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Marion On April - 5 - 2011

I always hated math in high school, mostly because I disliked the teacher; but I need to qualify that and say it was actually “higher maths” I hated – the second year of algebra and trigonometry. Prior to that, I was really rather good, especially in geometry.

If I remember nothing more from my geometry course, I remember this: that the base of a triangle is its broadest part. “Base” means that bit of a triangle or a building that supports the structure at its lowest level. It grounds or anchors said structure, so it must be that the base of a movement grounds or anchors said movement.

Now this is what I don’t understand: Poll after poll after poll has been taken throughouth the US, and consistently, the findings conclude that a full 20% of people polled identify themselves as either liberal or progressive, whilst 40% consider themselves moderate. We also know that roughly 40% polled call themselves conservative, and whilst the Tea Party element is truly proving itself to be more or less a fringe element, it’s pretty safe to say that the base of the Republican party consists of socially conservative religious people. So how can the media claim that the Democratic party’s base consists of a minority of voters. That’s really like turning a triangle upside down, but then, in a converse sort of way – considering the current Democratic kindergarten – wibbling, wobbling and falling is pretty much normal behaviour for its base.

Actually, I think the so-called progressive base of the Democratic party is something created in the mind of the media and promoted by them to feed the progressive addiction of not thinking critically. Many of these people seem to have forgotten the way our country was structured, by the Constitution, to govern – that each branch of government has certain obligations and duties and each branch keeps a rein on the other two. It’s why the President can’t legislate and has to keep himself above the petty squabbling of the politicos on the Hill. It’s also why those same politicos can effectively nullify an executive order.

But then, in our simplistic, time-saving, convenience-laden world, it’s all too easy to blame the President, especially this one.

Take the Gitmo kerfuffle, which is being blatantly presented in the press and media as the President reneging on a campaign promise, first to close the facility, and then to try all its inhabitants in the civil courts. Well, that’s another part of the Big Lie propaganda which seems au courant throughout our media-driven lives these days.

All of us remember that seminal moment when the President signed the executive order effecting the closure of Guantanamo Bay within a year’s time, back in 2009, as his first act as President. In fact, throughout the 2008 campaign, that was one campaign promise both Obama and McCain pushed. The problem ensuing was basically logistical: Where would all these prisoners be housed until they were either tried or released? In fact, George Bush, the man who created the monster, had actually released some Gitmo prisoners, several of whom had rejoined their old Al Qaeda buddies.

Maybe some, if not all, of us remember the debate which raged throughout the spring of 2009 regarding the fates of these prisoners and where they should be housed post-Gitmo. Basically, the public, fuelled by the media, adopted a NIMBY approach – “not in my backyard.” When a disused maximum security prison in Illinois was put forward as the best and most logical place to contain these men, no less than Dick Durbin, DEMOCRAT, from the President’s home state, led the charge against that action. Apparently a maximum security facility in the United States isn’t enough to withstand the incomparable might of Al Qaeda – certainly not in the country where prisons are a big and effective business.

And maybe some, if not all, of us remember the following autumn, when Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, arguably the most important prisoner held at Guantanamo Bay and the mastermind of 9/11, would be tried in a civil trial in New York City, where his most devastating atrocity occurred. Almost immediately, some – if not all – of us remember Mayor Bloomberg lauding this decision. Who can forget Holder’s forceful rendering of this announcement, when he repeated the name of New York City twice, for obvious emphasis?

To say the all-controlling media were impressed with this decision would be an understatement, but almost immediately the backdraft began – led by Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, DEMOCRATS, of New York. Their chief concern would be that the cost would be far more than the city would be able to support; there was also the concern regarding businesses and private residences in the area where the trial would take place – access issues and losses of revenue. There would be congestion problems with traffic, coupled with a veritable circus caused by the convergence of the world’s media; then add to that the security risks, with the threat of, possibly, another Al Qaeda attack.

The list went on, whilst the DOJ searched for alternative venues for the trial and the Republicans pressed the argument about how these men should be tried by military tribunals. Pennsylvania was mooted, and Virginia, but both echoed the chorusof fright, uncertainty and doubt led by Schumer and Gilibrand.

The gist of the whole Gitmo saga was simply that it was railroaded and the President blind-sided by what was possibly the only genuine act of bi-partisanship ever engendered by this Congress of cowards and fools.

Yet, it’s all too easy and disingenuous to blame the President and brand him a coward and a caver.

Well, I suppose he did cave on this one, because he reversed his former stand and authorised military tribunals to be the method of trial for these prisoners, including the star event concerning Khaled Sheikh Mohammed. Some, if not all, of us will remember how when the President announced this, earlier this year, he made a point of remarking that he had grave reservations about this procedure on two points, but Congress in their infinite wisdom and in waking from their slumber and remembering their role in the system of checks and balances, had rendered any thought of a civil trial virtually impossible.

In the meantime, the President’s running for reelection, and various pundits, reincarnations and natural inheritors of the old radical chic are managing to nudge and wink and subtly imply that there should be a primary candidate for the President. They’re worried, you see, about his abandoning his base for the more moderate of the party.

Do these people have a death wish for Democrats? Because by any mathematical calculation, 20% isn’t a very solid base. The people pushing the myth of Obama as the first post-racial President-cum-the Progressive’s singular disappointment are the natural successors and trust fund children of Tom Wolfe’s radical chic, the ueber rich, super-cool cafe society types who adopted Civil Rights seven years after the fact as an enhancement to their cutting edge image by supping with the real Black Panthers, who saw them for the phonies they were. The closest the ladies-who-lunch liberal pundits come to people of colour is when they’re seated at a discussion table on MSNBC with Eugene Robinson. The only Latino they know is Bill Richardson. The poor is only a vague idea, the working poor and working class morphed into the middle class at the end of the 1970s, and any Southerner is always a racist.

And Obama’s such a disappointment, because instead of getting John Shaft in the Oval Office, they seem to think they’ve got the lovechild of Dr Cliff Huxtable and Fred Sanford. So they’ve got this incessant need to tell and tell stridently what the President should do. They have to remind him of the dire consequences, should he abandon his so-called base. And when he doesn’t listen and achieves something far better than they ever imagined he would, they never recognise this; instead, they move onto the next point of criticism, or they sulk until the point that they can only see their talking point within the framework of the larger equation.

It’s always easier to rationalise that the President caved on extending the Bush tax cuts because they, personally, don’t know anyone who’s unemployed or a part of the working poor. It’s easier to ignore the fact that there’s a Republican majority in the House who pretty much stymie any imperceptibly progressive legislation. In fact, they’ve spent the past four months trying to undo everything that’s been accomplished under the previous Democratic majority, which – for the moment – is impossible, because there’s this slender majority of 4 Democratic Senators in the upper house, one of whom is Joe Manchin, which really makes the majority three.

This is why the silly rant issued by Bill Maher at the end of Real Time this past week about the President taking a stand and pushing for the repeal of DOMA, simply because Dick Cheney, Cindy McCain and Jenna Bush had spoken out in favour of gay marriage. Dick Cheney’s always believed in same sex marriage, but only because his daughter is gay. Otherwise, he’d be no different from any rank-and-file conservative. Besides, neither Cheney, nor Mrs McCain nor the Bush baby are in a position to legislate the repeal of this odious law. They are private citizens, with private opinions and little influence. In fact, I doubt Cindy McCain has any influence over the old maverick, himself.

I don’t know what the President’s opinion of same sex marriage is. I would imagine, open-minded individual that he is, he favourably views the repeal of this act; but pushing for this now is a non-starter, as long as such legislation has to be approved, first, by the House of Representatives. That just ain’t gonna happen, as long as the Speaker’s on a buzz from his martini, the birthers and the baggers are getting restless; and while it’s ok for the Republican majority leader to introduce a piece of legislation that’s a slap in the face of the Constitution in abnegating the upper house’s existence, should the President try a dictatorial style (so favoured by many of the Progressive Left), he’d be impeached, which would make the strange bedfellow pairing of Darrell Issa and Dennis Kucinich very happy.

The truth is, the radical chic set of society play-politicos who “reformed” the Democratic party 40 years ago, threw the real base under the political bus, only to have them rescued and nursed back to health by the very party who, formerly, were their rabid enemies: the Republicans. And they coddled and comforted them just enough for Stockholm syndrome to set in.

So let the inverted triangle that’s the Democratic base continue to totter, let them come up with a patsy who’ll primary the President, and let them then be recorded in the history annals as the reason the Democratic party was rent asunder irreparably in the election of 2012.

20 Responses so far.

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  1. anachoret says:

    “’Base’ means that bit of a triangle or a building that supports the structure at its lowest level. It grounds or anchors said structure, so it must be that the base of a movement grounds or anchors said movement.”

    ———-

    I would hold that the “base” is as much where as it is who. At least as much. And, Since you asked “where,” I believe the answer is: The Base of the Democratic Party is in urban America. I think most electoral maps would support that. The Democratic party, without the “little blue islands,” would be sunk in the “Red Sea.”

    Both sides of the democratic party, it seems to me, love to fight and cast the other in terms that, largely, help support Republican themed stereotypes of them. This is damaging to recruiting “identity” voters. Particularly damaging is using those themes that the Republican Party has used most successfully. That behavior drives a wedge into the party, and can actually lead people to believe that they are genuinely unwanted within’ the “big tent.” If they believe they aren’t wanted, perhaps that sentiment translates into a lower turn-out.

    As a lifelong urban resident, and a product of urban public schools, I would think that the Democratic Party could recognize that we need someone to go to bat for us… Right now.
    Ever since the beginning of the Culture wars, urban America (also the “base” of multi-culturalism in this country) has been attacked by movement conservatives, and we need help fighting back against them… I suppose you could say the right recognized us as the “base” long ago.
    I would love the Democrats to get rid of the internal wedges and unite in protecting that base, which does anchor and ground their party on maps of the real world.

  2. BigDogMom says:

    Marion, I believe if you look at whats going on in the nation today with what the new group of Republican Governors are doing with their budget cuts and attacks on unions, along with the newly released Republican 2012 Budget, “The Path to Prosperity”. The old Dem political base of 40 yrs. ago of working class people, white and blue collar moderates, are now being thrown under the bus once again by the very group that rescued them…the Republicans.

    They have been disenfranchised again, but this time I believe they have woken up, their eyes are open to the fact that neither party will be their saviour, their knights in shining armor of the American Dream. But most also realize now that when it comes down to which party is closer to their own personal ideology, ethics and morals, which is very crucial, the Democrats win hands down.

    There is a stirring and a longing in this Country now that I haven’t seen in a long time, this movement is pure, it is coming from the bottom up. Being coddled and gently directed by local Democratic and Union leaders, not the President, nor by the House and Senate leaders, but they will ultimately benefit from it.

    The President even admitted it on last nights teleconference that Cher was invited to be on, it needs to come from us, not the talking heads or bloggers, but from us. That is the way it should be, that is when real change will take place in this Country and this will be the new Democratic base.

    As for our far Left absolutist, I liken them to one of those crazy old Aunts in the family, you know their opinions are extreme, squawking and yelling for attention, but heck, they are still family. Nothing you say or do will make a difference, nor change them. So I try not to waste too much time or energy on them and their hissy fits.

    Will they ever be satisfied, I doubt it. Will they run someone in the primaries against Obama, I doubt that too. Too much is at stake here and they know that this time around. Many now are experiencing what happens when you stay at home in protest and not vote, you get a blitzkrieg of heartless Republican legislation that cuts at the very soul of society. They may be crazy, but they aren’t stupid.

    I agree on your assessment of the Liberal/Progressive talking head pudnuts, but think you give them far too much credit for influencing voters opinions. Many of us have tuned them out, too busy living our lives, working hard for real change in the real world….I know I have.

  3. Keramos says:

    Good morning all

    The point that should not be lost on anyone is that fully 58% of eligible voters did not elect to exercise this right during the 2010 elections. 42% did. How does this translate in percentage terms?

    What were the winning margins in states that changed their blue suits for red? Let’s look at Pennsylvania as it was a solidly blue state for some time. In the 2008 election, there were 8,755,588 registered voters -- http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/voter_registration_statistics/12725 -- of which 68.65% -- about 6 million -- voted. In the 2010 midterm, the race for US Senator was won by Republican Pat Toomey 2,028,945 or 51.0%
    vs
    Democrat Joe Sestak 1,948,716 or 49.0%

    ( http://elections.nytimes.com/2010/results/pennsylvania )

    Turnout was off a full 2 million from the 2008 election and represented less than half of PA’s 2008 eligible voters. Here’s another way of looking at it. 51% of (4million/8.8million) = 23% of the eligible voters elected Toomey. Based on this, would anyone like to make a claim of mandate for anything?

    This is just one example but, based on the overall statistics, probably not to far from being representative of 2010 in many places. What needs to be kept in mind is that the real majority decided to to mimic Nixon’s “Silent Majority” this last election? Why? Well, that’s a question with as many more questions as it has answers. It’s fair to say, though, that this block should be considered in play and the candidate who breaks through here will win the next presidential election.

    R’s make a lot of noise and seem to have a lot of activity ongoing -- especially if noise equates to activity. The Ds, on the other hand, seem to be sinking further into ignominy by not defending their records or that of the President. This really turns the potential voter off (my opinion) and keeps this vast pool of voters on the sidelines.

    Somehow we need an infusion of energy ala that of our TP brethren. Some candidates who are proud to be progressive and will promote and defend those ideals and platforms. At the same time, these folks need to have serious plans for reducing our deficits and otherwise righting the ship of state.

    I’m increasingly of the mind that solid progressives could make common cause with the TP to rid ourselves of the Middle East “interventions” as a start and the elimination of corporate welfare. To be sure, there would be more areas of disagreement than agreement but there are many sincere folks on both sides of the ideological divide who can put aside their differences long enough to work through the tough decisions that need to be made now and are instead being used as soundbite material for the next election.

    I need some more coffee now.

    • Abbyrose86 says:

      Thank you! I too have been pointing out that the numbers for the GOP aren’t all that! Thank you!

    • AdLib says:

      Hey Keramos, very much agree with you.

      I have a feeling that the Teabaggers overreaching, campaigning for killing Medicare, a government shutdown, destroying collective bargaining is the spark that’s re-energizing the Dem base.

      Turnout in a non-Presidential year is always lower but I think Dems will be motivated again to turn out in 2012, whether due to support for Obama and Dems or just to vote against the Teabagger agenda.

  4. Khirad says:

    All yours are good, but this one is publishable in a major newspaper. The last paragraph’s imagery was a fine finishing stroke.

    Not here to stroke your ego. Just being honest. That was a superbly composed piece with a strongly presented argument.

    I of course agree.

    And might I add that even among self-identified liberals Obama’s support is in the upper 70s? I think?

    That’s not what we’d be left to believe form the MSM echochamber and cacophony of the fringe progressive blogosphere.

    A little perspective can be invaluable.

    As I say often, I myself am more fringe than moderate, but I’m moderate in realizing I’m fringe.

  5. KQuark says:

    Excellent points as usual Marion.

    Of course all the detractors from the so called liberal Dem base has are snarky clichéd comebacks because for them all intelligent debates have ended.

    First and foremost the Dems have no reliable base. The Dems are a big tent party.

    Gitmo especially was a tail of where was the base when Obama was fighting for civil trials? Allot of the blue collar base sided with the GOP and while twenty percent of the liberal Dems was just not enough to push popular opinion in this case the left really did not even try. To be brutally honest most Americans could give a crap where KSM is tried as long as the result is a death penalty verdict.

    Like I said the biggest untold story on the left is how far the left has been polarized, especially on national security issues because of Bush.

  6. jkkFL says:

    Marion, I disagree with several points- but I will focus on only one.
    I don’t consider Rasmussen terribly reliable- however this is the most current breakdown I could find regarding party affiliation:

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/partisan_trends
    I don’t think it’s time to call the Priest for the Dems, yet.

  7. SpiralUp says:

    Can’t find the base? Check under the bus!!

    • AdLib says:

      All those whose careers were threatened by DADT, couldn’t get health insurance due to pre-existing conditions, thought we were headed into a new Great Depression in Dec 2008, the millions whose jobs were saved by the Stimulus Bill, etc., might disagree with you.

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Sure--DADT, most middle class tax cuts ever, most consumer protection ever, insurance reform, etc, etc, etc. is SO under the bus. Sure. Great- another purist. But don’t mind me--I’m not wasting any more time replying to you. I’ve heard it all before, as nauseum. Stay home and let the Reeps win. :roll:

      • Dbos says:

        thats what happened at the mid term don’t want that again.

      • AdLib says:

        The approach of “all or nothing” as a political view is typically self-defeating with regards to one’s political agenda.

        Look at how the Tea Party is overplaying their hand and damaging their party’s prospects because they reflect the same “all or nothing” philosophy.

        As for me, I would hopefully reconsider my sensibilities if my approach mirrored those I disrespected.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          AdLib-- That is something that I have been thinking for a while now! The far Left is demanding the exact same thing they scorn the Baggers for doing. The Left laughs at the Bachmanns and the Palins--but they want Kuchinich or somebody like Nader to primary Obama. You practically took the words right outta my mouth.

          • Marion says:

            You’re just figuring that out? I’ve always said, move far enough to the Left and you come out on the Right. I know a guy called Russ Firestone, who fancies himself a BIG progressive, and who actually wants a Leftwing dictatorship.

            Also, a lot of Firebagging icons aren’t what they seem either. Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher are fellows at the Cato Institute, which is the big DC Libertarian thinktank, founded by FRED KOCH and financed by CHARLES AND DAVID KOCH. Greenwald writes for their publication, so even the Firebaggiest firebaggers are inextricably linked to the Kochs.

            • Truth says:

              Info like that about Hamsher and also that she works with Grover Norquist would be worth an article….
              I always disliked this woman, and now that I come to know more and more details about her I know exactly why.


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