Will the Real Wizard of Oz Please Stand Up 90

David Brooks is one of those opinion writers who is hit or miss for me.  There have been recent columns when he really nails it, yet on so many others he crashed and burned miserably, caught in the contradictory tornado of the pseudo-conservative policy ideas that have polluted the republican party for much of its recent past.

Brooks’ latest effort dissects the myth of “conservative” talking heads controlling the republican party, showing just how shallow that  “control” truly is based on the last election cycle.  Though his column was pretty much a home-run with regards to timing and appropriateness given the story on the TPM frontpage, I still think he missed the essential dilemma for today’s republicans – a total leadership vacuum across all levels of the national and local party apparatus combined with declining voter involvement, giving the Limbots the ability to wave the biggest stick in the first place and position their crazy as the default message for the party.

When the republican caucus and far-right shock jocks offer endless objections rather than even mediocre solutions, the underlying strategy begins to look a lot like obstruction.

If both parties are perceived as unwilling to understand and work with their political opposites in a time of national crisis on a number of important fronts, I foresee an incumbent bloodbath of unprecedented proportions in the coming years.  Very few voters on either side of the political divide think their representatives have their best interests at heart if the polls can be trusted. Should the primary election numbers hold steady from last year, 2010 could be a very good year for Americans and very lousy one for professional politicians.  We The People appear to have had just about enough from both the democratic and republican parties, though for widely varied and diverse reasons that still fail to bring us together at the grassroots.

Absent a huge increase in voter participation over the coming years, though, I really don’t see the American paradigm changing any time soon.

President Obama is the first in a generation with the opportunity to be a truly transformative leader and help knit together our long-standing divisions.  His second book and the campaign he ran made clear his understanding of America’s foundational weakness.  I had high hopes going into his inauguration that we were witnessing the beginning of the end of partisan politics and the corrosive influence it has had on our common narrative. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am pessimistic now, but given the right’s inability to shout down their crazies or to offer real policy solutions and the left’s inability to simply ignore the far right or or offer real policy innovation, I can’t see any route forward that doesn’t go straight through a massive turnover in Congress.

If each party’s grassroots can clean house over the next few election cycles, we just might be able to build a Congress that truly reflects the much-maligned silent majority who has never bothered to vote except for one special Tuesday in November every four years.

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90 thoughts on “Will the Real Wizard of Oz Please Stand Up

  • Saladin

    Ha! I knew it. You couldn’t last a week. 🙂

    Brooks is just another armchair sociologist masquerading as a conservative.

    I think the real problem is that our capitalist system rewards the squeaky wheel. The more fantastical your pronouncements the more entertaining- and therefore profitable. It will only get worse, particularly since we are self selecting. In the old days we had national radio news, and then the networks. but today we can choose news outfits that fit our own politics (i read huffingtonpost, al jezera, TPM, etc. others only get their news from Robert Murdock- this creates different world views). To truly tone down the rancor we would need to bring the fairness doctrine back. (I am sure Loki has some thoughts on that).

    The other big issue is the gerrymandering that modern database technology has honed to science. According to the framers of the constitution the House of Representatives was supposed to function as sort of the nation’s id, lots of members with rapid turnover to fit the mood of the country. In today’s house of representatives most seats are solidly blue or solidly red. This encourages more of the extremism you so decry.

    Absent an existential threat, like a war or another Soviet Union, I don’t really see what will mitigate this. With a threat we are forced to bond together but as long as we continue along our Solipstic Jingoist we will continue to grow farther apart.

    I say we scrap the whole system and adopt a proportional representation parliamentary system with multiple parties (which nearly every other democracy in the world has). Let the birthers have a party, and the greens, the socialists, religious nutjubs, etc. At the very least it would be more honest, and far more entertaining.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      The reports of my death were vastly overrated, though I can understand why some would have thought my last blog was such an announcement.

      I agree that Brooks is an armchair sociologist, which perhaps explains why many of his recent columns have hit some chords with me as I have been engaged in much of the same imaginings of late.

      I am not surprised by your call to scrap the whole system, though I suspect it might be worse than what we have today, if that is possible. I think the reason we have such a piss-poor Congress is that they stopped leaving of their own accord and we never picked up the slack.

      Perhaps next year both parties can start rectifying that mistake.

      • Saladin

        You did not respond to either of my substantive points.

        1. Capitalist Media rewards crazies.
        2. Gerrrymandered congress encourages more crazies.

        Those are the root causes of the extremism you lament. I don’t really see it on the left but evidently you do. I would love to have some commies, or true treehuggers, in congress that compete with the Michele Bachman’s of the world in crazy.

        What Kucinich? Defazio? Barabara Lee? Not crazy enough! (ok Cynthia Mckenny was kinda close but shes’ gone now).

        • Jason Everett Miller

          Sorry, I missed the questions you offered.

          I suspect that the media will put anyone on TV, no matter how stupid or crazy. Absent politically-motivated crazy-people, they would probably do a sanitarium reality show, with Metallica providing the theme song. Crazy sells today, even if it isn’t all that good at prompting calls to action.

          As to gerrymandering, there has been a lot of that in recent years, but it only matters in the general election. Since the primary is where all the decisions are really made and that is party agnostic, it really comes down to incumbents facing challengers during the primary and redistricting won’t help them a bit with that task.

          I think we can solve this enormous mess with two very simple actions – vote in every single election, no matter how seemingly unimportant and turn off the TV.

          PS: I like myself too much to commit suicide. At best, the blog had a little self-immolation in support of a great cause, but I was wearing flame-resistant skivvies, so its all good.

        • PseudoCyAnts

          Saladin, at least Jason is looking for solutions, insrtead of playing dialectic BS.

          Captitalism is not the same as free-market, and the scarcity rationale is still a very powserful argument if presented properly, even allowing for use in many cable/sat situations too.

          Instead you Grayscale eith either/or?

        • PseudoCyAnts

          in re gerrymandered congressional districts; if we had simply followed R. Bork’s model. wee wouldn’t have therm anymore. kind odf scarey, huh? He $felt that redistricting shouldn’t be artful.

    • Saladin

      Jason, I reread your post. Sorry to be hard on you, your tone sounds very resigned.

      I guess I don’t see what the middle wants. I see both parties failing also, but the only solution I see with our current system is for the left to become more populist.

      What do you think the voters will say? Most incumbents have their reelections nailed down. There is no third party option. I only see the crazies getting louder.

      • Jason Everett Miller

        I think that populism is vastly overrated and can quickly lead to the same sort of nonsense we are seeing on the right, but only with a leftward tilt and crazy blue gleam in the eyes of the faithful. What we are continuing to witness, and what I am resigned to keep fighting, is partisan politics run amok.

        The answer is not a political one as much as it is an American one.

        We don’t have an identity as a country anymore. We are Red States or Blue States or liberals or conservatives or immigrants or native-born or whatever division is most appropriate to keeping us under control and frothing at the mouth. We divide ourselves with abandon and then wonder why it is so hard to design a society that works for everyone involved, most of the time.

        As long as incumbents only have to court twenty percent of the vote in order to win the primary, their general elections prospects will continue to look very bright.

    • *

      With reference to your comment on the Fairness Doctrine.

      What if a news media outlet decided to incorporate FD by posing a question to a liberal and conservative, both well versed in the subject. Of course, neither writer would have a clue what the other was writing so they would have to do their best to cover their base with facts to support their argument – kinda like a blind date.

      FD would be really helpful right now to hear both sides of an issue minus the bu11$hit.

  • wwstaebler

    Jason: imho, this is the best blog you have ever written. It’s thoughtful, balanced and looks for solutions that may not be at hand, but which are necessary to find.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Thanks so much for the kind words. I truly believe the solution is as simple as most Americans voting in every single election, no matter how mundane. We need to cultivate a national identity of participation over procrastination when it comes to voting.

      The hard part remains learning how to talk with each other at the grassroots when the only way we know how to discuss politics is via hot-button conversations that rarely ever solve a thing.

      I had an eye-opening experience at my brother’s house in Tennessee a few weeks back, talking health care reform with rank and file conservatives. We would have been fighting a few short years ago given the same set of circumstances, but instead had a relatively calm discussion that was informative on both sides.

      I never could have learned how to communicate by staying in my own moccasins.

  • LisB

    The Republican Party is unpopular because it’s more interested in pleasing Rush’s ghosts than actual people. The party is leaderless right now because nobody has the guts to step outside the rigid parameters enforced by the radio jocks and create a new party identity. The party is losing because it has adopted a radio entertainer’s niche-building strategy, while abandoning the politician’s coalition-building strategy.

    Great article, and an even greater post, Jason. It’s reassuring to me to know that the wing-nuts truly are a minority, and there are level-headed Republicans out there (like, um, you). Ever consider running for public office? Just curious. Because it seems to me you’ve been trying to do just what Brooks is saying no one has the guts to do: Create a new party identity.


    • Jason Everett Miller

      Thanks for the kind words, Lis. I continue to be convinced by interactions at the grassroots that my quixotic quest is not in vain, though some consider it vain and have been quick to say so.

      I have thought of running for council here in DC, but really don’t have the time right now and don’t want to deviate from my current professional path. The best I can do for the next decade is keep pushing from the bottom with all the words at my command and support candidates who offer innovative solutions to long-standing structural problems in this country.

      This was never going to be a single battle in which the war was won. Involved citizens will need to advance on a number of fronts over a number of years to achieve a sustainable victory, one that outlives the men and women who are fighting to secure it.

  • CVille Dem

    Jason, I’d like your opinion on this: The republicans seem to have as their only goal to obstruct anything out of this administration.

    The gleeful cheering over the announcement of Rio as the Olympics site (which I actually thought was a good decision BTW) was repugnant to me, and showed a malevolence that continues to rise since this president took office.

    What other explanation, except pettiness is there? And why should this pettiness be there except to push their financial backers, since they cannot do it by honorable means?

    Your party, after ruining our reputation in the world with the Cheney/Bush regime, continues to try to do it further by sabotaging the Obama administration — Honduras, Israel, Iran, et al.

    So, what are your ideas about this, Jason?

    • *

      I think the rest of the world can easily distinguish the fact the republicans are in dire need of some adult supervision. Instead of blaming Obama, I believe they’re curious why the Congress isn’t taking a more active role in keeping their members within the professional decorum of the office they represent.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      As stilli points out below, they aren’t really my party except that I want to defeat them soundly in the primaries over the coming years and that means speaking to their constituents.

      The Brooks article pretty much sums up my ideas on who is doing the hollering. I believe they will continue to holler for all they are worth right up until the time the microphone is taken away because their ratings have fallen or they can no longer get votes.

      Not sure if that answers the question or not. I still maintain that the democratic party missed a chance to build on disaffection at the grassroots by trying to design solutions that didn’t prompt predictable reactions from fiscally conservative Americans.

      Just because their is hypocrisy at the top, doesn’t mean the grassroots don’t have legitimate concerns with the proposed legislation. I have chronicled a few of my own over the last few months.

      I would love to see the democratic party emerge from this debate with a new understanding of how to sell progress to a country long mired in stagnation but skeptical of the government’s ability to do just about everything.

  • stillidealistic

    I feel the need to reiterate that Jason is a brand new republican, and voted for Obama last cycle. He only joined the republican party to try and change it, primarily by voting for moderate repubs in the primaries, not because he agreed with the fringe portion of the party.

    I would not under ANY circumstances call him a typical republican, nor do I see how we can blame him for what the party is now doing.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Thanks for the assist, stilli. My next mission is to convince moderate conservatives who went independent to rejoin the GOP while recruiting fiscally-moderate dems to defect.

      I would encourage far-left independents to rejoin the democratic party and push it further left as a counter to a newly centric right, but I doubt that would be time well spent. It seems I sacrificed communicating with them as soon as I joined the republican party.

      Not too big of a sacrifice now that I think about it. :O)

  • brewmn61

    “I would not under ANY circumstances call him a typical republican, nor do I see how we can blame him for what the party is now doing.”

    I don’t. What I blame him for is his constant insistence that there is a one-to-one equivalence between the parties in terms of their obstruction of “policy innovation” that actually benefits the average American. If one maintains that equivalence with a straight face, they are simply too blinded by (in Jason’s case,perhaps, totally idiosyncratic) ideology to be taken seriously.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I find very little that is innovative with regards to the public option being offered by the democratic party nor in the general way they have governed since taking charge. That is not ideological. That is factual. Their single biggest solution to everything is more government.

      What happened to smarter government?

      I could have sold health care reform to liberals and conservatives alike by focusing on solutions over orthodoxy. By examining our entire health care system and finding places where it could be fixed without massive amounts of new cash needing to be spent. Places we could combine public programs into a single public option that would get much more mileage for budget.

      Innovation doesn’t consist of offering the same stale strategic choices of More Government Good, Private Sector Bad.

      • SleepinJeezus

        Your characterization of the reformists position being “More Government Good, Private Sector Bad” is incredibly disingenuous. There are plenty of advocacy groups (California Nurses Association being one) who have studied this issue for years and who have developed and promote a comprehensive solution for the reform of health care that leads to universal health care.

        Bill Moyers has also done an incredible job of offering a forum in which advocates have taken apart the system in clearly understandable ways with suggestions how it might be fixed in affordable fashion. The impact of such things as “fee for service” have been explored, as well as many other structural problems we presently have in our system that need to be fixed so we can gain efficiencies.

        But your response is definitely what I have come to expect from you and the health insurance industry. Your comments in fact could have been cut-and-pasted right out of the Insurance Lobbyists playbook. They are, after all, the ones who are expressly in favor of health care reform, but work hard and spend plenty of our health care dollars fighting against THIS health care reform – naming any excuse they can come up with to maintain the status quo.

        Well done, jason. Check’s in the mail.

          • SleepinJeezus

            Another non sequiter from a sock puppet? I guess that works when logic fails you.

            Your blathering platitudes are really quite cute. But your failure to rise to the challenge of explaining how they might work in the real world is really the sign of immature reasoning, at best, or of disruptive diversion at worst. You are awfully long on critique, but pretty short on solutions – except as so conveniently offered “after the fact.”

            Your participation in the health care reform debate is an excellent case in point. Lots of ideas on how the Dems should have done things differently, but not so much advocacy on your part. It’s a pretty safe position to be in.

            Where you really jumped the shark, however, is in your most recent opposition to the inclusion of the public option despite the fact that this was credibly shown to be supported by nearly 60% of the American public. Given your past insistence that you speak for the majority that is never heard in Washington, it was extremely telling that when confronted with the facts of this support you scrambled to arrive at an extremely disingenuous argument to deprive the majority of what they want from their legislative process.

            The health insurance lobby thanks you for your service.

            The rest of us are capable of seeing fraud for what it is.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You offer insults and caricature instead of actual dialogue and I am the one being intractable?

            I have answered your questions many times, in innumerable ways, and you have yet to actually believe a word I say.

            Why should I continue beyond whatever initial response seems most appropriate to the non sequiter you introduced to the conversation?

          • SleepinJeezus

            Your initial complaint was that the left has presented no ideas on how to truly reform the health care system; how to gain efficiencies that would allow us to move toward universal health care without breaking the bank.

            I provided a couple very specific examples that show the left has INDEED worked out many substantial ways that would put us on the road to sustainable, universal health care.

            Your response? Dismiss the ones who have done the trequired heavy lifting as “glitteratti” so you can continue making your asinine assertion that only jem and his “centrist ghosts” have the answers. (Just when is the seance that will provide the glorious days of enlightenment, after all? Will it be open to the public?)

            You are a fool, jason, and despite your lofty platitudes and your protestations, you very effectively advocate for the status quo in more ways than anyone I read here on the pages of TPM.

            And I suspect your insurance industry clients are pleased with that outcome.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            You provided examples of pundits, not actual policies, that mostly advocate for a brand new public plan that will one day lead to single payer. That is a liberal panacea that very few other countries in the world have emulated.

            The rest of your comment is more partisan nonsense that has zero to do with my oft-stated policy positions while offering caricatures and insults instead of reasoned debate.

            You continue to prove that you are the only fool around these parts, so I am officially done responding to you on this blog as I am sure you have nothing new to offer, ad naseum.

          • OldenGoldenDecoy

            Hey Hey … SJ . . .

            With a shadow of a doubt my vote goes to “disruptive diversion” . . .

            Good call.


          • SleepinJeezus

            California Nurses Association would be interested in learning they are a “bunch of pundits.” And what an incredible assertion it is to dismiss Wendell Potter and all the informative guests from the health care industry on Bill Moyers Journal as mere pundits? A simple Google search would show an overwhelming number of such “pundits” with real ideas about reforming health care. And guess what? Virtually all talk about a public option (at least!) as the first step to be taken to get us away from the insanity that is our present health care system. And poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans understand the common sense principles that guide such an approach.

            But not jason, the keeper of the silent ghosts who supposedly populate the political middle. Nah, he decides to dig his hole just a little bit deeper – although he most certainly DOES have some totally awesome platitudes and blather!

            OG, were you referencing a sock puppet’s kind of “disruptive diversion” when a denial might be more in order? I think you may be right.

            Hey, jason. The check’s in the mail. Your insurance industry clients thank you from the bottom of their … ummm…. whatever.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            This blog wasn’t about health care and none of the people you cite are currently in charge of the democratic party or the legislation currently being debated in Congress.

            I have nothing but respect for Moyers and have said so a number of times. I find Potter’s sudden finding of the light to be a bit self-serving, but as long as the truth gets out there, I have not problem with him offering his take on things.

            None of them are the sole keepers of Health Care Reform Nirvana, though I doubt any would present themselves as such. You continue to offer arguments against opinions I have never offered, using single words pulled out of context to make your point.

            There’s that context word again. So important to having reasonable and rational discussions.

  • *

    Brooks is on a hit-n-miss mission – he’s hits the subject, but misses the solution. Yeah, the republicans are leaderless atm. And yeah, the talking heads are the main attraction, kinda like a puppet show for pre-schoolers. But he misses the mark by avoiding what is making republicans number ten GI (go ask a vietnam vet if you don’t understand).

    If he really cares about republicanism, then he should be shaping what the Party represents and who within the Party meets those requirements. So as long as no one is willing to take a stand, the Party flounders and the talking heads are running the show.

    Here’s a few items of interest he should be addressing:

    *First, he needs to admit republican didn’t hold the line on federal spending – they took a surplus and turned it into a huge deficit.
    *Second, the cost of both wars were never budgeted and added to the deficit – yet they demand health care be and not increase the deficit.
    *Third, they should be ashamed of their behavior because when they had control of Congress, they did everything possible to exclude democrats from participating in the legislative process – whereas the democrats are allowing them to participate.

    The first step to recovery is to admit to their mistakes and take actions to rectify the damage they caused. By pretending everything is normal will just make matters worst and deepen the division. The anger their base is expressing needs to be soothed within their Party by someone. The question is who is that someone? SO until that person is discovered or identified, the talking heads runs the show and gives the overly eager pre-schooler mentality base all the reasons they need to get their anger up and attack liberals for whatever the raison du jour.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Thanks for a comment with a lot of food for thought. Raison du jour was an especially nice touch.

      I agree with your suggestions for someone who is Brooks position of influence. If he is truly serious about changing the dialogue and the expectations on the right, he would be wise to follow the script you laid out. It is very similar to one I have been following myself, absent the quest for new leadership.

      I think it is a little early to look for new leadership. First expectations must change, then leaders will emerge to fill those redefined needs. I suspect those leaders have been there all along, but 80% of the country decides to skip the primary election in favor of the general during midterms. 60% then skip the general election as well.

      We should call it the secondary election instead and give it the weight it deserves in the process.

      • *

        But the longer the Party remains leaderless, the harder it will be to pry the base out of their self-induced bunker mentality. For example(and I’m serious when I say example), Germany in the early 1930’s was caught up in a whirlwind of propaganda adroitly manipulated by the Nazi Party. The whirlwind caught up everyone’s sense patriotism to the country. Still there were some who saw where it was leading, but did nothing because they assumed within a few years it would die down and everything would be normal again and saner people would be back in control. It didn’t happen. By the time people realized where they were going, it was too late to turn back.

        I can see the same thing happening with the republican base if no one assumes command of the leadership role of the Party – the talking heads will be setting the agenda and fighting anyone who tries to assume the leadership role.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          It wasn’t a single fringe minority in Germany, though, but rather the whole damn country been squeezed half to death by the Treaty at Versailles.

          I can think of very few historical examples that dove-tail precisely with what is going on right now in American politics.

          I suspect that Zipper is on the right track in that what we are seeing is a generational shift that may take a decade or more to play out.

  • thepeoplechoose

    The one thing that I least understand is why the republican party is apparently so influenced by those members who hold extreme views.

    Nor do I understand why the party flat out rejects any notion of cooperatively seeking goals which are common to all Americans.

    And why do republicans repeatedly present arguments that are so demonstrably opposed to facts?

    How can republican representatives and senators continue to present arguments which oppose facts and not grasp how foolish it makes them look and worsens their position from the standpoint of a public who is growing increasingly aware of what is going on?

    Most attempts by Obama to engage republicans has been rejected. And in some cases they seem to have strung him along and then said screw you. Is what we are observing driven by the far right or is there a general underlying theme at work here? And what might that theme be?

    One more thing of note is Bush didn’t attempt to engage democrats. Especially not in his first term.

    I see no logic and no useful purpose to how republicans are conducting themselves.

    I see a twisted logic and a purpose which is contrary to the common interests of the citizens of this nation. And to a lesser degree I see the same from blue dog dems.

    • *

      I see the same problem with just who exactly do the republicans serve. I understand the conservative process and can see their point. However, there are times when spending takes precedent over saving. More important, one needs to know when to save and when to spend.

      The current meme of the republicans is to slash any and all spending regardless of reason. Well, there are times where saving a dime is considered to be thrifty, then there are times where it’s considered to be cheap. Thrift gives you the most bang for the buck, whereas cheap is where you get what you pay for. The amount of republican shouting about keeping everything within budget and not raising taxes is cheap talk. Whereas Obama providing stimulus money to spur the economy is thrift talk.

      In short conservatism isn’t about not spending…it’s about spending wisely to get the most for the least amount. So until they start talking like they know what they’re talking about, there’s no point in listening. It’s all cheap talk.

      And the democrats on the other hand, have no idea what they’re suppose to do with the mandate they just won. It reminds me of the movie The Candidate where the character, Bill McKay, played by Robert Redford, after winning the Senate election asks his political election specialist, Marvin Lucas, What do we do now?

      • thepeoplechoose

        The currrent situation would not even be at issue had we not gotten into a bind by abandoning a well considered regulatory scheme that served us fine for over half a century. To add to those changes, the regulations that were left didn’t do a bit of good when the agencies which supposedly were the watchdogs closed their eyes and ears to anyone and everyone who raised concerns over the direction things were going.

        Most all of this occurred at the behest of those very institutions which lobbied hard for the changes and then proceeded to lay waste to the nations finances.

        It couldn’t be more clear that we need to revert back to our previous regulatory scheme. The nation foolishly trusted Wall Street to conduct itself in a way that was sustainable over the long term.

        You just can’t hand over trillions of dollars, hand over complete control of those dollars and not have some very stringent controls in place. Or if you do, part of that control has to be very certain, very swift, no questions asked severe penalties for screwing up. It has to be that way when you make a bet that potentially places the entire country at risk. Assurances from the people who you have given this immense trust aren’t good enough.

        Lastly, you just cannot dismiss the fact that it took LESS THAN A DECADE for the ill advised regulatory changes to end in disaster. It is beyond stupid not to acknowledge, that in retrospect, it was a very bad idea. Congress has yet to accept this and even consider the idea that they screwed up big time.

        • *

          You’re preachin’ to the choir. I’m not too surprised Obama is going out of his way to avoid bringing Glass-Steagall back – he’s trying very hard to give his chorusline all the rope they need to rig up a new set of rules for Wall Street to follow. However, in the end, he may not have any choice but the breath new life into the bill – especially seeing how Wall Street is profitable once again without lending a penny to the public whose money they used to keep them on life support. He can’t depend on the republicans to help with creating new legislation and he may use up the remaining political capital on forcing the democrats to re-enact Glass-Steagall, but it must be done.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I don’t think we will see a change in Washington until well after it takes place everywhere else.
      The best I think we will see is a steadily shifting tone and tenor over the next few election cycles as the grassroots changes their expectations via a number of ways.

      I think Obama’s example of reconciliation, as well as that of the “Blue Dogs” in Congress looking for compromise, will actually pay off for the democratic party in the long run. The country is not super-duper liberal, though I believe we have always been generally progressive as a people.

      It’s time to make progress again and it starts by killing hyper-partisan politics at the grassroots by way of a renewed commitment to We The People instead My Damned Party.

    • theCleverBulldog

      The dems under Pelosi opposed every initiative Bush offered. What was their response to the private accounts in SS ? Did they have any alternative? NO. But that was OK, but if Republicans don’t want socialized government controlled medicine, that’s bad and they should compromise. BULL. The gov’t screws up everything it touches, because there are no market forces to correct it. Insurance is messed up because the gov’t prohibits interstate operation and kills competition.

      Many of the euro countries that have socialized medicine can afford to do so only because we subsidize them. We spend billions defending them. We spend billions doing medical research. We pay the cost of selling drugs to them at a discount. Without us they would collapse.

      • thepeoplechoose

        Its a good thing Pelosi and company didn’t bite on the SS privatization scheme offered by Bush. Had that happened imagine the fix we’d be in.

        As for interstate operations. We did that for banks and look what that got us. No thanks.

        Healthcare is different in a more significant way. We are priced out of the global job market because the national cost of healthcare is double any other industrialized nation. That holds true for the cost of other services as well. All across the board we place profits first but don’t pay much mind to how it influences our competitiveness. Businesses need Internet in this day and age. And again our cost for that exceeds our global market competitors costs and the grade of service provided doesn’t even fall in the top ten ranking.

        Our entire system has us at a disadvantage. From executive compensation, to healthcare, to ridiculous expenditures for marketing, a crazy quilt of energy provisioning etc etc. I live in a two family unit that not long ago was $250 for monthly heat and light. That is $700 now. Not to mention these things all contribute to a need for higher wage levels so people can actually sustain themselves in this economy. Every bit of this is driven by profits. Something has to give if we ever think we’ll bring good jobs back.

  • OldenGoldenDecoy

    Uhhhh . . .


    I think the following links to the same PollingReport.com site offers a more representative look at the numbers:

    Congress: Republicans

    Congress: Democrats

    In reality, in light of the nature of both the Senate and the House seats being rated more on the local voters opinion of their respective individual representative, a national poll is not a best representation of the job performance of a given individual rep. Again, the local voters decide that.

    And from the same PollingReport.com site what really counts is the outlook for:

    Election 2010 http://www.pollingreport.com/2010.htm

    And even that is truly not indicative of the local polls for each member’s standing in their own home district.

    Now: If the elected representative’s from the party-of-no wish NOT to deal on any issues because they’re worried what a bunch of shock-jock-radio dorks are going to say, well then that just goes to show the rest of the country how much intestinal fortitude those wimps lack. Wimp-ass politicians at that. And, if they keep using the worn out fear and the-sky-is-falling angles, they’re done.

    Just my two cents . . .


    • Jason Everett Miller

      When there is only 20% turnout for primary elections, the local voters aren’t doing anything but stay home.

      The national numbers are instructive as to what a possible increase in primary participation would mean to overall structure of government.

      I happen to think it would mean massive turnover and a more representative Congress.

  • coipac.org

    I agree with your premise and in fact have been organizing a new PAC, Citizens Opposing Incumbency see: http://www.coipac.org

    Our goal is to actually organize Grass roots Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, Apathetic and “Can’t be bothered to think about voting” Voters. Obviously a big job, but in today’s political climate ex party faithful like I are ready to abandon the old school of thought, “At least he’s/she’s a XXX”.. We are hopeful the disenfranchised, disengaged and disgusted voters will join us and Fire the Congress one election at a time, forcing term limits at the ballot box, which is the only place we can hope for it to be accomplished.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Nice. Thanks for the link. I will certainly check the organizations out.

      You get the point of this blog perfectly. Absent massive changes at the top, the conversation at the bottom will continue to be polluted by self-serving spin meant to emasculate truth rather than embolden it.

      We do need to fire Congress one primary election at a time. I think we should start calling the general election the secondary election instead. That would give it the relative weight it deserves.

    • OldenGoldenDecoy

      Talking about … your wizard of oz…

      Who is it that’s behind the curtain of this coi.org?

      Jeffrey S. Monks-Station Owner of Monksmedia in Noblesville, Indiana (bio Monkmedia site)

      He’s also part of the Monksmedia internet radio team called “Conservative Rangers” with co-host Sean Cole, and guest host; political columnist and satirist, Jerry Burk who strive to renew their country’s conservative roots and values.

      Here’s a taste of Jerry Burk’s blog:

      “Now to make nationalized healthcare otherwise known as ObamaCare distasteful even to liberals. Imagine ObamaCare as a “single decider” system where the decider will not be the Mensch in the mirror or even his doctor. Instead, it could be someone like George “Dubya” Bush, or worse yet, Darth Vader’s brother, Dick Cheney. Liberals, do you want either of them deciding your healthcare? Well, neither do I.

      Finally, if Obama does succeed, the inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness will eventually be replaced with iffy healthcare, a spreading the wealth nightmare and a civilian national defense force scare.”


      Now there’s some real sensible thoughts for ya’… “…a civilian national defense force scare.”

      Fear and loathing in Noblesville, Indiana?

      The “coi organization” concept is a crock of right wing clap-trap crap to lure more unsuspecting folks into dumping their dough into the Monksmedia Paypal account.

      Wanna buy some snake-oil?


          • Jon Wisby

            I live in Indiana, you do the research. From what I’ve seen about this organization and those affiliated with it, the assumption that this is a cash cow for some otherwise distasteful operations is not a great leap. Send them your money, they’ll not be seeing any of mine.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            The comment the man made as well as the quote Howard provided doesn’t scream ideologue to me, but perhaps you have a different definition than I do.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I guess one can always locate what they expected to find going in.

            I will go with the link he actually provided as it was in keeping with the topic of this blog and is a mission I have long supported through my own devices.

            I listened to the broadcast that was on the COI site and nothing in there was partisan in nature.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Calling for better representation by way of increased primary participation and tossing incumbents out of office is hardly anarchy in my book. Sounds like a great idea, in fact.

          • Jon Wisby

            Send them loads of cash and your email address list if you are so gung ho. I was linked to a birther/anarchist site from the link provided by coipac on his bio page here on TPM.

            You are the one not seeing what you don’t want to see.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Sorry, but I don’t share the same paranoia about fringe right beliefs and know that embedded ads are rarely determined by the site’s owners.

          • Jon Wisby

            Jason, did you even go to monk’smedia site they are clearly affiliated with coipac and momma-e’s rebels is not an advert it is an affiliate as well.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Yes, I went to the Monk’s Media site and the COIPAC site. They appear only tangentially related given the actual mission of both organizations.

            At any rate, I don’t really care one way or the other. You are looking to paint conspiracies that don’t really exist between an indy radio show, a non-profit advocacy oganization and the KKK.

            The ghost you chase are a little too esoteric for my tastes.

          • Jon Wisby

            You are a complete moron and truly naive, changing your arguments, as you plunder along, trying to defeat my assertion that there is a very good chance that these people are not who they say they are.
            You got burned with your holier than thou attitude about anonymity and in the process letting your family feel as if they were in danger. Pay attention to caution signs, instead of ignoring them for the sake of argument these people could be very dangerous. Think about your family first this time jason.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I am not going to bother responding to paranoia masquerading as concerned condescension beyond the following.

            I do not insult people who comment on my blog’s topic, no matter what their larger political ideas encompass, so I think you and Howard are out of order for offering non sequiters based on Nancy Drew investigative techniques and massive amounts of baseless conjecture. All hail the mighty Google!

            It was a wacky liberal who caused the trouble you allude to, so I am not sure what supposed threat I should be worried about this time from someone who identifies as conservative. I don’t treat people like children, so I feel quite safe discussing politics at this site with people who post both anonoymously and as themselves.

            I think you protest too much (and way too loudly and broadly) to be truly objective about anything relating to conservatives in America. You routinely dismiss all of my opinions and then have the temerity to lecture me about the safety of my family?

            I would comment on the size of the cajones it takes to say something like that, but then you would accuse me of being a misogynist.

          • Jon Wisby

            Just got off the phone with a close friend with family in the Noblesville area. Jeff Monks is coipac, Jeff Monks is Monksmedia and Jeff Monks is highly involved with the birther/teabagger movement. As for insults jason, I call them like I see them. If you are insulted, I don’t care. My purpose in continuing this discussion has little to do with you. It was necessary to have a record of both sides of coipac, let others judge for themselves. I will leave you with this,

            He that sleeps with Dogs, must rise with Fleas. If you keep Company with base and unworthy Fellows, you will get some Ill by them.
            [1721 J. Kelly Scottish Proverbs 129]

          • coipac.org

            Since you are choosing to characterize me, I guess that means I should reply. I am new to the TPM and did not see any replies to my post until now. Needless to say, I am shocked with the creativity.

            Firstly, I am Jeff Monks. I live in Noblesville, IN. I own Monksmedia, an internet radio station that earns no money. If however you want to advertise, let me know: We do have great programming. That brings me to my next point. Monksmedia has always encouraged and defended free speech. Don’t take my word for it. Since you dug through the website to find Ranger Jerry’s blog to try to characterize us, look at the TV News Lies broadcast page as well, also produced by Monksmedia at no cost to the show host. I doubt you can find a way to throw him into the Teabagger movement or Bush Lovers (a term I have noticed is used far too frequently). Consider also that the “Conservative Rangers”, at my request have been joined by the “Liberal Rebels” who are led by Momma E, a long time party faithful Democrat. We welcomed her to the program because we are not a right/left, democrat/republican nation. And she and many formerly labeled Democrats or Liberals agree on much of what I do: We need more limited Government who works for us and does not Rule Over Us. Hardly revolutionary-it is common sense patriotism.

            Too often and TOO QUICKLY folks try to categorize others. We need to stop this as Americans or we will never cure the ills of our government. Now that brings me to COIPAC.ORG which I have formed and hope to grow into a national GRASS ROOTS organization.

            I am not Closely associated with any of the movements you accuse me of… I am however associated with all movements. Why? Because I have decided to ignore labels and try to work, collectively, with folks of all opinions to do 1 single thing: End the obscene incumbency terms Congress continues to grab: To a great measure because of the type of pick a side and fight you have exhibited here. Apparently you have become so suspect that you find it impossible someone just really wants to help effect real change for the benefit of our country. sad~

            As for the Noblesville comment, let me inform you that Noblesville is a very friendly community. I grew up in Cook County Illinois and I must say to dredge up 100 year old history against a nice city is really bad form. If you want to accuse me of being a racist because I live in Noblesville, have at it my friend and while you are at it accuse me of being a wife beater a bank robber and a pedophile because the net result is the same. Infuse that into a civil discussion and the discussion is lost on ignorant ears. I reject your insinuation and find it repulsive. Perhaps you should research everywhere you have lived and see what used to happen there.

            For those who do not know what this reference is about, the author referred to Noblesville’s past “connection” to KK activities. As read from Wikipedia:
            Past KKK activity

            In 1995, a large trunk was discovered in an abandoned barn. The trunk contained over 1,000 membership cards and dues receipts revealing the names of citizens of the local chapter of the Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as hoods, sashes and other equipment, according to Allen Safianow, professor of history at Indiana University’s Kokomo campus.[1]

            In the lead article in the June issue of the Indiana Magazine of History, Safianow describes in detail the effects of the discovery. They ranged from calls for public disclosure of the names to comments that the finder of the trunk, a local building contractor named Don Roberts, should have burned its contents and kept his discovery secret. Instead, Roberts donated all of the Klan materials to the Hamilton County Historical Society, where they are preserved as a valuable resource for those seeking a better understanding of the Klan’s operations in Indiana.

            “You can’t burn history,” Roberts said later in explaining his decision. “That’s what is wrong today. Too many people are trying to bury history, and history is history. You may have liked to change it, but it’s gone, it’s behind us.”

            Despite the strong KKK presence in Noblesville from the 1910s through 1930s, the Noblesville courthouse was the site of the 1925 trial of Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon D. C. Stephenson, leader of the Indiana Klan, who kidnapped and raped an Indianapolis Statehouse secretary. He was found guilty and given the maximum prison sentence. Upon realizing his political allies would not come to his aid, he started revealing everyone’s dirty laundry. The scandal resulted in the indictment of many Indiana politicians, including Governor Ed Jackson.[2]

            Seems to me modern day Noblesville is not a KKK City, but a City whose residents have preserved the ugly history hoping to never repeat it. Further to that, as the last paragraph reveals, the KKK Leader and the corrupt ones were thrown out, including the Governor! Hardly the type of outcome worthy of evil insinuations.

            If you wish to define my positions, beliefs or motives it is bad form to make it up, just ask me what you want to know. If it is none of your business, I will tell you that: Otherwise you will get your answers. I am after all a regular guy. Aren’t you?

            You can also find me on facebook, twitter, myspace, linked in, etc., and you will find I am a guy who works a job and tries to make a living for his family. I am a regular guy who has become friends with liberals, conservative, and “in betweeners”. I am associated as a person with the republican, democrat, libertarian, and independent groups… why? Because we are not that different.

            So, please: Do not characterize me as an ideologue because I am not. My goal is and has been to make more people aware that we all agree on 90%+ of all “things” but for too long we have allowed the “Man behind the curtain” to engage us in fighting continually about the 10% or so of “things” that will probably never be solved. Perhaps that man behind the curtain has bamboozled some more than others. I no longer accept his battles as mine, and I believe if enough of us realize we are more the same than different we might be able to pull the power held in Washington away form them and return it to the people where it was intended to reside. So I have formed COI (Citizens Opposing Incumbency) to try to organize CITIZENS to end the self perpetuation of career politicians. My mission: 2 terms and up to higher office or 2 terms and out of office. Pretty simple concept and it does reflect the true nature of a Public Servant.

            Best regards,

          • Jason Everett Miller

            Jeff, thanks for weighing in. Never mind the trolls who pop up on my blogs. I am forever shooing them away, but they can be relentless.

            Shoot me an email if you ever want a guest on your show: jasoneverettmiller@gmail.com. Sounds like we could have some great discussions.

            By the way, I went to military journalism school in Indianapolis at Fort Benjamin Harrison and I remember Indiana very fondly indeed.

            Have a great weekend!

  • VLaszlo

    If the “center” had any real solutions a) they would have been tried and b) there would be more centrists. The idea that the extreme left has had any power in this country is just part of the centrist talking points to self-promote; then they can inveigh against both left and right equally, pontificate all day long and feel smug about themselves. Jason Everett Miller has elevated this to a fine art and he does it all day long, every day. America is really in crisis right now. Really. No more “almost”, “close to”, “nearly”; and the solutions are not going to come from the recycled acceptable “wisdom” of the Washington self-promoting class that Miller has absorbed and integrated into his being. If you want to know what “Washington” thinks on any issue just read Miller on that issue; he regurgitates shopworn ideas all the time and is mightily content doing so. Unfortunately critical times call for radically new approaches. That is the underlying cause of the growth of the partisan divide. We are really at the end of empire…the end of the American century. Our industrial plant is shot, outdated and outsourced. Obama’s bailout is a fraud. It spends all our credit and resources on maintaining the value of “troubled” (i.e. worthless) assets “the big shit-pile”. We need a major new re-industrialization and that is not in the cards. And the costs would be higher if we were doing this (and we are not) because otherwise we will denude the planet. Our foreign policy is a product of fifty year old accepted views owned by the Washington media and politicians and their hangers-on, the club the village, Versilles. They know things are not going well but their only response is to hold onto American military hegemony. Unfortunately, Obama seems unwilling to put his tippy-toe outside the Washington cocoon and try some new ideas.
    Now here is a suggestion for Mr. Miller. Cleaning up the two parties today is too big a task but if you like go to it. Hercules handled the Augean stables, so mighty centrists like you and Lieberman and Snowe and the other three or four of you can certainly handle it Or you can huff and puff and form your own party of the sensible center. Jesse Ventura did it in Minnesota and won one election. (and he was admittedly much better than the present Republican). Or (resignedly) we will hear your pontifications against left and right here at TPM for the foreseeable future.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      I didn’t force you to read the blog. You could have moved on past if you knew that it would pass your ideological muster.

      If you honestly confuse my stances with anyone currently in office, I would suggest you read what I wrote over the last 18 months to clear up the confusion. Your caricature of my opinions is not the same thing as a factual analysis of my writing that is even marginally objective.

      The only way to achieve the Utopia you describe is to combine far liberal idealism with conservative pragmatism. We need to repair the grassroots and then send new people to Washington that reflect those changing expectations.

      Stoking up the bonfire as a way of achieving your political goals may seem like sound tactics, but that sort of thing always gets out of hand before too long.

      • VLaszlo

        yes, yes, dear boy. it’s good that you don’t like people to caricature your position. how nice if you did the same. curious…I have the same sensitivity as you do, isn’t that strange?? now which of the left extreme positions should the party clean up? oh yes. they opposed the war in Iraq and torture and unauthorized spying on citizens and repeal of Glass Seagal and for single payer. Yes how much better for everyone if the extreme left could be muted or better if you and the centrists could form a small party and concentrate your message of keeping the government out of the free enterprise system which unfettered works so well. Keeping taxes low, services small (smart government!!!!), and keep the system running like the well-oiled enterprise you learned about in your class last year.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          Yet the democratic party voted to support all those repressive policies you say they opposed, starting with Clinton signing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999 and followed by the Patriot Act and the Iraq War in 2001 and 2002 repsectively. I am not sure I understand your point.

          • VLaszlo

            I have no idea what prompted you to bring the Democratic Party into this discussion of the extreme left (a topic you raise in your post. Here is what Jason Everett Miller said: “the left’s inability to simply ignore the far right or or offer real policy innovation”). But since you do, do you not understand that those “policy innovations” ignored as you say by the Democratic Party were indeed policy innovations of the extreme left. Now if you have further difficulty understanding the point I think you might think about the logical development of the argument. I think that thinking is an important element in having an intelligent discussion and you should try it. I apologize in advance if my words are too sharp.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I said the left has failed to innovate in quite some time, not the extreme left, as the quote you provided demonstrates.

            The democratic party, the home of the American left last I heard, has been marching side-by-side with those you love to hate. That the “far left” has failed to determine the policy direction of either party sounds like your failure and not mine.

            Beyond those simple facts, I am not entirely sure what intelligent conversation you are being deprived of at this blog, but you are free to go at any time.

    • SleepinJeezus

      Bravo, VLaszio!

      I could have forewarned you, however, that it is important to read what jem MEANT, never what he WROTE!

      There are rules in place, after all, and your violation has been duly noted.

      • VLaszlo

        Thanks. My experience with smug young prigs like Mr. Miller is that they are ever so sensitive that you are misquoting them or not fully understanding just how very deep their ideas (all original, all very new, and all very brilliant) are. But they seem to have no hesitation in their self-satisfied haze in reducing to caricature your thoughts or political positions. Presumably Mr. Miller will, at some point, grow up, and the engine behind the change (if it occurs) unfortunately will be the crisis outside (from which at the moment he seems intellectually and physically removed).

  • Zipperupus

    This is not only a comment on this blog, but a reply to Saladin yesterday.

    I believe that the two oldest surviving generations, the boomers and greatest, are winnowing the national debate unintentionally. Their generations are the ones that drive the media cycle. For us younger types, we have apolitical specialty shows and reality television. The news is designed for the tastes of the elderly.

    That being said, it is a good idea to watch the news with that concept in mind. When FOX cuts to commercial, and G. Gordon Liddy is advising the audience to buy gold, do you think the network is talking to someone who was a child or yet unborn during Watergate? Or how about Ollie North? Who is his target audience? Who remembers his courageous drug smuggling freedom operations?

    In my opinion, our news media is stuck catering to a generational divide that happened in the 60s and 70s. The closer to death these generations are, the more unhinged the political dialogue, and the rest of the country is held hostage to their anxieties. And this hostage situation isn’t just news, it is the politics of the moment and the domestic agendas of our leaders.

    If our goal is to reinvigorate our failing sociopolitical system with pragmatism, then we have to claim the national narrative. The boomers and greatest have been acting out their parent/child conflict for nearly fifty years. Our information network has calcified around this reality tunnel.

    If anything, our country’s top tier is more united than ever. The only outcome of collusion and consolidation is the narrowing of tension between market powers. Yet the lower classes are so in conflict over ephemeral issues of value that cross-sections of the nation believe one another to be evil. And from this mistrust and misplaced rage we are divided from one another and those few who do vote cast their ballots for the pork-providing demagogue.

    We can reclaim this over the internet. First, we must be critical of all media, even (especially?) our own. The media not only projects information, itis more invested in projecting values and classifying American power and preatige… If you watch most pundit cross-chatter it is dedicated to 60s era Cold War tropes of how to project our massive influence internally and externally. The argument is: we have this treasure, now how do we spend it. The resulting argument is like the Treasure of the Sierra Madre.


    Let’s start, as best we can, evaluating the actual state of the union. We are flat broke, at the mercy of our bondholders, and paying them back by inventing baroque shadow tax/inflation schemes that are moving us into a third world economy. What wealth we do have is primarily driven by our grotesque Pentagon subsidies, which creates active and dormant violence and oppression throughout our sphere of influence.

    We are painted into a corner until we reimagine our nation and culture in a manner that is not dependent on obsolete values and conflicts.

    I believe that both progressive and conservative blogs and news sites are still stuck in the old dynamic. Daily Kos and Red State still believe in US hegemony and the transformative power of our prestige. Well… That time is past.

    Now we can realistically evaluate our true national clout and discuss how we should behave as a fading empire. Slash the defense budget and re-employ our military infrastructure and personnel to address sustaimability and health care. We are sixty years behind the curve of a peace dividend. Swords must be beaten to plowshares. We are defying the edict of Ecclesiastes by insisting that we are perpetually in a time to reap. Now is the time to sow.

    I believe that if we honestly addressed this nation as an Empire Without Clothes, most of the younger generations would recognize the truth and rally around the honesty. Both parties would and could be served by this revalation. A real grassroots reform should be founded on such honesty.

    • *

      Damn if you didn’t just hit and miss the problem!

      Yeah, the MSM is pandering to us old farts! You hit that nail smack dab on the head, alright. But you missed a very important side issue.

      Us old farts, when we was younger, had this thing called Vietnam staring us right in the face.

      In 1964, I was in the fourth grade. It was also the year, Johnson committed US troops to southeast asia…Vietnam. I graduated high school in 1971 and I was facing a draft notice. Guess what? Vietnam was still raging big time! And would so for 4 more years!

      Why? Well if you think back, 1964 was only 20 years after D-Day. Those 18 to 22 years old GI’s who stormed the beaches of Normandy were now about 38 to 42 years old. And they had more to say about the US getting involved in SEA that us youguns’. Yeah we protested, and some burnt their draftcards, some went to jail, some went to Canada, some enlisted, some were drafted and some – who we all know oh so well – got multiple deferments or choice slots in Guard units and didn’t worry about having to put their life on the line for their country.

      Today, the same problem plagues the country – it’s run by old farts at the expense of the younger generation.

      The only way out of this perpetual cycle would be to elect younger people for political office. However, by the time they get their foot in the door and learn how to grasp the reins of power to drive the nation, they’re old farts too.

      • Zipperupus

        It doesn’t have to be younguns that assume political office… It can be old farts with a sensibility that is dictated by the times, not the past.

        Viet Nam is a perfect example. Iraq was tye new Viet Nam. Now Afghanistan is the new Viet Nam. We couch these wars in the same arguments and yet the media and even some of the populace wonder why the leadup, engagement and outcome of these wars are different. Well, hell, the times are different!

        No draft… An all volunteer military composed of earnest young patriots and economic casualties. Protests had a net zero impact because the media treated them as a joke. I attended a protest before the Afghan invasion. Joan Baez showed up and almost no one cared. How sad! But what she sang was not relevant to the situation. The argument was the rush to war when 9/11 had not even been criminally adjudicated. How man civilians had to die in order to capture or kill alleged perpetrators? Baez brought old tropes of forced young draftee sacrifice. It didn’t connect.

        Plus, there are other angles like the ritual therapy of consumerism to cope with terrorism… The deliberate blinders we were ordered to put on in order to heal and triumph. The Viet Nam era was and is radically different than our own. Yet some of us wonder why that era’s approach failed to stem the rush to two invasions.

        Most younguns don’t involve themselves with the political process because it is marketed as an old man’s hobby. The country our media talks about is not the real country. It is a time capsule wrapped in a flag.

    • quinn esq

      I agree with much of this Zip, but the generations angle isn’t quite right. In the 80’s, I buried myself (for years) in research on age-related attitudes, activities, narratives, etc. What was most obvious was that the grand changes in generational attitudes that the MEDIA were playing up, were almost always based on shifts of a very very VERY small percentage. These idiots wanted to run a storyline around some shift from Hippie to Yuppie – but when you chewed up the polling data beneath it there was almost nothing.

      Since then, it has become farce. They’ll set up the strawman of “the Boomers” and “what Boomers believe” or “want” or their “narrative” or “worldview” – and all it amounts to is an opportunity for the media/powerful to take what they want said and put it in the mouths of others.

      The only reason I raise this (and it’s a debate I just stay out of these days, because it’s drenched in stupid) is that it is entirely as easy for the media/powerful to pain YOUR generation, or ANY generation, and begin telling us “what it is” and “what it thinks.” For instance, how hard would it be for them to argue that the younger generations have been more actively supportive of foreign wars than previous (e.g. Vietnam) generations? Do you really think a generation “apparently” into Reality TV and game-playing and such will be difficult to paint into a corner?

      You conclude by talking about how people would respond if spoken to TRUTHFULLY. That’s the question for me. I have no doubt large numbers of young people would respond positively. But I also have no doubt that large numbers of Boomers would dust off their hearts and respond.

      • Zipperupus

        Yes, yes and yes.

        Believe me, I don’t blame my elders. So long as their interests are catered towards and their packaged beliefs/conflicts about the world are reinforced, they can point to social problems as a value decay and not policy outcome.

        And yes, any generation can be manipulated. As I grow older, I have no doubt that the current media environment will have reimagined the Iraq War and Bush Presidency into some insufferable dichotomy. But I fear that by that point this country will be a “mentor state” wreckage.

        Truth should and can awaken all living generations from their slumber. But the first step to truth is to walk away from the ideological battleground of our elderly vanguard.

        • *

          Speaking of truth…it’s time the MSM stop catering to the older crowd and start paying attention to the 30-somethings and 40-somethings because it will be their efforts that pull the economy and the nation out of the $hithole the elder generation ran the country into. The future lies not with the mature crowd that’s looking towards retiring and trying to find the country they think they’ve lost along the way, but with the younger crowd hungry for achievement and looking to make the country better than what they were given to work with. It’ll be through their efforts that this nation will turn itself around and correct the mistakes the made by the one looking to hold on to their past rather than taking that step forward into the future. We need to make room for a younger political force.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Nice comment, Zipper, with many concepts to discuss.

      I agree that much of our current political paralysis and division began with Vietnam and has simply deepened and broadened ever since. The biggest consequence of such stark differences at the grassroots, as you point out, is almost unlimited time to consolidate power at the top while we fight over crumbs.

      I hope we begin to see a new breed of politician emerge who speaks honestly no matter what the issue or whether you agree with their stance. I just don’t think that sort of person will actually win elections until we get more than 20-30% turnout for the average primary election.

      This is simply year one in what will be at least a ten year effort, so patience and persistence in the face of resentment and obstruction will be the key to success this time around.

      • thepeoplechoose

        The chance of a politician speaking honestly and winning is an unlikely pairing.

        Could it happen? Yes. But it would require a lot of people to be a whole lot more informed on a wide range of issues.

        I’m not sure many people under 40, maybe even 50, are inclined to make the time or put out the effort to have that level of insight. The 20 to 40 age group has their hands full just carving out a living. And that isn’t going to get any easier.

        You know, as does everyone else here the effort it takes to be politically aware. Anyone who tries soon learns it is not a minor undertaking by any stretch. And even after someone has gathered enough information to be of value they might be left with a totally useless cockeyed view of the world that invalidates their opinion. As the evidence suggests that is not an uncommon condition. This is hardly simple.

        • Jason Everett Miller

          It seems rather simple to me as many Americans between 20 and 40 (and beyond) got involved and educated on the issues for the first time these last few years, myself included.

          What that interest hasn’t translated into yet is a marked increase in primary voting, where all the real decisions are made. We are still stumbling along with a pathetic 20-30 percent average turnout.

          I agree that we all need to become more educated and involved in order to build that more perfect union, where I suspect we disagree is in how fast such a transformation would take given the decades of apathy.

          • thepeoplechoose

            I don’t even know that it makes sense to agree or disagree on how fast such a thing will or won’t occur. It’s a process that evolves over time and I’m not sure you can actually alter it in any meaningful way. You could emphasize public awareness in primary and secondary education but I suspect that would be polluted by politics and ideology.

            Better to figure out how to impart critical thinking skills, how to gather and examine information than impart philosophical ideas. People need the tools of decision making more than they need materials to make something.

          • Jason Everett Miller

            I guess I was speaking more of the underlying sense I get from your comments that it is all over but the crying only nine months into Obama’s first term.

            That sort of pessimism seems a little premature to me as does the idea that very few voters aged 20 to 40 are willing to get involved. If that was actually the case, I would have to leave the country because we would be well and truly fucked.

            As to your other comments, I agree that it will be an evolutionary process over the coming years, though I still think it can be pushed and prodded along more quickly than nature might take.

  • Resistance

    The system is rigged, of course you say if 20% of the population would get involved and vote, things would change.
    What part of NO don’t you understand?

    You would ask the 90% to join you in your cognitive dissonance?

    The reason many have stopped getting involved is the majority have figured out it is rigged.

    When our Country was founded, it was impossible for the electorate to go to Washington, so we elected representatives to do our bidding.

    Today we live in a world with all the technological advances so that informed citizens who want to be involved are condemned to follow archaic rules, intended to keep the powerful in Power.

    We have seen where politicians vote against their own constituents and then claim how courageous they were to vote they’re self serving convictions.

    What? I thought we had a Representative government?

    So now we come to the crux of the matter, 90% of the voting public has recognized the fix is in. The game is rigged.

    We are supposed to be shamed by you and others who want to promote this rigged game. Blaming those of us who see through the charade, passed off as Reprehensive, I mean Representative Government.

    All the while we’re getting screwed and you and others telling us, it’s your fault.

    Reminding me of the Stockholm Syndrome
    Captives who exhibit the syndrome tend to sympathize with and think highly of their captors, at times believing that the captors are showing them favor stemming from inherent kindness. Such captives fail to recognize that their captors’ choices are essentially self-serving.

    You love you’re Representative because he is so kind and he serves your interest?
    Fool, they’re just self serving they’re own self interest!
    Isn’t this fun we can play the rigged game, convincing ourselves how this is the only way to play the game. BS

    Stockholm syndrome is a psychological response sometimes seen in abducted hostages, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger or risk in which they have been placed…..One theory to explain the Stockholm syndrome is cognitive dissonance. …….

    Figure out a way to have direct voting on the issues, bypass these career politicians, who keep telling you how important they are and how stupid the people are.

    Don’t you think you can read a briefing report that say’s Osama determined to attack America?
    Don’t you think you could read a tax bill?

    Or are you so convinced, your stupid they’re smart.

    Gore won the popular vote because more people believed Gore was better qualified than Bush.

    In the event the rigged game, controlled by the two major parties wasn’t enough of a safeguard, to ensure the powerful Capitalists would hold the reigns of power. The rich landowners, the moneyed interests erected another barrier to keep the masses or the peasant votes, from impacting their ability to rule. Calling it the Electoral College.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      The primary elections have nothing to do with the electoral college, nor does Congress. The game is rigged by our own inability to vote in large enough numbers to make a difference.

      We supply the bars to the cage you say I embrace, though nothing in what I have written endorses the status quo as something worthy of keeping alive.

      The electoral college is yet another red herring that makes people forget that all the real power lies in the Congress. We have direct control over Congress by way of the primary elections and 80% choose not to participate.

      That is a recipe for suicide, not resistance.

    • Jason Everett Miller

      Interesting article. It certainly raises many good points, though I noticed it failed to mention voter turnout for primaries as a potential Achilles Heel to incumbent power structures.

      With only 20- to 30-percent average turnout, it doesn’t take much of an increase to change the landscape significantly. Especially with a Congress that has such low approval ratings, another point the author didn’t bring up.

      What I can certainly again with is that the entrenched special interests will be damn tough to root out absent a huge push from the grassroots.