Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Elephant 166

Paranoia runs deep in American politics these days.  So many on both sides of our gaping cultural divide are willing to believe the most heinous things about their fellow citizens that I am surprised the Republic still stands at all.  The detrimental impact of fear on our nation is rather obvious when the adrenal glands super-charge our systems in preparation for fight or flight responses.  Every political statement becomes hyperbolic chest-beating since fear is at the root of most aggressive or violent outbursts.

One obvious question remains as this behavior surfaces again and again:  Is there really anything to fear from political rivals?

For democrats, the republican party is doing such a good job of self-destructing that fear is the last response I would expect.  Pity might be more appropriate.  Most republicans I speak to, both here on TPM and elsewhere, are pretty much committed to finding new representation by way of next year’s primaries.  There are republican candidates appearing at all levels to fulfill that emerging need.  The same trend is underway in the democratic party as well, though it is a bit tougher to see since liberals have always been pretty consistent with their message if not the ultimate delivery of those promises.

I am working to see a more authentically conservative republican party (think Teddy rather than Ronnie) emerge over the coming years to face a more innovative democratic party (think FDR instead of Clinton) with both parties crafting solutions a majority of the country can support at the grassroots, thus making the changes more sustainable.  This is the reason Social Security and Medicare have withstood most assaults since they passed into law, even those reforms that tried to evolve the system into something more useful in our era of growing economic instability.

Solidarity can move mountains.

Which brings us back to fear.  The simmering hostility on both sides of the political divide seems largely driven by that most reactive of emotions.  As the rhetoric heats up, the silent majority goes straight back to sleep and changing Washington DC becomes impossible to sustain beyond nibbling at the edges in a see-saw battle for control that rarely leads in a new direction.  How is it that fear has become such a dominant factor in our politics?  Can a country divided by fear and apathy really survive?

I think not.

Given the political dynamics in this country, I think there are a number of mistaken assumptions that continue to keep us divided because the expectations of partisan players is out of line with how this country can actually be moved to change.  Unlike 1932 when FDR and the democratic party were swept into power, today’s party affiliation is much more subtle and diffuse.  The electorate is nearly divided in thirds, with independents the fastest growing block of voters and basically split between the two major parties.  The country is basically divided down the middle, yet many liberals continue to think some new mass Exodus is underway amongst conservatives that will lead to a third party or FDR-era majorities for the democratic party.

Such misreading of the electorate could have deadly consequences for the fairly progressive, though admittedly centrist, agenda Obama laid out during the campaign.

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166 thoughts on “Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Elephant

  • barefooted

    Our country was founded on many things, not the least of which was the expression of differing points of view. I find it one of our greatest strengths – even as we use it to undermine each other at every opportunity. And frankly? Opportunities abound. They always have.

    Marching in lockstep is neither to be sought nor admired. Independent thought, communication (which also means listening) and compromise when necessary for the greater good is the only way to keep a strong democracy growing.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I agree, barefooted. When we are prepared to take advantage of our opportunities, then all manner of transcendent progress become possible. You identified our Achilles Heel – a total inability to compromise for the greater good.

      • AJM

        Again a nice piece of propaganda — so silly of us liberals to think of the Rethuglicans as the big bad elephant.

        Sorry, I haven’t lost my short term memory — last time they had control they convinced us that Iraq was harboring WMDS and involved us in an unjustifiable war and then proceeded to indulge in some extremely incompetent nation building or the sort they had won office campaigning against.

        So why should anyone welcome a return to power by the actual Rethuglicans as evidenced by their leading politicians (as opposed to JEM’s wishful thinking pie-in-the sky untouched by reality belief that the tea baggers — AKA the folks who vote in Republican primaries — whom he believes are suddenly going to vote for TDR stand-ins)?

        • Jason Everett Miller

          I am talking about the irrational nature of fear, especially from the people who actually won last year and are in positions of power.

          That you continue to troll my blogs posting nonsense like this is a great illustration of why the democratic party is regretting so many damn liberals being a part of their constituency.

          People like you couldn’t come together for a bake sale, let alone to fix the country.

          • erica

            Jason, may I point out that you were the first to use the word “troll” in this thread? Good Lord, man, get ahold of yourself. If you’re hosting the party, you need to try harder to be nice to the guests.

            (I’m not saying you’re Jekyll/Hyde, but you do have a history of starting out all Spocky and switching to Dr. McCoy at the first hint of trouble.)

            And I mean that in the nicest way.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            When the guest shows up, spits in your face and tells you to fuck off are you then obligated to invite them in for a snack?

            As soon as the band of Brawlers stops chasing me from thread to thread, I will stop calling them trolls.

            Sorry you were offended by the term rather than the behavior it was meant to describe.

          • erica

            I believe that is precisely the moment to invite them in for a snack.

            You might want to serve them a sandwich rather than caviar, and a mid-level scotch as opposed to your best, as a gentle reminder that you have your limits.

          • erica

            Perhaps a ten-comment-per-post limit would be a good idea–and a cold shower if you find yourself reaching for the button on number eleven?


            Sorry if I’m a bit of a broken record on this be-nice thing, but I do believe that diversity begins at home. Most of us who post here are probably strikingly similar when compared with the vast world beyond. If we can’t learn to speak kindly in the face of one anothers’ provocations, we may lose much that we care about to people who will not do a good job with it.

            I am also one of those paranoid people…

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You are preaching to the choir on that one. I have long called for civility at TPM, but am more than willing to throw down if that is what comes to my door.

            As far as only commenting ten times, I would agree to that limit on posts other than my own, but an able defense of my position usually takes much more than ten comments.


        • Jason Everett Miller

          PS: Who the is “TDR” and why would republicans vote for such a reincarnation. If you are speaking of Teddy Roosevelt, he didn’t have a middle name.

          • AJM

            Thanks for the correction — I’m sure it was important.

            It is rational to fear that if the Rethuglicans were to come into power again, they would do the same or worse than they did before. It’s called healthy caution.

            The Democrats, even in Congress, are more or less together — the thing contributing most to stalling progress is the demented demand for bi-partisanship with those whose only goal is to beat you.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            My main point was that fearing a return to standard neoconservative politics in the republican party is a bit premature until we have a couple more elections given the general mood of the country.

          • AJM

            Explain you reasoning about “based on the current mood of the country”.

            You keep fighting against the evidence of who inhabits the Republican Party and what they want. If the conservative base described (and counted) by Carville et al were to be elected, their actions, while different would be no more desirable than the neocons.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            The mood of the country is anti-incumbent on both the left and right, which leads me to believe that no one like what is coming out of Washington DC.

            Carville is the last person I would ask for an objective reading of grassroots conservatives, so I am not sure what his decidely partisan view on this matter has to do with anything.

            I am not quite willing to throw my actual brothers and sisters under the bus, most of whom are republican, just because some DLC clown profits from continued acrimony.

          • AJM

            I’m glad you know some sane Republicans — their leaders, elected officials and candidates do not appear to fit that description.

            If the anti-incumbent mood does prevail since most incumbents are currently Democrats they would be replaced by the current slate of Republicans. Are you claiming that that slate would make you proud.

            Carville, unlike you, checked the facts — he sent out trained people to interview those self indentifying as conservative Republicans and claiming to vote the same way.

            In contrast, you present your family circle.

            Then you claim to be unbiased.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Anti-incumbent means that a NEW person would replace the current occupant, not that it would necessarily change parties. Anti-incumbent means we have a historically high turnout for primaries.

            Baring that, this country is totally fucked.

            Because of people like the current leadership in BOTH parties, including your good buddy James Carville. Apparently the paragon of objectivity and grace for the democratic party.

            There is no such thing as impartial partisan politics.

          • AJM

            There would be some slippage in primaries but since primaries, like generals, basically favor incumbents more that challengers the point still stands. |

            Thoughtless throwing the bums out in the up coming elections would install worse bums.

            You don’t like Carville fine, act on your prejudice. If you want to be persuasive about his findings, criticize how his study was conducted.

            I don’t like Carville’s politics, so I don’t believe his findings is about as sensible as raving that you don’t like a ball player’s politics so you reject his batting average.

            Get a grip.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I don’t believe the findings because they are braod brush analysis based on small samplings with a known liberal idealogue asking the questions.

            I have a problem with Carville’s partisanship more than his politics.

            As to the primaries versus the generals, they do not favor the incumbent in the same fashion. In the general, it is mostly due to the way the districts are drawn. In the primary, it is due to a lack of participation.

            When only 20% vote in midterm primaries, there is not going to be a lick of movement away from the status quo.

          • AJM

            Check who Carville is hanging out with. The polling decisions involved were made by an expert, Stan Greenberg. Republican pollster Frank Luntz says “Stan Greenberg scares the hell out of me. He doesn’t just have a finger on the people’s pulse; he’s got an IV injected into it. He’s the best.” So my guess is that Carville was involve primarily to parse what the political ramifications of how people were feeling might be, not in designing the methods to find out what they felt.

            You were the one who said that the mood of the country was anti-incumbent — now you are saying that you don’t expect changes in the status quo.

            You are correct that the reason primaries favor incumbents is different than the reason that generals favor incumbents. My point stands:more Democratic incumbents will be up than Republican incumbents so if an anti-incumbent mood prevails we get the people that the Republican party is currently nominating. Is that what you want?

        • Jason Everett Miller

          When is the next raging screed castigating the democratic party for not being liberal enough for you, Fred?

          You think change somehow consists of doing the same stupid shit, over and over again, expecting different results.

          That is why your side keeps losing, even though they have all the populist ideas.

          • igotmyreasons

            We haven’t lost, duh.

            Is my last blog REALLY over your head? I’m simply advocating using the power that we have to move the legistlation we want forward (nothing about my supposedly super-liberal agenda).

            I use some profanity and humor (and outrage, sure) to express this and you get scared I might “ruin” things?

            Get real.

            You think change somehow consists of doing the same stupid shit, over and over again, expecting different results.

            I’m pretty sure this is the FIRST blog I ever wrote arguing for Democrats to use procedural powers to ensure cloture.


            Wait, lemme check…


            First. Ever.

            So when you say doing the same “stupid shit” (that’s classier than the stuff I say, naturally), what you ACTUALLY MEAN is my blog SHOULD be called:

            Democrats Should Use Procedural Powers To Ensure Cloture on Healthcare Reform.

            And continue in a similar way that YOU approve of, so that people like you who are freaked out by populist rage or saying bad things about Al Franken and Harry Reid can feel comfortable?

            THAT’s the “same shit” you are referring to. Style wars.

            And yet your blog is peppered with the brown word too. I suppose you think it’s more “good natured” than mine.

            Well, if I wanna tell Harry Reid to “find his balls” that’s what I’m gonna say (also the FIRST time I’ve ever written anything about Reid, too).

            I usually find this procedural stuff boring, and definitely not blog worthy. But in this case its going to sink our chance for meaningful health care reform… a potential VICTORY for Dems (especially later when people like it), so it is COMPLETELY important and relevant to write about it.

            You just think I shouldn’t call them “pussies”. Boo frickin’ hoo.

            I’d like to share something with you, Jason: I used to think if the rest of the world did things just the WAY I DID it’d be a better place too.

            Then I grew out of it. And got sober.

            When you are MY hall monitor I’ll let you know. And maybe you can take your own advice and stop writing repetitive screeds about how the “tone of debate” is the only factor in politics (a characterization before you get all wounded by THAT too).

            Even you are smarter than that.

            PS. I think “Democratic” and “Republican” get capitalized, and “Health Care Utopia” doesn’t. Because you want to be “taken seriously” DON’T YOU??

          • Jason Everett Miller

            All you have is why nothing being done is up to your standards, so I am not sure why you think your opinions are any less strongly-held than my own.

          • igotmyreasons

            Making fun of tightasses, usually.

            Good to see you find it “flawed” LOL… maybe in a few years I’ll have your sanctimonious, new-age drivel flushed out better.


          • Jason Everett Miller

            I didn’t offer an opinion one way or the other as your “rewrite” didn’t really address my specific questions on your call to action and how you would see the solution emerging from Congress be crafted differently.

          • igotmyreasons

            Oh, you think my “rewrite” was to address your questions? That’s pretty much the funniest thing you’ve EVER said.

            SO sorry to be such a disappointment to you.

            Send me a copy of The Seven Habits of Non-Complaining People when you get a chance. I’m forgetting the rules, obviously.

            R U 4 (change) 2? WTG.

            Why does your philosophy sound like ad copy for Audi?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You remain completely incomprehensible. Probably explains the lack of success you have met with the radio audience.

          • igotmyreasons

            You think I have a radio show. That is success enough for me.


            But you think “coming soon” means something too.

            I should be incomprehensible to you. I write for people with a sense of humor. They get it, trust me.

            You’re baffled why liberals won’t take advice on strategy from a supposedly moderate Republican, so I’d submit you must be confused a lot.

            Don’t worry I’m not writing this stuff for you. It’s fine if you don’t get it really. In fact it’s friggin’ hilarious.

            So, thank you.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You want to have a radio show. That is different from having one. I have actually had a radio show, as small as the listening audience in GITMO was.

          • igotmyreasons

            So they really WERE torturing people there!

            Trust me I don’t really want a radio show. Too many dicks in that industry. Perfect fit for you, though.

            That “coming soon” too?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            PS: It is taking advice from a former hard-core left liberal who figured out how to have reasonable discussions with those I used to argue with non-stop. A state of compromise you apparently find abhorrent.

          • igotmyreasons

            Thats why all your blogs have 300 comments?

            WHO KNEW!!!

            All you DO is argue are you that clueless? Get a grip.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Providing counterpoints to idiots is hardly arguing. I consider it a public service.

          • igotmyreasons

            Confirmation WITH arrogance!! I likee…

            That might be a cool comment if it was tongue-in-cheek. I’m guessing not.

          • igotmyreasons

            PS. I was responding to the accusation that I am “repeating the same shit”

            If I have never written ANYTHING on the subject before, that is clearly false.

            (my apologizes for using all caps)

  • Zipperupus


    “So many on both sides” is a mixture of straw and equivalence. There is a degree of hyperbole, fear and anger on the left. But I would regard these faults on the left as minimal in contrast with these same qualities exhibited by the right.

    The left has endured over 40 years of attacks from the mainstream. These attacks can be violent, especially in other countries we politically dominate. What is occurring constantly in places like El Salvador is growing in strength domestically.

    The problem is that a long time ago, this thing called the Cold War happened. No matter the party in power, the same militant approach was made policy for decades. Increased military spending, increased police and prison spending, expansion of police and military powers, and the enculturation of obedience.

    These broad military and police powers have colluded with those industries that are national security critical: oil, agriculture, metallurgy, insurance and finance. There is virtually no line separating these industries from each other or military/police power. So long as these military-industrial appetites could feast om the third world, everything was okay except for those unfortunate men and women who comprised the rural and urban poverty sectors.

    Then came Nixon, who eliminated the gold standard. Then came Ford, who authorized the public purchase of gold. The regulatory apparatus for oil, agriculture, media, textiles and medicine were dismantled by Reagan.

    And the rest is the inevitable consequence of these policies. There is a very good chance that the gentleman who sits on the board of directors for Raytheon also sits with Alcoa, Viacom, Monsanto, Cigna, and IBM. His friends, frat-brothers, family, and subordinates sit on the same boards along with many others.

    In other words, there is virtually no boundary separating big business from the government and its military. The only crucial part is keeping the masses apathetic, preoccupied, or at each other’s throats.

    And a lot of the success achieved on behalf of this ur-Fascism comes from making our best intentions appear either naive or evil. Sharing, compassion, justice, and countless other positive values are bundled into a demonaic visage called “the liberal.” Meanwhile, avarice, lust, self-interest, and violence are enthroned as American values.

    So I empathise with your plight. When it comes to solving modern problems, it isn’t about left versus right. It is about human versus monster, soul versus machine. And that is hard when the partisans on eother side view the other as mortal enemies.

    But it isn’t the left or right that is under attack. It is our feminine and intuitive nature, which tends to correspond to political leftwardness, that is being destroyed… or co-opted.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Besides the initial misquote, I agree with just about everything you wrote above. The actual sentence I wrote is this:

      So many on both sides of our gaping cultural divide are willing to believe the most heinous things about their fellow citizens that I am surprised the Republic still stands at all.

      Nothing in that sentence speaks to any “…degree of hyperbole, fear and anger on the left.” It was a statement that people on both sides of the fence believe heinous shit about the other side, whether it is true or not.

      Not sure why you would paint my argument as a straw man because of your misreading of that sentence and then offer a complete non sequiter in response. It was an interesting comment to be sure, but it has little to do with the blog’s main premise.

      The reason the “left” has had sand kicked in its face for 40-plus years is because they consistently misread the American public and fail to position their mostly good ideas in a way that resonates. They came in this year with an unprecedented mandate this year with a cross-over president and still couldn’t close the deal.

      Not sure why that failure is somehow the fault of conservatives or centrists or whoever the villain of the week is this time.

      • quinn esq

        Dear Jason. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Because now – AT LAST – I know who to blame for the economic, moral, political and cardio-vascular collapse of the American nation.


        You and your godddamn moronic “silent majority.”

        I admit, it took me some time to see this, and to accept you at your word – a) that you really didn’t speak for the Republican party, and b) that in fact, you were speaking for a much larger group, the silent majority.

        Now, since there are apparently none others left alive who represent this silent majority, may I… 1stly, offer my congratulations on your leadership position of this vast (but really rather low decibel) group of Americans, and 2ndly, tell you personally – and with all due respect – that as their leader, great merciful Christ in Heaven but you have done an AWFUL fucking job.


        I mean, a phrase like “piss poor” just does not do it justice.

        No wonder you wanna come on here and bitch at the Democrats and the Left all the time, blaming them for everything. Because if the camera ever swings round and looks at what you and your type have done these past years, wow….. it is gonna look BAAAAAD. I mean, after all (the buck needing to stop somewhere), and you guys being the clear MAJORITY and all, it’s pretty clearly YOU AND YOUR PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN – FOR 4 DECADES AT LEAST – THE WORST BATCH OF NARROW-MINDED, GREEDHEADED, GUTLESS, SELF-CENTERED, GODDAMN CLUELESS MORONIC MILQUETOAST INDEPENDENT ASS-SUCKING COWARDS that the world ever had the bad luck to run into in a bar.

        Why would I say this? Well…. YOU’RE THE GODDAMN MAJORITY, JASON. Which means, you assholes could’ve organized things differently. Not hung back like cowards when the Republicans were doing evil shit, but gotten out there and opposed it. Or maybe gotten active, and helped drive the Democrats into some real innovative policies. But instead, the record shows that you’ve gone along with dozens of the most horrendous things in stupid silence, or worse, actively voted for them. Yup, it’s been you assholes…

        who allowed the fiasco in Vietnam to continue…
        who allowed Reagan to carve up the American economy…
        who allowed Bush to start his evil mass murdering wars…
        who cheered as Cheney tortured and gutted the Constitution…
        and you who sat, fat jaws open only wide enough to jam some more Cheetos (TM) in, as the independent media had their news desks hauled way and were replaced by retards beating each other with padded sticks….



        Seriously. Fuck you. You and your “silent majority” friends who’ve shown no moral backbone, no political vision, no economic commitment and no environmental imagination at all.

        Thanks a lot Jason, you worthless heap of chicken shit.

        P.S. Really sorry about the decline in civility, the simple-minded attraction to obscene language, and the use of ad hominem, but let’s face it… it was the gutless refusal of the silent majority to stand up for ANYTHING which permitted this sort of moral and intellectual devolution to take place.

        P.P.S. Please tell your friends in the majority to do something about health care, fix Afghanistan and straighten up Wall Street. Thanks.

        • clearthinker

          Now, now, quinn….

          You are just a Canadian… so stop acting like any of this affects you. Stop with the faux rage. Find a nice Canadian board where your insights will serve you better.

          When the US takes over your oil and water, then you have a pony in this race.

          Until then, be a good little boy and put on your parka.

          Now hush, little man.

          • quinn esq

            It’s so cute when a guy who just spent days defending sex with children talks to me in his Daddy voice.

            Unconscious much?

          • CVille Dem

            Dammit, Quinn! We must have been typing these at the same moment. You BIT! Rats! Oh, well, I don’t blame you.

            That Daddy Voice thing was creepy — at least he didn’t offer you any candy.

          • quinn esq

            Interesting that CT misses the point of the comment, and instead, just sees my name and kneejerks into his beloved “Patriot vs Foreigner” line of attack. Then – feeling comfortable about himself – he falls back into his “old man in a trenchcoat” routine.

            I don’t think he even recognizes what he’s doing, or how creepy it is.

            “Now hush, little man.”

            “Now hush, little man.”

            “Now hush, little man.”

        • Jason Everett Miller

          You really need to get some help, Q. I am not a part of the silent majority as my many words would indicate. I actually vote in primary elections, which also disqualifies me for that group.

          The rest of your screed is just more trolling nonsense that is better left in a toilet and followed by a mercy flush halfway though.

          Nothing of value could come from someone who constantly NEEDS ALL CAPS and long bolded passages with lots of exclamation points!!!!!

          • quinn esq

            Oh dear. I thought I’d catch a coupla fish with this one, but the author of the post himself? PLUS, Celerysticker? Too good.

            Gotta be embarrassing for you, though. Try harder.

          • mjshep


            Is it that I can’t spell or that I can’t type?

            I’m going with “type” as I have my thumb in a bandage right now.

          • quinn esq

            Thanks MJ. I quite liked it, myself – but it seems to have walked right past JEM. He loves kicking Democrats, refuses any ties to recent Republicans, then tells people they’re misreading him, that what he REALLY wants is… something else entirely. In short, Jason throws rocks at everyone, while standing up for… clouds.

            When accused of being a party of one (and thus being irrelevant) though, he panicked and created his whole “silent majority” schtick. Which meant he had people on his side, ones who think rightly about things, enormous numbers of them – while everyone who argued with him was therefore on the margins, with their minority, “extreme” ideas.

            So I thought I’d point out that if we take JEM’s words seriously, then HE has to own the behaviour of his beloved silent majority. That is, either he’s with ’em, or agin ’em. And since the silent majority have been silent through a lot of terrible things this past decade – war and tax cuts and constitutions for instance – I thought perhaps Jason might get pulled onto ground where he might make a stand.

            Silly me! Because what’s his reply? “I am not part of the silent majority.” And just that simply, he cuts them off. Which means – whether he knows it or not – that he’s left himself stranded back in his original position of being a party of ONE. A guy who ultimately can’t be taken seriously on anything, other than his desire to throw rocks at the Left, and then to whine about the tone and “ad hominem” attacks when people respond to the only thing that he solidly, unequivocably, 110%, supports.


            From “Leader of the Silent Majority” to “Lead Whiner in a Party of One.” How the mighty are fallen.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            More caricature and belittlement offered as erudite commentary. You fail to deliver on all three levels.

          • quinn esq

            Don’t be a whiner. You just cut the heart out of your own post, Jason. Either you agree with the silent majority, or know how to change them, or you’re just talking for you. The argument’s like chess, and you just sacrificed your Queen to save your ass.

            So now that you’ve made it clear you have nothing to do with the silent majority… your grand words are shown to be personal puffery – an attempt to make your opinions look more important than they really are.

            You don’t seem comfortable with that, but you have no comeback, so you react with your usual critique of the style of others – that “belittlement” business and all. It’s lame.

            Try harder.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I didn’t say I disagree with people I speak to on a regular basis who never participate in politics. I said I wasn’t one of them.

            You really should work on that reading comprehension if you are going to designate yourself the supreme prick of a thread.

            I would start by rereading the blog you are commenting on because you have quite obviously missed the point again.

          • quinn esq

            Really? You’re actually going to reply to the argument by claiming I have a reading comprehension problem? REALLY? How about trying this instead —

            – Think about who this silent majority of yours really are.
            – Where you agree with them, and disagree with them.
            – What they’ve done – and not done – that you find interesting.
            – Where they’ve changed or been mobilized in the past.

            You know… think. Instead of stating “I didn’t say I disagree” – which is just about as vague as it’s possible to be, see? Because it leaves you standing for/against… nothing. Clouds again.

          • quinn esq

            Ok, I reread the 1st one. So. You disliked Bill Clinton, because he was a Republican Lite. Naturally therefore, you’d want to become a Moderate Republican. Hello??

            Also interesting to see that you felt Obama was a bright and shining new Progressive kind of Democrat. Who has now gone and hired people like Summers and Gates, and shown True Fine Love to the financial mega-corps. Naturally therefore, you support him. Hello??


          • Jason Everett Miller

            Actually, I never thought Obama was a bright and shining new progressive. At least not in the liberal mold.

            I always thought he was honest and pragmatic and sought to bring the country together. He is a progressive like LBJ was a progressive.

          • quinn esq

            “Then came Barack Obama – a true progressive democrat who came out of no where to challenge the neolib coup that has been guiding the democratic party since 1992.”


          • Jason Everett Miller

            Progressive in the mold of LBJ. I still believe that, despite the left’s inability to understand how such progress is made.

          • SleepinJeezus

            Alas, dear quinn, you commit the sin here of trying to hold jason to account for what he said, not what he “meant.” Geez!

            And so go ahead and read through his blogs as he invites. But be careful out there. In reading the words offered, you’ll find plenty of opportunity to misinterpret what he meant – a condition I’m only too certain jason will be more than willing to point out to you if given a chance to explain why all of it all reads like so much nonsense.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Way to put your own failure to comprehend off on me. Plenty of readers at TPM understand my point precisely, so perhaps you might want to look a little closer to home to find out why you can’t seem to locate a clue.

      • Zipperupus

        Actually, it wasn’t a non sequitor. Read carefully and savor. But you insist on filtering data through your exclusive prism. You are a poor political scientist.

        Now, the reason your point fails (I did not misquote or misread) is that liberal values have been under attack by all sectors of American power for four decades. The left believes heinous shit about the right because it is true. The only places liberal values find a home is in escapist cinema and the courts. The judicial branch has been the only place for even a fig leaf of progressivism in this country. And even that is being diluted.

        So I still charge you with a false equivalence. And your insistence on a failed “messaging” is a desperate cling to Lakoff without comprehending his ideas in toto. Exactly how do liberal ideas get properly framed in a world where every aspect of our lives is under the sway of rightwing powers and values? Chiding liberal enclaves doesn’t address the big picture of the black iron prison and you know it. That is why you can agree with my ideas but ignore them or accuse them of being besides the point.

        The right believes the worst about the left because their culture, media, and government reinforces their belief. The left believes the worst about the right because their values are under 24/7 attack. And a “rebranding” won’t help. And letting pigs like David Fucking Brooks dictate reality won’t change the landscape.

        What is needed at bottom is education reform with an emphasis on critical thinking. Any idea you propose is against the tide of ignorance enculturated upon the masses. You will row against the current, borne back ceaselessly by the waves.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          Nice broad brush you are employing to say that everything the “left” believes about the “right” is true.

          My point is spot on while yours remains fuzzy at best.

          Stop arguing against things I never said and don’t believe. It will make future interactions go much smoother.

          • brewmn61

            “My point is spot on while yours remains fuzzy at best.”

            Your point is bollocks, douchebag. What a legend in your own mind you are.

            If your points are so “spot on,” (God, what pretension) why does nobody, left OR right, take you seriously?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Spot on with regards to the actual subject I was speaking of rather than the fuzzy diversion (We are all fucked by The Man! Wake up, people!) that was introduced.

            Given your commentary, I take you disagree that most of the acrimony we find in politics today is based on something other than fear. Why not offer a differing view rather than more insults?

            I can’t wait for the enlightening repartee you will provide to that question.

          • Zipperupus

            Is this a…

            Sandbox taunt?

            Sorry, your point has no mass. None. You are mistaking a social problem with an advertising problem. And stubborn insistence doesn’t replace reality.

            Politics in this country is beyond mere concerns of messaging and framing. You keep bringing this issue into your comfort zone, and that diminishes the debate.

            And you don’t discuss. You disparage. And that is rude. Goodbye.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I disparage and am unable to debate?

            Read carefully and savor. But you insist on filtering data through your exclusive prism. You are a poor political scientist.

            This is your standard tactic. Rather than disagreeing or offering a competing view, you belittle first and then make a point.

            Again, even if you don’t understand what I am saying or simply don’t agree, that doesn’t automatically diminish what I have said or make your opinion the gold standard.

            I critique our entire political playing field as being unable to see beyond their fear and you try to pigeonhole that into criticism of the left alone.

            Sorry, but you continue to you want others to act in ways you are unable or unwilling to emulate.

          • seashell

            You are a poor political scientist.

            Zip, I’ve been making that point about JEM since forever. Once I was trying to explain an aspect of the Goldwater/Buckley/Kirk school of thought and he told me I watch too much TV! We’ll see what I get this time for my efforts in explaining the silent majority below.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I am sure that is how the conversation went since you are known for your accuracy in accounting for the details of a given topic and failed to provide an actual link.

    • El Presidente

      “But I would regard these faults on the left as minimal in contrast with these same qualities exhibited by the right.”

      That’s because you’re on the left.

    • MiddleClassBill

      Eliminate them? What planet do you come from? The disatrous healthcare tour that the Democrats are running around in will help the public realize that all politicians are worthless.

        • MiddleClassBill

          Yes. That is exactly correct. Social Security has changed drastically from what it was originally intended to be. SS is now just whatever the politicians deem it to be.

          But either way I don’t understand Marquis’ comment about “eliminating” Republicans.

          • quinn esq

            I think he meant “eliminate” as in “large-scale mechanized killings.”

            That’d be my guess.

            Either that, or win a few more House seats.

            My gut sense though? The mechanized killing thing. That’s how he rolls.

          • Flying Spaghetti Monster

            Well, that isn’t such a bad idea, but I was thinking of taking another hundred house seats and 10 more senate seats away from them in the next election. I am looking to the day we can split the Democratic party between real Democrats and DINOs.

      • stillidealistic

        While I agree that most if not all politicians are worthless, I still find it interesting that the repubs were being given the last rites after the last election, and now there is talk of them regaining the House in 2010.

        The dems seem to have no idea what to do with power.
        The repubs, on the other hand, do. Perhaps the dems will continue to screw things up so badly we won’t notice when the repubs take over again. Republicrats, people. They are called republicrats. I don’t know why we waste our time caring.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          You hit on the underlying message of my blog that misreading the American voter can have huge consequences. This isn’t a new story, either, as your comment alludes to. The democratic party has been misreading America for decades.

          Bill Clinton was supposed to usher in the era of über liberalism as well, with his whopping 43% mandate, aw shucks grin and Boomer optimism, yet Gingrich and his Contract On [sic] America was elected a few short years later as the predictable backlash from a nation full of contrarians.

          I think you are right that what is building is an anti-incumbent movement more than a resurgence of identity politics. It may look business as usual right now, but that is only because we are still developing the lexicon.

          Thanks for dropping by!

          • SleepinJeezus

            Bill Clinton? Uber Liberalism?

            In one simple sentence that includes the above phrasing, you have done more all by yourself to discredit everything you have written about your understanding of “the Left” than has all the hundreds of rants you have attracted with your nonsense promoting triangulation and our need to somehow kowtow to a “silent majority.”

            I am indeed a member of the “Left Wing Fringe” as you have charged in the past if your point of reference is that the Clinton’s EVER represented anything remotely considered to be the Left Wing of their Party or of the political spectrum in general.

            But that doesn’t make me an extremist radical. It merely shows how bankrupt is your “middle ground” as an environment in which to grow ideas and promote any kind of change we can actually believe in. (NOTE: To suggest that the “Gingrich Revolution” was a counter-point to some kind of “radical Clintonism” gave me my best laugh of the day. No, jason, the “Gingrich Revolution” merely co-opted the Clinton initiatives, rightly placing them within the GOP roundhouse where they belonged and thus robbing the Dems of any kind of ideological footing whatsoever upon which to stand and legislate.)

            The entrepreneurial spirit in me would suggest you build your shrine to Clinton in the maquiladora as a fitting tribute to his liberal credentials. Just don’t drink the water.

            Meanwhile, enough of triangulating liberalism itself into your scheme to homogenize American political thought. It didn’t work for Clinton. And it ain’t going to work now.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You miss the irony, as usual.

            What I was implying is that liberals elected Bill Clinton thinking he would usher in some new era of liberalism after the disastrous Reagan years and he had to go hard right just to stay in office.

            Just because you don’t agree with or don’t understand my points doesn’t mean I am any less credible than any other armchair quarterback around here.

            That is your problem. You continue to mistake your opinions for reality.

          • SleepinJeezus

            Ummm…. Read what I wrote, not what you “meant.”

            You’ll find little irony to misunderstand here. I know of absolutely NOBODY who expected Clinton to usher in anything like a new liberalism. At best, there was a modicum of hope that he would stop the bleeding from the Reagan years and he failed miserably at that, leaving the door open for Gingrich and Co. to seize the initiative.

          • brewmn61

            “Just because you don’t agree with or don’t understand my points doesn’t mean I am any less credible than any other armchair quarterback around here.”

            True enough. The reason that you’re not credible is because you’re an idiot, and you continually say remarkably stupid shit that has no basis in any recognizable reality.

            “That is your problem. You continue to mistake your opinions for reality.”

            What the fuck? This wins the Dick Daily Award (sorry, dick) for most Un-Self Aware Comment Ever Posted on TPM. Nice job, jason. You’ve topped your own stupid, and I didn’t think that was even possible.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I state my opinions as opinions. That you read them as facts says much more about you than it does about me.

            That you continue to taunt and belittle and use foul language for no other purpose than to elicit a like response simply proves you are a troll.

          • Flying Spaghetti Monster

            Thanks for showing how little you understand what the progressives in America want. We opposed Clinton in the primaries. We voted for him only when considering the alternative. We were so disheartened by his actual policies that we formed 3rd parties. Clinton is a Republican. Keep that in mind. Democrats supported Simon that time around. When I talk of splitting the Democratic party between Democrats and DINOs, I intend to send the DLC (that includes Clinton and Obama) to the DINO party.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            In my perfect world, a Clinton-Obama ticket would have beat a Sanders-Kucinich ticket in the 2008 general election. Does that help narrow down where I would see this country head?

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Conservative mindsets in America will never be “eliminated” no matter how far down in popularity the republican party becomes.

      • Flying Spaghetti Monster

        With the vast undereducation of America, the “conservative” demagogues will have an audience for a very long time. Limbaugh and Beck have clearly demonstrated that. But, please don’t try to honor that with the term “mindset.” Where there is no mind, there is no mindset.

  • bluebell

    Jason is often under the impression that there has been something liberal about the Democratic Party is the last 20 years or so. What we really have are two failed parties and a bunch of people in both blaming the other side.

    I say we need a new party. I say we need a party willing to enact radical change as needed to benefit the people of this country not the people who own this country.

    The nuanced wonky incremental DLC type “centrist” “change” b.s. is a crumb from the table of the same folks on both sides whose only agenda is preserving the status quo.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      The blog wasn’t about any one political philosophy.

      It was about fear and our responses to fear and how that makes rational political debate damn near impossible today.

      I agree that neither party accurately represents the majority opinion of their constituents.

    • Red Planet


      Thanks. Well said. Bill Clinton was no liberal. He did a better job of governing than George I & II and the sainted Ronaldus Magnus, but a liberal he never was.

      He was/is a gifted politician, perhaps the best politician of his time. I can respect that.

      Some think his greatest failing was an office dalliance. I think his greatest failing was selling out liberal values for the sake of remaining in power, emboldening extremists on the right wing and weakening the chances that he would be succeeded by another administration that might be more liberal than his.

  • tmccarthy0

    Jason I will tell you one hilarious story and then back to my liberal self.. so in the year 2004 our daughter was 13, and she saw this commercial with a donkey and en elephant arguing with each other and she understood it was about D’s and R’s of course, I’ve been involved in politics here for eons, before she was born, so she is well versed at least I thought so until this: so she said to me in her oh so innocent way, mom isn’t it great that Dem’s are elephants and Repub’s are donkeys… I looked at her with big eyes, I said, oh sweetie it is the other way around. OMG, she looked at me and she said with a bit of anger: Why are they saying Democrats are the ass of the country! OMG, I laughed…
    I thought you might like this story…
    Hey this is the first time I’ve ever been to your blog!

    • Jason Everett Miller

      That is hilarious! Leave up to a child to understand the essential contradictions in our system of government.

      The donkey was originally meant as an insult. Andrew Jackson actually put it on his campaign posters after an accusation of being a jackass.

      Hope you stop by more often. I will be moving off this well-worn track of trying to figure out why we are all so touchy when it comes to discussing politics, so there should be better reading material ahead if this isn’t your sort of thing.

      My next piece will be on our burgeoning police state and how it can be seen in the death of a 14-year-old Florida boy who was tased on his bicycle.

      • igotmyreasons


        Nast invented another famous symbol—the Republican elephant. In a cartoon that appeared in Harper’s Weekly in 1874, Nast drew a donkey clothed in lion’s skin, scaring away all the animals at the zoo. One of those animals, the elephant, was labeled “The Republican Vote.” That’s all it took for the elephant to become associated with the Republican Party.

        So the original elephant was comically frightened by a false threat.

        And naturally the Republicans could relate and used the cowardly (and easily tricked) beast as ITS symbol.

        Looks like not much has changed. Well maybe the comical part…

  • mjshep

    with independents the fastest growing block of voters and basically split between the two major parties.

    As for “independents.” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. It certainly doesn’t mean in all cases halfway between Republican and Democrat, and is in no way a “bloc.”


    This is the reason Social Security and Medicare have withstood most assaults since they passed into law, even those reforms that tried to evolve the system into something more useful in our era of growing economic instability.

    I’m not sure that that is actually a sentence.


    I am working to see a more authentically conservative republican party (think Teddy rather than Ronnie) emerge over the coming years to face a more innovative democratic party (think FDR instead of Clinton) with both parties crafting solutions a majority of the country can support at the grassroots.

    If an

    • mjshep

      Somehow above was submitted before it was finished. To continue:

      If an “authentically conservative” party confronts an innovative progressive one, just how does a solution the “majority of the country can support at the grassroots” emerge? People disagre abbout stuff. This is what makes politics. Splitting the difference does not result in solutions in which both of these sides agree, any more than Solomon’s splitting the baby in two would have resulted in a solution upon which both women claiming to be the mother would agree.

      • rmrd0000

        “It behooves every man to remember that the work of the critic is of altogether secondary importance, and that, in the end, progress is accomplished by the man who does things.” – Teddy Roosevelt

        Has anyone seen JEM do anything but criticize? Does anyone know of any action JEM is taken? Is anyone aware of actual people JEM has mobilized?

        • Jason Everett Miller

          I will leave it up to others to answer this one, but I have done plenty off-line.

          That you consider this blog a critique of anything but our dysfunctional political system as a whole say much more about you than it does about me.

          It’s not always about you.

        • stillidealistic

          Few of us actually KNOW what others here are “doing.” All we REALLY know, unless we engage with someone in our earth-based life, rather than through the blogosphere, is what we “say” we do.

          If nothing else, Jason makes us think. In this forum, that is all that can be expected, and as far as I’m concerned, it is enough. We are all free to read each other, or not. If you think he is a phony, why bother to comment on his blog? If you get nothing from his observations, why waste time reading them?

          I am expanding my horizons by reading people who sometimes drive me insane. Sometimes they offer a nugget of wisdom I can add to my knowledge base. Sometimes, they make me so nuts it inspires me to fire off a post of my own. Either way, I’m glad they are here. It keeps this place from being an echo chamber, which would be not only boring, but against our best interests.

          • rmrd0000

            You apparently find things of value from JEM at the first reading. I find nothing solid. I ask questions to see if JEM actually imparts something that seems concrete to me.

            The idea that just be civil and not actually discuss issues as a means of developing a shift in political parties seems nonsensical. People come out to vote because of issues. One believes that more government can aid a situation, another believes that government intervention leads to disaster.

            If we don’t discuss our differences on what JEM calls “hot button” issues. what are we discussing?

            If we don’t ask if we support more troops in Afghanistan,for example, what is the point of the debate?

            Let’s say, we are all going to be civil. What political issues are the redirected political parties going to be addressing. What non “hot button” issues are up for discussion?

            I’m trying to figure out what JEM means. It is as clear as mud.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            “When did you stop beating your wife, asshole?” is an example of the questions you ask and somehow expect rational debate to follow.

            I am more than happy to discuss the issues, but not with people who can’t ask a simple question without telling me how much of an idiot I am first.

          • rmrd0000

            So my stating ……………You apparently find things of value from JEM at the first reading. I find nothing solid. I ask questions to see if JEM actually imparts something that seems concrete to me. …..Is equivalent to calling you a horse’s behind?

            You should note that I posed the question because the other person was finding value in what you said. I was trying to gain some understanding of your points from another person.

            For me, trying to communicate with you is often futile. I just don’t understand you or your theoretical movement and was directing a question to a person who seems to “get” what you’re saying.

            My post was all about me not understanding you. Your response speaks volumes about you.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I have tried multiple times in innumerable ways to explain myself to you and the end result is always an absolute caricature of my opinions.

            I try to answer your questions as they appear, but they are so shrouded by insults that I sometimes miss them.

            Perhaps if you want to understand where I am coming from you would speak to me as you would like to be spoken to.

          • stillidealistic

            Unless I missed a comment of yours up thread, or this is a continuation of a conversation in another thread, it appears that your first comment here was:

            Has anyone seen JEM do anything but criticize? Does anyone know of any action JEM is taken? Is anyone aware of actual people JEM has mobilized?

            How is that asking questions to see what he thinks or clarifying his muddy thinking?

            To me it sounds like an attempt to rally support for your opinion (based on?) that Jason is doing nothing in real life in support of what he says on this forum. Do we now need to present proof that we are following up on our words here, in the real world, in order to be taken seriously? I didn’t get that memo…

            Rational, intelligent people disagree with each other. I have no issue with that. What I do have an issue with is attempting to marginalize each other. Disagree with his opinion all you want, maybe you’ll convert him. But the questions you are asking? What’s the relevance?

          • rmrd0000

            Jason talks about reforming the GOP and comes to a mostly Liberal/Progressive site to do it. Interesting. I was just wondering where he was in his goal. If you note I began a post with a Teddy Roosevelt quote about criticism vs action. The quote appears in jason’s “Favorites” section. I was asking about actions taken because he says he is out to reform a party.

            There is also a statement in “Politics” suggesting that evolution will accomplish things faster than a revolution. The millennia between Ardi and Lucy might argue that evolution is a slow process. Revolutions tend to be quicker than evolution in human terms. Perhaps an evolutionary process will be very slow.

            Let me ask about a comment jason made about not wanting to deal with “hot button” political issues. If serious differences of opinion are not up for debate, what is the point of political parties?

            What is the moderate coalition being formed to accomplish? What are the political goals?

          • stillidealistic

            I don’t know how long you have been here, but Jason has been here longer than I have been (over a year), and was an Obama supporting indy when I arrived. I was an Obama supporting repub, at the time. I left the repub party and became a dem in protest to Sarah Palin being added to the repub ticket. Jason opted to join the repub party in an effort to moderate them from the inside out.

            Yes, this is primarily a liberal/progressive site. Jason is perhaps a little further right, but a progressive, as well. Thank God we are not all alike.

            During the time I have been here, I have made dramatic changes in my political beliefs. The changes have come as a result of listening, learning and discussing with people here. If I had been booted out because I was a conservative repub upon my arrival, it is likely those changes would have not occurred.

            So practice the tolerance our party purports to embrace. I am living proof that change can happen. Change can come by ramming it down people’s throats, or by incremental moves to the left. The blue dogs have proved that in order to ram it down people’s throats, we are going to need to replace them with more liberal dems, so until that happens, incremental changes are all we are going to get. Using a combination of moderating both the repubs and dems, we will get closer to where we want to be.

            I see no reason to believe this will ever be a far left country, any more than it will be a far right country. But I have hope that we will get it to being left of center, rather than right of center.

            Does that help clarify where I am coming from at all?

          • stillidealistic

            BTW, in your last response you pulled in things from places other than in this post. In the future, it would be helpful if you made note of that, rather than to appear to be talking about things that are not a part of the current discussion.

          • stillidealistic

            Well, I followed my own advice and went back to see if you were new, and discovered you have been here a lot longer than I have. And since I am unfamiliar with you, I understand you could be unfamiliar with both Jason and I.

            Hope the info I provided helped, and I’ll do a better job of keeping up with what you are thinking.

      • Jason Everett Miller

        Crafting solutions that most Americans can get behind despite our differences is how a healthy democracy should operate.

        Pitching between two competing ideologies every eight years or so is not working and is not sustainable.

        I think President Obama articulated the way such an environment might work in Audacity of Hope, but most liberals decided not to listen because it sounds too much like centrism.

        • rmrd0000

          You have said similar things before.

          Where are you organizing your silent majority? What are the core beliefs of your silent majority? What does your silent majority want politicians to do?

          • Jason Everett Miller

            It’s not my silent majority. It is the massive number of citizens who choose not to participate in most elections that make up that constituency on both sides of the aisle.

            We have no idea what they want politicians to do as they have never made their voices heard in any meaningful way.

            What we do know is that given Congress’s current approval ratings, much of the country doesn’t think they are being represented by our government’s actions.

        • rmrd0000

          JEM people simply disagree on many issues. Name a country in history that practices/practiced the form of politics you are imagining.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Since you have yet to accurately describe the types of politics I am talking about, I am not sure how to answer this to your satisfaction.

            Most modern democracies have better than 70% turnout for every election. So while that are disagreements, what emerges from the process is usually effective at satisfying most people.

            Name a single country as divided as ours that has survived.

          • rmrd0000

            I asked for a country that practiced the system you were proposing. I wasn’t asking for anything but your opinion.

            Based on turnout, Italian politics are to your liking?

  • thepeoplechoose

    I’m not afraid of the elephant.

    Never have been.

    And after having watched Obama mindfuck the elephant into performing the most ridiculous behavior I am even less so.

    Besides a jackass can go places and do things an elephant can only dream of.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Fair enough. There does seem to be an unhealthy tinge of fear; however, on behalf of many liberals when it comes to assessing the threat posed by the recently deposed GOP.

  • rmrd0000

    The great Centrist myth of the hardcore middle. Joe Lieberman is a Centrist who supports he War in Iraq. Chuck Hagel is Centrist who opposes the war in Iraq. Centrists may support abortion, or oppose a woman’s right to choose.

    For those in the center, there is often no middle ground.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Again, you miss that I am talking about a total realignment of both parties.

      The current center is too far right to be of any use toward making progress, though I would submit that someone like Hagel could have been pointed in some interesting directions despite his beliefs.

      All or nothing, hot button issues based on ideological purity rarely lead anywhere useful.

  • Zipperupus

    The modern independent is defined as having their center everywhere but their circumference nowhere. Since there is nothing to point at as a value, ideal, or agenda in relation to our nation’s Independents, they are everywhere and nowhere. Which allows the preacher pundit class to treat them as sacred.

    I leave it to the reader to apply this conception to this post. Tristam chases the Questing Beast, the elusive and ineffable concept disguised as tangible.

  • *

    I’m entering at the closing hours, but I think if Miss Sara follows thru with with what I believe to be the formation of a new, third political party, she’ll siphon off all those ticks and fleas infesting the republican party and perhaps they’ll get their act together and work with the democrats as a two party government keeping the crazies at bay wallowing in their own third party going nowhere. At the very least Palin will give both party’s shared political goals towards a working bipartisanship.

    • stillidealistic

      From your keyboard to God’s eyes…we can only hope.

      Although I wonder why I hope the dems stay in power. I guess that’s where the “stillidealistic” part comes in. Even though I know in my brain that they are all alike…I still have hope that the dems are, in their heart of hearts, the party of the people, and will eventually come to their senses and use their power for the good of the people rather than to line their coffers.

      I know. I’m a sap. But I hate being wrong, so I HAVE to hope.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I have to echo stilli. If such a thing came to pass, that would certainly make the job of moderate conservatives a heck of a lot easier.

      We would probably take all those seats that the liberals hate to be associated with as well, like the ones that Baucus and Lincoln are sitting in.

      Mitigating our fringe ideologues in the interests of trying to get something truly progressive accomplished seems a worthy goal to me.

  • Red Planet

    The Greatest Lie…

    The greatest lie our corporate politicians ever told is that the people want bipartisanship.

    We don’t. We vote for parties and individuals who seem to come close to sharing our values and our goals. We expect those whom we elect to enact and enforce legislation that reflects those values and goals.

    Caving to others who do not share our values – in other words, bipartisanship – is harmful, not helpful.

    We don’t want a bipartisan health care bill. We want one that provides high quality health care to every American and we don’t care who votes for it so long as it passes.

    We don’t want bipartisan financial reform. We want financial reform that busts up the “too big to fail” banks, jump-starts job creation in this country and improves the lives of hard-working families. We don’t care who votes for it as long as it happens.

    We don’t want bipartisan foreign policy. We want to stop sacrificing American lives to kill foreigners and drive poor people around the world into the arms of terrorist organizations. We really don’t care who votes for it as long as it happens.

    We don’t want bipartisan climate change legislation. We want to stop pumping poison into the air and do it now. We just want it to happen. Now.

    The list goes on.

    It really isn’t about bipartisanship. And it isn’t about partisanship, either. Focus on either one and it’s all politics, all the time. It’s about who’s going to win the next election instead of being about who’s going to be one of the 122 people who die today in America for lack of health care. It’s about who’s got enough votes for cloture instead of being about whether it’s worthwhile to spend trillions of off-budget dollars in foreign wars but refusing to add one dime to the deficit to save lives here at home.

    It’s about whether Democrats will remain in power or Republicans will surge back, instead of being about trying to leave a habitable Earth behind for our grandchildren and their children.

    We spend too much energy on the politics, too little on doing what needs to be done. If bipartisanship happens because there is agreement on principles across party lines, that’s super. We don’t agree on everything though, never will. That’s why bipartisanship is not a good in itself. That’s why democracies run by majority rule.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      If the majority ever starts voting in this country more than once every four years, I will call what we have government by majority rule.

  • moat

    I follow the idea that debates between adherents of “ideological” extremes are not conducive to agreeing to practical solutions to public problems. But there is something missing from your idea of political realignments. The opposition between different cultures is not just a product of rhetoric and perception. It is real.

    Different people in this country want very different norms and policies to take place. Now it might be the case that people work against their own interests in the choices they make. But they made those choices and that is the fundamental ground of our politics.

    There may be combination of policies that come from ideologically opposed progenitors that would be the best thing for “us” as participants within a commons. That is a different truth from the fact that there are people who want the commons to include and exclude what I don’t want excluded and included.

    It is a cultural war. I want the other side to lose.

    • dickday

      This is such an hilarious blog, with q and all but your comment really gets me. Or to me.

      Yes. I agree. And that is why many become disaffected after eight or nine months after a President comes into power.

      Part of it is our fault, in the sense that our expectations are so high.

      307 million people. 536 people who make law and 9 more who have to eventually sign onto it. Some of these bills that become law contain more words that the bible–both testaments.

      This is complicated stuff. And then all we see are those tendering bribes or threatening extortion–the damn lobbyists. I think I said before that if the dems are in 85% of the budget ends up in the hands of the oligarchy and if the repubs control its 98%.

      Like Young’s Helpless.

      • moat

        Your numbers show a certain relationship. I am a sucker for Young songs but the following should also be noted:

        What I have always liked about JEM’s stance is his insistence upon the importance of voting in the primaries. I agree with him that is where the lever of Archimedes has the best chance of multiplying force in our system.

        But I have seen for myself that is where the cultural war is also being fought.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I guess I reject the very premise of a continuing culture war as being conducive to anything resembling progress.

      If someone has to lose in order for me to win, the solutions haven’t been thought through properly in my estimation. I would be happy to see the 70- to 80-percent who choose not to participate in primary elections start showing up for a change.

      Whatever came out of that paradigm shift I would be happy to use as a new baseline and then decide if this country is the place I want to call home.

      • moat

        Your rejection of the premise that a war has to be fought makes sense. I would be the last to argue that such a bitter opposition between opposing sides makes for good politics.
        But the bitter opposition does exist. It is interwoven with the lives of the people who think they are defending what other people would eliminate.

        Your arguments touch upon many things that are true about our politics. You avoid one terrible thing. I stare at this terrible thing.

        Maybe you are correct and I am part of the problem. Maybe I am correct and you don’t see the problem.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          I don’t think you are part of the problem because you recognize a problem exists. I see in you someone who would work toward a common understanding, no matter how tough the road might seem.

  • seashell

    I am not a part of the silent majority as my many words would indicate. I actually vote in primary elections, which also disqualifies me for that group.

    Jason, the silent majority is not a block of disaffected citizens that have given up interest in voting because they are fed up over politics. By definition, all members of the silent majority are voters that wield their power through the ballot, rather than the noise activities like tea parties.

    Complaints of hypocrisy and political naiveté here at TPM ring hollow when they are accompanied by willful ignorance and patronizing speeches. Politically, it resembles the US moralizing on respecting human rights to China. I guarantee that not one single Chinese will be mobilized under that scenario.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      The silent majority are those who choose not to participate yet determine the tone and tenor of the nation. If one doesn’t show up to vote, they are by definition silent.

      It is reflected in the dismal approval ratings of Congress and the idea that most Americans don’t feel represented, hence leading to the apathy you cite as being illustrative of some unspecified phenomenon.

      As to the political naivete of the American left, I would say that is well documented by the decided lack of progress this country has made on a number of very important fronts for decades.

      • igotmyreasons

        No you don’t bash the left!

        That’s pretty much EVERYONE, right? All? LOL. As usual, no specifics.

        Should I just take a picture of my self windsurfing and get it over with? Liberals are unable to get things done? THAT is your “argument”??

  • igotmyreasons

    Your post is long on speculation and short on specifics. Another notable thing missing is this:


    Virtually the SAME advantage Dems now hold. Since the Senate is less liberal (because of Democrats, not Republicans) than the House, THAT is the reason things like (more liberal) health care reform is stalled.

    All the house versions have public options.

    To get the same balance of power in the Senate as during FDR, how precisely did we “misread” the electorate?

    Oh, but you are busy predicting the future. Well if we increased our power in the Senate, that would be MORE seats than FDR’s day wouldn’t it?

    The exodus has already happened. Your “call to action” is to bash liberals for engaging in “paranoid” politics? Got any examples?

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I have yet to “bash” a single liberal half as badly as you all bash conservatives.

      As to the idea that 1932 was the same make up, you fail to acknowledge that there were five fewer senators and they picked up 13 seats. There is nothing “virtually identical” to our current situation when looking to 1932.

      The closest parallel is 1992 and that didn’t work out too good for the democratic party the during the next midterm elections.

    • Obey

      Dunno Karl. There’s something fascinatingly boring about JEM. He’s a paradox of self-reference with a cardio-vascular system.

      “Lefties should stop doing whatever they’re doing because somehow it’s hurting America, and instead listen to JEM as he says ‘lefties should stop doing their thing and listen to JEM as he says ‘lefties should stop and listen to JEM saying ‘lefties should stop and listen to JEM”'”….

      Now the deep philosophical question is, Does this otherwise well-formed propositional formula have any content…? Discuss…

      • Karl the Marxist

        Well, granted, it is a great example of the “anything in, garbage out” principle. The JEM loop goes something like this:

        1. Some nonsense about the middle or partisanship without ever addressing the problems on the right.

        2. Completely ignore any input.

        3. Go to 1.

      • Jason Everett Miller

        Putting words in quotation marks implyies that is a remark I have made though I never have. It is simply another caricature of a much more nuanced point than you seem willing to accept.

        • Obey

          Don’t worry, Jason. I think people will ‘get’ the idea that it’s caricature. Whether or not it’s fair, they can decide for themselves.

          Like I’ve always said, when you talk actual policy substance, you’re great. But I don’t see the nuance in these repetitious posts and comments. They just strike me as vague insults veiled in vacuity. You’re welcome to do your process punditry, but at least try to be a bit more concrete, both in your arguments and in your proposals. Just my opinion.

          Have a good day.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            This post was not a repitition of anything and wouldn’t not have even been necessary if you guys didn’t start freaking out at every Tom, Dick and tea bag.

            I am not entirely sure why a bunch of supposed “liberals” think acting like a bunch of goons is acceptable behavior, but it wouldn’t be the first time a democratic majority shot itself in the foot.

            If you don’t want to read a blog of mine, you certainly don’t have to click on the link nor take the time to craft a comment that is essentially telling me to STFU. I have never done that on your posts and I don’t respond that way to other people’s post.

            Have a good day indeed.

          • Obey

            Look Jason – your post insinuates what you’re now saying more directly – i.e. we’re all a bunch of ‘goons’ ‘freaking out’ about (otherwise known as correctly representing and expressing concern) a group of people otherwise known as the Whole Republican Party, and we should STFU for some nebulous reason. Hence the motivation to react. Just to repeat, the sequence of events is
            1. you tell lefties to STFU
            2. Lefties take offence and tell you to STFU
            3. You claim you’re the victim and MUST SPEAK OUT.
            4. Go to (1)…

            Just say something constructive about policy, process, ANYTHING… please!

            This is just ridiculous and wasting everyone’s time. I refrained from commenting on your last few posts apart from your ‘goodbye’ blog. But you just don’t stop this drivel…

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I am saying that a small subset of TPM posters are goons. That they resemble in tone and tenor the very thing they have purported to fight against all these years.

            I added, that in this case and many others, you appear to join in their escapades when it comes to any thinking outside of a far left mindset.

            Once again, misrepresenting what I am saying and then disagreeing with something I never said is an intellectually dishonest way to debate these sorts of things.

          • igotmyreasons

            You shouldn’t STFU. You should have actual EXAMPLES of what you are talking about, and not make sweeping statements like “all political staTements become chest-beating” or however you put it…

            It’s meaningless, and there’s a reason Alan Grayson stands out so much.

            Beacause the Republicans are doing it WAY MORE than the Dems.

            I thought you guys despised moral relativism. Your post is a candy-flavored confection that seeks to erase all differences and claim (falsely) that it’s “all the same.”

            It isn’t even an original position, it’s what ALL the people on the right who behave badly (now including George Bush Senior) say about the left:

            “They are doing it toooo, look at Maddow and Olberman’

            There’s NO Glen Beck on the left, and this false equivilency argument (and YES, you HAVE made it before) is just silly.

            That you want to make it on a liberal site just shows how much you have invested in fighting. Claiming surprise when it isn’t embraced is even more (obviously) fake.

            Unless you want us to really believe you aren’t that bright. Which clearly isn’t the case.

            When I “mess with” conservatives I admit that is what I’m doing.

            You have some grandiose excuse for thinking you are “helping” us? While your party goes down the toilet (new poll came out, LESS people are self-identifying as Republicans than have in over 20 years now).

            Besides, so far the leadership HAS taken your advice (more or less) and teh result is getting steamrolled. Grayson has it right, sometimes you need to fight.

            You’re like the dude who can’t get laid who’s telling his friend to “dump her, you can do so much better.”

            Consider the source (we all do).

          • Jason Everett Miller

            There are hundreds of liberal Glen Becks all over the Internet. You are great example of the trend. How is that for a specific example of chest-beating idiocy?

          • igotmyreasons

            I’m flattered that you think I have as much influence as Glen Beck.

            So random bloggers who swear occasionally = Fox News.

            Good ARGUMENT!!

            New polls are in and MORE people are running from your party. Know why? Cuz of the tone and tenor of the right.

            If you can’t see a qualitative difference in scope and saturation I can’t help. Perhaps you’ll remember the people on the left (I wasn’t one of them) shamed for comparing Bush to Hitler (rightly so).

            Now major political pundits do so without shame, from the right.

            I guess in your world its all equal.

            Clean your own house before you come clean mine.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Go read what I have actually written over the last eighteen months and then perhaps we can discuss “my party” as well as what I think of their idiotic antics.

          • igotmyreasons

            I have read it. The problem is the equivalence, which you haven’t backed off of, have you?

            Th right is worse. You may not like admitting it, but if you are objective, you have to. I won’t hold my breath.