The Narrative

If and when Barack Obama and the Democrats win a smashing victory in November, E.J. Dionne has provided the narrative to counter the inevitable Meacham nonsense:

Conservatism has finally crashed on problems for which its doctrines offered no solutions (the economic crisis foremost among them, thus Bush's apostasy) and on its refusal to acknowledge that the "real America" is more diverse, pragmatic and culturally moderate than the place described in Palin's speeches or imagined by the right-wing talk show hosts.

Conservatives came to believe that if they repeated phrases such as "Joe the Plumber" often enough, they could persuade working-class voters that policies tilted heavily in favor of the very privileged were actually designed with Joe in mind.It isn't working anymore. No wonder conservatives are turning on each other so ferociously.

It's time for a change. The country is rejecting Republicanism and extreme conservatism, not Sarah Palin's "qualifications." The mandate is for a change away from extreme Republicanism and conservatism, not a rejection of Sarah Palin the person.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

< McCain's Court | The Polls - 10/24 >
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    Feh. (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 07:08:54 AM EST
    I wish -- I really wish -- that we would reasonably imagine that this election represents some turning point in American political culture.  But it doesn't.  The Obama campaign has been careful not to challenge too many of the political orthodoxies that we suffer under.

    This is a campaign about lowering taxes during a time of war and economic crisis, of stressing the importance of religious faith in governance, of accepting people who hew to some hateful social notions.  And it's happening at a time when the Republicans would surely be rejected purely on the basis of incompetence and venality, without reference to political philosophy.

    I don't blame Obama for any of this -- like Meacham I believe that America remains profoundly conservative at its core.  In the context of the American polity, Obama is running as liberal a campaign as could possibly be expected to yield a blow out result.  But "as liberal as possible" is not the same as "liberal".

    I understand the principle of pretending that this is a great victory for liberalism in order to try to turn that pretense into reality.

    But the problem is too many people really believe it's true.  And that leads only to misreading the public mood, overreaching, and a relatively quick return to the political wilderness.

    I don't blame Obama for any of this.... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by vml68 on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:16:36 AM EST
    I don't quite agree with that particular statement. The whole point of a leader is to lead/challenge and to convince others that there is a different way and a better way.
    It looks like we are going to get a very pretty little market crash today. World markets took a nosedive last night. I feel absolutely nauseous at the thought of someone with so little experience taking over at a time when the next few years are going to bring so many new challenges economically,politically, etc. McCain is also cluless. There are some very tough times ahead. Those who think that as soon as Obama gets in, life is going to change for the better are in for a big disappointment.

    Catch 22.... (5.00 / 4) (#17)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:35:26 AM EST
    If Obama were to truly lead, he wouldn't be able to win.

    I think we do need a leader to drop some straight dope, that we can't go on living on the arm with loans from China..that we need to right the ship quick and that means sacrifice and hardship now for a brighter tomorrow.  Promises of having your cake and eating it too are what wins...and the fault may lie with the voting public more than anyone else.


    Agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Chatham on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:37:31 AM EST
    People want to hear things like we can cut taxes and increase revenue.  Or "win" in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It would be great if we had some rational people come in to office that could at least allude to the truth.

    Certain things shouldn't be controversial.  If we cut our bloated military budget (~$700 billion now, all told) down to "only" $100 billion a year, and got rid of the massive tax breaks to the rich (someone's going to work hard for an extra $10 million a year but not if it's only $5 million?  who buys this?), we would probably have a fairly sizable surplus.  Universal healthcare shouldn't be controversial, let's use Frances system, it would save everyone money and hassle.  With the surplus, invest in new energy technology, repair and develop new infrastructure, invest in education, new technologies.  This will help move the economy.

    Now, why is any of this controversial?  There's a lot of other stuff I consider "common sense" ideas (such as decriminalizing drugs use) that I can see why some people would disagree with (even if it's silly).  But how come we can't all agree on, you know, balancing the budget, stopping gorvernment waste, and investing in the future?  We are probably going to have to face a lot more difficult problems soon, it shouldn't be this hard to convince people to use common sense on these.


    It knocks me out (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by cal1942 on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:02:32 AM EST
    when people complain about politicians as though they're aliens from another planet.

    They R Us and they can't get elected without, to some extent, mirroring the people.

    LBJ said 'to be a statesman you must be elected'

    LBJ was a real case in point. Opposed Civil Rights legislation in the 40s and 50s (the Civil Rights act of 1957 was an empty shell and southerners knew it) as a US Rep and Senator from Texas, but as President pushed for and got the most sweeping series of Civil Rights acts in our history.

    Roosevelt said very little about what he'd do during the 1932 campaign but when in office completely reformed American economics and government.

    The most brilliant politicians of the 20th century IMO, FDR and LBJ.


    They R us (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by joanneleon on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:39:39 AM EST
    until they get to Washington.  And then people sit them down and tell them how things work.  And from that point on, they R no longer us.  Maybe a few remain committed to their constituents, but apparently, not many.  

    We are starting to see a change in this, but largely, once you are elected to Congress, you are almost guaranteed reelection, no matter how well you represent your constituents:

    Congressional stagnation is an American political theory that attempts to explain the high rate of incumbency re-election to the United States House of Representatives. In recent years this rate has been well over 90 per cent, with rarely more than 5-10 incumbents losing their House seats every election cycle.  The theory has existed since the 1970s, when political commentators were beginning to notice the trend,  with political science author and professor David Mayhew first writing about the "vanishing marginals" theory in 1974.
    Wikipedia Link

    With the advent of small donations via the internet, political blogs, Dems 50 state solution, and the fact that these are turbulent times with more people paying attention to politics, in 2006 we saw a much bigger turnover in Congress, and it looks certain that we'll see it again this year.  Once things settle down though, it remains to be seen whether we'll return to the high rate of reelection of incumbents.


    Too many lefties (none / 0) (#61)
    by brodie on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:35:57 AM EST
    (always) and too many purist libs (often) seem to think our candidates need only run on a doctrinaire progressive platform and the people (and all those traditional non-voters) will applaud the honest principled stance and follow with their votes.  Never happened.

    FDR gave almost as many conservative-sounding speeches in his 32 campaign as progressive ones.  At times, he told his speechwriters, who gave him two different liberal and conservative speeches, to "weave" the two together into one curious and confusing bit of speechwriting.  This way he straddled the two wings of his party, kept his political opponents off balance, and generally avoided committing himself to too many specific promises.  Smart move.  Though he could have given but one speech from his front porch that year and still won easily.

    LBJ of course wasn't elected, and so didn't have to firmly commit to CR and argue its virtues before the voting public, by the time he pushed forward Kennedy's CR bill in early 64.  And he wasn't about to come to office and begin by squandering all the post-Dallas goodwill that dropped into his lap by offending the Kennedy wing in letting drop his CR proposal.  By 65, when the Voting Rights bill came up, he had even more of a lib-oriented Dem Congress, so that one was another battle he knew he'd win.  Not a lot of "brilliant" politicking required -- in fact, it would have been politically stupid not to go forth with that natural sequel to the 64 bill.

    In my book, JFK was the most brilliant politician of his time, FDR right up there too (but blundered badly with his Court Packing scheme, a large-sized domestic blunder that Kennedy never would have put in motion; ditto for Roosevelt's "party purge" failed effort of 38.  FDR kinda lost his political bearings when Louis Howe died in 36).  Lyndon, not without his own skills of persuasion (cough, cough) mostly was the lucky beneficiary (for a coupla yrs anyway) of favorable political times and circumstance.  Both he and HST are both overrated in some respects as I see it, Truman wildly so.


    I believe in (none / 0) (#98)
    by cal1942 on Sat Oct 25, 2008 at 12:12:57 AM EST
    giving credit where credit is due.

    Inasmuch as LBJ is concerned did you forget that Dixiecrats filibustered the CR public accomodations bill.  In those days it took 67 votes for cloture.  LBJ's influence (brow beating) broke the filibuster. If he wasn't sincere he could have thrown in the towel and said well hell I tried. If he wasn't an effective, skilled politician he would have failed to achieve cloture.

    Inasmuch as FDR is concerned the court packing attempt so often jumped on by his critics was the loss of one battle.  In the end he won the war.  The same court that knocked down some of his earlier New Deal measures suddenly passed on other New Deal measures brought before the court. Then they began to retire. Anyway, the American people saw fit to re-elect him to an unprecedented 3rd term three years later and then a fourth time in '44.

    No other American President accomplished as much in office as FDR. IMO our greatest President.

    IMO Kennedy is overrated as a politician and a President. He was unable to get his legislative program passed. He failed to use the tools at hand.  LBJ was shuffled off to the side when his skills could have been tapped.


    I don't think we'll ever know (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by joanneleon on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:25:14 AM EST
    how liberal or conservative this country is until there are parties which really reflect the values they pretend to stand for.

    At present, neither party really stands for liberalism or conservatism.

    In fact, I don't think we can truly measure the principles of the people in this country unless we are able to establish more political parties that define things more clearly.


    No, it's the fact. . . (none / 0) (#19)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:37:39 AM EST
    that you don't see those parties -- or rather, that they command less than five percent total of the vote -- that ought to be a clear indication that the generally not-too-different views of the two major parties represent what American voters are shopping for when they vote.

    If that were true (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by joanneleon on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:49:21 AM EST
    then why are there so many Independents?

    The reason there is little support for third parties is simply a matter of conditioning.


    And the Perot run ... (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:41:32 AM EST
    showed that a third party is ticklishly close to being possible.

    Had Perot, or the people who worked with him, been more politically savvy we might already have a viable third party.

    Further, I think the discussion of political ideologies misses the point sometimes.  There are often cross-ideological coalitions that can get things done.

    I'm not talking about airy-fairy bipartisanship, but real agreement across ideological lines.  For example, a hard-left/hard-right coalition often emerges on key issues.

    This is why I favor an issue-based approach to politics, rather than an ideological one.  I'm rather have UHC and HOLC, than worry about whether the public gets squeamish at words like "liberal" or "socialism."


    and as for how liberal (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by sancho on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:50:52 AM EST
    or conservative americans are, isnt it true that more people over the age of 18 DO NOT vote than do vote? i think that is what gore vidal says.  at the least, the number of nonvoters outnumber the number votes cast for the winner every four years. so so many people do not particiapte in the election.

    we're an oligarchy and the people at the top choke the system to prevent change and "share the wealth" policies. the two parties are basically allies who squabble over the pie (much of which is stolen from other more truly repressed people around the globe) and how much of it to dole out to the rest of us. the dems are better than the repubs but not by as much as we would like to think.

    i'm hoping obama surprises me. if he wins, he's going to have a great opportunity to do something his first two years. and that may be his window.

    anyone think nancy (plutocrat) pelosi is ready for change?


    Pelosi (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by joanneleon on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 10:17:04 AM EST
    No, I don't think she's ready for any kind of change.  I think she's the queen of the status quo.

    Steny Hoyer, possibly the real power behind the Speaker's gavel, is even less ready to change.  And Harry Reid, even less.

    I've been hearing rumblings that Harry Reid doesn't want to strip chairmanships from Lieberman, even if we gain enough seats in the Senate to make 60.  If that is true, it's unbelievable.


    if reid lets lieberman (none / 0) (#93)
    by sancho on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 05:19:58 PM EST
    keep his chair, then what better proof does one need to see that the two parties are not substantially different?

    Too true. (none / 0) (#95)
    by Fabian on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 06:11:12 PM EST
    Even when Lieberman was supposedly just as Democrat as anyone with a (D) after their name (before 2006) he regularly made media appearances that at best he provided lukewarm support for Dem positions & policies and at worst played a concern troll.  The Dems don't owe Lieberman a thing.  He's unreliable and disloyal.  

    Better to give some other Dem opportunity and responsibility than continue to reward someone who doesn't deserve it.  


    i still want to know how (none / 0) (#96)
    by sancho on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 06:57:19 PM EST
    gore was persuaded to pick him. i dont think it was just b/c he was always anti-lewinsky.

    I didn't know Lieberman then. (none / 0) (#97)
    by Fabian on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 07:25:37 PM EST
    I'd be surprised to find out that he was that odious back in 2000.

    I don't know who else was on the short list either.  It's one of those historical details I don't worry too much about.  Lieberman didn't cost Gore the election.


    No it's not conditioning (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Faust on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 10:19:18 AM EST
    it's the fact that it's a de-facto zero sum two party system.

    If we had proportional representation in our representative bodies, e.g. like they have in Germany then, like Germany, we would see a non-trivial percentage of Green Party, Libertarian Party, and I'm sure other parties in our government.


    What I meant by conditioning (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by joanneleon on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:16:46 AM EST
    is that we have been conditioned to believe that a two party system is the way things are in this country, and that it would be difficult to impossible to establish more viable parties.

    I'd love to see more parties with more clearly defined goals.  Those parties would ally with each other on certain issues, with different mixes based on the situation and the issue.  Then we would see how the people really feel about the issues, and it would be easier to see how liberal or conservative the populace is.


    Well that I can agree with (none / 0) (#70)
    by Faust on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 12:16:17 PM EST
    though it's pretty clear why we have been "conditioned" that way. The two parties have a pretty serious stranglehold on our system and neither side wants to give it up. It's hard for me to see a path that leads to opening that system up when BOTH parties are opposed to it.

    And whenever 3rd party candidates do make some headway such as Nader did in 2000 (or Perot in the 90s), then the results are arguably nothing more than a benefit to one or the other dominant party since 3rd party candidates tend to do nothing more than damage one or the other side in the current zero sum system. Is that conditioning? Or just the way our current unfortunate system works? How do you correct a system that is invested in it's own homeostatic stablity?

    I'm not saying people shouldn't continue to work towards what we are talking about, but the way is pretty damn difficult and in a country where people are as likely to vote on "feelings" as they are on "issues" it's pretty hard to gain traction for something as fundamental as restructuring our entire two party system.

    I'm not suggesting we disagree here. I guess conditioning is certainly part of the total equation.


    It's not conditioning, it's Duverger's Law (none / 0) (#89)
    by cymro on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 03:02:00 PM EST
    Without proportional representation, a two party system is the natural result. See Wikipedia:
    Duverger's law suggests a nexus or synthesis between a party system and an electoral system: a proportional representation (PR) system creates the electoral conditions necessary to foster party development while a plurality system marginalizes many smaller political parties.

    But that is not to overlook. . . (none / 0) (#2)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 07:09:42 AM EST
    the fact that this election will, hopefully, have a deep and positive effect on the issue of race relations in America.

    I don't see the race relations improvement. (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Fabian on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 07:30:03 AM EST
    Mostly because Obama hasn't really made a point of addressing any of the mundane problems that minorities face - jobs, housing, education.

    I doubt that women in the UK saw a lasting improvement just because Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister.

    Societal changes start at the bottom and eventually work their way up to the top.  Only in arenas with strict top down political structures like the military, can change start at the top and propagate efficiently downwards.


    Spot on -- and, if anything (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Cream City on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:17:49 AM EST
    there will be backlash or at least more undermining of affirmative action.  And that would hurt most those who hope most.

    undermining of affirmation action (none / 0) (#44)
    by sj on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 10:12:20 AM EST
    That's an issue that always needs guarding against sneak attacks.  Right now there's an initiative on the Colorado ballot (Amendment 46)that is yet another assault on affirmative action.

    I'm tired of sneak attacks.  I want liberal positions and policies publicly, vociferously vindicated.

    Alas, we have no standard bearer.


    Maybe "relations" is the wrong word (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by CST on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:58:01 AM EST
    I don't think you can underestimate the impact this will have on the self-view of many young minorities.  Also perhaps on the way that teachers view them in schools.  They now have something real to aspire to that's not in the entertainment business.  Sometimes all you need is proof that you can make it, that it's possible.  That staying in school and working hard will actually get you some where.

    We tend to forget that this is a two-way problem.  Yes, the minority communities need services to help them climb, but they also need some hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel to empower them to help themselves.


    I agree (none / 0) (#49)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 10:20:01 AM EST
    You can't aspire to what you can't imagine.  Pre Title IX, few girls aspired to be professional athletes.  The concept simply didn't exist, so wasn't on the radar.

    I think Obama's election on balance will also be good for race relations in general because millions of people who've never been exposed to the idea before are accepting leadership from a black man.

    Those are both very much Good Things, even if Obama crashes and burns as a president.


    I Agree (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by daring grace on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 10:16:25 AM EST
    with you that societal changes occur from the bottom up. Indeed, the campaigns of both Obama and Hillary Clinton this year are the culmination of such changes that have been pressing the causes of both African Americans and women upward over the course of decades of painfully incremental (and too too tiny) advances.

    I believe that a key element of intolerance toward both women and people of different races, ethnicities and creeds is the perception of their 'otherness', and Obama's assuming the presidency (esp. if he does come to be seen as effective at it) will go a long way to making Americans more comfortable with the idea, let alone the reality of AA authority as a 'norm'. I also think the same would have been true (for women) if HRC was the nominee who assumed the presidency.

    Will everything get to be all better for all up and down the line as a result? No, of course not. But will it likely contribute to a major ongoing dismantling of the mindless status quo of centuries? Absolutely, and hallelujah!


    Another factor (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by joanneleon on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:49:41 AM EST
    I believe that a key element of intolerance toward both women and people of different races, ethnicities and creeds is the perception of their 'otherness', ...

    I think there is another factor -- for some people there is a reluctance to vote for a segment of the population that has been oppressed or treated poorly.  The reluctance stems from the fear or retaliation, or fear that they will not be treated fairly because they believe that everyone is just as prejudiced as they are.


    I have to dsagree, unfortunately (none / 0) (#65)
    by BrianJ on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:46:44 AM EST
    I believe that this election will have a profound negative impact on racial relations-  if/when Obama wins and economic conditions fail to improve.  Millions of people simply can't afford to wait out the hard times because they have little savings and no job security.  They will see Obama as helping the blacks at their expense.

    There's also the WORM problem, as it's been referred to many times on this site-  Obama gives speeches that sound wonderful until you realize that he never actually said anything.  American's tolerance for this will diminish markedly after January 20 when he'll have to couple words with actions.


    I Agree (5.00 / 0) (#76)
    by daring grace on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 01:33:55 PM EST
    if Obama fails to produce results if he is elected then it will impact racial attitudes and other cultural perceptions more than if he were our standard white-guy as POTUS.

    But I disagree with the WORM thing.

    This excerpt from a Time magazine interview Obama gave reminds me of how seriously engaged with policy Obama is and how he might lead us in powerful new directions.


    You can't eat "maybes" (1.00 / 0) (#82)
    by BrianJ on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 02:35:17 PM EST
    And if even his supporters can't point to any more concrete plans or results, there will be serious trouble coming very soon.

    As for WORM, we saw plenty of examples of that when he claimed that opposition to him was entirely grounded in racism, or when he couldn't handle a fairly obvious question from "Joe the Plumber."  That ain't gonna fly when it comes from the Oval Office.


    I thought (5.00 / 1) (#85)
    by CST on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 02:45:10 PM EST
    He handled the actual Joe the Plumber question very well.  Have you seen the tape?  He lays out his tax plan and explains it.  McCain and Palin just jumped all over one tiny aspect of it, which frankly wasn't that bad if you listen to the whole thing.  It wasn't necessarily good "sound bite politics" but he definitely handled the question without leaving people wondering what he really meant.

    People always disagree with politicians, I think most Americans will blame disagreements with him on his politician-ness rather than the fact that he's black if he disappoints.  I really think the vast majority of Americans have gotten past that.  Not all, but enough.  None of that can erase the impact it will have on the minority community as far as trust in themselves and faith in others is concerned.

    The civil rights movement didn't end the way people wanted, but the post-civil rights generation is drastically more open-minded because civil rights happened - despite the fact that it caused the death of many leaders and great civil strife between races at the time.


    Wow, And I Thought I Was Paying Attention (5.00 / 0) (#92)
    by daring grace on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 04:44:08 PM EST
    In fact, googling this I see instances where Obama specifically said his opposition was NOT based on racism.

    When did he say that opposition to him "was entirely grounded in racism..."?


    On multiple occasions (2.00 / 0) (#94)
    by BrianJ on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 05:40:58 PM EST
    He claimed that McCain was going to campaign against him based on Obama's having a funny name, several times.  His supporters claim that the word "socialist" is racially loaded, using rather specious reasoning.  And don't forget that during the primary, "fairy tale" and even more innocuous words were supposed to have been racist.

    I don't mean any of this as a claim that McCain would be any better.  He has, if anything, even less of a grasp of economics that Obama.  I'm just stupendously unimpressed with both major party candidates (and both running mates for that matter).


    OK, I Did Pay Attention (none / 0) (#99)
    by daring grace on Sat Oct 25, 2008 at 11:19:34 AM EST
    I've heard all these things and so the bone I would pick with you about them is whether they constitute Obama claiming that opposition to him "was entirely grounded in racism".

    It's true Obama and his surrogates have charged that in elements of both the primary and GE campaigns his opponents have waged there have been racist smears. In some cases, like the coy McCain campaign jitterbugs with loaded terms and their surrogates' less coy Muslim whisper campaigns I think this is accurate.

    But I think you overstate Obama's public position when you state he sees opposition to him ENTIRELY grounded in racism.


    Today I read Vietnamese (none / 0) (#84)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 02:39:01 PM EST
    voters here favor McCain, as they believe he is most likely to support their interests.  I'm wondering if African American voters might be disappointed in Obama regarding their interests.  He is getting a whole lot of support from establishment interests.  

    Iwill not engage you again on this (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 07:26:23 AM EST
    You sort of make up your own scorecard. What's the point then? BTW, did you actually quoted from Dionne?

    BTW, I still can;t get me head arond the idea that you are bemoaning the lack of Leftiness in America will strongly supporting Bloomberg. I do not know how you reconcile your views.


    Bloomberg. (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:59:19 AM EST
    BTW, I still can;t get me head arond the idea that you are bemoaning the lack of Leftiness in America will strongly supporting Bloomberg.

    I'm not sure I understand your point.  I'm bemoaning the lack of leftness in America not because I'm opposed to it, but because I support it, at least in a moderate form (what I would call developed-country centrism).  And, as I've explained many times, I believe Bloomberg to be among the most liberal people in executive office today.

    Certainly in his last race for mayor the principle Democratic candidates tried to get around him on the right, pushing for increasing school vouchers and special parking rights for Christians.

    New York is not America.  If America had the political views that New York has, I'd have a different opinion of the American electorate.   New York is able to support liberal government and I support that government.

    So where's the conflict?


    Not "again". This is a completely (none / 0) (#14)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:29:41 AM EST
    different argument on your part.

    Previously you argued that America is a fundamentally liberal country, and has been since FDR "won the battle" for liberalism.

    Now you argue that America is poised to become a fundamentally liberal country by, finally, defeating conservatism.

    You may believe my "scorecard" to be "made up", but at least it's consistent.  You're now reduced to arguing that tax cuts for people making 200,000 dollars and government support for religious social organizations are liberal positions.  They aren't.

    Furthermore, you yourself have been making a closely related argument for a couple of years at least -- that the Democrats had take a stance offering more contrast with the Republicans.  Well, there's been no major change in Democratic philosophy in that time.  Indeed, the candidate who won the primaries is the one who is noticeably to the right of the other major candidate.

    I believe that Obama is probably more liberal than his campaign has been -- based on his past record but also, frankly, on typical Obama "hope".  Even if he does govern further to the left than his campaign would indicate it still doesn't mean the country has moved to the left -- he would still have had to masquerade as a centrist to win the election.


    I never said that (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:36:40 AM EST
    The only options are NOT "America is conservqative" or "America is liberal." Hell, America is Centrist, like me.

    You did refer to the (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:44:54 AM EST
    argument that America is a "center-right" country as stupid and moronic.

    When you said that, did you really mean that American is a center-center country, and that anyone who thinks it's a few ticks to the right is a moron?  Because I think that you're splitting some awfully fine hairs there to use words like "stupid".


    Yep (none / 0) (#28)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:49:52 AM EST
    That is what I meant. I am done with you on this issue. Seriously, what's the point? You have no point anymore. BTW, Bloomberg?

    My point is clear. (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:00:29 AM EST
    1. American politics is center-right.

    2. The current campaign is not about turning America into a liberal country, but about who can most effectively and rationally run a center / center-right country.

    As for Bloomberg, see above.

    Opportunity (5.00 / 3) (#35)
    by robrecht on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:03:14 AM EST
    I distinguish between the campaign and the current economic conditions.  This is an opportunity for next Democratic administration and Congress to give liberalism a better chance than its had in a long time.  Whether Obama and Congress will rise to the occasion remains to be seen, of course.

    I agree. (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:17:04 AM EST
    There is a great opportunity here.  One often doesn't know how someone will govern by how they ran.

    Since this campaign is about hope, I hope that Obama will govern somewhere more to the left than he ran.

    But while the election may present an opportunity to move the country to the left, I reject BTD's argument that it demonstrates that the country has already moved to the left.


    At the very least (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by robrecht on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:23:06 AM EST
    it is indeed moving against Bush and the current crop of Republicans.  I couldn't hope for much more than that at this point.

    PS. (none / 0) (#30)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:51:08 AM EST
    I'm sorry you don't want to engage on this issue, I find these discussions to be the most stimulating and challenging on this blog -- genuine discussion about deep, important political issues.

    I enjoy the posts on "Republicans Suck" as well, of course, but these are the best.  I'm sorry you don't want to mix it up with people of different views.


    It's really too early to say what Obama (none / 0) (#45)
    by ThatOneVoter on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 10:14:16 AM EST
    represents now, isn't it?
    I say this is no great fan of  "that one".
    Whether by design and skill or by luck, he is poised to deliver a hammer blow to the crazy wing of the Republican party. That seems like a great start for making change.

    Yes, but. . . (none / 0) (#51)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 10:31:46 AM EST
    it's not too early to say what his campaign represents.  People often wind up governing differently than they campaigned, either through inclination or circumstances.  I hope that happens here.

    But BTD's argument in this post is what the election represents, not what Obama's eventual Administration will represent.  And I think Obama's calculated centrist tone and signature campaign theme (tax cuts) make it clear that the election does not represent a victory of liberalism over conservative principles.


    Well, I hope Obama is hiding some deep (none / 0) (#52)
    by ThatOneVoter on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 10:32:53 AM EST
    pink and green roots, then.

    It is a backlash against conservatives. (5.00 / 7) (#3)
    by Fabian on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 07:22:06 AM EST
    Every time I listen to the election coverage on NPR, I keep hearing this narrative:
    I am a conservative/republican but [shaking head] I think McCain is more part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

    The people who seem most solid in their support of McCain/Palin are the hardcore social conservatives, the right wing authoritarianists, and those who are impressed with McCain's historical narrative (military service, patriotism, experience).

    Most pragmatists are against McCain.

    This doesn't mean that people are going to suddenly become liberals or progressives or democrats.  It means that the Bush Legacy has created skepticism - nothing more.  It's an opportunity, an opening that the Democrats should seek to exploit by proving how attractive and rewarding their policies and principles are.

    My advice to the Democrats?  This is a great opportunity, don't blow it.  Most importantly, do NOT take these voters for granted because four years of no appreciable progress will send them right back to the GOP.  The next four years should NOT be about getting re-elected because that means cozying up to the Big Donors who fund election campaigns.  The next four years should be about creating a solid economic foundation for the future.

    I would say it is more... (5.00 / 4) (#6)
    by kdog on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 07:53:16 AM EST
    a backlash against Republicanism than conservative principles.  There is a difference... the Bush admin. simply does not meet the criteria of conservatism...no balanced budgets, an increase of the debt, a haphazard use of military force, corporate subsidies and welfare...not to mention the nationalization of the finance industry.

    Can we even call Republicans a conservative party in the Goldwater or Teddy Roosevelt mold?  I don't think the disciples of Goldwater and Roosevelt have changed their world-view, they have simple realized (finally) that the Republicans are sellig something else entirely...a mild brand of crony fascism.


    I've seen true conservative pundits. (none / 0) (#23)
    by Fabian on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:43:28 AM EST
    Actual conservative politicians usually become assimilated into the GOP political machine.  The aims of the GOP machine are debatable, but a true Conservative government doesn't appear to be a primary goal.

    Backlash? I must (none / 0) (#50)
    by mg7505 on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 10:23:21 AM EST
    respectfully disagree. Yes, some former Repubs have changed their minds. But for every one I hear on NPR, I know another who is "clinging" to his/her party line. Consider a former neighbor of mine from Minnesota, who has lost his house and job, is taking unemployment benefits, has three kids in college (on financial aid), and whose wife relies on public transportation -- he says that he's voting McCain because Obama will "bring in socialism." I shouldn't have to point out the multiple layers of irony here.

    Anyway, our anecdotal evidence doesn't justify any conclusions. But the fact that McCain still pulls about 40+% in national polls means that almost one in two Americans will support an ideology despite 8 years of disastrous evidence that it doesn't work.


    Is your former neighbor (none / 0) (#58)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:30:52 AM EST
    formerly in the U.S. military?  If so, when, and during what years?

    I don't remember (none / 0) (#69)
    by mg7505 on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 12:15:29 PM EST
    about this particular individual. Are you asking because you may know him? Or because this outlook may have something to do with being in the military, ie knowing McCain in/directly?

    I'm asking because my neighbors, (none / 0) (#71)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 12:23:33 PM EST
    who are retired, have a McCain/Palin sign in their yard.  He is retired military and quite patriotic.  I haven't "debriefed" them on why they support McCain.  They also have a Bilbray sign in their yard.  Bilbray was the GOP replacement for Randy "Duke" Cunningham.  

    Referendum on Bush (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by joanneleon on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:04:23 AM EST
    Although there are a lot of factors, including the personas of Obama and McCain, I believe this election is still fundamentally a referendum on George Bush.

    I don't believe that people in this country think there is a lot of difference between Democrats and Republicans from a philosophical standpoint, and I don't think they are theorizing very much on conservatism or liberalism.  I think they have a strong distrust of the current crop of Republicans because they supported Bush who completely and thoroughly screwed up this country.

    They finally realize how profoundly they have been lied to and how this administration, and by extension the Republican party, does not care about average Americans.

    At the moment, I think people find Democrats to be more trustworthy because they seem to be more truthful, and because the last Democratic president left the country in good shape.  Things were a heck of a lot better under the last Democrat so people are simply thinking that it's time to give another one a try.

    This is an opportunity, but a tenous one, because as the popularity ratings for Congress show, people don't have a strong amount of trust in either party.  Now is not the time for smoothing over the differences between the parties, IMHO, if we want to have more than a four year stint in the WH.

    Lastly, I strongly agree that this is not about Palin.  That's a bunch of media nonsense, IMHO.  It's also a convenient excuse being used by Republicans who were looking for a way to jump ship, so instead of rejecting their entire worldview and their entire party, they blame it on McCain's choice of VP.  I'm amazed at how distracted people are by Palin.  A country as huge as the U.S. doesn't turn or change on a dime.  Think of inertia.  It takes a long time and a lot of outside forces to move a country as massive as this.  Look how much the Republicans got away with before we started to really change paths.

    that simply is belied by the polling (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:15:05 AM EST
    The electorate sees a big difference between Dems and Republicans and strongly prefers Dems.

    Only because they are saying (5.00 / 6) (#15)
    by joanneleon on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:32:32 AM EST
    "throw the bums out" and because there are only two real choices.

    The preference for Dems is tenuous, as indicated by the approval rating of Congress.  

    People are fed up with all politicians, IMHO, and trust is very thin.  We have a little more time to prove that Democrats really are different than Republicans, that we stand for different things, and that we mean what we're saying.  If Obama runs the White House the way Pelosi and Reid ran the Congress, I'm afraid we'll find that the preference for Democrats will evaporate quickly.

    I see this election as people saying, "Okay, here's your chance" rather than any epiphany that Democrats are fundamentally better than Republicans.


    What polling? (none / 0) (#16)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:35:17 AM EST
    Is there polling that indicates that

    1. The electorate can point to strong philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans


    2. That they agree with the Democratic positions?

    I don't mean generic "right way / wrong way" or congressional preference polling, which could be due to any number of factors.  I mean polling that directly seeks to determine how the public perceives the philosophical underpinnings of each party.

    I haven't seen any polling that even addresses that question.  I have seen plenty of polling that indicate that people believe Palin's selection was a major blunder by McCain.


    Cuz you do not want to see it (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:37:40 AM EST
    I am not going down this road with you again.

    One link is all it takes. (none / 0) (#21)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:42:08 AM EST
    I could provide you a milliion (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:48:32 AM EST
    But you won't be convinced. Bt here is one.

    I'm not buying this part: (none / 0) (#63)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:36:14 AM EST
    At the moment, I think people find Democrats to be more trustworthy because they seem to be more truthful,

    Can you elaborate? (none / 0) (#72)
    by joanneleon on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 12:24:06 PM EST
    Here are a few examples I'm thinking of:

    Democrats came out and said there were no WMDs and that Iraq was turning into a civil war, etc., while Republicans continued lying.

    Up until a few weeks ago, McCain was saying that the economy is fundamentally strong, while Democrats have been warning about jobs, foreclosures, debt, etc.

    McCain claims to be a maverick, but the populace now knows that he voted with Bush 90 of the time.

    Bush says "we do not torture" and then photos of Abu Ghraib were released, yet Bush continues to maintain that we don't torture.

    Republicans claim Democrats are tax and spend liberals when in reality, they themselves are a fiscal catastrophe.  Bush has been the biggest spending president in American history and will leave the country more than $10 trillion in the red, another record.  In the 2007 State of the Union address, Bush claimed to have cut the deficit in half!


    I'm still hung up on Obama (none / 0) (#73)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 12:26:38 PM EST
    stating he would support filibustering against the FISA revise and then, instead, voting for it.  I'm also hung up on Biden's vote for AUMF and Obama's welcoming Powell's endorsement.  

    Ah (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by joanneleon on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 12:31:22 PM EST
    Well those are things that stick severely in my craw as well, and there are more than a few other things still stuck in there too.  I didn't say that I personally found the Democrats to be truthful, except as a relative thing, in comparison with the Republicans.

    I was being general in saying I thought people found Democrats to be more truthful, of late, than Republicans.  Not a high bar to cross.


    Except the Blue Dogs are under the D brand... (5.00 / 5) (#12)
    by lambert on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:20:32 AM EST
    ... but are the smarter variety of R who left the sinking ship in time.

    So, it's a victory for Democrats, period. It's not a victory for liberals, it's not a victory for progressives, whatever that may mean, and it's not a victory for any kind of policy mandate, because Obama didn't ask for one.

    So, we have a spectrum of possibilities all the way from "FDR wasn't FDR before he was FDR" to "Shock Doctrine with a smile."

    Based on past performance, I think the possibilities are closer to the latter than the former (else why throw the base under the bus), but past performance is no guarantee of future results!

    Besides, everybody loves a winner...

    Sometimes lambert I just wish you would play (5.00 / 0) (#80)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 02:17:57 PM EST
    along cuz you run around blowing my high all the time.  Shock Doctrine with a smile, that was how the Dems have handled the bail out and financial crisis thusfar.

    I think the answer to that question (none / 0) (#79)
    by CST on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 02:00:20 PM EST
    FDR vs "shock doctrine" will be in the margin of victory.

    If it's a squeeker, he will continue to pander to the right until at least 2012.  If it's a landslide, that's a pretty clear mandate for a "new deal", and an indication that the country is ready for more drastic change.

    Ultimately, he's a politician, so he will do whatever he thinks will help him get re-elected.


    Well, it's a mandate for "change" (none / 0) (#83)
    by lambert on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 02:36:35 PM EST
    which has never been defined -- except insofar as it slides to the right.

    So I'm skeptical.  I contrast working the phones for the bailout with the rejection of HOLC -- and it's not just Obama, it's the D leadership.

    Of course, I'd like to be wrong.


    Sarah Palin seems to be giving a fairly (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by robrecht on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:43:08 AM EST
    good speech about children with special needs, mentioning not only her newborn but also her sister's child with autism.  I'm not really listening to the policies, probably same old republicanism, but a very sympathetic topic and rather credible spokesperson IMHO.  The press will probably only comment on her new glasses.

    I don't know, BTD... (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by lessthanpleased on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:40:38 AM EST
    ... but I feel like you're setting up a false dichotomy. It seems entirely reasonable to say the country is rejecting both extreme Republicanism and Sarah Palin personally - and polls suggest both are happening.

    The plural of anecdote isn't data, granted, but the preponderance of national figures citing Palin as a main reason they're endorsing a Democratic Presidential candidate for the first time seems significant. Palin's ever-declining approval numbers seem significant. Bush's ever-declining approval numbers seem significant. Issue polling that you cited up-thread seems significant, too.

    I don't think we can ignore one or the other just because we want the conservative ideology to be defeated by the purity of our liberal/progressive vision of America. And I certainly don't think there's sufficient evidence to rule that only one type of rejection is occurring here.

    I just don't think this is an either/or. I suspect that Republican extremism and a major-party nominee talking about small issues during a major economic crisis are biconditionals for the coming Republican rout.

    I could be wrong, but I just don't think it's as clear cut as the original post makes it.

    I'd like to see the details (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by joanneleon on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:01:01 AM EST
    of the polls that say Palin is the main reason for Republicans switching their vote.  I don't know what choices they were given as their main reason.

    Let's say they were given choices like:

    1. I identify more closely with the Democratic party
    2. I love Senator Obama
    3. I hate Senator McCain
    4. I disagree with McCain's choice of VP.

    I'm being somewhat facetious, but hopefully my point comes across.

    I have no data to support my opinion but I think common sense supports that there is no way that Sarah Palin is the primary reason for people who have never voted for a Democrat in their life to suddenly do so now.  Palin was perhaps the straw that broke the camel's back.  But it was Bush, the neocons, his corrupt and incompetent administration, the war, the economy, and a lot of other things that piled up that whole heap of straws that was there before Palin came along.

    If this were the case, wouldn't we have seen the same thing happen with Dan Quayle?  And in 2004, Dick Cheney was already incredibly unpopular.  Why didn't that cause Republicans to switch their vote?  I think it's because the evidence that the Bush admin. and the whole party is a disaster wasn't fully out in the media yet, and it hadn't set in the minds of Republicans yet.  Then the primary season presented such a stark contrast between the set of candidates for each party that it became even more clear that they had to desert the Bush party.  By the end of the primaries, I believe we already had many Republicans on the brink.

    I also believe that people who are unwilling to admit to the failure of the conservatives and the Republican party are much more willing to blame their change of mind to a convenient target like Palin.  It's an easy out for people who desperately needed on but who didn't have enough to admit that they and their party have been so incredibly wrong and destructive all these years.


    Competence and personalities (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Manuel on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:00:38 AM EST
    I wish I could believe that this election marks a philosophical change for the country on issues such as health care, inequality, education, civil liberties, and foreign policy but I don't see the evidence for such a change.  What I see instead is campaigns driven by personal narratives trying hard not to be painted as extremist.  In the press, an inordinate amount of time is given to personality issues.  Issues are secondary and when they are discussed at all it rarely gets beyond sound bites.

    In this environment, the complete mismanagement of the nation's affairs by the Republicans is what is driving the electorate.  McCain as Bush's third term has been the most powerful message propelling Obama.  This has accelerated as the economy has worsened.  I don't see any kind of consensus, even on this board, for what we should do instead of what we have been doing.  Obama will have the opportunity to set a new direction.  Based on the way he has campaigned, I only expect marginal changes to the basic direction of the country.   My sense is that Obama is more interested in changing the process than he is in altering the product.  To the extent this results in more diverse voices being heard on policy, change is possible.  However, it isn't a given and will require a lot of hard work from those who wish to advocate for it.

    Are the two mutually contradictory? (none / 0) (#7)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 07:56:48 AM EST
    Cannot Palin's demonstrated unfitness for the Presidency be yet more evidence (for those previously unpersuaded) of the emptiness and mendacity of
    extreme Republicanism and conservatism

    They could be (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:16:10 AM EST
    but you would be destroying the message you want to come out of this. If this is aboutPalin, and not the faulure of Republuicanism, then there is no mandate for change - just a mandate against Palin.

    Palin is the avatar. . . (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:48:44 AM EST
    of modern Republicanism, even more than McCain is.  To attack her is to attack Republicanism in effigy.  That includes all aspects of Republicanism:

    1. No-nothingness and rash statements on foreign affairs.

    2. Hypocrisy on things like spending.

    3. Incompetence in governing.

    4. Corruption in office.

    5. The tendency to play on race for political profit.

    and so on.

    You want Republicanism in one person, wrapped up in an actual candidate you can vote against.  I give you Sarah "Republican" Palin.


    Nonsense (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:50:19 AM EST
    Well, you sure convinced me. . . (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by LarryInNYC on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:54:04 AM EST
    with that argument.

    I'm not sure people (none / 0) (#62)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:36:05 AM EST
    know Sarah Palin as that person.  Due to her youth and recent rise on the national scene, I think she is more commonly seen as the future of the Republican Party.  Few people are going to see her as a racist.  Even fewer know about her spending and as far as corruption, Troopergate has already been forgotten.

    As far as Sarah Palin goes, I think most people know what she looks like, and that she is extremely religious.  That's pretty much it.  Her selection as VP has been held against McCain, not the Party.  A future Republican candidate will find it easy to throw McCain under the bus as a way of restoring the Republican brand.  


    Competence only matters ... (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 08:54:13 AM EST
    if you think Government can be part of the solution. But it's axiomatic among the hard-line Conservative Movement that
    Government is always part of the problem

    And they governed accordingly, appointing corrupt and incompetent people almost as a matter of principle to every imaginable office.

    By selecting the manifestly corrupt and unfit Palin in his first (and most important) appointive selection, McCain gives the clearest possible indication that he intends to continue the model of conservative government established during the Bush years.


    Did you come to this position (none / 0) (#60)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:32:54 AM EST
    via Jeralyn or were you already of this opinion?

    I didn't see Jeralyn's post ... (none / 0) (#67)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 12:01:21 PM EST
    on this until a few minutes ago. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I'm kind of BTD groupie. I monitor when he has new posts up. I only check out the full TL site sporadically.

    But I have to say that I was kind of amused when I saw Jeralyn's post taking BTD to task.


    This has been going on (none / 0) (#68)
    by oculus on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 12:08:49 PM EST
    ever since McCain's pick of Palin was announced.  My opinion:  preemptive move by J, hoping BTD won't comment on her post.  

    Why dilute the mandate? (none / 0) (#87)
    by ruffian on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 02:57:07 PM EST
    We need to claim a mandate against conservatism while we have a chance. Dionne and BTD are spot on.

    If the Repubs even try to spin it as a rejection of McCain or Pailin personally we need to fight that spin, not go along with it.


    Mandates aren't against anything. (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Fabian on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 03:07:09 PM EST
    Mandates are FOR things.  Why?  Because it's hard to prove a negative, that's why.

    So we can say "Mandate against conservatism!" all we want, but what does it mean?


    The problem, though, is that (none / 0) (#57)
    by Exeter on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:23:36 AM EST
    Obama is still talking in triangulation mode.  His health care ad is the perfect example.

    And whose problem is that? (none / 0) (#59)
    by lambert on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 11:31:09 AM EST
    Yours, yes, but that matters why? Not to be snarky, but...

    My point is that (none / 0) (#100)
    by Exeter on Sat Oct 25, 2008 at 11:31:54 AM EST
    we (obama) is still talking about things in GOP language. I don't want GOP lite and neither does the rest of the country

    I don't see how these (none / 0) (#74)
    by mg7505 on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 12:26:55 PM EST
    times are much of a change. It's hardly a "change" for liberals to rise to power from a grassroots movement while conservatives grumble resentful, hateful lies to defend the status quo. This time the grassroots movement just took a while to take hold and sway those who were bamboozled by Right-wing tactics. As for the status quo, it was the typical Republican brand dating back to McCarthyism, through Nixon, Reagan and Bush I.

    Note: I'm not saying Obama necessarily represents an activist victory, but he does have a lot of grassroots support. We'll have to make sure he sticks to Progressive principles.

    Obama does have (none / 0) (#78)
    by Spamlet on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 01:53:14 PM EST
    a lot of grassroots support, and he has used it very shrewdly. Good for him. But a look at the campaign's major funding sources belies the notion that Obama is a "liberal" who rose from a "grassroots movement." Therefore, he may well have no "Progressive" principes that we must "make sure he sticks to," especially since so much of his support has come from people who never asked him for anything at all. We'll see. And I'd still rather Obama than McCain.

    I used to subscribe (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by mg7505 on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 02:32:45 PM EST
    to the 'Obama is a big-money puppet masquerading as a grassroots Progressive' theory, but now I think it's more complicated. Don't get me wrong, he owes a lot of success to the big money and behind the scenes politicking, and he is far from the liberal I want him to be. But a huge amount of grassroots activism fuels this campaign, even if those folks are deluded re: Obama's real priorities. I think it's similar to how the Republican Revolution(s) was fueled by big money and elite politicians, but it succeeded because a lot of ordinary folks subscribed to it, even though they didn't benefit from it. In Obama's case, those 'ordinary folks' are individuals who do the door-knocking, phone-banking and rally-screaming. Say what you will, but he's got a heckuva lot of volunteers and donors.

    And of course Obama is a better option than McCain.


    Obama winning (none / 0) (#77)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 01:51:17 PM EST
    will kick open a door and allow us to be free of the most vicious parts of the Right for a while.  Especially if he wins big, there will be no mistaking that the Republicans are not wanted anymore.  

    Problem is, I see no mandate for anything but a policy that scales down the Iraq War.  Since the prevailing mood will likely be economic anxiety, I think Obama will have room to work - if it was difficult to oppose the bailout, it'll be difficult for people to oppose other less repulsive measures that aid the economy and the middle class.  Maybe that does count as a mandate, I dunno.

    Just like Clinton winning in '92 (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by ruffian on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 03:01:31 PM EST
    silenced the most vicious parts of the right, for even a nanosecond?

    Sorry to spoil your optimism, but they are going to be even more vicious when he is president and actually putting proposals forth that they can spin up the noise machine to oppose.


    When the results come in (none / 0) (#91)
    by lilburro on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 03:14:38 PM EST
    and Republicans lose across the board, I think we will have a moment where the national consensus is, I guess we just don't like Republicans right now.  Then Republicans will try to tell us that in some way, they won.

    We already have Republicans separating themselves into "good" Republicans, allied with a less nutty Republican party, and "bad" Republicans, who seem unconcerned with fiscal responsibility and who are going overboard with identity politics.  

    Of course the noise machine won't shut down.  But hopefully it will be marginalized.


    My $.02 amid an economic downward spiral (none / 0) (#86)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 02:53:15 PM EST
    The general population is outright and utterly rejecting Republicanism.  If we weren't in this current waking up to the smell of this coffee Palin would have done very well for herself.  The current Republicanism has fully revealed itself finally, only took half of my lifetime since Nixon hit the high office.  The question for me is what will replace it now because there is a vacuum and that always sucks something in.  Ahhh Buddhism, the faith that just keeps on giving me "I don't know" along with allowing science to coexist, what a lousy faith.  My daily Buddhist email message said something about participation though so I suppose whatever shows up will be determined by all of our participation......still a lousy faith - no freebies.