Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 26, 2010

NEGOTIATING WITH THOSE WHO OPPOSE THEIR OWN PRINCIPLES.... This week, a couple of key Senate Republicans said they would never agree to any compromise on energy policy if it included a cap-and-trade provision. If a proposal puts a cap on carbon emissions, and applies that cap to anyone or anything, anywhere, even a little, Republicans said they will kill the legislation and not allow the Senate to vote on it.

It led Mark Kleiman to raise a good point, and I hope he won't mind if I quote it at length.

Why, I'm so old that I remember when market-simulating pollution-control regulations -- polluter charges or cap-and-trade -- were the official conservative alternative to command-and-control regulation. I was sympathetic to that critique, and frustrated about the environmental movement's unwillingness to see reason.

But now that the enviros have embraced a GHG tax or its cap-and-trade equivalent as the way to deal with global warming, conservative support is nowhere in sight. They're all too afraid of Grover Norquist.

Remember this the next time a conservative explains how we ought to voucherize public education. The minute that happens, the conservatives will come back and decide that we need to means-test the vouchers. That done, they'll attack the remaining program as "welfare."

This is not a group of people it's possible to do business with.

This is important. Cap-and-trade -- any version of it -- has been deemed wholly unacceptable by Republicans this year. But given the intense opposition to the idea, it's easy to forget that Republicans used to consider cap-and-trade a reasonable, market-based mechanism that was far preferable to command-and-control directives that the right found offensive.

And I'm not talking about the distant past -- the official position of the McCain/Palin Republican presidential ticket, not even two years ago, was to support cap-and-trade. Not just in theory, either. The official campaign website in 2008 told Americans that John McCain and Sarah Palin "will establish ... a cap-and-trade system that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions." McCain/Palin's official position added, "A cap-and-trade system harnesses human ingenuity in the pursuit of alternatives to carbon-based fuels."

Even George W. Bush awkwardly endorsed cap-and-trade before leaving office.

Democratic policymakers could, today, endorse the policy put forward by the Republican ticket from 2008, and GOP senators would filibuster it. Republicans said they wanted cap-and-trade, but now refuse to take "yes" for an answer.

The goal posts are always on the move, which in turn makes substantive policymaking with Republican lawmakers practically impossible.

Indeed, after Kleiman posted his piece this week, plenty of others noticed how common the phenomenon is. Matt Yglesias noted:

Another major example I can think of is the Earned Income Tax Credit, once touted as the conservative alternative to welfare and/or restoring the real value of the minimum wage, but now supported almost exclusively by liberals while conservatives castigate the poor for not paying taxes. Section 8 housing vouchers, put forward as an alternative to public housing and then repeatedly cut by GOP congresses is another one. Of course this kind of consideration doesn't invalidate any given idea -- I think auctioned, tradable emissions permits actually are the best way to regulate most sources of pollution and that housing vouchers are superior to old-school public housing. But this kind of continual pulling away of the football by the conservative movement makes it quite difficult for us to reach stable consensus around decent policies.

Ezra Klein noted that Republicans used to support industry bailouts, but now consider them creeping socialism. Jon Chait noted that the Republicans "fervently embraced the logic of Keynesian stimulus in 2001," but now fundamentally reject the same idea.

In perhaps my favorite example, the concept of an individual mandate as part of health care reform was, in fact, a Republican idea. Now, the GOP considers it the single most offensive part of the Democratic policy.

The point isn't to point out Republican inconsistencies; that's fairly routine. The point is to demonstrate that Republicans are so fundamentally unserious about solving public policy challenges, that they'll shamelessly move the goalposts at a moment's notice. The party supports cap-and-trade, EITC, industry bailouts, housing vouchers, and mandatory health insurance -- right up until there's a Democratic president. Then, Republicans are no longer willing to even consider Republican ideas.

When the David Broders of the world lecture the dysfunctional Congress on the importance of policymakers working together in good faith, this dynamic tends to be overlooked entirely. Credible people who are serious about solving problems can formulate consensus solutions. But they'll invariably fail because Republicans have no qualms about fighting against their own proposals.

Steve Benen 11:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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Good points, and there's more hypocrisy regarding taxation here: Righties like to gripe how unfair it is that the lower half "don't pay any Federal taxes." But every time something like cap-and-trade comes up, they complain about the cost to consumers. CAT is a good way to get everyone to pay the user fee for the real costs and externalities of carbon use. Furthermore it reduces cost anyway by reducing demand, something they rarely factor in.

Posted by: Neil B 23 on June 26, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

If the GOP is going to fillibuster cap and trade, it is only because they don't believe the EPA will do anything. At this point, the EPA should simply regulate CO2 and if Congress doesn't move that is it. Put the GOP in the seat of being proactive (to change current policy) than in the seat of blocking things.

Posted by: Patrick on June 26, 2010 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

I think this misses the problem. It's one thing for conservative think-tankers and serious policymakers to say (1) yes, liberals have identified a problem, but (2) their approach will have unintended consequences and be far less effective than they think, so (3) we'll offer a market-based solution that will align public purpose and private interest to solve the problem. It's another thing altogether to actually get serious about policy issues if your base and your funders (1) don't think there's actually a problem to begin with, or (2) think the real problem is that "parasitic" Democrats are making up problems in order to steal our money and use it to fund their political machine. There was, in fact, a time when there were serious conservatives--when the notion of conservatism as "the party of ideas" wasn't the sick joke it's become. But the basic problem is that they decided at one point to use populism as their tool to gain power, and now they either have to serve the monster they've created, or be devoured by it [See Inglis, Bob].

Posted by: David in Nashville on June 26, 2010 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

This illustrates that the only concept that truly defines the GOP is 'whatever the Dems are fer, we're agin.'

Posted by: Baldrick on June 26, 2010 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

One thing I note about all of these changing positions is that some of them (industry bailouts for example) don't represent any ideological committment. Their current position is based almost entirely on attacking everything President Obama or Congressional Democrats support.

Others represent classic bait-and-switch tactics ala Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football. Republicans loved the EITC as an alternative to welfare, but really prefer not to give the poor any kind of break at all. Similarly, CAT and housing vouchers are more palatable to them than the alternative remedies but the moment they win that battle, they lose interest in their own proposals in favor of doing nothing at all.

Posted by: tanstaafl on June 26, 2010 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

This is not a group of people it's possible to do business with.

Ok, so the above is not breaking news, but let's consider this for a moment.

If we can't do business with them, what do we do with them?
If we need to get business done, how will we do it without them?

To put the stake in the heart of Broderism balderdash there need to be firm answers with workable methods to these questions.

Posted by: MikeBoyScout on June 26, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Hence the Party of No.

They wear it with pride.

Posted by: craigie on June 26, 2010 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

The Party of Know v. the Party of No.

Posted by: Neil B on June 26, 2010 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Many, many people do not remember what happened yesterday let alone two years ago. Ever shortening attention spans, and a nonstop tidal wave of nonsensical punditry and propaganda so overwhelms our senses that even the average interested and reasonably informed person can't process it all, or make the necessary connections to the past to see the larger picture.

Rigid ideologues always embrace the changing party line no matter how inconsistent, contradictory, or hypocritical the changes are. The Stalinists, and their American fellow travelers of yore are perfect examples, and the Rethugs of 2010 are perfectly in that mold. Fox propaganda tell their ditto heads what to think, since they can't think for themselves, and the Lemmings march right over the cliff without a second thought.

What a sad commentary on American education.

Posted by: rrk1 on June 26, 2010 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Obama and the Democrats keep doing the same stupid things over, and over, and over again.
To appease the R-assholes, they move shit to the right, only to find the right has moved so far further right, that's it's on the horizon. And they move right again, to that horizon, only to find...

The people of this country like fighters.
D's who keep moving shit, to get bi-partisan support, look like concilators.
R's who say "NO" on every position, even those they formerly firmly held, look like principled fighters.
America is now a country of absolute morons.
This country is done.
And you know, we deserve it. We ARE that F-ing stupid!
If someone can help show me otherwise, I'd appreciate it.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on June 26, 2010 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats need to get tough with the goal-post -movers.

Example - Scott Brown got concessions for Massachusetts companies in FinReg, but fould another reason to oppose it (the $19 billion in new taxes - of course an idiotic quibble compared to the huge hole that was basted into the economy).

Democrats need to say, oh yeah, say good bye to your concessions.

Posted by: esaud on June 26, 2010 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

You're dealing with a political party that doesn't believe in politics -- not politics in the how-do-we-run-our-polity sense.

A Republican's idea of the function of the state is not that it's there to fight crime, it's there to provide them a police escort as they drive the getaway car. It's not even a 'night-watchman state', it's a 'drug-the-night-watchman' state.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on June 26, 2010 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

following on from tanstaafl who wrote : "Their current position is based almost entirely on attacking everything President Obama or Congressional Democrats support," this leaves the gop in some ackward positions like opposing working class americans over unemployment or defending bp after they caused one of the biggest enviromental disasters in history.... they are so quick to bash the president they forgot who they have to defend or oppose...they'd be better off saying nothing

Posted by: dj spellchecka on June 26, 2010 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

If we need to get business done, how will we do it without them?

Reforming or eliminating the filibuster is essential. I was once sympathetic to arguments that it is too important for the next time Republicans are in power, but since Democrats, unlike Republicans, are actually interested in governing even when they're not in charge, the imbalance has become too extreme. For the past several decades, conservative strategy has been to push to the extreme right when they're in power, and block any moves in the opposite direction when they're not, no matter what harm it does to the country. This puts Dems in a position of either obstructing equally when a Republican is president, helping conservative goals by "proving" that government doesn't work, or behaving reasonably and losing the long-term battle.

The filibuster isn't the only reason for this, but it's now an extremely important one. (Not to mention that low-population states give conservatives unwarranted power in the Senate anyway.) It has to go.

Posted by: Redshift on June 26, 2010 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats need to say, oh yeah, say good bye to your concessions.

I wonder if it would be possible to write House and Senate rules such that if you don't vote for the final bill, any amendments you sponsored are automatically stripped.

Posted by: Redshift on June 26, 2010 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

The point is that our politics today represent a struggle, if not a war, between those who want better, more responsive and responsible government, with priorities that represent the needs of the country as a whole, vs. those who want power for its own sake, and to make the country even more subservient to wealthy and corporate interests.

It is basically a propaganda war, and the Rethugs have been winning it for years, if not decades. Until an effective propaganda counterattack is mounted - with suitable charismatic spokespeople (not a small task) - the Palins, Pauls, Becks,and Bachmanns will get most of the attention, instead of being laughed off their respective stages for being so moronic.

Much could be accomplished if the Senate rules were changed. David Broder's retirement wouldn't hurt either. At least retirement is a likelihood for Broderites at some point. Relegating the Senate to the Smithsonian, where it belongs, isn't likely, but definitely desirable.

The media's right-wing bent certainly makes responsible change a tough uphill climb, but the dithering Dems, the mindless handwringing of the Broders, and the incrementalism of Obama don't help either. Bush ignored all his critics and behaved as if there was no opposition to his authoritarian tactics. The Dems let him get away with it when they could have been just as obstructionist as the Rethugs are now. You don't win in politics if you always play nice guy. If you have power use it or lose it.

Posted by: rrk1 on June 26, 2010 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

"This country is going so far right you are not even going to recognize it."

-- John Mitchell, Attorney General
Women's National Press Club, 1970

Posted by: beep52 on June 26, 2010 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Democratic failure=Republican success in 11/2010. That's the Republican calculus, and whether or not the American people win or lose is of no concern to them. Why can't the Democrats grasp this simple fact?

Posted by: Roger the Cabin Boy on June 26, 2010 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

The heck with cap and trade. Get the EPA to put some regulations into effect and refuse to let any Republican legislation pass against it. Then the only worry is the activist Republican Supreme Court removing the mandate for the EPA.

Posted by: N.Wells on June 26, 2010 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, whatever happened to Make Them Filibuster?

Posted by: hells littlest angel on June 26, 2010 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen, Mark Kleiman, Ezra Klein, Jon Chait, must be geniuses and savants because, nobody else in the universe can figure this stuff out.

Democratic members of congress, the political arm of the Whitehouse, and the policy wonks in te administration are completely unaware of the bad faith, double dealing, inconsitency, and incoherence of the BPublican party.

Democrats approached every issue as if the as if the BPublicans are going to work with them to solve problems and are then shocked and outraged when the "party of no" says no to whatever the president and his party want to do, even if it was a BPublican idea to start with.

My question. Who is the fool in this scenario?

Posted by: Winkandanod on June 26, 2010 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

So lets just do a carbon tax. If they won't support any solution at all, we might as well put our efforts behind the superior solution without regard to their manufactured concerns.

Posted by: Jon on June 26, 2010 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Not to pick nits, but "George W. Bush awkwardly" anything is redundant.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on June 26, 2010 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

all true. the meta-narrative is not mentioned, however. The GOP wants power. Period. That's all they care about. They like having the power to deregulate their corporate masters to the point where those masters can do virtually anything they want with their corporation, with total impunity.

The GOP wants power to start wars to benefit their masters in the M/I complex, and to make their tiny dicks feel bigger.

The GOP wants power so they can transfer our tax money to their powerful, already-wealthy friends.

This is not just talk. The GOP has PROVEN this is what they want, and what they do, every time they hold power.

They have less-than-zero interest in preserving the Commons, helping the People. They're feudalists, in essence. The problem is not that they want to go back to McKinley's election in the 1890s. Now they want to go back before the Magna Carta.

You can't govern with such people. They should be laughed at, marginalized, and ultimately crushed. They're deeply dangerous to us all.

Posted by: LL on June 26, 2010 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP is stupid. Have no workable policies and care only for their own self interests. They are incapable of governing and corporate lobbyists write their entire agenda. One would have to dig deeply to find anything this mob has ever done for the good for the nation.

They are the party of hypocrisy holding up signs saying "Country First" while trying to install incompetents who make sure government cannot function. They will filibuster everything just to prevent democratic success regardless of how it affects Americans. Remembering how republicans used to be is nothing but fantasy now. This group is incapable of being part of the democratic process any longer and should be considered enemies of Democracy. They are ruining the nation and will continue to do so until the broken senate fixes itself...which is now or never...but looking at Harry Reid and Obama it looks like it will be never.

What a shame...and we are powerless to stop it unless we get a super-majority of dems (enough to overcome conservadems as well) elected. It just brings tears watching our nation be destroyed and held hostage by this minority...exactly what they said they would do the day Obama took office.

Posted by: bjobotts on June 26, 2010 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

These examples need to be memorized by all Democratic pundits and politicians (and the rest of us) so that they can easily and very frequently insert them into their responses, presentations, ads, conversations, etc. The public doesn't seem able to remember such things and needs to be reminded over and over. Sort of like the Repubs consistently repeat their points--except that their points are largely lies while these are true ...

Posted by: pea on June 26, 2010 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Life gave you republicans? Make lemonade.

Mr. Benen is correct: You can't negotiate with someone who opposes their own principles. Nor can we blame our republican children for such shiftiness. Their calculus is simple: The more unemployment, foreclosures, and social malaise... the more certain an anti-incumbency forest fire will sweep them into power.

So what's the solution?

Make lemonade. Take what the republicans will give. But only when it can be made to serve the Obama Administration's immediate needs. For example, we need more stimulus right now. The economy needs help. But that isn't going to happen per se. But check this paragraph out from the AZ Daily Star :

The Southwest border would get 1,000 new Border Patrol agents and 160 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers if Congress approves a request by President Obama for an extra $500 million for security. The president said that is on top of his previous decision to put 1,200 National Guard troops along the Southwest's border with Mexico.
Jobs. Lots of 'em. And here is McCain in the same article bitching for more job creation:
Republicans, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, have criticized Obama's plans, calling them too small a response to the situation. McCain said he wanted 6,000 National Guard troops, with half of them in Arizona. He also said Arizona alone needs 3,000 new Border Patrol agents.

I say, double down on the McCain lemonade. Call. Raise. And squeeze! Obama should hire 15,000 more Border Guards. This does three related things:

1) Stimulates the economy.
2) Jobs. Jobs. Jobs!
3) Steals the republican thunder.

What do you say? That this is minuscule pitcher of lemonade?
Well yes and no. Is the border the only place you can force the Republicans into supporting more spending? I think not. The Gulf Coast needs long term repairing and restoration. Think jobs. Think stimulus. Think: An uncomfortable veto for Republicans.

Looky: Republicans are children. For god's sake, it ought not to be to hard to out-think the little snot-nosed brats...

Posted by: koreyel on June 26, 2010 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe we could take advantage of this dynamic. The Republicans will automatically oppose anything we propose. So let's propose Republican ideas so the Republicans have to respond by backing our ideas. Let's try it. Start with proposing the elimination of the estate tax. The Republicans will have to counter with a proposal to raise the estate tax. And then we can just allow the higher estate tax to pass. We get we want and let the Republicans take the credit. Are the Republicans really stupid enough to fall for that trick? Two words: Sarah Palin. If they are stupid enough to fall for Sarah Palin, they'll fall for anything.

Posted by: fostert on June 26, 2010 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

If the GOP is a champion of free market forces:

Why is there no cap and trade system to control carbon>
Why can't I choose the cable channels I want to watch and let the rest of them compete for viewers based on quality?
Why can I only get AT&T phone connections with a phone manufactured by Apple?
Why have credit card companies been able to charge interest rates that used to qualify as usury with no market competition?
Why can't I legally buy prescription drugs from Canada?

Why, why why? Youth wants to know!!!!

Posted by: dweb on June 26, 2010 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats actually have a real coalition while Republicans do not. They vote in lockstep. But, this isn't polite to say, so officially the Republican Party is taken seriously. This includes the idea that there is a "chance" they will win control of one of the houses in November.

This seems patently ridiculous to me. The Dems barely got their short lived 60 vote majority by having basically everything going the right way, including a party switch and two paper thin races with one based on the incumbent being on trial. Oh, Bush was near the end of his presidency and had popularity numbers in the toilet.

This got them less + seats than the Republicans need to control the Senate now. But, even the Rachel Maddows of the world raise a "chance" that Republicans will gain control. Until we all stop taking them seriously, this **** will go on.

Oh, yes, the filibuster business has to go given that unlke the Dems, they vote in lockstep. Filibusters only work when there is an actual bouncing crossparty group that don't make it just about party.

Posted by: Joe on June 26, 2010 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

This just demonstrates that trying to understand what the conflict between conservatives and others (in his case, Democrats) cannot be understood by analyzing the issues. Issues have nothing to do with the actions of Republicans. Issues are to them weapons, weapons which will be discarded immediately when they lose their effectiveness.

The media, the Democrats and the civics teachers take the issues seriously but the Republicans don't! That's the lesson to take away from the Cap and Trade discussion.

Why won't Lucy let Charlie Brown kick the football? Because she loses power if he kicks it or if he walks off and picks up a baseball and calls to Snoopy. In either case, Lucy would lose the game.

It's time to quit playing the Republican's games. Unfortunately convincing the Democratic leadership and most of the Democratic voters of this fact will be difficult at best, and the media pundits will never accept it.

Posted by: Rick B on June 26, 2010 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Here's another one:

In the early 1970s, Sainted Ronaldus Magnus, when he was but a mere Governor of California, put forward the idea that the mentally-ill should be "de-institutionalized" and returned to their communities, where local support would help them far better. Not to mention it would reduce the state budget to close the mental hospitals. This was carried out - with the support of the lefty-liberal "helping professions" who all argued in favor of liberating the crazies - and was mostly accomplished by the the end of the 1970s.

Fast forward 35 years, and what you have is all the crazies "de-institutionalized" and living on your sidewalk (or the sidewalk of your local "skid row"), or in your parking lot, begging on the streets, some of the more severely disturbed committing crimes of violence while the rest commit whatever crime they have to in order to survive, since the conservatives cut all the local-support systems, hobbled state and local finances with atrocities like Proposition 13, and NIMBYed any proposal to create a local mental health center in their communities.

Republicans created the homeless problem in the guise of "liberating" the mentally ill.

Posted by: TCinLA on June 26, 2010 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

How about going even further.

Maybe the Administration should not only propose abolishing the estate tax, but also propose (in the spirit of bipartisanship, of course):

- Adopting a flat income tax with a 15% rate
- Privatizing Social Security and Medicare
- Eliminating the corporate income tax
- Abolishing the Department of Education

As Steve suggests the Republican will find some way to oppose (probably shamelessly, i.e., moving to the flat tax will increase the deficit; privatizing Medicare will lead to pulling the plug on grandma).

What we see unfolding is a ruthless strategy by the Republicans to play on the ignorance and short-term memory of the center of gravity of the American electorate.

It's very sad that the professional journalists who cover politics fail to understand this for the major historical development that it actually is: a political party that has embraced Nihilism as its official governing philosophy.

Posted by: DBEvanston on June 26, 2010 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

"The party supports cap-and-trade, EITC, industry bailouts, housing vouchers, and mandatory health insurance -- right up until there's a Democratic president. Then, Republicans are no longer willing to even consider Republican ideas.

Another thing one could notice in this construction is: the Democrat is proposing Republican ideas!

But that doesn't score points against the opponents, it's an own goal. So nevermind.

Posted by: flubber on June 26, 2010 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Another example of this dynamic is Republicans' attitude toward regulation of business and the tort system.

When Reagan came into office, conservatives--and particularly libertarian conservatives--told us that we could (and ought to) get rid of regulation of business, because the tort system would punish businesses who did not care for the safety of their workers, customers and the environment, and thus businesses would be sure to behave well for fear of such punishment.

Of course, after they had laid waste to regulation of business, they promptly started criticizing the tort system harshly, calling for "tort reform"--in effect calling for its virtual emasculation.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on June 27, 2010 at 7:42 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and going back awhile, before Clinton caved to conservatives and got rid of AFDC, conservatives could not do enough to express their admiration for the working poor, contrasting them to the "idle," welfare-collecting non-working poor.

Once welfare was ended, though, conservatives ended their admiration for working people, and heaped the scorn they had used to reserve for AFDC recipients onto "greedy, lazy" union workers and those "parasites" who don't earn enough to owe federal income taxes.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on June 27, 2010 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans have gone "daffy" on a lot of things. Basically if the Democrats are for it, they're against it. Period. Unfortunately, they are likely to be rewarded this Fall for their obduration, opposition and obfuscation.

Perhaps the Democrats need to take a page from the master: Bugs Bunny. Those of us of a certain age will remember (in TV reruns) this exchange from 1952's "Rabbit Seasoning":

Bugs Bunny: Would you like to shoot me now or wait till you get home?

Daffy Duck: Shoot him now! Shoot him now!

Bugs Bunny: You keep outta this! He doesn't have to shoot you now!

Daffy Duck: He does so have to shoot me now!
[to Elmer]

Daffy Duck: I demand that you shoot me now!
[Elmer shoots him.]

It may seem like a stretch but nothing else has worked to well this far - so why not?


Posted by: Bob on June 27, 2010 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

That's the Republican calculus, and whether or not the American people win or lose is of no concern to them. Why can't the Democrats grasp this simple fact?

I'm beginning to think that the answer to this question is that both parties are different branches of the same entity. And that entity has a goal to retain wealth and power. We are fed a lie that the parties are 'different', when in reality Democrats, who are supposed to be on the people's side, are actually useful idiots who act populist but are working with Republicans in some grand, behind-the-scenes plan to consolidate and retain wealth and power.

Greenwald had a post about this awhile back, with copious examples of how Democrats moved to the right on a host of issues even when they had the votes or the power to do something that they had already said they would do if they only had the votes or the power. The Democrats are moving the goalposts. The Democrats have planted within them more than enough 'turncoats' to ensure that nothing truly supportive of what used to be Democratic goals are ever reached, and when momentous issues and votes fail, they say 'it's just those darn Republicans'--and these few Democrats who always show up to ensure nothing happens. It's their world, we're living in it, and there's nothing we can do about it save revolution a la French-style with pitchforks and torches. And the powers-that-be know the people are too lazy, afraid, ignorant, or other to actually do that. They learned from the French.

Posted by: terraformer on June 27, 2010 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

I'm running for State Senate down here in GA and you'd be shocked at the number of voters that are utterly clueless about past positions Republicans have held that they now oppose. You bring it up and you get an emotive denial and a "thats just not true,"--often you will get the arms flailing red in the face fluster to go along with it.

The Fox news echo chamber has done a lot of damage to political discourse in this nation.

This is worrysome up and down the ballot this year and for a number of years to come.

Down here in GA the Tea Party movement is in many ways the last roar of the dixiecrats...

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