Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 3, 2008

ADVICE TO BE IGNORED.... We'll know soon enough whether Democrats have a good Election Day or not, but Doug Schoen is already urging the party not to perceive potentially sweeping victories as an endorsement of the Democratic agenda.

Stated simply, if the Democrats conclude that they have a mandate to implement their agenda without real consultation with the Republicans, as Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island suggested in an interview with the New York Times last weekend, the country will be headed for trouble.

Real trouble.

This election is not a mandate for Democratic policies. Rather, it is a wholesale rejection of the policies of George W. Bush, Republicans, and to a lesser extent, John McCain.

I see. So, if voters turn out in record numbers, elect Democrats to control almost everything, and deliver a "wholesale rejection" of conservative Republicans, Democrats shouldn't consider this a mandate for change. Indeed, as far as Schoen is concerned, if Democratic policy makers try to implement Democratic policy ideas after Democratic victories, the party will surely be punished by voters.

In a relatively short piece, Schoen used the word "consensus" seven times. As he sees it, the goal isn't to pass specific policy goals; the goal is to get Democrats and Republicans to agree on specific policy goals. According to this line of thinking, what's important isn't the result, it's the process. Americans don't want results, they want some amorphous "bipartisanship," even if they seem to support one party's ideas by virtue of election victories.

Indeed, Schoen is unambiguous about this point: "The American people are actually seeking a middle route: consensus, conciliation and a results-oriented approach to governance."

I suspect Obama, given what we know of his style and temperament, would make good-faith efforts to encourage Republicans to support his policy goals. But Schoen's advice seems misguided -- if Obama wins, he should scale back on the agenda voters asked him to implement? He should water down his agenda, whether it has the votes to pass or not? He should put "conciliation" at the top of his priority list?

And what, pray tell, does a Democratic majority do if/when Republicans decide they don't like Democratic ideas, don't care about popular mandates or polls, and won't work with Dems on issues that matter? Do Democrats, at that point, simply stop governing, waiting for a mysterious "consensus" to emerge?

I don't doubt that there's ample data showing Americans approving of the idea of policy makers working together. With that in mind, Schoen believes Americans are "seeking a middle route." Here's an alternative read: Americans are seeking policies that work. The nation tried it the conservative Republican way for a while, and it led to disaster and failure. Now the electorate seems open to the idea of a different direction.

The goal, however, is not "conciliation," it's effective government. As Yglesias concluded, "What Democrats need to do if they want to prosper in 2010 and 2012 is deliver the goods. In other words, return the economy to prosperity, avoid terrible foreign affairs calamities, etc."

Sounds like good advice to me.

Steve Benen 9:55 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (55)

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Mr. Schoen seems to be a student of the Robert Novak School of Punditry: a victory for the Democrats means they have to deal with the Republicans and defer to them, but a victory by the Republicans, even if it's by only one point, means they have a solid mandate to govern any way they want.

Or, to put it simply: Winning an election is a threat to the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on November 3, 2008 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

In 2000 Bush lost the popular vote and still claimed a "mandate." So if Obama wins the popular vote by a couple million and the electoral vote by over 100 then as far as I'm concerned he can claim anything he wants.

Posted by: tomeck on November 3, 2008 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

I hope the Democrats are smarter than this. Bush stole 2000 and didn't let them put a crimp in his 'agenda'.

Obama has run a masterful campaign for creating post election consensus -- but reaching out doesn't mean caving.

If he wins in spite of the racist campaign waged against him and the racist country -- then he will have an enormous mandate -- I hope ( and I believe he will) use it to tackle the very stick mess he will have inherited.

Some pain lies ahead and we need an actual leader who can make us face up to it and pay the cost. We owe it to our kids and grandkids whose future wealth we have been stealing and putting into the pockets of Bush's friends.

Can we start with Goldman Sachs bonuses?

Posted by: Artemesia on November 3, 2008 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter movement conservatism: We want our agenda enacted, democracy be damned.

Yeah, we knew that.

Posted by: Gregory on November 3, 2008 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

am i supposed to know who this idiot is? and can he prove, as tomeck suggests, that he gave the same advice to bush in 2000 and 2004?

Posted by: howard on November 3, 2008 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

There are no middle of the road Republicans. There are a few like McCain, Gordon Smith, and Arlen Spector, who occasionally talk as though they are, but they will never break a tie in favor of the left.

That said, the Dems will be a rather centrist party because of Blue Dogs and senators like Baucus, Prior, Landreau, Byrd and Rockefeller.

Posted by: Danp on November 3, 2008 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

I think the larger point that this election is more a repudiation of Republican policies, and the way in which those policies were enacted, than an vote of affirmation on Democratic policy ideas is probably true.

If the policies that come of the early days of an Obama administration don't make nods in the direction of centrism, I think that public support for the Democratic party will be relatively short-lived.

If they govern from the center, I think that the Dems can probably create a long-lasting majority.

Posted by: TW Andrews on November 3, 2008 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Plus, as Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, Ph.D., points out today, the Republicans remaining will be on the right wing-- the ones least likely to work and play well with others. I do hope that the majority party won't be too accommodating to the rabid right.

Posted by: scott_m on November 3, 2008 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

IF the Democrats win ...

Well, just to be clear, if the Democrats do something like that stupid "Contract With America" that the Repubs did 12 years ago, America will happily shoe them back out the door.

You're right, though, that they're looking for something that works, and without raising taxes or the national debt. That's a tall work order, one that I hope Obama and friends are up to.

Posted by: Franklin on November 3, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Schoen is making an ideological argument. What's needed now are pragmatic solutions to real-world problems, which is exactly why the Democrats seem poised to win tomorrow.

By the way, am I living in a freaking parallel world, or didn't the voters actually give the whole 'unified government' thing a try with the asshole Republican party? And didn't the Republcian party pretty much fail to deliver in every way possible? So can we stop pretending that the Democrats don't get a turn -- AFTER THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAD EVERY ADVANTAGE IN THE WORLD, INCLUDING A MORALE-BOOSTING SNEAK ATTACK, WHICH THEY ONLY USED TO TRAUMATIZE VOTERS INTO VOTING FOR THEM AGAIN IN 2004????????

Schoen: you're a moron.

Posted by: The Phantom on November 3, 2008 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously a total rejection the the Republican party is good for the Republican party.

Now that the right wing knows it's toast it will try any diversion it can think of to have some relevance and influence.

The last 8 years won't be forgotten readily for many decades to come. The rights long turn in the wilderness is about to begin.

Posted by: jeff on November 3, 2008 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

FWIW: just remember when the Blue Dogs double their caucus, that is important. Do the math.

Posted by: anonymous on November 3, 2008 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, that's interesting. Apparently the Bush loss of the popular vote in 2000 and winning of 51% of the votes cast in 2004 were a mandate, but if Obama achieves an electoral rout and the Dems pick up a ton of seats in the House and Senate it's not?

Glad to see that old double standard is alive and well in the Republican party.

Posted by: Gina on November 3, 2008 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

He's not a Republican. He's a Democrat, but is a member of the DLC cabal.

What this is, is another spineless DLC move to "compromise" and plea to keep him and the rest of the DLC types from irrelevancy.

Posted by: Former Dan on November 3, 2008 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Republican leaders and the red-staters who support them haven't changed at all, even after 8 good years with Clinton, and 8 disastrous ones with Bush. The Republican Party will be just as mean and reactionary after the election as they were before, if they lose, and God help us if they win. Fortunately, the latter possibility now appears to be very remote.

I don't think the Democrats will move boldly into the future. They're far too timid for that. I think their agenda, as a practical matter, will fall short of Obama's campaign vision, and probably tax restoration on the rich will be the first layer to peel away. But whatever they try to do, the Republicans will use the filibuster to scuttle and sabotage their programs, just as they did the last two years.

And the public will hate the Democrats by 2010.

I do believe this election is really about getting rid of the Bush albatross around our collective necks, and going with someone younger and leaner and fresher than old grumpy McGramps, and not really about a true change in direction. America hates liberals and liberalism.

It's going to be an interesting time. The Democrats had better hit the ground running, but I don't think they will. They'll just stall out.

We are terminally "center very right" in my opinion.

Posted by: hark on November 3, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with CW to some extent. That's why he needs the centrist foreign policy and left of center domestic and economic policies. These are after all according to the polls what Americans truly want.

Posted by: grinning cat on November 3, 2008 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Schoen is just another right wing concern troll. Typical stuff from the far right, but what he doesn't get is that Obama is already 10 steps ahead of him.

Obama's style from the beginning is to build quietly as broad a consensus as he can for a policy before pushing it publically. His campaign style has been to be as inclusive as possible. During this campaign he has built bridges with the blue dogs and with key Republicans.

He is going to enjoy the broadest legislative consensus for his actions since George Washington.

So, while Schoen is concerned that Democrats will ignore Republicans and do whatever they want, what he should really be concerned about is that Obama will get a bipartisan consensus for everthing he does. If he does that, the Republicans will be guaranteed minority status for a long time.

Posted by: Anonny on November 3, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds like a LOSERS argument. This is not about republican and democrats, this is about the American people and republicans not governing in our best interests.

Posted by: ThatGuy on November 3, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

I have heard that Obama's 100 days plans are pretty modest and cautious - can't really see him charging in and trying to change everything at once. It won't be Mitterand in 1982... and probably shouldn't be.

Posted by: David Steven on November 3, 2008 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Schoen's argument breaks down with the tiniest bit of scrutiny. If the Democrats win the White House with +52%/+325EV's, win the Senate with 58-60 seats, and gain 20-plus seats in the House for the second consecutive election, but still don't have a mandate to ignore the GOP, then when would they? When would anyone? By Schoen's logic, no one, ever, at any point in history would ever have a legitimate claim to a mandate. Even in '84, when Reagan won 49 states, the Dems still controlled the House.

Question for Mr. Schoen: what would have to happen for you to be wrong? How big a victory would be required? Would America have to literally move to one-party rule before a mandate could be claimed? America is a winner-take-all, non-coalition representative democracy. As GWB showed, winning is its own mandate. Winning both houses of Congress and the White House is worth exactly what it should be worth - majority votes for your party's bills, and a President who will sign them into law. If the bills are good, they should pass. If the GOP wants to vote for them or work in good faith on them, fine. If not, if they want to posture and whine, that would also fine. The point is that they don't get to slow things down anymore. They simply don't have the horses.

Posted by: a on November 3, 2008 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the idea he's expressing. One sided, unchecked rule is how we got into this position after 8 years. Swapping one unchecked ruling party for another isn't change. Presenting plans and staying faithful to their goals while inviting input and collaboration with members of the opposite party would be REAL change and not for the worse. No one is asking for Democrats and Republicans to send each other flowers on Valentine's Day, just to cooperate more and scale back the combative rhetoric. Consensus isn't a dirty word. It IS possible to achieve big goals in a bipartisan fashion, we just haven't seen it happen in so long that it's hard to remember what that might look like.

Posted by: broken bottle on November 3, 2008 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't Obama run on something called "post-partisanship"?

Hope he didn't mean it.

Posted by: John Petty on November 3, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

The point of "consensus" in this sense isn't comity among politicians -- it is the pursuit of good policy, and you build what coalition is possible to push it through.

If Democrats choose to pursue sh*t policies over better policies because conservative Democrats or Republicans would be happier, then they are (1) idiots and (2) soon-to-be losers.

Posted by: El Cid on November 3, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

He's not a Republican. He's a Democrat, but is a member of the DLC cabal.
That explains his remarks. I know that although Democrats will have their hands full over the coming years I'd sure like to see that odious bunch of Republicans in Democratic drag totally marginalized.

Posted by: Dennis - SGMM on November 3, 2008 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Only Republicans recieve mandates from electoral victories.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on November 3, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

One candidate running for the White House has offered a consistent message of the national unity required to meet the challenges we're facing now. The other has called the opposing party every name in the book.

Schoen imagines Obama shutting out republicans if he's elected, while ignoring the number of republicans who have publicly stated their desire to work with him.

McCain has campaigned with all his might to alienate every single democrat in the country. If he thinks that he could count on any of them once he entered the White House he's batshit loonyballs.

Posted by: chrenson on November 3, 2008 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans can shove it, as far as I am concerned, and likewise DLC concern trolls like Schoen. There is a place for principled conservatives, but most of the current Republicans and DLCers are neither principled nor conservative -- they are about the maintenance of their own power.

Make no mistake about it -- Obama has campaigned on the most progressive platform in more than 40 years, against an opponent who promises to continue the Bush agenda. If Obama wins big, it represents a mandate just as strongly as Reagan's 1980 victory did for conservative Republicanism.

Posted by: DBX on November 3, 2008 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

I doubt most of us want to see a lot of gotcha as the Democratic response to any kind of victory. To use Rovian approaches to consolidating a win is just plain self-defeating. Reaching out is good politics as well as good policy. It's much like the argument about sitting down with the enemy for talks without pre-conditions. It only makes good sense for the President to work with the legislature to create government that works. The current administration has pretty well proven that government can't work by using bullying tactics. We need to remember that lesson. - Ted

Posted by: Ted Lehmann on November 3, 2008 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I'm also starting to think that there are a lot of Democratic-leaning pundits and occasional politicians who don't think there was anything wrong with Republican policies, just that the wrong people were pushing them through.

Why on Earth should we support the continuation of terrible, nation- and citizen-harming policies just because one or other political minority might feel that doing so is less 'radical'?

This is like saying the Chinese should focus on coming up with acceptable levels of melamine in food, so that melamine food poisoners and consumers accept a 'compromise'.

If a Republican or conservative wants to back a good policy, then, God bless.

If a Democrat or liberal wants a sh*tty policy so as to make Republicans and conservatives happy, he or she is welcome to kiss my a**.

Posted by: El Cid on November 3, 2008 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Although I generally agree with the tone of the comments, I belive that it would be a good idea to pay a little closer attention to the things Mr. Schoen left unsaid.

The new administration, should it be the Democratics, could well afford to pour some oil on troubled waters. If they avoid outright retribution and vengeance and make a legitimate effort to work with at least the moderate side of the opposition they could certainly improve their chances of longevity. Especially if the natonal election is relatively close it might be wise to deem the tenor of the citizenry cautious instead of accepting a "win" to be license to kill. At all costs try to avoid the appearance of the insanity of the Gingrichian Revolution and the Bush Mastery. In the words of an old song, easy does it every time.

A good dose of Keynesian macro-economics, spending on the infrastructure and putting people to work a la the New Deal, is in order. Undoing, quietly, many of Mr. Bush's disastrous executive orders and his current rush to make corporative takeover of the government even worse than it already is will be more than a plateful for a new broom. Steady progress is what we need and then it will be extremely difficult for the "extremes" to regain power in 4 or 8 years.

Posted by: shadou on November 3, 2008 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

The fate of the democratic party rests on the new congress. Should we get a majority and fail to deliver to the people the change they voted for, it'll be politics as usual.

This last congress, from 2006, has been hampered by Republican obstruction. Unfortunately, most Americans see the lack of production as the democrat's fault. We can't afford to allow a small republican faction to derail our mandated (hopefully!) agenda.

So, there are a few things we must guard against:

1) Republican chicanery, dirty tricks, and obstruction. It will be up to legislators to expose these tactics, and call them out. Voters will not stand for this monkey business.
2) Straying from the agenda and losing focus. If this congress fails to act in unison, fails to capitalize on the desire for change, and instead focuses on pleasing the various factions of the party, we'll lose our momentum.
3) Beware of corruption. If there is even an inkling of perceived corruption, the republicans will pounce and will be successful in deflecting blame from themselves. For democrats, they'll once again be lumped into the 'politicians are all the same' category.

Posted by: citizen_pain on November 3, 2008 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Never underestimate the ability of the Democrats to form a circular firing squad soon after the inauguration.

Posted by: save_the_rustbelt on November 3, 2008 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

"center right"???

I don't think so. Most "progressive" ideals are now the norm but corporations and their political puppets fail to admit it to themselves.

The Right belives that Bush has betrayed conservative principles and he's stabbed Reagansim in the back. Bush's failures are because he hasn't been conservative enough. This is going to be the talking point they run with in 2012. "You've tried it the democrat way and you've seen what Bush the moderate did [no joke I've heard and read this the last few days from "respected" Republican theorists] now let's go back to Reaganism and true conservatism.

Posted by: grinning cat on November 3, 2008 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

The best way to implement your own agenda is to bring your opponents in, not to steam-roll over them. You do that by being conciliatory on the small things so you can enact the big things. Obama knows this and is a master at it.

As tempting as it will be to thumb our noses at the losers, that's never been what Obama is about. That's not how you heal wounds and change the tone of the discourse.

I believe this is the approach Barack will take, and I hope we can all find it in our hearts to do the same. God knows it won't be easy.

Posted by: Adagio on November 3, 2008 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Grover Norquist once said, "Bipartisanship is date rape."

And, indeed, it is.

Posted by: Hank Essay on November 3, 2008 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think Americans want left, right or center policies. They want policies that work and a government that works for the middle class. They want to start working again and stop screwing around with ideology and phony financial schemes. Obama's mandate is a roll up your sleeves, start doing stuff mandate. Pretty fitting for a guy from Chicago.

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 3, 2008 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Could it be that Mr. Schoen fears Democrats will give Republicans a dose of their own medicine when they assume power? Does he fear, for example, that:

-- Repubicans will be excluded from Congressional Committee meetings?
-- That close votes on the floor will be extended illegally for hours?
-- That Republican amendments will be illegally inserted into bills already passed?
-- That Presidential signing statements will nullify the meaning of votes taken?
-- That the US attorneys' offices will be stacked with Democratic ideologues?
-- That earmarks really will be eliminated?
-- That Democrats will insist all the K Street lobbying firms and Washington-based industry associations replace their leadership with Democrats?
-- That Reagan National Airport will be renamed in honor of Democratic Nobel Peace Laureates Jimmy Carter or Al Gore?
-- That NASA climate studies will actually be published as written by the authors?
-- That GSA and other agency resources will be deployed to solidify support for Democratic candidates nationwide?
-- That federal contracts will only go to Democratic party contributors?

If so then Mr. Schoen should be sweating.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 3, 2008 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

IOW, the black guy needs to toe the line, lest he think he and his dark-skinned cronies start to feel like they are in control of anything. Leave out the views of the "all-white party" at your own risk, black dude.

White pundits will be more than prepared to use the race card when it finally becomes obvious that there may be something wrong with the notion that up until now the homogeneous racial purity of the pundit class has not been considered remarkable in the least.

And no, Bob Herbert and Eugene Robinson are not sufficient to make a case for "parity."

Posted by: Mr Blifil on November 3, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Kos had something similiar to this on their site yesterday as it relates to the SecDef appointment. To them Hagel is a non starter and a Democrat should be SecDef. This is extremely narrow and seems to just be a reprise of the Bush/Rove/Norquist strategy. I don't believe anything Norquist espouses should be followed to the letter. He's a Stalinist not and an enemy of the American people.

If we want real change in this country Obama would be wise to pursue a middle ground. If you want to see progressive liberal reign in America then cleaning up the voting process should be on the front burner. The demographics are changing daily so it would be wise to be as inclusive as possible with voting rights.

It seems most people with half a brain want American manufacturing to return in a big way. Infrastructure is a winning issue for Obama as is regulation of Wall St and the housing bubble.

We're in dire straights, Alienating any moderate Republicans would be a fools errand. Obama will pick those whom he and the American people respect and pursue bipartanship with them as he should.

Keep in mind that Palin will be a hero to the far right dead enders and any idiot republicans that vote for McCain will get caught in her wake and further marginalized by the adults in this country.

Posted by: grinning cat on November 3, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Well, if history has anything to say, that Mr. Schoen is right, and the Dems will do just that - look at the election results of 2006, where the Dems got into power - and promptly did the biding of the Rethugs ("impeachment is off the table", voting almost lock-step for whatever gw wanted, etc...)
I for one am not holding my breath yet that anything will change for the better, and for the good of THE PEOPLE, not the corporations.

Posted by: on November 3, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Changing an old adage slightly:

Governing well is the best revenge.

Posted by: John on November 3, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

What tomeck said about Bush claiming a "mandate". I think Bush went on to say he was going to spend the implied good will (or something) because of his mandate. Well, he got it half right, he spent us into oblivion.

At least his mom must be proud.

Sheesh! How did we ever get to this point?

Posted by: Kevin on November 3, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Look folks, getting 52% of the vote, as someone posited up-thread, is not administering an ass-kicking by any stretch of the imagination. And we all know that winning the EC by 5 votes or 100 is meaningless since they are not counted proportionally.

Even if Obama wins by 5 million votes and takes 56% of the popular, that's still not a resounding defeat of anyone or anything. Only if Obama wins by that margin now and then adds three or four points to this margin of victory in 2012, and we then elect another progressive (okay, semi-progressive) in 2016 can we say that we've seen a tidal shift in American society.

Posted by: Jeff II on November 3, 2008 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Even if it is a blowout election, say 60% of the vote nationwide is for Obama,
That still means that 4 out of 10 Americans disagree with this new course.
4 out of 10. What do we do with those people - just throw them away? ignore them?
They are our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers, even our wives.
Nay, if we plow over this group with our 6-out-of-10 mandate we will be doing a disservice to them as well.

Nay, the finest way to grind these bush-republicans into the ground is for the Democrats to demonstrate
that they can administer this nation for the benefit of all
with the absolute best management skills, and an honest attempt to do best for the country.
As long as the democrats show good leadership, and refrain from using their power for revenge,
It is likely that the voting public will keep the Democrats in the majority for a long time.

Thats'what I want.

So remember who the other half of america is -
they are Americans too. Just like my wife.

What america needs is leadership that embraces and listens to EVERYONE.

That is one major reason I have supported Obama for a long time now. I perceive that that is his
point of view too. He's a temp player. He's a team leader. We all need to be part of the same team.

ed bardell
san jose, ca

Posted by: Edward Bardell on November 3, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

The center is not where he thinks it is.

Posted by: pbg on November 3, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

“This election is not a mandate for Democratic policies. Rather, it is a wholesale rejection of the policies of George W. Bush, Republicans, and to a lesser extent, John McCain.”

As a liberal, I fully agree with this statement.

Your words, "if voters turn out in record numbers, elect Democrats to control almost everything, and deliver a "wholesale rejection" of conservative Republicans, Democrats shouldn't consider this a mandate for change" No, they should not. The change to which you refer is not the change to which Mr. Schoen is referring.

Look at the actions of the left, centrists, independents, Hill supporters, and those who voted for neither Obama or McCain in the primaries. We are all flocking together in record numbers to save America. Our idea of change is ending the war, stopping this endless supply of funds for corporate welfare, and returning to peace and prosperity.

Look at the actions of conservatives. For the past 8 years, conservatives did very little to correct or admonish Bush over his war policies, his signing statements, his protection of corporations at the expense of main street. Whether they agreed or disagreed, conservatives have tolerated Bush and let him work until the end, at least 27% advocated him for the full 8 years.

For 6 of those 8 years, a Republican Congress was glorifying in Bush, spending money, deregulating pollution and energy controls, having a feast at the Republican table. Main street watched our national debt escalate, they watched Congress pay for the Bush agenda on credit. There was no outcry from them, none from the corporate owned media, none from religious leaders. Where have conservatives derided this administration with warnings, reprimands, or rebuke? Moreover, what was the conservative consensus on Bush regarding a variety of mistakes, the Justice Department and Gonzales, FEMA and Brownie, World Banks Wolfe? Republicans still back the firing of the AG’s. And in government, there was certainly no strong active voice against his politics from the conservative side.

The conservative mantra has been anti-liberal for 8 years. Do you feel that such collective stripes will change enmass? I certainly do not. The anti-liberal sentiments will continue and Congressional Republicans will work to obstruct Democrats as they worked to facilitate Bush.

78% believe this country is headed in the wrong direction, remember, and even a conservative can see the Bush/McCain correlation. What is the point to replace a Bush with a McCain if the voting record shows such strong parallels. The conservatives turning FROM Bush/McCain does not mean they are turning TOWARD liberal polices. Far from it. They have an idea of change as well. But they also love their country and watching it implode by Bush doctrines that will be held up by McCain has to be as difficult for them as for us.

The right will never stop searching for a reason to prove to themselves that they are God-backed and therefore superior in all things. Their religion, their politics, their belief systems depend on that. Saving the country from McCain is not handing conservative ideologies over to progressive agendas. The conservative outcry against bench appointments and liberal policies will be far louder than anything heard during the Bush Administration.

Posted by: Zli on November 3, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

the way to govern:

reject "trickle down" economics....

reject neo-conservative foreign policy...

reject social conservative "philosophy"...

for starters.....

Posted by: dj spellchecka on November 3, 2008 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK
So remember who the other half of america is - they are Americans too. Just like my wife.

What america needs is leadership that embraces and listens to EVERYONE.

That is one major reason I have supported Obama for a long time now. I perceive that that is his
point of view too. He's a temp player. He's a team leader. We all need to be part of the same team.


I have just upchucked my cookies, and I am quite certain I shall not be remunerated for them. Happenstance requires that I correct you and set you straight.

What, praytell, if...and I will pause here so that the slower readers can catch up...if...you are an idiot?

Should you then be listened to? Of course not. Stupidity in all of its forms must be stamped out, like liberalism and the cretinous Obamanuts and whatnot. From my position here on the faculty at Harvard, I look down the hill at the common people rutting in the gutter, and I say, whatever! Is that a sneer on my face? It certainly is! I sneer at your bellicose sense of entitlement. I sneer at all liberals, if only because I know from whence you came, and where you are headed.

America is center-right because it has, on numerous occasions, rejected liberalism out of hand and it is only because a just war has gone badly that liberalism enjoys anything remotely resembling a resurgence. The Democratic Party of 2008 is identical to the Republican party of 1974, and look what that brought us--a failed liberal Democrat and the creation of a new conservative majority in America, typified and personified by Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Roll in that gutter, liberals! Your demise is foretold. Victory is fleeting, but victory belongs to me today.

Posted by: Professor Dingleberry on November 3, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Big difference between January '77 and January '09. Carter came in with a majority. However, his staff did not know how to work with Congress. In addition, the Democrats held a majority, but, no sense of direction. There were still massive rifts among factions going back to '72 and, especially, 68.

Senator Obama is going to come in much differently. I suspect his transition team will hit running and the Democratic Party in Congress will be better focused.

Posted by: berttheclock on November 3, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, this Shoen piece was quoted by Brokaw to John Kerry as well as Bob Kerry's statement calling for this consensus bipartisanship crap.. They couldn't be more wrong; I posted this at DU but feel it needs to be repeated here:

"When the American public says they are tired of the partisanship they are specifically talking about republicans and their now infamous senate obstructionism.

These are DINOs and they don't speak for the majority of democrats but mostly for Blue Dog dems. Obama needs to have dem majorities in order not to have his goals impeded by the obstructionist republicans and their democratic supporters who have wrecked America.

This Kerry is trying this "cross the isle crap" to ensure an Obama presidency but conditions have set themselves up just like the conditions preceeding FDR and the last thing we need right now are these"economic royalists" who have avoided paying taxes under Bush blocking the necessary reforms to restore our democracy. We are not electing dem majorities so they can cater to republicans. We are electing dem majorities to make sure they EXCLUDE these republican obstructionists and their failed policies which nearly destroyed our economy and caused us to lose our standing in foreign affairs.

I dislike Kerry at times because he's always so quick to kiss ass rather than stand up against the very people who brought on our current disaster. We get nowhere listening to these republicans who would just as quickly throw all dems out of office if given the chance. It's not the truth being divided equally between 2 parties, it's one party with the truth who is bailing the other party out of the mess they created for all of us. Kerry needs someone to sit him down and explain why we are giving the dems these majorities before he goes giving away this advantage so easily so as not to offend anyone. It is time for dems to stand up and make the necessary sweeping changes to get our nation going in the right direction again and restore our democracy and it's constitution. We don't want a "commander-in-chief" which is only necessary in times of war, going around commanding civilians like soldiers...we want a "president" who is working for the benefit of the people he represents and the constitution we live by. It is time for a democratic partisanship to accomplish a progressive agenda the majority of voters are demanding...Universal health care ins(not for profit and single payer hopefully); Peace in the middle east and a world unified against terrorism; energy independence with predominately energy alternatives to oil; a unified determined effort to deal with global warming; and a re-institution of our 4th amendment rights; the return of Habeas corpus, the end of torture and stopping the privatization of our government; education reform with free higher education for those seeking it, jobs, the return of the fairness doctrine, fair taxation and the end of tax breaks for the wealthy etc...it's a huge list...the return of our DoJ and our EPA.

Republicans will try to block every inch of these sweeping changes and that is why we are electing democratic majorities Kerry...not so you can prove how willing you are to compromise against our best interest. So STFU"... if you can't see we want a dem majority to initiate a progressive liberal agenda. Liberal centrists are not conservative centrists which is what you promote with more republican obstructionism to our agenda.

Posted by: bjobotts on November 3, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Carter came in with a majority.

I hate to pour hot soup on your three-penny opera, but the Dems controlled Congress in 1976, as they do now. The Dems were swept into power because of the unproven criminality of Richard Nixon, just like they are being swept into power because of the unproven criminality of George Bush.

You FAIL. I give you a D- and send you back to prep school. You should return your books to the library.

Posted by: Professor Dingleberry on November 3, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hark*** "... America hates liberals and liberalism.

It's going to be an interesting time. The Democrats had better hit the ground running, but I don't think they will. They'll just stall out.

We are terminally "center very right" in my opinion.
Posted by: hark on November 3, 2008 at 10:19 AM
.That is what the media and the republicans want you to believe but the polls tell a very different story. The nation polled a huge majority of us as standing for a progressive liberal agenda. The country's middle is now progressive liberal left on all the major issues of our nation. We are sick of being plundered by the very wealthy and as a majority, united against compromising with the right's agenda.

We are not a centrist right country by any means. That is a fairy tale told by the media darling millionaires who want that lie accepted as a standard but it is totally untrue. Center right represents less than 25% of the nation's voters. I strongly disagree that "...America hates liberals and liberalism...." Many may resent being classified by those terms because the "words" may have a negative connotation to them but on the issues the majority of us poll progressive liberal. The "center" is now liberal left. "A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet" as sweetly as the liberal left.

Posted by: joey on November 3, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Even if it is a blowout election, say 60% of the vote nationwide is for Obama, That still means that 4 out of 10 Americans disagree with this new course. 4 out of 10. What do we do with those people - just throw them away? ignore them? They are our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers, even our wives. Posted by: Edward Bardell

It is problematic, but if after 8 years of complete Republican failure and two years of McCain campaigning they haven't figured out that he's promising pretty much 4 more years of the same idiocy, there's not much you can do for people like this. They have closed their minds or they simply are not smart enough to understand the enormous problems the Bush administration has saddled the country with.

I'm afraid the best you can do is ignore them. They simply do not hold opinions that matter.

Posted by: Jeff II on November 3, 2008 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry. Remember how Obama has run this campaign. If he takes on republicans, he will damn well make sure that they don't pee in the tent. When it comes to the agenda, there will be a lot of unity talk, but if the rethuglicans try and pull their obstructionist whiny BS, well Obama knows how to mix it up and has a nice base of followers to make their voices heard.

And woe be to any democrat in Congress who does not support the President's agenda ... Can you say primary?, I knew you could. And you know, I didn't like Rahm Emmanual when he badmouthed Dean, but he would make a great bad cop (chief of staff) to smack heads and put out markers on Dems who resist the White House Agenda.

Obama knows how to mix it up. And we are gonna help him take on the SOBs in Congress who don't get it. LOL.

Posted by: Northern Observer on November 3, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

As for this no mandate baloney, he's a little gem for the next time some know nothings says that to you.
When Reagan won in 1980 he won with 50.7% of the vote, a percentage Obama will likely surpass. Now did Reagan hold back on his mandate from 1980 to 1984? Hell NO! So why should Obama? Cause it makes Broder happy? Hell NO!

Posted by: Northern Observer on November 3, 2008 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK



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