It Begins

The election is shaping up as a historic repudiation of Republicanism and extreme conservatism. But the Beltway Establishment does not like that. Here comes WaPo's Fred Hiatt with his plea for the post partisan Unity BS:

[W]e don't believe either party has a monopoly on policy wisdom. . . . We like to think, in other words, that a process in which both parties play a role can sometimes lead to better outcomes and not always to dead ends.

That's harder to imagine, though, as each party's moderate wing shrinks. A Democratic sweep might bring to Washington some relatively centrist freshmen who would provide a check on the most liberal wing of the party. But it might claim as victims some of the few remaining Republican moderates, such as Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon and Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, and some of the real workhorses who are more interested in legislating than grandstanding -- the capable New Hampshire senator John E. Sununu, for example. The defeat of such politicians would be a loss for the country, not just for their party.


This is the Post Partisan Unity Schtick. And it leads to, at best, nothing but adoption of Republicanism on a smaller scale. It leads to the Iraq Debacle, the disastrous Bush economic policy and so on. We tried it their way for the past 8 years. Any right thinking progressive must reject this. Of course, if you do not have actual views on issues, then this is just right for you. Some will think you are reasonable. I find the view ignorant and stupid.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    John Sununu? (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by andgarden on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:19:53 AM EST
    Really, this is like Chris Matthews going on about how much he liked Jim Talent. I think it's true that some people care not a whit about issues. It has to be true. Otherwise we must assume that they're just stupid.

    agreed. (5.00 / 7) (#2)
    by cpinva on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:21:14 AM EST
    Some will think you are reasonable. I find the view ignorant and stupid.

    as i noted in an earlier post, on another thread, the whole "post-partisan unity" concept has only had one participant, the democrats. it's long past time this nonsense came to a halt.

    with any luck, we'll have sufficient majorities, in both houses, to do what needs to be done, with or without republican support.

    I hope so (none / 0) (#18)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:47:46 AM EST
    The dems over-reaching will be the best consequence of the elections.

    I recall (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by Steve M on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:05:21 AM EST
    hearing much the same line in 2006.  "This is great, Nancy Pelosi's over-reaching will easily lead to a Republican landslide in 2008."  Keep dreaming, man.

    I'd be interested (none / 0) (#60)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 01:00:21 PM EST
    to see a link to compare.

    You could look at (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Steve M on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 01:24:29 PM EST
    virtually any right-wing blog in the wake of the 2006 elections.

    Too lazy to (none / 0) (#88)
    by Wile ECoyote on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 05:29:53 AM EST

    I'm still worried ... (none / 0) (#45)
    by vector on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:41:53 AM EST
    with any luck, we'll have sufficient majorities, in both houses, to do what needs to be done

    I'm fearful that if the TV results from the East Coast show an early and easy victory for Obama, then many Dem voters may stay home, causing a loss of Dem congressional and senate candidates in close races.

    I know it's not election day yet, but I am starting to freak out already.  

    Let's not count our chickens before they hatch.


    This worry seems unnecessary. (none / 0) (#59)
    by caseyOR on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:59:40 PM EST
    Television stations do not report election results until the polls have closed on the west coast. This is done purposely so that east coast results do not suppress turnout in the west. The networks started waiting to release results after the debacle of the 1980 presidential election. That year networks broadcast eastern returns that gave Reagan a big lead. This led to voters in the west simply not voting, thinking it no longer mattered.

    And exit poll results, which started to have some of the same vote depressing effect, were quarantined in the 2006 midterms until polls had closed in the west.


    Not quite right (none / 0) (#71)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 02:16:33 PM EST
    They don't project an overall winner until all the polls have closed, but they certainly do report results, and projections, as they get them state by state.  Nobody has or can win the overall election without a single Western state, so it's not possible to win numerically before those states are called after the polls close there.

    What the news people no longer do that you're remembering is project the final winner before all the polls have closed around the country.  They're perfectly capable of doing it, and viewers who have kept track of the polls can mostly do it without them anyway unless it's an extremely close election.

    If Obama, for instance, is declared the winner in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania before polls close on the West Coast, we will all know that he's won, even though the networks won't say so until the last polls do close.


    The never ending Iraq Debacle!! (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:23:41 AM EST
    I think it is safe to say that I completely reject Fred Hiatt's BS

    [W]e don't believe either party has a monopoly on policy wisdom. . . . We like to think, in other words, that a process in which both parties play a role can sometimes lead to better outcomes and not always to dead ends.

    "we like to think" (5.00 / 6) (#11)
    by ruffian on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:31:52 AM EST
    and "sometimes" pretty much negates his entire premise.

    Much like (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by ruffian on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:33:34 AM EST
    I like to think that sometimes I look like Anne Hathaway.

    i like to think so too, (5.00 / 3) (#33)
    by cpinva on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:13:49 AM EST
    I like to think that sometimes I look like Anne Hathaway.

    and i look better than her in heels! oh, wait, wrong site! lol

    sorry, it was just wayyyyyyyyyyy too tempting.


    Those are almost Obama's words (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Manuel on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:08:09 PM EST
    Have you forgotten hailing the Republicans as the "party of ideas"?  I think Obama is sincere about giving the Republicans (even the most conservative ones) a seat at the table. He won't repeat Bushs's mistake of ignoring the opposition.  We'll hate it when he throws them some bones.  I just hope he doesn't give them the whole cow.

    Well (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by Steve M on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:26:08 AM EST
    I believe, in theory, that moderate Republicans can offer a valuable perspective and help make a bill better by playing a role in the process.

    Unfortunately, that's not how it works with the modern GOP.  All the "moderates" do is obstruct and join in partisan filibusters.  So screw 'em, as Kos might say.

    Where are those guys though? (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:29:58 AM EST
    When the Democratic party evolved away from tax and spend dyanmics moderate Republicans just up and disappeared.

    Senator Mac Mathias endorsed (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:11:40 AM EST
    Obama yesterday in the Washington Post.  Of course, he was so moderate that his trouble with the GOP started back in the 70's and got really bad under Reagan - worth noting too that he is probably more liberal than most Blue Dog Dems - but it was significant since he is from a Republican family that dates back to his great grandfather's support of Lincoln.

    It was a great endorsement.  He always was a great writer.


    Did I mention how much healthier (5.00 / 6) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:26:43 AM EST
    and happier we all were from 1992 to 2000 verses 2000 to 2008?  Did I mention that I didn't have many dead friends back then and that my country wasn't busted broke.  Did I mention that my nation's economy wasn't a national security issue back then?

    Of course, but Obama (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:44:32 AM EST
    has promised us we are not going back to the 90s...that was the politics of partisan division, remember?  :)

    Seeing Obama (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by eric on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:52:44 AM EST
    with Bill last night, it sure seems like he is a little more open to going back to the 90's, now. ;)

    Or maybe it is that he thinks that (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:56:45 AM EST
    appearing with Bill in Florida this week might bump him up a point or two in the polls down there and thus win him the state.

    I'll take the cynical theory.


    Bill was awesome. I loved seeing him (5.00 / 5) (#24)
    by Teresa on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:58:30 AM EST
    laying the case out that way. Easy to understand and with a lot of passion.

    He's sooo good (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 02:23:45 PM EST
    and it's not even anything magical, he just talks very straightforwardly in clear language about what's going on and what the key points are.  I'm a little baffled that it seems so impossible for Obama and other Dem. politicians other than Hillary to use that model.  Big Dog may be the most charismatic guy on the planet, but that isn't why he's so effective, it's the content of what he says.

    I think it's attributable (none / 0) (#83)
    by jar137 on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 05:51:43 PM EST
    to his working class roots. He knows the average American (pardon the cliche) in a way the others do not because he comes from there.  And the working class are the largest demographic in the country.  Biden has similar roots and can tap into it, too, but his problem is that he has been around so long and has delivered so little that his rhetoric rings hollow (at least to this former working class kid).  See also the former great hope of the Dem party, Mario Cuomo.

    F*ck the Republicans. (5.00 / 9) (#6)
    by scribe on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:28:30 AM EST
    They've spent my entire adult life doing it to America and the world and it's about - no, long-past - time that they took the beating they've been asking for, deserve and are about to get.

    We don't need "Moderate Republicans" - they only exist in the Republican wing of the Democratic party anyway, since Newt and the rest of the hard-core purged them along with Bob Michel in the 80s and 90s.  You want to read some nice internecine stuff?  Go back to the archives of the 80s and early 90s and read what National Review had to say about Bob Michel and the Moderate Republicans.  NR never heard of the Eleventh Commandment or, if they did, showed their true colors (i.e., that they considered Moderate Republicans to be Not-Republicans and  therefore legitimate targets, just like Palin's Real Americans) when they said what they said.

    And I don't give a damn about hurt feelings.  The Moderate Republicans and Village Idiots can come and whine about their hurt feelings when they're done fixing some of the Republican projects they supported over the last 8 years.  Stuff like acquiescing in torture domestically and abroad, trashing the financial system, and blowing up the legal system.

    Until then, they can go to hell.

    An example (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by eric on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:39:46 AM EST
    of this purging by the Republicans happened here in Minnesota recently.  They do not tolerate "moderates".   As you may recall, we had a bridge collapse here in the Summer of 07.  There was an immediate call to get transportation funding passed (it was previously vetoed by the Governor).  Again, he vetoed it.  Thankfully, six Republicans voted with the Democrats to override the veto.

    All six of these Republicans were purged and not endorsed for reelection.  All six seats are now in jeopardy .  They don't even care - they just could not tolerate any dissent.


    Purging is the road to anorexia (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by scribe on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:44:12 PM EST
    for people and political parties.  Trotsky and many others can tell you how that works out, ultimately as to the party, itself.

    Bob Michel, wow (none / 0) (#63)
    by caseyOR on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 01:11:03 PM EST
    Bob Michel was the Congressperson for my home district (IL-18) for pretty much my entire life until his retirement. He kept winning reelection even though my hometown, Peoria, had a huge union presence. My mother always insisted that all the farmers in the rest of the district outvoted the union in elections and that was why Michel stayed in office.

    My parents were very partisan Democrats. The only Republicans they had respect for were Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. It was only after, well, Reagan actually, that they started to see that some Republicans were much worse than others. They still wouldn't vote Republican, but they did recognize a difference.


    And Michel was regularly excoriated (none / 0) (#74)
    by scribe on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 02:29:11 PM EST
    by the NR crowd for years prior to anyone ever having heard of Gingrich as other than that guy screaming to an empty chamber on C-SPAN late at night.

    Michel was to them an accommodationist loser (to put it politely).  Praising him was as quick a ticket to excommunucation then as was Christopher Buckley praising Obama a couple weeks ago.


    Those Republican moderates (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by ruffian on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:29:22 AM EST
    Hiatt laments certainly back up their conservative brethren on just about every filibuster.

    I look forward to seeing how the Dem leadership describes the election results - as a repudation of Republicanism in all its guises, or an indication that people want do be done with 'partisan politics'.

    It had better be the former. (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by Teresa on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:36:09 AM EST
    I will be mad as hell if we throw away this opportunity. It may not come again for a long time. I'm with Scribe, sc*ew unity.

    but it is likely to be... (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by sj on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:42:50 AM EST
    ... the latter.  What else does post-partisan unity mean, after all?

    It's why O has never inspired me.  I've had it with trying be unified with crazy people.


    true dat (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by wystler on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 01:56:20 PM EST
    It would not be wrong to wish that more GOP office-holders were more like Chris Shays, Linc Chaffee, and the Maine ladies.

    But they're not. As a wee minority in their party, they cannot lead, and they have had to toe the line to continue to reap the benefits of party infrastructure and external support mechanisms.

    Until the GOP crashes and burns, there's no hope for those voices of moderation to rise to power. Further, it will require the backroom moneyfolk on their side to decide if they're going to go forward with hate (Palin) or something else.

    Meanwhile, pass the popcorn.


    If any of them had any integrity (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 02:28:24 PM EST
    at all, they would have switched parties, or at least become independents, years ago.  If they'd followed Jeffords's lead when he did it, they could together have become quite a powerful little bloc and essentially controlled the Senate.  They didn't do it, though, because every one of them is too damn cowardly and valued their own reelection over actually getting things done.



    so ... (none / 0) (#89)
    by wystler on Fri Oct 31, 2008 at 11:43:57 AM EST
    ... we finally find common ground.


    Hardest thing for some to embrace here: the way to burn the GOP to ashes is not to assault it directly, but to carry a voice of unity to the biconceptual voters who've been key in empowering them.

    Grace and balance. Such a concept.


    Hmmm ... (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:30:00 AM EST
    the capable New Hampshire senator John E. Sununu


    Can someone who says that be taken seriously?  Even for an instant?

    No (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:31:48 AM EST
    Isn't that first line (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by lilburro on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:32:13 AM EST
    EXACTLY what Obama said in the primaries?

    What the h3ll is Hiatt complaining about.

    Looks like I was (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:54:16 AM EST
    thinking the exact same thing, lilburro.  

    But given that, how can we say that "it" begins now.  "It" is what the Obama campaign largely has been based on from the beginning.  And (I know BTD disagrees on this point) he has done nothing to indicate he has changed his plans.  FISA, Bailout, legitimization of religious-based homophobia, "Conditions on the Ground" on Iraq, etc. etc.

    Sure, most of us will get a few hundred extra dollars every year as a result of Obama's tax policies (and I suppose, for those who truly need it, that is better than not getting the few hundred bucks), but if past words and past actions are indicators are future performance, I think this is less a case of Hiatt pressuring Obama as it is Hiatt celebrating what Obama has promised to do.


    Nothing but rats... (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:40:09 AM EST
    ...fleeing a sinking ship (and a failed ideology)--looking for another place to cause damage and destruction.  

    What a Crock (5.00 / 3) (#20)
    by No Blood for Hubris on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:51:25 AM EST
    Having drowned most of government in Grover Norquist's deliberate fiscal bankruptcy bathtub, having hurled us into moral bankruptcy via the Gitmo and Abu Ghraib pro-torture crowd, having infiltrated virtually every remaining part of government with Talibangelical partisan hacks, now they're wanting post-partisan sweetie-pie kumbaya?



    Kiss my bailout package.

    Unity in The Hague (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by koshembos on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:00:27 AM EST
    The Republican party of the last 8 years is a collection of war criminals. Their leaders should be sent to the Hague for prosecution.

    Unity with war criminals, why?
    What added value they bring with them?
    Is there anything we want to copy from them?

    Tom Brokaw was on Morning Joe (5.00 / 5) (#26)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:01:19 AM EST
    the other day calling for a "coalition government" whilst acknowledging that McCain will likely lose.  He said he wants "the best and the brightest" like Jim Baker to have a role in Obama's administration.

    I didn't hear him call for that after the 2000 or 2004 elections.  Shaking head.

    These people.  First they're screaming, "You're evil Marxists!"  Then it becomes evident that they'll be losing and then they insist on "helping".  I hope the Obama camp is smart enough to politely say, "No thank you."

    Haha, you really think the Obama camp (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:04:47 AM EST
    would say no thank you?  I guess you haven't seen this.

    I have seen that. (none / 0) (#35)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:18:13 AM EST
    I have been keenly aware of Obama's unity thing and have been extremely critical of it.  But I am begining to wonder how straight-forward that pledge really is because as we saw with Hillary, it is clear to me that he's not quite as compromising as his rhetoric might lead one to believe - even when unity would seem to be a very politically advantageous strategy.

    Also notable, as is typical of Brokaw recently, he made his demand for a coalition government as if Obama had not been saying that he'd have a bipartisan cabinet all along - and lol as if we had a parliamentary system.


    I have to say I have no idea (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:24:01 AM EST
    what you are talking about.  First off, Obama said this TODAY!  He is, as everyone here is celebrating, a shoo in to win next Tuesday.  What possible reason would he have at this point in the campaign to promise Republican cabinet members if he didn't mean it.

    And is your point about Hillary?  All I remember is that Hillary's resurgence in the race made him move further to the right on economic policy (see his Harry & Louise health care ad, which he basically repeated in the general election campaign as well).

    What I just don't get is how people on the right and the left don't want to look at what Obama is actually saying and doing, thoroughout the entire campaign, including right now, to show that he is likely going to give Hiatt pretty much everything he is asking for.


    The last few voters who are (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:53:23 AM EST
    undecided are his audience right now.

    Everything said by every Democrat in the last couple of weeks of every election is like nails on a chalkboard for me because I am a partisan.  Every single one runs to the middle and makes bipartisan promises in the last few days of an election.  Furthermore, it is important to note that the reason why the Obama camp chose to do this today as opposed to any other day is that earlier this week the GOP started hammering the "one party rule is bad" meme.  It is imo a direct response to the latest GOP rhetoric also targeting those undecided voters - who I personally hope don't have the patience to stand in line because they drive me crazy every election - moreso now - but that is a whole other discussion.


    But you are still missing my point. (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:13:01 PM EST
    Obama doesn't need the few remaining undecided.  He is already going to win.  Your proposition seems to be that Obama is lying now because he desparately needs to get a few more votes.  My opinion is that he is telling the truth now (which is consistent with just about everything he has said and done this entire campaign) because he knows he has won and feels he can.

    Not in every state. (none / 0) (#52)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:36:59 PM EST
    In some states if McCain closes the gap by being the default candidate to most of the undecideds, he does have a chance to win the state.  The game now is trying to figure out which way and at what percentage the undecideds break - Obama is just trying not to have them all break for McCain - which I believe is reasonable.

    In any case, I am happy to see Obama trying to do better than 50 +1 as most Dems have done in the past few cycles.


    Well again, you seem to think (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 01:00:33 PM EST
    that Obama is lying to get more votes.  I think he sees he already has enough votes by being center-right and is just being consistent.

    I don't think he's lying. (none / 0) (#64)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 01:20:24 PM EST
    I was saying that I don't think he is as much of a ideological push over as I used to think he was.  I think he will include some Republicans in his administration, but that they will not necessarily be notortious people like Jim Baker as was suggested by Brokaw and that they will be invited to participated on his terms not on the GOP's terms.

    None of this stuff is black and white - there is an enormous amount of gray where it comes to how individuals are incorporated into an Administration.  The Executive Branch is huge.  Lot's of opportunity for everyone really - unless you're in George Bush's camp and dead set on "purging" every agency of Democrats.  Which is what happened here over the past eight years.


    Oy, so now you have this vision (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 01:26:00 PM EST
    of "good" republicans who will be willing to work with Obama "on his terms."

    Which "good" republicans are these?  And which of their principles are they going to disavow once Obama miraculously converts them?

    It is conversations like these that bolsters my belief that all of this is not going to end well.


    Is your purpose to pick a fight? (none / 0) (#70)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 02:14:59 PM EST
    This is a really getting silly.  You're reading way too much into what I've written and adding your own narrative which has little to do with what I've been saying.

    I do happen to know some pretty decent Republicans - some who even work in our government.  They aren't people you know and they pre-date the Bush Administration by more than a decade.  They are philosophically miles away from their leadership.

    In any case, I've never been a supporter of this unity thing as I stated before.  I think it should be "our turn".  But I do think that the reality is that unless we are able to send every Republican into exile, we are going to have to manage them and I'm starting to think that Obama is more of a "manager" than I previously gave him credit for being.


    Yes, but those Republicans are (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 02:38:39 PM EST
    not the ones that Obama would bring into his cabinet, and we all know that.

    I do think this is getting silly, but what is silly is the idea that Obama's intention is to manage republicans, rather than that some of his ideas are Republican (he has admitted himself many times that "neither party has a monopoly on good ideas" and expressing some admiration of Reagan, support for school vouchers, public funding of religion, etc. etc.).  I just think it is illogical to hear him say that stuff again and again and rationalize it as a managing technique.  Voting for FISA, using Harry & Louise ads to sabotage universal healthcare...these aren't managing strategies, they are positions.


    I was right there with you for a long (none / 0) (#77)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 02:56:04 PM EST
    time, but I am begining to think that he is less ideological and more adaptable than I thought he was for a long time.  I could be wrong - only time will tell - but that is just what my perception of him is at this point.  And I think that because the world has changed around him, he is going to be forced to be more liberal in his policies than I think he was going to be had the economic picture not gone so completely off the rails.  I don't think he's going to be an FDR, but I think he won't have much choice but to go further left than I think he had planned to go originally.  

    Like every politician, he is going to have to look out for himself which basically means that he is going to have to work to make people in this country a lot happier than they are right now.  I don't think he's going to be quite as concerned with the fundamentalists and conservatives as he once was - if he is elected.  

    But he's still got a few days left of this election to get through and in states like Pennsylvania where in some polls he has a four point lead with 9% still supposedly undecided, he's going to work for those undecideds who as usual are worried about things like partisans and unity.

    In any case, all I'm offering is my opinion and only time will tell whether or not my current thoughts have any validity.  I am certainly not trying to convince you to like Obama.  Honestly, I don't care whether you do or not.  I've only ever been lukewarm about him, but as far as I'm concerned - at least for the moment - he's way better than McCain and he is "The Democrat" on the ticket so I am hoping he will win this election.


    I don't think Obama's stated positions (none / 0) (#78)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 03:24:14 PM EST
    and actions (I prefer not to talk about what he may actually believe, as I don't really see why that would be relevant) are or ever were ideological.  My whole point is that his actions and statements are mostly center-right.

    Obviously we can agree to disagree about the purpose of his most recent center-right statements.  You think they are his attempt to pick up votes and "manage" republicans.  I think they are the culmination of what he's been promising all along.

    As for the notion that current circumstances will force him to the left, I think that too is incorrect.  The deal he made with the media and the centrists Democrats who supported him was that he would maintain the status quo (except for the silly Bush tax cuts, of course), not make waves.  As we see now from the media, and from the centrist Democrats (see BTD's latest post about Bob Kerrey), they will hold him to this.  And, frankly, as Obama showed in his support for the bailout bill, he seems happy to oblige.  

    Recognizing Obama's centrism doesn't mean you don't have to vote for him.  But failing to acknowledge that he will take the party to the right and abandon certain Democratic principles along the way (e.g. Obama may approve of a middle class tax cut, but I would be pretty certain he will see allowing school vouchers and other public funding of religion as an acceptable compromise...that's the "adaptability" I see in Obama, and just one example of what will be many sacrifices of Democratic principles we will see) in light of all of his statements and actions suggesting he will do so just doesn't make sense to me.


    I won't say that you may not be (none / 0) (#79)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 04:06:11 PM EST
    completely correct in your reading.  I've just been picking up different signals that have made me wonder if he's going to be as far right as I originally thought he would be.

    Kerrey by the way was a Clinton supporter and hasn't said anything of note that I know of until now since she ended her campaign.  He's always trying to shove everybody to the right.  I don't think he is a good example.

    I did hear that Ted Kennedy is working on a big healthcare proposal which I expect is probably his dying wish to achieve and given that he's Obama's political god father, I would be surprised if he was denied his wish by Obama or much of the rest of the Congress given the state of his health and our economy.  I will be surprised if Kennedy doesn't go for broke on this proposal and try to enact a government universal single-payer option.  Henry Friedman has probably been riding him on that since he took him on as a patient.  Friedman saved a friend of mine's life after his insurance company refused to cover his brain cancer treatment by bullying them into covering the care - my friend has lived more than a decade now...

    In addition, I actually watched the entire recorded conversation that Obama had with Joe the Plummer and was surprised at how progressive his basic philosophy really was on the economic front.  He wasn't spouting talking points in that discussion.  He understood how what he was proposing worked which is I assure you a big deal around here in DC - most of these politicians haven't a clue about how the economy or their tax policies actually work.

    Then there is the issue of a huge deficit and national debt which will force him to make choices - choices that I expect will leave the faith-based people and school voucher people out of the loop for this round.  Maybe he'll surprise me and decide that cutting Medicare in favor of some faith-based idiocy is a good idea, but I think that he is a smarter politician than that.

    Again, we'll see.  I look at his list of conservative causes and I look at the list of issues that must be addressed immediately and I just don't really see him having the time, money or political support for pursuing his follies to the right.  If he does though, I think he won't make it past 2012.  Similarly, if this Congress spends its time naming post offices after Reagan and passing anti-smoking laws instead of facing the real problems we face, they'll be toast too.

    A friend of mine told me today that she plans on voting a straight Dem ticket, but warned that if they don't do something to address real problems they are she said "dead to me".  I think there are a lot of people who feel that way or will if they don't deal with real stuff - all the real stuff goes left - so I think he might end up governing farther to the left than I ever thought he would.  Still I could be wrong.


    Well, again, my opinion is (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 04:21:11 PM EST
    that I can really only go on the man's actual statements and actions.  Could he have been lying the whole time?  Anything's possible, but I guess I just don't see the logic in spending too much time contemplating it.  

    Changing one's mind - adjusting (none / 0) (#81)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 04:54:29 PM EST
    one's views - based on changes around people does not necessarily mean that people were lying before their position shifted.

    I used to believe that we could achieve world peace.  Just because I don't feel that is possible the way I envisioned it when I believed it was possible doesn't make me a liar now that I believe it is a lovely unachievable ideal.  It just makes me older, more experienced with people and more realistic - at least that's what I think it means.  But I guess you could wag your finger at me and yell, "Liar!" if it makes you feel better.


    I'm probably not as young as you (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 05:04:45 PM EST
    condesceningly insinuated I am.  To be clear, though, you weren't the one I am calling a liar.  

    I disagree with you that anything in Obama's words and actions have changed from what he has been consistently been saying since he started his campaign.  I would argue that your claim of change in Obama really says more about your need to rationalize your vote.  That's fine, as far as it goes, but I don't see much need to ignore reality.  Facing reality is something I think is important to learn as one ages and becomes experienced in life, at least that's what I think it means.  But I guess you could condescend toward people if that makes you feel better.



    Time will tell. (none / 0) (#84)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 06:09:35 PM EST
    Reading the tea leaves with most politicians is on a lot of levels fairly straight-forward - I actually tend to be like you and I believe what they say and rarely engage in wishful thinking about how they might really be more liberal than I think they are.  I don't think Obama is more liberal than I thought he was, I just think that these extrordianary times might force him to be more liberal than he is.  He is pragmatic and if the pragmatism wins out, I think he might be more liberal mostly because the only practical solutions to so many of our problems are liberal ideas.

    I saw former MA Governor Bill Weld on Morning Joe the other day talking about how he used to believe in the free market.  He went on to say, "We had the perfect free market for the past eight years and now look where we are."  He went on to talk about how he now believes that regulation is a necessity.  That's evolution of thought.  I did not think Obama was capable of that, but now I see little signs and some big ones too that he may be able to adapt.  He's already become much more of an economic populist than I ever thought he could be.  The question is whether or not that trend will hold if he wins and I won't make any warranties - but I do think that the circumstances he faces won't give him much choice.


    Well, if you believe (none / 0) (#85)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 06:22:15 PM EST
    running his goldilocks health care ad is somehow an adaptation toward economic populism from the Harry & Louis ads he ran during the primaries, then more power to you.  I just have to disagree with you.

    As for circumstances forcing Obama to left, I think rather that circumstances are forcing Obama to stay where he is, i.e. in the center right.  The economic crisis so far has led Obama to advocate the center-right bank bailout, and the mainstream media and his centrist base will support Obama's heretofore advocated center right policy prescriptions.  

    Weld, by the way, is probably not the best example of an evolving politician.  I live in MA, and I think a good argument could be made that the Weld administration in MA was more liberal than the Obama administration will be.   Weld is an example of the one of the Republicans that Obama will not choose to be in cabinet, because he is too liberal.


    I thought those "coalition gov'ts" (5.00 / 4) (#39)
    by brodie on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:34:41 AM EST
    in the parliamentary systems were those usually cobbled together by a party having won with only a plurality of votes and needing a partner to achieve a working majority in the lege.

    Considerably different from what we'll probably see on Tuesday, with Obama (hopefully) winning by a solid majority in the PV and even bigger in the EC.  Apart from having to back up some of his campaign's bipartisan olive branch rhetoric, Obama will have a mandate to govern from a Dem-progressive position, and not from a split-the-difference hybrid Demican stance.

    It's also amusing to see Brokaw use the term "best and brightest" favorably, since it references an ironic use of the phrase by Halberstam in his book on how the US got mired in VN.

    Odd too, but not all that surprising, to see loyal GE employee Brokaw invoke the name of a man closely connected to the Bush crime family, someone who played a very aggressive role for Junior in the 2000 Long Count theft of that election.  Baker has long been on the Bush payroll; Obama almost certainly won't want to have any connection with that slick Bush lawyer.



    There was so much wrong with his (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:38:38 PM EST
    short statement it is hard to cover it all.

    The Unelected Congressional Liberal (5.00 / 5) (#27)
    by Addison on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:02:49 AM EST
    I'm not necessarily an opponent of all the things you might call "unity schtick." I think occasionally "unity" can work out just fine, although never when it's done for "unity's" sake. But a couple of things jump out at me from the excerpt you posted:

    A Democratic sweep might bring to Washington some relatively centrist freshmen who would provide a check on the most liberal wing of the party.

    Dear Journalists From Another Planet: THE LIBERAL WING WAS ALSO ELECTED. They were also "brought to Washington." This moderate "check" you speak of acts as if the "liberal wing" represents no one. It clearly represents millions and millions of real Americans. Deal with it and internalize it.

    The defeat of such politicians would be a loss for the country, not just for their party.

    Why does the media hate Democracy? They aren't "defeated" they are voted out because they did an inadequate job. Voted out by people. Real people. Who are Americans.

    This media paradigm of the dangers of the  Unelected Congressional Liberal needs to stop.  

    well, (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by cpinva on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:19:37 AM EST
    some of them had some nice clothes. not $150K worth mind you.

    Is there anything we want to copy from them?

    The Republican Party Never Paid the Right Price (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by KeysDan on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:37:00 PM EST
    for having put forward, twice, Richard Nixon as their standard bearer.  The Nixon administration proved to be peopled by felons. Both the president and his vice president resigned in disgrace.  Nixon accepted a pardon. Spiro Agnew accepted a nolo contendere plea related to bribery while governor of Maryland and continuing into his vice presidency. The price, while high to Nixon, Agnew (who lost good jobs) and the many cabinet members and advisors who went to jail, did little lasting damage to the Republican party. It  was too soon after that we had the incredible Iran/Contra scandal. Of course, then we got W, first with the help of Jeb and Katherine Harris. The second Bush administration learned well from the Nixon and Reagan years (many, such as Cheney, Rummy and Elliot Abrams were part of these administrations).  This party should, long ago, have gone the way of the Whigs, but it is still here putting up retro candidates for the American people like McCain and Palin.

    as long as we're on the subject ... (none / 0) (#69)
    by wystler on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 01:59:21 PM EST
    ... of the GOP not having to pay the price?

    How 'bout Reagan's campaign launch in Philadelphia MS?


    Yes, Continuation of (none / 0) (#75)
    by KeysDan on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 02:36:20 PM EST
    Nixon's southern strategy, only without  the pretense of subtlety.

    So the beltway boys are on their knees (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by hairspray on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 07:42:20 PM EST
    begging for mercy and as soon as Obama falls into line with all of that unity stick they will begin their slow climb back up.  They won't want the Democrats to be successful so look to see them start the slow drip of criticism from day one just like the good old days of the '90's.

    The first sentence you quote, (none / 0) (#16)
    by dk on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:42:30 AM EST
    BTD..."[W]e don't believe either party has a monopoly on policy wisdom"...didn't Obama say almost exactly the same thing in an interview somewhere that was widely reported?  I forget where it was, but I am sure I remember it.

    Listen I don't want you believing (none / 0) (#19)
    by TruthMatters on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:51:21 AM EST
    I believe the whole unity schtick is for the current state of politics.

    I believe each generation becomes more and more accepting and tolerant.

    Hence why I can be black with a white wife, where 50 years ago, not so much. and how now we fight for gay rights, and maybe in 20 years they will be able to freely marry and we will look back at these days as we look back at the 50's and see how they were.

    I believe what can only be called a Post Partisan Unity Schtick can be a reality later, if we teach each generation to actually strive for it.

    we did it with equality did we not, and my generation is the most accepting of things like interracial couples and homosexuality.

    so why can't we believe its also possible for our politics one day.

    I think we are talking about (5.00 / 7) (#30)
    by ruffian on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:06:12 AM EST
    different things.  Acceptance and tolerance of all is something I am happy to see increasing with each generation.  Unity Schtick is uniting on policies for the sake of unity, regardless of how bad the policies are.

    Because people are disagreeable. (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:07:34 AM EST
    Because there will always be mean people who rise to power.

    Because there will always be misguided people who believe in the mean people and give them power.

    Because there will always be people have bad ideas; who want to interfere with other people's lives believing they they and only they know the one true way; and people who at the core reject democracy and prefer theocractic, authoritarian, totalitarian, dictatorial or whatever anti-democratic form of government that empowers a few at the expense of the many.  

    These people will always be there and we will always have to fight with them for power.  That's just life.


    so thats why (none / 0) (#38)
    by TruthMatters on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:31:11 AM EST
    black men will always be slaves, and women will never have the right to vote.

    sure you can believe in those things but you are just being idealistic and not based in reality. you have to understand there is a fundamental way the world works. and as a country we will never allow to men to marry.

    when the founders wrote the constitution they wrote all men were created equal, but black men were still slaves. why? because the country wasn't ready yet. they thought fighting for that then would tear about a newly united country. the bonds weren't strong enough.

    Listen the Defense of Marriage Act was needed, and we can't try and repeal it and give same-sex rights right now. why because the country is to divided and bring up such an issue like that. It would move conservatives to the polls.

    Listen it is just wrong to believe this country can ever be united enough to tackle real problems, and its even more so to believe that the country NEEDS to unite to solve real big problems unless we just pass it off to the next generation.

    that's just life.


    Progress is made (5.00 / 8) (#44)
    by Steve M on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:40:31 AM EST
    not through unity, but by more people coming to favor progress than those who oppose it.  The only time we ever have unity in this country is right after we get bombed.

    Black people remained in slavery (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:03:09 PM EST
    for far too many years after this country was established because of a bad compromise for the sake of unity.

    Please re-read the above as many times as it takes for you to understand that unity for the sake of unity can yield lasting and horrible results for people.

    If not for that compromise for the sake of unity, much of the worst of our domestic political history would not have been so very plagued by the curse of slavery.


    Absolutely, fundamentally wrong (5.00 / 6) (#49)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:04:10 PM EST
    The right wing already flocks to the polls to prevent the possibility of gay marriage.  It's one of the GOPs biggest GOTV strategies.  Sitting back and doing nothing for gay citizens is why we're in this position of the lunatic fringe getting their lousy leaders like Bush elected.  This issue should have been settled during the last Dem administration.  Gay citizens are Americans, they pay taxes, they raise children, and the federal government should establish once and for all that they and their children have equal rights with heterosexuals.  Either full marriage equality, or full domestic partnership equality, with a replacement of the word "marriage" with "civil union" from all local, state and federal law.  (I.e., leave marriage to the church, but everyone who wants marital rights has to use the same domestic civil union.)

    Slavery and it's ongoing legal ramifications would not have ended without non-AAs standing up and saying "Enough, this is wrong and you may not do it anymore, not in this country."  It's time for straight Americans to stand up and tell Congress to undermine this ongoing wedge issue by simply establishing equality once and for all.  

    Until that happens, the possibility that gays could get married will continue to be enough to get the lunatic fringe out voting for rotten Republicans like Bush and his ilk.


    Maybe the idea of unity (none / 0) (#40)
    by KeysDan on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:36:16 AM EST
    should begin by dropping reliance on a generational divide.  Enlightened citizens have been at the task of making a better country across its history. And, I am not sure we would have achieved what we have if it was up, solely,  to the right wingers who never really warmed to the liberal underpinnings of the constitution.  It is true that attitudes on many social issues, fortunately, seem to be changing for the better at an accelerated pace, but just look at the young faces in the McCain/Palin crowds to realize that ignorance travels among generations.  We all trust that a president Obama will both inspire and unite the country toward greater achievement.  His persuasive talents will be necessary given challenges occurring and contemplated and we hope he will be successful in achieving progressive goals with a large majority of the populace. But, working toward a goal in unison seems different to me than unity to avoid contrast or, even, confrontation, which is not necessarily desirable anyway.

    Unity today means (none / 0) (#57)
    by Matt in Chicago on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:54:20 PM EST
    might makes right.  Karl Rove did it.  Nancy Pelosi is trying to do it.

    I am always amazed at how the extremists in both partys have so much more in common with each other than they do with the rest of the Country.

    As long as the Roves and Pelosis control out national debate there will be no unity because they cannot conceive of a compromise or simply listening to a dissenting opinion.

    I have been working for a Democratic victory for a year and a half now... and watching the posturing and egos start to flair I am beginning to worry that the Party leaders will squander the opportunity they are being given to reshape the American debate.


    Why are you working for Democratic victory? (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 01:06:15 PM EST
    I amazed at the stupidity of some posters.

    "watching the posturing" (5.00 / 2) (#66)
    by sj on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 01:25:50 PM EST
    If you were watching the posturing, which Pelosi was being scrutinized?  Because the Nancy Pelosi we've seen the last two years bears no resemblence to the one you're describing.

    Gordon Smith may seem moderate (none / 0) (#41)
    by MyLeftMind on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:38:09 AM EST
    but what he really does is sequentially vote both sides of an issue so he can say to each side that he's really got their interests in mind.  He explains away his opposing votes saying there were components of that particular bill that warranted the opposite stance in that case, but he can then claim actual perspective is in alignment with whatever party he's currently talking to.  It's a trick that allows him to seem moderate while voting with Bush 90% of the time.  For instance, he voted for the war in Iraq, then voted for troop escalation before he voted against it.  He voted for the federal marriage amendment (against gay citizens) while claiming he's actually in support of equality.  (He also says he voted for it because he thinks the US govt shouldn't interfere with states' decisions, but of course that's opposite of reality, since the federal amendment does exactly that - interfere with states' rights to confer equality on gay citizens.)

    BTW, the RNC just took out a $5 million line of credit to invest in Senate races.  The National Repub Senatorial Committee just released a poll yesterday showing Smith with a four-point lead over Dem candidate Jeff Merkley, probably to beef up Smith's claim he can win and ensure he gets some of that $5 million.

    Bottom line is that we need Dems who are beholden to the part of the electorate who want an end to the war in Iraq, an end to the wedge issue by giving equal rights to gays at the federal level, and responsible legislation on other progressive issues.  No more so called "moderate Republicans" who muddy the water and/or block progress on these issues.

    Firing a senator like Smith is a HUGE invalidation of Republicanism.  C'mon Oregonians, vote like your grandkids lives depend on it...

    This is Good News for Republicans (none / 0) (#42)
    by msobel on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:39:27 AM EST
    This election is a referendum on Conservatism (unless Obama wins, then it's a call for bipartisanship) See also Sirota http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2008104427/conservatives-despite-their-own-message-pretend-elect ion-isnt-referendum-conse

    So what happens if Obama loses? (none / 0) (#56)
    by Matt in Chicago on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:48:50 PM EST
    Is it because everyone (but you of course) is a racist?  

    Will it be another repudiation of Democratic ideals?  

    Will we even consider that our message is not resonating?

    Or will we just scream conspiracy and retrench like the last two Presidential elections?

    I dunno (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by Steve M on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:54:42 PM EST
    You seem interested in entertaining only one side of the proposition, which is to say, if we lose it's because our message sucks, but if we win it's because Obama raised more money or the economy was bad or whatever.  It seems to be that either the election results are a test of our message or they're not.

    It's also worth remembering that regardless of who wins at the top of the ticket, the Democrats are positioned to pick up a huge amount of seats in Congress for the second straight election, notwithstanding all the GOP accusations of liberalism, tax and spend, surrender in the war on terror, and all that.  There must be something to all that.


    Let's see... (none / 0) (#87)
    by DeanOR on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 09:20:07 PM EST
    ...what's the "moderate" position on torture, you just use mild torture or promise to only torture suspected terrorists? What's the moderate position on aggressive war, reproductive rights, civil liberties? Surely we can embrace bipartisan compromise (as if we haven't been compromising for the last 8 years).