Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 3, 2010

WITH GREAT POWER.... House Republican will soon have what they've been lacking: power. But with that power comes responsibilities, and it's hard to feel any optimism about whether this crop of GOP leaders is prepared to take their duties seriously.

For one thing, it's far from clear whether the incoming Republican majority has any idea what it's doing. Mark Schmitt noted today:

There have been three major Republican/conservative takeover elections in recent history: 1980, when Ronald Reagan carried 12 seats and control of the Senate; 1994, when Newt Gingrich's Republicans took both houses; and 2010. The first, while in many ways a reaction to the incompetent presidency of Jimmy Carter (a conservative Democrat whose flaws came to symbolize liberalism) unquestionably carried a mandate for conservatism. The second, 1994, was in many ways a reaction to congressional corruption, combined with a long-postponed rejection of Southern Democrats, but Gingrich and his allies took it very seriously -- perhaps too seriously -- as an ideological mandate.

This year, though, right-wingers barely even pretended to have a comparable program-cutting agenda. Their main talking point about health reform was that it would cut Medicare benefits. They railed about TARP and the auto bailout, but the former originated in the Bush administration, and they will not attempt to repeal it. They talked about creating jobs by reducing the deficit, which is economic nonsense. Moreover, not one of the policy plans the Republicans produced would reduce the deficit by a penny. Tea Partiers ranted about constitutional and economic schemes that they probably won't even introduce, much less pass.

I've been following developments at the granular level for quite a while, and I honestly haven't the foggiest idea what kind of agenda the GOP intends to pursue. They're against spending, but no one knows what they'd cut. They're against health care reform, but it's not clear what they can do about it, and no one seriously wants another lengthy fight over health care policy anyway.

They're for a government shutdown, but I'm not sure why. They're toying with letting the country slip into default, but the motivations for that are even less clear. They're no doubt looking forward to some partisan witch hunts, which are already tiresome before even beginning.

I've received some very nice notes today from readers wanting to know how I'm feeling today. In truth, I wouldn't say I'm disappointed, but that's only because I largely expected the results we received.

Instead, I'm frustrated. I'm frustrated about some exceptional lawmakers losing their jobs for no good reason. I'm frustrated about the role of secret money in the elections. I'm frustrated that there's so much idiocy in the discourse -- people think Obama raised taxes, bailed out Wall Street, and socialized health care, all of which is completely at odds with reality -- and that too many people believe it. I'm frustrated about voters saying they want all kinds of things -- less gridlock, fewer candidates beholden to special interests -- and then deliberately choosing the opposite.

I'm frustrated that, after two years of digging out of a ditch Republicans put us in, the country is ready to take the next productive step forward, and now that's impossible. I'm frustrated that the economy desperately needs additional investments to create jobs, but that's impossible, too. I'm frustrated that Republican leaders seem to be making no real effort to hide the fact that they prioritize destroying the president over literally everything else.

But most of all, I'm frustrated that there are no meaningful consequences for successes and failures. Republicans began last year as an embarrassed and discredited minority, and proceeded to play as destructive a role as humanly possible as Democrats tried to clean up their mess. GOP officials refused to take policymaking seriously; they refused to work in good faith; they refused to offer coherent solutions; they even refused to accept responsibility for their own catastrophic mistakes.

They've proven themselves wholly unprepared to govern, but have been rewarded with power anyway. It's ... frustrating.

Steve Benen 3:55 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (49)

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"[P]eople think Obama....bailed out Wall Street....completely at odds with reality"

How many prosecutions?

Posted by: Forrest on November 3, 2010 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

About how you feel today -- funny, I'm not nearly so disappointed as I was in 2004, 2000, 1994, or 1980, for example. If we'd lost both houses, it would be really different.

I was a bit dismayed by the little I saw of Obama's press conference. Did he ever say that he was proud of things that had been achieved? I really did like the tone of Tom Perriello's e-mail to supporters saying a few things like this: "Because of our work together, we turned near-economic collapse into nine straight months of private sector job growth. Because of our work together, 1,800 homes in our district have been weatherized, putting people to work making $20 an hour. Because of our work together, over 20,000 young people in our district are getting more aid to afford college. Over 120 small business owners got the loans to live their American dream."

Was there anything like this at the press conference, or did I just miss it?

Posted by: David in NY on November 3, 2010 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

They're going to impeach the mixed race President because they hate people of any color other than white and any gender other than male. And that's true even if they are female, or non Pure white or some combo thereof. Don't kid yourself. They want to make the N-word as acceptable to older white males as it is for young black males. They want another war - spelled Iran and they will well and truly eff that up, while killing more people, theirs and ours in the other wars. But first they'll impeach Obama. after all, they so nearly got Clinton.

And they give the big banks and corporations everything they can buy. Welcome to the new CSA - the Corporate States of America.


Posted by: Steven on November 3, 2010 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Timidity and lack of communication. The Republicans did a great job of making Obama and liberals the problem.

Obama and the Democrats did nothing (NOTHING) to trumpet their successes and make obstructionism an issue.

Democrats thought that they won in 2006 and 2008 because Americans supported their agenda, when it was all about blaming George Bush.

With no Bush to blame, guess where the ire went for continued high unemployment, economic stagnation and two wars. Obama and team charted a timid course and had nothing bold to hang their hats on when times didn't get markedly better.

At least the lesson they will learn is to be more like the GOP in policy! Not in campaigning, just policy. Then they will be surprised when they are demonized again in 2012.

Posted by: Buggy Ding Dong on November 3, 2010 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Great post. I'm sure the GOP will set things right as soon as we all get our unicorns.

Posted by: Jeff In Ohio on November 3, 2010 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

They're for a government shutdown, but I'm sure why.

Really? Because if you're so sure, why don't you say why?

Posted by: josef on November 3, 2010 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

As near as I can tell, this happened for several reasons:

First, the economy, while incrementally better, still stinks. That's a killer for the party in power.

Second, we only have two parties, so when voters are mad or frustrated at one, the only option they feel they have is to go the other way.

Third, the media doesn't help. The right always complains that the media has a "liberal bias" but nothing could be further from the truth. Ever since the Democrats assumed the mantle of power, every move they have made has been framed from the point of view of the opposition. Whenever Obama proposes something or does something or says something, the first thing the media does is get John McCain or Haley Barbour or some other old white man on the teevee and tell us at length why the Obama and the Democrats are wrong, while giving Democrats no opportunity for rebuttal.

And finally, I'm not letting the Democrats off the hook. They're terrible at messaging, and dare I say it, give voters too much credit. They think we're all intelligent and rational decision makers. Republicans know we're idiots and can be swayed by emotional appeals beamed straight into our lizard brains.

Posted by: Doctor Whom on November 3, 2010 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

You are going to be more frustrated if you keep blaming everything on the Republicans and the voters who voted them in and while you don't outright call the latter group stupid, you sure insinuate it.

To ensure this doesn't happen again, you need to take a sober look at Obama, Pelosi, and the rest of the leading Democrats and DNC as a whole and figure out why this happened.

Of course, many have stated the problem was the economy. I tend to believe it, which is why I wondered why Obama spent so much time on health care reform when people needed jobs.

I did a spit-take when Pelosi uttered nonsense like the health care reform bill would "create 200k jobs almost immediately" or we have to pass the bill to see what's in the bill.

That doesn't really sit well with the unemployed or the underemployed who are worried about their next paycheck or whether they'll keep their house.

And frankly, when you're under- or unemployed, you really don't care to here the plight of the state employees, many of whom have better benefits and pensions that the voters will never see, but are on the hook to pay for.

And yes, it got tiresome to hear most prominent Democrats and bloggers to blame everything on Bush. Sorry, but after two years, Obama has to start shouldering the blame.

It reminds me of an old Soviet joke:

The incoming leader comes and meets his predecessor. The predecessor tells him the job is going to be tough, but offers him some guidance: "The first time you are in a jam, blame everything on me. The next time you are in a jam, open this letter."

The new leader indeed meets his first roadbump and he does as suggested. He blames the problem on his predecessor and he's off the hook.

Soon, the new leader runs into a second mess. He opens the letter, which states: "Time to write your own letter."

Posted by: Badlands on November 3, 2010 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

It's beyond frustrating. What's worse is seeing voters in places like Michigan and Ohio reward the GOP AFTER the GOP tried to kill off the auto industry.

That's some nuclear level stupid, if you ask me.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on November 3, 2010 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

I gaze into my crystal ball and I see. . . a total shutdown of the government. They want that even more than they want partisan witch hunts (which I agree, we will see those ASAP).

I like how you said that you don't see why they would do that, Steve, it's cute. Bear in mind, I love you to death, man. I adore your work and admire your intensive labor; and I try to share your insight with all of my friends -especially the conservative ones. But not understanding they they want a shutdown is naive and dangerous.

Here's the plan on the Repug chalkboard:

1.) Gridlock the government.
2.) Let the country go to shit.
3.) Blame it on Obama and the D's.
4.) Regain power in 2012.

That's it. That's all they want. Sure, some of them (maybe even most) think that they want to make the country better; certainly everyone who voted for them believes they want to fix the country's mess. Nope. All they really want is to be elected.

Posted by: Mitch on November 3, 2010 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

You are going to be more frustrated if you keep blaming everything on the Republicans and the voters who voted them in and while you don't outright call the latter group stupid, you sure insinuate it.

Well, I'm not insinuating it, I'm stating it flat out.

AMERICAN VOTERS ARE IDIOTS. clear enough for you?

Posted by: fourlegsgood on November 3, 2010 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

I am frustrated by the Democratic Party refusing during the months leading up to the election to trumpet their successes (private sector job growth, stock market recovery-- yeah, I know they didn't "do" that but they should have claimed credit for it-- pulling out of Iraq, saving the auto industry, keeping the recession from getting even worse, improving our standing in the world...) and by making the GOP vote on the Bush tax cuts. In typical Democratic fashion, they ran with a disunified message and with timidity. For the most part, they refused to recognize that this was a national referendum on what they had accomplished over the last eighteen or so months. That's what frustrates me.

Posted by: wihntr on November 3, 2010 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

" But with that power comes responsibilities,"

Yes, and they are working on it:

A put whoopie cushion under Pelosi's seat
B unscrew top of Harry Reid's salt shaker
C steal all the "O" keys from White House keyboards.

Posted by: DAY on November 3, 2010 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

The other thing that frustrates me is that I believe they ceded the election by refusing to make the GOP vote on the tax cuts.


Posted by: fourlegsgood on November 3, 2010 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

You nailed it.

Posted by: gone_west on November 3, 2010 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

I think Steve has captured the sense of depression/outrage accurately. This election wasn't about anything, or at least anything that added up. Tea Party Republicans spent more time running from the press and dodging their questions than telling us what they intended to do if elected. And there were just too damn many contridictions.

My guess is that the reason the election did not add up is that people could not be honest about their real agenda.

Wall Street was happy for government support, but afraid their reenactment of 1929 would usher in a new New Deal, so they used their bailouts to bite the hand that fed them.

Older white Christian voters were afraid of losing status but were afraid to acknowledge that as an election concern, so they reached for "small government" as a proxy even as they supported big government when it came to benefits for them.

The Tea Party was against deficits and for a $700 billion deficit-aggravating tax cut at the same time.

The Tea Party pledged freedom to the people and then wanted to take away the people's freedom to select their own senators.

Nothing added up, except that there was still 9.5% unemployment. Voters knew things were broke. They just refused to spend the time figuring out why things were broke and who was to blame. So they were willing to accept whatever nonsense the GOP put in front of them.

And so the idea that Democrats were deliberately making matters worse out of ideological rigidity or solidarity with labor unions, government hacks and gays made perfect sense. In their mind, the idea that the villian was big government, deficit-creating over spending seemed as good a reason as any for voting once more for "change" -- even if real economists who know we still need a bigger stimulus are closing their eyes at the train wreck these economic illiterates might cause.

Posted by: Ted Frier on November 3, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

It's not a victory for Republicans or tea baggers,

it's a victory for Someone Else,

and voters didn't care who it was.

Posted by: cld on November 3, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Prosaic poetics...

A nice list of frustrations that...
To which I can add one:

I am frustrated that some liberals didn't realize early on there was bound to be a gap between a campaign run on the poetry of change and the actually prosaic change the system would allow. And that instead of realizing this fundamental fact and evolving their politics to accommodate it, they instead, dumped on the President and his party.

I thought the left was suppose to have all the brains?
And did we not hash all that out in the Hillary/Barack primary fight?
Did we not anticipate the reality of pure poetic change aforehand?

If one things stands out from this "shellacking" it is this:
To overcome a blisteringly stupid electorate we all have to be on the same page.

Call it the 11th commandment for the Left:
No matter what, we can't aid or abet the enemy's arguments.
We don't have the margin of error to do that...

Posted by: koreyel on November 3, 2010 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

See Elliot Spitzer's column in Slate today. He spells out exactly what Obama and the Democrats did wrong. One example is the bank bailout. As Spitzer says, FDR would never have let himself appear to have been rolled by the banks. He would have lambasted them publicly, forced real reform in exchange for the bailout and emerged the hero. Obama let himself be painted as a better friend of Wall Street than the GOP! There was a lot more like that. I admire Obama's intellect but he doesn't have a talent for hardball politics (though the GOP calls him a Chicago thug) and the Dems are suffering for it.

Posted by: dalloway on November 3, 2010 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Time for the Dems to realize that they need to start playing to win. That means forget about trumpeting any legislative accomplishment, no matter how big.
Ledbetter? Who?
Health Care Reform? Who cares?
Saved the economy? Yawn.

To win, they need to produce an enemy to hate. They need to identify that enemy as the other party. Their rallying cry should be "Boehner is the devil, only worse!"
Orwell was spot on in one respect...We must hate Eurasia. We were always at war with Eurasia.
and love Big Brother.

Posted by: Gridlock on November 3, 2010 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Take a look at this for perspective:


Posted by: Mike M on November 3, 2010 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

While I'm in a bad mood,

I don't know who the Republican nominee for president will be next time, but I'd bet odds are even the vice presidential nominee will be Rand Paul.

He has that glisteny light of divine mission playing all about him.

Like something you'd encounter in a graveyard climbing out of a tomb into the moonlight.

Posted by: cld on November 3, 2010 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

It's frustrating but this is what comes when the American electorate is too stupid to know where its best interests lie.

Posted by: Bonnie on November 3, 2010 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "GOP officials refused to take policymaking seriously; they refused to work in good faith; they refused to offer coherent solutions; they even refused to accept responsibility for their own catastrophic mistakes."

It's frustrating that someone like you, who should know better, expected anything else from the Republican Party. Because what you describe is exactly what the Republicans have been doing for at least 30 years.

The Republican Party represents the most ruthless, rapacious and reactionary sectors of America's corporate ruling class.

It's not that the Republicans share the same goals as the Democrats -- ie. governing in the public interest -- but have different ideas about how to achieve those goals.

And it's not that the Republicans are "unserious about governing".

It's that the Republicans have a different agenda entirely. Their agenda is always to concentrate as much power and wealth in the hands of the ultra-wealthy and ultra-powerful as they can. What you call the "failures" of the Republicans, they view as great success -- success at looting and pillaging the wealth of America to enrich their corporate masters, at the expense of, and to the detriment of, the American people.

That's what the Republicans do. And of course they can't honestly talk about their real agenda, because then they would only get the votes of reactionary billionaires, and there aren't enough of those votes to win elections. So, they lie.

To expect anything different, as you and unfortunately Obama seemed to expect, is just silly.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 3, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with you koreyel - this is probably the one thing I'm more frustrated by than anything else. But at the same time I'm with David in NYC as well - this is a lousy result, but I don't feel nearly as bad as 2002 (the last midterm that made me really angry). For me it's because of the titanic list of accomplishments was definitely worth trading away the House majority for, and also it has been clear for months now that the legislative tank was empty and would no longer be helpful in delivering the agenda. I might've been more actively angry if we'd also lost the Senate last night, but not only did we keep it we kept it safe from Ben(edict Arnold) Nelson and J(udas)oe Lieberman.

Now it's time to focus on getting everything possible done with the executive branch. That means regulating GHG's with the EPA, keeping to the Afghanistan timeline, and trying to broker a final settlement to the Israeli/Palestinian negotiations.

Posted by: reader on November 3, 2010 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

I will refrain from my usual Obama/Democrat bashing, at least for now.

I wholeheartedly agree with Steve on this. And while I think the Democratic leadership has been pretty pathetic, it is stunning just how horrific this election has been. People voted back into power a party that is wholly incapable, and, frankly, uninterested in policy anymore.

But, if there is a silver lining here, I think it is the fact that if any party can over reach it is the GOP. They didn't articulate anything but anger during the campaign season because they know their actual policy agenda is very unpopular with the American people. But, now, they can't just obstruct. They will have to come up with actual proposals. That is where the rubber will meet the road, and the American people won't be happy with what the GOP comes up with.

Let's see:
Tax cuts for millionaires
Rederegulate the financial sector
Endless investigations
Repealing HCR

When reality sets in, none of the above will be winners with the American public.

Posted by: Vince on November 3, 2010 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I am cool with this. I mean, Steve is right to be frustrated and the best outcome would have been a hat trick of three great elections.

Failing that, though, this is an okay outcome. Now the Reeps have a seat at the table and all their footstamping and holding their breaths until they turn blue will be on full display. We can proceed with filibuster reform in the Senate and continue to work at judicial nominations.

Some big things have been accomplished. The oligarchic noise machine did everything it could to turn things back. They did not succeed in a resounding way. In fact, they may have even made things worse for themselves in 2012. They will not be able to hide their rabid morons so easily now..

Posted by: Patriotic Liberal on November 3, 2010 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

"I did a spit-take when Pelosi uttered nonsense like the health care reform bill would "create 200k jobs almost immediately" or we have to pass the bill to see what's in the bill."


"But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy."

Posted by: Forrest on November 3, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

and btw, we in California, are a bulwark against the oligarchic noise machine. Maybe because we are a little more media-savvy than the rest of you. It was a proud night for the Golden State.

Maybe we should secede. We would probably be better off, not having the subsidize those idiot red states.

Posted by: Patriotic Liberal on November 3, 2010 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

"I wondered why Obama spent so much time on health care reform when people needed jobs."

Because he realized that the economy rises and falls but this might be the best chance of getting any sort of health care reform passed for another 20 years.


Posted by: MBunge on November 3, 2010 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Rethugs are great at:

1) communicating; 2) vilifying their opponents; 3) winning elections. But they suck at governing.

See the inverse for Dems.

Here's one thing I'll never understand. The Obama campaign had a large e-mail and new media team, led by Chris Hughes, one of the Facebook creators (myBarackObama.com). It was the way to win, and it worked.

But instead of giving those sharp young minds jobs, the White House has only a small new media team. And congressional Democrats stuck with their old ways, handing out jobs to stick-in-the-muds and offspring of supporters. So the Rethugs OWN social media, and the Dems barely scratch the surface.

$arah Palin tweets something idiotic (death panels!), and the media are all over it. Obama speaks in paragraphs and the media ignore it. Hell, even John McCain uses Twitter.

Why are Dems always playing catch-up?

Posted by: Molly Weasley on November 3, 2010 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

To put any frustration in perspective, how do you think Republicans felt when they were in the political wilderness for 40 FREAKIN' YEARS because of an unholy union between Northern liberals and Southern segregationists?


Posted by: MBunge on November 3, 2010 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Patriotic Liberal,

As a fellow Californian, I'm also proud that our state did the right thing (for the most part). I honestly can't think of anything that could motivate me to move to another state.

As history as proven repeatedly, California trends about 10 years ahead of the rest of the country. Hopefully, that will mean marijuana legalization (in 2012) and a vibrant green economy.

I want my representative to demand that California receives more for it's tax dollars (currently $0.78). I'm tired of supporting red states. To borrow a phrase, it's time to "get their man pants on" and start pulling their weight.

Posted by: bdop4 on November 3, 2010 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with you bdop4! The middle of the country is bleeding red and taking from the blue coasts. It's time California got back more than 78 cents for every dollar we pay for the country. I am glad I live in California where the election went mostly the way I had hoped. But, I am also so sad today. My congressional candidate, Ami Bera, wasn't able to oust Dan Lungren, a miserable excuse for a congressman. And, then I see around the country some of the terrible people who got elected like Rand Paul and I just feel very sad for our country and don't know what I can do about it.

Posted by: Rachel on November 3, 2010 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Molly Weasley,

Why are liberals always trying to play catch-up? Because building a Great Society that unites the entire community is a helluva lot harder than tearing one down to elevate one group over all others, the way right wing conservatives do. Tribalism is natural while liberalism must be learned.

And liberal values like freedom of speech and conscience are a lot harder to make work politically than the certitudes (and platitudes) of right wing ideologues, because to be a liberal means giving rights even to your enemies who don't believe in those rights at all.

These are "structural" disadvantages that are simply never going to go away so long as there are some people who don't believe in liberal democracy at the same time they are pretending to govern one.

Posted by: Ted Frier on November 3, 2010 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Rather tribalism is infantile while liberalism is respecting others the way you respect yourself, tribalism is taking a dump wherever the spirit moves you, liberalism is not doing that.

Posted by: cld on November 3, 2010 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'm frustrated because the party of discredited economic policy (that drove the world into the Great Recession) and vicious foreign policy (including torture) that produced nothing but international oprobrium used total obstructionism, deception, and the politics of fear was rewarded with victory.

It's dispiriting.

Posted by: Seould on November 3, 2010 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

You know what's a good way of distracting the public from your legislative agenda (or hiding the fact that if you have one, it has nothing to do with the public interest?)

It is very simple. Launch investigations. Hearings. Scandals. Show trials. Lots of them.

Maybe even an impeachment.

Sort of like how the GOP operated during the final years of the Clinton Administration. It worked, didn't it?

Watch for it.

Posted by: Bokonon on November 3, 2010 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

No, they don't do governing, but they are past masters at bringing false allegations. Now they have the power to investigate every bald faced lie any right wing nut posts on the interwebs.
Issa has 100 letters of inquiry for the President to respond to when he takes the chair at the new House Unamerican Activities Committee.

Posted by: thebewilderness on November 3, 2010 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

They've proven themselves wholly unprepared to govern, but have been rewarded with power anyway. It's ... frustrating.

As a certain former President would say, I feel your pain (as well as your frustration). Unfortunately, American voters are following the usual pattern: they want everything under the sun and refuse to sacrifice or pay for any of it. They rail against "the government," and yet demand governmental solutions (bipartisan, of course!) to major issues. They scream about "getting back to the constitution" yet a majority have no idea what's in it. They demand Wall Street be cleaned up, but endlessly praise the "free market." They complain and vote for lower taxes, then wonder why our infrastructure is falling apart (all the while complaining the government isn't "doing something" about it).

Frustrating, indeed. America has always had to learn things the hard way, though, so it will probably take another Great Depression (far worse than the one we've got now) and the complete collapse of the country -- in other words, a two-by-four across the head -- for a majority of people to finally wake up to reality.

Posted by: electrolite on November 3, 2010 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen used the wrong word-"frustrating." Hell, it is maddening that so many of our fellow Americans have such short memories and are ever so willing to be suicide voters by voting against their own interests, their family's interest, their neighbor's interest, their co-worker's interest, and their community's interests.

They swallowed the "Big Lie" propaganda-hook, line, and sinker.

Maybe, we should just divide the country up-the intelligent, or educated, or rational and logical on one side and the Fascists/republicans and their unconscious suicidal sheep on the other side.

Posted by: ghostcommamder on November 3, 2010 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's (and all Dems') message/re-election people should serve on a jury. Maybe THEN they'd realize how much you have to spell things out over and over and over in language for a 2nd grader, without being condescending (not easy). And throw in a very simple catchy phrase before the Repugs do, so voters (and "journalists") will have a good feeling about your position, want to identify w/ it, and can remember it (or understand the other guys' ideas are dangerous to them). And humor. Personalized, humorous analogies like the having to scoop dog poop ad. And start today!

Oh yeah, and pay attention to other potential problems like hacking of voting machines and challenges to poor and minority voters in 2012. Don't put it past the uber-rich like those behind CA's prop 23. And prepare for the impeachment efforts. They are coming.

Posted by: pea on November 3, 2010 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

The frustration that you left out, that I always feel, regardless of the outcome, is that less than 30% of the eligile electorate is willing to take part in their civic duty. That to me is always the real tragedy!

Posted by: we deserve better on November 3, 2010 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

Good lord-I actually waded through all of these comments.
The US versus Them mentality-so many of the village idiots, I wonder if we can sterilize them?
Democrat politicians (progressives) are so much smarter than everyone else. And they are so insulated from things like lobbyists-it must be their "super arrogant" suit; money just slides off of them into the purified sea. Please tell me again how different Democrats are than the Republicans?

You naive little children-the game is rigged. It has been since the industrial revolution. It doesn't make a damn bit of difference who is in power! The ship never steers that far off course. You should be getting ready for the rise of the East instead of squabbling over your idealistic interpretations of another election cycle. Let them all keep playing us like a fiddle-divide and conquer.
Wake the f__k up!

You want change? Real change? It starts in your homes, on your streets, in your schools, with your own families. You don't need a government to tell you when and how you are going to make the world a better place. Do it Yourself! All of it! Help each other. Invent. Process, distribute, achieve!

Posted by: not surprised on November 4, 2010 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

I'm frustrated that the Democrats' own political ineptitude has allowed the GOP to redefine every important issue -- from the economy to health care -- in a way that advances its bizarre, extreme free-market ideology.

Posted by: ameshall on November 4, 2010 at 3:24 AM | PERMALINK

It should be noted that most of the frustration liberals have had lately wasn't from the election just passed, but the eleventy-first Congress. We cannot forget that simply having the numbers in the Dem column isn't enough. How much grousing was going on in these pages as various 'moderate' Dems weakened or stymied progressive legislation? that's what I call frustrating.

The focus needs to be on getting into position people who will recruit solid liberal Dems for 2012, who will also have Obama on the top o' the ballot. Make no mistake, the fundamentals which drove however much of a 'wave' for GOPers this year will only worsen in the upcoming two years. It is incumbent on progressives to make sure that DLC types do not inveigle themselves and fellow travelers onto the gravy train, or electoral success in 2012 will only result in further frustration.

Posted by: jhm on November 4, 2010 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

Now, with reduced numbers, the Dems on the Hill can start to create some party discipline in their caucuses. The GOP did so when they were in the wilderness. 22 of the 34 House Democrats who voted against HCR lost their seats. Blanche Lincoln lost. Everyone rails against inept Dem messaging; carrying the Blue Dogs along is one reason why the messaging is weak. Let the caucus start voting on committee assignments and chairs. Start cutting off campaign funds to disloyal Dems. You lose some in the center short term, but in the long run, you gain more by the ability to get things done. And change the filibuster rules.

Posted by: tom in ma on November 4, 2010 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

Jimmy Carter (a conservative Democrat

Um, someone help me out here.

Since conservatives love to use him as their favorite punching bag, I'd love to say they're wrong, but... what was conservative about election referee, disadvantaged homebuilder, Peace brokering James Carter?

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on November 12, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Mary Cleveland on February 2, 2011 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK



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