Panic begins to set in across the aisle in MA-Sen

With four straight polls showing Elizabeth Warren with a lead over Scott Brown, including Suffolk (who called the race almost exactly right in 2010) showing her up 48-44, with the crosstabs showing Warren’s favorables on the increase in every poll and “Scott Brown Democrats” starting to abandon him, and with Mitt Romney suffering the worst two weeks any candidate has had in recent memory, it’s not surprising that an air of panic is beginning to emerge from our differently-winged friends over at RMG.  Consider the top two posts currently on the front page.

Déjà vu 2010 Repeating Itself? [Ed. note: kudos to RMGer JohnBriare on his correct use of French accents!]

On the eve of 2012 elections, the environment is strikingly similiar to 2010….

How did the [Democrats'] lead occur [in 2010] -

#1) Our Candidates began to waffle on the issues which make us Republicans… and started losing their own base.

Pander to Emily’s list.. distance yourself from the National GOP… deny our National Republican Platform… Deja Vu?

#2) Folks underestimated one man : John Walsh.

Do not underestimate the brilliance of this man. He is tactical and a master of identifying who their supporters are, logging them in a database and making sure each and every one of the supporters shows up on election day.

Their phone banks are busy, they are literally checking off every voter in the commonwealth.  They know who will be showing up to vote, they know who is voting for Brown and who is voting for Warren.  And have no doubt – he will get them out to the polls and their poll checkers will call in every hour with who has voted – and who has not. And they will drive them to the polls if they have to.

Remember, Standouts don’t win elections, lawn signs don’t vote.

Point #1 certainly looks like a direct shot across Scott Brown’s bow.  Brown, of course, recently released a TV ad proclaiming his pro-choicey goodness, he barely showed his face at the Republican National Convention and declined any sort of speaking role, and he openly criticized the “National Republican Platform” adopted at the convention in a letter to Reince Priebus.  JohnBriare says that sort of thing leads to Republicans “losing their own base.”  Is the Republican wing of the Republican party starting to lose enthusiasm for Brown’s candidacy?  Sure sounds like it.

On point #2, we are of course happy to see a well-deserved shout-out to John Walsh, who did indeed engineer an astonishingly effective get-out-the-vote operation in the 2010 cycle, and all indications are that he’s working on the same thing this time around.  Whether Walsh actually deserves the promotion from brilliant tactician to evil genius that JohnBriare seems to advocate, I will leave for others to judge.  :-)

The second post looks at what would happen if Brown were to lose, and concludes that maybe things wouldn’t be so bad if he did.

Do Massachusetts Republicans Need a Scott Brown Win?

…[I]s a Scott Brown loss the worst thing that could happen for Massachusetts Republicans? I don’t think so. The MAGOP organization has often been criticized for excessive focus on the top of the ballot and ignoring down-ballot races. We shouldn’t be guilty of the same mistake….

Scott Brown winning a full term in the Senate or one or more Republicans winning US House races would be nice. But ask yourself which situation you’d rather have when you wake up on November 7:

A) Scott Brown re-elected, Richard Tisei defeats John Tierney, Republicans drop to 24 seats in MA House and 3 seats in MA Senate

B) Brown and all Congressional candidates lose, Republicans increase to 40 seats in MA House and 6 seats in MA Senate.

If forced to choose, give me option B.

An interesting take, and one that I suspect would not be anywhere near RMG’s front page if there weren’t suddenly a looming sense on the right that Elizabeth Warren might actually win this thing.

Finally, don’t miss the ever-hilarious commenters on both posts.  My personal favorites: from the first post, our old friend John Howard chimes in on how Brown can “make the same mistake” that Charlie Baker did on gay marriage “by claiming it is ‘settled law’ and not mentioning the extreme Democratic positions on sex change surgery for children, genetic engineering to try to make babies from same-sex parents, stripping procreation rights from everyone’s marriage, etc.”  Uh, right.  And from the second, another old pal, Republican Ram Rod Radio, reveals how much meaning I give to his life (emphasis in original).

So put me in for A because I want to wake up on Nov 7th knowing the Dems feel the “Kennedy Seat” has slipped away.  And knowing the 3 virgins that run ProgressMass are going back to CO with a big fat loss on their record, as well as the thought that the last 6 months of their lives were wasted on astroturfing the same 50 (already rabid) liberal moon bats on BMG.  I can’t wait to dust off my 67 BMG handles and use them to laugh and ridicule the mob on that blog.  And for the prissy David Kravitz to spend his Nov 7th deleting all 67 of my BMG handles ONE AT A TIME . . . ALL DAY LONG.     : )

Why, RRRR, I never knew you cared!  I’m flattered.  :D


48 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. If Elizabeth Warren wins,

    we may look back at Brown’s decision to literally hide out during the GOP convention as the moment that spelled doom for his candidacy. It can never be good in the long run for a candidate to have to effectively hide his party affiliation from the voters.

    • Has the MAGOP base really changed that much in 20 years?

      Did the GOP base turn on Weld because he publicly spit in Jesse Helms’ eye? Did they hate Silvio Conte when he bucked the Republicans in Congress?

      For goodness sake, Massachusetts just isn’t all that much more liberal than any other northeastern state. Our conservatives just also call themselves Democrats. Our sclerotic, corrupt, old-boy network driven state government, and its steady stream of convicted Democratic elected officials should present a “target rich environment” for Republicans.

      The argument that a realistic opposition providing real oversight is preferable to a single party monolith is TRUE!

      But they seem to want a Limbaugh “dittohead” yapping nonstop about gays, sex and abortion. WTF is the matter with them?

      Seriously, the MAGOP should be thriving–thriving!– on the opportunities handed to it. THREE straight Democratic Speakers– the most powerful political office in the state, running the government like a fief for nearly 20 years– are now convicted felons. Three! And the one of them who could realistically say that he wasn’t the most powerful could do so only because of the power wielded by… Billy Bulger! Auugh!

      It is like they are dying of thirst, are handed a glass of water, and don’t realize not to urinate in it.

      • Caveat

        “The argument that a realistic opposition providing real oversight is preferable to a single party monolith is TRUE!”

        I’d say that while this is true in general, YMMV depending on the parties in question and their policy perscriptions. That is, a monolith might be preferable to an opposition who’s oversight is to stop everything – which is another way of saying that a monolith that actually governs might be preferable to gridlock.

        • Okay

          I guess I thought it implied that I assume that such a successful opposition would have little in common with the present GOP, Massachusetts or elsewhere.

  2. Oh come on

    You know you’re an elite prissy commie pinko, David, who likes to sip lattes and discuss Nietzsche. You opera-singing socialist, you.

  3. My question for RMG

    How likely is it for them to increase their seats to 40 in the house and double their size in the Senate (to the mere 6 seats) if Scott Brown goes down in flames? Seems very unlikely to me.

    In that vein, options a) and b) don’t seem very optional at all.

    Oops. Did I just rub salt in their wounds?

    RyansTake   @   Wed 19 Sep 2:20 PM
  4. I thought McGrory's column in the Globe today was

    pretty devastating on the issue of Scott Brown’s character. Using a Medal of Honor winner as a backdrop for your political ads while you couldn’t be bothered showing up at any of three ceremonies honoring a fallen Medal of Honor winner last year?

    “I really hoped Brown was better than this,” McGrory wrote, “But as the people of Raynham know, his actions can be far different than his words.”


  5. Deja Vu?? More like Deja Moo...

    …the eerie feeling that you’ve heard this bullshit before!

  6. "The Republican wing of the Republican party?"

    Is the Republican wing of the Republican party starting to lose enthusiasm for Brown’s candidacy?

    I obviously don’t understand the makeup of this Republican party…

  7. Your counterpart

    That is the first time I have clicked over there in some time, and probably last time for another good while.

    1. They seem a little paranoid. “heads up, BMG here collecting intel” Perhaps they are unfamiliar with how the internet works.

    2. Is that gary the former BMG gary? I miss the BMG gary.

    3. I particularly enjoyed our seascraper’s screed against floating currency and loose money supply, and the promoting plug identifying it as a case against Keynesianism.

    Milton Friedman must be spinning in his grave.

  8. Classic

    I always enjoy the rationalizations that occur when one side loses or is losing. It’s actually quite predictable. It goes like this:

    (1) “Our guy lost because he was not a “real” Republican (or Democrat). If only he was more to the right (or left), then he would have won in a landslide.” The related rationalization is to say something like: “If only she was a better candidate and wasn’t so awkward/ill-tempered/such a poor communicator, etc., we would have won in a landslide.” In other words, blame it on the messenger.

    (2) “Our guy lost because we got outplayed on tactics and strategy. If only it wasn’t for that brilliant shadowy political mind on the other side, we would have won.” In other words, blame it on the brilliant tactics of the other side.

    Notice what’s missing: our guy lost because the other side’s ideas were better, or at least more popular. I guess nobody ever wants to admit this.

    • Exactly so -

      As others have observed recently, the view from the right is that conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed.

      • To be fair

        I like that formulation; it aptly captures the viewpoint of ideologues.

        But, to be fair, the explanations noted by Mr Georgetown Paul above were deployed by Dems after Kerry 2004, and locally after Coakley 2010.

        • Difference being

          Democrats back away from things that are actually popular in order to placate the right. Case in point, polls showed 60% of Americans supported a public option during the healthcare debate. I’m trying to remember the last time Republicans backed away from something popular in order to placate the left. They occasionally back away from the unpopular, but not the popular.

          • Simply Not True

            A majority of Americans did *not* support the public option. Which is why Obama and the Democrats backed away from it.

            A small majority of American’s supported the words “public option”, something that was “government created” (not “government run”!) and the idea of increasing “competition.” BUT, ask them whether the public option would save taxpayers money (they didn’t), whether they thought it would offer better health insurance than private insurance (they didn’t) and whether people preferred to have a public option or a guarantee that nobody will lose their current coverage (the guarantee won in a landslide) and you see the real view of the American public.

            The facts are that most poll respondents (generally a higher information voter than average) still had no clue what a “public option” meant. They liked the words and the polling spin. But a majority of those that did understand the public option were against it. This is covered well here:

            That said, I’m intrigued by your idea that Democrats are more eager to placate the right than Republicans are to placate the left. Tell me more. Give me another example?

            • Perhaps the Washington Post was mistaken when they said

              “A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public. . . .

              “If a public plan were run by the states and available only to those who lack affordable private options, support for it jumps to 76 percent. Under those circumstances, even a majority of Republicans, 56 percent, would be in favor of it, about double their level of support without such a limitation.” link

              So why not at least do THAT and have SOME public option? Even a majority of Republicans favored that.

              Even the link you sent me had the WashPost poll wording asking if people supported the government creating a plan to compete with private insurers. I’m not sure how it could have been clearer.

              Another example? Have you forgotten the war in Iraq so soon? I mean really, even John Kerry, who was so worried that an intervention in Bosnia would lead to another Vietnam, was willing to vote for that in order to not be labelled “unpatriotic” and “with the terrorists” … even though according to Lincoln Chafee’s book, the “evidence” of Iraq having WMDs was not convincing.

              What about not even putting Elizabeth Warren’s name in to run the Consumer Financial Protection Board? Why not MAKE the GOP filibuster and show them to be blocking the appointment of a strong consumer advocate, and try to rally public opinion behind this?

              Did Democrats agree to 3-to-1 spending cuts to revenue increases in order to raise the debt ceiling? Last I recall they did, although there were so many twists and turns on those negotiations I may have forgotten the actual final outcome.

              Why did Democrats decide to put God back in the party platform?

              • Democrats

                To the extent that you are correct about Democrats placating the right more than Republicans placating the left, which seems plausible, I would think that there’s a pretty simple and pragmatic reason for this: the Democrats rely upon red-state Senators and red-district Representatives more than Republicans rely upon blue-state or -district representatives.

                It may be a 50/50 nation, but the fact that Republican votes are more efficiently distributed (e.g. few if any 70%+ Republican districts as opposed to 70%+ Democratic districts) means that they are at a bit of a structural advantage in constructing a majority in Congress. Without Blue Dogs, it is hard for Democrats to have a House majority. Without Rockefeller Republicans, the GOP can manage a (slim) majority.

                I think a lot of the seeming lack of political courage from Democrats stems from not wanting to force their red-district members into tough votes. Whether this is a wise strategy — because many Blue Dogs were destined to lose whether the health care bill had a public option or not, for example — is another question, but I think this pragmatic calculus plays a role.

                • More to it than that

                  Democrats “placate” the right on issues where they had no political credibility, and were therefore vulnerable. The NYC neighborhood in which I grew up was reliably trade union Democrat until the 70s. But by then an accumulation of disastrous Great Society style policies on rent control, crime, public housing and the like left generally liberal people– people who had grown up in Hell’s Kitchen for goodness sake– afraid to be “in the city” at night. Democrats lost their credibility on these domestic issues there, then, and have only just barely begun to regain it.

                  Likewise I think the Democrat’s initial embrace of the war in Vietnam, their prolonged embrace of a manifestly bad strategy, and their subsequent embrace of too-far-the-other-way 60s peace activism, wrecked their credibility on military and defense issues.

                  When Republicans got in, in 1980, things got better. A lot of that was dumb luck. Some was the fruition of Carter policies that lost him his left while gaining no ground in the center. But the fact is that things got better, and that turned what was just a Democratic weakness into that plus a Republican strength.

                  So Democrats after that time had to make a big show of being tough on crime and tough on national defense, or be steamrolled. I think if you are the ideological type, you call this “placating.” If you are a pragmatist, then you choose not to fight battles that have already been decisively lost, decades ago.

                  • You call it placating

                    I call it collusion.

                    • I call it

                      you lost the battle, 45 years ago.

                    • We have lost some battles, sure.

                      But there is nothing decisive about it. History has a way of turning around and biting you on the backside. The battles lost are a loss for 99% of us.
                      Civil rights remains the greatest victory for the Democrats in the second half of last century. The right’s wholesale attack on the rights and liberties of labor, women and minorities is well documented and manifested in today’s campaigns. Because this attack is relentless, well coordinated and well funded should not be seen as placation(sic) by the left.
                      Your story about Hell’s Kitchen – now rebranded as “Clinton” – is instructive.You say law and order, low guv’ment controlled rents and public housing were miserable failures. Look at Manhattan now; it is unlivable for all but the very wealthy. Real estate prices have risen by 90% in 10 years in spite of the so-called recession, which begs the question – recession for whom? So poor, working class and middle class people get pushed into sacrificial zones of high crime, decreasing public services, inadequate housing, etc in other borroughs while Manahatta becomes a glitzy jewel that reflects only the reality of a handful of people.
                      Things did not “get better” in 1980 – 1980 just closed the deal, that’s all. Lobbyists like the NRA set policy through pay-offs to congress – and both parties lapped it up.
                      Too-far-the-other-way 60′s folks and failed Carter policies, you say, gave us Reagan, who his disciples love to claim as defeating the Soviet Union (now that was luck). Yet Romney wants to re-ignite that adversarial relationship – why? Because the money is in a war economy – hot or cold.
                      So here we are, poverty on the rise, an economy in the tank, real estate in the tank – except for the very rich, adequate affordable housing scarce as hen’s teeth, and an economy that only works for Wall Street bankers and Washington lobbyists. If you are going to claim that things got better in 1980 then you must be prepared to take responsibility for these things too, instead of denying them.
                      Don’t take a victory lap just yet.

                    • I think this has been the problem these last few years

                      The War on Poverty wrecked almost all faith people had in domestic “government programs” and thus in liberal Democratic proposals for domestic issues. It has not yet recovered.

                      Sure Reagan got lucky. Them’s the breaks. So did Clinton. Even if things got so bad for “the lower economic strata” after 1980, for people who actually vote, things got better. They didn’t have 22% interest rates on their mortgage; they got a tax cut; they had a job, and maybe a raise; gas prices declined. There was a reason that “Morning in America” resonated. The result is that Republicans got a lot of credibility, deserved or otherwise. Democrats certainly deserved to lose their credibility, as they preferred to reinforce failure rather than admit mistakes. Telling these people that they were worse of in 1984 than they were in 1979 is a credibility-erasing strategy.

                      An awful lot of the credibility Republicans garnered in the 80s was vaporized in 2009, which is why Obama even has a shot at re-election. In my view, Democrats simply assumed that this meant that faith returned to Democrats, but this was manifestly not the case.

                      In the event, the Democrats set the performance of the economy to one side and focused their energy on installing a new Government Program. People who actually vote still don’t trust new government programs. Hence 2010. Perhaps that lack of faith will change as the new healthcare law is implemented and brilliantly administered. But in October 2012, the jury is, at best, out to lunch.

                      So, I would say that Democrats faltered a generation ago on these domestic “economy” issues, the GOP stumbled into the right play at exactly the right time, and thus Dems have spent a lot of the last 40 years on defense.

                      And, they missed an opportunity in 2009 to turn the tables back again. I guess it will remain to be seen if the Affordable Care Act turns out to be worth its opportunity costs.

                    • I disagree...

                      The War on Poverty wrecked almost all faith people had in domestic “government programs” and thus in liberal Democratic proposals for domestic issues.

                      That the “War on Poverty” was concurrent to the civil rights struggle is no accident and any faith lost was not in government; what was lost was the clear assumption of affirmative action wholly in favor of Whites; the “War on Poverty” was explicit in inclusion of all races and was clear-eyed with respect to true poverty. Bigotry was able to exploit this as some pernicious form of attack on Whites.

                      It has not yet recovered.

                      Because we still have bigotry we still have people hating the government for its willingness to help minorities (and women).

                    • Okay

                      If everybody;s a racist, then there really isn’t any shot of recovering, is there.

                      Personally, I think these things overlap and feed each other. And I think “everyone is a racist” is a nice way not to think about a variety of well-intentioned policies that didn’t work very well.

                    • who ever said "everybody is a racist"???

                      Not I. Perhaps you should read more carefully…?

                      But, I suppose it’s a nice way to sweep the entire issue under the rug.

                    • So, I just re-read your comment of 10:50AM

                      And I think I will stick with my paraphrase. I guess I’ll modify it to mean, everyone who didn’t vote for my team from and after 1970.

                      It strikes me that your response is an easy way to explain away an awful lot of Democratic bad policy, without having to acknowledge any failing by Democrats.

                      Why, Democrats didn’t lose in 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000, and 2004, along with the Congress from 1994-2006, and 2010-? because of anything we did that went awry. We just lost all those elections because of the Civil Rights Act, and see what a noble sacrifice we made?

                      I suppose we shall disagree. That’s why you are a died-in-the-wool Democrat, and I am a died-in-the-wool independent.

                    • It's not that everyone is a racist...

                      It is that, in places where racists decide elections, there has been a shift from total support of the Democratic Party to near-total support of the Republican Party. That has tipped most Presidential elections and plenty of Congressional elections in recent years.

                      From 1880 (end of Reconstruction) to 1944, there were 16 Presidential elections. The 11 states of the Old Confederacy all went Democratic in 14 of those. In 1920 Tennessee barely went Republican. In 1928 five went Republican for the first time ever because the Democrats nominated…eek…an Irish Catholic.

                      Truman desegregated the Armed Forces in 1948. That year four of the 11 states gave their electoral votes for Strom Thurmond in protest. In 1952, ’56 and ’60, the Democrats lost at least four of the 11 each time.

                      In 1964, following the Civil Rights Act championed by President Johnson, five of these states (La., Miss., Ala. Ga., S.C.) go for Goldwater. In all of the South except Texas Johnson runs far behind his national totals. He even did worse in the South than in Wyoming.

                      1968. Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Humphrey, with 41%, ekes out a win in a three-way race in Texas. He loses all other former Confederate states. 5 go to Nixon, 5 to George Wallace. Since then we’ve had ten Presidential elections. In five of them (1972, 1984, 1988, 2000, 2004), the GOP has swept all 11 states (maybe the Dems won one of those – ahem Florida – in 2000). In 1980 Carter lost 10 of them and won only his home state of Georgia. That leaves 4 elections.

                      1976: Carter, a Southerner, wins 10 of 11 former Confederate states against a moderate Northern Republican in the first post-Watergate election.
                      1992: Clinton and Gore, two DLC Southerners, need Ross Perot’s help to win 4 of 11, 2 of which were their home states.
                      1996: Clinton and Gore, with a humming economy, incumbency, Ross Perot on the ballot, and Dick Morris running the campaign, still win only 4 of 11, 2 of which were there home states.
                      2008: Obama, with the 2008 Bush collapse, the imploding McCain campaign, and huge African-American turnout, wins relatively narrow victories in 3 of 11 states. Tellingly, he runs behind John Kerry in a few.

                      As for Congress, without the 11 states of the former Confederacy, the Senate (after the 2010 debacle for Dems) would be 47 Democrats and 31 Republicans. Toss in Kentucky and Oklahoma and it’s 47-27.

                      The House would still be Democratic without those 11 states. There are only 37 Democrats in the House from former Confederate states. About half (18) are African American and represent districts created thanks to the Voting Rights Act. Several more are Latinos in Texas. A few more represent places with large transplant populations (NoVa, South Florida).

                      The fact is Southern whites used to vote Democratic and that helped the Democrats win some elections in the mid-20th century. Once progressive Northern (and some Southern) Democrats pushed the party toward civil rights, the white Southerners abruptly reversed their voting patterns. That, more than any dissatisfaction with Democratic policies outside the South, has tipped national politics rightward. So, no, not everyone’s a racist, but racism is a big reason our politics are where they are.

                      Sorry this is so damn long but I think it’s important to make the point.

                    • No, I appreciate it

                      And I am not saying there is nothing to it. I’m just saying that it explains very little about the end of big-government liberalism as a politically popular movement.

                      The southern states first broke Republican in 1964, just months after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. And LBJ steamrolled Goldwater without them, in part because Goldwater’s “no” vote was toxic virtually everywhere else.

                      Nixon, the original southern strategist, had it blown up on him by George Wallace, who took most of the south away, and won anyway, because large portions of the non-South swung his way. Wisconsin. Illinois. Ohio. Vermont!

                      Nixon 1972 carried 49 states, most of which were not in the South. Carter, 12 years after the Civil Rights Act, won by carrying the south that was supposed to have sworn off Democrats. Reagan won 44 states, many of which were not in the South. And then he won 49. Bush won 41 in 1988.

                      In 92 the solid south that swore off Democrats forever split, but favoring Bush in 1992. If it had been solid for Bush, it would not have saved him. Then it split again, favoring Dole. Again, a solid south would not have saved him.

                      It has really only been 2000 and 2004 in which a Solid South was actually important to Republican victory, but that is only because the margin of victory in those elections were razor thin. In 2000, North Dakota was as crucial to Bush as anywhere else. 2004 turned on Ohio as much as Florida. If Republicans never got a single electoral vote from the Old Confederacy, they still would have won in 1972, 1980, and 1984, and maybe even 1968.

                      That is because in those years nearly the entire country broke Republican, ushering in a long period of Republican ascendancy. The southern strategy is a fine example of ugly political black magic, but played little role in the waning of the Democratic star for the last 40 years, or the series of Republican landslides.

                      In conclusion, I would argue that something larger than the Southern Strategy has been at play.

                    • Some analysis (with data) and reading...

                      … on Democratic drift over several decades:

                      What’s the Matter with
                      What’s the Matter with Kansas?

                      Larry M. Bartels
                      Department of Politics and
                      Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs,
                      Princeton University


                    • Hey, thanks

                      That looks interesting.

                      I have grumbled before– has this site been around since 2004? Sheesh– about the entire concept of Frank’s book– that something is wrong with Kansas because it doesn’t vote economic interest. Why should this be true for Kansas but not, say, the Upper West Side?

                      That, and framing. Don’t get me started on framing.

                    • I don't hold the original WTMWK title...

                      … against the author. He was telling the story through the framework of his home town. It’s more narrative with some analysis thrown in than analysis with narrative thrown in. He summarized his impressions and delved into some details of history, but he wasn’t a ‘data’ guy as much as Bartels is.

                      If you value my input and thought processes, I really recommend you reexamine your assertions about the history Bush administration intelligence work on Iraq. I’d start with Hubris, The Five Percent Doctrine, Rise of the Vulcans, and Against all Enemies. There really was a conservative neo-con insurgency inside the intelligence community. It goes back decades and culminates with W and Rumsfeld and the DIA and the Iraq intelligence efforts exemplify the schism. Fascinating (if also tragic) stuff.

                      The data and facts are there to be analyzed. I’m not surprised at your impression about the subject (although I had hoped you had delved more deeply into it than most regular media consumers) – most people don’t know much about it because its very ‘inside baseball’ and when it was happening people didn’t want to burn their access too much.

                    • And the Congress

                      Why is it that the southern states have to be seceded to keep the Congress under Democratic control? Wouldn’t a south that is not a “solid south” wind up voting more or less like all the other states?

                      In 2010 senate races, Republicans successfully defended previously-Republican Senante seats in 18 states, only 4 –Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina– of which are in the south. Democrats successfully defended 13, but lost 4 seats, only one of which in a southern state (Arkansas). So why would a non southern strategy south buck the trend of the other 39 states?

                    • Failed Carter policies

                      No. Not failed Carter policies. Failed Democratic polices.

                      Carter saw it, and tried to reposition himself. That’s why people still grumble that many of the things for which Reagan took credit were actually Carter initiatives. But they were only Carter initiatives, not Democratic initiatives. Democrats–and one prominent Democrat in particular– pretty much shivved Carter for his apostasy, which is a significant reason we now think of him as a weak President.

                      Democrats, in particular your beloved Senator Dream Will Never Die, specifically chose to kick away the opportunity that Carter gave them to distance themselves from the failures of the expanding regulatory state, and thus set the stage for three decades of Republican ascendance.

                      So now, when people see the Louis Heaton Pink Houses, they think “LBJ.”

                    • "Some was the fruition of Carter policies that lost him his left while gaining no ground in the center."

                      Are you now changing your statement?
                      Again, the 3 decades of republican ascendance ended in September 2008.
                      In fact, what few policies this new breed of republicans has put forth have proven to be miserable failures for everyone but themselves.

                    • Changing how?

                      In my view, by the last 70s the voting public had given up on “big government” programs, which were manifestly failing. Carter saw this, and actually started to move away from big programs and projects he thought wasteful.

                      Congressional Democrats saw this as a terrible intrusion on their authority to tax and spend, and cut him off at the knees. Cue Senator Dream Will Never Die’s primary challenge. Meanwhile, the Reagan campaign capitalized on Carter’s perceived weakness– which was as much a product of Tip and Ted as it was the administration, while attacking Democrats, generally, from the right on what had become deeply unpopular “big government.” So, Carter lost his own left while gaining no ground in the center.

                      So, Carter had the right idea about where to move the Democratic Party, but did not have the ability to move the party. Neither did Mondale or Dukakis, both of whom seemed to be captives of the party’s special interest groups, who demanded more of the same but could produce no political coalition to support it.

                      That is why Clinton in 1992 had to run AGAINST the dinosaur wing of the Democratic Party as much as he did against Bush. And having run that gauntlet successfully, he then had the talent that Carter lacked to drag the whole party into the modern era, kicking and screaming.

                      Three decades of Republican ascendance ended in September 2008, sure. But there has been no ascendance by either party in the four years since. Voters have the choice of

                      (i) Policies that Worked many decades ago, but then failed; and

                      (ii) Policies that Worked 3 decades ago, but then failed.

                  • I don't think things got better

                    after 1980. I think things got a lot worse.

                    • Strictly speaking... yes and no.

                      … after 1980 things did get better: gas prices declined; ‘stagflation’ went away, mostly thanks to Paul Volcker; and unemployment came down. Money began to flow freely as America went from being a creditor nation to being a debtor nation, mostly thanks to Reagan’s profligate ways.

                      … and things did get worse: the cost for all this good news was mostly borne by the lower economic strata who, for the first time since the end of WWII, saw wages decline, along with purchasing power, Concurrent to this an explosion of drug use either fueled, or was fueled by, rising crime especially in the cities. And, sadly, Detroit started making smaller, and generally crappier, cars.

                    • You're being placated fenway

                      That’s a joke, petr.

                    • I agree with all of that

                      but don’t forget the nasty recession of 1981-83, in which national unemployment reached nearly 11%. Deregulation (under Carter in 1980) led to risky practices, big shock, and more bank failures in 1983 than in any year during the Great Depression. Deregulation of the S & Ls, we all know how that turned out. And, yes, Reagan got out of it by massive deficit spending. It took David Stockman about 10 minutes after the 1984 election to admit that the Reagan second-term deficits would be much larger than the projections during the campaign. Then he admitted the deficits were part of a deliberate “starve the beast” campaign.

                      As for crime, since CMD mentioned New York City, half of my family is from there too. I was born in Brooklyn myself in 1975. And my memories of the 80s were of relatives having 12 locks on the doors, of my being given strict instructions on what blocks not to venture past, and of blaring headlines every day. The 8 highest murder totals in the history of New York City all took place in the 14 years between 1980 and 1993. Nationwide, same story. A spike in the 70s, a bigger spike in the 80s and early 90s, then a decline.

                      Since 1980 our wealth has been redistributed to the top and successive waves of deregulation have led to successive waves of financial failure. At least some people went to jail for the S & L fiasco, which was nothing compared to 2008. When the history of this time is written I believe it will be harsh.

              • Troublesome Examples

                Having let this thread go too long (nearly 24 hours!), its gotten away from us a bit oceandreams.

                We’ll probably have to agree to disagree (slightly) about the true popularity of the public option (or single payer for that matter). Like with most complex issues, I think we can agree that it is tricky to actually measure public opinion since so few people have the time or inclination to educate themselves about the issue.

                That said, I am interested in continuing the dialogue/debate about Democrats “placating” the right on issues that are demonstrably popular. I still don’t see that happening very often. While I wish they would stand-up to the right on some issues that are important but currently unpopular (say, for the absolutist pro-choice position or for a broad-based tax increase), I don’t really think they often abandon popular positions to placate the right.

                Your examples are not entirely persuasive.

                Another example? Have you forgotten the war in Iraq so soon?

                Thanks to 9/11 and the Bush Administration’s relentless lies about Saddam Hussein’s “involvement”, the Iraq War was popular. Polls showed about half to two-thirds in favor of an invasion. And War is especially tricky because the general public invariably sheds their doubts on Day One of any War in the name of “supporting the troops.” By May (when the initial ground invasion seemed to have gone so well) support for the War was at 80%. Smart politicians would have anticipated such a reaction and that makes it very difficult to oppose something so “popular”.

                What about not even putting Elizabeth Warren’s name in to run the Consumer Financial Protection Board? Why not MAKE the GOP filibuster and show them to be blocking the appointment of a strong consumer advocate, and try to rally public opinion behind this?

                You yourself admit here that this would have required “rallying public opinion” behind this choice. This was inside baseball that a large majority of people probably had no idea was even being played. In this case, Obama and the Democrats made the decision to placate the Republicans in Congress in the hopes that it would lessen their resistance to implementation of the Dodd-Frank regulations. That didn’t really work but it’s certainly not an example of caving on a popular issue.

                Did Democrats agree to 3-to-1 spending cuts to revenue increases in order to raise the debt ceiling?

                Nope, they agreed to a 1:0 ratio. The deal was $1 trillion in 10 years of spending cuts. No new revenue. They had some hopes the Super Committee would come up with another $1.5 trillion through a balanced approach of 1:1 revenues and spending but that didn’t happen. So, now, $1.2 trillion more in cuts is in the “sequestration” will go in to effect in January 2013. But we also still have $3.3 trillion (over ten years, again) worth of Bush tax cuts set to expire in December if nothing again gets done. So, I still hold out some hope of a more balanced approach post-election. In any case, I would argue that it remains to be seen what the “popular” choice is.

                Why did Democrats decide to put God back in the party platform?

                Because 90% of people believe in God.

            • Umm...

              Have you not heard of the DLC? Blue Dog caucus? Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu? Just going back to Clinton, Democratic Presidents and/or significant numbers of Congressional Democrats have supported:

              Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
              “Welfare Reform”
              Telecommunications deregulation
              Repeal of Glass-Steagall
              Reduction of capital gains rate to 15%
              23 House votes and 11 Senate votes for 2001 Bush tax cuts
              82 House votes and 21 Senate votes for 2002 Iraq War resolution
              Patriot Act
              2005 Energy subsidy act
              2005 Bankruptcy act
              2008 Obama vote on wiretapping
              2010 extension of Bush tax cuts
              2011 debt ceiling “compromise”

              The Democratic majority did not vote to stop funding for Iraq in 2007 though elected to end the war, and have failed to push (or delayed pushing for) plenty of things their party’s base wants.

              By the way, the RCP article doesn’t establish what you claimed. Almost all of the polls cited found strong support. One found 50% for, 46% against even when using the Republican buzz-word “government-run.”

              Support only dropped when this question was asked:

              Suppose that the creation of a government-sponsored non-profit health insurance option encouraged companies to drop private health insurance coverage for their workers. Workers would then be covered by the government option. Would you favor or oppose the creation of a government-sponsored non-profit health insurance option if it encouraged companies to drop private health insurance coverage for their workers?

              Sure, once you add the propagandist’s bogeyman support drops. I’m sure polling support for eating vegetables would drop if the question were “Suppose that eating vegetables caused upset meat producers to withdraw their services like John Galt, leaving you with only vegetables to eat. This might cause a precipitous drop in life-sustaining protein, leading to anemia. Would you still support eating vegetables?”

              Even then, the article says “almost three/fifths” no longer support the pubic option. What does that mean, 40% or close still support it? Not bad considering that the poll question cited was much more slanted than any of the ones showing widespread support.

              In his conclusion even the guy who wrote the article said it didn’t establish the public was against the public option. You went one better than the article’s very author.

            • Two-thirds of Americans support Medicare-for-all

              Including most Republicans.


              But it’s not a triangulate-o-licious option.

  9. Another example for theloquaciousliberal

    There was a time when polls showed overwhelming support for more gun control, including comfortable majorities of gun owners, yet Dems are usually tepid on that.

    For what it’s worth I also saw evidence to suggest that health care reform had more support with the public option than without it.

    • Yes, great point

      Democrats are so afraid of the NRA that most won’t even talk about sensible policies like limiting rapid-far assault weapon ammunition.

      • The rumor was in '92 that...

        … it was pretty much the NRA was a big factor keeping Cuomo from running. He had staked some pretty clear stances on gun control and when taking assessment on the pros and cons of running the rumor was that the NRA telegraphed that they’d scorch the earth if he even thought of it.

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