Not Good News

November 29th, 2009
One of the other reasons why I'm less enthusiastic about reporting on politics:
In the 2010 Congressional elections will you definitely vote, probably vote, not likely vote, or definitely will not vote?
Party Affiliation definitely/probablynot likely/not
Republican Voters 8114
Independent Voters 6523
Democratic Voters 5640
This is what a looming national train wreck looks like, and seems to confirm that the Republican strategy of “screw the American people, we want to take control of this train so we can drive it off a cliff” is working beautifully. Obama and the Democrats are not helping by (a) beginning all negotiations with a compromise, (b) making it an imperative to look “bipartisan” when the Republicans both define what that means and make no effort to be bipartisan themselves, (c) not taking the Republican-style hardball stance of doing whatever it takes to get legislation through, and (d) generally wringing their hands and caving at the first sign of something going wrong. They are quite literally snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and even with a 60-vote supermajority (more or less), are having more trouble than any majority party I've ever heard of in getting anything passed. Democrats did not threaten the nuclear option when Republicans used the filibuster to obstruct, even though the Republicans did so--effectively--when the Democrats used it relatively sparingly; Democrats did not use reconciliation to get their major legislation past a potential filibuster, though Republicans did so--again, effectively--when they were in power. On the media front, the conservative news media (let's not play the game of “is the media librul?” when it is so blindingly obvious that it leans so notably right-wing) strategy is also working. Fox has dominated the national discourse and effectively created the neoconservative imperative: the self-serving narrative that everyone buys into. I often wondered, “What could possibly happen which could blind the people to the egregiously vicious and idiotic insanity of the right wing and allow them to elect conservatives next year, when it is so clear that doing so will wreck any hope of recovery or future worth for the United States?” And here we have the answer: a galvanized right wing whipped into a frenzy by the insane Becks, Bachmanns, Limbaughs, and Palins; a disheartened left wing driven to apathy by weak-kneed, ineffective Democrats; and independents robbed of a rational national discourse, pulled to the vitriol of the right or the lethargy of the left, or else left hanging in the middle with nowhere to go. I keep hoping that Obama's got a rabbit or two left in his hat, that the liberals and independents will rail against the vile madness of the conservatives, that the right will shrink into a tiny ball of fury unable to move elections, or that something will happen to restore sanity and allow the nation's business to get back on track again. Instead, we seem to be driven by the right wing's incessant, obstructionist drive to destroy the nation in the name of regaining power, driven to charge off that cliff, waving flags and screaming “America's Number ONE!!” at the top of our lungs as we go. The most frightening thing is, when the right wing finds a strategy that works, it employs it even more strongly the next time. I thought we'd seen the worst the right wing could do under Reagan, when the neocons started taking over and saddled the economy with massive debt; then I thought I'd seen the worst with the relentless, eight-year smear campaign against the Clintons and the campaign to create a fictional narrative with the likes of Limbaugh and the birth of Fox News; then I thought I'd seen the worst with Bush & Cheney after 9/11, when the real national self-destruction got under full steam; but now we have a right-wing which is doing crap which frankly leaves me speechless. This is not a once-only thing, this is a trend. And it scares the living shit out of me to consider what's next.

  1. November 29th, 2009 at 13:18 | #1

    Well, I for one think you are right on with your political writing and that we are both on the same page. With that being said, I agree that it keeps feeling like the right can’t get any worse or crazier or more irrelevant but they do and people seem to eat it up. I understand that you are frustrated and weary much like I am. I do hope you keep writing about politics but understand if you don’t.

  2. Leszek Cyfer
    November 30th, 2009 at 01:15 | #2

    Why the flip-flop?

    Here is an interesting test
    http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/2009/10/casual_fridays_is_political_wi.php

    It seems that it is easier to change a mind for liberal than for republican.

    On the other side, in Poland we flushed away extreme right wing government but the new liberal head of government, besides great speaches doesn’t appear to do anything at all. I understand that the recession hit him right between the eyes, but general public doesn’t notice that Poland is one of few european enclaves of prospering economy. People expected progress, but lacking comparison they don’t appreciate stability in storm.

    If right wing will prevail again which is very possible as the approval for the government plummets, the economy will plunge and everyone will notice the difference – as the saying goes – mustard after dinner :( .

    Of course first thing the right wing will say after the economic breakdown will be “It’s their fault!”

  3. Troy
    November 30th, 2012 at 07:25 | #3

    wow, you saw the 2010 disaster coming a full year ahead of it!

    wonder why the Democrats couldn’t get people to the polls that year, and I wonder if 2014 will be any different.

    2006 was certainly a nice wave election, but people were just totally pissed off about the Republican misadventure in Iraq finally.

    I don’t think it was the economy things were still pretty good then, though were starting to fall apart too, at the margin.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=dgu

    shows the recovery was topping out in early 2006 and beginning its slide into the Great Recession.

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