Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Letter to a whiny young Democrat

Of course, all the blame for the huge Democratic losses in 2010 and the resulting takeover by the weirded-out, dumied-down, cartoon characters of today's repugnant Republican Party can't be blamed on young liberals. There is a certain segment of the older generation with the same level of, ahem, maturity: instant gratification, "I want it all and I want it now," "he promised," "he's a compromiser". And sometimes older kids need a good lecture just like the one Mark Morford of  SF Gate gives the young'uns in his weekly column:

"Oh, now you've done it.

See? You see what happens when you young, liberal voters get so disgruntled and disillusioned that you drop all your party's newborn, hard-won ideas about Hope and Change, without really giving them sufficient time to mature, without understanding that hugely foreign concept known as "the long view"?

See what happens when you wallow in hollow disappointment and refuse to vote in a rather important mid-term election, all because your pet issues and nubile ego weren't immediately serviced by a mesmerizing guy named Barack Obama just after he lured you into his web of fuzzyhappy promises a mere two years ago, back when you were knee-high to a shiny liberal ideology?

Well, now you know. This is what happens: The U.S. House of Representatives, the most insufferable gaggle of political mongrels this side of, well, the rest of Congress, reverts to GOP control like a brain tumor reverts to a more aggressive form of cancer, and everything gets bleaker and sadder and, frankly, a whole lot nastier.

What happens is: Many kinds of fragmented, muddled, but still constructive Democratic progress might get stopped quite nearly dead, and even a few pieces of legislation we actually did gain get slapped around, threatened, stomped on the head like a scientist at a Rand Paul rally. Happy now?

Check it out, kiddo: This is not just any Republican party you allowed back into power; these mealy folks are not anything like the war-hungry, Bush-tainted army of flying monkeys and Dick Cheney moose knuckles you so wonderfully helped bury in the history books last election.

No, the GOP of 2010-2011 is even weirder, dumber, less interested in anything you even remotely care about; this GOP is infused like a sour cocktail with the most cartoonish, climate change-denying Tea Party dingbats imaginable -- most of whom think you're an elitist, terrorist-loving, gay-supporting threat to "real" American values, btw -- all led by a tearful glad-hander named Boehner who wears a shellacked tan so creepy and surreal it makes Nancy Pelosi looks healthy.

And you made it all happen. Or rather, you failed to prevent it from happening, by not voting, by turning your collective back on Obama's tough love, by getting all whiny and dejected like some sort of sullen teen vampire who can't get laid.

Do you deny it? Did you see the polls and studies that said that most Obama-swooning young Dems like you are now refusing to support our beloved Nazi Muslim president because he didn't wish-fulfill your every whim in a week? That he was, in fact, not quite the instant-gratification SuperJesus of your (or rather, our) dreams?

Of course you didn't see any of that. Hell, I bet you're not even reading this column right now. You're probably back on Twitter, raging into the Void about, hell, who knows what? The Wolf Parade concert. Angry Birds. The People of Wal-Mart. Anything but politics, really.

But hey, whatevs, right? Screw it. Screw him. After all, the prez let you down. Conveniently "forgot" to include you in the dialogue, after a major election that you helped him win. Where were the outreach programs? The weekly appearances on "The Daily Show"? Legal pot and gay marriage and discounts tickets to SXSW? I want my goddamn political perks, and I want them now.

Hey, I understand. We're an instant gratification culture, and you're an ADHD generation. Who wants to hear that serious enviro legislation might take a decade or two to fully come to fruition? Who wants to hear about Obama passing rather amazing student loan reform? Or even financial reform? Or health care, the Iraq drawdown, saving a million jobs at GM, or all the rest of his rather astonishing achievements to date? Dude, so boring.

Of course, you've now learned the hard way that the hot flush of a major election is far more electrifying than the gray n' meaty grind of actual governing. Obama flew into office on gossamer liberal wings, but the real halls of D.C. are a goddamn pigsblood slaughterhouse, brutal and depressing, full of gnarled legislative compromise. Screw that noise, you know?

And you know what? You're right. Well, sort of. The Obama administration sure as hell could've done more to keep young activists inspired and involved. It's an opportunity squandered, no question. Then again, dude was sorta busy unburying the entire nation, you know? And the twitchy Democratic party has never been known for its savvy cohesion. Maybe you can give him/them a break? Whoops, too late.

Look, I'm sorry. I know I'm being far too hard on you. Of course it's not just you. It's not completely your fault these dimwit Repubs were allowed to ooze back into a bit of power so soon. As many analysts have pointed out, this wasn't a vote for the Republicans, but against the limp-wristed Dems who didn't step up and lead with more authority and clarity of purpose. Truly, libs and independents of every age are frustrated Obama isn't governing with the same kind of magical, balls-out visionary zeal that fueled his campaign.

And let's not forget a shockingly unintelligent Tea Party movement that stands for exactly nothing and fears exactly everything, all ghost-funded by a couple of creepy libertarian oil billionaires -- the leathery Koch brothers -- who eat their young for a snack. Who could've predicted that gnarled political contraption would hold water? But hey, when Americans are angry and nervous, they do stupid things. Like vote Republican. It happens. Just did.

But here's your big takeaway, young Dem: It ain't over yet. The 2012 election is just around the corner. If we've learned anything, it's that two years whip by insanely quickly. Anything can happen, and usually does. You'll have another chance. And probably another after that. Maybe more.

So here's what you need to know, right now: Barack Obama is, and will continue to be, a bit of goddamn miracle. He's simply as good as we're going get for an articulate, thoughtful, integrity-rich Democratic prez in your lifetime. Period. To hamstring his administration out of spite and laziness is childish and sad. Check the accomplishments. Understand the process. Deal with the messiness.

It will never be perfect. It will never be giddy liberal nirvana, because it doesn't work that way. Politics is corrosive and infuriating, de facto and by definition, even with someone as thoughtful as Obama in the Big Chair. Understand it. Deal with it. Get back in the game. If you don't, we all lose.

Your choice, kiddo."


In two just published blogs, DemWit examines a recent claim by Kucinich, the darling of the hard left, and MadMikesAmerica asks if the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Parsley's Pics compares the far-left to the far-right.

NOTE: The cyber cops may force me to take this down because I failed to get permission. I hope not because it's well worth sharing with anyone who'll read it - which probably excludes the young liberals and hard lefties who stayed home on election day 2010.


  1. Damn straight.

    The Angry Bird Turds may have the attention span of a mayfly, and the rigid ideological purists may be unreachable because they didn't get their way on everything -- but the union members and middle class in the freshly-teabagged states around the Great Lakes seem to get it.

    Now we just have to educate enough people to turn things around in 2012. You're certainly doing your part.

  2. I might buy into this argument if it weren't for the fact that the bright-eyed liberal Democrats whimped-out and we ended up with an abortion called health care even when they had control of both houses and the presidency. No, it isn't right or left that controls the country... it's money. Period.

  3. Loyalty has to come from the top as well as the bottom. President Obama was in far too big a mood to "comprimise" to get the health insurance bill passed.

    Loyalty also needs to be enforced at times. Rahm failed President Obama and the turnout of left leaning supporters suffered.

    Bad political desicions cost us in 2010.

    You're never wrong to play to your base. President Obama either forgot, or never learned that.

  4. Obama is a politician, with all the good and bad that goes along with that role.
    He wants to get reelected, and sees America as a right leaning country.
    In order to get reelected, he needs votes from center right, or even the right.
    That's the only way I understand some of his not so Democratic/liberal decisions.

  5. Infidel: Thank you. What is so discouraging is that the PUMAs and the hard lefties are just as unrealistic, politically naive and closed minded as the far-right. Traditionally I don't think young people ever turn out in high numbers to vote during mid-terms. But the combination of both segments has cost this nation dearly and it will take forever to recover our equilibrium, if we ever can.

    @Mr. Charleston: I doubt if this family considers the Affordable Care Act an abortion.

    And I have read hundreds and hundreds of other stories from people who are thankful to have it. A few can be found here.

    There are countless stories like these.

    I don't think there's ever been a major piece of legislation that's been 100% satisfactory to people when it was first passed. The Social Security Act, signed by FDR in 1935, only covered workers in commerce and industry. In 1937 the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) was passed; it required workers to pay taxes to support the Social Security system. In 1939 Social Security was expanded to include dependents and survivors. Not until nearly 25 years later in 1950 was it expanded to cover dependents and survivors. In 1956 Disability Insurance was created and has been expanded over the years.

    I think it's amazing we have any kind of health care reform at all given the wall of obstructionism put up by the Republicans. Instead of blaming Obama and the Democrats for being weak and ineffective, why aren't people blaming the Republicans for its weaknesses?

    I'm not thrilled by the lack of single-payer, but I think I'm realistic enough to understand that if there hadn't been some compromise, there wouldn't have been any reform whatsoever. Presidents have been trying for over 40 years to get HC reform but haven't succeeded. Zilch. Now we have a president who was able to succeed where others haven't and people are bitching!

  6. MDL: Pls read my response to Mr. Charleston re Health Care. I think both of you would serve the country better working to ensure that this bill isn't repealed, despite being an "abortion."

    The "abortion" comes from a Republican party that is a real threat to our country and our democracy. If you chose to ignore the assault on our form of government, our Constitution, our freedoms - including the right to vote - in favor of nitpicking over every little perceived failure of the current president, you are inviting a really frightening disaster. If you don't think for a moment that these people aren't trying to initiate a fascist form of government, you'd better start paying attention.
    That is the BIG UGLY picture.

    Don't think for a moment that I'm happy as a jay bird with all of Obama's decisions. No way. But, his frailties and failures are small potatoes compared to what's coming at us from the right.

    Every Time I ask someone on the hard left to name a president they've agreed with 100% or even 60% of the time, they either change the subject or ignore the question. The same kind of tactic the right uses.

  7. TOM: Maybe, but I'm willing to bet the farm that when Obama is re-elected, we will see a whole new approach. But first we have to stop the Nazi takeover - and yes, these goons are nothing but Nazis.

  8. He's not a fad any more and he hasn't shown up on the Jon Stewart Show enough. jesus wept.

    Progressive change in this country is a long march. Always has been, always will be. And no president -- from Lincoln to Roosevelt to Johnson -- has achieved it without an effective, visionary, and disciplined movement from the left. That doesn't exist. In truth, the left hasn't been a political force in this country since the Vietnam War, unless you count helping get Bush elected.

    The Affordable Care Act is an o.k. bill that happens to be a political miracle. Anyone who calls it an abortion not only does not understand it in detail, he or she has no grasp of its historical context. Cheap shots at Obama from the left are tiresome, usually naive, and almost always wrongheaded. If you're going to fire your popgun, at least aim it in the right direction.

    Note: The immigration reform groups are an exception to the general dismal state of the American left.

  9. Glad you posted this and glad I found it before the web police do!

    Reminds me of how I always think a 4-year presidential term is too short when there's a newly elected democrat in office, and too long when there's any Bush elected.

  10. tnlib,

    Excellant post, as usual.

    I hope you are correct.

    I never expected the liberal policies Obama talked about during the election. But the State of the Union speech, could have been given by GWB.

    I'm not an Obamamanic, but I plan to vote for him again.

    If the opposition is Palin, Bachmann, or Pawlenty; I would lose faith in the American peoples reputation for common sense, if Obama lost. But I haven't seen much common sense out of the American people the last few elections.


  11. I speak from the heart and off the cuff Leslie. I don't need a poll and focus group and handlers.

    I don't think President Obama needs them either.

    Of course I'm going to support and vote for Obama in 2012. What's sad is that the most important reason is not because Presiden Obama has been the beacon of hope and change we wanted in 2008, but because the alternatives offered by the republicans are so awful.

  12. It's not about being happy with every single thing the president has done. Who could be happy with every single thing their husband or wife (or in my case serious girlfriend) has done? It's about being loyal. I wouldn't throw out my girlfriend because she forgot to kiss me goodnight on Thursday evening. I would hold her in my arms the next morning, tell her I loved her, and hoped she kissed me goodnight on Friday evening. The same goes for the president (without the kissing part of course). It's about being loyal and true to one's beliefs, convictions, and love. Loyalty. That's what it's all about. Being loyal, forgiving, get the idea.

  13. @K: Thanks for your perspective. If anyone knows the meaning of HC Reform, it is you. Continuing to complain about a law that is, for better or worse - and a heck of a lot better than anything else in 40 or 50 years - is not unlike southernors still fighting the Civil War. It's a done deal.

    @Intelli: I think a lot of us share your thoughts there.

    @Tom: Yes, but Obama criticied Bush with the man sitting right there on the podium. If all these libs who stayed home in 2010 had voted instead, we wouldn't be facing the prospect of a Bachmann for president. Most importantly we wouldn't be having all this insanity across the country. Staying home also allowed the lunatics to take over state houses.

  14. "But hey, when Americans are angry and nervous, they do stupid things. Like vote Republican."

    Truer words were never written.

    Morford wrote a terrific column and did it in a way that should resonate with most 20-somethings who read it.

    IMO, sitting out the 2010 election because of disappointment, disaffection, alienation — whatever flavor of PO'd works for you — was dumb and self-defeating. Just enough people did that to leave the sane, sentient 73 or so percent of the population stuck with a worse mess. Left Obama with that, too.

    The young Dems Morford addressed would do well to mature past the stage where they need frequent doses of lap sits, hugs and happy talk, lest they feel neglected.

    That said, Obama needs weekly prodding and the occasional good swift kick in the butt, politically speaking, to keep him from pursuing the line of least political resistence. He's had more than his share of accomplishments, but he's also earning a record of screwing up that promises to surpass Clinton's, albeit without the adultery.

  15. Great find Leslie! By next yr things are gonna be so bad in the country thanks to the hideous GOP I can't imagine any liberal or independent turning from Obama because he made a decision they couldn't 100% back him on. Trivial shit compared to what this country would face under thug rule again. There isn't a single republican worthy of taking Barack Obamas place in the White House!

  16. I suspect my comment may have been too subtle or perhaps too obtuse. Therefore allow me to say:

    Obama 2012!

  17. The biggest disappointment for me is, having control of Congress for the first 2 years and blowing it. Obama knew he didn't have the Blue Dogs, that's why with majorities in both Houses, he had to reach across the aisle to try and get anything passed, he couldn't count on members of his own party. The hate and diverseness from the Republicans and it's media arm, shouldn't have mattered. The Democratic Party needs fixing.

  18. MDL wrote:

    "Loyalty has to come from the top as well as the bottom. President Obama was in far too big a mood to "comprimise" to get the health insurance bill passed."

    With all due respect, if you're going to assert this, you ought to also provide a credible roadmap to an alternative. Progressives are still ticked that there is no public option. Hey, I would have liked one, too. But it's my experience that when a bill passes by the skin of its teeth, any movement to the right or left would sink it.

    Put it another way: You're president. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer come to you and say "Mr President, we've tried. But there is no way that Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, or Mary Landrieu will vote for a bill with a public option. And we need their votes because we aren't going to get one Republican, much less four, votes. You can try public pressure, but you lost three of those states. It rarely works anyway, plus it could backfire and cost us their support for what we do have. You know Joe: He'd vote against it just to screw you."

    Tell us, what do you do?

    There are many good things in this bill besides guaranteed coverage and the consumer protections. It contains the seeds of significant Medicare payment reform by encouraging the formation of Accountable Care Organizations. No one knows if they'll work -- they've never been tried -- but we have to do something to get away from fee-for-service payments.

    The ACA also establishes a benchmark that states must meet to opt out. Vermont may well leverage this into a Canadian-style single-payer plan for residents not on Medicare. Moreover, it funds badly needed residencies for primary care physicians.

    Anyone who criticizes this bill because it doesn't meet the letter of the left-wing criteria simply haven't familiarized themselves with its contents.

    I'll say it again: You want something better, don't waste time griping that you could be using to organize. "Organize" means putting boots on the ground, not writing snarky op-ed pieces for The Nation or Huffington Post. Otherwise, the ACA is the most our political system can deliver.

  19. @Morally Depraved: I'm glad to "hear" you say that. Does any president live up to our hopes? I think Obama's youthful enthusiasm may have gotten in the way of his good sense - and he ain't no dummy - during the campaign. A more seasoned politician would know not to make such ambitious promises; a realistic public would know not to expect all of them to come to fruition. Hopes and dreams are very different from the art and rigors of governing. btw, I doubt seriously that you are "morally depraved."

    M.S. We are required to be loyal to only one man, the president, while he is required to be loyal to a nation full of millions of people who can't agree on the time of day.

  20. @S.W.: He may need a few kicks in the butt occasionally, but think of the alternative. What would McCain and Palin be needing about now?

    @Sue: We've survived, but barely, the likes of Reagan and the Bushes, but due to today's crop of Republicans, I doubt very seriously that we would be able to persevere. In actuality, the Republican party has been usurped by a gang of thieves.

    M.S.: Obama 2012! Of course, there's always Kucinich. ; )

    Holte: The best fix I can think of would be to replace the blue dogs, but I'm afraid their places would be taken by Republicans. I think we need to concentrate on getting those young people and disenchanted Democrats and Independents back into the fold.

  21. I am as pissed as anybody can be about a lot of things the President has done. But that didn't blind me to the consequences of not voting, which is to cede the floor to the Tea Klux Klanbaggers.

    And I'm still pissed. REALLY pissed. But the answer is not to empower that drunken slob Boehner or that beady-eyed closet queen McConnell. The answer is to vote progressive, from the bottom up, until thgere are so many of us that the President can no longer ignore our wishes in order to cut deals with the Rushpubliscums.

  22. @K: My state just passed the TN Health Care "Freedom" Act which doesn't seek to nullify the federal law in its entirety but it does ensure that Tennesseans are free to choose whether to participate in the federal plan, choose another plan, or not participate in any plan at all. I wonder how many will opt out of any plan at all.

  23. I am not in a position to single out “whiny young Democrats” for special derision because they, after all, did give President Obama the solid electoral victory that put him office (for which I am eternally grateful). And while I absolutely consider Fire Doggers as whiny and bratty, I would not necessarily consider them young.

    I do not have a handle on who stayed away from the polls in November. Conventional wisdom states: Mid term elections are always “off” years, and this was known in advance. I recall David Axelrod saying, even before Obama’s inauguration, that he expected major mid term losses – his rationale for pushing the most contentious legislation first.

    Perhaps there is misplaced blame going around. Do you blame those who didn’t go to the polls, or those who did and enabled idiots and proto-fascists to win? Let me rephrase the question: Do you blame bystanders or the gunman for getting mugged? Case in point, Paul LePage won the Maine governorship with a mere 38% of the vote. I consider this 38% the “DSM Constant” of American politics – the percentage of crazies, reactionaries, sheeple, and bigots who can always be swayed by pandering and sleaze.

    I should also point out that the USA has always been a “half savage” country marked by provincialism, crass commercialization, narcissism wrapped in the flag of nationalism – where politics has always been corrupt and vulgar.

  24. @JR: Voting for progressives is a good idea, but if they're so progressive they're off the charts, I doubt if they could even be nominated, much less elected.

    @Although I would be presumptuous to speak for Murford, I don't think he or I are putting all the blame for the dismal results in the mid-term elections on the (historically) low turnout of young voters. As I point out in the introductory paragraph, the older "Fire Lakers", as you term them, bare much of the blame. And certainly, the wishy-washy independents played a major role by being their usual flippy-floppy selves.

    I think Murford's message - and mine - is the fallacy of the thinking that caused the stay-at-homes to stay at home. We are paying dearly for their self-centered, petty, short-sighted and politically unsophisticated attempt at "I'll show you, Obama."

    Like you say, politics has always been corrupt and vulgar. The sooner people get beyond their idealism, the better - not that idealism is all bad, mind you.

  25. tnlib: That's a long way from Tennecare...But it's also meaningless, since it has the effect of overriding an act of Congress, which the states can't do. Tennessee's unemployment rate is 10.2%. Doesn't the state legislature have better things to do?

  26. The best fix I can think of would be to replace the blue dogs, but I'm afraid their places would be taken by Republicans.

    That's already largely happened. A lot of the House Democrats who lost their seats last year were blew dogs. Even so, their loss has appreciably worsened the situation, as we now see.

    To get more real progressives in, focus in voter turnout in potentially-marginal states. If every eligible voter in Texas actually voted, for example, it would be a blue state.

  27. As I read the post, my comment began to form. A phrase I would have used was “the attention span of a gnat” to describe the young voters who helped Obama win the White House. But, I began to read the 24 (so far) comments, and there was Infidel753 talking about “the attention span of a mayfly.” So, I decided to comment BEFORE reading what everyone else has to say.

    In all honesty, I can never read a post like this without thinking about how much I believed in and how hard I worked for Hillary Rodham Clinton. It certainly wasn’t deficiency on Obama’s part which led me to support Hillary – it was the sure-fire knowledge that 1) he (unlike Dubya) wanted to work with and for ALL Americans in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln’s “Team of Rivals,” and 2) how quickly this aspiration would erode his base.

    I wasn’t wrong.

    After voting for Barack Obama, I began to appreciate more his intellect, honesty and desire to heal a divided nation. Merely reading his Cairo speech and his speech on race in this country convinced me the man is “presidential” in the true sense of that word.

    But, let’s put personalities aside here. What is at stake is the prevailing of one of two totally opposite ideological mindsets.

    We have to pick our side and coalesce around it and leave the “my way or the highway” pettiness behind.

    Otherwise, America loses.


  28. @K: TN legislators have a lot to do. They just don't do it.

    @Infidel. Your last paragraph hit the mark - even for Texas, which once upon a time had a pretty strong Democratic showing.

    @BJ: You may be a rare breed. So many of the Hillary supporters are what make up much of the hard left. They are simply to p'd off over her loss to be anything but destructive. To hell with the rest of the country. It's all about them.

  29. “A more seasoned politician would know not to make such ambitious promises; a realistic public would know not to expect all of them to come to fruition. Hopes and dreams are very different from the art and rigors of governing.”

    That’s why I’m faithful to your blog, Leslie: your penchant for common sense and realism!

  30. As a whiny young democrat ;), let me just say things were promised during a campaign that have not been delivered. Maybe if the dems were as afraid of their base, as the pubbies seem to be this would not have happened. I'll vote of course, and I will do what I do trying to get people to the polls, but it's getting harder and harder to say good things when both parties are just two divisions of the same company. One is the nicer version of the corporate wing where crumbs are thrown once in a while to the minions.

  31. BJ: Well, thanks, BJ. I think some of my family and friends would laugh out loud at this. ; )

    Jess: With all due respect, I am not going to waste my time even responding to this. You either can't or you refuse to get the message. Debating with people who have closed minds is an exercise in futility. God knows, we've seen enough of this kind of mind-set from the far-ight.

  32. Jess: Read my lips: “A more seasoned politician would know not to make such ambitious promises; a realistic public would know not to expect all of them to come to fruition. Hopes and dreams are very different from the art and rigors of governing.”

  33. FYI:

    An awesome column in the NY Times today:

  34. I'm late to the discussion, Leslie. I usually read your posts on fb.

    I'm in agreement with those who see President Obama as a pragmatic, thoughtful, realistic leader. He knows what he can get from Congress and what his focus--when earthquakes, oil spills, etc., don't overtake his agenda--has to be.

    Like any newbie in the WH, he made some missteps--inserting himself in the Cambridge Police/Henry Louis Gates controversy comes to mind, but I think he's got his mojo now. As does his extraordinary wife.

    I have Fire-Doggers in my family who equate Obama with the devil and swear he's worse than Bush. No. Really. And we're all lefties!

    Short-sightedness and immaturity does this to someone unwilling to see the big picture.

    The GOP governors in MI, WI, OH, ME, and FL have shown where the national party would take this country should it win the WH in 2012. And that should scare the crap out of every thinking American.

  35. Tnlib, I'll be voting and getting people out. I understand all the politics and this is why I vote to change things from the bottom up starting locally.

    Guess my snarkasm needs to be a little more finely tuned right now. For me personally it really is getting harder and harder to try and explain he can only do this if this(whatever this is) happens to be in place. I still think that the national democrats need to be a little more forceful with the agenda though, to get through the echo chamber of the right wing.

  36. @Shaw: "The GOP governors in MI, WI, OH, ME, and FL have shown where the national party would take this country should it win the WH in 2012."

    That is the bottom line. I just read about the WI AG, via the FOA, asking the university for copies of all the emails of a professor who has been critical of Walker. If this isn't McCarthyism, I don't know what is. I'm not just calling these people Naizis for the sake of name calling. They are.

    @Jess: I'm glad you will vote for him. When one gets to be an old fart like me, one can usually claim they've about seen it all. But I have to say I've never seen any movement this bad, this big a threat to our freedoms. They are the enemy, pure and simple, and they are the ones we have to defeat. They are way different from the Democrats, as weak as they may be sometimes. Pls read that NYTimes link I've provided.

  37. K wants me to provide a roadmap to an alternative.

    Let me start with a little biography K. I've been working to elect Democrats since I was 13. I'm now 48. Despite my frustration, I still do virtually everything that's asked of me.

    What has happened locally is that our last mayor, near the start of his second term decided it was mpre important to court republican voters than Democrat. Despite his winning a second term with 80% of the vote. This cost the Democratic Party damn near all of our volunteers. We no longer had a friend at City Hall. The republicans did though. And although they never supported him or his agenda, he pandewred to them anyway.

    We worked our asses off for his successor who did the same shit. We knew that we had to bust our asses because the alternative was a republican with an IQ of a turnip.

    He forgot all about the party.

    There was a time 10 years ago that I could call ten people to get the word out for a lit drop or envelope stuffing, put up yard signs etc. and 60 people would show up. I'd have 40 more pissed at me a day later cause they weren't told. I'm lucky to get ten now.

    You have to take care of and be poyal to those that worked for you K. That's my plan if that's what you want to call it. I thought I was clear in the original comment.

    You screw your base, you screw yourself. Damn few republicans are going to vote for Obama no matter what he does. Focus on the base and the rational minded independents and we'd never have lost the House in 2010 whether ot not we got a health care law. The fight is what mattered. Not a shallow victory where we had to suck up to a couple jerkoffs.

  38. To go further, we'd be in line to have a great health care law after we took more republican seats in 2010. Still in Iraq and Afghanistan, Gitmo still running. Tax breaks benefitting the wealthiest still in force.

    And you wonder why there are whiny liberals?
    And the best reason we have to vote Democrat is look at the alternative. While that motivates me, I'd rather be motivated by a leader that fights for the things we believe in rather than comprimise them away. I was more than willing to be patient to get a great health care bill. We may well lose what we have now.

  39. Leslie,
    That was a very good and well-deserved scolding of all who truly deserve one. People (ESPECIALLY YOUNG VOTERS) have got to learn that their job doesn't stop at the voting booth---it only BEGINS there! Meanwhile, they can engage on occasion in other ways: volunteering in an off-year campaign; TTENDING PARTY CAUCUSES every four years; writing letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines; STAYING INFORMED BY READING PARSLEY'S PICS AND THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST (among many other fine blogs); going to actually see your Congressperson or Senator when he or she is back in your district; WRITING AND EMAILING YOUR CONGRESSPERSON - there are many, many ways ordinary people can and must be involved.

    OR---you can just stay home, play video games, or go to the bar, get sloshed, and sit around pissing and moaning while the Republicans outsource your job to China or Bangladesh and put you in competition with your local Wal-Mart's door greeter for a job...


  40. Well, MDL, I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree. I think you see the glass as half empty or less. I see it as half full or more.

    Jack: Well said, especially that last paragraph. I've already volunteered for Organizing for America here in Tennessee and hope others will do so in their states.

  41. Contemporary conservatism is first and foremost about shrinking the size and reach of the federal government. This mission, let us be clear, is an ideological one. It does not emerge out of an attempt to solve real-world problems, such as managing increasing deficits or finding revenue to pay for entitlements built into the structure of federal legislation. It stems, rather, from the libertarian conviction, repeated endlessly by George W. Bush, that the money government collects in order to carry out its business properly belongs to the people themselves. One thought, and one thought only, guided Bush and his Republican allies since they assumed power in the wake of Bush vs. Gore: taxes must be cut, and the more they are cut--especially in ways benefiting the rich--the better.

    But like all politicians, conservatives, once in office, find themselves under constant pressure from constituents to use government to improve their lives. This puts conservatives in the awkward position of managing government agencies whose missions--indeed, whose very existence--they believe to be illegitimate. Contemporary conservatism is a walking contradiction. Unable to shrink government but unwilling to improve it, conservatives attempt to split the difference, expanding government for political gain, but always in ways that validate their disregard for the very thing they are expanding. The end result is not just bigger government, but more incompetent government.

    From " Why Conservatives Can't Govern by Alan Wolf. Written 5 years ago, the words still ring true.

  42. Thanks, Octo. According to some folks, the Democrats aren't doing any better, though : (

    I'm still waiting for someone to name a president they've agreed with all the time.

  43. I don't think we disagree Leslie. I just refuse to give up my right to raise hell.

    As for the whiny young ones, pay your dues. Knock on some doors. Get off your parents payroll, if you can, the economy sucks and both parties share the blame. Vote for people of conscience and character. Then you can whine.

  44. Mofford's is the ultimate rant, masterful in its language, makes me wish I'd written it. And it phrases our frustration with that election and its outcomes wonderfully. But it sounds almost as bratty as the young dems it accuses--a whine about their whine--, and I doubt it's going to do anything to motivate them in 2012; it could just further solidify their oppositionality.

    I fear there is a chance that those who stayed home in '10 will do so again in '12, primarily because voting for an incumbent who is as good as it gets isn't as sexy as voting for the first black president.

    This is the flash mob crowd; they move like flocks of starlings or schools of fish. There's not necessarily anything that Mr. Obama can do to attract them in '12, but watch the whole flock gather in opposition to any one of the candidates the GOP has on offer so far. This election will be all about voting AGAINST someone.

  45. I've found most elections end up being about voting against someone. Unfortunately much of this is because of indefensible things done by candidates so they have no choice but to vilify the other since they suck themselves.

    I'm not saying Obama sucks. This is more an observation of most republicans who the public and the Democrats have allowed to set the tone and agenda.


  47. MDL: Sorry, but either you're not answering my question. This is a matter of practical politics, not injured feelings. So I'll ask it again: When you need 60 votes to pass a bill and at least four senators will not support a public option even if it means sinking the legislation, what do you do?

    You want to fold the tents until the next election, when the party can improve on a virtual supermajority in a off year. That has never happened. Plus, the history of health care reform legislation suggests that that it has to be done early in the first term or it won't happen. [See The Heart of Power (Blumenthal & Morone) for an excellent historical account of the presidency and health care reform.]

    BTW, I'm older than you.

  48. Shaw makes a great point: No one hits the presidential ground running. It's too big of a job in too complex a world. And there's no such thing as prior experience as president.

  49. K...

    Lets call this Obamacare what it really is, health insurance reform. Now since 1980 our GDP has averaged a 2.31% real gain annually and yet the median household income for a family of four has only increased at a rate of .52% a year over the same period.

    Currently, a record 47 million people live below the poverty line—$22,400 per year for a family of four—including one in five children. Over 100 million people, or one in three Americans, live on less than $46,000 for a family of four.

    Now, these families are very well aware of the benefits of healthcare and they are PAINFULLY aware of the fact that healthcare inflation has averaged 7.32% since 1980...they also are probably very personally aware that health insurance never covers the cost of everything as medical expenses is the number one reason families declare bankruptcy even when they have health insurance.

    Now, the democrats promoted "Obamacare" as providing health insurance for everyone and as a way to control the spiraling out of control medicad costs to tax payers, then there is the benefit of not being denied coverage.

    But exactly what is it within this health insurance reform package that is attractive to families who have health insurance but pray on a regular basis that they do not have to use it?

    The political reality is that providing care to poor people, especially in a recession isn't going to be a real concern for quite a few people. There are what 15% of the population that does not have insurance now, and of course they are thrilled, but other than that, what did the democrats give to the vast majority of Americans who have insurance, are struggling to make do on stagnating wages, and who hope and pray they never get sick?

    If you want to win political points and be successful in politics you gotta make sure that whatever you do benefits a majority of the population and that the benefit is obvious.

    That was the failure of Obamacare....

  50. @MDL: You certainly have the right to raise hell and you do it well. ; ) That old devil just likes to get inside of you from time to time. I've seen you stick up for Obama when others have given him - and you - a good lickin'.

  51. LuLu: Sometimes you have to get on the same level as young people to get them to listen. Maybe you have to even use their lingo to be effective or to get through to them. Otherwise, you sound too much like an adult which might be a turn off for them. I just noticed that over 42,000 people have shared his article on FB, which says something.

    Oh, I think we'll see a much bigger turnout in 2012. Midterms always have a lower number of voters going to the polls; it's just that in 2010, the stakes were so very high - higher than even most of us realized at the time.

    I found this link on Infidel's Saturday Roundup which is a hard hitting rant against the hard left. It's very forceful and poignant and worth the read for sure. This is the first graph:

    "All across the country, the True Liberals' efforts to teach Barack Obama a lesson are paying off in spades. Their plan could not have worked out more perfectly. After a year of shouting to the highest heavens about how much they were disappointed in President Obama and the Democrats, after a year promising to withhold their support during the 2010 Midterm campaign and, more importantly, at the ballot box, they got their wish: Democrats stayed home in droves."

  52. Ah K my friend. I thought I answered your question twice so this time I'll try to be more direct.

    Screw the right and their votes. They're not going to vote for our guys no matter what.

    Pandering to them only serves to piss off our base which we have discovered time and again is shaky.

    Senator Kennedy strived for national health care his whole life. he died before we even had a bill that could be called health insurance reform. The base would have been far more content to wait a couple years while our party apparatus worked to get a few more loyal votes in the Senate. We had all the ammo we needed to beat down obstructionist republicans. The promise of real national health care would have been far more motivating to our base, as shaky as it is, than a bill that we needed turncoat dickheads like Ben Nelson and wishy washy, mindless jive turkeys like Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins to help pass for no other reason than Obama, or his strategists, thought would help more than fighting for real reform that meant everyone had affoordably health insurance.

    I have no doubt I'll have to expand this, which I'm glad to do, but hopefully you get the message. Settling for what little you can get working American hating Republicans to give is not good government or good politics.

  53. Kennedy voted against Carter's HC bill because "it didn't go far enough." He later remarked more than once that he thought it was the biggest mistake of his political career.

    "The base would have been far more content to wait a couple years while our party apparatus worked to get a few more loyal votes in the Senate."

    There simply is no guarantee of this.

  54. Before we go and lecture those whiny young democrats lets actually look at some numbers.

    In 2008 black voters turned out in record numbers and accounted for 12% of all voters. At this level the voting gap between black and white voters all but disappeared. In 2010 blacks were back down to below 10% and the voting gap between blacks and white has reappeared.

    In 2008 the youth vote (18 to 29 year olds) made up 18% of all voters. In 2006 they made up 12% of all voters and in 2010 they made up 11%.

    So, if you want to compare mid term elections to mid term election the whiny young democrats who stayed home in droves only actually represented a 1% difference. Now in 2008 52% of all voters 18 to 29 voted and there was a 38% gap between those that voted democrat and those that voted republican. In 2006 23.5% of all voters 18 to 29 voted and in 2010 20.4% voted and the gap between those that voted democrat and those that voted republican was a measly 16%, but that is still the historical trend (the reality is that the percentage of 18 to 29 year olds that consider themselves democrats has be trending lower).

    It should also be noted that in 2000 74% of the 18 to 29 year old group was white and in 2008 only 62% of these voters were white.

    In 2008 you had a young intelligent black man running against a very unexciting and odd little bald white man. It could very easily be assumed that the big drop in the youth vote was actually due to the fact that young blacks stayed home in droves but the reality is they never really voted at all except this one time. You also have to factor in the anger that Americans felt in 2008 toward the Republicans due to the financial meltdown and that Obama’s opponent, even with the shill for a sidekick, just didn’t match up.

    Of course all of us liberals wanted to believe that 2008 was a transformational election but we forgot that to take into account the historical uniqueness of the times. The reality is that the democrats, as a party, have not found a way to seal the deal with voters the way the republicans have with their loyal base and thus 2008 was a one time gift.

  55. Anger motivates. Disappointment demotivates.
    The hope and changers were disappointed at the health insurance bill and how it was attained. They were disappointed we're still in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were disappointed Gitmo is still in operation. They were disappointed that Bush's tax cuts for the rich were extended.

    I'd better stop before I talk myself into abandoning the party.

  56. Okay - enough. You two have ambushed my blog with the same old tired, worn out talking points you have been whining about for the past year or so. You're acting like the Bobbsey Twins at a teenage frat party, for God's sake. And make no mistake about it, I do not appreciate it at all and I doubt that the other readers do either. Please do not come back here.

  57. For eight years, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney served Republicans and ignored every Democrat and liberal in this country.

    Frankly, in 2008 I did not want a repeat: a president who is president only to his/her supporters. I wanted a president who would view his/her presidency as leader of ALL Americans.

    A candidate has a base. Once elected, a president should not have to be concerned with pandering to a base. The problems he is faced with – and they were many after Bush – are problems which affect ALL Americans. The policies he manages to bring to fruition should benefit ALL Americans.

    Ironically, it has been Democratic presidents – FDR, Kenndy, Johnson, Carter, Clintonl – who have realized this and have affected the most meaningful changes.

    So, why now are we beating up on Obama for following a Democrtic presidential tradition?


  58. BJ: Very perceptive comment ending with a damn good question. Some people just aren't happy unless they're miserable and trying to make everyone else miserable in the process. Blind loyalty is not unlike blind hatred - it blinds a person.

  59. This has been an interesting discussion, not only for what you all had to say, but for that which you all seemed to have forgotten. To have ignored what seems to be the virtual end of despotism in a critical realm of the developing world does President Obama an injustice. Frodo is unable to recall any of Obama's predecessors speaking directly to the Arab World. Curiously, he remembers some Scandinavians awarding Obama a prize for what he represented, if merely in appearance, to those who truly yearn for freedom, and opportunity. Perhaps the "hope" and the "change" that some seem to lament in their own comparatively easy lives, is being realized in other lands, first. Who is to say that President Obama, wracked by circumstance at home, isn't taking advantage of history, and making the prospects for world peace much more likely than anyone dared imagine.

  60. Frodo: God bless ye, lad. I love it when you come in at the tail end and succinctly point out something that none of the rest of us - including yours truly - has thought about. Gracias.

  61. tnlib, I'm coming to the party late, but I think your post is right on target. I'm not certain that I follow all the fragmenting of voters that TAO suggests, after all, some of the black vote that turned out in 2008 were young democrats and they were part of the whiny young democrats that chose not to vote in 2010. Most folks fit into more than one demographic.

    On the purely pragmatic side, the impatient rhetoric condemning Obama as a sellout and traitor to the left is about as useful as using a cup of water to put out a forest fire. I continue to be amazed that allegedly thinking people honestly believe that the entire modus operandi of the government can be changed with a wave of the hand of the sitting president. Approximately 235 years of governmental history cannot be altered in a single term let alone two years.

    Keep up the good fight, tnlib.

  62. Thanks, Sheria. Better late than nevah! Ron Chusid of Liberal Values suggested on FB that there's a corelation between Hillary supporters and those on the hard left. From what I've seen around the blogosphere, I suspect he has a point. And as you imply, impatience is not a virtue right now.

  63. @JR: Voting for progressives is a good idea, but if they're so progressive they're off the charts, I doubt if they could even be nominated, much less elected.

    And this is why we get so many right-leaners and outright wingers among the dems. WE haven't moved; the MSM and the Rushpubliscum Party have moved the goalposts.

    Pat Robertson proved that a takeover by complete lunatics is possible if you have a little patience and time, so I'm not buying for a minute that we shouldn't be embracing the genuine progressives-the Kucinichs and Weiners. They are our only path out of here.

  64. JR: With all due respect, I really can't agree with your philosophy. In all honesty, I don't think either Kucinich or Weiner would have a chance in hell of being elected. They are only really popular with the hard left and you have to attract more than one narrow segment. I like Weiner most of the time - he's a political opportunist imo - but think he does a vital job just where he is. I lost any respect I might have had, which wasn't much, for Kucinich when he called for Obama's impeachment.

    Robertson may have brought out every right-wing nut in the woodwork, but he bombed as a presidential candidate. His extreme views weren't palatable to most Americans and I think we'd find this to be true with Kucinich and Weiner.

  65. Leslie: I do not have the exposure to the blogosphere that you and others do as I am only able to frequent a few blogs. I am stymied that this anti-Obama hysteria on the left is being blamed on Hillary supporters. Perhaps I’m naïve but I have been interpreting comments here as those of Obama supporters who are pissed off because he has not come throough with some of the things he promised them during the campaign.

    Hillary Clinton has been “America’s Most Admired Woman” for nine consecutive years and 15 times since 1992, and I sure would hate to see all this anti-Obama discontentment, by extension, shifted onto her because of “sour grapes” supporters.

    In all fairness, Obama could not have been elected without the votes of Hillary supporter like me. Reference:

    Saluting America’s Most Admired

  66. I suppose this TPM article says it all:

    Rep. Mica [R-FL] received support from 69% of the voters in his district who cast a ballot in his successful 2010 re-election campaign, amounting to slightly over 185,000 actual votes tallied for him.

    However, if you add the over 83,000 voters who voted against Rep. Mica to 312,000 eligible voters who did not participate, then Rep. Mica would only muster 32% of the overall total - falling far short of the majority needed for election. Rep. Mica would lose handily to the 68% of "voters" who chose his opponent or were non-participating voters whose absence was counted as a vote for the alternative.

    It seems we can no longer afford the luxury of sour grapes.

  67. BJ: Point well taken. I did not phrase this well, so let me try to clarify it, if I may. Certainly not all Hillary supporters are hard lefties but a majority of hard lefties were Hillary supporters. Does this make more sense?They may or may not have voted for Obama but since the Inauguration, this small group of whiners has made a career out of hating all things Obama.

    A hand full have blogs of their own but many simply attached themselves as "contributors" to other blogs. They have now formed a group blog which I refuse to advertise by providing a link. I can promise you that if you didn't know better, you would think you had landed on a right-wing blog - the same kind of vitriol, the same vicious imagery. Forget facts, forget objectivity, forget tolerance for opposing views. Mostly, if not all, are former Hillary supporters.

    Thank God, the majority of Hillary supporters are like you - intelligent, reasonable, thoughtful and tolerant. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

  68. Sheria, I'll go you one further: The left has poured a cup of gasoline onto the blaze. It's a genuine puzzlement to me that someone like John Nichols of The Nation -- who effectively endorsed Nancy Pelosi's opponent from the insane right -- can write with outrage about Scott Walker when Nichols spent two years doing everything he could to get Walker and his ilk elected.

  69. Leslie,

    I sent my hard-left relatives the Morford column--they're youngish, 40s and 50s--and got this response which I'll paste below. Frankly I was bowled over by the bitter and unyielding comment. These relatives worked their butts off for Obama AND contributed lots of their hard-earned money. In addition to what is in this screed, they also believe Mr. Obama is "evil" AND worse than Bush.

    My take is that theirs is a somewhat naive undertanding of politics. I tried to reason with them and point out that one of our greatest presidents suspended Habeas Corpus, shut down newspapers, and intercepted mail and telegraph messages during the Civil War--Abraham Lincoln. It didn't matter. All that matters to these folks is that Obama has disappointed them, and because of that he's EVIL.

    Here's the email response to Morford's piece:

    "Except that Morford pretends deafness (I picture him with his fingers thrust deep down both eardrums screaming "LALALALALALALALALALA" at the top of his lungs) as someone attempts to read him Glenn Greenwald's recent column on Gitmo ~

    Does Morford hold Obama accountable for any of his decisions? No, it's easier to poke sticks at the people who voted for Obama and who are now trying to hold Obama accountable for his biggest campaign promises. Indefinite detention is OK? Continue to deny Habeas Corpus? And yet the US thinks they can tell China or Cuba or Libya how to treat their detainees or their citizens ?? Whaddup?

    We thought Obama might make a step or two to change the process for the better, particularly since he's touted as a constitutional lawyer. Well, he's in lockstep with Bush instead. To say we're disappointed is an understatement ... and to turn a blind eye and deaf ear because being Prez is really, really, really, really hard gosh darn it ... well that's Morford's view I guess. Did he cut Bush that kind of slack when he held the same job? It's frankly hard to tell the difference between Bush and Obama these days ... sadly ..."

  70. @K: I follow The Nation but don't really go there that much, so I wasn't aware of this. Sounds like another case of plain old hypocrisy - or lack of consistency or an inability to connect the dots.

    @Shaw: I don't understand this thinking at all and, in case anyone has to be reminded, I've really lost patience for it. Certainly political naivete plays a huge role, along with pettiness and selfishness, a lack of reality which comes from a lack of historical knowledge.
    I can't stomach terms like "evil" or "corrupt."

    It seems to me that most of these people are placing much higher expectations and a much higher standard on this Democratic president than on any other before him and far more than is realistic by any measure. He's accomplished a hell of a lot in two years and with an opposition that has been and is dead set against working with him on anything. This kind of organized opposition is unprecedented. All one has to do is go to to see it.

  71. I am ending my blog 'catch up day' here and I must admit I have little to add. Obama is sort of like death; given the alternative I will take him even though I am a trifle disappointed in the fact that he hasn't used the bully pulpit better. He has allowed the nitwits to control the message. He needs to resurrect Roosevelt's fireside chats.

  72. Shaw,

    Carrying the weight of the world, as this President does, is not a job I would want, and I can’t imagine why people think this job is easy or yields instant results … presto, just like that! Expectations and demands made on presidents run unrealistically high, notwithstanding a rabid opposition that regards politics as warfare. In December 2008, even before the inauguration of this president, there were oppositional voices saying, “I hope he fails” … weeks before his first official day!

    Shaw, I recall some time ago a list of Obama’s accomplishments you had posted on your blog. This would be a good place to start. To your original list, I would add the closing months of the last Congress, regarded by all accounts as the most productive legislative session since FDR and LBJ … despite the partisan bickering.

    Another reminder to point out: Obama did try to close down Gitmo and hold civilian trials of detainees in New York. He met fierce resistance … even from fellow Democrat Chuck Schumer. I recall an attempt to use a recently built prison in Illinois to house Gitmo detainees, but the NIMBY folks protested vociferously. Hence, President Obama was left with no options. Why not focus disappointments on those who obstructed Obama!

    Perhaps another aspect of the Obama presidency is one that few people can appreciate: Given the bombastic and in-your-face presidency of GWB, Obama is trying to set a new course based on cautious deliberation and patience. For the I-want-it-now bunch, this is hard for them to fathom.

    Once views harden and enter into the realm of strong emotions, it is doubtful if persuasion alone can ever change minds. In this regard, I think the intransient left and rabid right can be equally doctrinaire and tend to accept only those messages that reinforce their already entrenched viewpoints.

  73. @Darlene: I'm not sure that the bully pulpit is or has ever been his style. Here is a long article/interview that ran in 2006 that reveals a lot about this man:

    @Octo: Public memory is short. I had forgotten about the opposition to closing Gitmo and all the legislation during the lame duck session.

    I wonder if Obama hasn't become a scapegoat for a nation of discontents. Of course there is that blatant racism and - dare I say it? - latent racism. How else can one explain these impossibly high expectations on this president - more so than for any previous president.

    I can already hear the shrieks of protest but if there's anything we've learned over the last two years, it's that denial isn't limited to the far-right.