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Why 2010 Doesn’t Have to Be 1994

Posted on Jan 3, 2010

By E.J. Dionne Jr.

As they enter this difficult election year, Democrats seem ready to engage yet again in a debate they never seem to tire of: whether winning demands “moving to the center” or “mobilizing the base.”

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If they get stuck on this one, they’re in for a very bad time.

The simple truth is that in midterm elections, no party can win without its base because turnout is lower than in presidential elections. Those who do vote are more committed to their parties and their ideological priorities.

Behind the 1994 Republican midterm sweep was a dispirited Democratic base unhappy about the failure of heath care reform, grumpy about the economy and badly split over the North American Free Trade Agreement for which President Bill Clinton pushed so hard. While Democrats stayed home, Republicans mobbed the polls and won races all the way down the ballot. It’s the midterm rule: No base, no victory.

But this doesn’t mean independents or swing voters can be ignored, and there are ways to turn out the base that don’t turn off the middle. For the out party, opposition to the in party is often enough. Democrats swept the 2006 midterms because their base was wildly enthusiastic about rebuking George W. Bush, and the political center too had turned on the president. Republicans would like to repeat that in reverse this year.


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Preventing this will require President Barack Obama to draw on what he did in 2008 when he inspired the left and won the middle. If he’s lucky, an improving economy might do part of his work for him, and he intends to focus relentlessly on jobs between now and Election Day.

The president must distance himself from Wall Street, to which his administration looks much too close. The bank bailouts and the arrogant behavior of the titans of finance enrage not only progressives but also moderate middle-class voters unaccustomed to multimillion-dollar bonuses. On the right, the so-called tea party movement gains traction by casting big government and the big banks as unseemly bedfellows.

Selling health care reform as real progress is also key to winning both the middle and the left. Many progressives are disillusioned over the loss of the public option. Less ideological voters wonder what they will get out of the bill. Both groups need reassurance about a plan tarred by the convoluted legislative process that created it.

As the Senate and House make a deal on the final bill, they need to keep an eye on where progressives and middle-of-the-road voters agree. That would include making insurance affordable for middle- and lower-middle-income Americans, securing additional concessions from the drug companies and strengthening regulation of insurance companies.

At the same time, the president will have to make clear that legislation on certain controversial issues—notably immigration reform and a cap-and-trade plan on carbon—simply can’t happen unless a significant number of Republicans are willing to cooperate upfront in crafting proposals that can get 60 Senate votes. This would put a public burden for achieving comity on the Republicans. After the bitterly partisan health care fight, the public has little stomach for another lengthy legislative battle that would drown out discussion of the economy, its highest priority.

Republicans could also make mistakes that would take the focus off the Democrats. Their politicizing the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt created a backlash that rallied even disillusioned progressives to Obama’s side. (No one is more effective in ginning up Democratic loyalists than Dick Cheney.) The growing power of the GOP’s right wing gives Democrats an additional lever to use in recapturing moderates. And the tea party crowd could force even quite conservative candidates into debilitating primaries.

Republicans who don’t face primaries can cast themselves as pragmatic problem-solvers from the beginning of their campaigns, as Bob McDonnell did so effectively in last year’s Virginia governor’s race. But having to win over increasingly conservative primary voters can force Republican candidates to move far outside the mainstream. Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama got a taste of this when he abandoned the Democrats—and was welcomed to the Republican Party with allegations from primary opponents that he was a species of liberal.

Democrats will almost certainly lose House and Senate seats. But they can escape a rout if they avoid going around in circles by constantly wondering if they should tack left or right. Steadiness in governing, a bit of tactical shrewdness and a little help from the Republicans may be enough to save them from the abyss.
E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)
© 2010, Washington Post Writers Group

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By ardee, January 8, 2010 at 4:29 am Link to this comment

Why 2010 Doesn’t Have to Be 1994

One step closer to 1984 I think.

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By Anarcissie, January 7, 2010 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

DBM—the anti-war movement is used to being on the outside.  There are things you can do on the outside which inconvenience the ruling class and the war freaks.  Anti-war people have dealt with being infiltrated by cops, spies and agents-provocateurs, but apparently they don’t know what to do with their “friends”.

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By DBM, January 7, 2010 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

It all seems to come down to the power of lobbyists = the power of corporate money.  The government, whoever is in power, does anything necessary for corporate profit.  War is one of the best money spinners of all.  (There’s a great quote from “General Smedley D. Butler” on another TD thread ... do a search on it).

So, the military industrial lobbyists sideline the pacifists.  The medical industry lobbyists pervert the health reform.  The energy industry lobbyists stop environmental legislation and the financial lobbyists steal taxpayer money outright.

So it doesn’t surprise me at all that “the anti-war movement has been sidelined”.  Since when did any voter movement really influence Washington as opposed to money?

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By Anarcissie, January 7, 2010 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

DBM, January 7 at 12:01 am:
‘True Anarcissie, many of the Teabaggers wouldn’t be able to articulate a coherent agenda ... but it boils down to the same old same old:

Answer = Lower Taxes and De-regulation…’

That would make the Tea-Baggers libertarians.  They don’t seem to be particularly libertarian to me.

If the movement has been co-opted by the Republican establishment, I’d say this portends trouble for either the movement or the establishment, if not both.  The theme of the tea-baggers, if I may refer to Network again, is “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.”  But what they’re mad about is, by and large, the same collection of policies created by Bush and company late in his second term and continued pretty faithfully by Mr. O. 

Reading around, I don’t see any activity on the part of progs whatever.  They’re still sitting in the corner, crying and sucking their thumbs.  They’re all promising to stay home on election day, and that’s about it.  If Mr. O whistles for them, they’ll come running.

The really remarkable thing is the way the anti-war movement has been neutralized after being used as a stick to beat Bush with.  I guess there were more establishment-Democrat infiltrators than people knew.

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By bgordon555, January 7, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Hey DBM,

You’re missing the point.  Steele (elsewhere on this blog) is reporting to “embrace” the teafreak movement.

Can you imagine a similar embracing of progressives by Kaine, Obama, Reid, or Pelosi?  OK, well, maybe Pelosi, but she’s having her own problems with the rest of the party at the moment.

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By DBM, January 6, 2010 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

True Anarcissie, many of the Teabaggers wouldn’t be able to articulate a coherent agenda ... but it boils down to the same old same old:

Answer = Lower Taxes and De-regulation

Question = ???  Anything at all ???

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By DieDaily, January 6, 2010 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

bgordon555, I suppose you could credit the so-called Teabaggers for “at least doing something”, but it would be a stretch to do so. They are a pro-establishment, top-down, fully co-opted movement now. They foolishly believe the craziest things, like that by voting in a different crook than the present crook things will change. If you bring up an actual issue to a FOX-news-addled tea-zombie, like the federal reserve, corporate corruption, false flag terror, Zionist control of the gummint, etc., they glaze over like zombies. “Wudderyoo, sum kyna interlectural?” They are state-worshipers, and they meet to worship the state. They actually have Republican politicians for speakers! LMFAO! They are going to party-vote their way out of problems caused by being the people having been duped into the party system? “Hey, shuddup libral, I’ma warship the state if I wontoo.”

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By Anarcissie, January 6, 2010 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

DBM—You have discerned a coherent Tea-Bagger agenda?  My impression (from very light reading) was that it was yet another rerun of Network.

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By DBM, January 6, 2010 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

Actually I suspect that there have been just as many mobilised progressives as the teabaggers.  However, the progressive demonstrations were not organised, promoted and reported on by a television network (Fox). 

As a result they have been less visible ... but you are right, the teabaggers are more likely to achieve their agenda aims whether because their protests have been more visible or because they are mouthing the desires of the economic elite anyway.

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By bgordon555, January 6, 2010 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

While there are lots of good intentions here, we know what happens to all good intentions.

There really is only going to be ONE way to achieve change, and that’s to start a movement and AGITATE.

All the witty ditty posts and blogs in the world accomplish squat compared to a good robust MOVEMENT.

Many of you/us laughed at the teafreaks, but at least they’re DOING something.  They may yet fizzle, they may not, but at least they have a chance at accomplishing their agenda.

All we have so far is burned out electrons.

I play on the left side of the house, but from what I can tell, if there were to be a true progressive movement, it would be a groundswell unlike we’ve seen. 

It’s all in the framing and marketing, folks.  The problem is that once the Demcrats won in 2008, they sat back and let the GOP frame the issues.  And unfortunately, the Dems couldn’t frame the Mona Lisa if they were standing at the counter of Frames R Us.

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By Sean01, January 6, 2010 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

I hate to say it, but Obama began losing me at his ‘no consequences’ position regarding the Cheney Administration’s manufacturing of the illegal Iraq invasion. 

‘Looking forward’ my ass…

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By samosamo, January 5, 2010 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, January 6 at 1:07 am

Precisely, and I do plan on researching those running against
the 2 parties in my state and will vote for the one I deem the
one who will not only work for the people and the people who
elect them but also the one who will put the teeth back into
congressional oversight and investigation and impeachment
and prosecution which I say are the legitimate threats you
allude to in your comment.

Which thanks for your comment as I get really ill with all this
assuming from commenting that there is not much in the way
of choice other than the repubs or dems which is why I
commented as I did because we need more than a couple of
dozen rather concerned elected personages to really recapture
the government we had and HOLD o to what needs to be
done, but I guess that would have to be in 2012.

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By Anarcissie, January 5, 2010 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

You don’t have to vote for a Republican.  There are some other parties out there.

Threats, however, are not going to mean anything to the Democrats (or anyone else) unless there is some prospect of their actually being carried through.

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By samosamo, January 5, 2010 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

What is to consider in this 2010 election is what republican
you want to vote for as your senator(s) and representative in
the house because we all know the democrats are crookeder
than a dog’s hind leg so we may as well just replace them with
republicans because they have dog and jesus h. crist on their
side and they know how to start the wars that keep the
vaunted strong american economy on track and rolling to
brighter futures and it is most likely the only way to break
down any appearances that o may just still be a democrat or a
republican or just that sorry ass ole pig in a poke.

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By Hammond Eggs, January 5, 2010 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

. . . there are ways to turn out the base that don’t turn off the middle.

Not any more.  We’ve had the experience of the Clintons and now Obama and the mountain of political detritus associated with them .  No, thank you.  And again I say, no, thank you.  I’ve seen the polls that claim 40 - 45% of the Democrats’ base won’t vote in ‘010, or are thinking about not voting.  Make it 100%.  So pander to the middle with your gluten free Republicanism.  It work work with progressives any longer.

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By liecatcher, January 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

Why 2010 Doesn’t Have to Be 1994

To Gmarks, January 5 at 10:08 am #
“AGAIN - It doesn’t matter.”
“Has EJ DIonne written about the hijacker’s father
working for Israel? Has EJ DIonne written about the
East Indian Gentleman helping the would be bomber
gain passage without a passport?”

Hey Gmarks: I feel your pain. Let’s not forget that
WashPo writers write what they are paid to write just
like any other mainstreamer.

A more realistic title would be:
Why 2010 will be a whole lot worse

First of all the economy is starting with a minimum
of 10% unemployment with net jobs lost each month.
as the miscreants manipulated the cost of living
numbers to rob social security recipients,of an
increase, some experts believe true unemployment is
closer to 20%. Regardless, there are no new jobs (not
counting the military & mercenaries). Bush3 has
borrowed $trillions from the FED & let Bernanke give
it to the bankster cabals, both here & in Europe, with arrogance, impunity,& no accountability.
Government Sachs is still using our taxpayer money to
drive oil prices up. The kind of win win fascists
love, using our money for free to rob us & drain
$billions out of the economy when it’s most needed.
Is there any doubt about the next
permanent wars beginning sooner rather than later?
Bush3 has pushed the U.S. into a downward escalating debtor’s abyss from which we can’t even
cover the debt on the deficit.

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By e&co;., January 5, 2010 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

Some excellent points.  There’s simple recipe to get started:  Abiding by the Law of the Land, the U.S. Constitution.  Something we haven’t done for a very long time.  It’s not a panacea, but it would be a positive direction. Even just taking some steps toward reinstating the Constitution would do the Sovereign People, the economy, and the world, a world of good.  And, while we’re at it, reinstating the provisions of the founders’ DC charter that are the reason DC exists in the first place:  Making it once again illegal for corporate entities that do not serve District residents to operate within its borders.  Time to evict K Street (and their Bilderberger masters, too).  Makes the whole revolving door problem irrelevant.

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By Anarcissie, January 5, 2010 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

DieDaily, January 5 at 1:23 am:
‘Sure, a 3rd party may be better than what we have, but there is no guarantee that might not be worse, is there? Isn’t the paradigm that’s flawed, not just the players within it? So why stay in their box at all?

Would someone remind me of why we have any parties at all? There were none envisioned by the founders. ...’

The Founders envisioned a society and government of gentlemen who would not differ sufficiently in class, interests and affections to engender factions.  Even they were sometimes rather utopian.

The problem with third parties is that the kind of people who organize parties desire power and in the setup of the U.S., this means winning winner-take-all elections.  The progs can’t do this because there aren’t enough of them.  They could, however, spoil elections for the Democrats, the threat of which might cause the Democrats to change, or pretend to change, some of their policies.  That threat would have to be realized in the upcoming Congressional elections.  There is already at least one party promoting the sort of ideology progs seem to like, so the mechanism is in place.  The progs have several popular issues to promote, such as Single Payer and ending the various imperial wars.  As yet I don’t see any great movement to this party, however.

Yes, the paradigm is flawed, but that’s a long story, longer than most progs want to hear.

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By samosamo, January 4, 2010 at 11:03 pm Link to this comment

By DieDaily, January 5 at 1:23 am

True, no real way to say if a 3rd would or would not be worse,
or better other than an individual will have to put out a
certain amount of effort to check on anyone running for office
and I know that is a pain in the butt because our ‘great’ msm
in this country just likes to let us have what they want us to
base a decision upon but everyone should keep in mind about
that ‘eternal vigilance’ thing about maintaining a democracy in
our republic, or we may never have a choice other than a
goddamn republican or a democrat both of which are there to
make you think it is all a spectator sport just like USC vs.
UCLA or Texas vs. Oklahoma yadda yadda and that there are
no other choices.

The biggest card in this are the lobbyists and that is a main
attraction for wanting to be elected of office for far too many
candidates and no matter who is running and who will win,
the hardest thing to reject is the criminal bribery an elected
official is offered and that is all lobbying is, temptation and criminal bribery.

And electing or trying to elect good honest people to office is
pretty much down the last straw of civility in maintaining a
government because after that it just may not be anything left
short of physically going in and dragging those we elect but
turn their backs on us out and tar and feathering them; I am
being very polite about this right now.

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By DieDaily, January 4, 2010 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment

Sure, a 3rd party may be better than what we have, but there is no guarantee that might not be worse, is there? Isn’t the paradigm that’s flawed, not just the players within it? So why stay in their box at all?

Would someone remind me of why we have any parties at all? There were none envisioned by the founders. Are they not just clever political cartels arrayed beneath the mantle of a single money-cartel? If there were no parties at all (just independents, like it used to be) then wouldn’t they actually tend to vote the will of their constituents.

I don’t mean to rag on those who are through with the fake Dem/Rep two-ring circus. That progression is so deeply gratifying to me it almost makes me weep. And I certainly think that a third party could not make matters any worse, especially in the near term. But can’t we be a little more ambitious and carry our newfound skepticism of the false left vs. right distraction to it’s logical conclusion? What is the magical principle that will somehow banish the ailments of the two extant parties from the third? Why should we not just eliminate all the cartels, and all possibility of the formation of future ones? I say NO PARTIES.

A strong third party, I’ll grant, is still a step up, true. In the near term I’d even go for it if my district had no strong fully independent candidate. And true, any policy of issue-based anti-incumbency is a good thing. But I’d just like us to go all the way with this freedom from the Dem/Rep dog and pony show. Throwing a goat into the show isn’t quite going far enough for me.

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By Dayahka, January 4, 2010 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

It is far, far too early to make any suggestions about the November elections, and way too early to be talking about how to win (or not lose) those elections.

The Republicans, no matter which wing you’re talking about, have nothing to show for themselves, nothing to run on. What are they going to do—argue for tax cuts for the rich? Not with the constant reminder of the banksters and their riches staring the voters in the face. What does a Party of Nope have to offer? The Republicans will be fractured even more than they are now by November.

Then there are all the challenges ahead. If Israel attacks Iran and causes oil to rise so high it crashes the global economy, being pro-Israel as the Republicans nominally are is going to be a detriment. As more and more states go bankrupt and cut services, are people going to want to elect Republicans so they can cut even more services? Sure. Want some vacation property in Las Vegas, do you? And when the price of food climbs higher and higher due in large part to the floods and other things that have severely affected the US harvests in 2009 (and after the cold now going around, in 2010), are you going to want to support those who see to it that people have food or the Republicans, who will leave it “up to the market”?

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By samosamo, January 4, 2010 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

By Hank from Nebraska, January 4 at 11:27 pm

I know what you mean but please and by all means look at other
parties, as in 3rd party candidates, and research them to see if
you could vote for them, especially if any or all of your senators
and representatives are up for election. I look in my state and it
makes me feel good to cast a vote that might possibly cast out
either of my worthless senators and representative.

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By Hank from Nebraska, January 4, 2010 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

It is over for Obama and the Democrats.  How much bull can we take?  Not that the republicans merit any support, but the phony hype of hope and change followed by a corporate sellout that must make Bill Clinton blush is not going to get me to vote this fall.  The sad thing is, I don’t think the Democratic leadership understands how much they have disappointed their most enthusiastic supporters.  And we’re not coming back.  A small lie, OK, but this kind of wholesale deception on every single issue can only be solved by a complete divorce.

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By lichen, January 4, 2010 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

You don’t need sixty votes; only 50 if you undertake certain measures.  The fact that the democratic party can only scrape together about 20 votes for anything good and worthwhile, but full unison for war, murder, and corporate welfare says alot about them.  Frankly, I HOPE you die, democrats, and I’m afraid the upcoming ‘10 and ‘12 elections are going to be so extremely annoying because of the no-brained demobots trying to tell us we should vote for the scum of the earth.

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By DBM, January 4, 2010 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

2010 will be 1994 all over again.

Obama to a large degree and the Democrat corporate hacks in the legislature even more have stiffed the constituents who elected them in favour of the corporations who funded their campaigns.  No amount of corporate funded advertising will convince anyone that enriching Wall St bankers, corporate executives and lobbyists while continuing to foment enemies through stupid wars is in the interests of the American people. 

The Republican base has conveniently forgotten (in fact never admitted to) the even worse mismanagement of the previous 8 years so they will be out in force.  The Democrat base will not see anyone worth getting out of bed for and will stay home.

I can’t see any signs of a change of course prior to 2012 and expect that the Republicans will be able to elect whoever they like ... I’m just not sure the world will survive President Palin.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, January 4, 2010 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gag me with a spatula.  I wouldn’t go out to vote even
if my democratic congressman were behind in the polls
in a race against Hitler.

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By tropicgirl, January 4, 2010 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

hahahahaha. Ha. Funny stuff.

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By G.Anderson, January 4, 2010 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Time to adjust those meds again.

This type of thinking shows just how delusional, the Democratic party is.

On capital, hill it’s ok to sellout, and you can still go out for drinks afterward. However, when you sellout on main street, it’s good to just leave town preferably in the middle of the night and on your belly. 

Mainstreet really needed some help, they really really needed some help this time, not more B.S., and soaring rehtoric that was full of gas. How can you believe that what they got was anything but a sellout, unless of course your totally delusional.

Better climb into bed and pull the covers over your head for 8 more years, because the Democratic party is done for. 2010, you can’t be serious…

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By Russian Paul, January 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

What garbage. What Dionne is proposing is how to lure progressives in with
more bullshit, as if she doesn’t even believe it herself.

Health care “reform” is being passed that will enrich the insurance companies.
We now are technically at war with 5 muslim countries (Iraq, Afghanistan,
Paksitan, Somalia, Yemen) which is of course enriching war
profiteers/mercenaries/etc. Wall Street is in complete control of where our
money is going. Obama can distance himself all he wants, the charade is over,
he is 100% owned by the corporations.

For those who are informed and actually have a spine, there are only two
options: vote for a 3rd party, or don’t vote. It doesn’t matter a damn bit if the
Democrats lose to the Republicans if they ACT EXACTLY THE SAME. In
appearance the Republicans SEEM worse, but that is all theatre. I am still very
young, but very ashamed about what I did last November. What really frightens
me is how many older, wiser people supported and STILL support Obama
despite the fact that he has shown himself to be a RIGHT WING WAR

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By Anarcissie, January 4, 2010 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

bgordon555, January 4 at 5:59 am:
‘Thanks, EJ, for your wisdom and insight!

I would also add the following:

1) For the Democrats to win, they have got to make the case FOR government.  Goverment, by its very nature is a PUBLIC institution, and its sole purpose is for the benefit of the PUBLIC, not private interest. ...’

Which puts them in quite a bind, doesn’t it?  Because in fact they used the government exactly as an anarchist would predict, to advance private and right-wing interests, such as the bailouts, the war, the surveillance, the “health care” money pump for insurance corporations, and so on.

Having frosted off the progs, what have the Democrats got left?  I’d say their main strength is going to be the fact that the Republican Party is in disarray, split between religious fanatics, old-line GOPpers, and libertarian types.  Expect the Democrats, if they’re clever, to drive cynical, opportunistic wedges into that assemblage.  After all, until the financial meltdown, their main stock in trade against McCain was “We may be schmucks, but we’re the ones who aren’t crazy.”  Don’t laugh—it worked in 2006.

Also, come summer, I expect to hear some proggish noises from the White House and the Democratic Party leadership, and our neocon buddy here talking about how, therefore, Mr. O is “moving to the Left.”  I could be wrong, though, they may not give a rat about the progs.  They may whine and cry, but where can they go?

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By samosamo, January 4, 2010 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

What the ...!?! Why this is nothing less than e.j. dionne
hawking for nothing but the status quo of a 2 party traitorous
disaster or what in reality can be nothing short of the samo 1
party system that gets the voters every time and e.j. certainly
is promoting this with this article/post.

It will take everyone interested in a change from old BS politics
to look into who is running as their senator and representative,
to replace any incumbent of the old treason parties the
democrats or republicans, so as to detect some real blue dog
or some other personage running as what he/she really may
not be; and looking at the differences of Senator Bernie
Sanders(I) and the threat to america from aipac joe
liarman(i) one can get the feel to what to look for in a
candidate that will or will not turn traitor to the people for the

I am not sure what it may mean but on msnbc the news is this
current faker griffith from alabama who just played the dipsy
doodle of traitor dem going repub and from what I
understand senator shelby did the same which I would suspect
sort of really wrenches the voters of alabama around pretty
good but now it appears most of griffith’s staff have resigned.

There is an alternative to dem and repub and that is anything but a dem or repub.

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By bozhidar, January 4, 2010 at 10:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The latest ‘botched’ terrorist attack appears odder than an old cow’s udder.

Folks, since rise of sumerian city states, or even few millennia before that, a gangster rule had been institutionalized.
And spread thruout the socalled civilized world; or to be more accurate-adequate, thru the world ruled by kings, princes, satraps, aghas, amirs, sultans, boyars, counts, dukes, barons, lords, vodjas, et al.

And they have not been replaced. Today the gangsters go by dufferent names but are of the same spirit as had been peter the great, tut, shah pahlevi, tsar nik, kaiser otto,napoleon, nixon, senacherib, sharon, clinton, mussolini, hitler and another few bn other gang members.

A state gang does not behave any differently than a street, biker, or cosa nostra gang.
The difference being solely in means to do damage.

So, we need own gangsters. Gangsters against gangsters. Power against power. Generals and cia agents don’t really care who’s in power as long one slices their bread correctly.

So vote for NDP, nader, greens, cynthia, or even strajsova. Note, please, that obama is no more evil than capone, shah pahlevi, hitler, nixon, adams, polk, bush, et al.

Even US is not more evil’10 than 1810.The sole difference appears that US has more soldiers and more/better weapons.

And as long as we do not have an equilibrium of power on educational-military-monetary-political level- which we can only achieve via a political party- the despots will rule us as they have for at least 10k yrs.

I do not think that it matters much if at all whether the gangsters have one, two, or ten partys; all will be their partys.
And as song goes, It is my party and i’ll do as i like. 

We have pleaded with gangsters to show human face for 10k yrs- to no avail. So, the lesson is? Stop pleading. Plutos are very happy with that. Do s’mthing. tnx

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By greenuprising, January 4, 2010 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Sorry E.J.  The game’s already over.  Rahm Emanuel decided big money was more important to appease than the voters, and we got the health care bill big money wanted.  Those of us who have paid attention are already angry (“dispirited”? no, angry), and as the facts come out, you can expect the Democratic base to just walk away.  Then there’s news that the Dems in Congress are calling off any push for a climate change bill.  Again, big money wins (though the most likely bill was already a give-away to big coal, oil and nukes), and we walk.

The only thing that will bring out the Democrat is a serious independent challenge to our lukewarm Blue Dog.

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By bozhidar balkas, vancouver, January 4, 2010 at 9:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dems win/lose=plutos win.Repubs win/lose=plutos win.
Or are the rich people that stupid to split selves in two and thus much weaken?

Be it as it may, there is only one constitution, one cia, and one army. And they recognize and see only the uncle;i.e., money!tnx

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By Tim Kelly, January 4, 2010 at 6:28 am Link to this comment
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Sure enough, the rhetoric about how important it is to elect Democrats has already begun.  Throw the Democrats under the bus and elect third party candidates.  True change will occur only when the Democrats have been dismantled as “the opposition” to the fascist agenda of the right wing that pervades both parties.

(Fascism is the merger of state and corporate interests.)

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By ardee, January 4, 2010 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

I wonder at what is missing from this typical Dionne devotional to partisan politics rather than reality based assessment.

For example, Obama has continued Bush policies without missing a beat,we rend and torture, we are still slaughtering civilians, a particularly Cheney-like trait, we are still seeing a slavish devotion to corporate interests instead of the needs of the people, etc. There is little sense in continuing a list that most here are all too familiar with, so I will end with the obvious fact that Barack Obama is seemingly not up to the task of governing this nation.

But the more important factoid is that it matters not which party runs this nation, because, in reality, they are just the front men and women for the real ruler, the profit motive. Typically the out party picks up seats in the midterm election, I would expect this election to be little different, especially as the Democrats squandered a chance to show what they could do with a majority in both Houses and one in the Oval Office.

There will be no respite from our systemic failures until we the people awaken from our slumber.

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By bgordon555, January 4, 2010 at 1:59 am Link to this comment

Thanks, EJ, for your wisdom and insight!

I would also add the following:

1) For the Democrats to win, they have got to make the case FOR government.  Goverment, by its very nature is a PUBLIC institution, and its sole purpose is for the benefit of the PUBLIC, not private interest.  When Democrats run from this argument, it’s like shooting ducks in the back in a barrel.

2) It would be helpful if Obama took SOME responsibility for the HCR debacle in the eyes of the progressives.  It’s perfectly understandable that he didn’t want to get burned in case the attempt didn’t succeed.  But this is what you got by turning the problem over to a divided congress.  Anyone with delusions that the GOP was going to suddenly become any less partisan in 2009 should have their tealeaf reader license revoked.  What he SHOULD have done was pulled together a commission to devise a national health care reform plan and demanded congress vote on it up or down.  He had the capital in mid 2009, now we are stuck with this albatross mistake.  I’m sorry, call me selfish; I don’t give a crap how many new people are covered, I am left empty-handed (if not, in fact, WORSE off) after this whole sorry mess.

3) Congress CAN improve HCR and regain SOME credibility by adding significant restrictions on the insurance industry.  The MOST glaring is the ability of insurance companies to sell policies based on their state of orgin instead of the state in which they are being sold.  I can tell you this as a diehard DEM: I hell will freeze before I support a party that allows a policy sold in California to be underwritten by the laws of Alabama!

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By glider, January 4, 2010 at 12:38 am Link to this comment

One thing for sure it that the corporatist Democrat sellouts are not going to be redeeming themselves in the eyes of the base.  I believe they will be relying upon an economic stimulus from the massive Fed pump priming currently underway.  I won’t be giving any credit to the Congressional scoundrels for that result.  Getting the base to turn out for the vote needs to be done by fielding challengers to vote these sellouts out of office.  I personally will do more voting for the lesser of two evils as it has proven to just foster evil.

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By DieDaily, January 4, 2010 at 12:06 am Link to this comment

The writer says “Preventing this [Republican sweep]will require President Barack Obama to draw on what he did in 2008 when he inspired the left and won the middle.” Um, so like he should lie, lie, lie? Meh, sounds like as good a plan as any.

But I for one, wonder if the Dems will be cashing in Mr. Obama. Methinks a big scandal or worse is probably in the brewing. As soon as I saw the MSM go after him for “wrecking the COP15 conference” (which he did not, more like he pinged off of COP15’s Chinese delegation like a .22 round pings off a tank) I wondered if the beginning of the end was near for Obama. Unless they invent some really interesting new kind of artificially intelligent TelePrompter or something, I think that politically speaking (at minimum) the end is near for Mr. Soetero, as well as anyone sitting too close to him. Maybe not, but the initial signs may be there.

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By rollzone, January 3, 2010 at 11:46 pm Link to this comment

hello. i enjoy your perspective of shallow democrats needing to somehow posture themselves to survive the coming tidal wave assault at the 2010 elections. i find it amusing how there is so little accomplished to fall back on from two devastating years of incompetence. it is remarkable how much campaign weight has been thrown on health care. if the celebrity wants to improve on unemployment- i have a job for him. i doubt he would meet the laborious requirements, and it is far below his pay scale as poster child for history. make no mistake about this- the coming Republican romp will be unprecedented.

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