epithet, "liberal".
Meh, liberals just started calling themselves 'progressive', which I actually disagree with. The actual 'progressives' had some problematic ideas: like eugenics, and temperance. Woodrow Wilson was a huge racist, and terrible on civil liberties.

But anyway, the point is these labels are largely irrelevant. The democrats are mainly a corporate + socially liberal party now.
posted by delmoi at 3:42 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


But I'm probably in the minority on this.

Trying to redefine your words to make them mean what you think they mean? Not so much.
posted by crossoverman at 3:45 AM on May 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


Clinton received almost 70% of the popular vote in 1992 and 1996

Holy cow. Not even close.

Clinton 1992 43%

Clinton 1996 49.2%
posted by dglynn at 3:48 AM on May 23, 2011 [30 favorites]


Three changes to his platform, and Obama will win re-election in Reagan-Mondale proportions against any of the current Republican contenders other than Romney (and against him, only be reduced to Bush-Dukakis at worst). Fox News won't endorse him, but the New York Post probably would.

"We were wrong about guns; if you're a law-abiding citizen, you should be able to buy and bear a civilian weapon like any other tool."

"We continue to need to raise taxes on the rich, but I'm moving the income threshhold from $250k a family to $1MM."

"Reducing carbon remains compelling, but I forswear artificial increases in carbon prices as the means of doing so: we will use other incentivizes to reduce consumption and increase development of alternative energy."
posted by MattD at 3:55 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


The thing that FOX has truly achieved is ubiquity in the public eye. Walk into any business that has a flat-panel hanging on the wall for the entertainment of waiting customers (including doctor's offices, dentists, jiffy lube, etc. etc.) and the chances are extremely high that it will be playing FOX News. Hell, even the local sports bar has at least one of their screens glued to Fox News 24-7.

This, to me, is the true triumph of Ailes And Fox.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:03 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


he doesn’t want Fox to be seen as a front of the Republican Party.

Far, far, far too late for that. It's been past that point, and for the last five years, needs to be shut down as a network since they are directly involved with the Republican party and attempting to take over as the government. Too much like Italy as it is now.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 4:06 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Holy cow. Not even close.

Clinton 1992 43%

Clinton 1996 49.2%


You're absolutely correct. What was I thinking? Thanks for the correction dglynn. I was looking at electoral collage results and "seeing" popular election.

But now you remind me that Perot ran in 1992 and 1996 peeling away support from Bush and Dole. One thing seems certain, despite their affinity for the Tea Party, Fox News won't be promoting any "third party" candidate.
posted by three blind mice at 4:06 AM on May 23, 2011


But I'm probably in the minority on this.

Trying to redefine your words to make them mean what you think they mean? Not so much.


If you have a specific comment about the issues I addressed or a particular word, I suggest you state that more clearly. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible to respond to your generic insult.

And I would remind you what it says below: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.
posted by ottimo at 4:14 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm actually with MattD on his comments above. Obama's fixation on the $250,000 limit absolutely murders small business owners, when in reality the "rich" we want to soak are those higher up on the food chain. Next, he needs to shut his trap about guns and finally, recognize that the carbon stuff ain't going anywhere anytime soon.

Those three things right there will help quiet a lot of the anxiety that many in the middle feel.
posted by tgrundke at 4:46 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


tgrundke, only 2% of households in the US make $250K a year. How does that have anything to do with the 'middle'?
posted by octothorpe at 4:52 AM on May 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Ottimo,

Words like 'centre', 'liberal', and 'conservative' have sometimes contested but at times fairly well established meanings in political theory, that are somewhat at odds with they way in which you used them.

And I wouldn't take crosserman's snark as an insult, rather more of a pithy observation of the way the meanings of words get mangled over time.

To wit, in political theory a 'liberal' was once someone who held the view that regulations on the market such be reduced to the absolute minimum, i.e. laissez faire, or at least free market capitalism in its various graduations. However, in modern American political discourse, for some people 'liberalism' has come to be synonymous with socialism. Arguably, this has happened in part due to concerted distortions and vilifications of the word for political reasons, which has redefined the term to refer to the social rather than the economic sphere. In any case, language is funny like that.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 4:53 AM on May 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Obama's fixation on the $250,000 limit absolutely murders small business owners, when in reality the "rich" we want to soak are those higher up on the food chain.

The $250k is a bargaining point. It's intended to be a starting point for the Republicans to move higher, in order to save face if, in the end, they see they really do have to eliminate some part of the Bush tax breaks. They can move it up, and claim they held the line for middle America.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:01 AM on May 23, 2011


Raising taxes on Adjusted Gross Income over $250k means that you start paying the higher tax rates on the first dollar over the $250k. I understand that someone may be against their federal income taxes being raised from 35% to 39% on any money over that $250k line, but what does raising the tax rate on any personal income over (adjusted)$250k have to do with the prospects of "small business"? This is personal income, after expenses, profits, beyond the cost of running the business.

And when has Obama ever said anything about guns? I've watched gun shops push the price of ammo up since the election, and lots of scared gun owners stocking up in anticipation of.... what? There has been no attempt by the Obama administration to do anything about guns. If he said he wanted to do nothing about guns explicitly, his opponents will claim he is lying, for their own reasons, political and business.

And that carbon stuff is going nowhere. It's in our atmosphere, fucking up my ice fishing.
posted by dglynn at 5:16 AM on May 23, 2011 [18 favorites]


Obama's fixation on the $250,000 limit absolutely murders small business owners

Link plz
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:20 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Beck’s next target was Obama’s green-jobs “czar,” Van Jones, who had been blasted for signing a 9/11 “Truth Statement” in 2004. Jones resigned on September 6.

You know what I'd like to see?

A Democratic party that as a point of principle never, EVER, gets people to resign in the face of controversy cooked up by Fox News.

(And possibly sues for libel or slander, or if it has the political power to do so, has Fox e.g. exhaustively audited by the IRS or otherwise punished - these people are cowardly bullies and a little bit of biting back - or a thorough, murderous mauling - would probably go a long way).
posted by lucien_reeve at 5:20 AM on May 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


The most amazing thing about that article is the continual presence of Russell Simmons.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:23 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


One thing to remember about Roger Ailes is that he's 71, and is a pretty fat guy, who clearly likes his steak dinners. Based on this article, he also seems like a guy who is sort of insecure enough to not allow any of his underlings any real control. So, practically speaking, it's only a matter of time. And not much time, at that.
posted by crunchland at 5:26 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Three changes to his platform, and Obama will win re-election in Reagan-Mondale proportions against any of the current Republican contenders other than Romney

"We were wrong about guns; if you're a law-abiding citizen, you should be able to buy and bear a civilian weapon like any other tool."

Oh come on. I want to take opposing arguments seriously but- Really? Obama has a chance of winning the deep South? Texas? If only he changed his mind on gun laws?

Or you could, you know, offer a link/example of what you feel Obama was "wrong" about re: guns. And then maybe offer anything constituting data about how that is actually the determining factor as to why the Republican Party isn't supporting him. And not a whole host of other issues like the "Death Panels" lie or, I dunno, the whole "over 40% of the Party thinks he's not American" thing.

Look I realize you often have views that are further to the right of many MeFites MattD but if you are going to argue that Obama isn't carrying a dozen states that no almost Democrat has won since the Civil Rights movement because he has a liberal stance on guns, you should really try in some, small way, to validate it. The other stuff you point out is equally silly. Show me a single poll where even 2 out of the 3 of gun control, top tax rates and carbon emissions are greater issues to GOP voters than health care, abortion, Obama's citizenship, or foreign policy. Please.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:36 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


So, practically speaking, it's only a matter of time. And not much time, at that.

A matter of time till what? Till his untrusted underlings take over and do exactly what he was doing all along, except doubling down on it?
posted by blucevalo at 5:39 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Three changes to his platform, and Obama will win re-election in Reagan-Mondale proportions against any of the current Republican contenders other than Romney...

Even so, the Dems are very probably going to lose the Senate this time around, so Obama will be stranded on a desert island of policy, while being continually bombarded by the surrounding Teapublican fleet.

2012-2016 is going to make us long for the good old days of bipartisanship circa 2010.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:47 AM on May 23, 2011


But I'm probably in the minority on this.

Almost by definition, someone uninterested in forming majority-sized coalitions in order to win elections will find himself in the minority.

I forswear artificial increases in carbon prices as the means of doing so: we will use other incentivizes to reduce consumption and increase development of alternative energy.

Agreed. In fact, there's a conservative, free-market solution to this that was proposed during the 1990s and creates incentives while allowing flexibility and lacking the bluntness of a tax: you cap emissions and allow producers to trade their emissions allowances! This is the conservative/libertarian/free market solution of the future, I'm telling you! All the Republicans and conservative economic textbooks love it. I'm sure conservatives will get right on board when a Democrat proposes it in the spirit of reasonableness and compromise!
posted by deanc at 5:54 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Show me a single poll where even 2 out of the 3 of gun control, top tax rates and carbon emissions are greater issues to GOP voters than health care, abortion, Obama's citizenship, or foreign policy.

In MattD's defense, while most people don't care about gun control, the people who do are against any gun control and super-motivated about it. However, the deal with things like gun control and tax rates is this: the interest groups behind them have made a deal, which is, "support Republicans, and we'll give you what you want." If they support Democrats, even when those Democrats might fall on their own side of an issue, then they break their agreement with the Republicans and lose their access.

In the same way that Fox News has become an arm of the Republican party, in a similar manner these "non partisan" interest groups have been co-opted such that their job is not simply to push their issue but also to serve as an arm of the Republican party, so appealing to them to win their support is a futile move.
posted by deanc at 5:58 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Three changes to his platform, and Obama will win re-election in Reagan-Mondale proportions against any of the current Republican contenders other than Romney

Yes.

1) I will raise taxes against the top 2% of the earners in America, those earning more than $250,000 after deductions.

2) I will fight global warming with everything I can. We may not be able to save New Orleans, but we can save the Gulf Coast, we can save Florida, we can save coastal Carolina.

3) We will have universal single-payer health care. We will have social security. Will will not let Wall Street and the Republicans take that away from you.

See, the reason Obama is in trouble is not that the Tea Party doesn't support him. It's that the liberal base that elected him doesn't support him. Win that base back, and the GOP becomes the racist southern isolationist party that it is, and can be ignored.

Moderates? FUCK moderates. They don't make a decision until election day, and they break 75-25% for the perceived winner. If there is such a thing as a moderate, they'll never vote GOP right now, because the GOP stance is clearly right-wing radical, and anybody in the GOP daring to question that will be destroyed. Latest sucker? Newt Gingrich.

If moderates matter, this election is already a landslide for the Democrats. It isn't.

Get the liberal vote out, the Democrats can win. Otherwise, they lose.

Why do you think the GOP is working so hard to keep potential democrats from voting?
posted by eriko at 5:59 AM on May 23, 2011 [21 favorites]


Not sure why it's a big deal. For the past three years Obama supporters on Metafilter have been assuring me that the President is simply powerless to effect any real change.

It's pretty clear to me that Obama's toughest opponent in 2012 will be Obama from 2008.
posted by Legomancer at 6:13 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Or Eriko and MattD, Obama can appeal to both groups just enough to get elected again without taking extreme positions in either direction. Which he can and will do, all while OBL's head sits on a spike atop the castle wall.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:15 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


he needs to shut his trap about guns

Obama hasn't done anything on gun control since he was elected, nor was it a significant part of his campaign, nor is it a consistent or significant theme of his speeches as president. The conservative belief that he is particularly anti-gun is delusional paranoia.

In 2010 "the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, citing "extraordinary silence and passivity," graded Obama an F on gun control. .. During his tenure, the President has also expanded gun rights by signing laws that allow the possession of firearms in national parks and on Amtrak."

"We were wrong about guns; if you're a law-abiding citizen, you should be able to buy and bear a civilian weapon like any other tool."

The thing is, that's pretty much exactly Obama's stated stance on guns:

In 2008, candidate Obama said "I think it’s important for us to recognize that we’ve got a tradition of handgun ownership and gun ownership generally. And a lot of law-abiding citizens use it for hunting, for sportsmanship, and for protecting their families. We also have a violence on the streets that is the result of illegal handgun usage. And so I think there is nothing wrong with a community saying we are going to take those illegal handguns off the streets. And cracking down on the various loopholes that exist in terms of background checks for children, the mentally ill. We can have reasonable, thoughtful gun control measure that I think respect the Second Amendment and people’s traditions." (emphasis added)
posted by jedicus at 6:26 AM on May 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


Three changes to his platform, and Obama will win re-election in Reagan-Mondale proportions against any of the current Republican contenders other than Romney (and against him, only be reduced to Bush-Dukakis at worst)

This is, of course, a disastrous strategy. If Obama ceded those points, the Republicans would simply move further to the right. There is literally nothing Obama can do to get Republicans to agree with him. Even when he has adopted Republican policies whole sale they have voted against the bills in order to avoid being seen as cooperating with him. Great example: a proposal to expand tax credits for corporate R&D and capital investments. Straight out of the Republican policy playbook yet they wouldn't vote for it.
posted by jedicus at 6:31 AM on May 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Fox has won something more important than an election; they've won the culture wars, to the extent that Democrats apologize for being Democrats and refuse to call themselves that epithet, "liberal".

Why did you let him?
posted by Ironmouth at 6:35 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Still seeking clarification on how raising marginal rates on personal income over $250k impacts small business in any way. I keep hearing people state that this change is detrimental to small business as if it is self-evident, but without any explanation of how.
posted by dglynn at 6:35 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Doesn't matter. Dumbfuck radio will still be festooned with screechers moaning about how Obama is planning to take all the guns and send everybody to FEMA camps. Interupted every 7 minutes with lengthy commercials for colloidal silver and survivalist food caches (priced at hundreds of $$$ by the way.)
posted by telstar at 6:39 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Still seeking clarification on how raising marginal rates on personal income over $250k impacts small business in any way.

Many small business owners record all business income as personal income, so their businesses are taxed at individual rates. Google "pass through entity" for more information.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:44 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


And tying my question back to the original post, this type of unexamined statement("increased personal taxes will adversely effect small business"), without any explanation of why this would have adverse impact, is the type of thing I hear and see on conservative media outlets. Fox is almost certainly a leader in generating and promoting these "facts" without bothering to argue their points, merely using Luntzisms to make their audience feel that this advocacy is actually the plain reporting of facts, minus the actual provision of facts.

Watch certain media outlets rail against the potential for damage, and note how often they tell you how that damage would occur.
posted by dglynn at 6:45 AM on May 23, 2011


Hmm. Weren't we all saying "these tea party idiots are too much of a circus of crazy to win" back in 2010?
posted by Artw at 6:46 AM on May 23, 2011


This explains the personal income/small business issue a bit. It's by a lobbying group, but it explains where they're coming from.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:48 AM on May 23, 2011


See, the reason Obama is in trouble is not that the Tea Party doesn't support him. It's that the liberal base that elected him doesn't support him.

Really? Tea Party aside, what everyone fights for are the independents. Self-identified liberals are 18% of the population. What they've never given him is the ability to get Congress to vote for these programs. I admit, I'd like single payer. But there's not enough fucking votes for it in Congress. and, when told this, many liberals complain that it is Obama's job to get them to vote for it. Wrong. It is the citizens job to get Congress to vote for it. In fact, Obama has no way to force anyone to vote for anything on the hill. He can only persuade. And when this is pointed out we are told that Obama should strip those in congress of his own party that won't vote for it of committee assigments, etc. Well, there aint nothing in the Constitution that says he gets that power either.

The thing I don't get is how they all scream "betrayal" when Obama does something he said he was going to do on the campaign trail. How can it be a betrayal when he said he was going to do it? From Afghanistan to bin Laden to guns, he said he was going to do these things. Yet some act all crazy, as if they watched a different campaign where Obama promised them the opposite.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:49 AM on May 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


To: Hello, I'm David McGahan -

I believe crosserman's comment was less pithy and more of a sacrifice of clarity for an attempt at cleverness.

But I can't really respond to his comment or your interpretation of it with much resolve--due to the vagueness and lack of specific ideas to address in his response.

But if I had to guess, I would say that he makes the same mistake (or misunderstanding) as you do in terms of what I was saying. I would guess that he, like you, was being critical of my use of certain words. Thank you for specifying the words you meant--he, however, did not do so.

Anyway, as for the misunderstanding: the most primary point of my first comment was to emphasize my very interest in the variety of ways words are used, defined, refined, redefined, and so forth--to accompany corresponding social separations and groupings. So to accuse me of misusing those words might, if it's true, bolster my point rather than challenge it.

But I took no official position on what the words you mentioned mean, since I believe those meanings are various and protean, but I did offer a few concrete examples of their everyday usage to emphasize how they have been manipulated to a very abstract degree for political purposes. In that line, I would disagree with you that these three terms have sometimes had fairly well-established meanings. They have long since ceased to represent an even partially stable idea (as much as any word has one). We might as well substitute "orange" and "grape" for "liberal" and "conservative," as Muriel Rukeyser might agree.

So, to summarize, I believe that, if there are any definitions of those terms that hold any credibility (and perhaps functionality), they are the literal, everday usages of them, not the widely varying and abstract political usages. And as for "snarky" comments that are critical of a person or their ideas without offering any reasoning behind it, I still find that contrary to productive discussion.
posted by ottimo at 6:52 AM on May 23, 2011


Not sure why it's a big deal.

To wit:

... consider what Democrats and Republicans just jointly did with regard to the Patriot Act, the very naming of which once sent progressives into spasms of vocal protest and which long served as the symbolic shorthand for Bush/Cheney post-9/11 radicalism:
Top congressional leaders agreed Thursday to a four-year extension of the anti-terrorist Patriot Act, the controversial law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks that governs the search for terrorists on American soil.

The deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner calls for a vote before May 27, when parts of the current act expire. The idea is to pass the extension with as little debate as possible to avoid a protracted and familiar argument over the expanded power the law gives to the government. . . .
Indeed, we wouldn't want to have any messy, unpleasant democratic debates over "the expanded power the law gives to the government." Here we find yet again the central myth of our political culture: that there is too little bipartisanship when the truth is there is little in Washington but that.

posted by Trurl at 6:53 AM on May 23, 2011


Many small business owners record all business income as personal income, so their businesses are taxed at individual rates.

Don't you mean record all business profit as personal income? Surely no one is dumb enough to record business revenue as personal income, right? Because you don't get taxed on revenue, you get taxed on salary or profits.

This was Joe the Plumber's idiotic argument that proved he didn't know fuck all about running a business, when he was convinced that if his business did more than $250k in revenue(not profit) then he was going to get his taxes raised.

That link appears to be arguing to reduce complexity in the tax code, allow the self-employed to deduct health insurance expenses, and generally bitching about the high cost of professional tax preparation.
posted by dglynn at 6:57 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Only on MetaFilter could an FPP about how the GOP blew the 2012 election turn into yet another thread about how Obama blew the 2012 election.
posted by escabeche at 6:58 AM on May 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


when he was convinced that if his business did more than $250k in revenue(not profit) then he was going to get his taxes raised.

Most conservatives don't seem to realize how marginal tax rates even work. The rhetoric used on them to lower taxes, from the right, implies that wealthy people are taxed unfairly for being successful, and this translates as getting taxed higher for all of their income. It oddly makes proud people like Joe the plumber feel lesser than.
posted by Brian B. at 7:05 AM on May 23, 2011


deanc:

But I'm probably in the minority on this.

To you and the others who have commented on my post: this ending little line was really a superfluous addition to my post to point out that most people probably don't take the time to rethink the variety of ways and nuances and subtleties and variations associated with vague political terms, as I was advocating. It really shouldn't be singled out as a point in and of itself.

But aparently from the responses, I was correct: People tend to have their inflexible definitions.

It seems to me that, in general, the more uncertain something is, the more definitive people become regarding their opinions about it.
posted by ottimo at 7:06 AM on May 23, 2011


And as for "snarky" comments that are critical of a person or their ideas without offering any reasoning behind it, I still find that contrary to productive discussion.

You must be new here.

It seems to me that, in general, the more uncertain something is, the more definitive people become regarding their opinions about it.

Building coalitions and creating a functional majority means forming a group of like-minded people who can agree on common goals and principles-- not merely finding people who agree, but getting them to agree. Getting upset about the various ways in which language is used or pointing to this as some kind of great insight or failing of politics is, well, not very enlightening to people talking about politics. If you're too good for politics because you find things too "narrow" and "limited" for you, then don't complain about everyone else involved who are actually getting their hands dirty in the work that you think you're too good for.
posted by deanc at 7:13 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


escabeche: "Only on MetaFilter could an FPP...."

Can we please, please stop doing this?

posted by schmod at 7:16 AM on May 23, 2011


Still seeking clarification on how raising marginal rates on personal income over $250k impacts small business in any way

Some people who make more than $250k are technically small businessmen or have side-businesses that provide some sort of income to them, adding up to more than $250k/yr. Everyone likes small businessmen, and few people understand marginal tax rates or the difference between gross revenue and net income. So saying politicians "raise taxes on small businesses" sounds scary.

My assumption is that Frank Luntz ran some focus groups and when the idea of raising taxes on people making more than $250k/yr and business owners whose income from their businesses was more than $250k/yr were intermingled, the reaction to going back to Clinton-era tax rateswas much more negative.
posted by deanc at 7:17 AM on May 23, 2011


thirteenkiller: "Many small business owners record all business income as personal income, so their businesses are taxed at individual rates. Google "pass through entity" for more information"

Pass through income is a rare situation for small businesses, and I doubt anyone who has a business with a net income around 250k is putting themselves in that sort of complicated corporate tax structure. If they do, they're idiots or have idiots for accountants. It's stupid place to stand at that income level. Most small businesses file Schedule C or S-Corp tax papers. Pass through requires full incorporation, and the corporation "allocates" funds to the principals, whether the corporation *pays* those funds or not. Ergo, with pass-through corps, it is possible to owe taxes on funds you never received. It's a very complicated structure and one in which very few "small businesses" would want to attempt.

I think the issue is that "small business" means one thing memetically, and a different legal definition. When we think of small businesses, we think of mom and pop stores, or places on main street, of family restaurants, stores, etc. When legal entities talk about small business, they're talking about any business with: (The regulations addressing SBA size standards are published at 13 CFR Part 121. )

The whole "We've gots to protect Ma and Paw's store from the revenuers!" is just nonsense.
posted by dejah420 at 7:18 AM on May 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


You must be new here.

Again, I would suggest not focusing on who I am but my ideas. The number of posts and comments I have here does not change my previous opinions about what is productive discussion, which I have formed over years, not simply since I joined Mefi.

Building coalitions and creating a functional majority means forming a group of like-minded people who can agree on common goals and principles-- not merely finding people who agree, but getting them to agree. Getting upset about the various ways in which language is used or pointing to this as some kind of great insight or failing of politics is, well, not very enlightening to people talking about politics. If you're too good for politics because you find things too "narrow" and "limited" for you, then don't complain about everyone else involved who are actually getting their hands dirty in the work that you think you're too good for.

Getting people to agree to often devolves into manipulating people to agree.

I'm not upset about it: I clearly indicated that the process is fascinating to me.

Whether or not I had a "great" insight is not particularly concerning to me. I felt it was relevant and not particularly widely-shared, and therefore worth conveying.

You have hit the proverbial nail on the head with regard to people discussing politics: they usually only care about thinking within their narrow world. And yes, I consider myself BROADER than politics. I encourage others to be as "liberal" as possible themselves in gathering ideas. And by doing so, I don't assume anyone in particular either does or does not need that advice.

Finally, as mentioned in my original post, I don't deny the real need for decisions to be made about the government of a country, but this directional and dichtomized language seems hollow to me. Quite clearly, I am not above things, I am fascinated by it and only advocate the widening of perspective rather than the narrowing through language and other manipulation. That doesn't sound too revolutionary? Well, then look at the language and the way people actually behave--I think that shows that many people could stand to redouble their efforts on that front.
posted by ottimo at 7:28 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most small businesses file Schedule C or S-Corp tax papers.

According to the limited Googling I've done this morning, an S-Corp is a pass-through entity, and it's pretty common for small businesses.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:29 AM on May 23, 2011


OK, basically the only entity that ISN'T a pass-through for purposes of taxation is a C-corp, which instead is taxed separately at rates which quickly rise to 35%, profits which are then distributed to shareholders are taxed again on the individual (depending upon the distribution type) at div or cap gains rates (currently set at 15% each).

S-corps, LLPs, LLCs, partnerships, sole proprietorships. They're all pass-though entities.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:39 AM on May 23, 2011


Silly stuff like "General Betray Us" pushes people to the right just as much as charismatic tv and radio hosts pull them there. The left probably can't fight Fox News as effectively they can fight those within their own ranks who would make lame short-sighted puns and engage in a lot of mischaracterization.
posted by Jagz-Mario at 7:40 AM on May 23, 2011


Heh - as a small business owner, as are pretty much all of my colleagues, clients, and consultants. I'd give my left testicle to be making - as personal income - $250,000 a year or more. Tax it any rate you goddamn wish. I think that feeling is common among my peers.

Next time someone whines about getting taxed at higher rates because their income is high, point out that they'd be taxed at lower rates if they made less income. Would they prefer that?

And as far as tax strategies go, most people I know don't use "pass through" or other arcane technical devices. They keep the personal income from the business at the lowest levels possible, and things like personal vehicles, cell phones, and so on are paid for by the business as expenses. It's not sophisticated, it probably wouldn't hold up to close scrutiny, but most business owners are flying by the seat of their pants on this. We are more concerned with working and staying afloat than with managing the gobs of money we aren't making.

Back to the original thread? Yeah, it's a dangerous game to play, but the "give them enough rope until they hang themselves" strategy seems to be working. All you have to do to get conservatives complaining about "liberal media" is to quote them verbatim. The crazy makes itself quite apparent. And as Zandar (zandarvts.blogspot) has repeatedly pointed out, the big business masters of the Right won't really let the Republicans drive this bus off the cliff. It's still fair to worry that they might simply fail to rein them in, or that enough big business board members and shareholders have drunk the Kool-Aid, too.

To see Fox having these issues is good news. Not just because it's good to see Fox have trouble, but because maybe there is actually a "peak wingnut" point beyond which we won't go as a country. Note with caution that that point does keep moving to the Right, because each generation of right wingers grows up hearing the rhetoric, and wants to outdo previous generations in terms of being "true conservatives". It's clearly true that Nixon and Reagan would be far too moderate to be in the running if they were to be attempting to run today. Hell, Reagan used to be a card-carrying Democrat.
posted by Xoebe at 7:46 AM on May 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


TL:DR you should all use language the way I do- liberally.

Now can we get back to the VERY IMPORTANT job of analyzing how Obama's failure to line up and execute all bankers cost him the 2012 election?
posted by happyroach at 8:08 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Again, I would suggest not focusing on who I am but my ideas.

Your ideas don't really seem that compelling, or well thought out. People are probably focusing on you because you seem convinced that you're the only grown-up in the room, when you really come across like a grandmother complaining that "'gay' used to have a perfectly nice meaning before the homosexuals got a hold of it."
posted by OmieWise at 8:14 AM on May 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


The wise politician is not going to try to get people from the other side on to his own side by appealing to pre-existing interest groups on the other side. Rather, the wise politician finds divisions and fault lines within the opposing side's interest groups and exploits them. For example: a Democrat is never going to attract support from pro-lifers by supporting more restrictions on abortion. However, pro-lifers have massive internal divisions regarding the fact that most of them are vehemently against birth control which can be exploited. A Democrat is never going to win over the Club for Growth supporters by advocating tax cuts. However, there are big divisions within the financial industry where things are starting to break down in fault lines between the big banks (who created the mortgage backed securities) and the hedge funds (who got stuck with them). MattD's formulas are simplistic (and self-interested-- the guy's conservative, so he's arguing, "Obama will win if he becomes more conservative and supports the things I do! Not that I'll vote for him when he does that!").

If there's one thing I never thought I'd see happen, it's this: Obama has calculated that Americans want to vote for a "mature adult" who is willing to "make deals to get things done" and has successfully sucked out all of the air in this political space to the point where the only option Republicans have to get nominated is to not take on that persona. This is why Mitch Daniel couldn't effectively run for the nomination: if you want to vote for a guy who is willing to "make the hard compromises", then you're going to vote for Obama. This is the problem that Ailes is dealing with, here: he cultivated an audience and a political movement that doesn't just believe in policies different from Obama, but wants candidates and personalities that are diametrically the opposite of Obama. It's no surprise, then, that the Trumps and Bachmanns and Palins were the ones getting all the attention and excitement and that the Pawlentys and the Romneys are the ones that have to do a personality-makeover to portray themselves as right-wing ideologues.

This situation puts the Republicans in an awfully difficult position: when the choice is between a moderate willing to compromise and a guy who pretends to be a moderate willing to compromise, voters will go for the moderate willing to compromise every time. Meanwhile, there isn't a large enough constituency to support a guy who's vehemently on the side of ending Medicare, taking away people's insurance guarantees, and torturing people in a double-sized Gitmo while making the birth control pill illegal.... but that's what Roger Ailes and Fox News have created.
posted by deanc at 8:30 AM on May 23, 2011 [18 favorites]


That's a great analysis deanc. I still am waiting for the trick, the swiftboat, the out of left field thing the republicans will try to pull to shift the narrative, scare the crap out of people, and win the election. I think for the moment that's why they aren't doing anything. Playing dead for a while until they can figure out what they can use. I still think Palin will be an important component somehow.
posted by cashman at 8:39 AM on May 23, 2011


Your ideas don't really seem that compelling, or well thought out. People are probably focusing on you because you seem convinced that you're the only grown-up in the room, when you really come across like a grandmother complaining that "'gay' used to have a perfectly nice meaning before the homosexuals got a hold of it."

Regarding my ideas, they are compelling. Especially in that comments subsequent to my first post bear out my original point. If you have any justification for your objection, I would be glad to respond; otherwise, all you've got is a claim. And again, that's hard to respond to other than to refocus attention on my original idea.

The person focusing on me for being "new here" is tring to attack me personally and also trying to, indirectly, offer the argument that, because others offer snarky comments, therefore I should put up with them whether they are productive or not. I would argue that a million snarky comments do not justify any single one as being productive towards a discussion. I believe those are referred to as ad hominem and ad populum argument fallacies. Whether they are logically fallacious or not is less concerning to me, though, other than the fact that they are definitely unproductive to the discussion of ideas.

That's about as far as I'm willing to continue to the personal attack/defense diversion, so I'm not going to respond to your other personal comments that have no bearing on the ideas I attempted to share. Well, on second thought, if it helps you refocus, I'll say that I do know that I'm not the only person on here who is over 18 years of age, I not only am willing to absorb other ideas but would prefer if comments were more focused on that area, and that I am not a grandmother. Not that it matters if I am or not.

The one part of that comment I found interesting was your connection to the redefinition of the term "gay" over time. That's an apt and compelling comparison. I do still think my original point is getting lost. I'm not complaining about how language changes over time; I'm expressing my fascination with how that works. I am also questioning the continued confusion over certain political terms, which have changed so much they are ceasing to have what I would call valuable meaning. "Gay" has changed but the newer connotations are still quite useful. If "gay" had changed from something like "happy" to "homosexual" to "heterosexual" to "sad" to "fair and balanced," and somehow still simultaneously meant all at the same time (sim. to "liberal") then I might be more inclined to call it abstract and question its value.
posted by ottimo at 8:43 AM on May 23, 2011


In the grand scheme of things, the smart, old-guard Republicans know this is an off year for them by all historical measures (incumbent president and they had the advantage last time). So, this is the type of election where they let the clowns run the show and have their time in the sun, because they figure this is not their year anyway. They also let the candidates have a shot who have seniority and feel like they deserve it, but who have no realistic chance of winning the general election. If one of them happens to win, so much the better (but nobody smart is betting on it). But if not, no worries, you get that out of the way and run the serious candidate next time. This is the old political playbook, and the Republicans are playing by the book. I can't imagine Ailes is unaware of these cycles.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:44 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


My theory is that this fall Palin will be assassinated by Liberal Democrat Gay Muslim Terrorists, thus making her a martyr to the Right. After her corpse wins the election for the Republicans, she will get her head carved onto Mt. Rushmore.
posted by happyroach at 8:47 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


The wise politician is not going to try to get people from the other side on to his own side by appealing to pre-existing interest groups on the other side. Rather, the wise politician finds divisions and fault lines within the opposing side's interest groups and exploits them.

Or more broadly it's going to be less the Democratic platform versus the Republican Platform, and more Obama's campaign versus the opposing campaign. Obama won the last election by selling himself as an outsider who would be in a change from the status quo, and none of his opponents could avoid falling into the "business as usual" label. It didn't actually matter that Obama was clearly a centrist back then, because that's not what he focused his campaign on. GW Bush won the one before that by going with "stay the course" and focusing on making clear decisions, and Kerry could never put together a coherent counterpoint. And both Obama and Bush had some of the best run campaigns on the ground level for actually getting people out to vote. It's impossible to say what exactly Obama's strategy is going to be this time without knowing his opponent, but the details of his platform are going to matter a lot less than how he frames the decision between himself and who ever runs against him.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:01 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Till his untrusted underlings take over and do exactly what he was doing all along, except doubling down on it? --- That doesn't follow the Svengali narrative. I mean, Karl Rove once seemed like he was a towering icon of evil conservativism, and even he's been swept aside in recent months.
posted by crunchland at 9:08 AM on May 23, 2011


Metafilter: Regarding my ideas, they are compelling.
posted by modernnomad at 9:16 AM on May 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


ottimo: Regarding my ideas, they are compelling. Especially in that comments subsequent to my first post bear out my original point. If you have any justification for your objection, I would be glad to respond; otherwise, all you've got is a claim. And again, that's hard to respond to other than to refocus attention on my original idea.

I'm not sure what your ideas are, or what you're arguing, other than to express fascination with the abuse of the original meanings of words in politics. Dichotomized language is indeed hollow. It's the coin of the realm in American politics, and it has been for years. Fox purveys hollowness and wallows in it and makes lots of money off it, which is the point of the article linked in the post.

crunchland: That doesn't follow the Svengali narrative. I mean, Karl Rove once seemed like he was a towering icon of evil conservativism, and even he's been swept aside in recent months.

Except that he's not been swept aside. His American Crossroads PAC has a lot of heft in politics and a lot of money to distribute freely, and he has a soapbox on Fox News and the WSJ.
posted by blucevalo at 9:20 AM on May 23, 2011


The one part of that comment I found interesting was your connection to the redefinition of the term "gay" over time. That's an apt and compelling comparison.

"Gay" has had sexualized, largely pejorative meanings for 600 years, at least. That it managed to have a lighter meaning for a very short amount of time is the anomaly.
posted by hippybear at 9:21 AM on May 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Man, some folks just love to hear themselves type.
posted by sinnesloeschen at 9:57 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's how the Republicans win:

1. Push the political climate to the right without being in power.
2. Ensure that economic hardship and bill paying is handled by the left.
3. present poor candidates in order to force liberals to stay in power past their sell by date.
4. Wait 12/16 years.
5. Storm to power with a huge margin and a country that's further right than it was when they left power 12/16 years previously.

I really think the Republicans want the Democrats to win this next election.
posted by seanyboy at 10:13 AM on May 23, 2011


My theory is that this fall Palin will be assassinated by Liberal Democrat Gay Muslim Terrorists, thus making her a martyr to the Right. After her corpse wins the election for the Republicans, she will get her head carved onto Mt. Rushmore.

There's no election this fall.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:22 AM on May 23, 2011


Only on MetaFilter could an FPP about how the GOP blew the 2012 election turn into yet another thread about how Obama blew the 2012 election.

Its because a certain class of dem voter refuses to believe that we can actually win and slowly bring our agenda forward.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:28 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's no election this fall.

*Drudge siren*
THE KENYO-MUSLIM USURPER IS CANCELING THE ELECTIONS!
posted by dirigibleman at 10:35 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meh, liberals just started calling themselves 'progressive', which I actually disagree with. The actual 'progressives' had some problematic ideas: like eugenics, and temperance. Woodrow Wilson was a huge racist, and terrible on civil liberties.

The same thing could be said of the Democratic Party, of which Wilson was a member, and yet you don't hear many people having issues with that label. Modern progressive ideals are evolved from 100 years ago, just as the ideals of the modern Democratic party have evolved. No one calling themselves a "progressive" today is advocating the isolation and sterilization of Lithuanian immigrants.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:43 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Regarding my ideas, they are compelling.
posted by modernnomad at 9:16 AM on May 23 [3 favorites +] [!]


mondernnomad: Do you understand that I was parodying a response to my ideas, which simply asserted that they were not compelling, but offered no reasoning behind that opinion?

I'm not sure what your ideas are, or what you're arguing, other than to express fascination with the abuse of the original meanings of words in politics. Dichotomized language is indeed hollow. It's the coin of the realm in American politics, and it has been for years. Fox purveys hollowness and wallows in it and makes lots of money off it, which is the point of the article linked in the post.

blucevalo : Yes, I was expressing interest in language and its relationship to social divisions and associations, but that is not all. Outside of suggesting you re-read my first post or simply repeating myself, I'm not sure how to explain the rest again. I guess I could add that I was hoping that, if anything, it might spur thought and response regarding the ways in which "conservative," "liberal," and the like are inaccurately used today. But instead it's veered quite differently, mostly towards attacks on me.

Man, some folks just love to hear themselves type.
posted by sinnesloeschen at 9:57 AM on May 23 [+] [!]


Again, another personal attack. Maybe not on me; the writer was probably purposefully vague, but this is another good example of my issue with politics. People become narrow-minded and when someone else has an idea they don't like, instead of considering it and responding respectfully or not at all, they resort to manipulative attacks, such as ad hominem ones.

hippybear: Thanks, I'll check out the longer-term history of the word "gay." My idea was that some terms become more corrupt, abstract, and ultimately more meaningless than others. But most words do undergo changes of some sort. Currently, I think the present understanding of "gay" is much more distinct and useful than that of "liberal" or "conservative," but I stand to be potentially enlightened further on that.
posted by ottimo at 10:51 AM on May 23, 2011


this is another good example of my issue with politics. People become narrow-minded and when someone else has an idea they don't like, instead of considering it and responding respectfully or not at all, they resort to manipulative attacks, such as ad hominem ones.

I like to think that historically, duals of honor were designed to limit those sort of hjinks.
posted by mikelieman at 11:23 AM on May 23, 2011


It's like some kind of reverse turing test where we're being challenged to prove we're robots.
posted by cashman at 11:50 AM on May 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


And McCain ran a feckless, plodding campaign.

And McCain selected Ms Palin as his running mate.

And Lehman Brothers collapsed and the Bush Administration doled out 750b in taxpayer money in a financial bailout of Wall Street less than two months before the general election.

And yet with all of this, Obama did not trounce McCain.


Are you forgetting that Mr. Obama is half black? And from Kenya?

And, since we're all posting baseless proclamations here, I would contend that McCain did much better with Palin than he would have without. I think she got him a LOT of votes.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:32 PM on May 23, 2011


I like to think that historically, duals of honor were designed to limit those sort of hjinks.
posted by mikelieman at 11:23 AM on May 23 [+] [!]


People make those kind of attacks all the time. I'm just not interested in a duel. Or duals. Just advocating respectful discussion.

It's like some kind of reverse turing test where we're being challenged to prove we're robots.
posted by cashman at 11:50 AM on May 23 [+] [!]


Yes, by all means, pile on another insult. Group together. Try to single out an individual to call an outsider. Force out the person who rejects the "snarky" status quo and supports what the site is supposed to be about--discussion of ideas. It's more like you're being challenged to prove you're not a robot, if there was a challenge at all--which there wasn't. Just a simple request to not be insulting and focus on what I said--which wasn't that controversial, I thought.

This continued mob mentality (granted, only, say 6 or 7 people) does serve to continue to prove one of my points, though: that people are often (not all, of course) willing to quickly separate from a thoughtful stance to a grouping/separating behavior.

But I'm out of here, to avoid any further degeneration of the discussion, as much as I've tried to refocus it. Que the opportunists who wait for someone to leave to kick them in the rear...But to end on a productive note, remember my main idea:

People use and define specific words to assist or accompany their tendency to associate and separate from each other, and in that process, "liberal" and "conservative" as political terms have become largely divorced from their mundane usages. Think about how a current "conservative" could be considered liberal, for example. Think about how a current "liberal" could be considered conservative. And then think beyond those terms.

If you've already thought about this, fine, just leave it alone. But there are people such as Ailes who don't think along these lines that make a lot of money and have a lot of influence over a crap-load of people. I can't see how that doesn't make this a good point worth emphasizing.
posted by ottimo at 12:34 PM on May 23, 2011


The thing that FOX has truly achieved is ubiquity in the public eye. Walk into any business that has a flat-panel hanging on the wall for the entertainment of waiting customers (including doctor's offices, dentists, jiffy lube, etc. etc.) and the chances are extremely high that it will be playing FOX News.
That's probably because small business owners are much more likely to be conservative. I don't think most people get their news from reading closed captions on LCDs at random businesses.
I admit, I'd like single payer. But there's not enough fucking votes for it in Congress. -- Ironmouth
I'd just like to point out,again, that when HCR was passed, there were enough votes to include HCR in the 'patch' bill. Remember, there were two HCR bills, one was passed directly and included new regulations, and the second fixed the problematic senate bill but only included changes that were budgetary (which the public option would have been) and passed with less then 60 votes. I've pointed this out multiple times, but you keep lying about it. And you're obviously lying, because again, I've pointed this out multiple times.
Silly stuff like "General Betray Us" pushes people to the right just as much as charismatic tv and radio hosts pull them there. The left probably can't fight Fox News as effectively they can fight those within their own ranks who would make lame short-sighted puns and engage in a lot of mischaracterization.
Yes, and Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, and rush Limbaugh push people to the left. So what? Trying to "fight" people in your ranks is just an incredible waste of energy and not only that, it doesn't work. There is no 'central committee' of the left that can hand out dictats and punish people (like there seems to be on the Right, just look what happened to Newt Gingrich the other day, but that was for not hewing to a hard-core position of dismantling medicare, not saying anything mean about democrats)

I'm not a fan of mischaracterizations and dishonesty, trying to police everyone on the left to prevent them from offending conservatives is moronic. The right doesn't do anything like that at all, and it hasn't caused them any problems (Well, Beck may have, but not from pissing off liberals, but rather from making Tea Partiers too crazy)
Yes, by all means, pile on another insult. Group together. Try to single out an individual to call an outsider.
It's called a derail. You're wasting everyone's time. And on top of that, you're really arrogant in whining about people not caring what you have to say. Other people have to decide whether or not what you say has any value to them, you can't just demand it.
posted by delmoi at 12:54 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Other people have to decide whether or not what you say has any value to them, you can't just demand it.

Value? $20, same as in town.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:59 PM on May 23, 2011


It was, more than anything, a business decision. “It would be easy to look at Fox and think it’s conservative because Rupert and Roger are conservative and they program it the way they like. And to a degree, that’s true. But it’s also a business,” a person close to Ailes explained. “And the way the business works is, they control conservative commentary the way ESPN controls the market for sports rights. If you have a league, you have a meeting with ESPN, you find out how much they’re willing to pay, and then everyone else agrees to pay the same amount if they want it … It’s sort of the same at Fox.
I don't know which I find more distasteful, the idea that FOX is run by a king-maker who personally gets to influence the direction of our elections, or that the whole country has been pushed hard to the right purely as a business decision on what media will sell best.
posted by quin at 1:05 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has no one mentioned scody's Roger Ailes anecdote?
posted by desjardins at 1:26 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Outside of suggesting you re-read my first post or simply repeating myself, I'm not sure how to explain the rest again. I guess I could add that I was hoping that, if anything, it might spur thought and response regarding the ways in which "conservative," "liberal," and the like are inaccurately used today.

I re-read your first comment like 6 times and am still uncertain what your point is. Maybe I'm just incredibly dense. In any case, you seem much more interested in the "everyone's ganging up on me" discussion than the "ways in which codewords are used inaccurately" discussion, so there's that too.
posted by blucevalo at 1:44 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to point out,again, that when HCR was passed, there were enough votes to include HCR in the 'patch' bill. Remember, there were two HCR bills, one was passed directly and included new regulations, and the second fixed the problematic senate bill but only included changes that were budgetary (which the public option would have been) and passed with less then 60 votes.

Boy, this is so problematic, I don't know where to start. I basically don't know what its saying.

Are you saying that federal regulations were included in a legislative enactment? cuz, that's uh, impossible.

What "new regulations" are you talking about?

Also what does "passed directly" mean? HCR was "passed directly" by both Houses.

also what does "only included changes that were budgetary (which the public option would have been)"

and what does "passed with less than 60 votes" mean? it takes a majority to pass a bill in the senate. it takes 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. Passing a bill and defeating a filibuster are two different things. The Senate first defeated a filibuster by the GOP, then passed the legislation with a simple majority.

This is what happened. The House passed a version of health care that was more expansive and included a public option. The Senate did not pass a version with the public option in it, because several democratic senators declared on the floor that they would not vote cloture on such a provision, most notably Blanche Lincoln. However, they brought a version to the floor without the public option. The GOP filibustered that version. The Dems defeated the filibuster with 60 votes.

However, before the bill went to conference committee to reconcile the house and senate versions, the dems lost a seat due to the death of Ted Kennedy and the election of Scott Brown.

The problem was that if both bills went to the conference committee for reconciling between the House and Senate versions, the GOP would now be able to filibuster the Senate bill. Therefore, the House passed a version of the bill that corresponded to the Senate bill and Obama signed the legislation.

I am not sure what is meant by "new regulations" or "problematic senate bill." The fact you don't like a bill doesn't make it "problematic."

You basically are not explaining the process well. If you could restate what you are saying in a better format, I might be able to address it.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:08 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to point out, again

Oh, silly delmoi, you're forgetting that a certain class of dem voter refuses to believe that we can actually win!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:11 PM on May 23, 2011


Also what does "passed directly" mean? HCR was "passed directly" by both Houses.
passed with 50 votes, with no opportunity to filibuster.
and what does "passed with less than 60 votes" mean?
passed with 50 votes, with no opportunity to filibuster.

A bill that doesn't increase the deficit (the public option would have reduced the deficit) and is budgetary can be passed by budget reconciliation and can't be filibustered. The public option would have qualified. Now, let's go over what actually happened.

Also, man I've explained this before in multiple threads, so I don't see why you keep spreading falsehoods.
This is what happened. The House passed a version of health care that was more expansive and included a public option. The Senate did not pass a version with the public option in it ... However, they brought a version to the floor without the public option. The GOP filibustered that version. The Dems defeated the filibuster with 60 votes.

...the House passed a version of the bill that corresponded to the Senate bill and Obama signed the legislation.

I am not sure what is meant by "new regulations" or "problematic senate bill." The fact you don't like a bill doesn't make it "problematic."
Yeah, not exactly. The important thing is that not one, but two health care bills were signed into law. The Affordible Care Act which was the main legislation, it was signed into law on March 23rd. In addition to that the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 was passed on march 30th.

Here's what happened:
1) House votes on HCR, passes with a clean majority

2) Senate votes on a different version of HCR, with a bunch of pork and compromises in order to get 60 votes.

3) Scott brown gets elected, so the dems no longer have 60 votes.

Now at this point, if the senate bill was changed it could be filibustered again, so it wasn't.

4) instead of fixing the senate bill, the house passed the Health/Education reconciliation act on march 21st. And if you couldn't figure out from the name, the point was to pass it by reconciliation so it couldn't be filibustered.

5) On march 23rd, Obama signs the Affordable Care act.

6) On march 25th the senate passes the the reconciliation act is passed by reconciliation 56-43 with a few minor changes. There was never an opportunity for the republicans or anyone else to filibuster it. That same day the house passes the slightly modified version

7) On march 30th Obama signs the Reconciliation act
So the question is, why wasn't the public option included in the reconciliation act? People wanted to filibuster it, but they wouldn't have had the opportunity to do so. The irony is that before Scott Brown's election they said they couldn't do the Public Option because it would be filibustered in the senate, but after the election any bill would have been filibustered, so they went with this reconciliation work-around. So all Scott Brown's election actually did was remove their excuse for not including it.


Also to clarify: the senate bill was widely considered problematic by a lot of people, with stuff like the "Cornhusker kickback" that would have given "Nebraska 100 percent federal funding of the Medicaid expansion indefinitely into the future.". It wasn't even liked by people in Nebraska.
posted by delmoi at 3:48 PM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


delmoi: "So the question is, why wasn't the public option included in the reconciliation act? "

From a November 2009 Salon article:

Why reconciliation might not save the public option
[I]f Reid did try using reconciliation, he could end up having to remove key parts of the legislation, not to mention hurting his party politically and losing an extra couple of votes in the Senate -- and, having done all that, he might well find out that he still needed 60 votes in order to get a public option approved.

[...]

The problem is that budget reconciliation isn't really supposed to be used to make policy. Instead, as the Congressional Research Service's Robert Keith said in a 2008 report, reconciliation "is a procedure ... by which Congress implements budget resolution policies affecting mainly permanent spending and revenue programs." In the procedure's early years, however, it was used to circumvent the filibuster on provisions unrelated to that purpose. So in the 1980s, then-Minority Leader Robert Byrd led the Senate in a crackdown. What resulted was the Byrd Rule, which prohibits the Senate "from considering extraneous matter as part of a reconciliation bill."

The definition of "extraneous matter" is fairly broad, and subject to interpretation -- during the Bush administration, Republicans passed tax cuts using reconciliation -- but it generally includes any provision that fails one of these six criteria, as listed in Keith's CRS report: Even if a provision violates one of these rules, it won't automatically be stricken from a bill. In order for that to happen, a senator has to take action, generally by raising a point of order. Then, the chair (the majority leader or a designee) rules on whether to sustain that point of order and remove the offending part of the bill. That may seem like an easy victory in the making -- Reid rules that the public option passes the Byrd Rule's tests, and that's that -- but that's not necessarily the case.

Liberals argue that the public option could survive the Byrd Rule, pointing to tax cuts that Republicans passed using reconciliation during the Bush administration as precedent, and arguing that the public option would pass the tests anyway because it would theoretically decrease the federal deficit.

They may have a point, but it doesn't much matter -- the only thing that does is the opinion of Alan Frumin, the Senate parliamentarian. Technically, Reid isn't required to abide by Frumin's judgment, but according to Robert Dove, who served twice as Senate parliamentarian, he will anyway. "It's not that they have to [listen to the parliamentarian]," Dove told Salon, "but absolutely they do ... The past history is that the view of the parliamentarian becomes the ruling of the chair."

If Reid did rule the public option out of order under the Byrd Rule, the whole point of using reconciliation would be rendered moot. The only way to overturn the chair's ruling in such a case would be with a three-fifths vote of the Senate -- that is, with the same 60 votes the majority leader would need to round up in order to defeat a filibuster. In that eventuality, there's no way Reid could get the supermajority; Lieberman would certainly abandon him, and moderate Democrats might too. Plus, Byrd has already expressed his distaste for the idea of using reconciliation for health reform, and could be expected to vote to support the rule that bears his name.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:34 PM on May 23, 2011


Yeah, people brought up the role of the parliamentarian before, but they never pointed to any evidence that the parliamentarian would have ruled it out of compliance. The public option doesn't seem like it would violate any of those rules, and it ultimately would have been up to Harry Reid and the argument that "This couldn't be passed by reconciliation because Harry Reid wouldn't allow it!" doesn't make much sense.

The other part of the bill, which did away with subsidies for companies that consolidated federal student loans was pretty big. and the original COBRA legislation was passed by reconciliation (that's what the R in COBRA stands for)

There was some talk about using reconciliation to pass the entire healthcare bill, but that's not what we're talking about there. The question is adding the public option to the "patch" act that only contained a few provisions that corrected problems with the main senate version of the Affordable Care act.
posted by delmoi at 5:10 PM on May 23, 2011


The 21st century Republican motto: “You’re not me so fuck you.”
posted by cashman at 5:15 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And just to be clear, the idea of 'splitting' the bills didn't even come up until Scott Brown was elected. Earlier on people had debated the idea of just doing a version of healthcare that included a public option, but not a lot of the other stuff that could be passed via reconciliation. That one, I don't think, was seriously considered.

But the question is , once the bill got split why didn't they try to include the public option a bill that they knew was going to be voted on in the senate, and couldn't be filibustered? In theory it might be possible that the public option might not satisfy the bird rule, but there was never any kind of official decision.

The only thing you can really say is that the democrats had the opportunity to try to pass the public option, and they didn't even bother. There was no specific technical or legislative hurdle in the way.

Anyway, the point isn't to litigate all of this, just point out, again that Ironmouth was wrong in saying the democrats couldn't pass the public option due to a republican filibuster.
posted by delmoi at 5:17 PM on May 23, 2011


delmoi, passing the public option via reconciliation over the objection of the parliamentarian was an extremely controversial idea, and multiple Democratic senators who supported the policy in principle suggested they'd vote against such a maneuver, including Lincoln, Landrieu, Nelson, Byrd, and Rockefeller. And Lieberman, who didn't support a public option, period. Not to mention moderate Republicans like Brown, Snowe, and Collins that Dems were trying to woo, who didn't even vote for the measure sans public option. Reid did the political calculus and concluded winging it solely for a weak government-run plan wasn't worth endangering the entire bill.

Besides, even if such a vote succeeded, it would have left the legislation with a strong sense of illegitimacy, further weakening its support and further damaging the Democrats who passed it.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:35 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Washington Examiner -- "Obamacare Bombshell: Final Ruling May Wait Until after 2012 Election."
posted by crunchland at 7:56 PM on May 23, 2011


If you have a specific comment about the issues I addressed or a particular word, I suggest you state that more clearly. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible to respond to your generic insult.

My comment was about how words get manipulated and changed over time, often for political purposes. Trying to define center-right, as if the term were about a physical location, puzzled me. Suggesting the phrase "liberal amount of sauce" has anything to do with liberal politics is meaningless.

In the end, I wasn't really sure if you were just being clever, or if you actually believed in those fudged definitions in regard to actual politics. So my comment was only about how both sides of politics try to redefine words, ie. liberal used as an insult in many a Republican rally or on FOX news (the subject of the FPP).
posted by crossoverman at 8:01 PM on May 23, 2011


Washington Examiner -- "Obamacare Bombshell: Final Ruling May Wait Until after 2012 Election."

Ugh. An article in an unapologetically conservative paper written by a Director for the Family Research Council?

Can we maybe hold off on posting this kind of thing until it's coming from a real news source?
posted by hippybear at 8:08 PM on May 23, 2011


You can be dismissive all you want, but when a right wing paper laments a political blow by the court's decision to delay the review on one of their most hated pieces of legislation, I think it ought to be noted.
posted by crunchland at 8:44 PM on May 23, 2011


Yeah, but is it something real to be noted, or is it just a dog whistle trying to get some segment of the local-to-DC base motivated into a froth about something? That's what I end up questioning. I don't deny the idea that it's a pretty monumental concept. But the article is so full of "may" and "might", it seems more like it's trying to get things stirred up than reporting anything which actually happened.
posted by hippybear at 8:52 PM on May 23, 2011


delmoi, passing the public option via reconciliation over the objection of the parliamentarian was an extremely controversial idea
Well, maybe it would be… but as far as I know the parliamentarian was never even asked whether or not it would violate the rule. And it would probably have been fine. Why are you assuming the parliamentarian would have ruled that the public option would have violated the byrd rule?
and multiple Democratic senators who supported the policy in principle suggested they'd vote against such a maneuver, including Lincoln, Landrieu, Nelson, Byrd, and Rockefeller. And Lieberman, who didn't support a public option, period.
What difference does it make? You would need ten democratic senators to vote against it, not six. 4 democrats voted against the Health/Education reconciliation act. It still passed.
Besides, even if such a vote succeeded, it would have left the legislation with a strong sense of illegitimacy, further weakening its support and further damaging the Democrats who passed it.
Not any less illegitimate then the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act would have been anyway, since it was passed in exactly this way. And as we know today, no one cares about the 'patch' part of the bill.

And yes it would have 'exposed' some of the democrats, I guess. So what? The only point I am making here is that Ironmouth is lying when he said the public option didn't have the votes. The tactical political merits are beside the point. IMO it had nothing to do with what was popular (the PO was more popular then the bill as a whole) and everything to do with securing campaign contributions.
posted by delmoi at 12:59 AM on May 24, 2011


Ironmouth: "There's no election this fall."

Just popping in to remind everyone to vote in your local elections this fall! There may not be any national elections, but Obama doesn't decide which roads get repaved, either.
posted by charred husk at 6:11 AM on May 24, 2011


Ironmouth: "There's no election this fall."

Just popping in to remind everyone to vote in your local elections this fall! There may not be any national elections, but Obama doesn't decide which roads get repaved, either.
posted by charred husk at 9:11 AM on May 24 [+] [!]


ESPECIALLY TODAY IF YOU LIVE IN NY-26. VOTE HOCHUL!
posted by Ironmouth at 2:21 PM on May 24, 2011


And yes it would have 'exposed' some of the democrats, I guess. So what? The only point I am making here is that Ironmouth is lying when he said the public option didn't have the votes

Really? Please name and cite with the evidence the 51 senators you are so damn certain would have voted for a public option with reconciliation. Because by my count, there's only 44.

Byrd would have never done it--he told Clinton he wouldn't do it back in 1993. That whole scheme collapsed then too.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:24 PM on May 24, 2011


Byrd would have never done it--he told Clinton he wouldn't do it back in 1993. That whole scheme collapsed then too.

Done what? Byrd said he wouldn't allow Clinton's entire health-care bill to pass via reconciliation in '93. That has nothing to do with whether or not the public option would have passed.

Because by my count, there's only 44.

Well, that's why you have a vote, so you can know for sure. And know exactly who's responsible if the votes aren't there. Why should senators be able to hide behind this bullshit instead of actually having a vote and seeing who falls where?
posted by delmoi at 3:27 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Byrd would have never done it--he told Clinton he wouldn't do it back in 1993. That whole scheme collapsed then too.

Done what? Byrd said he wouldn't allow Clinton's entire health-care bill to pass via reconciliation in '93. That has nothing to do with whether or not the public option would have passed.

Because by my count, there's only 44.

Well, that's why you have a vote, so you can know for sure. And know exactly who's responsible if the votes aren't there. Why should senators be able to hide behind this bullshit instead of actually having a vote and seeing who falls where?</em

No, that's why you don't call me a liar without having facts to back it up.

posted by Ironmouth at 2:18 PM on May 25, 2011


Sarah Palin might run.

Or she might just be bluffing in order to extort more money from her bosses at Fox.
posted by rdr at 4:44 PM on May 25, 2011


Deserves its own fpp, but still:

Rolling Stone -- How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory - The onetime Nixon operative has created the most profitable propaganda machine in history. Inside America's Unfair and Imbalanced Network by Tom Dickinson. [PRINT VERSION]
posted by peacay at 10:31 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sarah Palin might run.

I think she will.
posted by cashman at 10:59 AM on May 26, 2011


My comment was about how words get manipulated and changed over time, often for political purposes. Trying to define center-right, as if the term were about a physical location, puzzled me. Suggesting the phrase "liberal amount of sauce" has anything to do with liberal politics is meaningless.

In the end, I wasn't really sure if you were just being clever, or if you actually believed in those fudged definitions in regard to actual politics. So my comment was only about how both sides of politics try to redefine words, ie. liberal used as an insult in many a Republican rally or on FOX news (the subject of the FPP).
posted by crossoverman at 8:01 PM on May 23 [+] [!]


crossoverman: Thank you for your genuine comment and further clarification of your previous post. Actually, my first comment was also "about how words get manipulated and changed over time, often for political purposes." So perhaps we agree on that basic point but have different perspectives on the specific words or the manner in which that process takes place.

Regarding "center-right," I guess I was thinking about a sort of physical location: the center of a bell curve describing the position in which each person lies along the left/right continuum in the U.S. If such a smooth curve is an accurate way to conceive of left/right politics (and I don't know if it is or isn't), the center (mean/median/mode??) would be the point where the greatest number of people sit. So, to suggest that the US is a "center-right" country seems to possibly say that the greatest number of people are slightly to the right of where the greatest number of people are--which is obviously contradictory. Mathematically, I may not be thinking about bell curves and means, medians, and modes accurately. But I'm still highly suspicious of the term "center-right," as it seems less like a fact and more like an attempt to redefine (or obscure) the extreme right as closer to the center--in order to garner more votes from the true center, where so many votes are. I don't pretend to be sure about any of this--about the curve, its shape, what "the center" means, or what exactly the far points of the horizontal axis would be. Hence my post, which was simply meant to raise the issue for consideration. I left my comments somewhat short and perhaps vague for the sake of brevity, and to convey my lack of a definitive conviction on the matter. But perhaps that contributed to them being understood in a different manner than I had intended.

Regarding "liberal amount of sauce," I did mean for it to be actually connected to liberal politics. For one thing, it was meant to be a concrete metaphor--something that could be visualized, smelled, tasted--that might bring home and emphasize the abstract and indistinct nature of the political conceptions of the term "liberal." As a metaphor, the connection to literal liberal politics is up to the reader of my post, and if someone can't see one, then I suppose it is a useless comparision for them. But if you or anyone is interested in how I see the connection, I suppose I can try to explain it: "Liberal" is often given negative connotations--e.g. a liberal (inaccurate) interpretation of the constitution; a liberal (enabling) attitude towards those in need of help; a liberal (reckless) attitude towards making changes to what we believe in and obviously works. But I was emphasizing the fact that it's a positive term, too, especially to me. Liberal politics that I believe in are liberal in the same way that plenty of sauce on pasta is enjoyable--it's the complex part, the part that contains all the spices and vegetables and meat--it's the part that, like a recipe, changes over time because life is not stagnant and has to adjust to contemporary times--and most importantly, it's the part that says, the more you add, the more likely you are to taste something worthwhile that you can't get enough of, like being open-minded and willing to learn new things. To me, there is a current of being open-minded, of accepting the value of being able to adjust and change, and an attitude of feeling like the bigger the perspective, the better--that is inherent in the politics of so-called liberals and the causes they sometimes pursue. Even though many people try to redefine that word to make it be further from its most literal definitions:

2 a : marked by generosity : OPENHANDED *a liberal giver* b : given or provided in a generous and openhanded way *a liberal meal* c : AMPLE, FULL

5 : BROAD-MINDED; especially : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms

(Websters)

So, I would disagree that I fudged the definitions of those words. I'm more inclined to look at it as politics having fudged the more useful definitions of those words. They end up becoming political epithets or cliches that have no useful meaning other than to designate someone as an "other," as they say--which only limits and discourages open-mindedness and compromise.

As I mentioned before, see Muriel Rukeyser's poem, "Ballad of Orange and Grape," read on youtube or text.

How a current liberal might be conservative: they don't want the relationship between humans and the past environment of Earth to change. They want to be careful and proceed with caution.

How a current conservative might be liberal: they advocate for less control from an authoritative government, preferring a wild-west kind of place where anything goes and the ultimate freedom allows you to pick and choose the life you want to live.

I don't advocate or claim either of those descriptions is best or even accurate--just that they are examples of how someone might challenge or expand upon the political definitions of those terms--such as they are.
posted by ottimo at 7:55 PM on May 26, 2011


Rick Santorum pities his enemies because they’re going to Hell
posted by homunculus at 2:29 PM on May 27, 2011


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