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I live in the real world

Occasionally, I have to do a gut check to make sure that I’m not the one out of step with the rest of the country.  If I read nothing but the left blogosphere, I’d come away with the idea that Obama will have a bit of trouble winning the election this year but not too much to worry about.  Because Romney is a heartless bot who loves X-games Capitalism and true Christians distrust him.  And anyway, the Republicans are conducting a War on Women and in the end, women will come flocking to Obama.  So, even if Obama turns to the right and promises to compromise on the deficit to the point that he is indistinguishable from the Republicans, Democrats will realize that he is the only one standing between them and a fascist corporate dystopia where we are all doomed to despair.  With Obama we get someone who is really smart but so unfairly put upon.  Really, it’s not his fault.  He inherited this mess.  The public is being too demanding, he’s doing the best he can and, unfortunately, that means people will have to suffer because the Republicans are standing in his way.

Also, the Clintons are Third Way Democrats who can’t be trusted even though they make Obama look like a political amateur.

But I live in the real world.

I live in a state that has seen one of its major industries dismantled piece by piece and moved to Massachusetts, China and India.  I come from a professional class of people who have slipped into the precariat class even though only a few years ago, they were solidly middle class.  I live in a suburb where 80 teachers were fired after Chris Christie took office.  I live in a metropolitan region where the train system has increased fares by more than 30% in the past couple of years.  I live in a town where the new grocery store closed its door a year ago and its building is an empty shell in a strip mall full of empty shells.  I live in a state where the property taxes are so high that even if you manage to buy your house outright, you can’t afford to live here without a job that pays good money.  I live in a region where food prices are getting really crazy.

I live in a country where if you fall because you’ve lost your job, descent is quick and there is very little cushioning to make your landing safe.

Maybe the economy is coming back but I go to professional meetings all of the time and at some of them, everyone there is networking for a job.

That’s the way it is in the real world.

A couple of years ago, Jon Corzine ran a campaign much like Obama’s.  Property taxes are a big issue here in this state.  They’re highly regressive and burdensome to homeowners.  Corzine formed a commission and then threw up his hands in frustration.  He ended up doing very little.  During the fallout from the economic collapse of 2009, he ended up doing very little.  While the state was hemorrhaging STEM jobs, he ended up doing very little.  And the campaign he ran on was, “I did the best I could, there’s nothing much I could do but Chris Christie will be a terrible.”

And he lost.

The spin is that Christie was attractive to a lot of people.  But I saw Christie in debate in person and he was nothing special.  He wasn’t profound or dynamic.  He was just a morbidly obese average Republican conservative spouting average Republican stuff.  It looked like he was phoning it in.  There was an independent candidate, Chris Daggett, who shined in those debates.  He actually seemed to understand the state and seemed interested in doing something different.  He got my vote.  In fact, he got just enough votes that Corzine lost.

The country is not turning to the right.  The country is looking for someone who acts like he or she gives a shit.

I don’t like Christie and he’s done some damage.  The Democratic legislature keeps his more murderous impulses reined in.  But the national campaign feels an awful lot like New Jersey a couple of years ago and Obama’s campaign looks a lot like Jon Corzine’s.

I’m not living in the fantasy that the Democratic candidate is going to pull this one off this year.  This is not 2008 and his candidacy is no longer historic.  People can and will hold him responsible for his lackluster performance and will not accept excuses.  They’re burned out by the abortion wars and the whacked out suppression of women in politics by both parties.  And anyway, the Democrats have yielded so much ground on women’s rights that we don’t take their scare tactics about abortion seriously anymore.  There are already 5 votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe but it hardly matters.  The damage is done in the states with barely a peep from Democrats or the national women’s organizations that they have co-opted.  Meanwhile, there’s no jobs bill to put us back to work and our taxes are dumped into the Wall Street money pit with no accountability. It’s demotivating to the Democratic base and it’s frustrating.  And it makes us angry.  We just want someone who acts like he or she gives a shit.

Democrats should be worried.  You can’t force people to vote for your candidate or see something in him that the rest of us have missed in the past four years.  And activists and bloggers aren’t doing themselves any favors by going along with the program without question or panicking in fear of what’s to come. Now is the time to pressure the Democrats to do something, make them take a stand and show that they care.  After Labor Day, it will be too late.

That’s reality.

28 Responses

  1. My reality: I am getting physical twitches that I think are related to my fears of/for Social Security cuts. Even knowing that these cuts are unlikely to affect me directly (I’m that close to 60) doesn’t make me feel better.

    What can we do though? These guys lie to our faces with pretty speeches and then do what they want once they’re on the inside?

    Seriously. What can we do?

    • stick together 🙂

    • Know as much as we can about who said what about certain things and then who did what about those same things. Some people might want to vote against every Democrat every time to hasten the disappearance of that party in hopes a legitimate liberadical semisocialist party may arise on the cleared-off space. Others ( like me) will still vote for legacy Democrats who appear to have an actual record of supporting New Deal achievements and opposing anti-NewDeal dismantlement gambits like GrahamLeachBliley, Free Trade Agreements, etc. (Some might even vote against Obama but vote for downticket Democrats to see what the DemParty officeholders will do under a President Romney).

      What else can we do? Find out who-all-else thinks similarly about these things and stay in mutual touch with all those people and groups
      to share reports about applied approaches and results? Start studying and applying what we discover about economic survivalism and rebellion and experiments in Undermine the Upperclass? Those are my preliminary thoughts for other readers to do with what they will.

      • Ah, yes, Gramm Leach Bliley, Nafta, and unmentioned DADT and so many others all enacted under that corporatist usurping bastard Obama, the Clinton’s would have been shocked, SHOCKED at these betrayals.

        • Resistance is fertile. We will not be assimilated. 😈

        • Um, I don’t know if you know this but Bill Clinton can’t run for president again.

        • Has Obama sought the repeal of even one of these things? Well?
          Has he? Well? Well?

          • Well, no, but back in 2009 he is reported to have said that he understands that Social Security is out of control and the “entitlements” must be cut in order to rein in the deficit. With that level of understanding, it’s no wonder he’s moved so far to the right. I’m really torn. On the one hand Obama has plainly said he will put Social Security up for elimination. On the other hand I’m not sure Romney is competent enough to be a real threat to Social Security, especially if paired with Paul Ryan. How do you decide which evil is the lesser?

          • Procopius,

            You put your finger on a very ugly consideration. If Obama is indeed the “more effective evil” as Glen Ford has said, and if Obama hungers to be the so-called “Democrat” who pulls a Nixon-goes-to-China against Social Security and Medicare ( which all evidence indicates that he does); then does a President Obama present a greater clear and present danger to SS and Medicare than Romney ever could?

            Part of the answer depends on what the so-called “Democratic” Senators would do about Romney’s plan to Ryanize Social Security and Medicare. Would they effectively prevent it because it was a Republican President trying to achieve it? If so, then SS/Medicare would be safer under a President Romney than an Obama term two. Because we know that the so-called “Democratic” Senators would conspire with Obama and the Rs to destroy SS/Medicare in Obama’s term two if Obama gets one.

            But I no longer trust myself to predict what the so-called “Democrats” will do under what President. I know that they will work with Obama to destroy SS/Medicare if they are given that opportunity.
            I don’t know that they won’t do the same with Romney. Do I take a chance that they won’t? It isn’t just a matter of who becomes President. It is a matter of what the so-called “Democratic” Senators will do with one President as against another. If there is a realistic chance that the D-Sens would fight for SS/Mcare more under Romney than under Obama, and my survival depends on preserving the SS/Mcare I have been paying for ever since 1983; then my survival may well depend on making sure Romney becomes President in order to keep Obama’s hands off my SS/Mcare. So as much as Riverdaughter cautions us that friends don’t let friends vote Republican (which I agreed with up to a few months ago), I now wonder whether Obama is so completely evil that defeating him by any means necessary including voting/working for Romney . . . has become our new Prime Survival Directive. ( Of course that would only work by giving Romney as heavily D a Senate as possible, to see what a majority D Senate would do about Romney’s darker meaner Obamaplans for Social Security and Medicare).

            And of course there is no harm in telling all our favorite Ds that we will only vote for a D PrezVice ticket with Obama totally removed from it. Riverdaughter might even be right that if enough millions of Nobama Demvoters tell their Dparty people all about that; that the Dleaders might perform an emergency candidate transplant. The experiment deserves to be run.

        • Dbb, tell us why those things were enacted and what would have happened had they NOT been enacted. Also explain who was in power in congress etc….how Clinton would have loved the majorities Obama had during his first two years in office. Then I might think you have something interesting to say.

    • Fear will only make it worse, so don’t let yourself even consider going there.Get creative as to your response to the mess that looks like it’s coming down S*it Creek. Laugh.Your good cheer might help others.

  2. This past week, I received another letter from “Nancy Pelosi” begging for money for the DCCC. I used to give every three months, not much $15 to $30 depending on what I had. Every couple years right before election time, they send a survey out along with the please, send money, NOW, we can take the house, rah-rah. I sent NO money, and wrote on the survey what I really feel, I have been disenfranchised for years. On the survey I added my own snark to each question, and vowed to fight a party that wanted to implement Simpson-Bowles Plan. I could NOT contribute to a party that is ripping the very last of our social safety net. On the survey it asked if I planned on voting for the democrats, I replied until the democratic party goes back to it’s core principals and democratic socialist platform for the common man and woman I will not vote for another democrat. I will be voting socialist, and have been trying to build the socialist party in my area.

    I hope that instead of throwing the survey away everyone sends them back without the contribution and tell them exactly what they think. Not, that It will help, but perhaps the “leadership” will figure it out. Scare tactics won’t work, you have a sitting president more republican than some former republican presidents, mind you the republican party of today are insane, but hey if both parties are talking the same thing, whats the difference in who is actually elected. You got mittens vs O, both are trying to kill Social Security, and frankly O is more dangerous, because he has hurt the party so much. Screw it, I am done, and if the dems don’t want to do what historically they did in the past. Let them be the conservative party, and let us start a new labor or socialist party. The dems are going to be mistaking when they figure out things are so bad for the rest of us, that aren’t wealthy or connected. People are angry and it’s coming to a head one way or another. Revolution is good for a country that has lost it’s way. It’s what our country was based on, taxation without representation. The only ones getting represented are the ones that are buying the politicians. The rest of us, we are just here to pay the bills, and make sure the wealthy stay wealthy by bailing their asses out when they screw up. Nice for them, but the rest of us are at the end of our rope.

  3. Christie reminds me of every school yard bully I’ve ever known.

    • Me too. I want to gag every time he’s mentioned as a top contender for national office.

  4. The Democratic legislature keeps his more murderous impulses reined in.

    With Obama , Pelosi, and Reid pulling the party down how much longer will there be enough Democrats in state legislatures to keep the loons at bay?

    • People may well make distinctions between their own state and substate Democrats as against the Federal level Democrats . . . where such distinctions exist to be made. Newer Deal Democrats at state and substate levels may well work on purging and burning all the
      Reidite Pelosibamacrat scum from out of their parties in a few states and substate regions.

      Where they realize they can’t, they may well work to exterminate the Democratic Party from their regions so as to redevelop the vacated political landspace with a legitimate political party of their own.

  5. third party is the way I am going. 🙂

  6. my Mormon of choice is Rocky Anderson. I agree with Kimberly all the way. We need to vote for alternatie parties. If one starts to become big enough, the Dems will absorb its platform. Historically, it’s been the only way to bring the Party to heel when it goes wrong. Either that, or, as Kimberly says, the Dems will become the new conservative party (repugs are for wingnuts) and we’ll have a new truely small -d democratic party of, by &, for the 99%

  7. Riverdaughter, please forgive an off-topic intrusion onto your blog. I’m trying to warn everyone I know in blog-world: If ever you are contacted by a site called Buzzfeed, do NOT trust them. They just gave me the most memorable screwing of my life. And not the good kind. They’ll do the same to you, too, if ever you get on their radar.

    • What did they do to you?

      • I will write a story about Buzzfeed later today. If you go to my site now, you’ll see an ad that links to a piece on another site which features damning evidence.

        Basically, the tweets on that site prove that Buzzfeed (which has a liberal-ish rep) was taking orders from the Breitbart gang to do a story about something they call “Weiner truthers.” The intent is to smear the entire left as a hotbed of wacky conspiracy-spotters.

        I guess the GOP has been hurt by the growing perception that the entire party has been hijacked by crazies, so now they want to return fire.

        A couple of hours after the final tweet, a Buzzfeed reporter named Rosie Gray wrote to me in an obvious attempt to get me to say something that might prove useful to their effort. I did not. I said that for me, the whole Weiner thing was old news. (Obviously, the Breitbarters — who still recall me — sicced Rosie on me.)

        Later that day, though, I wrote a piece about a couple of very weird guys named Brett Kimberlin and Ron Brynaert. You wouldn’t know or care about them. Suffice it to say that the network of Breitbart-linked bloggers who brought down Weiner are now trying to convince the public that Kimberlin and Brynaert are the Kings of the Left and the rulers of a liberal terror network.

        So I wrote a piece calling bullshit. I said that those two guys were just minor fringe figures. Anyone who makes them out to be important is lying.

        Next thing you know, Rosie Gray of Buzzfeed publishes a piece titled “The Weiner Truthers,” which tries to make it appear that there are a whole bunch of craaaaaa-zy lefties who think Weiner was framed. And to prove that dubious point, she quotes from the afore-mentioned post.

        The thing is, I didn’t write about that topic AT ALL. I wrote about a couple of guys named Kimberlin and Brynaert.

        Most of Rosie’s piece consists of yanked-out-of-context quotes from yours truly. She makes it seem as though I were talking about an issue I never intended to address! The quotes are cleverly arranged to convey the impression that I was either exposing or advocating those wacky, wacky liberals who still remain hopelessly smitten with Anthony Weiner.

        I tried to post a comment to the Buzzfeed site offering a polite correction. They refused to publish it.

        That’s when I found out about the tweets which prove that Rosie was working for the Breitbarters. The whole thing was a set-up.

        Conservatives, hurt by the perception that the inmates have taken over their asylum, want to see “think pieces” that offer up the familiar false equivalence: “Hey, paranoia is a problem on both sides. On the one hand, you have Glenn Beck. On the other hand, you have this Cannon guy…”

        As though *I* represent all of liberalism. Me. A third-tier blogger (if that) who can’t stand Obama and who, if he bothers to vote Dem this year, will do so only with the sour taste of upchuck in the back of his throat.

        I’ve always tried to make clear that my views — whether wise or eccentric or foolish — are mine alone. I am part of no group. I disdain all movements. I enjoy being an outsider. Hell, you’re the closest thing to a friend I have in blog-world — and I’m not even sure we like each other!

        • You know, I don’t know the whole truth about Weiner and neither do you, probably. That being said, it seems like the house ethics committee is very zealous about investigating nothingburgers like Eric Massa and Anthony Weiner while Republicans barely bat an eye when one of their members wears a diaper and frolics with a prostitute or tap dances in a public bathroom.
          And it’s even more curious when the members in question (no pun intended) happen to be the more liberal ones who won’t eat their poison on some legislative issue.
          Conspiracy? Don’t know. Setup? Need more information. Damned convenient timing? *ding!ding!ding!*. I think we have a winner. Wiener’s indiscretion was a gift. You can decide for yourselves who benefited.

          • As I said, Weiner per se was not the subject of my post. I just stopped caring about it, to tell the truth.

            What pissed me off is a journalist for an allegedly “liberal” cyber-rag approaching me under a friendly flag — and then I find out she’s trying to practice “gotcha” journalism on behalf of a Breitbarter.

            I have the new post up. I hope it tells the story in a comprehensible and amusing fashion…


            Thanks for putting up with me, RD.

          • The interesting thing about Senator Tapdance ( whose name I forget), is that I believe he was prosecuted for Tapdance-related activities and was not very much covered for by his “fellow” Republicans. His tapdancing activities must have been know about for years and I find it interesting that he was set up for “outing” by an undercover cop only AFter he voiced certain objections to certain provisions of the Patriot Act.

    • I’ve been seeing a rash of links to them — I’ll try to notice who’s passing them along. I thought there was something a little ‘off’ about them but nothing I could say for sure.

  8. I have a good friend who teaches in your state. She doesn’t think she is better off because the revolting Christie won, and she knows the kids she teaches are worse off as she struggles with a growing workload, larger classes and a constant stream of abuse about the general laziness, incompetence and unprofessionalism of public school teachers emanating from the Governor’s big fat mouth. Democracy as we practise it obviously does not work: the right person for the job can’t win, especially when a “successful” campaign results in the worst man getting said job.

    • Who said anyone was better off with Christie?

    • Christie is a typical Republican with a mean streak. He has no respect for teachers. I didn’t vote for him.
      However, that doesn’t mean that I thought Jon Corzine should win. From what I could tell, he sucked as governor. I voted for Daggett. The guy had a vision. I think he understood education like the other two either didn’t or didn’t care.
      BTW, from my days on the BoE, I got a distinct impression of the education establishment that was both positive and negative. They do a lot of work but they also have complete control over everything that happens in this state. It leads to a kind of hubris that is really kind of nauseating. If you are the parent of an average to bright child here, your kid is probably doing pretty well. If your kid is gifted, the teachers here can be mean to cruel. For some bizzare fucked up reason, the educational establishment in New Jersey believes, completely without any evidence at all, that gifted kids need no help, assistance, consideration, sympathy or even acknowledgement that they exist. If you’re gifted here, the stingy little bit that the state puts aside for your needs will be raided by the local district so that no one feels excluded. You will be put in a heterogenous classroom and if you don’t do every bit of the most tedious and unnecessary (for you) homework, you could even be bumped down from honors to regular coursework or worse.
      I think teachers in New Jersey have a lot to answer for in that regard. Most of the ones I have encountered have been rigid and unpleasant and give a whole new meaning to the word pedantic. Fortunately, my kid has been mentored by a few exceptions. If it weren’t for those weird, misfits in the teaching establishment here, she would have drowned.
      Keeping her in this school system has been financially difficult. The only reason I do it is because she has access to so many AP courses. But the district has made it so hard to cobble together a curriculum for her that I’ve actually had to shell out close to $10,000 in the past three years to keep her on track. That’s for classes at a local prep school to keep her math skills at her level and for enrolling her at Stanford’s OHS for English.
      So, while I feel for teachers and am pretty angry that their union is under attack, I know that if they had a chance to make my own kid’s experience in school better, they wouldn’t do it. New Jersey enforces a certain kind of egalitarian mindset in its teachers that is ruinous to some kids. I’m not surprised that some parents are resentful. When NJ’s teachers had an opportunity back in the 90s to retrain and reform, something I was very concerned with when I was on BoE, they passed. They had all of the power and they weren’t going to listen to anyone who wasn’t an educator. Now, the shoe’s on the other foot and all I can say is “I told you so”.

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