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"the political soap opera that is today's Republican Party"
February 12, 2013 7:08 AM   Subscribe

"Why Obama Is Giving Up on Right-Leaning Whites: For decades, Democrats shaped their policies around fears of the culturally conservative white voters to the GOP. But Obama’s winning coalition has altered that calculus."
"Original Sin: Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people"
"The Future Of The Republican Party Is By The Pool At The Biltmore: The talk at the Miami hotel where Jeb Bush works, and Marco Rubio works out, is of the next president. But can the young senator get out from under Jeb’s shadow?"
posted by andoatnp (191 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
The RNC really ought to just own their situation and rebrand as "The White Party." They might even get more votes that way.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:14 AM on February 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


And by winning coalition, do they mean that he appealed to the changing demographic, while the Republicans focused on gerrymandering House districts to keep ahead of the shifting tides?
posted by filthy light thief at 7:22 AM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


I haven't noticed any particular alternation in the Democrats policies being shaped around conservative whites. Wait...you mean rich ones, right?
posted by DU at 7:23 AM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Really? This may be true for domestic culture-wars stuff. With the drone program, domestic surveillance, and crackdown on whistleblowers I thought Obama was intent on giving right-leaning whites exactly what they want.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:25 AM on February 12, 2013 [17 favorites]


Those right-leaning whites sure didn't seem to vote for Obama, drones or no. So maybe that's not working so well for him.
posted by rtha at 7:26 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Support for Obama's drone program is pretty broad and includes tons of Democrats. I'd be curious to see a racial breakdown, but there's just not a lot of opposition to it.

Not relying on conservative leaning whites doesn't mean he's automatically going to find himself in the mainstream of the internet left.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:31 AM on February 12, 2013 [24 favorites]


And yet, as far as I know, they are still gonna let the Nuge attend the SOTU address (at the invitation of whackjob Steve Stockman, R-TX.)

Though I am really hoping the Secret Service will just say "uh, no." because what would you put past this guy to try, really?
posted by emjaybee at 7:32 AM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


DU nailed it. It's a bit premature to claim a liberal ascendency when the current Democratic establishment is pretty much as far right as you can get and still call yourself a Democrat.

The talk at the Miami hotel where Jeb Bush works, and Marco Rubio works out, is of the next president. But can the young senator get out from under Jeb’s shadow?

Jeb's shadow is nothing compared to the dark shadow Hillary Clinton casts over the field of Democrats. Used to be the GOP establishment that forced its candidate onto the top of ballot, now its the Democrats.

The Republicans came back from Nixon and Watergate. Another four more years of Jimmy Obama - and Hillary Clinton on the ticket in 2016 - and the country might well be prepared to forgive them again.
posted by three blind mice at 7:34 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


...the country might well be prepared to forgive them again.

Or punish the Democrats. They are going to have a tough row to hoe convincing me to vote for them (nationally) over the Greens and no amount of screaming "NOW'S NOT THE TIME SUPREME COURT THROWING YOUR VOTE AWAY HIPPIE" is going to change that. Policy changes will change that.
posted by DU at 7:39 AM on February 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


Support for Obama's drone program is pretty broad and includes tons of Democrats. I'd be curious to see a racial breakdown, but there's just not a lot of opposition to it.

This reminds me of New Labour's expansion of the unliberal state in the UK. They pushed the surveillance state and militarism with considerable vigour. ASBOs and special enforcement zones and so on are pretty bold police state style moves. Peace and privacy are not really right-left issues. It's important to remember that the religious right is a marriage of convenience rather than an ideological match. There are plenty of religious liberals and many American's left and right do not give a shit about other peoples.
posted by srboisvert at 7:40 AM on February 12, 2013


the country might well be prepared to forgive them again

conservative white people are no longer "the country." which i think is one of the main points here.
posted by twist my arm at 7:41 AM on February 12, 2013 [17 favorites]


Though I am really hoping the Secret Service will just say "uh, no." because what would you put past this guy to try, really?

Quite a bit. Really.

I think the Secret Service knows the score with the Nuge. Great guitarist, obnoxious attention-whore, mostly harmless to two-legged mammals.
posted by snottydick at 7:41 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


The RNC really ought to just own their situation and rebrand as "The White Party." They might even get more votes that way.

Plus imagine the hilarity that would inevitably ensue when the GOP/White Party accidentally books a fundraiser next door to the other kind of White Party...
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:44 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


But they still ought to drone strike Nuge's house by accident.
posted by lordaych at 7:45 AM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I hope they let Nugent in to the SOTU speech. I would love for him to jump out of his chair & start shouting paranoid Tea Party crap at the pres mid-speech.

My entertainment dollar says VOTE NUGE FOR SOTU STOOGE!
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:47 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hillary Clinton has made a remarkable surge in her favorability ratings. This graph attests to that. (67% favorable / 27% unfavorable). 37% of Republicans have a favorable impression of her!

I know I always thought of her as a bit green in the early 2000s when talk was made of her becoming president. (I know Obama had less of a record - but that's another story).

But she doesn't have that anymore. Along with 8 years of Senate she has four years as Secretary of State. That's in the league of most of the best historical presidential aspirants. So she is not being foisted on anyone. She is the popular candidate who has paid her dues.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:49 AM on February 12, 2013 [19 favorites]


The Biltmore Hotel wants a hundred grand, but we ain't got the large grand on hand.
And they now got a lock on the door to cutting school finance bill H184.
There's a stock room behind Conference Chair McMorris's bar, but Rep. McMorris ain't a good scout. And things being how they are, the back of GITMO is out....

So the Biltmore Hotel is the spot, but the hundred thousand bucks we ain't got.

Why, it's good old reliable Marco! Marco, Marco, Marco Rubio!
If you're looking for action, he'll furnish the spot. Even when the heat is on, it's never too hot. Not for the good old reliable Marco!
Oh it's only just a short walk - to the oldest established, permanent floating, special interest group for the pork!

There are well-heeled lobbyists over there. There well-heeled lobbyists everywhere!

And awful lot of lettuce for the fella who can get there!
If we only had a lousy little Bush, we could be a millionaire!

But that's good old reliable Marco!
Marco, Marco, Marco, Rubio!
If the size of your bundle you want to increase - He'll arrange that you go broke in quiet and peace. In a hideout provided by Marco! Where there are no reporters to squawk.

It's the oldest, established, permanent, floating special interest group - for the pork!
posted by Smedleyman at 7:51 AM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]



Ted Nugent as GOP spokesperson is funny. The guy is a draft dodging deadbeat dad. He's been busted multiple times for hunting illegally.

But none of that matters to moral, upstanding, law and order conservatives.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:54 AM on February 12, 2013 [36 favorites]


>the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people.

As a white guy, uh, can we vote on this? Because this seems more "old religious people" than just 'white'.
posted by anti social order at 7:55 AM on February 12, 2013 [16 favorites]


Yeah, pretty much the only place I see people giving a crap about the drones is on the blue. Which isn't to say it's okay. But it's absolutely not a mainstream issue.

As for the GOP, for all the talk of Florida, I don't get why Chris Christie isn't the obvious favourite. Like, slap-you-in-the-head-with-a-2x4 obvious. He's got all the small government bona fides without (most of) the crazy. Of course, he's the guy you pick if you want to come back to the mainstream, and it's not clear that the GOP establishment has any interest in doing that. But he's the guy Democrats should be afraid of.

Frankly, while I personally would find it hard to stomach his conservatism, I think a conservative like Christie winning the Presidency would be good for the country, since it would marginalize the Scary White People the GOP currently feels beholden to.
posted by dry white toast at 7:56 AM on February 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's not the GOP establishment that is uninterested in returning to the mainstream - it's the wingnuts. Remember, they're the ones who are going to take pains to get themselves an unofficial veto power over the field of candidates in 2016. Until we know how effective that effort is - and we probably won't until after the midterm congressional elections at the earliest, any real prediction about who will win the nomination to fight Obama's successor is seriously premature.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:01 AM on February 12, 2013


I think a conservative like Christie winning the Presidency would be good for the country, since it would marginalize the Scary White People the GOP currently feels beholden to.

I take it you are not a Uterus-American, then? Because we are having a hard time as it is with Democrats in office.
posted by emjaybee at 8:02 AM on February 12, 2013 [29 favorites]


They don't really have much choice: the GOP did quite well for itself rebranding itself as the Tea Party and electing a bunch of resentful racist ideologs with no idea how to run anything other than wrecking all forms of Goverment, but now it's stuck with those people even if the general public comes to its senses and rejects them as lunatics.
posted by Artw at 8:03 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The only way for Democrats to oppose the Drone program in large numbers is for a Republican to get reelected President and continue the same policy. And don't look to Hillary for salvation on that front. She is just as much a rhetorical war monger as anybody else in DC these days. The fact is if any politician even mildly suggests that it might not be in our best interests to kill brown people on the other side of the world, they get eviscerated in the press (from both the mainstream left and right) and viciously attacked by their political opponents. And the fact that it isn't a mainstream issue just proves how low we have sunk in this country. The neocons still control our foreign policy.

And I think it is foolhardy to write the GOP off. Things change. Always have. Always will. They have a group of young eager not totally batshit crazy pragmatic politicians waiting in the wings to make their move. And we always eventually grow tired of the party in charge after a few election cycles. And when serious blowback occurs---and it will occur---for all of our overseas shenanigans, the blame will be placed on Obama and the party in charge.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:05 AM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think we should outsource the ever growing industry of examining what is wrong with the Republican party and declaring it to have no future to Japan. That would be awesome.
posted by charred husk at 8:05 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Christie once acknowledged that Obama was capable of anything other than sheer evil. He's dead to the GOP.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:07 AM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


TBH if you're really upset about. Drones you should probably find some reason they are actually worse than waging war with airplanes that doesn't sound stupid ("there isn't a person in it who might die!") and a downside other than the death of Anwar Alwaqi who, to be blunt, is very hard to present as anything other than a terrorist asshole no matter how many times you call him "an American".
posted by Artw at 8:11 AM on February 12, 2013 [18 favorites]


As for the GOP, for all the talk of Florida, I don't get why Chris Christie isn't the obvious favourite. Like, slap-you-in-the-head-with-a-2x4 obvious. He's got all the small government bona fides without (most of) the crazy. Of course, he's the guy you pick if you want to come back to the mainstream, and it's not clear that the GOP establishment has any interest in doing that. But he's the guy Democrats should be afraid of.

There is a surprisingly large number of people who, casting around for some reason why Obama won the election again despite being an Evil Commie Muslim, decided to blame Christie for saying nice things about him in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. According to them, Christie is a traitorous turncoat who sold out his own party. These people are wingnuts, but that doesn't make their votes in the primary count any less.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:15 AM on February 12, 2013


Yeah....I love that argument. Apparently the only two options we have are conventional war and drones. That right there is the problem. We can't even have a serious and honest debate about what our best interests are and what it means to defend the country.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:16 AM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, guys? This whole idea of "well let's just let the country get WAY WORSE and then people will get fed up and fix it!"? It's... been getting worse. And the result is... that it's worse.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:16 AM on February 12, 2013 [47 favorites]


~the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people.
~As a white guy, uh, can we vote on this? Because this seems more "old religious people" than just 'white'.


While you certainly have the "religious" part right, to think the GOP is exclusively old is to completely ignore the millions of young religious individuals who are staunchly Republican. You can't fill a mega-church with only oldsters.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:16 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Strikes me as odd--perhaps an American thing--that so soon after we have elected our president for a second term the chit chat begins to drift toward the coming election, some 4 years away...
posted by Postroad at 8:18 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


And I think it is foolhardy to write the GOP off. Things change. Always have. Always will. They have a group of young eager not totally batshit crazy pragmatic politicians waiting in the wings to make their move.

I wouldn't write them off either but they have done a pretty great job of painting themselves into a corner. They can try to reform themselves and get rid of the crazy but it's going to take a long time for the voters in various groups that they've insulted to ever forgive them. The people who they've called degenerates or moochers or baby killers or illegals don't seem to be very happy about that and probably aren't going to vote Republican for a generation at least.
posted by octothorpe at 8:22 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Or punish the Democrats.

See, this is why they have the Tea Party calling the shots in the house - Left-leaning voters are too dumb to primary bad incumbents, they run off crying to a third party with no hope of influencing anything.

Send a few Democratic Party sweethearts into early retirement next election cycle, and replace them with another Alan Greyson or Al Franken - that will shake things up and move policy in your direction, not playing make-believe that voting Green can give you any kind of voice.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:27 AM on February 12, 2013 [24 favorites]


The casual identification of all religious people as aligning with the Right is a dreadful misrepresentation. Obama himself is religious, and there are many other religious people who self-identify with the Left. In fact, one could argue that the only reason that the Right is as strong as it is is because the Left has become increasingly anti-religious. Success for the Left depends on keeping its anti-religious fanatics under wraps.
posted by No Robots at 8:27 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


In fact, one could argue that the only reason that the Right is as strong as it is is because the Left has become increasingly anti-religious.

I don't think a ton of liberal Christians decided 'fuck all this social justice nonsense- the Democrats were MEAN to us' and decided to vote Republican.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:32 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just figured Ted Nugent was like the big furry sports mascot of the GOP.
posted by Theta States at 8:33 AM on February 12, 2013


Four years is a long time and even the weak candidate Romney still got 47.2 to 51.1% of the popular vote. Let's revisit this when we know how the economy looks 2016.

Obama himself is religious.

Well, as much as any politician, perhaps....
posted by IndigoJones at 8:34 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Republicans Push Back as Rove Aims to Appoint Himself Kingmaker -- "Rove’s latest plan to return the GOP from the political wilds is infuriating base Republicans."
posted by ericb at 8:35 AM on February 12, 2013


In fact, one could argue that the only reason that the Right is as strong as it is is because the Left has become increasingly anti-religious.

One could argue that, but I'd like to see some studies or statistics to back that up.
posted by rtha at 8:35 AM on February 12, 2013 [14 favorites]


TBH if you're really upset about. Drones you should probably find some reason they are actually worse than waging war with airplanes that doesn't sound stupid ("there isn't a person in it who might die!") .

"There isn't a person in it who might die" is kind of a simplistic way to put it, but it is an argument. DOD/CIA/whoever's running the drones can order a strike anywhere, anytime, without risking any lives they actually care about. If the attack goes utterly pear-shaped, all they lose is money, and good luck running the American military out of that.

and a downside other than the death of Anwar Alwaqi who, to be blunt, is very hard to present as anything other than a terrorist asshole no matter how many times you call him "an American"

How about hundreds of civilians being blown up for standing too close to the wrong person? Another result of consequence-free strikes is that you don't have to worry about isolating your target before you attack.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:36 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, regardless of what you think of Alwaqi in particular the legal precedent set by the planned assassination of a person who nominally has Fourth Amendment rights has to be at least a little troubling, right?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:38 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


And yet, as far as I know, they are still gonna let the Nuge attend the SOTU address (at the invitation of whackjob Steve Stockman, R-TX.)


If the president's daughters spend the entire time squirming, we'll know why.
posted by ocschwar at 8:39 AM on February 12, 2013


Just a reminder that essentially the entirety of elected GOP officials still refuse to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, although they can't decide whether it's because of the Homos, the Injuns, the Mexicans, Big Government, or the new hotness of "VAWA is totes unfair to the long-oppressed White Dudes!"
posted by zombieflanders at 8:39 AM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Clinton vs. Christie in 2016. Get your ringside seats now. This one's gonna be awesome.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:39 AM on February 12, 2013


I take it you are not a Uterus-American, then? Because we are having a hard time as it is with Democrats in office.

Point taken, but the more the Tea Party and their ilk hold sway, the more attacks on women's sovereignty over her body we are likely to see.

It's not the GOP establishment that is uninterested in returning to the mainstream - it's the wingnuts.

I should clarify that what is required is for the GOP establishment to realize that the crazies are costing them more votes than they are giving them. At this point, that's a bit of a leap for them, I realize.
posted by dry white toast at 8:40 AM on February 12, 2013


No Robots: "In fact, one could argue that the only reason that the Right is as strong as it is is because the Left has become increasingly anti-religious."

Is this an argument that you in fact would make? Because I'd like to hear it.
posted by brundlefly at 8:41 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Prediction: Clinton won't run in 2016.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:41 AM on February 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


despite being an Evil Commie Muslim,

Maybe, but the real issue for Obama is that he's black.

He's black.

The GOP tried to find the whitest candidate from one of the whitest states to run against him. Congress has been fighting, fighting him every inch of the way, because he's black. They're blocking every single candidate (at least, before the re-election) that he nominates, because they don't want a n-- telling them what to do. After he organized the perfect operation to assassinate Osama bin Laden, everyone said "ok, so what else have you done for us lately?" It's because he's black.

Thank god the American public is not so old-fashioned, and saw that their opposing candidate from Utah was a vapid clotheshorse. (The election would have been much more one-sided if he weren't black.) But, in my opinion, there are still too many people in this country with that "us" vs. "them" mentality.
posted by Melismata at 8:42 AM on February 12, 2013 [31 favorites]




I think we're seeing a reorientation of the political axis. As coalitions riase and fall, the dominant political parties have become increasingly separated from the "conventional" L/R way of defining them. With the rise of a new coalition organized on new(ish) issues, a new political organization will follow. Does it make sense to call Republicans who want to dismantle Great Society and new Deal programs "conservative"? No. Does it make sense to call Democrats who move for austerity measures "liberal"? No.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:44 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Thank god the American public is not so old-fashioned, and saw that their opposing candidate from Utah was a vapid clotheshorse.

Massachusetts by way of Michigan, actually. And, he did get 47% of the popular vote, so it's not like racial division is going away anytime soon.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:45 AM on February 12, 2013


How about hundreds of civilians being blown up for standing too close to the wrong person? Another result of consequence-free strikes is that you don't have to worry about isolating your target before you attack.

That's not insignificant, however, the previous technology (cruise missles) were even more imprecise and made bigger bada booms.

Drone strikes are like animal research or meat production - few people are actually that in love with the idea. But they are better than the alternatives at this point, and no, we aren't going to do without.

The actual thing that would stop drone strikes is foreign governments that are worth something - you'll note we aren't flying them in Canada or Japan.

Yes, I am vastly oversimplifying - my point being that the people aren't that happy about drone usage, but the alternatives all suck more.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:47 AM on February 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Clinton vs. Christie in 2016. Get your ringside seats now. This one's gonna be awesome.

I really don't think Christie will run in 2016, I'd give a 20% chance, and I am only 60% sure Clinton will.
And really, -- oh dear god, the 538 addict in me needs to stop talking about the next election and go outside and look at clouds.
posted by Theta States at 8:49 AM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Congress has been fighting, fighting him every inch of the way, because he's black.

Right, the Republicans were so much more reasonable when Clinton was President.
posted by leopard at 8:49 AM on February 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


See, this is why they have the Tea Party calling the shots in the house - Left-leaning voters are too dumb to primary bad incumbents, they run off crying to a third party with no hope of influencing anything.

That's certainly true, but where Democrats are entrenched it's very difficult for anyone to launch a credible primary challenge.

Should Stephen Lynch somehow manage to win the Democratic primary for the upcoming Massachusetts special election, I might just sit out out the general election or even (gasp!) vote Republican. It's silly and selfish, but I'd much rather spend the next two years with a placeholder Republican in office waiting for another Elizabeth Warren to come along than spend the next two decades with a very conservative and untouchable Democrat like Lynch in office.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:51 AM on February 12, 2013


Ted Nugent as GOP spokesperson is funny.
Yeah, but not funny ha ha.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:51 AM on February 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's just so ridiculous that the Republicans invited Nugent. I mean, yeah, sure, you agree with his idiotic opinions, that's great and all. But that doesn't change the fact that the man has two months left to make good on his promise to be dead or in jail within a year if Obama were reelected.
posted by Flunkie at 8:52 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Are the Republicans Beyond Saving?
The spectacle of the Republicans, like teenagers longing to be invited to the prom, floundering about in search of more popularity with American voters, would be comical if it didn’t present the sad picture of a once great and proud party—the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower—working its way into near irrelevance. The Republican Party is having its own form of PTSD. According to one of the most respected party elders the Republicans firmly believed that the voters would reject Barack Obama for a second term and deliver the Senate back into their hands. Wishful thinking combined with erroneous polling assumptions left them totally unprepared for the thumping loss they sustained and they are still in something of a state of shock. “They’re still close in time to that event,” the party elder said. “You need to keep that in mind. Right now they’re groping around in a dark room.”

As the Republicans search for a new and more electable identity they have a fundamental problem. Ever since they took their first major right turn in 1964, they have made a series of bargains in order to strengthen their ranks: the Christian right, the Southern strategy, which validated racism as party policy, the Sagebrush Rebellion, which represented big ranching and farming interests as well as the mining industry, the Club for Growth, a highly conservative organization with a lot of money to pour into primaries to defeat more centrist incumbents. However successful momentarily, this series of deals ultimately cost the Republicans broad national appeal and flexibility.
posted by stbalbach at 8:55 AM on February 12, 2013


I don't know that Jeb Bush is the future of the GOP. I really don't think that there are enough voters who would be willing to vote for another Bush for president, considering how long it's been taking to climb out of the wreckage of Dubya's administration. Take note of how little he's been heard from after he left office - he's not exactly in high demand.
posted by azpenguin at 8:57 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


In fact, one could argue that the only reason that the Right is as strong as it is is because the Left has become increasingly anti-religious.

There is no meaningful "anti-religious" force in American politics, nor does any "anti-religious" agenda have any hold whatsoever in the Democratic party. The notion that mainstream US politicians of any kind are "anti-religious" is purely a rhetorical ploy from right-wing bloviators of the Fox News variety. It is precisely akin to the claim that Obama (or any other mainstream US-left politician) is a "communist."
posted by yoink at 9:01 AM on February 12, 2013 [20 favorites]


ericb: "Karl Rove, Conservatives And The Battle For The GOP’s Soul."

I thought it was established canon that, as beings created by Melkor without the Flame Imperishable, the GOP didn't have a soul?

[/dork]
posted by notsnot at 9:01 AM on February 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah, but they want Reagan on the dollar - give it time.
posted by Artw at 9:01 AM on February 12, 2013


Guy on the TV: Hi, I'm Jeb Bush.

Guy watching: Oh yeahhhhhhhh... that's why I hate Republicans.
posted by Flunkie at 9:03 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I miss mittens. Politics is no fun w.o him.
posted by angrycat at 9:05 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Clinton vs. Bush 2016: Can nation break out of time-loop?
posted by ennui.bz at 9:07 AM on February 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


Right, the Republicans were so much more reasonable when Clinton was President.

I'm not entirely sure if you're being sarcastic or not. Somehow, I don't see Senate Republicans under Clinton threatening to vote against a Senate Republican for a cabinet post.
posted by LionIndex at 9:08 AM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


ennui.bz: "Clinton vs. Bush 2016: Can nation break out of time-loop?"

We, as a nation, must divert all engine power to the forward deflector dish and use it to fire a tachyon pulse into Jeb Bush's forehead.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:13 AM on February 12, 2013 [13 favorites]


Ted Nugent as GOP spokesperson is funny. The guy is a draft dodging deadbeat dad.

And oh, what a master draft dodger he was:
In that 1990 interview with the Free Press and from information collected from the Chickenhawk Web site, Nugent told about how he avoided the draft: "He claims that 30 days before his Draft Board Physical, he stopped all forms of personal hygiene. The last 10 days he ingested nothing but junk food and Pepsi, and a week before his physical, he stopped using the bathroom altogether, virtually living inside his pants caked with excrement and urine. That spectacle won Nugent a deferment."
Ted Nugent: Call him Chickenhawk

Guy on the TV: Hi, I'm Jeb Bush.

Guy watching: Oh yeahhhhhhhh... that's why I hate Republicans.


Yeah, that was my thought looking at the graphic that says "Jeb is ready now. He's been ready for years and we've been ready and waiting."

No way that face gets elected president. NO WAY.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:14 AM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


In that 1990 interview with the Free Press and from information collected from the Chickenhawk Web site, Nugent told about how he avoided the draft: "He claims that 30 days before his Draft Board Physical, he stopped all forms of personal hygiene. The last 10 days he ingested nothing but junk food and Pepsi, and a week before his physical, he stopped using the bathroom altogether, virtually living inside his pants caked with excrement and urine. That spectacle won Nugent a deferment."

Ted Nugent: even the draft board made him crap himself.
posted by jaduncan at 9:16 AM on February 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


As a Canadian, it seems very obvious to me that the Democratic Party is not very left wing on most issues. Last October, the National Post (a Canadian right wing newspaper founded by Conrad Black) ran an article Who Would Canadians vote for—Obama or Romney?, which showed that 78% of Canadians preferred Obama while only 12% preferred Romney. When the data was broken down by Canadian partisan affiliation, supporters of the Conservative Party of Canada preferred Obama over Romney by a margin of 58%-29%. Even Canadians who self-identify as conservative generally feel that Obama is plenty conservative for their preference while Romney and the Republicans are too far to the right.

Here’s another data point. A 2012 Gallup poll on political ideology showed that 40% of Americans identified as Conservative while only 21% identified as Liberal. 35% identified as Moderate. But Obama won 51% of the popular vote last October. So assuming Obama won almost all of the Liberal vote and almost none of the Conservative vote, he must have won approximately 80% of the Moderate vote. Among those who voted for Obama, a majority do not identify as Liberal! So there you have it, America has a two party system in which one party is Moderate (by American standards) and one party is Conservative.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 9:18 AM on February 12, 2013 [18 favorites]


Ted Nugent as GOP spokesperson is funny.

Yeah, but not funny ha ha.


What's not to like about the modern GOP being represented by a literally pants-shitting, chickenhawk, draft-dodging, statutory rapist who has threatened gun violence against the sitting President of the United States and his wife? Especially when it'll be opposite survivors of gun violence, a 102-year-old black woman who had trouble voting in a state where said modern GOP have admitted that they want to make it harder for black people to vote, and people who can get and pay for medical care despite the modern GOP's opposition?
posted by zombieflanders at 9:18 AM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


What's not to like about the modern GOP being represented by a literally pants-shitting, chickenhawk, draft-dodging, statutory rapist who has threatened gun violence against the sitting President of the United States and his wife? Especially when it'll be opposite survivors of gun violence, a 102-year-old black woman who had trouble voting in a state where said modern GOP have admitted that they want to make it harder for black people to vote, and people who can get and pay for medical care despite the modern GOP's opposition?


The Overton window, mainly.

Marginal crazies taking over a mainstream political party does more to normalize craziness than it does to marginalize the party.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:21 AM on February 12, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'm not entirely sure if you're being sarcastic or not. Somehow, I don't see Senate Republicans under Clinton threatening to vote against a Senate Republican for a cabinet post.

Of course I'm being sarcastic. Are you being serious? Clinton spent 8 years in Washington trying to get moderately conservative legislation passed and the Republicans fought him tooth and nail, shutting down the government, investigating him for an array of BS scandals, blah blah blah.

Look, when your political goals are simply to keep do-gooder taxes and regulations off the backs of corporate interests, obstructionism costs you nothing. You really think that if Obama were to step down and Biden replaced him, suddenly the Republicans would breathe a massive sigh of relief that they no longer have to deal with a black President? "Now that the black guy is gone, we suddenly realize how much we have in common!"
posted by leopard at 9:23 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


In fact, one could argue that the only reason that the Right is as strong as it is is because the Left has become increasingly anti-religious.

One could argue that, but I'd like to see some studies or statistics to back that up.

Me too. I think there's some middle ground between being anti-religious and simply not wearing pages of the Bible as clothing. Jesus wasn't down with the Pharisees.


Congress has been fighting, fighting him every inch of the way, because he's black.

Right, the Republicans were so much more reasonable when Clinton was President.

Well, at the time Clinton was claiming that he was first "Black" president. Maybe the GOP subconsciously bought into the hype.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:23 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hell, I'm surprised the President doesn't just talk up some godless socialist fascist who vocally supported separation of church and state, instituted some of the largest tax increases in modern history, thought there should be increased access to birth control, supported expansion of gay rights, called for gun control including effective non-cosmetic (cosmetic being what the GOP watered the 1994 bill down to be and hypocritically complains was toothless) assault and heavy weapon bans, and worked to improve health care regulations...

...and then rolls out the preserved corpse of Ronald Fucking Reagan.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:24 AM on February 12, 2013


Maybe, but the real issue for Obama is that he's black.

He's black.


I've always been struck how the Obama's are the American dream made real, yet people hate them. He pulled himself up by his boostraps, Michelle is a smart woman who paid commanded respect and high pay long before meeting Barack, they clearly have a loving relationship and she made the choice to put family first by being Mom-in-chief.

Yet the amount of hatred directed towards them is insane.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:25 AM on February 12, 2013 [59 favorites]


Among those who voted for Obama, a majority do not identify as Liberal! So there you have it, America has a two party system in which one party is Moderate (by American standards) and one party is Conservative.

The thing is we have a political system that represents how Americans actually feel about things. There's not a strong base of liberals in America in 2013, complain all you want about Obama not being liberal enough, he's a fair representation of how Americans feel about politics right now. They don't like the Republicans, but they also have no problem with overseas wars and drone strikes. They support health care reform, but support for single payer systems is mixed based on how you ask the question, and large portions of the public are opposed. They support modest gun control, but largely believe in the right to bear arms.

That's not to say that liberals and progressive should give up on pushing the issue that matter to them, it's to say that when Obama comes out looking like a centrist rather than a left-winger, it's because that's what the people want.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:28 AM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


42% of Republicans have a favorable view of Michelle Obama. Depending on how you look at it, that's a remarkably low or a remarkably high number.
posted by leopard at 9:28 AM on February 12, 2013


That's in the league of most of the best historical presidential aspirants. So she is not being foisted on anyone. She is the popular candidate who has paid her dues.

This is why, every 25 minutes, every republican stops, points and yells SQUIRREL BENGHAZI!
posted by eriko at 9:33 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've always been struck how the Obama's are the American dream made real, yet people hate them.

Plenty of people hate Barry for being black. But the Clinton's exemplified that dream just as much and were arguably even more hated. I mean, there aren't accusations of murder (other than state sanctioned murder) being flung at Obama. What's more true is that Obama has more fair-weather friends than Clinton. People who would have abandoned him or not turned out to vote if the Republicans had nominated anyone other than the robot from planet Moroni to be America's creepy 1950's dad president.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:33 AM on February 12, 2013


Prediction: Clinton won't run in 2016.

Yeah, I fear it, too. When she took the State job, it felt like it all ground to a halt. And then Benghazi gives the GOP a completely new talking point.

One hopes she still thinks she has the best shot of being the first female president, and her ambition gets the best of her in that regard.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:34 AM on February 12, 2013


A 2012 Gallup poll on political ideology showed that 40% of Americans identified as Conservative while only 21% identified as Liberal. 35% identified as Moderate.

The problem with Gallup polls is that conservative is a very broad word - for example, I would classify as a Fiscal conservative, but I also believe that being conservative means preserving freedom in the true sense of the word - the freedom to have autonomy over your body, the freedom not to be spied upon by your government, the freedom to marry who you like and the freedom to practice whatever religion you choose unencumbered.

I do not believe that conservationism means a lack of a safety net (because actually, that's how the fabric of the country was founded...on the idea we can't do things alone) and I don't think it means accumulating incredible wealth in a few at the expense of many. I believe that environmental protection should be in the heart of any true conservative (because that's the preservation of the country that has always been there.)

The religious fundamentalism and libertarianism that plagues the Republican Party (and Conservative Party of Canada) today makes me a moderate, or even a liberal - and while I disagree with Obama on so many issues relating to fiscal policy, at the end of the day I end up on the side who violates fewer of my principles. Today's republican values are not about conservatism - they are entirely about a pervasive "fuck you, I got mine" mentality that is doing more damage to the world than social safety nets ever well.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 9:35 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


How about hundreds of civilians being blown up for standing too close to the wrong person?

It's impossible, of course, to come up with any clear moral calculus of the value of a human life. There's obviously a sense in which two deaths is worse than one, and another sense in which any death is a loss beyond calculation. Nonetheless it is my experience that people generally wildly overestimate the numbers of civilian deaths caused by the drone program. To suggest that "hundreds of civilians" are dying with any frequency is just hopelessly misstating the impact of these programs.

Even if we go by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's tally (and it is at the upper end among the various reputable organizations trying to keep a tally of the drone program's toll) there have been, on average, fewer than 100 civilian deaths each year in Pakistan since 2004--and that's going by their upper-bound estimate of total casualties. And of course that number is heavily front-loaded. The civilian death toll has been dropping steadily year-by-year.
posted by yoink at 9:35 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


TBH if you're really upset about. Drones you should probably find some reason they are actually worse than waging war with airplanes that doesn't sound stupid ("there isn't a person in it who might die!") and a downside other than the death of Anwar Alwaqi who, to be blunt, is very hard to present as anything other than a terrorist asshole no matter how many times you call him "an American".

uhh ok how about the looming perpetual surveillance society we're about to enter as a result of increasing drone automation and camera sophistication, and jesus christ dude the fact that he's "an American" is important because he wasn't given any due process, how do you not understand this?? yes he was an asshole, but the president can now literally arbitrarily describe a citizen as an enemy of the state and execute them
posted by p3on at 9:35 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]



I've always been struck how the Obama's are the American dream made real, yet people hate them. He pulled himself up by his boostraps, Michelle is a smart woman who paid commanded respect and high pay long before meeting Barack, they clearly have a loving relationship and she made the choice to put family first by being Mom-in-chief.

Yet the amount of hatred directed towards them is insane.


White American sees rich and successful minorities all the time. But this is different. White America doesn't look at a basketball player or a musician or a reality TV show star and have feelings of power loss.

They hate Obama because he has power. It's not about the black guy making money; it's about the black guy making money being your boss.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:36 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, there aren't accusations of murder (other than state sanctioned murder) being flung at Obama.

Do not underestimate the wingnuts.
posted by neroli at 9:40 AM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I know MetaFilter hates drones and this shouldn't become a repeat of that whole discussion, but I'm both socially and economically liberal and I still prefer drone strikes to outright warfare. Yes, drones kill people. Killing people is, alas, one of the things America does really often. I prefer drone strikes to outright warfare, and the abuses we've seen of the drone program (which are, indeed, troubling) still have nothing on the shit soldiers pull when they're occupying countries.

If Obama remains as utterly competent this term as he was last term – and, yes, his accomplishments in the face of the godawful congress he had to work with prove that he was remarkably competent – then by the end of these four years the country will be in a better place than it's been in a decade, people will notice, and the next Democrat candidate will sweep the country. I hope it's Hillary, not just because people like her, but because I think she'd make a good president. Even if it's not Hillary, the Republicans are fucked, unless they miraculously manage to change the entire direction of the party in a mere four years. Which is unlikely, because they're fucking idiots and they haven't learned yet.

Both parties are going to grow gradually more liberal. I mean, that's how it works. It's not just gonna be "Republicans out, Green Party in" because the strategic heads of both main parties are too smart to just let themselves go extinct. If the Reps give the Dems space to go more leftward, the Dems will take it. If the Reps are smarter, they'll go more leftward themselves, so that they can decide on their own which slightly-less-regressive policies feel like less of a compromise to their mission of being completely awful. Gradually we'll have two parties that think nothing of endorsing a whole lot of ideas that once seemed far-left and nutso, because that's how liberal ideas generally spread. And we'll still have a far left, who is simultaneously right about almost all of their beliefs and completely awful at finding ways to work within the actual system.

That's if there isn't either a significant system reform or an outright revolt/apocalypse. But I'm pessimistic that the former won't happen and optimistic that the latter won't. Or else I'm pessimistic that the current people in charge are too savvy to lose power even if the world started to end. Whichever.

The "surveillance state" criticism of the modern left is one I both agree with and think is inevitable. We just don't understand this technology well enough as a nation to be critical of it. It's new, it's cheaper every day, it's exciting and futuristic, and every country in the world seems to be buying into it. I doubt this'll lead us to outright dystopia – people are better than Orwell made them out to be – but surely it'll lead to a lot of tragedy and bullshit. I don't think said tragedy and bullshit can be prevented, so I don't hold it against Obama that he's helping to take us there. I think the smart thing to do is promote ways for people to go against that sort of surveillance if they want to, highlight all the bad things that happen because of it, and wait for people to get up in arms enough about it that this can become a real political debate, which it currently isn't. It won't be, either, until both the economy and climate change stop being major issues, because both of those have the potential to fuck people over far worse than even the most dystopian surveillance state you could realistically imagine would.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:47 AM on February 12, 2013 [13 favorites]


And speaking as a white dude, I would love white dudes to lose their majority status a whole lot further. Hopefully I live long enough to finally become a niche! Fingers crossed for that one.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:49 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


When she took the State job, it felt like it all ground to a halt

Really? It seemed to me that she took on a very high-profile assignment, was regarded by nearly everyone as having done a very good job, and now has more gravitas and experience than virtually any potential opponent out there. The real problem is that she'll be 8 years older than she was in 2008.

They hate Obama because he has power. It's not about the black guy making money; it's about the black guy making money being your boss.

This psychoanalysis is wonderful, but all of the Democratic Presidents and Presidential candidates in recent memory were white, and the Republicans hate all of these people too. Not to say that racism doesn't exist -- we can all see that it "colors" the expression of hatred towards Obama -- but it's really not what's driving the hatred.

People hate Obama because he's a Democratic President.
posted by leopard at 9:51 AM on February 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Jeffrey Toobin | The New Yorker: The Disappearing Republicans
The Republican nominees in five of the past six Presidential elections have disappeared from the face of the earth. Not literally, of course; Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, and George H. W. Bush are all still alive. But all of them are gone from the political scene, absent at conventions, even the most recent inauguration. This is not a coincidence or a generational quirk. Rather, it reflects a fundamental problem with the contemporary Republican Party.
posted by ericb at 9:54 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


This psychoanalysis is wonderful, but all of the Democratic Presidents and Presidential candidates in recent memory were white, and the Republicans hate all of these people too. Not to say that racism doesn't exist -- we can all see that it "colors" the expression of hatred towards Obama -- but it's really not what's driving the hatred.

People hate Obama because he's a Democratic President.


At least half of Obama's goals and/or achievements read like a "Best Hits of the GOP: 1981-1995." People may not hate him just because he's black, but it's a significant motivator.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:58 AM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


The Republican nominees in five of the past six Presidential elections have disappeared from the face of the earth. Not literally, of course; Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, and George H. W. Bush are all still alive. But all of them are gone from the political scene, absent at conventions
Dole was at the 2008 RNC. I distinctly remember the following conversation, which I recorded in a Metafilter comment:
Bob Dole, a moment ago, making a comment, realizing that what he was saying probably wasn't the best thing to say, denying that he was saying it, and then saying it again all in one fell swoop:

Bob Dole: I think it's going to be tough for Joe Biden, too, to, you know... you've got to be very careful... and... uh... not...

Andrea Mitchell: Running against a woman.

Bob Dole: Not because she's a woman, beca- ... it's ju-... it's just respect you pay... to... people. And particularly a woman.
posted by Flunkie at 10:02 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


At least half of Obama's goals and/or achievements read like a "Best Hits of the GOP: 1981-1995." People may not hate him just because he's black, but it's a significant motivator.

Bill Clinton was also a moderate conservative. The GOP called him a communist, shut down the government, investigated him for everything under the sun, and impeached him.
posted by leopard at 10:03 AM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


And I think it's a bit soon to say Romney is gone from the political scene, absent at conventions.
posted by Flunkie at 10:03 AM on February 12, 2013


I really cannot imagine a white guy as Democratic President making the same policy proposals as Obama and the GOP going 'Oh yes, let's do those things! Attention America: It's fine to keep voting for Democrats! We don't want power, just specific policies.'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:04 AM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


If Obama remains as utterly competent this term as he was last term – and, yes, his accomplishments in the face of the godawful congress he had to work with prove that he was remarkably competent – then by the end of these four years the country will be in a better place than it's been in a decade, people will notice...

The unemployment rate in 2003 was 6%. The Democrats will be lucky if it's at 8% on election day in 2016. The recovery is a vise which is slowly crushing people's lives rather than a hammer... thanks to Obama.

All of these discussions in the national media have a terrible complacency. In the face of crisis, to be competent is not enough.
posted by ennui.bz at 10:04 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


All of the discussion of whether or not drones are better than conventional warfare has apparently overlooked the discussion of whether or not having an overseas war is better than not having one at all.
posted by dhens at 10:04 AM on February 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


That buzzfeed article ain't bad.

On the cover of Time magazine, Rubio is the "Republican Savior." On Capitol Hill, he is the lynchpin holding together a potentially historic effort to overhaul the nation's immigration system. And on Tuesday night, he will be his party's anointed standard-bearer when he goes on live TV and delivers the GOP's response to President Obama's State of the Union address in two languages.

But at the Biltmore, Rubio is just "Marco," a baby-faced freshman senator with lots of potential — and a maddening reluctance to live up to it.


I have been ignoring them intentionally on the basis of they are a Huffington Post spin off but maybe I am being too snooty.
posted by bukvich at 10:05 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The real problem is that she'll be 8 years older than she was in 2008.

It's definitely an issue. Hillary doesn't seem that old, but she's closer in age to the Dalai Lama than to Obama. Remember how much was made of how old McCain was when he ran? Hillary will only be 3 years younger than he was then.
posted by Copronymus at 10:08 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of my relatives, a party-line voting Republican since his great-grandparents were born, left the party this year.
posted by zippy at 10:08 AM on February 12, 2013


In the face of crisis, to be competent is not enough.

It's not enough. But it's all a politician can be.

When the Great Depression struck, we had FDR and his New Deal. We'd never pass the New Deal today – Republican congressmen would probably start shooting Democrats before they allowed a government initiative of that scale to pass. Look at how violently they opposed even the milder initiatives the Dems put forward these last four years. And if the president is incapable of movement, then there's nothing he can do to shake things up short of there being an outright revolt.

Competence in the face of all that means that we can at least progress towards things getting better. And they are getting better – not as quickly as I'd like, but there is still progress. That's all we can hope for, unless a miracle happens and 2014 sees the Republicans ousted from Congress so the Democrats can actually take action.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:10 AM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Theta States: "I just figured Ted Nugent was like the big furry sports mascot of the GOP."

I don't think you can shoot t-shirts from a crossbow.
posted by boo_radley at 10:10 AM on February 12, 2013


zippy: "since his great-grandparents were born"

You're going to have to run that one by me again.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:14 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it's pretty goddamned important for most of us to carefully take a look at Rory Marinich's comments.

Most of what we think we know about electoral politics, as Nate Silver so adroitly proved, is simply wrong. And there's an awful lot of self-satisfied prediction going on here from people who are, bluntly, irrelevant to the future of the country.

Global climate change is going to change everything about how this country and this world operate. We are going to have refugee crises that are unimaginable to us today, for starters. And we will be faced with the extinction of the modern nation-state, because boundaries are going to be overwhelmed by the human imperative for survival.

Corporations like Google are acting on issues like self-driving cars, which will utterly transform the modern transportation infrastructure.

None of these things are happening with permission from anywhere. They are happening, and we will have to deal with them as they happen, in their turns.

And I think it is critically important for those of us who grew up in a certain kind of United States flavor of democracy, where you go and vote and then Congress does dumb shit and you vote again and, you know, these things sort of matter and sort of don't...that world is dead. Gone. Extinct. It's just too dumb to fall over yet.

The way we think about democracy and the conduct of a nation is a relic of the past. The way that this country is actually going to function is going to be some synthesis of corporate pragmatism, simple human logistics, and frantic scramble.

People like Rory are going to have to make it work. His generation has, so far, been ludicrously patient with us dinosaurs, but things are coming to a head faster than anyone thought, and it's not going to be too much longer before his generation, and the generation behind it, and behind THEM, realize that we're not going to change fast enough, and just go through us.

We had all damn well better pay close attention to what people like Rory are saying, because when he's talking, he's providing us with a window into our immediate future; how the people who are going to be running things think, how they combine thought and action, and where the opportunities will be for us to actually do something instead of become roadkill.

It's our choice: we can become irrelevant, or we can be part of the solution. What we absolutely cannot do is count on things remaining the same for much longer, because the tsunami is already on its way. We tried our way, and not only didn't it work, it's fucking things up worse. And we may think that we're immortal and that This Is Just How Things Are, but there is an almighty reckoning on the way. Count on it.

Learn to read what's coming, and pay attention: your future is being decided right in front of you.
posted by scrump at 10:16 AM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


From early in his Presidency, I suspected (hoped) that Obama was playing a long game, and that his goal was shifting the poles of American politics and American society in a permanent, tectonic way. The more I watch him, the more convinced I am this is the case. Yes, America is conservative. But to Obama, that doesn't make it a hopeless backwater, it just means that change has to come at a certain pace.

Nothing demonstrates this better than his actions on LGBT equality. As a candidate he was pro-civil partnerships, anti SSM. Let's be honest, he was always pro-SSM. But starting from that view wasn't going to get him or the country anywhere. After taking office, his supporters were jumping up and down on him to repeal DADT right away. Instead he made sure it happened at the right time, in the right way to make the repeal permanent, not something that could be reversed with the stroke of the next Republican President's pen. Then he came out publicly for same-sex marriage, giving political cover to Democrats, who suddenly vociferously embraced it. Then he topped it off by casting LGBT rights as the civil rights issue of our time in his 2nd Inaugural.

Societal change is a slow evolution, not a sudden lurch (I personally believe that America is still reeling from the force with which LBJ surged civil rights forward...not that he was wrong to do so, but the GOP has been sowing electoral success for decades out of the resulting societal upheaval). I believe Obama understands the role he can play in helping these changes along, and recognizes that most of American society is evolving along the same path. Finally, he knows that if done correctly (eg. requiring all health plans to provide free contraception), there is huge political gain for him and the Democrats when the GOP and their mouthpieces react to those changes.
posted by dry white toast at 10:20 AM on February 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


The thing is we have a political system that represents how Americans actually feel about things. There's not a strong base of liberals in America in 2013, complain all you want about Obama not being liberal enough, he's a fair representation of how Americans feel about politics right now. They don't like the Republicans, but they also have no problem with overseas wars and drone strikes. They support health care reform, but support for single payer systems is mixed based on how you ask the question, and large portions of the public are opposed. They support modest gun control, but largely believe in the right to bear arms.

That's not to say that liberals and progressive should give up on pushing the issue that matter to them, it's to say that when Obama comes out looking like a centrist rather than a left-winger, it's because that's what the people want.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:28 PM on February 12 [+][!]



I'm confused. You've paraphrased my point and presented it as if it were a rebuttal. So I guess my response is: I agree.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 10:23 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Neither party addresses real issues facing us as humans- things like environmental and energy issues. Each one just focuses on identity politics while the house burns down.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:26 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


the fact that he's "an American" is important because he wasn't given any due process ... yes he was an asshole, but the president can now literally arbitrarily describe a citizen as an enemy of the state and execute them

Yes, this. The killing of bin Laden and the drone assassination program have mainstreamed the position that there can be people too scary, evil, or dangerous to capture and try in court, and that these determinations can be made by executive authorities without any judicial oversight whatsoever.

And normalizing that thinking isn't just a problem if you're terrorist-adjacent in Yemen or Pakistan. We have ALREADY tumbled down that slippery slope here at home.

Witness the Dorner case in LA, where there is not even the slightest pretense that they're trying to take this guy alive. In more than one incident, police officers have shot random trucks to pieces without even checking to see if the driver matched the vaguest description of the suspect. It's borderline miraculous that nobody has been killed.

This is War on Terror thinking at work, right here in an American city. Rights exist for the worst of the worst or they exist for no one.
posted by zjacreman at 10:27 AM on February 12, 2013 [13 favorites]


As a candidate he was pro-civil partnerships, anti SSM. Let's be honest, he was always pro-SSM.

How would you know this? Obama isn't exactly some random dude on the internet with an opinion. For as long as SSM has been a serious political issue, he's been a politician who has to worry about what different constituent groups think. His job -- literally -- has been to balance their competing concerns while remaining popular and powerful. He has to do this for literally hundreds of issues affecting millions of people, so many issues that he has teams of people working for him to tell him what to think and do. Why would he have "real" opinions about things? I don't see how he would have the time or inclination.
posted by leopard at 10:27 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


My disagreement wasn't with you, it was with the people who were presenting Obama's positions on things like drones as evidence that he was still catering to right-leaning whites and using your comment, as a jumping off point to discuss how, in fact, Obama is basically right where the country as a whole is on most issues.

I wasn't arguing with you or trying to rebut anything.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:30 AM on February 12, 2013


I don't know that Jeb Bush is the future of the GOP. I really don't think that there are enough voters who would be willing to vote for another Bush for president, considering how long it's been taking to climb out of the wreckage of Dubya's administration. Take note of how little he's been heard from after he left office - he's not exactly in high demand.

He's still pissed that the Tea Party tried to deport his wife. When I made a bet with a sociology professor friend about the 2016 elections and my insistence that Jeb Bush would be a presidential candidate he stopped, hesitated for a second, and said "Jeb Bush as a REPUBLICAN candidate".

I, being the foolhardy type that I am, agreed to this condition to our wager.
posted by Talez at 10:31 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I were deeply invested in getting the Republican party back in power, my first concern would be re-establishing order and stopping the infighting in order to present a unified front. Of course, the best way to deal with those squabbling children would be by hitting them until they feared me, and therefore my first priority would be to create a rather unique super PAC - not to elect Republicans over Democrats, but simply for the purposes of terrorizing any Republican who dared to cross me. Knowing that I could pour money into getting them unseated during the primaries would make the GOP rabble fall in line with my agenda.

The second priority would be to draw limits to what ultraconservative candidates could and couldn't say during the primaries. Right now, Republican candidates say some pretty ridiculous things (ie, "legitimate rape") to establish their ultraconservative bona fides, and it always comes back to bite them in the ass come the general election. So I would make it clear to all prospective Republican candidates that they couldn't pander to the far right in the primaries by attacking their opponent's lack of conservative values. I would make it clear that anybody who did so would wind up squarely in the crosshairs of my super PAC.

What I think would make this idea so unique and innovative is - oh wait, nevermind, somebody thought of all this already.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:37 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Great guitarist

Says who? I grew up playing rock guitar in the 1970s, and that meant plenty of Nugent songs mixed in with the Aerosmith and Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

Nugent was regarded then by my guitar-playing friends as a lightweight who built his songs around simple riffs and no precision or speed as a lead player, hence his reliance on feedback, high volume and distortion and sort of block power chording as "lead" guitar playing. 30+ years later, I have yet to hear Nugent play anything that blew me away technically or musically. The whole point of Nugent songs was that they were garage band fodder because they were so simple to play. Guy is as overrated a guitarist as he is a political spokesperson for anything but the lunatic fringe.
posted by spitbull at 10:39 AM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Nugent's songs are terrible. That dude is stuck in his own hell of "Cat Scratch Fever" and tongue gestures. 1% rock and roll at most.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:41 AM on February 12, 2013


Yeah I don't think Nugent is considered a fantastic guitarist by many people. More of a personality than a virtuoso.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:42 AM on February 12, 2013


What I think would make this idea so unique and innovative is - oh wait, nevermind, somebody thought of all this already.

And his success rate with this strategy in 2012 was under 15%.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:52 AM on February 12, 2013


I found the article interesting, chiefly because of what it didn't say. It didn't say, for example, that the politics of division were the life's work of Karl Rove, and not that uppity black chap the coastal elites elected just to p*ss off poor white people.

It also didn't say that on economic issues, Obama is far more likely to be batting for poor rural whites than the higher earning white liberals who apparently form his base.

It also didn't say that the culture war on big social issues like gay rights, immigration, as well as lifestyle issues like climate change etc is not so much Obama playing to his voters but an artefact of decades of cynical Republican misinformation.

By the by, I was listening to the BBC interview some elderly whites just this morning, as they complained not about how Obama was taking the country leftward but how they were already living in a socialistic (sic) country- the narrative being that the country has been hijacked by some sort of commie dictator.

Obama isn't just pulling left because he's second term, and he doesn't need to give a crap about old rural whites. He's pulling left because there's a cliff one way and a road the other, and the US right wing is going through an Alice in Wonderland phase in which the gravitational pull of politics back to the centre appears in the looking glass like a cultural version of Kristallnacht.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:55 AM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is War on Terror thinking at work, right here in an American city. Rights exist for the worst of the worst or they exist for no one.

I took a class in law school that had a vague name like "Advanced Criminal Law and Policy" that the instructor used as a means of trying to prove the opposite thesis, that the War on Terror is an extension of our domestic policies toward crime. He wrote a paper on the topic. Both it and the class were interesting. It points out how the conditions are Guantanamo are bad, but aren't worse than norms in American supermax prisons, and how limiting the role of judges and defense counsel in war on terror prosecution is made possible in part by war on crime rhetoric that undermines judges as effective at dealing with the problem (criticism of people being let off on technicalities, etc.) and in part by a judicial system that doesn't take actual competence of criminal defense lawyers very seriously.

The real story is of course that things are connected which means a natural give and take, but it's definitely worth thinking about how it goes both ways. The drone thing seems like an obvious War on Terror chickens coming home to roost story, but it works both ways.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:58 AM on February 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


I tend to think of Ted Nugent as the Nega-Neil Young,
posted by shakespeherian at 11:01 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


What I think would make this idea so unique and innovative is - oh wait, nevermind, somebody thought of all this already.

Did you even read that link past the first two paragraphs? It and all the other articles from the last week of coverage of Rove et al has been how all he's been able to do is convince less people to give him money than before and cause more infighting. The ultraconservatives have, if anything, rallied against him and refuse to back down and (rightly) pointed out that for all the money he poured into the campaigns last year he got a really bad return in investment.

And that doesn't even get into the fact that the amount of sunlight on policy between Rove and those opposed to him is almost non-existent. The GOP base and elected officials may have made some noises with their mouths that repudiated people like Akin, but they didn't stop voting for him or giving money. It had only been a couple of months since most or all of the House GOP, led by Paul Ryan and Todd Akin, attempted to redefine rape to only mean when it was by physical force, and yet Ryan is supposedly one of the next-gen moderates. Marco Rubio is responding to the SOTU and snagged the cover of Time as the GOP "savior," but check his record out:
Rubio doesn't accept climate science, thinks the age of the planet is a theological question, and opposes marriage equality. Remember the Blunt Amendment that would have empowered employers to deny birth-control coverage to their employers? It was originally known as the "Blunt-Rubio Amendment."

Rubio is part of a shrinking fringe that opposes the Violence Against Women Act, embraces strange conspiracy theories involving gun control, and thinks George W. Bush was a "fantastic" president.

Rubio tells teleprompter jokes while reading from teleprompters, has been caught lying about the basics of Republican budget policy, has suggested TARP recipients shouldn't have to repay bailout money, and in 2011, argued programs like Medicare and Social Security have "actually weakened us as a people."

It's a subjective question, of course, but if the party wants to "marginalize the cranks, haters and bigots," shouldn't they start with someone who's anti-gay, anti-contraception, anti-science, anti-VAWA, and anti-Social Security?

On the surface, if Republicans intend to "marginalize the cranks, haters and bigots," that would be a positive development for a radicalized party dominated by extremists. But what happens when the party realizes it doesn't have a moderate wing and its cranks and rising stars believe in roughly the same far-right ideology?
Once you scratch the surface, the only thing Rove is trying to do is monetize the party equivalent of Stalin's scrubbed photographs. If he thought legitimate rape and gay-bashing would win the general, he'd be on it faster than you could say "Westboro Baptist Church."
posted by zombieflanders at 11:03 AM on February 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


But she doesn't have that anymore. Along with 8 years of Senate she has four years as Secretary of State. That's in the league of most of the best historical presidential aspirants. So she is not being foisted on anyone. She is the popular candidate who has paid her dues.

Except she hasn't shown she can win a contested political race having pretty much carpetbagged/parachuted into a reliably democratic senate riding. She has demonstrated that she can lose one where she had a considerable advantage in the form of the Democratic party machine on side when she failed to get the presidential nomination.

I think she is cool and smart but I am just not sure she is cool and smart enough to win. Mind you she may just be cooler and smarter than the other possible Democratic candidates. It'll be interesting and possibly disturbing ( in terms of wingnut reaction) to see what happens in the next presidential election cycle.
posted by srboisvert at 11:06 AM on February 12, 2013


ennui.bz: "The unemployment rate in 2003 was 6%. The Democrats will be lucky if it's at 8% on election day in 2016. The recovery is a vise which is slowly crushing people's lives rather than a hammer... thanks to Obama. "

The article you're linking to states that it's unlikely it'll be below 6% until after 2016.

Unemployment was between 9.5 and 10% throughout 2010, between 8.5 and 9.5% throughout 2011, and between 8.5 and 8% throughout 2012. It's currently at 7.9%.

Looking at those numbers, what makes you think it's not trending downwards, and will drop about a percentage point per year?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:13 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


srboisvert: "I think she is cool and smart but I am just not sure she is cool and smart enough to win. Mind you she may just be cooler and smarter than the other possible Democratic candidates. It'll be interesting and possibly disturbing ( in terms of wingnut reaction) to see what happens in the next presidential election cycle."

However, if she runs in 2016, she'll have *two* of the best political operatives of our time in our corner - her husband (the explainer) and Obama (the unflappable). To pull in another current thread, that's demon-core criticality right there.
posted by notsnot at 11:21 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Except she hasn't shown she can win a contested political race having pretty much carpetbagged/parachuted into a reliably democratic senate riding. She has demonstrated that she can lose one where she had a considerable advantage in the form of the Democratic party machine on side when she failed to get the presidential nomination.

I don't think Hillary lost so much as she won less than Obama did.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:21 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


And his success rate with this strategy in 2012 was under 15%.

What the heck are you talking about? It feels like you have the mistaken impression that I'm a Republican and are trying to rub Obama's victory in my face (I'm an independent, by the way, and in fact I voted for Obama last year). As a side effect, you're revealing a mild ignorance of the actual subject matter we're discussing.

1) First of all, while Karl Rove raised some money for Romney, he wasn't a political strategist for him at all. Rove had nothing to do with Romney's loss in 2012 - or anybody's loss for that matter.

2) Second of all, when Rove was a political strategist, he used a completely different strategy than what I had described. Rove's strategy in the past has been "ignore the middle, mobilize the base." This approach of trying to retake the middle is completely new, so when you say it "didn't work for him," you're ignoring the reality of the situation.

3) When Rove was actively involved in politics as a political strategist, he actually had a remarkable track record of success for most of the campaigns he worked on.

I recognize that it's fashionable on Metafilter to mock Republicans, but for god's sake, at least get your facts straight and mock them properly. Karl Rove may be an avowed enemy of the Democrats, but he's an exceptionally dangerous one, and if you underestimate him, I feel like you're doing yourself a disservice.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 11:24 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


be less combative
posted by shakespeherian at 11:26 AM on February 12, 2013


I'm not talking about Romney. I'm talking about the superPAC Rove established for the 2012 elections, "American Crossroads," which managed to back a grand total of two winners.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:27 AM on February 12, 2013


I tend to think of Ted Nugent as the Nega-Neil Young

Neil Old?
posted by davidjmcgee at 11:28 AM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


wolfdreams01, you do not seem to be aware that the Karl Rove-led SuperPAC American Crossroads played an important role in the 2012 election -- or at least it tried to.
In the 2012 election campaign, American Crossroads spent about $105 million in independent expenditures, and Crossroads GPS spent $70.8 million. The Center for Responsive Politics found that American Crossroads spent money for or against 20 federal candidates in 14 election contests, with 3 of its preferred candidates winning, while Crossroads GPS spent money for or against 27 federal candidates in 24 elections, with 7 of its preferred candidates winning.
posted by leopard at 11:30 AM on February 12, 2013


Both parties are going to grow gradually more liberal. I mean, that's how it works.

Imagine saying this in, say, 1976.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:39 AM on February 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


wolfdreams01, you do not seem to be aware that the Karl Rove-led SuperPAC American Crossroads played an important role in the 2012 election -- or at least it tried to.

Everybody and their mom has a super PAC now. It doesn't necessarily indicate a substantial personal investment in the election - it's just political good manners to support your party, like not mixing up the salad fork with the big fork. Hell, I bet most people would be hard-pressed to even offer an accurate count of how many super PACS were involved in the last election.

What's important to watch is when a super PAC does something new, and this is definitely new. And yes, I know a lot of Republicans are opposed to Rove - it's irrelevant to my point. He basically took a hiatus from politics for a cushy commentator job. Do you think that they'd peacefully hand over all the power that they acquired from his absence? There's going to be a huge internal battle for power among the GOP during the next set of general elections. If the ultraconservatives win, I expect that the Republicans will continue their current course and lose more and more power over the next few years. If Rove wins, however, then the Dems may have a serious problem on their hands, since the person whose tactics it sounds like he is modeling his new playbook from is actually Bill Clinton, who excelled at triangulating in order to capture the middle.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 11:45 AM on February 12, 2013


Who’s sitting in Michelle Obama’s State of the Union box tonight

A rundown:

  • Sergeant Sheena Adams (Vista, CA) - Female soldier (opposed by GOP because of the vapors emotional vagina brains "upper body strength")
  • Alan Aleman (Las Vegas, NV) - Immigrant student via DREAM (opposed by GOP because illegals don't deserve a chance unless it doesn't have Obama's name on it, and probably not even then)
  • Jack Andraka (Crownsville, MD) - STEM student (science not currently playing well in "modern" GOP)
  • Susan Bumgarner (Norman, OK) - Public school teacher (opposed by GOP for being part of and teaching the moocher class, likely union thug)
  • Deb Carey (New Glarus, WI) - Small business owner
  • Sergeant Carlos Evans, USMC (Cameron, NC) - Wounded vet (opposed by the GOP because of moral cowardice in the UN tinfoil hat brigade)
  • Tim Cook (Cupertino, CA) - CEO of Apple (Openly gay but tolerated because he's rich, still doesn't deserve romantic happiness)
  • Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel A. Pendleton Sr. (Chicago, IL) - Parents of child slain by gun violence (Her fault for living in liberal gun-hating Chicago, possibly involved in thug life)
  • Menchu de Luna Sanchez (Secaucus, NJ) - Nurse when Sandy hit (opposed by GOP because we can't spend money on disasters anymore)
  • Bobak Ferdowsi (Pasadena, CA) - "Mohawk Guy" at NASA (opposed by GOP because it's a fraction of a percentage of government spending that can't be used to blow people up)
  • Bradley Henning (Louisville, KY) - Machinist
  • Tracey Hepner (Arlington, VA) - First married LGBT service member (opposed by GOP because homos are bad for morale and gay marriage is worse than straight divorce)
  • Peter Hudson (Evergreen, CO) - Health care entrepreneur (opposed because 1993 GOP crafted bill functionally identical to Socialist Job-Killing Facism ObamaHitlerStalinCare)
  • Governor John Kitzhaber (D-OR) - Governor of Oregon (opposed by GOP because hippies)
  • Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers (Avondale, AZ) - Immigrant who made it good (see above re: illegals)
  • Amanda E. McMillan (Jackson, MS) - Beneficiary of Lily Ledbetter (opposed by GOP because women have it so easy in the workplace and/or complain too much about being outside the kitchen)
  • Lee Maxwell (Wilton, IA) - Technician
  • Lieutenant Brian Murphy (Oak Creek, WI) - First respondent to Sikh temple shooting (crocodile tears from GOP and shock--shock, I tell you!--that the whole domestic terrorism thing they made a fuss about was true)
  • Lisa Richards (Arlington, VA) - Middle-class mom (opposed by GOP because Romney was a good and noble man)
  • Kaitlin Roig (Greenwich, CT) - Sandy Hook Elementary teacher (her fault that she wasn't armed, probable union thug)
  • Abby Schanfield (Minneapolis, MN) - ACA Beneficiary (See above re: Socialist, etc. Obamacare)
  • Haile Thomas (Tucson, AZ) - Healthy eating and exercise advocate (part of the Obama/Bloomberg plot to force Real Americans into Carnivore Displacement Camps)
  • Desiline Victor (Miami, FL) - Voter affected by FL voting restrictions (opposed by GOP because of being black and/or poor and/or an immigrant and having the fucking gall to participate in the electoral process)

  • posted by zombieflanders at 11:48 AM on February 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


    There are 1365 days until the next election.


    I just felt that needed to be said.
    posted by Nanukthedog at 12:00 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


    Everybody and their mom has a super PAC now. It doesn't necessarily indicate a substantial personal investment in the election - it's just political good manners to support your party, like not mixing up the salad fork with the big fork. Hell, I bet most people would be hard-pressed to even offer an accurate count of how many super PACS were involved in the last election.

    This guy raised 9 figures of cash, injected it into the election, and came away batting 3-for-20. In one comment you call him an "exceptionally dangerous" opponent, and in the next comment you say "everyone and their mom has a SuperPAC now." I wonder if the fact that this SuperPAC was founded and advised by SuperGenius Karl Rove had any bearing on its ability to raise over $100 million to waste on campaign ads for loser candidates. Nah, he was just being polite.
    posted by leopard at 12:01 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


    What's important to watch is when a super PAC does something new, and this is definitely new...If Rove wins, however, then the Dems may have a serious problem on their hands, since the person whose tactics it sounds like he is modeling his new playbook from is actually Bill Clinton, who excelled at triangulating in order to capture the middle.

    You know when those tactics were the "new" playbook for Karl Rove? 13 years ago, when it was called "compassionate conservatism" and "coalition-building," except back then it had wide support in the GOP. And $10 says you can't name a single specific qualification for Rove's machine other than "not someone like Akin/Mourdock/King/etc."
    posted by zombieflanders at 12:02 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


    Even better, how about $10 for every candidate Rove endorses that supports the following things the middle believes in?

    Assault weapons ban
    High-capacity (10+ rounds) magazine ban
    Universal background checks
    Gun show loophole closed
    Federal gun sales database
    Increased government spending on public health and safety workers
    Infrastructure improvement
    Cut health care spending
    Increased taxes on investment income
    Increased taxes on high earners
    Funding Medicare and Medicaid through increased taxes (especially high earners)
    Funding Social Security through increased taxes (especially high earners)
    Stricter regulation on banking and/or credit companies
    Gay marriage/repeal of DOMA
    Expanded rights for GLBT in general
    Reducing health care costs
    Increased regulation of health care industry
    Expanding coverage for contraception
    Expanding access to abortion
    Repealing mandatory ultrasounds
    Increased support for domestic violence victims
    Increased support for rape victims regardless of age/sex/orientation/etc
    Increased environmental regulation
    Support for researching human-caused climate change
    Support for teaching evolution

    Y'know, for starters. There's probably a bunch more.
    posted by zombieflanders at 12:28 PM on February 12, 2013


    Well, at the time Clinton was claiming that he was first "Black" president.

    A point of history: this was a moniker conferred upon him by the black author and Nobelist Toni Morrison (and at that, only in 1998). I would be surprised if he once used it himself. At any rate, it was explicitly describing his treatment by an obstructionist Congress bent on an effective coup d'état, and in no way something that created that opposition.

    Right now, Republican candidates say some pretty ridiculous things (ie, "legitimate rape") to establish their ultraconservative bona fides

    I wouldn't discount the distinct possibility that the candidates themselves are ridiculous and the ultraconservatives are voting for them in a self-sorting process without a governing superego of self-awareness.
    posted by dhartung at 12:43 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


    Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: and a downside other than the death of Anwar Alwaqi who, to be blunt, is very hard to present as anything other than a terrorist asshole no matter how many times you call him "an American"

    How about hundreds of civilians being blown up for standing too close to the wrong person? Another result of consequence-free strikes is that you don't have to worry about isolating your target before you attack.
    In what way is this any different from a clusterbomb, Apache strike, or mortar fire? You've completely missed the point. Either come up with strong talking points about the difference between manned aerial versus drone attack methods, or you're unlikely to win any converts.
    posted by IAmBroom at 12:54 PM on February 12, 2013


    Either come up with strong talking points about the difference between manned aerial versus drone attack methods, or you're unlikely to win any converts.

    Thank you for skipping the paragraph immediately preceding that where I talked about manned vs. unmanned. That's constructive.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:58 PM on February 12, 2013


    ennui.bz: The unemployment rate in 2003 was 6%. The Democrats will be lucky if it's at 8% on election day in 2016. The recovery is a vise which is slowly crushing people's lives rather than a hammer... thanks to Obama.
    I'ma gonna need a citation on that opinion that Obama is causing the recovery to crush people's lives. I know it's a very popular talking point for media bobbleheads and right-wing pundits, but - this has been one of the fastest jobs recovery from a financial disaster in over a century.

    Even if you don't believe financial crises are fundamentally different from crises with other causes (war, famine, etc) - which requires you to do a fair bit of handwaving away actual data - you still haven't proven that any of this is Obama's fault.

    George W. Bush, sure. He was in charge when it all went down. Commander-in-Chief of a major fuckup.

    But Obama was hired to bring us back from that disaster, and I see no proof anyone else would have magically made things better.
    posted by IAmBroom at 1:05 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


    “What's not to like about the modern GOP being represented by a literally pants-shitting, chickenhawk, draft-dodging, statutory rapist who has threatened gun violence against the sitting President of the United States and his wife?”

    Convicted of statutory rape? No never convicted.

    “Marginal crazies taking over a mainstream political party does more to normalize craziness than it does to marginalize the party.”


    But what if we're talking about the GOP? Oh, wait, right…

    You’d think people who experience dissonance would think something is really wrong there. I mean, some of the things Nugent talks about I have some experience with. But that just makes it all the weirder.

    It’s like some madman ranting crazily about grey aliens and Nazi Jews from the hollow earth and their torture hell ride machines and suddenly he talks about the MKULTRA program and pro tennis player Harold Blauer dying after a secret army experiment with MDA – and you go “hey, wait, y’know, I think there actually was a program in the CIA with LSD that…” and then he starts talking about dentists all being reptiloids so they can put transmitters in your teeth.

    It just creates more of a shock when they make some sense for a minute than if it’s all crazy blather you can just tune out.
    Can't for the life of me figure out where enough people don't experience that and just not put Nugent on t.v. Or any loudmouthed bigoted prick. Where's the relevance in the first place?
    Money aside of course.

    “You really think that if Obama were to step down and Biden replaced him, suddenly the Republicans would breathe a massive sigh of relief that they no longer have to deal with a black President?”

    Yep. Look at the grief they’re handing Hagel. It's not even about party.


    “If I were deeply invested in getting the Republican party back in power, my first concern would be re-establishing order and stopping the infighting in order to present a unified front.”

    Sith don’t surf.
    posted by Smedleyman at 1:14 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


    "Just a reminder that essentially the entirety of elected GOP officials still refuse to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, although they can't decide whether it's because of the Homos, the Injuns, the Mexicans, Big Government, or the new hotness of "VAWA is totes unfair to the long-oppressed White Dudes!""
    posted by zombieflanders.

    In the VAWA is unfair link it says: "“[right wing group heritage action said that] Under VAWA, men effectively lose their constitutional rights to due process, presumption of innocence, equal treatment under the law, the right to a fair trial and to confront one’s accusers, the right to bear arms, and all custody/visitation rights,” the group wrote. “It is unprecedented, unnecessary and dangerous.

    How is this even true? *head explodes*
    posted by marienbad at 1:16 PM on February 12, 2013


    My disagreement wasn't with you, it was with the people who were presenting Obama's positions on things like drones as evidence that he was still catering to right-leaning whites and using your comment, as a jumping off point to discuss how, in fact, Obama is basically right where the country as a whole is on most issues.

    I wasn't arguing with you or trying to rebut anything.
    posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:30 PM on February 12 [+][!]


    Oh, OK. In that case, I apologize if I sounded confrontational in my previous remark.
    posted by obscure simpsons reference at 1:16 PM on February 12, 2013


    The trouble with drone is that while they cost WAY more than even mercenaries, or regular soldiers, they are just so EASY.

    Personally, if you aren't willing to get down in the mud and the blood, you are not commuted enough to be there At. All.
    It's a lot riskier on the battle field or the home front. War is not protested to the same extent if people don't come home wounded or dead.
    posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:17 PM on February 12, 2013


    About half the Rs in the Senate voted for VAWA today. House is a different story, of course.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:18 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


    Thank you for skipping the paragraph immediately preceding that where I talked about manned vs. unmanned. That's constructive.

    But the "if they don't have skin in the game, they'll use the force recklessly" argument doesn't really hold up, does it? Or, at least, there's no evidence yet to support the claim. I mean, there's certainly plenty of ink being spilled over drone deaths because they're novel, but in terms of "killing brown people overseas" the drone program is an almost hilariously minor rounding error to America's record in that game over the last century. I mean, it pales in comparison to something as thoroughly "old tech" as, say, the Philipine-American war, which killed over a million Filipino civilians. It pales in comparison to the many, many proxy wars of the mid-C20th, and the ugly consequences of all those CIA engineered coups (Mohammad Mosaddegh, Salvador Allende etc.). Look at the wanton destruction Nixon was happy to rain on Laos and Cambodia. The drone program would have to run literally for centuries at its current rate to match the civilian death totals just from that campaign.

    There are certainly good arguments to be made about whether the net effect of the drone program is beneficial or harmful to the US and there are good arguments about whether it is morally and legally justifiable in all the applications it has been put to; but the apocalyptic "OMG, what hath man wrought" language that surrounds it often seems wildly uninformed about what constitutes the "normal" level of US military (mis)adventure over the last century or so. We are living in an age of extraordinarily low levels of US military intervention and low levels of US military lethality by any meaningful historical comparative measure. I find it odd how little awareness there seems to be of that in liberal analysis of our current era.
    posted by yoink at 1:19 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


    Prediction: Clinton won't run in 2016.

    Clinton has garnered a lot of well-deserved respect from her role as Secretary of State. That role, btw, is perfect for her.

    Personally, I remember the Clinton from the 2007, campaigning against Obama for the Democratic nomination. I was not impressed. Hillary is an inherently serious person, contrasted with Bill's crowd-pleasing charm. Hillary doesn't always have that charm. She is highly competent, and I think she would do a fine job as president. But I worry about her running, because a campaign is largely based on how much you can charm and woo the electorate.

    At this point it's kind of moot, as we don't know who the Republican nominee will be for 2016. If it were, say, Clinton vs. Romney (haha), then she'd have a chance; it's not like Romney's got charm to burn. But against a more charismatic Republican candidate like....Marco Rubio? Chris Christie? Then the odds don't look good. Especially in an election in which the pendulum is kinda sorta expected to swing back to the Republicans.

    Having said all that, the Democrats are in a good position by simply having good, sane policy. If Republicans continue to push their bigotry/Tea Party/religious fundamentalism, it may not matter who runs in either party. This past election showed that most Americans are tired of the right-wing schtick.
    posted by zardoz at 1:19 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


    But in the one before it was wildly successful - I worry for 2014.
    posted by Artw at 1:21 PM on February 12, 2013


    > Clinton has garnered a lot of well-deserved respect from her role as Secretary of State. That role, btw, is perfect for her.

    For what it's worth, I base my blind speculation on her not choosing to run on potential health issues, or just plain old retirement.
    posted by Burhanistan at 1:22 PM on February 12, 2013


    I'm not sure I would characterize Marco Rubio as "charming."
    posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:23 PM on February 12, 2013


    I don't know why those dopes pin their hopes on that dope as if he's the Great Semi-Dark Hope.
    posted by Burhanistan at 1:27 PM on February 12, 2013


    Witness the Dorner case in LA, where there is not even the slightest pretense that they're trying to take this guy alive. In more than one incident, police officers have shot random trucks to pieces without even checking to see if the driver matched the vaguest description of the suspect. It's borderline miraculous that nobody has been killed.

    This is War on Terror thinking at work, right here in an American city.


    Not to derail, but Dorner started his spree by killing the daughter of a retired cop, and shot and killed a Riverside beat cop a few days later. His (now widely circulated) manifesto announced his intent to kill the families of certain LAPD officers. He has made no effort to kill or injure any individual who is not connected to law enforcement.

    That makes him a special case... a self-proclaimed cop killer.

    Cops very rarely intend to take cop killers alive if they have the opportunity to kill, and when the threats/actions are against (innocent) family members of cops, that stance becomes even stronger. This is not new, and has nothing to do with a post 9/11 America.

    Neither is the fact that LAPD is trigger-happy and not always concerned with collateral damage.
    posted by toxic at 1:37 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


    Convicted of statutory rape? No never convicted.

    I didn't say convicted, but perhaps I should have said "admitted" or maybe "had a public relationship with a 17-year-old and convinced her parents to make him the girl's legal guardian while still married to his first wife." Which is totally not skeevy at all and doesn't lead anyone to believe there was something going on.

    About half the Rs in the Senate voted for VAWA today. House is a different story, of course.

    Here's the list of right wing misogynist douchenozzles:

    John Barrasso (WY)
    Roy Blunt (MO)
    John Boozman (AR)
    Tom Coburn (OK)
    John Cornyn (TX)
    Ted Cruz (TX)
    Mike Enzi (WY)
    Lindsey Graham (SC)
    Chuck Grassley (IA)
    Orrin Hatch (UT)
    James Inhofe (OK)
    Mike Johanns (NE)
    Ron Johnson (WI)
    Mike Lee (UT)
    Mitch McConnell (KY)
    Rand Paul (KY)
    Jim Risch (ID)
    Pat Roberts (KS)
    Marco Rubio (FL)
    Tim Scott (SC)
    Jeff Sessions (AL)
    John Thune (SD)

    Of those, Blunt and Boozman supported the 2005 reauthorization while in the House; Coburn, Enzi, Graham, Inhofe, McConnell, Roberts, Sessions, and Thune presumably voted for the 2005 reauthorization in the Senate since it was a unanimous vote; and Cornyn, Grassley, and Hatch went the extra step of having been co-sponsors of the 2005 reauthorization.

    I'm not going to hold my breath that Karl Rove is going to criticize them or hold any money back for those running in 2014.
    posted by zombieflanders at 1:39 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


    No, but the way they shot up those cars like they were at a checkpoint in Iraq is kind of new, and disturbing. Besides, for all we know if could be a setup and Dorner is innocent. I really hate trial-by-media, especially when the police spokesmen are given space to be the judges.
    posted by Burhanistan at 1:40 PM on February 12, 2013


    Dorner's been caught, y'all. Drive while black with, well, as near impunity as we offer in LA.
    posted by klangklangston at 1:46 PM on February 12, 2013


    Heh, whoops.
    posted by Burhanistan at 1:47 PM on February 12, 2013


    Live NBC stream.
    posted by ericb at 1:52 PM on February 12, 2013


    Dorner's been caught, y'all.

    Really? The L.A. Times is just reporting that he's in a gun battle with police.
    posted by MarvinTheCat at 1:52 PM on February 12, 2013


    It's not clear that he's been caught yet. Reports are that there was a firefight with him holed up in a house with two people ... and possibly two officers were taken to the hospital.
    posted by ericb at 1:55 PM on February 12, 2013


    Dorner situation under discussion in the previous FPP.

    Prolly best to go there to avoid a derail in this thread.
    posted by ericb at 1:56 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


    Clinton has garnered a lot of well-deserved respect from her role as Secretary of State.

    There are, however, plenty out there, and not just Republicans, who think Mrs Clinton did a mediocre to terrible job as Secretary of State.
    posted by IndigoJones at 2:25 PM on February 12, 2013


    The L.A. Times is just reporting that he's in a gun battle with police.

    Don't you mean "gun battle"?
    posted by Thorzdad at 3:17 PM on February 12, 2013


    “You really think that if Obama were to step down and Biden replaced him, suddenly the Republicans would breathe a massive sigh of relief that they no longer have to deal with a black President?”
    Yep. Look at the grief they’re handing Hagel. It's not even about party.


    I really don't see how Hagel is evidence of race-driven obstructionism. Can you imagine what would happen if a black President tried to put John Kerry or Hillary Clinton in the Cabinet?
    posted by leopard at 4:35 PM on February 12, 2013


    Also, what's a more likely explanation for the Republicans attacking Hagel -- looming defense budget cuts, or "Obama is black!"
    posted by leopard at 5:19 PM on February 12, 2013




    Univision employee: Sen. Marco Rubio is a “loser” and “a token slave boy.”
    posted by ericb at 7:35 PM on February 12, 2013


    Kerry's easy confirmation actually had a lot to do with what he potentially provided the republicans: an extra senate seat. Scott Brown was very close to winning against Elizabeth Warren. He was a man that MA apparently could get behind. Unfortunately, since Kerry's confirmation, Brown has said that he will not seek the nomination, meaning that they will have a harder time fielding a candidate that folks can get behind.

    Hagel, a former congressmen, gave no advantage to the republicans, and effectively neuters a 'he doesn't work across the aisle' message they were trying to pin on Obama. Hence, his confirmation hearing was contentious.
    posted by Nanukthedog at 8:39 PM on February 12, 2013




    Univision employee: Sen. Marco Rubio is a “loser” and “a token slave boy.”

    Tío Tomas?
    posted by Talez at 8:48 PM on February 12, 2013


    Brown announced he wasn't running *the day after* Kerry was overwhelmingly confirmed. At any rate, my point was that Obama's race had nothing to do with either nomination process, contrary to what multiple people on this thread have asserted.
    posted by leopard at 4:46 AM on February 13, 2013


    At any rate, my point was that Obama's race had nothing to do with either nomination process, contrary to what multiple people on this thread have asserted.

    I also tend to think that race as a factor in this particular process is overblown. This is colorblind power politics, and the GOP would be playing it no matter what Democrat was sitting in the White House. Hagel was run through the ringer mainly because he is seen as a turncoat, but also because the Republicans needed to distance themselves from him and to discredit him as much as possible to minimize any bipartisan credit that Obama might get by appointing him.

    I wouldn't be surprised if a few of his former colleagues approached him privately afterwards to remind him that it wasn't personal, just business. Of course, for a few, it might well have been a chance to express some long-stifled personal grudge with a guy they had to play nice with for years.
    posted by snottydick at 6:24 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


    From PoliticalWire:
    He probably has shit for brains. I couldn't be more proud of myself, what I stand for, and for this pompous ass to claim that he cares more about a family that lost a child than I do is a perfect example of the brain dead critics of Ted Nugent.
    -- Ted Nugent, quoted by Politico, when Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) questioned Nugent's presence at the State of the Union.

    Langevin, who is in a wheelchair and paralyzed from a shooting accident when he was a teenager, encouraged his colleagues to bring victims of gun violence as their guests to the State of the Union.
    posted by zombieflanders at 7:23 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


    A 2012 Gallup poll on political ideology showed that 40% of Americans identified as Conservative while only 21% identified as Liberal. 35% identified as Moderate. But Obama won 51% of the popular vote last October. So assuming Obama won almost all of the Liberal vote and almost none of the Conservative vote, he must have won approximately 80% of the Moderate vote. Among those who voted for Obama, a majority do not identify as Liberal!

    According to the exit poll data in the "Why Obama Is Giving Up on Right Leaning Whites," 43% of Obama voters in 2012 were liberals, 46% were moderates, and 12% called themselves conservatives. So Obama did win more moderates than liberals, although the share of liberals as a part of the Democratic Party's winning coalition is growing.

    What I find interesting is the exit poll data for Bush v. Kerry in 2004. Kerry won 85% of the liberal vote, 54% of the moderate vote, and 15% of the conservative. In other words, Bush lost both the liberal and the moderate vote, but he still won comfortably. (This happened, despite many pundits arguing with no empirical evidence whatsoever that Kerry lost because he went too far left of center.) In other words, at least as late as 2004, it was possible for Republicans to win the Presidency outright by winning a majority of the conservative vote, while losing a majority of anybody to the center or the left. In 2012, that strategy was less workable for Romney. According to 2012 exit polls, Obama won 86% of the liberal vote, 56% of the moderate vote, and 17% of the conservative vote. Republicans might not have the ability to win any more simply by mobilizing the conservative vote, but Democrats still need to stitch together a coalition of liberals and moderates.
    posted by jonp72 at 8:03 AM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


    zombieflanders Which is totally not skeevy at all and doesn't lead anyone to believe there was something going on.

    Lighten up, Francis.

    posted by Smedleyman at 8:37 AM on February 13, 2013


    I've been thinking about "the math" for Democrats and Republicans when it comes to assembling a majority. The exit poll data suggests that ideological breakdown of the electorate has been close to 25% liberal, 40% moderate, 35% conservative for a few election cycles. If you had to figure out what's the lowest percentage of moderates a Democratic candidate could have and still win an electoral majority, it would work out something like this. Let's say just for argument that a Democrat could have 100% of the liberal vote. Let's also say that a Democrat can get about 15% of the conservative vote, because that's the percentage of the conservative vote that exit polls say both Kerry and Obama got. When you set up like this, the math for finding the lower possible percentage of moderates is:

    50.01% = (100%*25%)+(x%*40%)+(15%*35%)

    When you solve for x, you get x=49.4%, which means you can lose the moderate vote, but only barely if you're a Democratic candidate. On the other hand, that assumes the impossibility of winning 100% of the liberal vote, which as evidenced from Metafilter, is not going to happen unless the Democratic Party significantly moves it policies leftward or significantly changes its tune on defense and civil liberties issues. And even if you could pull off the impossibility of getting 100% of the liberal vote, what you would have to do to get there would probably make it impossible to win at least 49.4% of the moderates.

    For Republicans, the math is different. According to 2012 exit polls, Romney won 11% of the vote from self-described liberals. Let's be generous to the Democrats and say the Republican will get at most 10% of the liberal vote. If we still assume that Democrats get 15% of the conservative vote and Republicans get all the rest, then the lowest possible percentage of moderates that the Republicans will need is:

    50.01% = (10%*25%)+(x%*40%)+(85%*35%)

    This gets you x=44.4%, which means that the Republicans can do 5 percentage points worse among the moderates compared to the Democrats, yet they can still assemble an electoral majority. And this occurs even though I have built in assumptions that are generous to the Democrats. This is a major reason why Democrats have to pander to moderates in a way that Republicans don't.

    Basically, the tl;dr is that if you don't like drone warfare or the fact that Obamacare is not a single-payer system, you have to deal with the fact that moderates and conservatives outnumber liberals, and not even all liberals may be as liberal as you are. If you want more liberal policies, you need more liberals. End of story.
    posted by jonp72 at 9:53 AM on February 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


    "Brown announced he wasn't running *the day after* Kerry was overwhelmingly confirmed. At any rate, my point was that Obama's race had nothing to do with either nomination process, contrary to what multiple people on this thread have asserted.
    posted by leopard at 7:46 AM on February 13"


    You are agreeing with me. Kerry's confirmation would have been 10x harder if Scott Brown had announced he was waiting in the wings to take his senate seat ahead of Kerry's nomination. Republican political fundraising would have been bananas, and the Democrats would have been hard pressed to find a candidate that had as much name recognition as Scott Brown.

    What I'd expect now in MA, is that we'll see a few weird underdog democrats come out just to let the party traditionally eat its self. We're about to see the worst in the democrats demoralize themselves, and otherwise would be republican unknowns slightly overperform...
    posted by Nanukthedog at 12:10 PM on February 13, 2013


    Kerry's easy confirmation actually had a lot to do with what he potentially provided the republicans: an extra senate seat.

    Kerry's confirmation would have been 10x harder if Scott Brown had announced he was waiting in the wings to take his senate seat ahead of Kerry's nomination.

    These statements seem both contradictory and wrong. The Republicans could not have been surprised by Brown's lack of interest in Kerry's seat, since it's pretty clear he had made up his mind before Kerry was confirmed. It's also hard to see why Kerry's confirmation would have been harder if Brown had announced he was definitely running, since this would have given the Republicans an incentive to get Kerry out of the way.
    posted by leopard at 1:20 PM on February 13, 2013


    Can the Republicans be Saved From Obsolescence?
    “Then, once people think we’ve gotten them through the worst,” Jacobson said, “we pile on more — just the way Obama did.” He put up Slide 26, titled, “Running Up the Score.” “Obama was the very first candidate to appear on Reddit. We ask our clients, ‘Do you know what Reddit is?’ And only one of them did. Then we show them this photo of Obama hugging his wife with the caption ‘Four more years’ — an image no conservative likes. And we tell them, ‘Because of the way the Obama campaign used things like Reddit, that photo is the single-most popular image ever seen on Twitter or Facebook.’ Just to make sure there’s plenty of salt in the wound.”

    Back in August 2011, Jacobson wrote an op-ed in Forbes alerting Republicans to Obama’s lead on the digital front. His warnings were disregarded. Then last summer, he and Spencer approached the conservative super PAC American Crossroads with their digital-tool-building strategies and, they say, were politely ignored. It’s understandable, then, that a touch of schadenfreude is evident when Jacobson and Spencer receive the policy-group gurus and trade-association lobbyists who file into Red Edges’s office to receive a comeuppance.
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:43 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


    What Is The Future Of Conservatism
    The “clear and present danger” for the United States today is domestic… subverting… the American way of life…. [T]he collapse of the nation’s family structure…. By 2010, a child was more likely to grow up in a broken home in America than in practically any other Western society, including the Scandinavian ones…. America’s… retirement from religion…. [O]ur citizenry’s steady slide into financial dependence on the government… healthy, able-bodied, and relatively well-to-do Americans plead[ing] “poverty” for the purpose of handouts from Uncle Sam. These powerful, deeply entwined trends are progressively degrading both our people and our polity… an ignominious end to American exceptionalism….

    For a generation, soi-disant conservatives have been failing conspicuously… never more so than when they actually gained political power… the George W. Bush administration’s toxic popular reputation… self-styled conservative thinkers have betrayed no obvious interest in analyzing or understanding what went so very wrong under Bush ’43…. [F]alse hopes [in 2012] were bolstered by millions upon millions of dollars of seemingly solid polling data purchased from partisan allies….

    There seems to be a tremendous temptation nowadays for conservatives to retreat into their own alternative reality…. That temptation… spells the death of honest thinking. Our country confronts fearsome problems. It desperately needs a conservative tendency that can, for a start, call the animals by their proper names.
    via Brad DeLong: A Somewhat Strange Piece From nick Eberstadt: Motes And Beams Weblogging
    From my perspective, Nick Eberstadt is one of the many conservatives who has retreated into his own alternate reality. Consider his claim that "healthy, able-bodied, and relatively well-to-do Americans [are now] plead[ing] “poverty” for the purpose of handouts from Uncle Sam".

    I don't see that. I see a short-term rise in UI, SNAP, Medicaid, and SSI due to the economic collapse. I see a longer-run bipartisan extension of income support to the working poor in order to partially offset the rise in the inequality of market income and to diminish the danger that a benefit cliff would create a culture of dependency. Those seem to me to be the opposite of "pleading poverty to get handouts". The first is a (hopefully temporary) rise in real poverty. The second is a successful bipartisan policy initiative to diminish any culture of dependency.
    The American Conservative: Counterculture Conservatism
    The key to success will be to pick the right fights against the right enemies, while forging smart tactical alliances. (By tactical, I do not mean cynical.) Conservatives need to discriminate between the issues that matter and those that don’t, the contests that can be won and those that can’t. And they need to recognize that the political left includes people of goodwill whose views on some (by no means all) matters coincide with our own.

    So forget about dismantling the welfare state. Social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and, yes, Obamacare are here to stay. Forget about outlawing abortion or prohibiting gay marriage. Conservatives may judge the fruits produced by the sexual revolution poisonous, but the revolution itself is irreversible.

    Instead, the new conservative agenda should emphasize the following:
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:03 AM on February 14, 2013


    So, traditionally, the three-legged stool of conservatism has been religious conservatives, foreign policy hawks and economic conservatives (Big Business since the inception of the party).

    The problem is that for most of these positions, putative conservatives have moved out of the mainstream and into reactionary positions. On most social issues, conservative Christians are losing; economic austerity doesn't work and any rational economic appraisal can see that it's wrong for our current situation; foreign policy hawks got us into Iraq.

    Honestly, I think the best hope for the Republicans is to look to the positions that the Tories hold, which are moderated by the general social democratic mien of England. Right now, the two things keeping them alive are the massive amounts of money that a very few people have and can leverage to distort politics, and the politics of white resentment. The sooner they can lose one or the other, the sooner they can become a functional, healthy party again.

    (Which, for all my bagging on them, we do need. I grew up in places where there was simply no real Republican opposition, and it is good to have some skeptical checks on Democratic initiatives, if only to prevent the corruption and rot that comes from indolence mixed with power.)
    posted by klangklangston at 8:55 AM on February 14, 2013


    Instead, the new conservative agenda should emphasize the following:

    OK, this should be good ...


    1. Protecting the environment from the ravages of human excess. Here most emphatically, the central theme of conservatism should be to conserve.


    Hmm.

    ...

    2. Exposing the excesses of American militarism and the futility of the neo-imperialist impulses to which Washington has succumbed since the end of the Cold War. When it comes to foreign policy, the conservative position should promote modesty, realism, and self-sufficiency.


    Hmmm.

    ...

    3. Insist upon the imperative of putting America’s fiscal house in order


    I'll give the GOP this one, at least the appearance of that imperative.

    ...
    4. Promote economic policies that make it possible to support a family on a single income ... Yes, just like in the 1950s.


    Hmmmm.

    ...

    5. Preserve the independence of institutions that can check the untoward and ill-advised impulses of the state. Among other things, this requires that conservatives mount an adamant and unyielding defense of religious freedom. Churches—my own very much included—may be flawed. But conservatives should view their health as essential.


    OK, well #5 is just "rouse the religious voters" again, which is OK, but hardly "checks the untoward and ill-advised impulses of the state." I don't see any churches providing sanctuary to drug dealers, etc.

    But 1, 2, and 4? Does not seem like the GOP to me, in any semblance. If that's the future of conservatism, you'll need a new party.

    Valuing the environment over jobs and reducing military excess? Sounds like commie talk to me.
    posted by mrgrimm at 8:55 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]






    "Protecting the environment from the ravages of human excess. Here most emphatically, the central theme of conservatism should be to conserve. If that implies subordinating economic growth and material consumption in order to preserve the well-being of planet Earth, so be it"

    Where has this been for the past 20-30 years? I don't remember a conservative talking about conservation like, ever.

    Exposing the excesses of American militarism and the futility of the neo-imperialist impulses to which Washington has succumbed since the end of the Cold War.

    So, bring back Charles Lindburgh and isolationism?
    Neo-imperialst. Christ sake. Does it look like we're in Mali? Yeah, we do get in way too many wars. Here's a concept: take profit out of the defense industry. But can we ask other countries to stop fronting for North Korean businesses and U.S. dollar counterfeiting operations without being called fascists? Go back to the f'ing suburbs.

    But 1, 2, and 4? Does not seem like the GOP to me, in any semblance.
    No, but even a new party would be just more b.s. and lip service.

    Without systemic reform we're not going to see either party preserve or progress. Not when the money controls the campaigns, the lobbying, and which facts get pushed before policy is made.

    What's so funny, what really gets me about the first point - protecting the environment - is that there's this constant drumbeat of "individualism" from the GOP, from asshats like Ted Nugent, and yet it's impossible to sustain oneself without sustaining the environment.

    I'm hearing on the news about the sequestration, the shutdown, whatever, and one of the things that struck me was meat inspection.
    And I'm smug thinking, yeah, won't affect me. I don't eat much store bought meat.

    But then, what about water quality and wildlife habitat? Who is going to stop BP from dumping tons of crap into Lake Michigan? What happens when high water temperatures an low oxygen levels kill all the fish? And the deer overpopulate, and the wolves, coyotes, other predators overpopulate, then the deer run out of food and die and the predators wind up in people's backyards? The forests catch fire, who puts them out?

    We don't pay enough attention to human systems that depend on the environment because we make loads of money off of abstract systems and mercurial labor that can be swapped out with machines or someone on the other side of the planet for less money almost instantaneously.

    We're literally, living in a dream. The problem isn't ideology change. The problem is how to wake up.
    posted by Smedleyman at 9:42 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


    Right now, the two things keeping them alive are the massive amounts of money that a very few people have and can leverage to distort politics, and the politics of white resentment. The sooner they can lose one or the other, the sooner they can become a functional, healthy party again.

    ...and the supremely motivated and disciplined voters that will come out and vote this year, next year, and the year after that. The GOP may (or may not) be outnumbered in 2016, but they will continue to have a robust presence in governor's mansions, state legislatures, country governments, school boards, and municipal governments for years to come.

    Don't get cocky. There are still lots and lots of angry conservative voters, and they can't just be wished away.

    Where has this been for the past 20-30 years? I don't remember a conservative talking about conservation like, ever.


    I don't know about that. There's more of that than you might think.

    I think that, when talking about this stuff, it's helpful to understand the distinction between conservationism and environmentalism.

    For decades, conservationism as a political force of any consequence was more or less Republican turf. The left didn't really engage these issues in any significant way until after WWII. Of course, not all Republicans are "conservatives" in the modern sense of the word (post-Reagan Revolution). That said, even most movement conservatives still pay at least some lip service to conservation when running for office, even if they utterly dismiss environmentalism. Their particular stripe of conservationism tends to defer to property rights and favor private solutions like land trusts and what-not over government initiatives and regulation. Their motivations can often be cynical and self-serving, and they usually have different priorities in terms of what to conserve and for what purposes, but they do talk about these issues.
    posted by snottydick at 11:00 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


    Fox News Hosts Mock Desiline Victor, 102 Year Old Woman Who Waited Three Hours To Vote (AUDIO).

    Keep it up guys .. sure way to helping your GOP become a 'winning team,' assholes!
    posted by ericb at 1:36 PM on February 14, 2013






    zippy: "since his great-grandparents were born"

    You're going to have to run that one by me again.


    As in, the family is Republican so far back, you're not just born into it, it's in your DNA.

    See also "New England Republicans."
    posted by zippy at 4:14 PM on February 14, 2013


    From Hom: The sad thing about this new crop of senators—especially on the Republican side—is they don’t even try to learn anything; they don’t care if they look like complete idiots, in part because their core constituents don’t care if they do either.

    I would so love to see Dennis Miller inject himself about now.
    posted by Smedleyman at 9:19 PM on February 14, 2013


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