American Mid-Term Elections Part 3

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Maysie Maysie's picture
American Mid-Term Elections Part 3

Continued from here.

Issues Pages: 
Sven Sven's picture

Josh wrote:

There has been a good deal of media focus on it.  A lot the reason is that Democrats gained a lot in the state legislatures the last two elections and, unlike in '94, Republicans are becoming more entrenched at the state level in the old confederate states.

What is really alarming to the Democrats is not so much what is happening in the "old confederate states" but what is happening in the Midwestern states (e.g., Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas - all of which now have Republican governors and many of which now have Republican control of the legislatures as well).

To win the presidency in 2012, the prevailing candidate must win in those states. 

George Victor

May I say how encouraging it is to see you here, BDC.    You confirm what one knows, deep down in the gut, that not all is lost, south of the 49th - that one's cousins and sister-in-law are not completely surrounded by a savagery that builds on lies and exaggeration and a deep-seated ignorance about their very own history and way of life. 

But Great Gaia, how nice it would be to see you representing the majority.

 

Meantime, the only other voice from the Land of the Free tells us: "What is really alarming to the Democrats..."

 

But he never says that it is alarming to HIM...and he has been invited to do so. Often. So I hope you don't mind if I again say what I think about this Libertarian from the far mid-west, probably pissing himself in quiet joy at the hurt that he knows such outcomes cause to a board such as this.

No, can't do it.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

The U.S. midterm elections register a level of anger, fear and disillusionment in the country like nothing I can recall in my lifetime. Since the Democrats are in power, they bear the brunt of the revulsion over our current socioeconomic and political situation.

...

Ridiculing Tea Party shenanigans is a serious error, however. It is far more appropriate to understand what lies behind the movement’s popular appeal, and to ask ourselves why justly angry people are being mobilized by the extreme right and not by the kind of constructive activism that rose during the Depression, like the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations).

 

Now Tea Party sympathizers are hearing that every institution—government, corporations and the professions—is rotten, and that nothing works.

 

Amid the joblessness and foreclosures, the Democrats can’t complain about the policies that led to the disaster. President Ronald Reagan and his Republican successors may have been the worst culprits, but the policies began with President Jimmy Carter and accelerated under President Bill Clinton. During the presidential election, Barack Obama’s primary constituency was financial institutions, which have gained remarkable dominance over the economy in the past generation.

Noam Chomsky - Outrage, Misguided

 

 

Here's Chris Hedges' take on the US mid-terms:

Quote:

American politics, as the midterm elections demonstrated, have descended into the irrational. On one side stands a corrupt liberal class, bereft of ideas and unable to respond coherently to the collapse of the global economy, the dismantling of our manufacturing sector and the deadly assault on the ecosystem. On the other side stands a mass of increasingly bitter people whose alienation, desperation and rage fuel emotionally driven and incoherent political agendas. It is a recipe for fascism.

 

...We are ruled by huge corporate monopolies that replicate the political and economic power, on a vastly expanded scale, of the old trading companies of the 17th and 18th centuries. Wal-Mart's gross annual revenues of $250 billion are greater than those of most small nation-states. The political theater funded by the corporate state is composed of hypocritical and impotent liberals, the traditional moneyed elite, and a disenfranchised and angry underclass that is being encouraged to lash out at the bankrupt liberal institutions and the government that once protected them. The tea party rabble, to placate their anger, will also be encouraged by their puppet masters to attack helpless minorities, from immigrants to Muslims to homosexuals. All these political courtiers, however, serve the interests of the corporate state and the utopian ideology of globalism.

A Recipe for Fascism

George Victor

Right on, Noam and Chris. 

But having watched it develop since the mid-70s, and hearing bugger all from you chaps about this increasing and now complete reliance on finance capital, what have you to say for yourselves?

josh

Sven wrote:

What is really alarming to the Democrats is not so much what is happening in the "old confederate states" but what is happening in the Midwestern states (e.g., Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas - all of which now have Republican governors and many of which now have Republican control of the legislatures as well).

To win the presidency in 2012, the prevailing candidate must win in those states. 

Unlike the confederate states, what happened in the midwest is transitory.  During the 81-82 recession, Democrats did nearly as well in the midwest in the '82 midterms.  Meant nothing in terms of the ensuing presidential election.  Obama would need Pennsylvania and Michigan (or a Wisconsin/Iowa combo), but could win without the rest of those states.

George Victor

George Victor wrote:

Right on, Noam and Chris. 

But having watched it develop since the mid-70s, and hearing bugger all from you chaps about this increasing and now complete reliance on finance capital, what have you to say for yourselves?

 

Because you chaps have left a lacuna, a gap in perspectives about what has been taking place (well, Chrise more than Noam). The liberal left are not ready to accept rational attempts to dig us out of this economic predicament, and as it worsens, the wackos are able to sign on more of the marginalized.

 

The voice of rational America, Paul Krugman, can now  say:

Doing It Again
By PAUL KRUGMAN

"As Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, tries to use monetary policy to aid the economy, he is getting the Obama treatment - and making the Obama response."

 

 

The Fed has taken the last course open to it to reduce the cost of American goods and services and create jobs.

 

Sorry...got carried away there. Back to counting the ballots.

 

 

Sven Sven's picture

josh wrote:

Obama would need Pennsylvania and Michigan (or a Wisconsin/Iowa combo), but could win without the rest of those states.

Obama won 365 electoral votes and McCain won 173 electoral votes in the [url=2008">http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/president/map.html][=blue... election[/][/url].  As you can see on the linked-to map, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia will play key roles in Obama winning re-election in 2012.  Clearly, he can afford to lose a few of those states but, right now, none of those states is anywhere near a sure thing for O (not to mention that several of the other states O won in 2008 could easily flip to the other side).

Obviously, a lot can (and will) occur over the next 24 months.   So, it would be foolish to prognosticate on what the 2012 results will be.  But, I think that it is safe to say that if the 2012 political environment even closely approximates today's political environment, Obama will have a monumental challenge getting re-elected. 

josh

The best thing Obama had going for him is that, other than Romney, the prospective Republican field consists primarily of those who are paid by Faux News.  Plus, unlike the midterms, the percentage of senior citizens will be down, while younger voters, blacks and Latinos, primarily Democratic voters, will be up.  Democrats lost a new 10 million voters from '08 to '10 simply as a result of them not turning out.

George Victor

From the oracle: "But, I think that it is safe to say that if the 2012 political environment even closely approximates today's political environment, Obama will have a monumental challenge getting re-elected."

 

 

 

Sven Sven's picture

josh wrote:

The best thing Obama had going for him is that, other than Romney, the prospective Republican field consists primarily of those who are paid by Faux News.  Plus, unlike the midterms, the percentage of senior citizens will be down, while younger voters, blacks and Latinos, primarily Democratic voters, will be up.  Democrats lost a new 10 million voters from '08 to '10 simply as a result of them not turning out.

I think that fielding an attractive candidate (and, no, I don't mean physically attractive) is the biggest challenge of the Republicans.  It will have to be someone who is acceptable to both the right-wing of the Republican party and to the large block of unaffiliated independent voters.  Palin or Huckabee would, for example, be a wet dream for the social conservatives but would scare away 80% of the independent voters.  Tim Pawlenty, although not well known (now), is the kind of candidate who could appeal to a broad spectrum of voters (he won the governorship in my state of Minnesota quite handily in his two elections to that office).

josh

No he didn't.  He won with less than 45% the first time, and won by 1% and under 47% of the vote the second time.

Sven Sven's picture

josh wrote:

No he didn't.  He won with less than 45% the first time, and won by 1% and under 47% of the vote the second time.

I should have qualified that.  He won in a very traditional Democratic state at a time when Democrats were making very strong showings nationally and when the Democrats actually added to their majorities in the Minnesota state legislature.

Zem Zem's picture

You know, as I watched these results roll in and as I beheld the commentary of the newly elected Christian right-wing nuts being hastened into the fray, i was left with only one question:

"Is the United States governable, anymore?"

Stargazer

Ask Sven, he has this idea that the US is a full fledged democracy and there really are no crazies lining up to "take back their country". Amusing. To say the least.

George Victor

Howdy, Zem.    That will indeed be the question...along with a continued attempt to understand how its zeitgeist became so corrupted.  Susan Jacoby and Al Gore took a stab at it, but it seems to have become an unAmerican act to inquire further.  Of course, there's always Joe Bageant's explanation...completely free of bullshit.

Y'all wouldn't hail from thataway?

Sven Sven's picture

Stargazer wrote:

Ask Sven, he has this idea that the US is a full fledged democracy and there really are no crazies lining up to "take back their country". Amusing. To say the least.

Did I actually say -- or even imply -- that there are "no crazies lining up to 'take back their country'"?

I usually don't write, speak, or think in such absolute, black-n-white terms.

George Victor

Indeed, Sven  you never get past magenta. 

George Victor

double post

Sven Sven's picture

George Victor wrote:

Indeed, Sven  you never get past magenta. 

It's simply lazy thinking to make broad and sweeping generalizations in the form of absolute statements when discussing significant movements, large groups of people, or major political parties, etc.

Stargazer

Hear that George, it's lazy to make broad generalizations about the Republicans. I mean, they really are a very diverse group of people. Why they spread across the entire spectrum -  from full on religious nutters to pretty religious nutters. From neo-liberal to extreme libertarian.

 

And the tea baggers, why they come from all walks of life, totally diverse in ethnicity and goals - from completely dismantling the state to dismantling most of it.

 

Who knew they were so diverse? Thanks Sven, I see the error of my ways now. Thanks for mansplaining things to me.

Sven Sven's picture

Stargazer wrote:

Hear that George, it's lazy to make broad generalizations about the Republicans.

It's lazy thinking to make broad, absolutist generalizations about any large group of people (e.g., people on the right in America are "all fucking crooks," to quote one babbler).

jrootham

As much as I disagree with most of what Sven says, I do think he has the right to defend himself against people putting words in his mouth.

 

Stargazer

Love the bolding effect Sven, really gets the point across.

Sven can fight his own battles I'm thinking. He does know how to use the bold feature you know.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

George and Stargazer, you need to back off Sven. He is analyzing the election results like everyone else in this thread. If you can't handle reading his posts, just don't respond. And George, your harassment and stalking of Sven is starting to look obsessive. Knock it off.

George Victor

Right. It's someone else's turn to try to discover the inner Sven. 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

You could always leave "discovering the inner Sven" to, you know, Sven. I feel like he handles it rather well.

George Victor

I'm sure Sven knows where he's at, and that the detached, independent, value-free Libertarian appeals to some.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

See, George. That's the exact kind of personal attack I'm talking about. Don't do it again, or you'll be taking a break.

Sven Sven's picture

Here's a little tidbit from [url=Slate[/url]">http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/weigel/archive/2010/11/08/the-cheapskat... about some upstart Republicans who ran on shoestring budgets and beat well-heeled Democratic incumbents.

The first guy listed (Chip Cravaack) was badly outspent by a 36-year Congressman from Minnesota. I remember seeing Cravaack's little campaign RV driving around northern Minnesota a couple of times earlier this summer and thinking, "Buddy, you don't stand a chance in hell in beating Oberstar."

Oberstar is the kind of guy who showered his district with pork.  In the little town of Aitkin, where Ms. Sven grew up, Oberstar directed just over $300,000 of federal money to the town in order to construct a 5/8ths-of-a-mile (roughly 1km) bike path.  Of course, the (less than) 2,000 residents of Aitkin wouldn't in a million years have voted to tax themselves $300,000 for such a ridiculously absurd project but when there was "free" federal money offered for the project, they were all for it!!  That's the kind of stuff Oberstar was famous for.

 

wage zombie

Here's his web site.  http://chipcravaack.com

He talks about taking the country back and smaller government in a 3 minute video.  Other than that I didn't find a single policy position on his web site.

Also it seems like he is one of Michele Bachmann's biggest supporters in Congress (both from Minnesota).

Quote:

WASHINGTON — Representative-elect Chip Cravaack will support Michele Bachmann's bid for the number four job in the House GOP leadership, a spokesman confirmed this evening.

That makes Cravaack the second to publicly back Bachmann. Rep. John Kline was the first, with a spokesman confirming the support of the likely Education and Labor Committee chairman earlier this afternoon.

Sven, do you have any take on Bachmann?  Some of her rhetoric seems pretty extreme.

Sven Sven's picture

wage zombie wrote:

Sven, do you have any take on Bachmann?  Some of her rhetoric seems pretty extreme.

She is Sarah Palin's Mini-Me.  Most of her social views (e.g., she's against SSM and is anti-choice) are abhorrent.  On economic matters, I am very skeptical that she will be able to successfully address the ocean of debt piling up regarding entitlement programs, principally Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid (the amount of our unfunded entitlement obligations positively dwarf the amount of our federal debt, which is itself gigantic).

wage zombie

Would you consider voting for her, if she ran in your district or if you moved?

Sven Sven's picture

wage zombie wrote:

Would you consider voting for her, if she ran in your district or if you moved?

I voted for the Independent candidate.

George Victor

How did Dubya get away with building enormous debt, without a peep from the wingnuts on the right ? (Hell, why was Iraq and the near collapse of finance capital not mentioned in the election? 

Is white helpful? Is ignorance a bonus? (Mind you, these logical gaps are not restricted to the U.S.political scene, but might arguably be a less surprising development there than in the "intellectual" communities north of the 49th.)

 

Bec.De.Corbin Bec.De.Corbin's picture

George Victor wrote:

How did Dubya get away with building enormous debt, without a peep from the wingnuts on the right ? (Hell, why was Iraq and the near collapse of finance capital not mentioned in the election? 

 

The "debt" actually started with the "Bush tax cuts" in 2000... Bush (and the Republicans) cut taxes, kept spending the same and let the difference pile on as national debt. This wiped out the budget surplus from Clinton's era and from then on we become a debtor nation. Of course anytime you give people money you're not going to get too much bitching aside from people who have the foresight to see a problem coming down the pipes in the future.

Then 9-11 happened, we got mixed up in a two front war, the housing bubble broke, Wall Street finally went off the tracks and President Obama had to (pretty much forced to if you ask me) spend even more money on bail outs and stimulus packages that have had mixed results to keep the country from falling into the abyss. All while we were spending more than we earned so we are where we're at and it started with tax cuts.

And yes, George, the Democrates acted like pussies this election; they should have bulldozed the Repubs over the mess they had to deal with... I have no idea why they didn't.

 

  

Doug

US deficit panel releases draft report

 

A draft proposal released Wednesday by the chairmen of President Obama’s bipartisan commission on reducing the federal debt calls for deep cuts in domestic and military spending starting in 2012, and an overhaul of the tax code to raise revenue. Those changes and others would erase nearly $4 trillion from projected deficits through 2020, the proposal says.

 

There's a lot in it that's in just not happening-land such as doubling the gasoline tax and ending the exemption on mortgage interest.

ygtbk
George Victor

Bec.De.Corbin wrote:

George Victor wrote:

How did Dubya get away with building enormous debt, without a peep from the wingnuts on the right ? (Hell, why was Iraq and the near collapse of finance capital not mentioned in the election? 

 

The "debt" actually started with the "Bush tax cuts" in 2000... Bush (and the Republicans) cut taxes, kept spending the same and let the difference pile on as national debt. This wiped out the budget surplus from Clinton's era and from then on we become a debtor nation. Of course anytime you give people money you're not going to get too much bitching aside from people who have the foresight to see a problem coming down the pipes in the future.

Then 9-11 happened, we got mixed up in a two front war, the housing bubble broke, Wall Street finally went off the tracks and President Obama had to (pretty much forced to if you ask me) spend even more money on bail outs and stimulus packages that have had mixed results to keep the country from falling into the abyss. All while we were spending more than we earned so we are where we're at and it started with tax cuts.

And yes, George, the Democrates acted like pussies this election; they should have bulldozed the Repubs over the mess they had to deal with... I have no idea why they didn't.

 

  

"President Obama had to (pretty much forced to if you ask me) spend even more money on bail outs and stimulus packages that have had mixed results to keep the country from falling into the abyss. All while we were spending more than we earned so we are where we're at and it started with tax cuts." (AGREED  But my question was, why (how could) the RIGHT stay quiet during Dubyas spending?  His dad had something to say about it a decade earlier...something(oh hell, the memory's going) about the new view of money taking shape, which he, an old conservative, could not understand.  His old school demanded balanced budgets, debt avoidance.   Was it "funny money" or some such, that the elder Bush wondered at?

 

 

"And yes, George, the Democrates acted like pussies this election; they should have bulldozed the Repubs over the mess they had to deal with... I have no idea why they didn't. "

 

 

Question...why did they act like pussies? What is there about the U.S. social situation that keeps them from making the kind of critical statements that seem to be so naturally forthcoming?

 

Joe Bageant (Deer Hunting with Jesus) lays out a structural (class) analysis that is lacking in the MSM. What do you think, BDC?  

  

 

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

And yes, George, the Democrates acted like pussies this election; they should have bulldozed the Repubs over the mess they had to deal with... I have no idea why they didn't.

 

Upsetting their corporate masters would have ended their political careers.

George Victor

Yep, that's central, aQ.  And in my ongoing defence of Obama, I've never been under the illusion that the Democrats are not, to the Republicans, what Liberal are to Conservatives up thisaway. Tommy's old Tweedledee and Tseedledum, its always been, for sure.

But the Democrats did not spend like Bush. And yet that has not given them dubee points.      WHY?

 

ygtbk

This is surprising news: I really didn't think this would happen. Colour me astonished.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/10/white-house-gives-in-on-bush-ta...

George Victor

Axelrod:

"There are concerns," he added, that Congress will continue to kick the can down the road in the future by passing temporary extensions for the wealthy time and time again. "But I don't want to trade away security for the middle class in order to make that point."
"It has been widely assumed that the president would have to accept an across-the-board deal of some kind, but Axelrod's remarks were the first public confirmation of that fact -- and by a figure regarded as closer to Obama than any other White House staffer."
What he said, in effect, was that a now even more powerful GOP has forced Obama to include tax cuts for the rich if he wants tax cuts for the middle class.
Why would this astonish? It's what the GOPs been up to and continuously promising all along.

ygtbk

George Victor wrote:

Axelrod:

"There are concerns," he added, that Congress will continue to kick the can down the road in the future by passing temporary extensions for the wealthy time and time again. "But I don't want to trade away security for the middle class in order to make that point."
"It has been widely assumed that the president would have to accept an across-the-board deal of some kind, but Axelrod's remarks were the first public confirmation of that fact -- and by a figure regarded as closer to Obama than any other White House staffer."
What he said, in effect, was that a now even more powerful GOP has forced Obama to include tax cuts for the rich if he wants tax cuts for the middle class.
Why would this astonish? It's what the GOPs been up to and continuously promising all along.


I guess I expected a little more brinksmanship from Obama - you know, some kind of "GOP holding middle-class tax cuts hostage" message. Of course, it's never over until it's over.

George Victor

I think, ygtbk, that this is how it will go for the next two years. And the MSM (as demonstrated by the HP sauce columnist), will just play the middle right side of the road in expectation of having to make a living after the fall.

ygtbk

And Axelrod's comments have been disavowed, at least partially:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/11/12/obama.tax.cuts/index.html?hpt=T2

So we may see some brinksmanship after all.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

But the Democrats did not spend like Bush. And yet that has not given them dubee points.      WHY?

 

The liberal bias of the media?

josh

ygtbk wrote:

And Axelrod's comments have been disavowed, at least partially:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/11/12/obama.tax.cuts/index.html?hpt=T2

So we may see some brinksmanship after all.

There will be none.  Once Obama is done negotiating with himself, remember he ran and was elected pledging not to extend the tax cuts for the wealthy period, he will cave to the Republicans, as usual.  Any extension of the tax cuts for the wealthy will be a cave.