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Marion On December - 3 - 2010

I’m giving up officially. On politics. Specifically, American politics.

I was raised in what my mother regularly called “a Democratic kitchen” in the South, by parents who had been Roosevelt Democrats. My father cast his first vote as a 21 year-old for FDR’s second term. Four years after that, my mother cast her first for his third. They, unfailingly, voted Democratic until the day they died; in fact, my father would often proudly proclaim he would vote the Democratic candidate if the candidate turned out to be the Devil, himself.

In the Virginia Democratic primary of 1988, my father voted for Jesse Jackson. The following year, he voted for Douglass Wilder in the gubernatorial election. In 1992, he voted, again, for Jackson over Bill Clinton in the Presidential primary. My father was white and had been raised in the segregated South of Jim Crow. He didn’t care about race, he told me. He voted Democratic, because the Democratic Party was for what he called “the working man,” and Jesse Jackson, he reasoned, was more for the working man than Bill Clinton. Besides, he continued, Jesse had known poverty, the same sort of abject poverty my father had known as a child and a young man growing up in the rural South. At the end of the day, in November 1992, he voted for Clinton too.

That was the way I was raised: The Democrats were for the working class, and the Republicans were for the wealthy and the business class. My first Presidential election fell in 1972, when I was part of the newly-registered demographic of 18 year-olds. I voted for McGovern; so did my parents, but they held their noses. My father would have preferred Humphrey; my mother, Ed Muskie or Ted Kennedy. They stayed with the party, because they always believed that the Democrats would work for their interests.

Years later, after spending most of my married adult life in Britain (but never failing to vote in Presidential and Congressional elections in the US), I’m looking back at that era when I cast my first vote, and so I started to read Rick Perlstein’s book, Nixonland, which has not only taught me a great deal of things I was too young to notice, even in 1972, it’s filled me with a curious sense of deja vu, especially concerning today’s Democratic Party.

The Democrats, as we know them, the angst they’re encountering at the moment amongst their supporters and their elected officials, is the culmination of a seed subtly planted by Richard Nixon back in 1970. It’s a perfect storm about to implode, and the result of that implosion will be what Karl Rove has long sought to achieve: an unbroken hegemony of Republican rule in the United States.

I vaguely remember the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968, when Hubert Humphrey won the nomination without ever having entered a primary. Lyndon Johnson, the current President, had gone from hero to zero in the two years from his 1964 election. He was primaried by Eugene McCarthy, who was advocating an anti-war platform. After two close showings in the early primaries, Johnson withdrew, announcing he would not seek re-election. Then Bobby Kennedy announced his candidacy, and many expected McCarthy to fall by the wayside, as most pundits thought him a stalking horse for Kennedy; but McCarthy stayed the course, and Kennedy was assassinated.

The Convention was more famous for what happened outside the venue than inside. The protest riots, led by Jerry Rubin and Abby Hoffman, are the stuff of legend; when anyone thinks of this particular convention, they think of the Chicago Seven.

In 1970, there was a revolution within the Democratic Party, whose base, heretofore had consisted of a solid core of working class people – the farmers of the Midwest and Western states, the industrial workers of the Rust Belt and the agrarian workers and labourers of the Southern states, who were fronted by the unions and cooperatives. Before 1970, the world of the Democrats was pretty much that of the Republicans, politically – smoke-filled rooms, men in suits, cigar smoke and deal-making. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Back this candidate, and I’ll see you get your bridge built. That sort of thing.

That all changed in 1970. A couple of young political strategists decided to mold the Democratic party from a blue-collared party of principle to a high-minded elite corps of coastal intellectuals. No more would their thinksters be the types embodied by Bob LaFollett or the CIO’s John Lewis. The mindsets of the party would be centred on the West Coast or the Northeast Coast of America. The party would promote an Affirmative Action agenda by means of ensuring that the state delegations to the 1972 Convention would reflect the racial and gender demographics of each state. Instead of principles the old working class understood, like minimum wage and price controls, this party would advocate ideals – basically, peace, love and understanding, in a nutshell.

The kids who were on the streets in 1968, would be at the centre of power in 1972. And above all, there would be no compromise on any of their ideals. None whatsoever. Their way, or the highway.

And Nixon smiled. Because he knew that such idealistic aspiration would prove divisive.

Almost from the very beginning, it was. At the 1972 Democratic Convention in Miami Beach, many states showed up with two delegations, each claiming to be the duly elected one. Illinois fielded two delegations, one of which contained Mayor Richard Daley, the other of which, didn’t. The two delegations clashed over which one was the legal one. They couldn’t reach agreement and were arguing vociferously, when Daley and Jesse Jackson drew aside and, between the two of them, worked out an arrangement where half of the Daley delegation and half of the reform delegation would serve. When Jackson revealed the resolution, he was shouted down as a traitor for compromising, and the Daley delegation left.

Immediately he was on the campaign trail, when McGovern, who had previously stated that upon his Inauguration, he would order an immediate cease-fire in Viet Nam, walked back the statement with a need for maintaining troops in nearby Singapore, the “no compromisers” (now calling themselves, “Progressives”), again shouted him down for his betrayal. When the governor of a Northeastern state asked to see McGovern during the campaign, with a view to endorsing him, McGovern was publically castigated by his backroom staff for daring to enter into what appeared to be private negotiations with the governor.

“No backroom deals!” They shouted.

And so it went on. Nixon had welcomed the refomation of the Democratic party. He could see the factions forming within and could see the in-fighting that would occur. He’d already started infiltrating the staffs of various Democratic contenders with college-aged operatives of his own, the celebrated ratfuckers of Donald Segretti, amongst whom was a young Karl Rove, with a view to causing dissension and general mischief in an attempt to upend Democratic candidates. The object of the 1972 election, as far as the GOP and Nixon were concerned, was to ensure that the Democrats fielded the weakest candidate possible, and McGovern fit the bill.

The campaign was a shambles from the very beginning. Nixon’s operatives, Roger Ailes and Pat Buchanan, managed to feed the press exaggerated stories of McGovern’s supposed liberal ideals. He became the triple-A candidate, allegedly endorsing amnesty (for Viet Nam draft dodgers), abortion and acid (de-criminalisation of pot). He suddenly found himself going on the defensive in swings through the Prairie States, having, painstakingly, to explain his real policies to disbelieving farmers in Nebraska, whereas previously, McGovern, from South Dakota, had found this tranche of  voter an easy touch.

He even had trouble finding a Vice Presidential candidate. Kennedy turned him down. And Humphrey. And Abraham Ribicoff. Finally, he landed Thomas Eagleton, a freshman senator from Missouri, who, it was rumoured, had a drinking problem. Almost immediately Eagleton had accepted, the press “suddenly” found evidence that he’d been hospitalised for depression and had received electric shock treatments. Eagleton was the Sarah Palin of his day, but with the grace to resign, as unqualified, before the campaign got underway. Sargent Shriver was tapped as a suitable replacement and a quasi-Kennedy.

The rest is history. McGovern went on to a landslide defeat. Only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia declared for him. He got 17 electoral votes. He couldn’t even carry his own state of South Dakota, a state which, heretofore, had been solidly blue. The old Democratic base – the farmers, the industrial workers – stayed home. For the first time in its history, the AFL-CIO refused to endorse a Democratic candidate, its leader, George Meany, pointedly saying that George McGovern did not speak for the majority of his Democrats. Some of those from the old base furtively voted for Richard Nixon – hence, the myth of the Southern Strategy.

McGovern, himself, was so confused and disillusioned with what had appeared to happen in the Democratic Party, that – instead of voting for Jimmy Carter in 1976 – he voted for Gerald Ford.

During the decade after the McGovern election, Republican operatives strengthened their presence amongst the farmers and working classes of the Midwest, the Rust Belt and the South. They used local people who spoke like the people they targeted, who understood the values and concerns of this demographic. In short, the GOP used people “just like” the people the targeted. “People like us.” And even though they blipped and saw these people support Jimmy Carter’s successful 1976 run, they were acclimatised enough to Republican values (which didn’t seem so different to the ones they held) that by the time Carter was visciously primaried by Ted Kennedy (primarying a sitting President again), the old Democratic base were ready to be recognised fully as “Reagan Democrats.” For the next 12 years. Many of these Reagan Democrats are now Republicans, most probably voting against their own interests.

In 1996, in preparation for a 2000 Presidential run, Republican strategist Matthew Dowd and the infamous turd blossom, Karl Rove, devised a new Republican strategy: play to the base. Forget the independents. Independents were well-educated fiscal conservatives with social consciences. They always voted the issue, never the party. Concentrate on elevating the base to centre-stage importance. If they were religious, give them a hefty dose of Christianity. If they liked their Second Amendment rights, show them your pistol, if not your pistolino. Work your base and they will work for you. And the Republican base did.

While the Democratic base is just one of shifting sand.

One of the biggest frustrations my father had with the Democratic Party was the fact that they could win the battle but not the war. As soon as they’d attained a notable victory, the various factions within started in-fighting. Today, we seem hell-bent on an Armageddon amongst the Democrats between the Progressive ueber-Left and the rest of the party, whom they would like to see expelled for reasons of reality, compromise and pragmatism. The kids who took over the show in 1970 and demanded no compromise, no discussion, who engaged in shout-downs have now come back bigger and stronger – maybe not in numbers, as poll after poll always shows Americans identifying themselves as Liberal/Progressive numbering around 20% of the electorate. But they’re aided and abetted by the 24/7 cable media and various internet aggregates, who repeatedly obsess, cherry-pick, second-guess, surmise and assume soundbitten titbits presented as fact, heavily coated with opinion.

Almost from the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency, they’ve nit-picked, parsed and second-guessed this man like no other President before him. At first, it was under the guise of constructive criticism, then it just became gratuitous, now it’s become downright mean and nasty. When members of so-called Progressive Left begin to refer to the President as the Affirmative Action President or, as one particularly vile commentator on Huffington Post did recently, a “house nigger,” then I’d say the Democratic Party was seriously in danger of imminent implosion. Remarks like that make it all too obvious that racism is alive and well and surreptitiously gnawing at the fibre of so-called progressivism, just below the surface, so that it doesn’t necessarily show, unless one of the more unrestrained and immature elements loses control. The fact that Arianna Huffington’s crack team of moderators let that remark stand speaks volumes for her ethics as well.

With all that in mind, it’s no wonder John Boehner’s got by in the past two years, retiring to the nearest bar to imbibe as soon as 5PM showed on the clock. Apart from just opposing everything on the President’s agenda, all the GOP had to do was sit back and watch the Democrats destroy each other. They giggled at the Progressive sections open desires to rid the party of Blue Dogs. They watched the base perform erratically, to the extent that a media personality is an icon one week for saying the right thing, and a felon the next for disagreeing with the accepted opinion de jour. Our way or the highway.

I was raised to believe that as a liberal or a Liberal, we of the Left were tolerant, open-minded and inclusive. These days, I’m finding none of that in what purports to be the Democratic party. Instead, I’m finding intolerance, obdurance, close-mindedness, a strong authoritarian bend and a whiff of racism. And hatred. Lots and lots of hatred. Hatred for the Republicans, I can easily understand; but hatred of people within their own party, hatred of other types of Democrats on an equal proportion of that of the opposition, is unfathomable to me. The Blue Dogs are to be hated and defiled, the Obamabots, even the President, himself, and Southerners – there’s a special hatred for Southerners. Why, we’re all toothless, illiterate, shitkicking inbreds, who are all unreconstructed Confederates, who should have been left to secede. (Never mind the fact that most of these so-called intellectual effetes have trouble discerning “secede” from “succeed” and often end up inadvertantly wishing that we so-called “unreconstructed Confederates” had actually won the Civil War.)

It’s more than an oxymoron that these same people deride the Republican party for marching lockstep, yet almost demand the same subservience within the Democratic party, whilst at the same time crowing about how diverse and individual our viewpoints are and how proud we were of that fact. Go figure, because I can’t.

And I won’t. Not anymore.

I’m done with the Democrats, done with politics and done with America. The Democrats have fucked themselves and played right into Karl Rove’s game plan of GOP dominance. The so-called liberal media feed the lie to their viewing/listening public that the President is a poor communicator, when, in actual fact, the only way he has to communicate his program is via the media, who choose not to emphasize his successes, but dwell overlong on what they perceive to be his failures. They’re part of strategy too. A Republican president would give them scores of angst-ridden material. Imagine Keith Olbermann counting the days until a President Palin would be up for re-election.

I’ll vote in one more election. I’ll vote for Obama in 2012, or whoever the Democratic candidate will be – which means, if there’s a primary or he’s forced into not running again, my vote will be as wasted a vote as my father cast for McGovern in 1972. And that reminds me of something else my father believed: That if you move too far to the Left, you find yourself  on the Right.

After all, neocons are lapsed liberals. Ask Arianna Huffington. She should know.

Good-bye. It’s been real.

40 Responses so far.

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  1. AdLib says:

    ” border=”0″ alt=”ketawa” title=”ketawa” />

    Pepe, smileys still work! Just use the “Click Here” link on the Reply Box (for adding images), paste the URL of the smiley, click ok and voila!

    Otherwise, you can always just paste the HTML code for it in your post (which includes “img src” in it).

  2. choicelady says:

    OK -- for those following the End of the World scenarios, here’s the full scoop:

    2011 AD—On May 21st, Judgment Day will begin and the rapture (the taking up into heaven of God’s elect people) will occur at the end of the 23-year great tribulation. On October 21st, the world will be destroyed by fire (7000 years from the flood; 13,023 years from creation).

    Their web pages with “authoritative” information:

    http://www.ebiblefellowship.com/may21/index.html

    Now back in the 90s I was taught an entirely different set of calculations from the anti-abortion End Times zealots:

    Earth to Jesus -- 4000 years. Jesus to now -- 2000 years. This was the end of the “sixth day of creation” where “a day is as a 1000 years, and 1000 years is as a day”. Problem? By their own reckoning, the Rapture should have come c. 1997. (Neener, neener). Now they can’t just arbitratily change it, so NEW CALCULATIONS. All Biblically based, of course.

    Now it’s a longer period, but it ADDS UP to 7000 on May 21 so that’s the end of the six days of creation (more or less) with the Rapture the start of the Seventh. Yes, yes, I know that’s poorly calculated, but I’m merely the messenger.

    I knew about these folks -- just never thought I would SEE them. I wonder if one of the motorhome drivers is Ron Brock who used to drive the “Truth Truck” with interchangeable signs decrying abortion on one side and the horros of gay rights on the other. Since the vehicles are new, it would answer my question about -- what would he do with a THIRD issue? Where would he keep the extra signs that were all very large. Answer -- bigger motor home!

    Back in 1999 Operation Save America descended on Buffalo to picket clinics JUST as the GLBT community was holding its annual Region IX Drag Queen Competition. Some of who were straight, and grateful for all the help the LGBT community had given us at clinics, volunteered to stand guard outside the events. Ron had his truck circling the drag queen competition venue with his “abortion kills babies” signs plastered all over. We kept yelling at him that his message was rather lost on this particular crowd. He never quite seemed to understand.

    So if he is one of the drivers, at least he’s come up in the world. Better vehicle, bigger signs, less nauseating pictures. Gotta hand it to him -- he’s found his life niche.

    So there you have it. The schedule for the end of the world. Personally I think it’s been and gone, but that’s just me.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      oh, yeah? Well, according to Whatsipedia, the EOTW is going to come on November 6th, 2091, at a couple minutes past seven pm. The signs are not based on the Bible, but on a carefully and painstakingly conducted deciphering of Action Comics from it’s inception in 1938 to its most recent, 895th issue. The destruction of Superman’s home planet, Krypton, was actually a symbolic representation of the events our own world will encounter. If you do the numerology for Kal-el’s name (that’s Superman’s Kryptonian name), run that up against Lois Lane’s measurements (36-24-36, natch) and then cross reference that against Lex Luthor’s IQ, a code is revealed that has accurately predicted the Beatles, Karl Rove, and an oblique reference to “the world’s champion hot dog eater arriving from the East” -- an obvious reference to Takeru Kobayashi. This stuff is chilling, man!
      Be Very Afraid!

      • bitohistory says:

        I don’t know how you can even possibly come to that conclusion, WTS! Your Watsie did not even bother to cross reference Mad Mag’s definitive conclusions nor the length of time in either Blondie’s age, Dr. Who’s many incarnations or Archie’s proposal to Veronica (Betty). Time is too often suspended in a non-continuum area of space.
        Combing everything, I say tomorrow or the the day after or sometime soon (or maybe not.)
        Good job, guy, enjoyed :-)

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Alas, any way one looks at it, it DOES appear that the world is destined to end tomorrow. As I’m here in Tokyo, and so will experience it before any of you (along with Kalima), I’ll be sure to give you an up to the second account of what it’s like. Until I can’t anymore, of course.

      • choicelady says:

        WTS! At LAST! A DEFINITIVE analysis of the End. You have NO idea how that warms my heart. By 2091 I will already be dead. No prob! Kes -- no clean up!

        Thank you! Next time I see the circling vans, I will stop them and tell them and refer them to you. Or at least Action Comics. You’re the MAN!

        • whatsthatsound says:

          boy, do I have egg on my face! It turns out I was a bit off on Lois’ vital statistics. She’s actually a bit thicker in the hips than I thought. Just a fraction, mind you, but when one is using a sophisticated algorithm such as The Action Comics Code, even a fraction can make a huge difference.
          So, the upshot is, rather than occurring on 11/6/91, the EOTW is…. tomorrow!
          I’m really sorry about this, and regret any inconvenience I’ve caused.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          whatsipedia knows all, tells all

    • kesmarn says:

      Well, dang. Wouldn’t you know that the world would be destroyed by fire on my daughter’s birthday. Talk about buzz kill.

      Well, at least we won’t have to worry about how to light the candles on her cake. None of us are smokers and we always scrambled to find matches/lighter in the past.

      And clean up should be a breeze.

      • choicelady says:

        kes -- I can see you’re just following on Sharon Angle’s platitude about making lemonade from lemons. Bummer it’s your daughter’s birthday though -- personally I’m always prompt where cake and ice cream are concerned. (I pinched that line from a Snoopy birthday card. Sorry.) I like your forward thinking -- no clean up. I guess I’d have the party EARLY, you know, just to have fun. It seems to validate the other saying: “Life’s uncertain. Eat dessert first.” Given their gloom and doom, that seems particularly apt now.

        I am still counting on May 22 and our Neener, Neener rally.

        These folks remind me of the Millerites of the 1830s. And that got me thinking how very much this time is LIKE the 1830s. I rather suspect no one wants me to drag out the “evidence”, but it was a period of upheaval, depressions, anti-union zealotry, hyper religiosity, and anti-immigrant stances, so there are enough parallels to keep me happy thinking about it. The Millerites had the day and time down, too. Again, and again, and again… Most of his followers stuck by him, but there were some who simply got tuckered out hauling themselves up the hill where it was all supposed to happen. I guess you can wear out even True Believers after awhile.

        Getting back to the thread here, Marion -- should it be true, you can count on ONE thing: you really will NOT have to worry about politics anymore.

        On a serious note -- the amount of money that clearly has gone into this (if you look at the map of where they have done their salvation work, it’s HUGE), I’m sort of concerned about the possibilities of large numbers of suicides on May 22 and thereafter. You can count on the True Believers to hang in for a recount, but a lot of followers who’ve given up all they own to wait for the Rapture that never comes? I fear for them.

        So maybe we should have a Neener, Neener I’m Sorry that you got Hornswoggled Day? Compassion is never wrong, not even for these folks.

  3. darrelplant says:

    There are several ahistorical elements in the original post.

    South Dakota was hardly a bastion of Democratic voters. George McGovern took on the job of building a Democratic base there in the post-war era when there was no established party structure. His own election as a Representative and Senator was rather idiosyncratic.

    The “triple-A” charge of “acid, amnesty, and abortion” against McGovern didn’t originate with Nixon. It was used in the Democratic primaries against McGovern months before he was the front-runner.

    Thomas Eagleton didn’t have any grace in his resignation. He clung to the VP nomination with both hands, refusing to leave long after the damage he’d do to the ticket was clear. In fact, according to journalist Robert Novak’s 2007 autobiography, it was Eagleton who had repeated to him the line about “acid, amnesty, and abortion” during the primaries.

    Where George Meany and many traditional Democrats really differed with the McGovern camp was on the issue of Vietnam. The war that had begun under a Democratic president, that Nixon had promised in ’68 to end but had instead expanded, was wrapped up in the foreign policy thinking of the era. McGovern represented the a viewpoint that said they’d been wrong a decade, that hundreds of billions of dollars had been wasted, that tens of thousands of Americans had died for a failed policy. Of course, that was still the case, even after Nixon was elected but they didn’t have to admit it to themselves.

    There’s no “myth of the Southern Strategy.” It was real and it was plainly visible since the 1968 election.

    • choicelady says:

      Welcome to the Planet! I do agree with much of what you said, especially about Eagleton. I was the 39th and 41st CA Assembly district coordinator for the McG. campaign so watched it all unfold with great consternation. I remember liberals shunning McGovern for not “standing by” Eagleton when the latter had not been truthful, HAD in fact finally resigned and not been dumped, but never lifted a finger to remind people of that fact. He was indeed clinging to the Veep position with both hands. What is really dreadful about that moment though is what is happening today -- McGovern got the BLAME as if he’d done something wrong just as Obama is being blamed for the self destruction of the Dems in Congress. A dear friend pointed out though that it was all for the good -- had McGovern won and Watergate emerged, McGovern would have been blamed for it, Nixon would have looked “persecuted” instead of being held up for all to see during his own administration. At least at the time, his win in ’72 may have been the best thing that could have happened. Our weakness, though, was believing that it ENDED conservative drives for power. It only whetted them.

      What mystifies me is how there ever was a “purification” of Nixon -- the evil that man did was beyond belief. It has been noted that when George Wallace was shot and the FBI finally ascertained the identity of Arthur Bremer, when the feds got to Bremer’s apartment, the WH plumbers WERE ALREADY THERE. How did they KNOW when Bremer’s identity was not yet publicly revealed? It’s an unanswered question no one ever bothered to pursue.

      This nation has many and sundry problems not least of which involves a tendency to pillory liberals and give a pass to conservatives. I understand Marion’s abject frustration. The other problem is the utter disarray of the Left -- the infighting, the backstabbing, the competitive slavering for identity and control. It’s been what keeps us divided and uncooperative. The Right has the same huge egos, but they find ways to work together for their goals. We don’t. EVER.

      I share a lot of Marion’s frustrations with the Dems. And I have no alternatives since I loathe Nader and see no real alternatives largely due to our embedded two party system. But we keep on keepin’ on -- justice and mercy must be fought for since those seeking to end both are stronger than we, have more money than we, and will take over at any moment if we don’t protest. To quote Dov Chaim Beliak of “Jews on First” -- we have to speak up or they’ll think we don’t mind. We DO mind, and we will NOT BACK DOWN.

    • Khirad says:

      Great info and a warm welcome!

    • AdLib says:

      darrelplant, a warm welcome to The Planet!

      Thanks for revisiting, refreshing and describing the environment surrounding McGovern’s run.

      And let’s also add to the backdrop, all of the dirty tricks Nixon and the GOP were engaged in at the time that contributed to the undermining of McGovern and the Dems. Seems to me I remember something about that coming out during the Nixon Presidency…

  4. javaz says:

    It seems that I give up on politics every other day or so, but then my sanity returns for a few hours and I realize that giving up is giving in to defeatism.

    President Obama is getting attacked by the right, the left and everywhere in between and I just don’t know how he does it.
    I couldn’t live with constant criticism or such hate on a daily basis.

    There is also a lot of fighting in the left-wing blogosphere.
    I’ve never seen such negativity directed at those commenting on many left-wing blogs.

    I still support President Obama and believe that he is a very intelligent man and that he’s certainly much smarter than I’ll ever be.
    President Obama is a politician and he definitely understands politics better than I do.

    I fear the left is helping the right in bringing President Obama down and making him a one-term president.

    I mean, people are attacking President Obama for policies that he hasn’t even signed into law!

    I will not give up on politics, because I believe it is very important to vote and that every vote counts.

    The bright side of the last election locally was that every proposition, except for one, went the way I voted and that to me is a victory.

  5. choicelady says:

    Dear Marion -- I am guessing we’re about the same age. Everything you remember I remember, too> My folks were not historical Dems but became Dems during the Depression -- though my Dad’s family remained Reep and still think Nixon and Reagan were demi-gods. It’s why I have nothing to do with them.

    I get to where you are often. What motivates me is that I am so lucky to have a base I actually mobilize to do good stuff. They also are our age or even older -- I have one kick-butt activist who is 87. Where I fall apart IS the party -- we are non-partisan, but obviously we have problems with policies that emanate from people who want to soak the poor. When I see progressives and Dems snarking at Obama or at me, for that matter, I really want to give up. I detest Madam Pontificator over at the Dark Side -- she has been the most prominent factor in shifting not just the ideas but the atmosphere toward our president, toward democracy, toward America. Now both left and right engage in rampant bullying. It serves no one well.

    I am a bad prognosticator but do think out of this will come something new and, with any luck, better. Last night’s vote on extending middle class cuts ONLY got absolutely NO play in HP or my morning paper. Instead there were stories about Obama’s “caving” on tax cut extensions for the uber rich. Oh? Are we thinking Pelosi led this victory without him???? Now for the Senate -- and immediately after the House vote, Harry Reid “manned up” and insisted they’d vote tomorrow on both cloture and the House cuts. Let’s see if he goes to the cots -- because if he DOES, the GOP will cave. They did it the last time. Let’s see what ideas he has for getting this to an up or down vote. With any luck at all, he will succeed. Debbie Stabenow from MI indicated “something was up” over in the Senate -- and she looked VERY happy.

    And the Financial Responsibility Commission -- aka screw the poor commission -- LOST today! They freaking LOST!!!!! Something new is in the air, and I think it’s courage and unity. Dems being Dems.

    Next year with Boehner head of the House (until 5 pm when he buys for the house) we will, I believe, watch Obama use regulatory powers like never before. If he resorts to signing statements as Bush did -- I no longer give a damn if what he’s getting is good for Americans.

    But what we -- and few of us are “moderates” here -- can do to rope and hog tie the arrogance of ego on the left -- I do not know. My organization is fighting battles left and right against our own allies, all over scarce resources, power, empire building, etc., and it’s damned discouraging. But step by step I think I sense change again, and for the better. Things are suddenly starting to percolate for the good. Maybe, just maybe, this election scared the peewadden out of the Left that does something other than just blog at HP.

    So I’ve pretty much given up on HP and its ilk, but maybe it’s premature to give up on politics. This election might have been the wake up call we -- or our allies -- needed? We shall see.

    But Marion -- please don’t give up on us? We would not be the same without you. Stick around -- this just is getting interesting! We love you -- don’t go?

    • kesmarn says:

      Terrific comment, c’lady.

      “Hope has two lovely daughters, anger and courage. Anger so that what must not be cannot be, and courage so that what can be will be.”

      St. Augustine

    • boomer1949 says:

      C’lady,

      […policies that emanate from people who want to soak the poor…].

      Sure they do, not a surprise, to me at least. Some of them are also Democrats pretending to be something they are not, but do not have a pair to declare themselves GOP elitists. So? They’re somewhere in between and should declare themselves Independents and should be admonished for being such pitiful representatives of the human species.

      I know you know CL, there are so, so many neglected children and elderly in this country who most have chosen to ignore. Since my daughter teaches Kindergarten in a poor, rural, and urban setting, I have become more attuned to the plight of poor families and poor families with little kids

      As I told kes a few days ago, I spent $50 last week that I really didn’t have, to buy outfits for one of my daughter’s students and her little sister. Why? Because these kids and their mom lost every freaking thing they owned when their home burned to the ground a few weeks ago. The principal at the school delivered a phenomenal Thanksgiving dinner (donated by the TEACHERS btw) to them on Thanksgiving. It was the real deal, a real Thanksgiving dinner, turkey and all the trimmings; not PB&J, chips, & soft drinks, but a hot, nourishing meal where the family could sit down and eat together.

      Many politicians and their constituents piss and moan about what they “think” these educators should be doing. My question is, what would they have done when faced with the same situation? Nothing; trust me, nothing.

      How many Rupert Murdochs, John Boehners, Mitch McConnells, Eric Cantors, or FOX NEWs on-air-actors would take the time to do the same? Answer? None.

      Why? Because all of them are too rapped up in their own Egos and self-importance to notice anyone other than themselves. Their only view of the world is a “me view.”

      This evening, after work, I drove to a nearby retail establishment to pick up an ornament for “Be a SANTA to a Senior.” I got the very last ornament on the cutest little tree and all this Senior lady has asked for is a nice cardigan sweater.

      How can anyone with a conscience DENY a child or elderly individual basic dignity? How are they able to sleep at night?

      I do not bring either of these events up because I am soliciting accolades or a standing ovation. I bring them up simply because our society is so, so selfish, the Republicans are so, so selfish, Limbaugh is so, so selfish, and every single one of the Yahoos at FOX News is so, so selfish. Sister Sarah is not only so, so selfish, she is so, so an opportunist, but so, so a quitter.

      Forget Mitch McConnell’s selfishness, he is a bigoted asshole and deserves his own special shout out.

      Where were the parents of these grown up adolescents?

      Being able to spell compassion on a vocabulary test is one thing, knowing the definition of compassion is another.

      Compassion = character = stepping outside the “me” box. Get a clue people, get a clue.

      You know, Boehner and I are about the same age. We are at opposite ends of the compassion spectrum. To be perfectly honest, Boehner reminds me of my father which is undoubtedly the reason I despise him. My father was a bigot, an alcoholic, and a hateful man. I can see the same in Boehner and his eyes.

      It took awhile to figure out what it was about Boehner that bugged me. Go figure, he reminds me of my father.

      What a break through and I didn’t even need to go to therapy! 😆

      • choicelady says:

        Whaddya know, boomer -- Boehner reminds me of my mother who had the same problems. Liberal though she was, the older she got and the more she drank, the meaner and more uncompassionate she became. So yeah -- I see her in Boehner’s eyes. She taught me compassion -- and then became angry when I practiced what she’d preached. I’m with you -- instant, free therapy when you see Boehner and can pin down the link to one’s own past! Think of the bucks we’ve saved!

        I stand with you in reaching out to people in need. I DO give money to panhandlers and really don’t care if they spend it on booze. Back in NY one guy took my money and said, “Oh good -- I can get some brandy!” When I snorted, he said, “Lady you do NOT know what it’s like out here in the cold and snow. It’s the only way I get warm.” I damned near cried and wished him well. He was right -- there but for the luck -- sheer luck -- of being born to reasonably financially secure parents go I.

        We have pinched a Jesuit statement on our obligations. I love it first for what it is and second because it IS Jesuit but now also adopted by United Methodist Women. The pedigree alone compels me. It’s “The Two Feet of a Christian” -- one is for Charity, what we do as individuals to put a bandage on the wound and keep that personal contact, and the second is Justice that seeks to end the cause of the wounds. No Christian can walk without both feet. (No person of compassion, never mind religion.)

        What we on the Planet, religious, faithful, or no, do every day is find that balance, work for those two ends. Charity changes nothing of the origins, but without charity (compassion directly given) we cannot stop the problems.

        The Religious Right has stopped at some, usually small, charity. Justice? They don’t believe in it. That makes me both sad AND furious!

        But hey everyone -- not to worry. Two trucks drove by me today, not once but twice, with signs on the side telling us on the street that ALL IS WELL. Why? Because on May 21, 2011, Jesus is coming BACK. That’s the day folks! You heard it here first. (Howeverm I’m wondering what they’re gonna do on the 22nd.) But let’s suppose they’re right -- I still think the likelihood is the Jesus is not gonna be too happy with THEM. What I wonder though is what happened to the “essential” predicates -- the Rapture, the Tribulation, and Armageddon? I have not noticed anyone being whisked off the planet up to Heaven, the Tribulation is merely annoying compared to what is “promised”, and Armageddon -- well, I hope we can avoid that entirely.

        On the UP side -- if they’re right this WOULD be a good time to buy whatever you’ve needed on credit, especially if it’s “No money until 2012.” One needs to look to the UP side of all this.

    • bitohistory says:

      C’Lady, It sounds as if you may have read this report from the CAP and their suggestions on using executive orders. Now will the so called purists get in a tizzy because he is using executive powers? I objected to Bush using them so wiily-nilly, I admit, but President Obama cant get an assistant to the assistant deputy director through the Senate, and it is only going to get worse. I say, Go For It, Mr. President.
      The Power of the President
      Recommendations to Advance Progressive Change

      Interesting read.

      • choicelady says:

        bito -- I did indeed! I am all for it. We need a functioning government, and if this is how to get it done, so be it.

        CA “boasts” Congressman Issa, inventor of the car alarm, who sees his job as combing through every action of the past two years to find some way to impeach Obama. I think that the President, as a Constitutional scholar, will never make a mis-step that will allow that to happen. He knows the limits of the EOs -- Bush did NOT -- so he will work within the bounds of the law. But I hope he does it and does it vigorously and well. We cannot afford to slide backwards into either a full blown depression OR a loss of democratic process. That’s where they want to take us. He cannot let it happen.

  6. Khirad says:

    I agree with most, but admit I’ve made the crack that sometimes I wonder if the South shouldn’t have won. I still think it’s funny, because I’m totally being ironic. I can’t say the same for all the others, and that house n***** comment would have been deleted so fast by me it would have gotten whiplash.

    I would agree in the end though, that we should be careful of playing the culture wars too much. Denigrating the rural, the Southern, the Blue Dog. I’m always, if you dig at me, careful to explain that I’m just as bewildered by the condescension of the purist, ideological left. No, when I speak of the unreconstructed, I mean the unreconstructed neo-Confederate, period. And I still don’t see a need for them.

    • choicelady says:

      Khirad -- you are entirely correct. I lived in Tennessee for a few years, and while I was often slack jawed about the blatant racism, some of it came from Yankees who were there when I was. I lived there in 1968 when King was murdered, and watching native southern white people move bravely -- and it freaking WAS brave -- out of the shadows to speak against the murder and the racism was very heartening. People are people. My own aunt used the N word regularly -- wife of a doctor. She was anti-Semitic, racist, well educated, privileged, and still… I used to drive around back roads in the foothills of the Smokies and you’d find Black and white families living side by side. In South Carolina, with all its problems, Charleston faces its slave past and promotes its Black heritage vigorously.

      So yes -- calling out racism without insisting that all Southerners are bigots and horrible people is important. Honoring the human worth of all sometimes is not easy -- it’s SO simple to fall into stereotypes! There was a letter in a Virginia paper decrying the presence of Latino immigrants who, the writer said, “are drunk, speed along our back roads throwing bottles and trash all over, are loud, are shiftless and lazy, leer at our women, and act like animals.” I REALLY hope that was a joke because that’s the Yankee stereotype of “poor white trash” which always means Southern, period.

      It never ends, does it?

      • Khirad says:

        With family in the South, when I make fun of it, I do it with love. And, when people make a joke about Arizona, I take it in good grace, because I poke fun at Arizona too.

        I don’t know how many people actually think all Southerners are bigots and how many are being merely snarky like me, because I have a hard time believing people think that about Atlanta, the Research Triangle, Columbia, as you said, and even the rural parts.

        I think it is important to face the fact that people that voted for Wallace may be dying, but they didn’t just disappear with the election of a black president. Desegregation, busing, -- these things still aren’t that far in the past.

        It’s funny how the same language has survived but been transposed onto Latinos, no? Muslims to a different extent, too -- though not the drinking and lazy slurs.

        I almost thought about posting a little more on my dad’s ‘conversion’ in college. The subject came up not long ago -- I was still invigorated about Loewen, and he opened up a little more about how he went from a Confederate flag on his wall segregationist to appreciating the stories of MLK and Malcolm X.

        He said the breakthrough came in a discussion with a professor over Civil Rights -- and it was the first time he really ever talked about this to me in more detail -- and he even got a little wistful. I still can’t imagine my dad was racist -- or even my grandma, who died a racist. The trick was how he said the professor never denigrated his family, calling them bad people, but focused on the human issue. She recognized that they were, in fact, in all other regards good, decent people, -- and so were blacks, who were no different, and had families they loved too. Of course, there was likely more, like getting into the history -- which my questioning father probably was already leaning away from his segregationist views on his own -- but she really gave him that push.

        There was never a doubt in my mind he would vote for Obama. As I’ve said before, had he never told me, I would have never guessed my dad was ever racist, and he himself said he would have never imagined there would be a black president in his lifetime. But, he also had the advantage of getting an education. This is part of the battle.

        Part of it really might also be getting past defensiveness, and with Southerners, this can be an extra stubborn wall — sick of being called rednecks (or owning it with pride, as of late), and the like. So, if someone is calling your friends and family evil and stupid, you’re likely not going to change any minds. It seems so basic, but it’s always easier to launch invective (even given my family history, I’m guilty of this).

        I think that is also a lesson to learn not just on issues of outright racism, but in reaching the working class who should be Democrats, as well. I love Obama, but did really appreciate the way Bill Clinton could explain things in brilliant, layman’s terms. I appreciate not being talked to like a child, as Bush II did -- but I think there is a middle ground between that, and being ‘professorial’. I was with Obama from the start, but I’m honest that that is a weakness of his — in communicating on a cultural level to the working class.

        As much as the conservatives mock the “messaging” defense, I really do think it is a valid criticism of the Democrats. He won’t win the older white vote, perhaps, but he really should be able to poll better with them -- and no, it’s not always race. I know these people, they work hard, don’t read papers, aren’t news junkies. I’ve often been the most informed person in many groups I’ve hung out with and *gasp* talk about other things and have other interests in common.

        Sometimes, I get the feeling a bunch of the ‘professional left’ have never left Bryn Mawr or Berkeley and only hang out with friends over merlot and brie. I really do think they are out of touch, even if I agree with them and know them to have the best of intentions. They don’t even register when they’re being elitist. I’ve especially seen this in my Unitarian congregation -- which tends to be among the most affluent, highly educated religions -- where some say they don’t know what they’d do without their summer European vacation. No, I’m serious, really.

        The working class low information voter (and I don’t mean that as a pejorative here) just need a simple message that Dems are with them. And, that’s where the Republicans have succeeded since the Southern Strategy -- in crafting a simple message. These voters may not get down into the policy details, but aren’t stupid, they have common sense -- but, they also respond more emotionally, I think. That is why it is important for the President, progressive activists, and even bloggers like us to be careful sometimes when we make fun of someone not for going to college as stupid, etc. Here’s a newsflash, 75% of the country doesn’t have a college degree. We need to appeal to their decency, their love of family and their innate sense of justice -- not make fun of all Republican voters for being stupid (but by god are they misguided -- as condescending as that may sound).

        I’ll admit, this last bit of advice is way easier said than done!

        • choicelady says:

          Oh Khirad -- I know those same Unitarians! The merlot! The brie! I am on the state stragegy group for single payer health care, and when they insist that EVERYONE supports it because everyone they KNOW supports it -- my mind flashes to the rallies where we all talk to one another -- and ONLY one another -- and to the brie and merlot parties. Thanks for validating that with and for me!

          For all my care for blue collar former auto and steel workers, for my care for those whom I knew in TN, I have to say Middle TN State University was the only place I ever met a person who declared without a moment’s hesitation that he believed in slavery. I said OK -- but whom did he think should BE enslaved? Funny -- I never got an answer…

          There is just so much one can do to both connect with people that different and then try to speak calmly with them. Sometimes you just have to walk away. I know there aren’t a LOT of people such as he, but they do exist. I am pretty sure my aunt would have agreed.

          Bravo for your father! The willingness to shake off generations of prejudice is NOT easy. He must be a really great man. Mine was, too, and we’re lucky to have had them in our lives. Thank you for telling us about him.

          • Khirad says:

            Thanks CL. And yes, I should have added that there are definitely those cases where one should just walk away. It’s just not worth it.

  7. bitohistory says:

    Some good and interesting points on a time line if one views history as a linear, which it is not. So many other points to contemplate beyond just politics.

    The result of FDR’s crop stabilization programs contributed to the Midwest becoming less populist and more conservative. FDR won a war for them and they became complacent.

    The long and bloody Viet Nam and the always present threat of the draft, energized many a young person. Was it Bobby or Gene that was LBJ’s downfall or the war?

    Oil embargoes, Iran hostages, inflation, deflation, unemployment, the movement of many industries to the anti-Union–lower wage south and later NAFTA, the rise of India, China….

    Nixon’s social programs would put him in the commie category today.

    The effects of the general health of the economy, jobs and job security have tremendous affects on politics.

    Those are just some other points to add to the time line.

    It may have fits, stops and starts, but Progress is Progressive.

    I live in one of the most regressive states, I deal with it daily and I’m not quitting nor do I read comments on HP or watch Beck. I have a suspicion that they are not a broad representation of society.

  8. WLA says:

    I’m sensing that the ghost of Lee Atwater is offended that he didn’t warrant a passing mention in your story. Hahaha.

    Good historical info, but I’m not necessarily seeing the same thing as you. And I’m not giving up. Cheers!

    • choicelady says:

      WLA -- was Lee Atwater Raptured? Is he evidence of the Second Coming next May 21? If so -- YIKES!

      • kesmarn says:

        c’lady, I can’t wait for May 22, 2011.

        Nothing more fun than chanting a big “neener, neener, neener” in the springtime. “Merrily gathering nuts in May, nuts in May, nuts in May….”

        • choicelady says:

          LOL!!!! Something to live for! We on the Planet can plan a BIG event for May 22 -- the Neener, Neener Day!

          On the other hand, what are these folks willing to DO to bring it about? Remember -- Tim McVeigh was in their camp…

          I hope the FBI is crawling this site and theirs -- I never take for granted something AWFUL cannot happen here. It already has, several times over. If these people think God needs a little “help” -- you know, a nudge -- then…????

          But with any luck and good intelligence info from our security people, NOTHING will happen, and we can have the Neener, Neener Day celebration. No brie and merlot allowed.

          • bitohistory says:

            Neener, Neener Day celebration. No brie and merlot allowed.

            What? I just bought stock in brie and merlot, luckily I just trademarked “Neener, Neener Day” 😆

          • kesmarn says:

            I am totally ON for a Neener, Neener Day Celebration with you c’lady!

            Beer, hot dogs and pretzels for all!!

            The best part of Neener, Neener Day will be crowing about how much our powerful Progressive God kicks their puny (I-need-help-to-make-it-to-the-End-Times) t-party god’s butt.

            EDIT: We as a Planet really should make a pact to celebrate May 22 with Neener Weiners. 😀

    • AdLib says:

      Hey WLA! Long time no see!

  9. AdLib says:

    Great job laying out some historical grounding though I do disagree with the conclusions you derive from them.

    The Democrats, as we know them, the angst they’re encountering at the moment amongst their supporters and their elected officials, is the culmination of a seed subtly planted by Richard Nixon back in 1970. It’s a perfect storm about to implode, and the result of that implosion will be what Karl Rove has long sought to achieve: an unbroken hegemony of Republican rule in the United States.

    I don’t see at all that Repubs are positioned to be permanently entrenched in The Congress and Presidency. Their approval rating still appears below Dems and once they take over the House, those negatives will naturally rise. Didn’t the Dems retain the Senate last month? Does the public support any of the Repubs’ agenda aside from the general BS of “shrinking government and cutting the deficit”? And once they can no longer play that game by claiming they have no power, what then?

    Your proposition appears to be that people voted for the GOP this November. My proposition is that they voted against the party in power, blaming them for things not being better. What would have happened if the GOP was in power this year? Would people still have voted strongly Repub? History says no. Historically, the party in power loses seats in the midterms and more seats when the economy is poor in the midterms.

    We had two elections in a row where the public voted powerfully against the party seen to be in power, 2006 and 2008. The election this year clearly aligns with that sensibility.

    As to your proposition that the Dems lost the South because Progressives took over the Dem Party, here too I disagree.

    The Dems losing of the South began under Johnson when the Civil Rights Act was passed, Johnson is even on record acknowledging this. It was and is racism that is a huge wedge between many in The South and the Dem Party. As we’ve all seen this election year, the GOP is happy to pander and encourage racists to support their party and candidates.

    There is another issue, much of The Bible Belt that runs through the south is now part a faithful part of the GOP machine. In fact, it was under Nixon that the “Southern Strategy” was conceived, the approach of co-opting what became known as the Religious Right by supporting their issues in exchange for their support.

    This had absolutely nothing to do with the leadership of the Dem Party in 1972, it had everything to do with seeking the kind of hegemony you describe by pandering to the worst instincts of people in The South.

    As stated in a recent NYT article:

    The degree of one-party control Republicans have just achieved in much of the South has broad implications for future campaign strategies. But it also provides a laboratory to study the internal debates of the Republican Party, the effects of undiluted conservative policy and a nearly one-to-one relationship between party preference and race, at least in national contests in the Deep South.

    The causes of the Southern disillusionment with the Democrats are complicated. Race plays a role, which shows up in the muttering of an Arkansas farmer who said he did not trust blacks in power, or in the bumper sticker in Louisiana that read “Don’t blame me, I voted for the American.” But it is not the only factor.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/us/07south.html

    There are two additional and fundamental factors that would need to be factored into this kind of an assessment.

    First, what is the status of the GOP Party? Are they a powerfully grounded, functional group with a sustainable agenda that can assure them unending leadership? Or, are they a damaged party with little on the policy side that Americans agree with, hijacked by extremist TPs and pandering with unsustainable pledges and promises just to win elections in the short term?

    Consider how many seats they would have won this year if not for TP candidates running, even with the great unrest against Dems. And that is the direction the GOP is continuing to move in.

    The second area that needs to be factored in is how being in power fractures parties. Think back to the Clinton years, there were huge factions then, the more liberal opposing him and the Dems that supported Clinton’s adoption of Repub policies in his “triangulation”. The truth is, it was the impeachment of Clinton that brought Dems together.

    Dems are by nature, more individualistic than Repubs. Repubs all seem to conform to the same sets of beliefs, that’s why it’s easier for them to vote in complete blocks. There is a dictatorial nature to the GOP and many Americans like having absolutist leadership that takes the thinking and reasoning out of knowing what’s right and wrong.

    When the Dems were out of power, they were incredibly united AGAINST the GOP and particularly Bush. That was replicated this year. Now, in the 2012 GOP primary, will that be the case? Moderate and Corporate Repubs will happily get in line behind Sarah Palin as their nominee? I don’t think so.

    We saw this play out in small scale with Christine O’Donnell. Voters did not blindly go with the GOP even though they would have been happy to vote GOP if Mike Castle was the nominee.

    The only way for Dems to have kept The South would have been to embrace racism, pander to the Religious Right and eschew the humanitarian values they believe our government should protect and provide.

    It wouldn’t matter if the pre-Johnson Dems who ran the party still ran it today, without the above approach, I don’t see how there would be any difference.


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