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ghsts On February - 18 - 2011

Émile Zola wrote an open letter to then president of France  in 1898 that was published on the front page of  L’Aurore, a liberal paper.  It was concerning  the scapegoating to cover up corruption and espionage in the military and.  Whenever looking forward to addressing complex problems in domestic and foreign policies it is a handy reminder that first one needs to identify the true problem.  The emigre club here grows and I try to let go of preconceptions, breath the fresh air and have open discussions about what our goals as progressives are and  how to achieve them.  As the youth in the middle east seem to be spontaneously finding their voice and standing up to oppression, I can only hope that this country once again reclaims its voice, to silence the absurd assertions of the gop and their proxies.

So who is to blame?  Who/what has taken the progressive agenda and twisted it to be lost and dismissed?  Assuming that most of us are inspired by the events of  Madison, a full revolt against tea party and gop agenda, what is the take away?  I ask because I would like to hear from the variety of perspectives here, keeping in mind that Unions are still taboo for all the moderate, and swing voters the Administration is migrating to the right to  accommodate.

So here is my poll :

How did the Democrats take a decisive victory in 2008 with broad cross party support and lose considerable popular support in 2010 with no change in agenda?


Considering that Democratic Party endured the same epic division in ideology, agenda and critique in 06/07 how did they secure a monumental success with the election of  President Obama and the coat tail Congressmen?


What is the cost of marginalizing Liberal/Progressive voters who helped secure Democratic victory in 2010?


If you slide a fixed measure to the right on a scale do you gain anything or simply move the measure to the right?


What do the American people want from their elected officials( apart from undefinable single word issues “solutions” or “civility”)?


Should the successful GOP strategies;  repetition talking points, abject disconnect, focus on centrist messaging and pragmatism be emulated for DNC success in 2012?


Is critique a useful tool for achieving excellence or does it merely provide the gop with agitators?

“Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those ARE the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state, Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that… perfect world… in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.” – Arthur Jensen (Network 1976)
network

Feel free to quote John Lennon now.

Written by ghsts

glass house stone throwing society

10 Responses so far.

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  1. ghostrider says:

    First off I have to say I enjoy your graphic. I am a big fan of M. C. Escher and have been for probably 40 years.

    But to your questions/points.

    2006 was a distinctive rebellion against what Bush/Cheney and Rove were doing to our Country. People finally realized that were were being lead down a path that this country never should have started. Kind of a “Dark Side” of things.

    Thus the 2008 Presidential election wasn’t really hard to imagine. McCain/Palin offered nothing really different than what the previous administration gave us and lets face it … Palin was actually scary. Most people couldn’t imagine her being a heart beat away from taking over. Even Republicans.

    As for 2010, I think we screwed ourselves. The people that should have voted didn’t. They became dissillusioned because O’Bama seemed to be siding with the corporations. He seemed to be siding with the ultra rich. They didn’t think they had anybody to vote for in that election. While I felt the same I still voted. And I am now stuck with idiots in my state government. But, I haven’t given up. I think once the people see what these kinds of legislatures will give them the people will once again stand up and say go away. You don’t represent us.

    I found this interesting:

    “If you slide a fixed measure to the right on a scale do you gain anything or simply move the measure to the right?”

    A fixed measure can’t be changed, so if you slide it right you have distorted what it actually stands for/represents. Unless of course I misunderstood what you were trying to get across.

    “What do the American people want from their elected officials( apart from undefinable single word issues “solutions” or “civility”)?”

    I can’t and won’t speak for the American people, I can only speak for myself. To this question I say the following:

    I want fairnes in taxes, cost and what every individual contributes to society based on what they are capable of providing.

    I want to retire into a comfortable life after working for 50 years and helping to make the government and the elite many dollars.

    I want adequite medical care that I have been paying into for the same 50 years.

    I want to be safe in my home and where I live.

    I have paid thousands of dollars to my government. I have worked untold hours for my corporate masters and helped them make unknown millions or billions of dollars. All I am looking for is a little piece of what my hard work helped to generate.

    --
    Should the successful GOP strategies; repetition talking points, abject disconnect, focus on centrist messaging and pragmatism be emulated for DNC success in 2012?

    Depends on what you mean. Should the DNC start loudly proclaiming the good they have done? Should they start attacking the GOP falsehoods and lies? Yes they should and I don’t understand why they don’t.

    Should they use the same underhanded lying tactics the GOP uses? NO! They should show they are above that and better than those kinds of strategy.

    Yes, I think critique is a valuable tool as long as it is read. As long as enough people see it. I know people think that the extreme left and the extreme right can’t have their opinions changed, but I disagree. I believe if you can get someone to actually listen to your arguments and those arguments make sense you can get a person to begin to think about something they may not have thought about in the past.

    Good ole Mr Beale, I find it interesting that IBM was the first company in your list. IBM does everything it can to stay out of the spotlight while being one of the worst abusers of global corpocracy.

    In closing I grab your closing:

    “One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.”

    Isn’t that we all thought we would get when we bought into what the overlords told us? Too bad all we did was make sure they received it and we got the crumbs

    • ghsts says:

      Yes, and I came from the time of slide rules, people are just numbers to statisticians and pollsters. You strike at something that sounds like a good assessment to me when you say “distorted”. My mom loves the mailman and often opens junk mail exclaiming “look they want me to buy …” and I tell her the only thing they Want is your money. You represent my expectations of politicians well and what happens when you BUY political clout either corporate or populism, instead of demand it.

  2. Abbyrose86 says:

    Thought provoking article.

    I have various thoughts on this….but one of the things I’m thinking is that our current political parties and paradigms are not accurate to what people really believe, as such the two factions don’t adequately address the REAL beliefs of the people.

    Another problem has to do with political systems and ideologies vs economic ones. The differing political ideas and economic beliefs cause many to align with one party over the other even though their economic beliefs may not align with the ideals espoused by that parties social beliefs.

    Social beliefs and economic beliefs often don’t coincide, in addition perceptions are often skewed, which is easily manipulated by those with an agenda. Couple that with inadequate levels of education on how all these concepts work both separately and together and many in our society are not adequately ABLE to ascertain what IS in their best interests.

    SO with those thoughts in mind, I will attempt to provide my answers to your very good questions:

    How did the Democrats take a decisive victory in 2008 with broad cross party support and lose considerable popular support in 2010 with no change in agenda?

    I think the victory of the dems in 2008, was more of an anti W movement more so than a pro democrat movement. In addition, I think the the propaganda machine in 2009 and 2010 was SO strong, it persuaded the gullible and those don’t understand strategic thinking or long term cause and effect to vote against their own self interest, through the use of fear mongering and down right lies.
    Also included in that is the disenfranchisement of those on the left and in the middle who elected not to vote in 2010. I think that too, caused the election to swing in favor of the GOP.

    --
    Considering that Democratic Party endured the same epic division in ideology, agenda and critique in 06/07 how did they secure a monumental success with the election of President Obama and the coat tail Congressmen?

    Again I think it was more of an Anti W vote. I also think Obama’s charisma and personality played a role in his success with voters.
    --
    What is the cost of marginalizing Liberal/Progressive voters who helped secure Democratic victory in 2010?

    I think many liberal/progressive voters are failing to see the BIG picture or looking long term and are expecting things which aren’t possible to achieve in a short time and thus are not thinking logically or strategically in how they vote. THUS causing their own problems.

    --
    If you slide a fixed measure to the right on a scale do you gain anything or simply move the measure to the right?

    I think the move toward the left has to be incremental and will take many many years to REALLY move that measurement to where it should be. As such, I think the country politically and economically (not necessarily socially or culturally) moved SO far right over the course of the last 30 years, that in order to move to where we SHOULD be, with appropriate left/right/centrist ideals we need to move that measurement slowly to the left…I’m not sure if I answered this question properly. :)

    --
    What do the American people want from their elected officials( apart from undefinable single word issues “solutions” or “civility”)?

    I don’t think most even know. Seriously. I think on the whole, too many Americans believe in fairy tales and have unrealistic expectations, as such they don’t think their votes through carefully enough.
    --
    Should the successful GOP strategies; repetition talking points, abject disconnect, focus on centrist messaging and pragmatism be emulated for DNC success in 2012?

    In a way yes…the GOP has been great at marketing themselves and their misguided messages…the Dems could use a better marketing strategy.

    --

    • ghsts says:

      Abby your excellent answers make me think you might lean right economically and left morally or at least empathize with those who do. I find that true of many folks much older than yourself of course. The anti vote seemed to swing against the Dems in ’10 so why does it help to chase them?(they will say in polls they are moderates but might be code for antiDem.) No easy answers to be sure but if you had the ear of the President what one future marketing suggestion would be you make? I like to think he has two years despite the medias intention to start the elections tomorrow.

  3. The problem that I see is not a lack of motivation or estrangement. Those are the side effects of the problem.

    The problem is that we have one party defining the narrative with a few specific tactics: Obfuscate, Lie, Accuse, and Lie Louder

    1. Put the Dems on the defensive. Accuse them of everything, even if (or is it “especially if”) they are not guilty of what they are being accused of.
    2. Take credit for what worked over the past couple years, especially if the person taking credit was vehemently against it in the first place.
    3. Misrepresent any measure the Dems tried to pass.
    4. Use the most abusive rhetoric possible, with the most sensationalist language possible, at the highest volume possible, as often as possible.

    And then they automated the process, and subcontracted out the process, while getting paid for the process.

    And the actual problem doesn’t address the root cause of this, either. The root causes are:

    A. Deregulation of the Financial Sector -- allowed campaign finance to become even murkier than before, among other problems.
    B. Lack of Campaign Finance Reform -- too many “amicus curiae” can stick there noses into the process -- and often wind up peeing n the pool.
    C. Voter Arrogance -- That’s right. Not “voter apathy”. Voter arrogance is when voters assume they know everything about the issues based on almost no actual evidence or education on the issues.

    As far as fixing any of this, it’s not going to happen peacefully. The pseudo-cons use any peaceful approach to create more hostility toward Dems. We need more people on the Dem side with more cojones than political savvy. And even then, I don’t see it happening with Washington’s current processes.

    • ghsts says:

      2nd well put, I’ve read your posts here so I won’t bring up issues you have already put to rest other than to point out how hypocritical human nature is, it is self evident and ignoring it only makes us worse. You may be correct but at this rate if I don’t hope that arguments can sway centrists moderates that they are really liberals, I have no hope left.

  4. KQuark says:

    Excellent questions bravo.

    1. Seriously I think this is one issue that goes beyond left right. Americans have a throw the bums out mentality since our huge economic problems began. I don’t buy the notion Americans bought the progressive agenda in 2008 at all. Americans want the economy fixed that’s it. The problem is the great recession was never just a down business cycle and voters are not patient. It’s a systematic problem starting from our educational system up and will take years to fix if at all.

    2. I echo PW on the second question for the most part. We also saw the voters lied some. Based on polls after the election they were not too into closing Gitmo and changing many things Bush did on national security. The Iraq war was about the only thing most voters think Bush did wrong with foreign policy.

    3. There is a cost in enthusiasm but for Dems that always have to reach the center I think that cost is offset by gaining back moderates and independents.

    4. Creeping to the right gets you more votes as long as Americans vote Center Right.

    5. The voters want some evidence the economy is getting better with Dems. Voters want empty rhetoric from Repubs. It’s that double standard since Reagan that has made it so tough on the Dems.

    6. In every election season you will see repetitive themes prevail. On reason Hillary lost so many primaries early was because she could not focus on one theme. I think in that capacity during election season Dems will have their ducks in a row. It’s when Dems are trying to govern that they have the problem with message. That’s why Dems never fair well off elections.

    7. As long as there is as much positive advocacy as criticism there is nothing wrong with Dems criticizing their leaders. The nature of that criticism is also important. But face it on both sides of the spectrum the right and left sounds very much the same now with their attacks on Dems. Resorting to hyperbole, false narratives, name calling, guilt by association tactics, black and white rationalization are methods employed to discredit Dems from both sides.

    • ghsts says:

      KQuark good points though you are so wrong on 4(smile), like all bell curves, if you shift too far one way or another it’s a slippery slope. Start in the center and if you move too far to the right soon you’re sittin in rush’s lap.

  5. PocketWatch says:

    “How did the Democrats take a decisive victory in 2008 with broad cross party support and lose considerable popular support in 2010 with no change in agenda?”

    I think that, as I have posted elsewhere here, the economic crash that occurred between the election and the inaugural was not mere happenstance. The timing is too suspicious. Given the fact the people in the White House and in the government KNEW that a crash was coming for months, if not years, the only question was really WHEN it would happen. How better to hamstring a new, charismatic, articulate, smart, and energetic Democratic President than to sneak out of town leaving a large bag of economic dogshit in flames on the White House steps? I think someone rang a bell, and let the whole thing collapse. There is no political downside to it. The new Dem President and Congress now have to focus on that exclusively, and the right gets to beat the crap out of all of them for four years, providing memes and sound bites galore for 2010 and 2012.

    More standard agenda items get buried, whether they succeed or not. No one will pay attention. “It’s the economy, stupid,” is true. That trumps everything in American politics, and the “news-tainment” industry.

    --
    “Considering that Democratic Party endured the same epic division in ideology, agenda and critique in 06/07 how did they secure a monumental success with the election of President Obama and the coat tail Congressmen?

    IMO, superior organization and “Bush fatigue.”

    --
    “What is the cost of marginalizing Liberal/Progressive voters who helped secure Democratic victory in 2010?”

    I’m not really sure they HAVE been marginalized, but it feels that way due to the strategy of obstruction the right has engaged in over every issue imaginable (see my anwser for the first question). I imagine that President Obama would have LOVED to engage in sweeping Progressive change, given a chance, but he has been hamstrung along with Congess. I do not believe that President Obama is radically left, but it would have easy to get more of Progrssive agenda and message to the country if he had had full rein to do it, but he has not.

    The right’s strategy has worked well so far. The cost is to have lost those people who are most fervent and energetic to work hard for the election of treu Progressives, and may stay home in frustration during the next election cycle. This is the ultimate goal of the right anyway, voter suppression.

    --
    “If you slide a fixed measure to the right on a scale do you gain anything or simply move the measure to the right?”

    The second, IMO.

    --
    “What do the American people want from their elected officials (apart from undefinable single word issues “solutions” or “civility”)?”

    I know what I want, and that is intelligence and attention to details, not bumper stickers and instant gratification. Long term planning and follow through, not pandering for the next election cycle. Boring stuff, I know, but that is governing. What we have in this country is continual electioneering.

    --
    “Should the successful GOP strategies; repetition talking points, abject disconnect, focus on centrist messaging and pragmatism be emulated for DNC success in 2012?”

    I do not believe that “making us just like the other guy” is a good idea. The best ‘marketing’ strategy, IMO, is differentiation. Having said that, we need a good marketing firm to generate those bumper sticker phrases that resonate. Good public policy and long term planning makes it hard, I know, but we have to try.

    --
    “Is critique a useful tool for achieving excellence or does it merely provide the gop with agitators?”

    It does both. There is no replacement for introspection and criticism. What needs to be remembered is that CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is what is useful. I’ll use an example in my business seminars: I can say to an employee “You are too quiet.” Is that useful? No. Instead, if I say “I’d really love to see you speak in staff meetings, I bet you have great ideas.” And couple that with “Tell you what, why don’t you think about an idea you may have, and I’ll call on you next week? Write it down, and come see me in private this week if you want to work on it.” What has happened? You gave a critique, announced an action plan, and gave some tools to get the result.

    We need to remember that when confronting our politicians. Don’t just show up complaining. Identify the problem, AND offer a solution.


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