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    • A Great Idea About Capitalism That Was Wrong
      So, back in the 80s, when I was young, green and wet behind the years, one of the great thinkers about how to help poor people was a guy named Hernando DeSoto. (Great name, aces on parents!) DeSoto, who was mostly concerned with Latin and South America had one big idea: the reason that poor people were fucked is they didn’t have clear ownership of what they […]
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Too late! You’ve been framed.

Greg Sargent reports on Democrat’s latest efforts to turn the Titanic around for next year’s election by accusing the Republicans of wanting the economy to get worse:

In recent weeks, there’s been some question as to how far Dems are willing to go in making the explosive charge that Republicans are deliberately trying to sabotage the economy in order to improve their chances of defeating President Obama in 2012.

On a conference call just now with reporters, Senator Chuck Schumer made the most aggressive case we’ve heard yet along these lines, leaving little doubt that Dems are locking in behind this message as the deficit talks hit crunch time and as the 2012 campaign looms.

“Do they simply want the economy to go down the drain to further their political gain?” Schumer asked. “They seem to be against anything that may create jobs, because they view a weak economy as key to their political chances in 2012.”

“It’s an uncomfortable question, to be sure,” Schumer continued. “Are they trying to undermine the economy on purpose, for political gain? Harry Truman had a do-nothing Congress. The Republicans seem to be trying to make this a do-nothing-on-the-economy Congress.”

[…]

The key point here is that Dem messaging chief Schumer is signaling that each example like this will now be pressed into service to build the larger case that Republicans have decided that a worse economy for the country is better politically for them, so any measure that risks creating jobs must be opposed at all costs. It seems like a clear effort to bait the GOP into responding to the charges, so the country can hear an argument over the GOP’s true motives. This line of attack also seems designed to persuade voters — and commentators who are reluctant to accept this sort of thing — that No, both sides are notequally to blame for our current travails.

No duh.

That was the whole point.  I believe we were discussing this back in 2007-8 at DailyKos.  Or was it lambert at Corrente who asked if Republicans were going to make Democrats hold the bag?  In any case, there is nothing surprising about the Republicans’ tactics.  It’s really a win-win for them.  If they make everyone miserable enough in the short term, they’ll extract a lot of concessions on Social Security and Medicare in the long term.  Your unemployment benefits, severance pay and savings only go so far.  When they’re gone, and reality sets in, and your house is underwater, postponing pain into the future makes more sense than losing everything in the present.

Republicans don’t even have to win next year.  It’s unlikely that the American public will get the whole picture in time to reduce their numbers to a minority so small they can’t do any further harm.  So, as long as they have even one member who exceeds the number required to oppose everything the presiding majority wants to do, they will continue to obstruct.  We really should have let the South secede.  It seems determined to wait everyone out until we give them back slavery and let them go.

But if they win next year by making Obama and the Democrats look really, really bad, then they will have carte blanche to do whatever the hell they want.  I’m going to take a guess that the thing they are going to do first with that opportunity is make damn sure their voting strength in Congress is never so diluted that their votes can be discounted.  That way, no matter what happens after 2016, there will be no turning back the clock to a more New Dealish/Great Society moment again.  That’s what *I* would do if I were fiendishly disposed to hold onto power.  Look for the Supreme Court to somehow roll back voting rights in such a way that poor and middle class voters are somehow not as equal as they used to be.

It’s too bad that Obama and the Democrats didn’t see this coming.  Oh, please, of course they saw this coming.  They either didn’t want to do anything about it or were in denial.  Let this be a lesson to Democratic base voters.  The next time you want someone to forcefully push back against your enemies, vote for the hairy, unibrowed Atilla-the-Hun type candidate and not the student body president type.

It’s too late for Democrats to dig their way out of this one by placing the blame on the Republicans.  Yes, it is the Republicans’ fault.  They are that bad.  But the Democrats squandered their opportunity to change this narrative back in 2008 just after Obama was elected.  They should have come out of the gate swinging, attempted to control the media, reinstituted the fairness doctrine, reappointed the board to CPB, carefully metered Obama’s appearances to make the most of his impact and screamed bloody murder in the most hyperbolic manner possible.  That’s what the Republicans would have done.  Allowing themselves to be bullied into cooperating with the Republicans was the dumbest thing they ever did.

Well, that and passing on Hillary the IronClad for Obama the Tofu.  By the end of the primaries in 2008, the media had spent itself on Hillary and she was still winning primary states.  Their barbs were bouncing off of her with little effect.  Obama, on the other hand, had to be lifted and gently carried over the finish line to “win” the nomination.  He never really had to prove himself against the right wing noise leviathan.  And then Fox News got to work destroying the Democrats with their assistance.  The President *is* a Democrat (nominally) and the Senate *is* in Democratic hands.  What, *exactly*, is the problem here?  Yes, yes, we know all about the numbers but the problem is that Democrats did not use their power to scare the Republicans during the short period of time when they could have made a difference.  And they had Steny Hoyer digging up salacious stories on Liberal Democrats that he didn’t like.  That didn’t help.

So, Chuck Shumer is pissing in the wind.  The problem is intrinsic to the Democrats and no amount of directing the blame where it belongs is going to work until the party gets its act together.  You aren’t going to get Americans to turn on Republicans until they see the Democrats are going to go out of their way to try to help them.  They don’t see any evidence of that.  Partly, that’s a result of Democrats selling out to the monied class, part of it has to do with the fact that Democrats hobbled themselves with the Party Unity shtick at the convention that didn’t include the “old coalition”, that is, the elderly, working class (meaning all of us who don’t live off our investments), poor and women.

The Republicans have framed the Democrats as cowardly, craven milquetoasts.  Yep, that’s about the way I see it.  If the frame fits…

Hey, remember this hit from 2008?  Funny how not everyone in that crowd looked like partying…

Monday: what Ian says

We’re starting to see convergence in some of the left blogosphere about what will happen next year if Obama is the Democratic party’s nominee and it ain’t pretty. Ian Welsh lays it out:

Obama is not turning things around, what he is doing is negotiating with Republicans how fast the decline will be, and how much and how fast it is necessary to fuck ordinary Americans in order to keep the rich rich. If Obama wins another term, he will continue to negotiate the decline, then, odds are very high, a Republican will get in, and slam his foot on the accelerator of collapse.

This is why Obama must lose in 2012. I would prefer that he lose to a Democrat in a primary, then that Democrat wins, but he must lose regardless. If he loses to a Republican, then 2016 you get a chance to put someone in charge who might do the right things (or even just some of them.)

No, those odds aren’t good. They suck. Every part of them sucks. And even if you get a Dem in 2016, you’ll probably choose the right most candidate, just like you did last time, and he’ll go back to negotiating with Republicans over what parts of the corpse of America’s middle class they should dine on next. “No, no, eat one kidney first, they only need one to survive, so that’s not too cruel.”

But it is still your best chance. Otherwise you’re looking at full, Russian-style collapse. What comes out the other end, I don’t know, but you really won’t enjoy getting there.

And yes, if a Republican gets in in 2012, that’ll be awful. Just awful. But it’s not like a Republican is never going to be president ever again. That’s not on the agenda, that’s not possible. It will happen, and he will substantially cater to the Teabaggers. He will trash your country. That’s baked into the cake now, all you can choose is how soon it happens, and work to replace him with someone who might do the right thing.

Damn, if only some lefties had the courage to speak up in 2008 we might not be in this mess right now. I know there were doubters but they were too timid to say what they were really thinking. Why? Because they were afraid of being called racists and exiled to the Oort belt?

For you doubters in the left blogosphere who had Obama’s number but were too chickenshit to say anything, let me reassure you that there is and was a perfectly good reason for rejecting Obama. He messed around with the primary vote in 2008. No, don’t you roll your eyes at me. The primary vote of 2008 was the canary in the coal mine for everything that followed and should have been your leading indicator of all that would follow.

When it comes right down to it, your citizenship, your most valuable possession as a resident of this country, depends on your ability to exercise your right to vote. Self-determination, the kind of government you want, what kind of characteristics you choose in a leader to fit the demands of a fragile economy or time of war, that all hinges on whether you, along with your fellow citizens have the power to elect your representatives. The Egyptians learned that the hard way over the past 30 years. So have many countries around the world. When you lose your right to vote, when the vote is rigged in one person’s favor, when all other candidates need not apply, when political factions are suppressed, you end up with a country where brutality rules, where people are poor unless they are well connected and where the young grow up without hope.

That is where we are headed, lefties. If you accept the preconception that Obama will get the nomination and you do not choose to object – right now- then you take one step closer to living in a country where your vote means nothing to the people in charge. It already means very little. That’s because the primary vote was very clearly manipulated in 2008 and the Democratic activist base said nothing. The base was so enamored of John Edwards first and Barack Obama second, its dark, latent sexist tendencies provoked by political psychologists, that it did exactly what those manipulators expected. It went with the businessman’s candidate. The rest of us were screwed. And it did not protest when the 18 million of us who voted for the other candidate were cut out of the loop.

That was your fatal mistake, lefties. You should have insisted on fairness, a floor fight, an opportunity for each candidate to make his or her case before the convention delegates. That would have lead to unity. Instead, the party decided to suppress, in *our* eyes, the votes of Half of its members and humiliate a party loyalist who deserved it’s respect and admiration. In the end, the party’s slogan for 2008 could have been “unity is division”. You lost your ability to persuade the powers that be when you allowed half of the party to be jettisoned and their right to self determination trashed without raising a peep in protest.

So, now those powers are looking at what is left of the party and see a bunch of disunited factions, unable to solidify a credible response to their plans. And what are those plans? As far as I can tell, the Obama campaign will data mine the various socio-economic cohorts and craft a narrowly defined message for each one. There is no vision. There are only votes. They will pick them off little by little. The result will worse the second time. The business and financial sector elite with become entrenched and enjoy all the blessings of aristocracy. There will be no significant cohort to stand in their way to draw a line in the sand.

That is, if you do nothing but wring your hands in frustration.

What needs to be done is to not cooperate. Now. If you wait for the narrative to be fixed, it will be too late. Now is the time to reconcile with the 18 million and to tell Obama’s backers that you’re not going along with it. Do it now, while you still have the power to affect the outcome. Just say, “No”.

My objection to Obama has never been based on his race. As a scientist, I believe that the concept of race has no biological basis, even though it does in a socio-economic and historical sense. But Obama was not born a disadvantaged child no matter how unusual his childhood. His ties to the disadvantaged African American experience is tangential at best.

Nor do I think there’s any validity to the birther claims that he wasn’t born here. Bill Clinton said during the primary that Obama met the constitutional tests for becoming president and if you don’t think the Clintons didn’t look into it, well, you don’t know the Clintons. As far as his birth certificate goes, I think he withholds the official documentation just to make the birthers look unhinged- which they do. If you’re one of the birthers and you don’t mind that you look batshit crazy and ineffectual, go right ahead and keep tilting at this windmill. You will never dislodge Obama going this route and you are diluting your real strength by not returning to your Democratic roots.

And I don’t begrudge the guy rest and relaxation or trips to Broadway with his wife or any other down time the president of the United States is privileged to enjoy. Being president is aging particularly if you don’t do it well. If you are trying to please your patrons and run a country without any political coalitions of your own because you didn’t put in the time to actually learn the ropes of government through hard work and legislative activity, then it must be a very tiring experience and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

But a politician that seeks to invalidate my vote and smother my voice *is* my worst enemy. That person has no respect for the only right of a citizen that actually counts. Countless Americans without property or who were property or who were women struggled for years and in some cases centuries, to get that precious right and in the blink of a rules committee hearing, it was trampled, unceremoniously and almost gleefully by the same party activists who vowed to never act like authoritarian bad guys who ran the country for eight, long years. It doesn’t matter if that person has a D after his name.

The left has yet to learn who its enemies are. I have said before that nothing good comes of a bad seed. The 2008 primary was a very bad beginning and everything that Obama has done or failed to do and has impacted the lives of ordinary Americans has flowed from that series of very unfortunate events. It’s time to face that truth.

It really is that serious.