When To Agitate, When to Vote

John Cole writes:

I understand that things are not moving the way many people want them to and with the speed that some desire, but as far as I am concerned things are a HELLUVA lot better than last year. I think in all the doom and gloom, we forget that our President can now speak in full sentences, has not invaded Russia, and is not ducking shoes everywhere he goes. [. . .] [T]here is no chance in hell I am going to be demoralized come November 2010. Iíve been watching the wingnuts- we need to keep them as far away from power as is legally possible. They are dangerous, and this Obama fellow, despite some letdowns, ainít half bad.

I think Cole is conflating two different issues. What you want from your representatives and the choices you make on election day are not the same things. I think everyone is more than a little demoralized with the Obama Presidency and the Democratic Congress (even me, who worried incessantly about Obama's political style.) They just are not doing as much as they could. At least imo. It seems a strange argument to ask people not to be demoralized because Obama is not as bad as the worst President in history. I get that it would be crazy to vote for the GOP in 2010. I doubt anyone who is demoralized is planning on that. By the same token, I doubt many in the base are enthused with the idea of keeping the Dems in office based on their performance in the last year. And, as the old saw goes, off year elections are base elections.

Speaking for me only

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    I think (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 08:41:04 AM EST
    you hit the nail on the head. Why should we regard the people who are in power now? The ONLY possible selling point I can see to get me to go vote next year unless things change dramatically:

    1. Good candidates for statewide office. We have gubernatorial election so this might get some people out who were thinking about staying home.

    2. The fact that Obama is so spineless that he will completely cave even more to the GOP and I can imagine SS being privatized by him among other horrible policies.

    I'm with you. Bush is the worst president we've ever had and Obama isn't as bad as him yes, but that's NOT a compliment IMO. that's saying that Obama is almost as crappy as Bush but not quite. Lovely.

    First of all (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by lilburro on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 08:44:00 AM EST
    based on all his concern trolling about gay activists hurting Obama, this is funny:

    but as far as I am concerned things are a HELLUVA lot better than last year.

    Obviously diehard Obama luuvers like Cole are not going to be demoralized, nor are people who make it their life's work to hate on teabaggers.  But that's not going to fill the DNC coffers, which is the real issue and which Cole does not address at all.

    That quote (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 08:55:37 AM EST
    just shows how low the bar has been actually set - "he's better than Bush" is just not a reason to think he's good.  My 4 year old cousin would be "better than Bush" too.

    btw (none / 0) (#3)
    by lilburro on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 08:49:37 AM EST
    I do realize Obama can't do everything in one year.  I think he could solve much of the demoralization problem by providing some vision of what the 4 years are going to be like.  Obamaism is a vision of governance that involves the way he interacts with Congress.  Obama is just a dude.  And for now that's all we're getting from him.

    Er, the disgrace is not one of ~Image~ or ... (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by Ellie on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 08:56:40 AM EST
    ... Personality, but of actions taken and landslide mandate honored. (Disclaimer: I never bought the Hopey Changey line.)

    Jeebus effin cee, it was never about having a new Prez that would project smarter and hipper than the Chimperor for the cameras, but one that would actually deliver leadership that was braver.

    You said (none / 0) (#24)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:09:18 AM EST
    chimperor.  You are a smart person and feel better by making up words to call people.

    Wrong on all counts - I'm actually a goof (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Ellie on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:36:27 AM EST
    ... and using "Chimperor" rather than the multi-hyphenated software-mangling string of profanities that would better describe the former hurl-inducing imperialist office-stealing feckin' eedge that preceded Obama.

    Now, now (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 12:55:29 PM EST
    It's just a term of affection, a little nicer than my favorite, C-Plus Augustus.

    Don't be hatin' on Augustus that way (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 01:06:10 PM EST
    He ushered in the Pax Romana, he created Rome's first instituional police force and fire fighting force, he built and maintained roads, he installed an official courier to travel throughout the Empire (which led to swifter communication), he donated money to the Treasury to care for active and retired Roman soldiers, and took on building and civic works projects. Ok, so he was an autocrat too - no one's perfect.  :)

    That was A-plus Augustus (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 03:57:26 PM EST
    Different guy altogether.

    The problem is (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by CST on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 09:21:23 AM EST
    The GOP is not demoralized.  They have been louder and more obnoxious than ever since the 2008 election, and I doubt many of them will be staying home like they did in '08.

    In fact (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 10:07:57 AM EST
    they are energized.

    They must get rid of this black guy (none / 0) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 10:10:23 AM EST
    I can't stand it when they have a single instance of questionably poorly spent stimulus.  Of all the overall insanity they represent it makes me gag when they pretend to care about anything being done well.

    To be clear MT (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 10:21:42 AM EST
    You are paraphrasing the GOP mentality in your subject line.

    No (none / 0) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 10:35:43 AM EST
    dont' make it about race because taht avoids the reality of the situation. They aren't acting any different towards Obama than they would any Dem. they just have a knee jerk hatred of Dems and the US government in general and until people like Obama and some of the 'bots realize this the better we are all going to be. You simply cannot deal with these people nto because they are racists but because they are stuck in an ideological black hole.

    I think (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by CST on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 10:45:25 AM EST
    the reality of the situation is that that has been the GOP base platform since the civil rights movement.

    Let's get rid of that "insert non-white person here" guy.

    It was even true under Bush, despite the fact that I think he honestly didn't want it to be (think immigration reform).

    And yes, the level of crazy on this issue is worse now than it was before Obama.  Although it is more limited in scope, since there are fewer people who believe it every year.  Those that believe it, have ratcheted up the "crazy".

    The knee-jerk hatred of Dems is related to this, but let's face it, there is no knee-jerk hatred of U.S. big government when it's a republican doing it, since they think the big government is working for them in that case.  Is there anything more big government than the Patriot act?


    Well (none / 0) (#22)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:03:00 AM EST
    why did they hate Bill Clinton so much?

    Yes, the hatred of civil rights legislation is part of the knee jerk hatred of the government but it doesnt stop there.

    They dont' see the patriot act as "big government" because it's related to "national security" in their minds.


    I dunno (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by CST on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:30:34 AM EST
    maybe I am "misremembering" but I don't remember there being the same level of fear involved with hating Bill Clinton.  I remember more a feeling of scorn.  And at the time Bill Clinton was seen as being pretty cozy with the black community.

    And it's a lot more than just the patriot act.  See my other post in this thread.  There were a lot of big governement programs, not all national security related, that did not incite nearly the same backlash.

    Let's at least be honest about the civil rights legislation.  That was not mostly about big government.  Maybe some small part of it was, but not the bulk of it.

    And honestly, how else do you explain the backlash against Bush by his own party with immigration reform?  That was not about big government at all.  That was about "those people" taking "our" jobs, and changing "our" culture.

    Or the rediculousness of the Sotomayor hearings?

    I am not saying it is the entirety of the party, but a pretty big bulk of the base, and most of the loudest crazies sure seem to have one thing on their minds.


    Well (none / 0) (#33)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:39:04 AM EST
    I know time can blur things but I remember riding by in South Ga. where people had signs up saying CLinton/Gore out in '94 and all kinds of bumper stickers with Impeach Clinton when he had only been in office a few months. Perhaps it was a little more 'underground" in the sense that there wasnt "tea parties" but they were everybit as bad IIRC.

    Well, as far as immigration reform went, the racist base was the ones taht were screaming but there were lots of others in the GOP who actually liked the legislation. For example, GA has two GOP Senators. Isakson supported it and Chambliss (who is a racist) was against it. But people like Isakson are against Obama so does that make him racist? Not in my mind. Do you see the point that I'm making? Isakson is against Obama because he has a D by his name.


    I specifically said (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by CST on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:47:30 AM EST
    It's not the entire GOP, just the base.

    Being against Obama does not make you a racist.  Being racist makes you hate Obama more than a person who simply has policy disagreements with him.  Being in the GOP does not make you racist.  But a lot of the GOP is racist.


    Well (none / 0) (#39)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:50:53 AM EST
    sayign that the GOP base is racist is different from saying the GOP is racist how? I mean I said it above but I shouldnt have. I should have some the racist portion of the GOP base.

    Never thought I'd say this: (none / 0) (#41)
    by Molly Pitcher on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 01:02:23 PM EST
    I am not sure how much of the GOP is racist.  The racist element was introduced to the GOP by the flight of the Dixiecrats.  And by LBJ's deliberate choice to elevate civil rights above the continued welfare of the Democrats.  It was the South which fought against the Union, after all, and after the war the South became solidly Democrat.

    Nevertheless, the main time I heard racist comments during the campaign was when Bill Clinton was smeared--or when the O. campaign threw out those accusations that only racists were supporting Hillary.  Southerners have a rep for being hot-headed, so that did not sit too well.  But a lot of dislike of Obama has nothing to do with his color, and a lot to do with his demonstrated character. BTW, Obama is not the first black president: he is the first half white/half black president.  And I do not applaud either half.


    Ok (none / 0) (#43)
    by lilburro on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 01:10:33 PM EST
    what is this "not the first black President" stuff about?  Warren Harding?  Because IIRC nobody knew Harding was black and that still isn't clear.  And of course no one knew Harding was black because he obviously would not have been elected at the time had he been.

    the point is (none / 0) (#44)
    by Molly Pitcher on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 02:02:27 PM EST
    that most people think 'black' means 'black.'  In this case, with a bi-racial president, he is more aptly described as 'half-black/half-white.'  I used to read that a child cannot be lighter in skin color than its lighter parent, nor darker than its darker parent.  Which explains why I think we are going to be all be a shade of brown at some future time.

    I don't think you're "misremembering" (none / 0) (#37)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:47:45 AM EST
    I think it's different now with the internet, blogs, 24 hour cable punditry, youtube, etc.  Every little word and gaffe is jumped on (by both sides - the Dems are not in this with clean hands) and magnified. It's much more media managed now.  Axelrod was a master running Obama's campaign using the nontraditional media, which oddly enough, allowed him to be painted in one way, and the "old school media" went along with that theme, so as not to seem unhip or irrlevant to younger voters.  Bill Clinton would have done the same thing - that type of media just didn't exist.

    And the Republicans (none / 0) (#38)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:49:33 AM EST
    have caught up - so it's easy to have a message get to the Glenn Becks of the world, which gets filetered to conservative blogs, emails are sent to field offices, and since everyone has a digital camera - rallies and protests can be photgraphed, uploaded, and media outlets pick it up.

    Excuse me (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 10:49:56 AM EST
    I am pretty confident that my description is what MT meant.

    I wanted there to be no confusion solely on that point.

    Your comment is not responsive to mine.


    I wish it was't about race (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:13:48 AM EST
    But in my neck of the woods (and it is different in the Southy South) I have to be honest and say that his race is a huge energizing factor.  Now, these same people came out solidly against him during the election.  Will they make themselves more relevant?  It's strange though living around them.  They barely say the man's name because it is an acknowledgement that he is our president.

    Well (none / 0) (#27)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:17:04 AM EST
    I'm not saying that it isn't a part of it but I dont see it soley as about race. I don't see a lot of these people talking about Obama any different than they talked about Bill Clinton. I happen to think that they would be behaving the same way if it was John Edwards or Hillary that President. I mean I have horribly racist relatives that talked about Clinton just the way they are talking about Obama.

    Sorry but where I live (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:25:43 AM EST
    Clinton and Edwards are white trash and Obama is much worse.

    That's (none / 0) (#34)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:40:25 AM EST
    wild because LA (lower Alabama) is considered by many the apex of white trash in the south. The only place lower would be Mississippi it seems.

    Ga6thDem (none / 0) (#51)
    by Politalkix on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 08:39:22 AM EST
    You are not in the best position to judge in this regard IMO, because you have yourself used the word "exotic" to describe Obama's background. How many times have you heard people describe Henry Kissinger or Madeline Albright's background as "exotic"? Please also let us know unambiguously whether you think it is wrong to describe anyone or their family background as "exotic" when you reply to my post.

    Really (none / 0) (#47)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 03:52:50 PM EST
    somehow I don't remember them questioning whether Bill was an American citizen- I think that line of attack might be a bit racial.

    You (none / 0) (#49)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 06:27:19 AM EST
    have to realize that they think that not because of the color of his skin but because his father was from a foreign country. I don't see these same people questioning whether John Lewis is an American citizen. Truly, a lot of these people don't realize that all you have to be is born in this country to be a citizen.

    LOL at Ga6thDem's ignorance (none / 0) (#52)
    by Politalkix on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 08:43:11 AM EST
    Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright were themselves born in a foreign country.

    Typo (none / 0) (#53)
    by Politalkix on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:40:11 AM EST
    Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright were themselves born in foreign countries.

    What (none / 0) (#54)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:20:06 AM EST
    the heck are you talking about? You make no sense.

    Judging by your general hysteria I must have hit a nerve or something.


    LOL - then why was it an issue with McCain? (none / 0) (#50)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 07:58:39 AM EST
    Still racial?

    Leave it to you.


    Isn't Michael Steele the head of the R's? (none / 0) (#45)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 02:16:01 PM EST
    I don't think of the GOP as racist, actually. They hate everyone who isn't Republican.

    Of all the right-wing craziness (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by CST on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 10:30:59 AM EST
    the part that's the most disturbing is the "take back our country" bit.

    I know what they're talking about.  And it sure isn't "socialism" or a "government takeover".  These people didn't freak out over the patriot act, or Terry Schiavo, or taxes under Clinton, or the first bailout under Bush.

    I wish I was surprised.


    I think the bigger problem, regardless (none / 0) (#25)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:12:02 AM EST
    of the energy level of Republicans, is that Democratic voters are going to need more of a reason to continue to vote for Democrats than what they have been given over the last two years, and especially in the last eleven months.  If we're getting Republican-flavored policies and legislation from a majority Democratic Congress, where's the urgency going to come from to go to the polls next November?

    As the Republicans seem to drift more to the right, and Democrats under the stellar leadership of Reid and Obama are failing to be able to hold even a slightly-left-of-center position, how excited am I supposed to be about voting for a Democrat who may be almost as conservative as the "real" Republicans, but without the crazy?

    That the most compelling reason given by some people for getting out and voting Democratic is that it might be the only way to keep Obama from going all the way over to the other side just boggles my mind.  If the existing Democratic caucus cannot move Obama to the left, then not only are they not of much use in advancing what used to be a real Democratic agenda, but they are going to have a terrible time selling a center-right incumbent to Democrats fed up with having a faux "progressive" for one term, and disinclined to extend him another four years - even if the sales pitch is "the other guy is even worse."

    People will stay home.  In droves.


    Again (none / 0) (#35)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:43:29 AM EST
    Watch the Independents.  They are the ones (in all polls) leaving in droves.

    The frightening part is (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 09:30:06 AM EST
    that if we shake up our large Democratic majority, we will have to live with the Republicans in congress making the laws. Obama has proven he wants to work with the R's.

    I just hope the worst of the D's get successfully primaried in their states and districts so we can replace lousy D's with better ones.

    Keeping an eye on Obama is necessary, but our representatives and Senators need to be kept under a microscope right now.

    I was demoralized in 2007, when the (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by Anne on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 09:40:51 AM EST
    big victories in the 2006 midterms turned out to be meaningless.  In 2008, my general unhappiness with the Democratic "leadership" took a nose dive.  Eleven months into the Obama presidency, and the majority Democratic Congress, I'm not so much demoralized as I am disaffected.

    I don't care that Obama can string sentences together, or can read other people's words off a teleprompter; I care that his actions these past eleven months have solidified some of the worst of the terrible Bush policies, and that he has failed to lead on so many others.  The Democratic Congress has, sadly, taken its cue from a president who seems unable to identify and maintain a position on anything, and indulged itself in months of Health Care Hokey-Pokey that has been stunningly lacking in vision and cohesion and compassion; it's not going to end well and anyone who thinks it is is in a deep state of denial.

    At the rate things are going, "denial" may be the happiest place to be, so it doesn't surprise me that Cole is reluctant to leave it; this inability to be brave enough to face the truth is rendering many of these bloggers too silly to pay any attention to.

    Demoralized (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by jedimom on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 10:13:28 AM EST
    I am watching Geithner testify to the TARP Oversight Panel stream here

    it is clear he is extending TARP to give capital to the small banks the way they did the big banks

    it is also clear there will be no meanginful help for housing, much to Elizabeth Warrens dismay

    Geithner said they deliberately designed the program to avoid principal writedowns, he thinks they are making 'meaningful progress' (OMG!) with what has been reported as a 65% at risk failure rate in the 640k trial mods (that group has not provided the documentaiton say the banks, we did you keep losing it say the homeowners)

    FAN FRED FHA are IMO HUGE parts of the reasons for the TARP extension. The FAN default rate has skyrocketed and all the bad paper MBS loans and in fact ALL the loans really are now owned by FAN FRED FHA.

    So the tacxpayers WILL be bailout out FAN FRED FHA to the tune of hundreds of billions as people default on all these mortgages for unemployment, mods that are meaningless in markets like CA AZ NV FL (21% of our GDP there) where people are leaving houses left and right (see front page WSJ todya on renting a bigger house after leaving your house as the new American dream)

    Geithner is deliberately blind deaf and dumb to reality or such a tool of big banking he cannot see clearly


    We OWN these loans ANYWAY it is FAN FRED that are not doing meaningful writedowns, if they ORDER the sericers for all FAN FRED loans to take eeryone down 20% it would be done

    we are gonna pay much LARGER for all these houses at short sales

    here in AZ the flippers are back in droves, all these foreclosure short sales are going to investors who plan to put them on the market 'when it recovers' we have a 14% default rate on ALL MORTGAGES in the US right now...all this inventory will hit the market at once again and send prices plumetting

    Giethner is doing a fine job papering over the bad bad bad bad data on their HAMP program but it is like installing a drop ceiling over a leaky roof....

    FD I am in AZ and have been sending my documentaiton to JPMC since August and hae no reply. Even with the help of 2 letters from my Congressman. And I took a 30 yr fixed, 20% down on a house I have lived in for 15 yrs. They are not responding to the real driver now , it is not subprime, it is unemployment and collapsing property values driven by foreclosure cycle of DOOM!

    about that housing success... (none / 0) (#21)
    by jedimom on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 10:52:20 AM EST
    foreclosure data out
    2009 another record year for foreclosures

    in November 306,627 foreclosure notices filed

    there is a decline month over month due to the temporary suspensions in the HAMP trial periods, as those are processed look for a 'surge'


    map (none / 0) (#23)
    by jedimom on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:08:27 AM EST
    Chills my bones; we're still in the Crash Position (none / 0) (#30)
    by Ellie on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:29:28 AM EST
    From my vantage point -- border family in the Great Lakes region, late of Cali -- I can now see the bottom but the landing is still going to hurt mighty bad.

    It is really bad in the Phoenix area (none / 0) (#46)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 02:29:50 PM EST
    Although, when I bought a home there in 2004 my realtor told me that Phoenix was already known as the foreclosure capital because they would give absolutely anyone a loan...and the building boom was still growing at the time. Downturn started in August 2005 just as I listed my home for sale.

    The housing market in the Phoenix area was unique to only a few areas of the country, and the rate of foreclosures now is the direct result of the dynamic of the area.


    No matter how upset (none / 0) (#9)
    by itscookin on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 09:50:04 AM EST
    Democrats are with their senators and representatives, I agree that they will think that voting for a Republican would only make things worse, but the elections will be decided by the independent voters who have no party loyalties and may not agree that the Republican candidate is always a worse choice. I think that the 2010 elections are going to be a bumpy ride for the Democrats, and some of them are going to be easily pushed off the cart.

    As always (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 10:03:46 AM EST
    One of your signature strengths as a political blogger, keeping the little man relevant in the game.  Knowing where those lines are and not buying into some pundits b.s. that NOW is the time to lose your voice has never been more important.  After the Bush administration, the level of competency in executing our Afghan mission is astonishing......but on issues of healthcare and the economy the level of mediocrity within Dem leadership is equally astonishing.

    Obama's two most articulate (none / 0) (#11)
    by david mizner on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 10:03:50 AM EST
    and vehement defenders are John Cole and Andrew Sullivan--two former Republicans and current centrists.

    No Change (none / 0) (#19)
    by bselznick on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 10:46:47 AM EST
    Last election I filled out my ballot and voted for the lesser or two evils.  Next election I'm going to fill out my ballot and again vote for what's put in front of me, the lesser of two evils.

    To those in November of 2008 who thought they were doing anything different, you'll get over it.  We all got excited, but we got way ahead of ourselves.  

    Change takes more than electing one guy, and it takes more than one election.  The Right has been at this for decades.  They've worked on elections from the school board level on up, and they've taken over the majority of the media as well.  They've tied the knot with a political party, an economic order, and a religious base.  

    Don't get too depressed over Obama, we've got a long, long, way to go.

    Do that into the future 40 years and come back ... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Ellie on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:24:22 AM EST
    ... and you'll have an inkling of what DINOs and  fauxgressives have asked of women voters.

    There was never a good excuse for the sellouts to ante up women's rights, health and lives.

    There's even even less rationale now, with Dems at triple strength, yet out of sheer chickensh!t cowardice (or laziness) they continue using our very lives as barter.

    This isn't so much a case of faction as issues: the argument that any real progress must be abandoned because the Mean Meanies are Mean is a non-starter.

    Roll with the Lesser of Two Evils approach and if it works better for you within four years than it has for other long-let-down groups the last forty, do provide tips on the secret of your success.