Sunday, January 17, 2010

Last Call Plus

Another pair of Sully anecdotes from his readers:
I was in a hospital on Friday night, on a patient floor after visiting a family member.  Ran into a friend.  Four lifelong Democrats, talking outside the rooms of their loved ones in a hospital, and not a one of us was voting for Coakley.
 Next time you visit people in the hospital, you can talk about why your friend is bankrupt because of medical bills because the Dems failed to pass health care reform due to lack of a 60th vote.
We all want health care to pass.  We all want Obama to succeed.  We all want Coakley to go away.  That's a problem for Coakley.  This vote is not about health care and Obama, it's about the Senate and Coakley.  If I voted in election after election and voted the Dem ticket except for Coakley (which I left blank), you might imagine I sure as hell would not start voting for her for Senator of all things.
At least the lightweight, brain-dead Brown will only hold that seat for 2 years.  Coakley will share her mediocrity with us for the next 20 years if she gets in.  Want my vote?  Dems should make a deal - Coakley until 2012, then they'll put up a credible candidate. 
What's more difficult, primary opponents for Coakley or another shot at health care reform in Congress?

If Coakley loses because of people like this, if health care reform and Obama's agenda and what advances we've made in the last year all die because you thought primarying Martha Coakley in 2012 was too hard, then we deserve the damage the Republican Party will do to this country.  We really do.

Last Call

CNN's Ed Henry notes the White House is headfaking on Coakley.

I'm going with "scaring the base."  I still think Coakley will win solidly.  High turnout favors her...but this is a special election in the dead of winter here. 

Having said that, Brown's only real chance of winning was this election being under the radar with a dismal turnout among Dems who took for granted a Coakley victory.  That's no longer the case.  The scenario still strongly favors the Democrat in this scenario.

I just don't see people turning out in droves to give this to Brown.

On Being A Centrist

I'm a registered independent, always have been.  But I'm not a centrist.  I picked a side back in 1996 after college when I saw what Newt Gingrich and the Contract With America was really all about in 1994.  It wasn't about reigning in the corrupt Dems (and the Dems in 1994 deserved to be replaced), it was about using sophistry, ignorance and cheerleading in order to hide being even more corrupt.

Clinton got a second shot in 1996, ran as a moderate Republican, and got impeached for his troubles anyway.  It was about petty revenge and putting them in their place, them being anyone who wasn't drinking the Limbaugh Kool-Aid.  That got us Dubya and things got even worse from there.

Sully has this comment from a reader:
I'm with you in thinking that Obama is the best thing the Democrats have going for them right now. But I also think that in having the supermajority, they actually undercut him. They don't have to compromise and so they don't try to. Instead, what passes as legislation is a horrid mismash of corporate interests and traditional, not progressive, balms of the Democratic Party. I know this country can do much, much better. And I think Obama needs a less powerful Democratic party to make it happen, like Clinton did.
Now, I used to be this guy.  In 1994 I would have agreed with him, and in 1996 I would have used the same logic to keep Clinton in the White House (and did.)  But 2000 turned into a nightmare, and 2004 I voted for Kerry because the GOP was broken.  2008 cemented me into the Democrats in this stage of my life...not because I think they are good, but because allowing the Republicans control of the country right now will destroy us.

This guy is basically blaming the Democrats for not passing health care, when the reality is health care reform took a year because the Republicans had no reasons to vote no other than the purely political, to convince people like Sully's reader here to vote for the Republicans to keep the country on a centrist course.

I can see why the reader thinks like he does: over the last 30 years we've been told centrism is the only true course, and if you're not a centrist, well, you must be a Dirty F'ckin' Liberal Hippie.  He doesn't want to vote for the Teabaggers, but voting for the Dems right now is no longer centrist, no longer a correctional vote.  It's taking a side.  And millions of Americans in the middle don't want to do that.

I'm here to tell you this time, you have to.  If you don't, the alternative is razor-blade dangerous hardcore insanity rather than inept corruption.  And the "centrism" in this country will become GOP nihilism.

What Digby Said

More solid advice from Digby on the enthusiasm gap and what to do about it (emphasis mine):
Many people believe that the only thing Democrats understand is pain and so the thing that will change this dynamic will be to deliver them a loss of their majority and perhaps the presidency to show the consequences of failure to fulfill the progressive agenda. That certainly sounds right, except you can't ever know exactly what lesson will be taken from this sort of pain and if history is any guide, the likeliest one is the simplest and most obvious: they lost because people preferred what the other side had to offer. Obviously, that's not necessarily the case, but it isn't illogical for them to believe that. And the exit polls or whatever other data may be available rarely clearly show that it was base demobilization that caused a turnover. Often people don't even know why they failed to vote and you can't exit poll those who didn't bother.
This right here is a major issue:  Nobody exit polls people who don't vote on why they didn't vote at all.  She continues:
There is a fairly compelling theory in political science that says that after political parties come into power, fulfill some pieces of their agenda, get fat and bloated and are finally removed from office, they then tend to deny the reality of their loss and blame it on everything but themselves until they lose enough elections that they finally realize that their ideology has failed. The current GOP is not there yet by a long shot. They are still in the process of doubling down on their radical agenda at a time when the economy is still in ruins, the effects of globalization are being fully felt, the planet is in peril and about to reach a tipping point, and a radical fundamentalist movement is trying to blow people up. I don't think the world can take any more of the right's prescriptions for these problems right now: Lindsay Graham is considered too liberal and neo-Hooverism is their economic program. Yes, the Democrats are corrupt and inept. But the other side is batshit insane.

However, that doesn't mean that there's nothing we can do but wring our hands about how the system is broken and fret ourselves into inertia. The other way to send messages to the Democratic party is through the unsatisfying and often thankless process of primary challenges. Nobody can have any problem understanding that message, not even Adam Nagourney.

It's hard to find challengers and it's no wonder. It's expensive, time consuming and after all your hard work you will probably lose. It takes real commitment and a desire to not only win a seat in congress but do it by way of unseating an incumbent of your own party with whom you disagree, an act which is guaranted to make you an odd man out among the party hierarchy. But if you win, it can send shockwaves through the system.
And while I laugh at the Teabaggers, the one thing they do understand is if you don't like the people in your political party, you must present an alternative at primary time.

The other point is that there is a difference between the two parties.  On one side, Joe Lieberman is considered a party heretic because he doesn't want to provide a public option for health care coverage for Americans.  On the other side, Lindsey Graham is considered a party heretic because he doesn't want to torture foreign terror suspects.

Centrism is one thing.  But on other things you have to take a stand to change the system.  One side understands that, and it's not the good guys.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

This week's Bobblespeak Translations are up with Dubya and Big Dog on Haiti:
Gregory: Bush what’s your biggest concern
right now?

Bush: them Cowboys have no defense!

Gregory: Bill?

Clinton: the Haitian police force is on the job
- with no uniforms or weapons

Gregory: ok - should the US colonize Haiti?

Clinton: oh no - just an agreement allowing the
US temporary control of the area

Native Americans: uh oh

Bush: I’ve been through crises but people will
forget after a while

Gregory: like how you were president on 9/11?

Bush: no there were no attacks when I was President - just ask Saint Rudy

Clinton: I believe Haiti will be back and better
than ever!

Gregory: jesus you’re an optimist

Clinton: look at my life - wouldn’t you be?
Never get tired of these guys.  The BT take on John Yoo vs. Jon Stewart made my sides hurt.

Legal Eagles

The legal braintrust at the GOP, that is...I'm not sure who because they're not very smart...have declared that the current holder of Ted Kennedy's seat, Paul Kirk, cannot be the 60th vote on Obamacare after Tuesday and that Scott Brown must immediately be seated Wednesday when he wins.
Democrats in Massachusetts have talked about delaying Brown’s “certification,” should he defeat Democrat Martha Coakley on Tuesday.  Their aim would be to allow Kirk to remain in the Senate and vote the health care bill.

But based on Massachusetts law, Senate precedent, and the U.S. Constitution, Republican attorneys said Kirk will no longer be a senator after election day, period.  Brown meets the age, citizenship, and residency requirements in the Constitution to qualify for the Senate.  “Qualification” does not require state “certification,” the lawyers said.
So it doesn't matter if the state certifies him at all, according to the GOP.  He won, that's it, he's the Senator...even though the election is not until Tuesday and Brown hasn't won yet.

Then again, the Wingers have Joe F'ckin Lieberman endorsing Scott Brown at this point too, when not even Lieberman is that stupid, apparently.
A spokesman for the senator shot down rumors that Lieberman would weigh in on the closely-watched special election, in which Republican Scott Brown is waging a surprisingly tough battle against state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D).

Conservative bloggers had been floating a rumor that Lieberman, a centrist, independent senator who caucuses with Democrats, would endorse Brown.

Those rumors, the spokesman said, are "not true," and no announcement is planned on the race.
Considering Lieberman's approval numbers in Connecticut are down to around 25% and Lieberman is seen around the state as "The Guy Who Killed The Public Option" I can see why he'd not back Brown here.  Again, it all comes down to Tuesday's vote.
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