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April 28, 2012 11:05 AM   Subscribe

"Let's just say it. The Republicans are the problem."

"The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges."
posted by cashman (119 comments total) 65 users marked this as a favorite

 
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”

― Isaac Asimov
posted by lalochezia at 11:07 AM on April 28, 2012 [198 favorites]


Tell me something I didn't know...
posted by Windopaene at 11:10 AM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Factio Republicanas delenda est.
posted by jonp72 at 11:13 AM on April 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


I feel like this is a big deal, mainly because it's coming out of the Post of all places. It's not saying anything we don't already know, but it is being said by a pretty conservative paper.
posted by zug at 11:14 AM on April 28, 2012 [18 favorites]


No!

*clutches chest*
posted by Aquaman at 11:21 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Simple, the R's just read Kissinger's dissertation on the nature of "revolutionary power", what happens when people are put in the charge that don't believe in the core assumptions of the system for which they are responsible.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:21 AM on April 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


HK: "It is the essence of a revolutionary power that it possesses the courage of its convictions, that it is willing, indeed eager, to push its principles to their ultimate conclusion." Such ascendant powers can be checked only by a new system that at once accepts their rise and limits the most harmful effects.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:22 AM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


zug - As shown by the fact that in today's edition they have articles by Frank Luntz and Jonah Goldberg. I read the Luntz article: apparently it's a myth that Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare. Yeah, he really says that
posted by Eyebeams at 11:24 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes. When I read about Boehner whining "Do we have to fight about everything?" I was upset, though not surprised, at the utter cravenness and projection necessary to blame Barack "bipartisan till it hurts" Obama for the gridlock in our government.
posted by dhens at 11:26 AM on April 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


So, what else is new? The WashPost just woke up?
posted by Ardiril at 11:26 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It appears that you need to register with the Washington Post to read past page two of the first link. Is this just my problem?
posted by ferdydurke at 11:27 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whelp, they did steal a Presidential election 12-ish years ago. And our national reaction to that was fairly mute. Why shouldn't they feel like they can do whatever the fuck they feel like?
posted by chasing at 11:30 AM on April 28, 2012 [63 favorites]


I had the same problem with reading past page 2.
posted by haiku warrior at 11:34 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had no problems reading the printer version, maybe try that?
posted by ambrosia at 11:34 AM on April 28, 2012


Yeah, you need to follow the printer version to get to this:

Democrats are hardly blameless, and they have their own extreme wing and their own predilection for hardball politics.

This came as news to me.
posted by Trurl at 11:37 AM on April 28, 2012 [33 favorites]


Factio Republicanas delenda est.

Republicans ad absurdum?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:37 AM on April 28, 2012


I feel that the insane, mind-blowing values put forth by today's Republicans have become even clearer to me since I started teaching elementary school this year. I spend my days moderating conflicts, promoting kindness and tolerance and love, listening attentively, striving to be clear and transparent in my motivations and rationales and directions, encouraging discourse and disagreement and intellectual curiosity, telling boys they can wear pink and girls they can love math, giving exposure to nontraditional family structures, creating a classroom community, and, of course, sprinkling in some of the Three R's for good measure.

And sometimes, at the end of the day when I crack open my laptop and see the latest head-scratcher from a GOPer, I realize: Republicans HATE EVERYTHING I'M DOING ALL DAY. Or at least, they say they do, which is even worse if somehow deep down they don't really.
posted by ORthey at 11:37 AM on April 28, 2012 [86 favorites]


But a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:38 AM on April 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


The existence of crazy people is not the problem. The failure of the supposedly sane people to take control of the crazy people is the problem.

We need a real Left to throw into sharp relief how the Democrats are the conservatives and the Republicans are the crazies.
posted by DU at 11:45 AM on April 28, 2012 [43 favorites]


We understand the values of mainstream journalists, including the effort to report both sides of a story. But a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality. If the political dynamics of Washington are unlikely to change anytime soon, at least we should change the way that reality is portrayed to the public.

Our advice to the press: Don’t seek professional safety through the even-handed, unfiltered presentation of opposing views. Which politician is telling the truth? Who is taking hostages, at what risks and to what ends?

Also, stop lending legitimacy to Senate filibusters by treating a 60-vote hurdle as routine. The framers certainly didn’t intend it to be. Report individual senators’ abusive use of holds and identify every time the minority party uses a filibuster to kill a bill or nomination with majority support.
Well put.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:45 AM on April 28, 2012 [27 favorites]


I realize: Republicans HATE EVERYTHING I'M DOING ALL DAY

As well they should you pinko-marxist-commie!
posted by Chekhovian at 11:49 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm impressed this OpEd was written by two senior members of the Brookings Institution, and the American Enterprise Institute, the later a conservative think tank, the former respected by Republicans.
posted by stbalbach at 11:53 AM on April 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


Ardiril: "So, what else is new? The WashPost just woke up?"

look at who wrote it
posted by stbalbach at 11:55 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


But this is just one OpEd, not an official newspaper editorial and does not override the paper's False Dichotomy-based standard procedure for newswriting. So business will continue as usual.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:57 AM on April 28, 2012


What consistently mystifies me is that people like Gingrich are not necessarily stupid people, yet they embrace these idiologies that are just ridiculous. It's hard to fathom how even a moderately analytical mind can reconcile them.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:00 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


PoliGu.com: As a Senator, in 2005 Barack Obama spoke against the use of the "nuclear option" to end the filibuster and stated that the Senate needed to rise above an "ends justifies the means" view of thinking. He voiced support for the filibuster rules to remain in place. Also in 2005, Senator Obama noted that he was not fond of the filibuster as it was used in attempts to keep rights away from African Americans.

In 2006, Senator Obama voted in favor of filibustering Justice Samuel Alito but voice hesitance to do so and noted that the filibuster was just a procedural tactic and what liberals truly needed to get their people onto the courts was to win elections.


Everybody loves obstruction when they aren't in power. Even the best folks in politics will sacrifice science and evidence for political goals. Liberals exist outside of the mainstream of politics where they are outnumbered by moderates and conservatives and are often dismissive of their political opponents as well.

Plenty of folks on the right have decided to take a microscope to their side in the past, but in the end both major parties face similar challenges. The current situation is more about circumstances than anything speaking to the essential character of either of them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:01 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


oneswellfoop: "But this is just one OpEd, not an official newspaper editorial and does not override the paper's False Dichotomy-based standard procedure for newswriting. So business will continue as usual."

That's a false dichotomy, no one ever said the article was meant to be anything other than an OpEd.
posted by stbalbach at 12:04 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why blame the Republicans in Congress? How did they get there?
posted by Postroad at 12:08 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm misunderstanding the meaning of "mainstream" in this context. If the GOP is so "far from the mainstream", how do they enjoy the levels of support they do? Do they mean "far from mainstream scientific fact"? Because I'd totally buy that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:09 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


"look at who wrote it" - Yet another two former kool-aid aficionados who just now realized the ills of reactionary politics. The clock ticks on.
posted by Ardiril at 12:10 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: "If the GOP is so "far from the mainstream", how do they enjoy the levels of support they do? Do they mean "far from mainstream scientific fact"?"

The theo-fascism of the Santorum wing of the party is sufficiently bad it is actually driving some, more moderate, voters to re-register as independent. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean they buy into the idea that the Republicans are the only party far from the "center," and I strongly suspect it doesn't even mean they wouldn't vote for Santorum were he somehow to make it to the general.

It's still interesting to note that they are willing to go to that level of effort to register their disgust with the party, even if it won't translate into more votes for someone else.
posted by wierdo at 12:14 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ornstein is obviously done with the American Enterprise Institute, it would seem. As the nation should be done with that collection of Neocon nimwits. Really the AEI is the reason we had Bush-tard economics and Iraq and waterboarding and there was no freedom so precious the AEI never thought it couldn't be fucked with by Neocons in the Bush Cheney years. Those years of shame and wasted lives in phony wars.
posted by Skygazer at 12:17 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


MSTPT: To me, "far from the mainstream" means that their actions and the opinions they hold are far from the mainstream -- when people actually know/understand them. Seems like if you were to white-label the specific position of the Republicans and Democrats, the Dems would win almost every time. And, yet, thanks to people like Gingrich and Luntz, the people holding those "far from mainstream" views are a part of the political mainstream.
posted by chasing at 12:18 PM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here is an anonymous WaPo account:

cipherpunks@washingtonpost.com
cipherpunks
posted by egypturnash at 12:18 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Harper's steering us down a similar path in Canada - it is amazing (and disheartening) to see. These Republican strategies are not just influencing the state of things in the US - they have far-reaching effects that are influencing the shape of the world now and in the future.

Scares the shit out of me, I have to say.
posted by flex at 12:30 PM on April 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


To me, "far from the mainstream" means that their actions and the opinions they hold are far from the mainstream -- when people actually know/understand them. Seems like if you were to white-label the specific position of the Republicans and Democrats, the Dems would win almost every time. And, yet, thanks to people like Gingrich and Luntz, the people holding those "far from mainstream" views are a part of the political mainstream.

Yes, now that you mention it, I remember reading this a few times before - issue by issue, many Americans disagree with the GOP, yet self-identify as Republicans anyway. That makes more sense.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:32 PM on April 28, 2012


...their actions and the opinions they hold are far from the mainstream -- when people actually know/understand them.

chasing makes a good point. "Mainstream" is not what gets press coverage. Americans favor progressive policies more than conservative policies, but they eschew the "liberal" label because of a decades long, well-funded campaign to demonize liberals.
posted by audi alteram partem at 12:35 PM on April 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


From the article:Democrats are hardly blameless, and they have their own extreme wing and their own predilection for hardball politics.

That's not a wing, it's a feather with a bit of gristle on it.
posted by notsnot at 12:37 PM on April 28, 2012 [27 favorites]


What consistently mystifies me is that people like Gingrich are not necessarily stupid people, yet they embrace these idiologies that are just ridiculous. It's hard to fathom how even a moderately analytical mind can reconcile them.

Gingrich doesn't embrace anything but his inflated ego. He's effective politically because he's very good at stirring up a fight with the Dems in the most churlish way in order to get the GOP base riled up - let's face it, the man has no shame. He will stare you straight in the eye and say anything he needs to get one up on *you.* He has no real policy positions beyond "let's milk this glorified book tour for all it's worth and swim on big money PAC donors, and take lobbyist cash (without being registered as a lobbyist) in the off season." He's deeply cynical as far as real convictions, other than his own ability to stay in the spotlight at any cost and outsmart the electorate on his golden path to the White House.

Reading that over, it all sounds so hyperbolic, but this always has been just his basic political personality. It would be easier to explain if he were, say, Karl Rove's coked-out brother who gets the important people in trouble by proximity and always says embarrassing shit from the sidelines. Except he's not the candidate's coked out brother, he's the candidate, the guy we're supposed to take seriously. He's goddam Eric Cartman in 60 years.

The problem for the rest of us is if he ends up in power it's all the same game to him as the campaign, it's all part of his internal drama, and he does stupid shit like playing political chicken with funding bills and letting the government shut down, just to make a point. The only check on his behavior is when he gets demoted and/or resigns (such as in the '90s), or runs out of campaign cash. I mean, look what he's doing right now. He said he's going to quit, but he'd like to keep it going just a little longer, just take the old jalopy around the block one last time so everyone can get a real good look (yes, we're still taking campaign donations ...). Well, he's gotta pay off his campaign debt one way or another, and it ain't gonna be a victory lap.

I thought we got rid of him last time, but it's clear that Newt never intends to leave the stage as long as anyone will aim a camera his direction.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:57 PM on April 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


"That's not a wing", it's the other half of the eagle.
posted by Ardiril at 12:58 PM on April 28, 2012


>Democrats are hardly blameless, they have their own extreme wing

Ah yes--the 'everything is symmetrical' argument. If one group is crazy and corrupt, it's only fair to assert that the other group must be too, because everything's equal! Sure, Creationism is a bunch of made up stuff, but evolution must be too, because any two opposing views must be equally wrong! Don't you believe me? What are you, BIASED or something?

So where's the "extreme wing" of the Democrats? Are they fanatics who want, like, tax money for libraries and stuff? Where do I go to vote for them instead of the regular Democrats?
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:58 PM on April 28, 2012 [84 favorites]


"where's the 'extreme wing' of the Democrats?" - Occupying Wall Street.
posted by Ardiril at 1:00 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have been listening to a bunch of lectures on the history of China, and the situation with the GOP is even more depressing in that light. The extreme (in this case left or, at least, sort of left) wing of the CCP, driven by the Gang of Four, driven (as far as I can tell) by ideology and personal self-regard, managed to throw the entire nation off the rails for decades. I imagine that the GOP would would love to stage a cultural revolution of their own. Considering the shifting nature of ideological purity, the intense anti-intellectualism, the idolizing of a mythical "pure rural type" (while avoiding working for their benefit), disastrous economic strategies, and an evident willingness to run the country into the ground rather than admit error is very familiar.

Maybe we should just start calling the Republicans "American Maoists" and see what happens.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:02 PM on April 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


The last 200 years has been a story of conservatives being proven wrong about things.

Have they ever been right about anything?
posted by Afroblanco at 1:04 PM on April 28, 2012 [24 favorites]


It's not the Republicans, it's the press.
posted by fullerine at 1:11 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


TBH on the only-Nixon-can-go-to-china it would have to be a right wing paper that said this, as all the others would be shit scared of saying it, no matter how obvious it is. Fair and balanced...
posted by Artw at 1:13 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The Republicans politicians are the problem."

FTFY.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:15 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Washington Post is so, so not a conservative paper.

You must be confusing it with the Washington Times.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:16 PM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


The world is not what you would like it to be.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:17 PM on April 28, 2012


As gladdened as I am by this Op-Ed this line: While the Democrats may have moved from their 40-yard line to their 25, the Republicans have gone from their 40 to somewhere behind their goal post.

Is bunk, because the Democratic party if anything is more center 45 yard line, than anything else at this point as much as the Republicans want to make it otherwise. Let's face it Obama is a square on the nose center, with deep sympathies for the fiscal right as I've ever seen.

As far as the GOtP, I don't even think they're even in the stadium any more, I think they're tailgating and getting drunk calling young people and progressives "fags," harassing passing women, beating up gay people and saluting veterans (unless they're gay of course), and throwing bottles at anyone who looks like a Latino or an immigrant.
posted by Skygazer at 1:23 PM on April 28, 2012 [16 favorites]



The last 200 years has been a story of conservatives being proven wrong about things.

Have they ever been right about anything?

IMO no. But the past 200 years have also been conservatives accepting none of these defeats. Ergo our their present situation.
posted by SounderCoo at 1:25 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


"where's the 'extreme wing' of the Democrats?" - Occupying Wall Street.

Sure it is, sport. All of those people angry about how the financial industry nearly wrecked the world must be extremists.

The Washington Post is so, so not a conservative paper.

You should remember to wrap your assertions in try{} blocks.
posted by JHarris at 1:25 PM on April 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


"I imagine that the GOP would would love to stage a cultural revolution of their own."

They already did. This current cycle pretty much started with Nixon's second term as vice-president. Goldwater warned of its dangerous branch even as he helped nurture the hyper-conservative drive in the 60s, but few listened -- Ayn Rand did, for example, but that's its own tangent of weirdness.

After Clinton deflated the hysteria a bit, Shrub probably would have been the beginning of the end of the cycle had 9/11 not occurred. Instead, it got a second wind that inevitably blew over a pantywaist like Obama.

Now, I expect the US will ride the current wave right to the breaking point of Social Security.
posted by Ardiril at 1:26 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since I live in Maryland right outside of DC, Cool Papa Bell, I read the Post. I've also read the Times on occasion because I have a coworker who actually spends money to have it delivered to his home. The Post is not a conservative paper in the vein of the Times, bit I don't find it to be particularly liberal except in the sense that reality has liberal bias.
posted by wintermind at 1:26 PM on April 28, 2012


...it's the press.

The role of the press cannot be understated. David Croteau and William Hoynes offer a clear and in-depth discussion of the media problem in The Business of Media: Corporate Media and the Public Interest.

A relevant quote (from the 2001 edition, not the second 2006 edition):
We need to move beyond broad generalizations about "the public interest, convenience, and necessity," which have given broadcasters enormous leeway in crafting their own definitions of their public interest obligations. We can do this only by developing a specific set of public interest requirements--not to restrict expression or dictate its specific content, but to expand and deepen the contribution of media to public life.
I'm glad Mann and Ornstein publicly acknowledge the extremism of the Republicans, but their false-balance hedging of "Democrats are hardly blameless" suggests their op-ed portends more of the same mass media dreck than any sincere interest in pursuing the public good.
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:29 PM on April 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


"must be extremists" - George Zimmerman is much more a mainstream registered Democrat than many here will admit.
posted by Ardiril at 1:29 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The Republicans politicians are the problem."

FTFY.


This is the kind of "Tut tut I'm an independent and both sides are wrong!" bullshit that enables this situation to continue.
posted by Legomancer at 1:32 PM on April 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


What a load of dross.

The most egregious legislation coming out of Washington lately has been firmly bipartisan. NDAA, Patriot act, ACTA.

If someone is trying to get you riled up about which political party is at fault they are either trying to distract you or they are deluded.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:32 PM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Democrats are hardly blameless"...in that they're really bad at putting up a fight, and I say that as ardent democrat. That's the one thing that sometimes make me wish I would get that part of my brain removed that makes me value reason, logic, and truth, then I could jump ship over to the American Taliban.

What's funny is that a friend of mine is going to be interning for the one of the Koch Bro's foundations this summer. He's getting paid like $8.25/hour, no benefits, no nothing, no included health care as I understand it. Apparently he's nominally setup for 39/hours a week or something, just short of the point where they would legally have to give him benefits.

He's pretty pissed about the setup, but it hasn't changed his mind about any of his libertarian ideas....
posted by Chekhovian at 1:50 PM on April 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


The problem is horrible people. When are we going to accept as common knowledge that, given the opportunity to be part of power institutions, most people will operate as lobotomized shitlords?

I'm not exaggerating and I don't consider myself misanthropist and this isn't an ideological argument. It's pretty self-evident that ethics functions, for most, as a convenience, and that behavior is more often rationalized/regretted in retrospect. Same goes for nations falling.
posted by Taft at 1:50 PM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Anyway, the question is really, how can we make society better despite the innate shittiness of our psychology?
posted by Taft at 1:53 PM on April 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


"I imagine that the GOP would would love to stage a cultural revolution of their own."

They already did. This current cycle pretty much started with Nixon's second term as vice-president. Goldwater warned of its dangerous branch even as he helped nurture the hyper-conservative drive in the 60s, but few listened -- Ayn Rand did, for example, but that's its own tangent of weirdness.


Not to derail this thread, but, no matter how many bad things the Republicans have done so far, they have not managed to mobilize thousands of young people to beat "suspect" teachers to death, force confessions out of people, and hold impromptu trials leading to imprisonment and execution. Although it's on the wish list, I fear.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:56 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


The last 200 years has been a story of conservatives being proven wrong about things.

Have they ever been right about anything?


Arguably the Acid Rain Program reduced sulfur dioxide emissions more cheaply and effectively than a mandate would have. In some cases market based systems work better at altering behavior than command and control systems.
posted by euphorb at 1:57 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, c'mon. Two lines nodding to the fact that the Dems are not pure as the driven snow in this respect hardly constitutes just the same old false equivalence. The whole dang piece argues that the false equivalence is false. You can't pick out one sentence and pretend that they're doing the opposite of what they're doing.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 2:00 PM on April 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


I wasn't speaking about Mann and Ornstein in themselves, but the direction in which I fear mass media will continue to move (and I apologize if I was vague in my phrasing or unfair in reading their piece).

If their essay is a turning point, I'll be overjoyed. I'm just skeptical we'll see such a change is all.
posted by audi alteram partem at 2:03 PM on April 28, 2012


The older I get the more I think that getting mad at politicians for bad government is like getting mad at a mirror because you're fat.
posted by Bonzai at 2:11 PM on April 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


There's never going to be a media-based solution to this unless Fox News and the talk radio gauntlet are addressed. Gingrich and Norquist are actors in an influential but small circle. They work specifically in Washington, and specifically amongst lawmakers. Fox and the radio shows are the ones getting the messages out to the troops in the field. The Tea Partiers weren't protesting because of something the Gingrich and Norquist said; they were out there because the folks on the TV and radio were telling them to.

Mann and Ornstein are ignoring 90% of the problem if they think that better reporting from the MSM is going to drive appreciable change.
posted by we vs us at 2:21 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


media-based solution

I didn't know that existed.
posted by Taft at 2:24 PM on April 28, 2012


He's pretty pissed about the setup, but it hasn't changed his mind about any of his libertarian ideas....

You should be reminding them that their low market value is their own fault and they shouldn't complain about it every 30 minutes.
posted by Artw at 2:28 PM on April 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


"where's the "extreme wing" of the Democrats?"

It's the 78 to 81 Congressional Democrats who are secretly members of the communist party, DUH.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:32 PM on April 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Everybody loves obstruction when they aren't in power.

Appropriate amounts of obstruction are a good thing, protection against tyranny of the majority.

The US government has too many veto points, creating gridlock unless extremists are catered to. That's bad. The Canadian government arguably has too few veto points. Our current Conservative government has near-dictatorial power despite having received only 39.6% of the popular vote.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:38 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can't pick out one sentence and pretend that they're doing the opposite of what they're doing.

Actually, this is a great litmus test for determining which members read the entire piece before commenting.

Saying Sing or Swim "picked out one sentence" implies s/he, you know, read the entire piece before commenting. Which, if that's their take-away, they clearly did not.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:38 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


That, and the people favoriting his/her comment, I should say, clearly did not read the entire piece. Again, this is the charitable interpretation.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:39 PM on April 28, 2012


As David Atkins says of Mann & Ornstein's essay, "baby steps are better than no steps."

But the fact that they still felt compelled to make the equivalency gesture, in a piece criticizing false equivalences, indicates how deeply the trope is embedded in media narratives.
posted by audi alteram partem at 2:51 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


the fact that they still felt compelled to make the equivalency gesture, in a piece criticizing false equivalences, indicates how deeply the trope is embedded in media narratives.

The omnipresence of the equivalency trope makes me speculate whether it was inserted by Mann 7 Ornstein or by the Washington Post's own faux-centrist version of Microsoft Spellchecker.
posted by jonp72 at 2:57 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Legomancer: This is the kind of "Tut tut I'm an independent and both sides are wrong!" bullshit that enables this situation to continue.

And that's the kind of "Tut tut, this is what we have to work with and there's no use thinking otherwise" bullshit that keeps us arguing about the superficial, so-called "partisan" issues and ignoring the fundamental design flaws of the basic premise, enabling this situation to recycle endlessly.

And I'm not an independent, just a realist...or cynical, depending on your own point of view.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:02 PM on April 28, 2012


I'm not exaggerating and I don't consider myself misanthropist and this isn't an ideological argument. It's pretty self-evident that ethics functions, for most, as a convenience, and that behavior is more often rationalized/regretted in retrospect. Same goes for nations falling.

There is something different about the GOP today. I remember a conversation I had with my mom in the '90s. Some family friends had gradually done very well for themselves financially, and somewhere along the way they changed their party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. My mom asked her friend why she had changed parties, and her reply was something along the lines of, well, now that we have money we had to change to a party which would represent us, because everyone knows the Republicans are the party of the rich, and for a reason.

Some 15-20 years ago the GOP was different than it is today, but it's a difference of degrees. It used to be centrist messaging during campaigns and sort of a wink and a nod to the wealthy in the party, so that it wouldn't appear too craven to outwardly seek the rich constituency, but today they don't bother winking anymore.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:09 PM on April 28, 2012


Greg_Ace: Except that the realists/cynics/people who go "Well BOTH sides are awful" seldom move beyond that, because such a deep philosophical insight seems to suffice as an end unto itself. I agree that there are fundamental issues at play -- I'm a firm believer that unless we can get legitimate, serious campaign finance reform, any discussion of how else to fix things is moot -- but I almost never see the "realists" offering possible solutions or even seeming to entertain suggested ones, just going, "all politicians are shit and nothing will change that!" at everything that comes along, and then basking smugly in their "victory". For too many people the goal is to see who can out-cynic who and not "how can we possibly keep this nation from collapsing into ruin?" If you think that's not possible because you're a realist, then fine, move along, some people are still trying to give a shit.
posted by Legomancer at 3:11 PM on April 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


The republican's obstructionism is working for them politically. They lost all three branches of government, and in two years won back the house and nearly the senate. After the next election they may well regain all three. A large percentage of the country are confirmed anti-government free-market libertarians or just can't stand 'liberals' and love Fox News. I don't think this will change anytime soon, and if these tactics are working for Republicans, the Democrats are sure to try them.

I wonder if Obama made tactical mistakes early on. He had control of all three branches of government. He could have raised more stimulus money and used stimulus more effectively. Instead of the health-care bill, maybe he could have reformed the tax code to undo the regressive tax system and provide more long-term government revenue.

I heard on NPR there is something like $12B a year in political contributions made annually, and probably rising exponentially. Congress has in a way become an extortion racket feeding off of global enterprise. Perhaps democrats fear they will not be able to compete if they don't participate. It is amazing to me, though, that U.S. companies are punished for submitting to extortion by foreign governments (Walmart, Mexico)--possibly putting them at a disadvantage to foreign competitors, while at the same time essentially forced to play along with the legal extortion in this country. Since the Democrats actually believe government can play a large positive roll in society and the economy, and this doesn't seem to be the majority opinion of the country, it is incumbent upon them, IMO, to root out corruption and inefficiency in government, which they fail to do--in this regard at least. Perhaps they feel they will be at too big a disadvantage if they don't play along.
posted by Golden Eternity at 3:14 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Question: Do you fix the current system, as broken as it is, or push it over the edge and hope that people recognize its destruction and start again?
posted by Slackermagee at 3:38 PM on April 28, 2012


Since the Democrats actually believe government can play a large positive roll in society and the economy, and this doesn't seem to be the majority opinion of the country...

It's difficult to tell what the majority opinion is due to all the propagandistic obfuscation of the right-wing media campaign. But, I think the attitude toward government is more positive than what it may appear when we rely on standard media narratives.

For example:
No matter what labels people use, their view of the role of government provides a window into the ideology that underlies their political views. Conservatives believe in small government; they prefer free markets and individuals to manage things as much as possible. Progressives believe in a more active government that performs more functions and provides more services.

Polling shows that the public is much closer to the progressive view. The latest survey of the National Election Studies (NES) shows, for example, a preference for a vigorous government role in a complex world. Sixty-seven percent said we need a strong government to handle complex economic problems. Nearly 58 percent said government should be doing more, not less; and 59 percent agreed that government has grown because the country's problems have grown.
posted by audi alteram partem at 3:46 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here is the single-page printer version.

A superb article to come from the conservative American Enterprise Institute of all places.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:47 PM on April 28, 2012


I'm going to guess that the far-left branch of the Democratic Party consists of all of the people who scoff at the idea that there is a far-left branch of the Democratic Party.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:48 PM on April 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm reading "Why Nations Fail" now, and basically 1/3 the way thru the book I think we're in for some really hard times ahead of us. While I would love to fix the current system, it's going to take years at our current rate. However, scraping it all and starting over basically isn't going to happen -the level of chaos that would ensue isn't palatable to the average American. And, yes, I would love to see a viable left-wing of the Democratic party, but its never going to happen.

There are simple fixes that could solve lots of our problems, but until the average American who makes $45k a year stops believing that they're inches away from being a multi-millionaire, it's never going to happen. Of course, 30+ years of lousy education gets you an uneducated citizenry, but who could have seen that coming?

In the meantime, I'm hoping I end up as a knight or something cool in the new feudal system. The right-wing in America is voting itself into serfdom.
posted by Farce_First at 3:49 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Legomancer, I agree that campaign finance reform would be a huge first step in paving the way to fundamental change. What little I can realistically do to further that end I do; but until such reform gets past the stage of people outside the entrenched power structure (i.e. citizens like you and me) nodding and murmuring "yeah, that would be a good idea" and starts to look like it has a realistic chance of happening (i.e. actual legislation that's something more substantial than lip service to the concept), I'm left with being cynical about the current state of affairs. Including pointing out that the problem isn't being caused by only one "side" or the other.

Calling the situation horrible doesn't preclude looking to improve it, but pretending it's anything other than it really is doesn't help either.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:50 PM on April 28, 2012


"The Republicans politicians are the problem."

No.

You see, thinking everything is bad is just as useless as thinking everything is good: Is means you're incapable of making distinctions. You're not contributing to the discussion. You're just bleating.

There politicians that *are* part of the problem, and those that *aren't* part of the problem. If we can't make a distinction, we're screwed. It just means we're as likely to throw out good politicians as we are bad ones. And, honestly, that's *exactly* what the Republicans want. That's why they want to paint everyone with the negative brush -- that at least gives them a chance at getting close to 50% of the vote. Then that couple of extra percent it takes to win elections they can make up by other means like voter disenfranchisement.
posted by chasing at 4:01 PM on April 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


There are plenty of people around on the far left of the Democratic party--just not in Congress. Republicans elect their extremists, Dems don't.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:02 PM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Liberals exist outside of the mainstream of politics

I think people inadvertently mislabel themselves rightwards (and are encouraged to do so) by the overton window being so far out of whack here. (regular people, not politicans or parties, as they mislabel in the opposite direction)

You'd think that the crazy-right swing of the overton window would cause people to mislabel themselves leftwards (ie a centist position looks lefty next to the overton window, so might incorrectly describe themselves as hard left), but the opposite seems to have happened - people label themselves so as not to stray too far from what is acceptable in the overton window, even while their actual beliefs trend to the left of the label they picked.

It's even a cliche to have tea-party members decry socialism while strongly supporting socialist policy.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:16 PM on April 28, 2012


The Republican party will be a major force in US politics for the indefinite future, but just as it has shifted to the right, it is capable of shifting towards the center. The only realistic way that the Republican party will move away from far-right obstructionist ideological purity is for them to suffer a massive electoral defeat. The only realistic way they can suffer that defeat is a massive Democratic victory. The only realistic way the Democrats can experience that victory is by winning over moderate voters, by being seen as a centrist party of "common-sense" governance, willing to attempt to cut deals, in contrast to an extremist GOP. That's the situation.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:17 PM on April 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Also, after seeing stuff like "politicians are the problem" and comments about whether we should just push the country over the edge and hope it gets rebuilt better later, let me just say:

I'm with CoCo: I hate cynicism.

It's usually just a weird mask people put on when they want to see above some issue, "all of you petty people arguing the details -- can't you see, like I do, that everything, everywhere is Just Shitty?" So juvenile. And, yes: Part of the Problem.

Everything is not shitty. We have a pretty good government. There are major problems that need fixing, but it's holding up pretty goddamn well and basically serving people's needs. It's not perfect. But it seems worthwhile to occasionally reflect on what's good about the way our country is run...

If nothing else, it'll help throw the truly broken parts of our government into greater relief.
posted by chasing at 4:23 PM on April 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


The only realistic way the Democrats can experience that victory is by winning over moderate voters, by being seen as a centrist party of "common-sense" governance, willing to attempt to cut deals, in contrast to an extremist GOP. That's the situation.

And Democrats can be seen as being in favor of "common-sense" governance by strongly supporting the kinds of pro-active, pro-government policies many (most?) Americans support. Such policies aren't currently seen as "centrist" or "moderate" because of the framing strategies the right has so successfully used. But they are policies people support.

The deals we cut need to start with a far more progressive opening bid than the Democratic leaders have been willing to do in recent years. This strategy will both win popular support (so long as Democrats pursue effective messaging strategies), and will win better policies as our compromises will not start out pre-compromised with a weak starting position.
posted by audi alteram partem at 4:24 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sometimes these kinds of op-eds/articles/MeFi posts make me furious to the point of incoherence. Sometimes they make me so sad that I can't continue reading.

I used to think that, if I could have one wish magically granted, it would be something facile like "world peace" or "universal compassion" or "a billion trillion dollars." In my less charitable moments, it would be "remove the willfully ignorant from the fabric of spacetime."

Now, more and more, if I could truly have only one wish granted, it would be to instantly bestow the capability and desire to find the facts, ponder the truth, and think critically--both broadly and in-depth--upon every citizen of the world. The rest would follow, for the most part.

(Except the billion trillion dollars, which I'd somehow have to find a way to steal.)
posted by tzikeh at 4:33 PM on April 28, 2012


I'm with CoCo: I hate cynicism.

If Conan O'Brian were cynical, he'd still have a network show.

Just sayin'.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:50 PM on April 28, 2012


chasing: There politicians that *are* part of the problem, and those that *aren't* part of the problem.

It's true; 98% of politicians give all the rest a bad name.

I'm not just trying to be humorous and pithy and oh-so-cynical, and I take exception to your own broad brush of "all of you petty people arguing the details -- can't you see, like I do, that everything, everywhere is Just Shitty?" My argument is that there's too much arguing about the superficial parts of the problem - cracks in the walls, the door frames are crooked, the paint's peeling - and not enough examination of the fact that maybe the whole structure is in trouble because of shoddy workmanship or the contractor cheaped out on materials or whatever. That doesn't mean, in my limited analogy, that the whole house needs to be knocked down and hauled off to the dump and an entirely new house built; but that rather than hiring a never-ending string contractors who say that for a small fee all they need to do is patch the cracks in the wall / slap a little paint on / plane down the door edges enough to "fit" in the bad frames / pump the water out of the basement every time it floods, and saying "we have a pretty good house", we instead focus on maybe first shoring up the foundation and fixing the drainage issues.

And then yeah, I'm damned skeptical that any of that will happen in my lifetime.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:57 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, no. I doubt we're going to toss out the entire system of the United States government in your lifetime. Unless something truly horrible happens. I'm fine with that. Like I said, I disagree with the premise that there's something unfixably broken at the heart of the way we run our country.

That said: The Republican party as it currently stands needs to go.
posted by chasing at 5:09 PM on April 28, 2012


You're not even listening, chasing. I specifically did NOT suggest tossing out the entire system. I do think that the things that need doing to make a real, positive change in American politics (such as campaign finance reform, as Legomancer said, to name just one) aren't likely to happen soon...not while we're endlessly discussing how to tidy up the edges of Politics As Usual instead. But if you're happy with the status quo and don't think there's anything seriously wrong - oh, besides that wholesale "The Republican party as it currently stands needs to go" thing - then there's not much left for us to discuss here.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:22 PM on April 28, 2012


The only realistic way that the Republican party will move away from far-right obstructionist ideological purity is for them to suffer a massive electoral defeat.

More likely, there will be a charismatic Republican that wins sufficiently from the center, and transforms the party from within.

Remember, before Bill Clinton, the Democratic party's three previous presidential candidates were Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale and Mike Dukakis. In other words, a prissy guy that said we should wear sweaters indoors; a Minnesota guy that said he would raise taxes and lost in a landslide; and a Massachusetts guy who had difficulty beating Jesse Jackson and looked like a clown in a tank. No Southerners. No charisma.

Fast forward to the next election, and there's a guy that eats at McDonalds, kisses babies and knows how to work a room.

But what happens? Is it an electoral disaster for the right? Nope. Clinton grabs the center and stays there. Pro-business policies. The end of welfare as we know it. Don't ask, don't tell.

He's so successful, they have to invent controversies. Vince Foster. Travelgate. Whitewater. When there's a real controversy -- Monica -- they grab it with both hands, and if it weren't for West Palm Beach, we'd be talking about a permanent Democratic majority.

This is what the future success of Republicans looks like. Not a massive defeat. A close victory by a guy that looks good enough *followed by* a sea change.

You know. Like exactly what happened with George W. Bush. Remember how we talked about compassionate conservatism and how we could have a beer with him?

Yeah. That turned out well. Let's just hope the next guy doesn't fuck us all up so epically.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:04 PM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


But if the republicans imploded who would warn us of the government taking our light bulbs and offer sound financial advice like paying of the medical bills with a chicken?
posted by Iron Rat at 6:05 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like I said, I disagree with the premise that there's something unfixably broken at the heart of the way we run our country.

I agree, but most disagree on what the problems are, or point to symptoms instead. Also, we must realistically stay within constitutional bounds. So, I nominate gerrymandering as the worst abuse of the election process under our current voting system, because gerrymandering plagues the US political system at its core. Voting districts for the US House of Representatives are carved in elaborate shapes by state political bosses to either concentrate a class of votes, or to dilute a class of voters, which is a power they gave to themselves, and they wouldn't be able to resist it regardless of shaming or disapproval.

An elegant and localized solution to gerrymandering is cellular autonomy, like cell division. It's simple, because given only two districts, one cannot gerrymander either for a strategic advantage to any one party, because borrowing a class of voters from one naturally induces a mutual exchange in the balance. Therefore, we should divide and subdivide autonomous cells as needed for district representation to avoid gerrymandering. A odd district can also be made by any two cells, each blindly offering a third portion to create a new cell. None of this is gerrymandering, because there is no subdivision at state level, and no redraws without repeating the process.

Ramifications: States aren't required to divide into districts at all, but once the first division is made, these major autonomous cells might choose to simultaneously run multiple house members as a super-district (like city council elections). A new multiple choice ballot can then be created for federal elections. Multiple candidate voting introduces a modified approval vote in federal politics. This changes a lot, especially the winner-take-all, first-past-the-post process that maintains a two-party system. Additionally, with greater House member representation in a greater area, constituent services can be offered by selected parties. States can also pick their US Senators from the two original districts, instead of statewide, which is their prerogative.
posted by Brian B. at 6:05 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Greg_Ace -- sorry this is getting heated. It's a Saturday night.

But, yeah, I think we're kind of talking around each other and probably not really hearing one another's points. Which is unfortunate, because I think we're kind of agreeing.
posted by chasing at 6:09 PM on April 28, 2012


There are plenty of people around on the far left of the Democratic party--just not in Congress. Republicans elect their extremists, Dems don't.

Republicans didn't used to elect their extremists. This time their extremists "primaried" the non-extremists and knocked out the moderates (and even many straight-up conservatives), as much as they could manage anyway.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:23 PM on April 28, 2012


So, I nominate gerrymandering as the worst abuse of the election process under our current voting system

Up there with the fallout from Citizens United. It only really affects the House, however. I think the law which allows town managers to take over administrative control of select cities in Michigan is the most blatant example of electoral subversion I've seen in my lifetime. The people in Michigan tried to recall that law through petition and are being subverted on that, too.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:35 PM on April 28, 2012


If Conan O'Brian were cynical, he'd still have a network show.
Just sayin'.


Yeah, but who wants to write for The Simpsons forever?
posted by JHarris at 6:50 PM on April 28, 2012


Heh, I just realized that modern Republican ideology is the mechanically separated beef of political views, finely textured political product: Red (State) Slime.
posted by Xoebe at 6:51 PM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


We have a pretty good government. There are major problems that need fixing, but it's holding up pretty goddamn well and basically serving people's needs. It's not perfect.

You can hate cynicism all you want, but please don't confuse mere smug, facile cynicism with the actual ability to tell the difference between "not perfect" and deeply, deeply fucked up.

I concede that our government and its corporate brethren are "pretty good" in the sense that the average citizen has access to enough high-fructose corn syrup, entertaining propaganda, and nifty fake plastic shit to distract them while less-average folks enrich and empower themselves on the government's watch.

Our government indulges in constant internal bickering over its limited financial resources while seemingly never considering the fact that, while people starve, freeze, get evicted, can't read, lack medical care, etc., they themselves spend something like 1/4th of their revenue -- provided in part by those same suffering folks -- on a pointless, wasteful, and corrupt machine for the "defense" of said folks. These expenditures are never meaningfully scaled back, even as it becomes obvious that the actual threat posed to the public by forces from which the military could actually protect us is far smaller than the stated threat.

Our government engages in extreme and unjustified international aggression. Their largest recent adventure turned out to have been predicated on nothing at all but resulted in several hundred thousand excess deaths.

Our government presides over systematic human rights abuse, in the form of state and federal prison systems that house nearly 1% of the population. Predictably, there is a private prison industry that benefits from this state of affairs.

Our government has, in the recent past, presided over systematic human rights abuse involving out-and-out torture, for which nobody of consequence was ever prosecuted.

Our government abridges the official civil liberties of the citizens like nobody's business. A steady stream of paranoid (if one believes the official justifications) or power-hungry (if one doesn't) legislation subjects ordinary citizens to a level of surveillance for which there is some, but very little, precedent in history. Police forces are becoming increasingly militarized and violent, often on the federal dime. These forces have routinely, throughout our history and very recently, been used to crush reasonable dissent.

Our government maintains a public primary and secondary education system so ludicrously bad (and seemingly worse with each encroachment of federal/state authority onto this formerly mainly local territory) that one can't help but suspect it's deliberate. Most other industrialized countries manage at least a decent educational system, but the richest one does not. An ignorant, uncritical populace is more susceptible to the ludicrous panic-mongering (The Russians! Drugs! Terrorists! "Radical Islam"! Cyberthreats!) used to justify all sorts of repressive activities, after all.

In principle, I'm one of those "progressive" types who thinks that the public should make substantial contributions to a well-run, activist government that can meet certain public needs more effectively than profit-motivated organizations can. But if they're going to turn virtually everything they touch into shit, ignore the actual needs of the populace, devote their energy to the service of a few powerful interests at the expense of the civil liberties and economic security of the public, and then systematically lie about, then fuck them. They're not "imperfect". They're fucking evil.

(I'm not some kind of corporate-apologist "libertarian" either, and the sentiment expressed above applies to much of the "private sector" as well, to the extent it's even distinct from the government.)


posted by kengraham at 6:53 PM on April 28, 2012 [35 favorites]


Nthing kengraham.
posted by lalochezia at 7:40 PM on April 28, 2012


Let’s just say it: The Democrats are the problem

That being said, I feel if the republicans would separate themselves from the religious fundamentalist they and ourselves would probably be better off.
posted by 2manyusernames at 7:43 PM on April 28, 2012


Wow, being moderate is difficult. Turns out.
posted by chasing at 8:56 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's goddam Eric Cartman in 60 years.

Perfect. Best description of Newt I have ever read.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:25 PM on April 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


the sentiment expressed above applies to much of the "private sector" as well, to the extent it's even distinct from the government.

It's distinct from the government in that you don't even get a shot at voting the folks involved out of their offices.

That small clarification aside, thanks for your post.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:49 PM on April 28, 2012


I'm not in favor of abolishing the GOP. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.
posted by double block and bleed at 10:49 PM on April 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


isn't this editorial just a component of the post-Rmoney lock on the nomination, intended to reset the Etch-a-Sketch?

I mean, those are strong words. But coming from where the do, aren't they designed to signal to conservative media writers that they should scold, shame, and otherwise call out members of the GOP that continue to appeal to the nutbag base. If they can't muzzle that impetus, Rmoney loses the election, innit?

I must say, I cannot ascribe good will or a genuine wish for comity and polity to persons who work for the AEI and similar institutions. So I ascribe this editorial to a short-term tactical need.
posted by mwhybark at 7:34 AM on April 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I read the Luntz article: apparently it's a myth that Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare.

Argumentum ex recto.
posted by Anything at 7:39 AM on April 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anytime someone tells me they vote Republican because they believe in smaller government, I laugh at their naivete.

Anytime someone tells me that they vote Republican because business can run things better than government , I honestly don't know whether to laugh, cry, or scream maniacally. It's like they honestly can't see the world right in front of their fucking eyes.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:52 PM on April 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


"Anytime someone tells me that they vote Republican because business can run things better than government , I honestly don't know whether to laugh, cry, or scream maniacally. It's like they honestly can't see the world right in front of their fucking eyes."

I just logged in to say pretty much this, word for word. I have also found that mountains upon mountains of evidence mean NOTHING in the face of this belief.
posted by Cosine at 4:24 PM on April 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have also found that mountains upon mountains of evidence mean NOTHING in the face of this belief.

See also: Religion.
posted by Bonzai at 9:14 PM on April 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wasn't listening too closely, but I think Mann and Ornstein did a better job avoiding the equivalency trope on today's Morning Edition, which surprised me as NPR tends to be as enamored with "both sides" narratives as much as other mainstream media outlets.

That said, I share mwhybark's concern that any post-equivalency narratives authored now may serve as a tactical advantage for Romney's campaign (whether or not writers intend their arguments to serve such an advantage).
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:32 AM on April 30, 2012


When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

I would disagree there. It should give the Democrats a full throttle advantage to assemble a coherent platform that jives with what the American people want.

Oh right.

When are we going to accept as common knowledge that, given the opportunity to be part of power institutions, most people will operate as lobotomized shitlords?

I'm not exaggerating and I don't consider myself misanthropist and this isn't an ideological argument.


That's not misanthropism, that's anarchism. Join the non club.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:12 PM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like to note that there do exist people in the United States who are extreme leftists. Some of you may agree with them; I don't. But, they exist. Seriously. I've met them.

However, they have, for all intents and purposes, zero influence over the Democratic Party. The Republican Party on the other hand, is largely run by a massive politico-media complex considerably more radical than most of what you saw in Zucotti Park this past fall.

So, yeah, the Republicans are the problem.
posted by breakin' the law at 5:54 PM on April 30, 2012


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