First, the facts from Bloomberg…

The Obama administration cut taxes for middle-class Americans, expects to make a profit on the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to rescue Wall Street banks and has overseen an economy that has grown for the past five quarters.

Now the perception…

A Bloomberg National Poll conducted Oct. 24-26 finds that by a two-to-one margin, likely voters in the Nov. 2 midterm elections think taxes have gone up, the economy has shrunk, and the billions lent to banks as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program won’t be recovered.


Because the GOP is lying. And Americans are buying it. That’s all there is to it.

Many will blame the administration for not being able to communicate this message, but how can you combat opposition that will say ANYTHING to make it seem like you are lying and a media that is complacent and won’t hold those who are lying accountable?

Truth is, the Democrats have been saying the above over and over again, but voters apparently just want to believe their own set of facts. And I’m looking square at you Independents and Moderate Dems. Republicans I can understand, but Independents and Moderates aren’t supposed to be snowed by this stuff. And yet you all are getting completely taken. So much so that I’m losing faith in the block of voters who call themselves independent or moderate. Because what that stands for in this election cycle is, apparently, a lack of interest in finding out what’s really going on.

And to that point…

Even a plurality of Democrats, 43 percent, holds this misperception. Overall, 63 percent of those who earn $25,000 to $49,999 say taxes have gone up, compared with 45 percent of those who earn $100,000 or more.

And yet the reality is…

The Obama administration has cut taxes — largely for the middle class — by $240 billion since taking office on Jan. 20, 2009. A program aimed at families earning less than $150,000 that was contained in the stimulus package lowered the burden for 95 percent of working Americans by $116 billion, or about $400 per year for individuals and $800 for married couples. Other measures include breaks for college education, moderate- income families and the unemployed and incentives to promote renewable energy.

More reality…

Today, the Commerce Department reported the economy grew at a 2 percent annual rate in the third quarter as consumer spending climbed the most in almost four years, a sign the expansion is developing staying power. In the past year, the economy has grown 3.1 percent. The third-quarter growth matched the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and followed a 1.7 percent gain the prior three months.

Oh wait…more…

A year and a half after U.S. stocks hit their post- financial-crisis low on March 9, 2009, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has risen 75 percent, and it’s up 15 percent for this year.

More still…

Household purchases, about 70 percent of the economy, rose at a 2.6 percent pace, the best quarter of the recovery that began in June 2009.

Listen, everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, but they’re not entitled to their own set of facts. The GOP and the Tea Party have constructed a seductive, familiar story line, full of danger, intrigue and loathsome, Constitution hating enemies. But none of it squares with reality.

In fact, the only thing that everybody (Dems, Repubs and Indys alike) can agree upon is that we’re spending too much money and that needs to stop. But when the GOP is proposing massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans without finding any way to pay for them, you know what’s really going on.

Just remember all of this when you step into the voting booth next Tuesday. You may not agree with some of Obama’s policies, but are you really ready to hand over control to the GOP before Dems have had a chance to pull the economy out of the ditch?

  • kranky kritter


    The rest is static.

    The majority of Americans is going to hold this admin responsible for spending a ton of money on a stimulus that Democrats promised would create lots of new jobs, and so far has not.

    There are plenty of salient points that can be made about why this promised outcome has not materialized as of yet. And most voters don’t seem to care about any of them. They’re about to render their verdict that they are unhappy about the results so far.

    Whining about how Americans have chosen to keep score will avail democrats nothing. Complaining that Americans are making misguided votes that are based on nothing more than Republican lies is a really good way to alienate the general public even more. Because it amounts to saying “your feelings are wrong.”

    That’s the one thing that’s most misplaced about your post Justin. This election is NOT about what Americans think. It’s about how they feel. How they feel about a collapsed economy that hasn’t bounced back. Especially unconsoling is the contention that the economy has “stabilized.” It has stabilized in a very crappy condition, and voters are going to cast votes that say “we’re really pissed.” The more democrats tell people that they are wrong, the fewer votes they’ll get. Voters are in no mood to be corrected.

    The midterm elections are going to go down as an epic sh!tstorm. When you stand bravely in a sh!tstorm, the primary result is that you get more on you.

  • I would say that in the long run jobs are not enough. They have to be good jobs. Otherwise the discontent will just continue to simmer.

  • Joe Sortais

    Few people take the time and effort to actually check out the underlying facts of any issue. They make up their minds based on whether they have a job, whether they feel threatened, how they feel at the moment and their emotions. It’s emotion that rules, not reason. I’m just surprised that Obama, the master communicator during the presidential election, has spent so little effective time in the last two years rallying the country behind a positive unifying emotional cause. On the other hand, he has had his hands more than full dealing with the mess left behind by the Republicans.
    Joe Sortais

  • kranky, I don’t disagree. But they’re being snowed. That’s all I’m saying. The job scene would be so much worse if Obama hadn’t proposed the stimulus and we’re recovering. If this election had been a year later, I bet we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    Moreover, and again, the Repubs are simply lying. But what can you do? It’s already done. We deserve what we get at this point.

  • superdestroyer

    This post is a good example of how totell lies while telling the truth. The S&P has a give year low of 800 and is currently 1200. That is not a75% increase. The DJIA has increased at a much lower rate and interest rates are so low that there is good place to invest money.

    The feds have limited the tax increases but many states have already raised taxes and the liberals in Congress have signalled their desire for massive tax increase to support massive entitlement spending. The middle class whites see the Democrats passing out new entitlement spending while supporting open borders and wonder how the U.S. will ever be able to afford it.

    The TARP is still not finished but the $800 billion stimulus spending has been a massive bust. There were no real shovel ready jobs, the money was wasted and few people were employed. IN addition,construction jobs are done by illegal aliens who send the money out of the country. Why support that?

    Both the establishment Republicans and the Democrats have decide to replace middle class whites with minorities and immigrants. The white middle class is in revolt. As long as the Democrats continue to support and expand race and ethnic based government programs, the white middle class will continue to revolt.

  • Wickedways

    This was an open letter sent to Rush Limbaugh. Don’t go into a swoon dive. I do not listen to Rush Limbaugh but this caught my attention on the internet.

    We will not give up.

    It’s going to be years, if ever, before the lamestream media ever catches up to any of this, and realizes that a large swath of people who used to be Democrat loyalists are now doing everything they can to destroy the party. Some of them are out and open, like me and my friends here at HillBuzz, but many are doing their part quietly.

    They just stop writing checks. Or maybe now they write checks to Democrat opponents. They might continue to attend events and fundraisers, but now they call up Republican sites and give them all the dirt on what they heard in those meetings. The Democrat Party alienated so many people who are now working to bring it down that I could go on for pages and pages more on this topic.

    End quote.

    Anyone remember the PUMA. The Democratic party seriously has more to fear then the Tea party. They have their own internal bickering that is fixing to become a roar on November 3rd.

    Justin is blaming the gains of the GOP on lies, deception and misdirection and to a degree there is truth in that. But the real problem for the Democratic party is almost identical to the one facing the GOP.

    PUMA is to The Democrats what the Tea party is to the GOP. They are both saying stop it! Change what your doing.

    No ones listening. Were not listening to each other. Were all only interested in pointing fingers and outshouting the other side. In the meantime the parties themselves are fighting for their own identity and the status quo as they step on their own supporters.

    BUSH with his preemptive wars and spending like a drunk and expanding government rather then shrinking it.

    Obama and the progressives with their negative anti-business, anti-rich campaign against the wishes of the liberal left that has been in control of the Democratic party until the progressives through Obama wrested it away in 2008.

    These are interesting times. They are also stressful. As a historian I can tell you that the times we have today are so eerily similar to the times leading up to the election of Abraham Lincoln that it is beyond scary for this nation and it is not written anywhere that says were only allowed one civil war.

  • mw

    I’ve noticed your propensity to be very quick to use the word “lies”when describing those you are opposed to politically. You are very quick to use that word applied to Republicans, as you were to the Clinton campaign in opposition to Obama. You have blinders on about the party you support, but since you have gone down that road there is no alternative but to reply in kind.

    Nobody is being snowed except delusional Democrats who are snowing themselves. It is certainly not the Independents and moderates that are being snowed. They are seeing right through Democrat spin,BS, and lies. The reason that Obama and the Democrats have lost independents and moderates is simple. They were lied to by Obama and Democrats. The single biggest whopper is that Obama said he would govern with fiscal responsibility. That was a big part of the reason why he was able to attract independents and moderates in 2008. That was a lie. The massive increase in spending under this administration is unprecedented and and enormously destructive. That is clear to anyone who does not have partisan blinders on. This is why he lost the center and independents..

    And please spare me the canard that conservatives did not care about runaway spending under Bush. Bush and the Republicans were heavily criticized by conservatives in 2006 even going so far as to say in a national liberal magazine that they deserve to lose the election. Bush and the Republicans lost the center and independents in 2006 for the same reason that Obama and the Democrats are losing them in 2010. There is one big difference though. Obama and the Democrats are three times worse on spending and deficits than the Bush and the Republicans. Three times. There is no comparison. It is the height of intellectual hypocrisy for Democrats to point at fiscally irresponsible Republicans (and they were) for driving 80 in a 55 (which was really bad), when Obama and the Democrats are driving at 170 (which is insane and dangerous)

    This is all perfectly clear and easy to see for independents and moderates even if Partisan Democrats with blinders on can’t or don’t want to see it.

  • mw

    You’ve been peddling this crap for years. However, it appears to me you are now getting more strident and explicitly racist with your pitch. I can see why. Two years ago your main theme was that the Republican party was dead because of demographic shifts in the electorate. You predicted more losses for the GOP in 2010 and beyond based on your one note rationale. You were not alone, and had a lot of MSM cover then. There were many pundits on the right and left making similar observation about an “ice-age” for Republicans because of a permanent realignment in the electorate. Well – the election results this year are proving you and them wrong and I could not be happier.

    I find the entire notion of ethnicity as an absolute determinant of electoral destiny to be offensive and wrong-headed. The explicit assumption is this: Since Latino’s and blacks voted overwhelmingly Democratic in the last election, they will always vote Democratic. Moreover, minorities will always vote based predominantly on their race, and not as individuals. I just don’t accept the premise. Good ideas, good candidates and smart politics will find support in any demographic. It’ll take time, but the right ideas and policies will pull support from any ethnic group.

    This is not my blog, but if it was, I’d ask you to peddle this somewhere else.

  • mw, you are not a moderate. You are not an independent. You haven’t been for quite a while. The overwhelming majority of your posts are hardcore Republican support. Perhaps it is you who should try and quit pretending to be something you haven’t been for quite a while now. For you to point out that since Obama took office there has been more spending without the accompanying observation that it is virtually all because of the recession is the height of hypocrisy. In addition there is absolutely no sign of what you define as fiscal responsibility on the part of the Republicans. They want to continue the Bush tax cuts permanently. They want to cut the official corporate tax rates with no elimination of the deductions and plain loopholes that drastically reduce the actual rates. They want the estate tax permanently eliminated. There are also serious proposals to eliminate capital gains taxes. There are not, however, proposed spending cuts that would actually overcome the effects of all of those tax cuts on the deficit, much less allow the overall national debt to be reduced. Since this is what is considered in the conservative viewpoint to be fiscal responsibility where does it exist in the Republican Party? It doesn’t.

  • Chris

    Mw I have an exercise for you: lets both make a list of the lies both parties have told in the last 10 years, both while trying to get elected and as elected officials.

    I think it would be fair to include the Republican News Channel in this exercise.

  • mw,

    You’re arguing that is all about the deficits and spending. It’s not. It’s about the economy…which is getting better and the proof is right there for everybody to see. So I’m arguing that Repubs have been saying the exact opposite when it comes to the points brought up in this article: that the economy is getting worse, that’s it’s not growing, that TARP didn’t work, that we’ll never see any of the TARP money back and that Obama is raising taxes. Moreover, they’ve added a very sinister layer on there that he’s anti-business, anti-rich, anti-American and that he’ll destroy our way of life.

    But let’s talk about deficits. As I’ve said in the past, nobody’s arguing that we can keep spending like this into infinity. Everybody acknowledges that we have to find ways to cut. But the reason we’re spending right now is obvious. We have to pay for health care reform, which will result in us paying less in the long run, and we have to pump money into the economy to make sure it doesn’t tank. Meanwhile, Obama has frozen discretionary spending and is cutting spending elsewhere, specifically in the insanely bloated defense budget. But is he going to cut social safety net programs in the middle of historic joblessness? Of course not. To expect him to do so is ridiculous.

    So you have your version of fiscal responsibility and I have mine. It’s an opinion about where we should focus. To me, Obama has acted responsible because he has saved our asses and is focusing on the long term. That’s what he said he’d do in his campaign. And we all know that’s expensive in the short term, but it could pay off in the long term. If you didn’t realize that during the campaign, well, that’s not his fault.

    Also, you can point to all the articles you want, but it comes down to the politicians, not the pundits. What will Republican politicians do, not what are Republican columnists saying. In that regard, your argument about Republicans suddenly becoming fiscally disciplined doesn’t even come close to passing the smell test.

    But we both agree that Superdestroyer’s points are very wrong headed. Not just because they appear to be bigoted, but also because they ignore the fact that minority voters are growing in size and are therefore becoming a greater force in elections. The logic is simple: ignore them and lose. Moreover, if minority voters have priorities that are important to them, they’ll elect politicians who will champion those priorities. It a very simple calculus and if he/she can’t understand that, well, too bad for him/her.

  • Part of the problem is the busy (lazy) people who only get sound bites.

    So they constantly hear from the right, cries of socialism or massive spending (despite the deficit being 90%+ a result of conservative policies); and then on the left we have hamsher, or cenk relentlessly attacking health reform.

    What we end up with is people who pay no attention to politics, come away with the impression that everyone is mad at the president.

    Low information voters and anti-information (fox viewers) are the problem.

  • superdestroyer


    Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are still not voting for Republicans. More of them appear to planning on staying home instead of voting for crusty old white guys. The only thing that has happen is that the private sector middle class whites look like they are voting more Republican than in 2008 or 2006.

    However, in 2012, the black, Hispanic, and Asian voters will be back

    If I underestimated anything, it was how badly that the Obama Administration would perform and how much financial risk that they would introduce into the economy.

    If you want to know how bad the economy is, the Democrats cannot create more jobs for law school graduates.

  • kranky kritter

    What a depressing food fight this thread is.

  • mw

    He started it.

  • Alistair

    mw & Justin:

    Did you know that current Democratic congress that they shrank US spending by 9%? Yet hardly anybody ever reported it on Nation T.V.

  • kranky kritter

    Alistair, did you know that’s because of the stupendously gigantic wad that got spend the year before that? The “story” should be that they spent slightly less the year after the stimulus? This is under-reported good news about fiscal sobriety by democrats? Really? I mean, REALLY?

    Justin did start this food fight. And he’s sticking to his guns. According to him, Republicans are going to re-take the house and maybe the senate only because they repeatedly lie, and the public is too stupid to see through it. The democrats have actually done nothing but smart, wise, necessary work for the good of the people. They a combination of Jesus and Job.

    OK. If you believe that the only thing wrong with the direction of the country is that everyday folks are too stupid to see through Republican lies, by all means vote for democrats.

    But if you think posts like Justin’s are the closing notes in a tone-deaf symphony, then let your conscience be your guide.

    I’ll be voting for some democrats and some republicans on Tuesday. The democrats I vote for will be ones who have shown they get it. Not ones whining about the other side being worse.

  • gerryf

    Last night, my brother insisted the same thing that Superdestroyer did. I marvel at the myth that there were no shovel ready work to be performed for the stimulus.

    This is after he drove through a massive freeway widening project that has been traffic choked for 20 years, a huge reconstruction of a two lane road to a four lane boulevard that has been traffic choked for 20 years and under three bridges that have crumbling for more than a decade. And he just missed a massive roundabout.

    And none of these projects provided a single job that wouldn’t have been there without the stimulus.

    This is more than low information voters. This is worse than ignorence. This is willful ignorence.

    Maybe it is just where I live, and maybe it is just because this area has a remarkable capable county road commission (that is almost completely Republican controlled by the way). I have not seen this level of infrastructure spending if 40 years.

    And these Republican officials were ready to go when the stimulus was being formulated. I can remember article after article in the newspaper about how many projects they had lined up–far more than the money they would be able to obtain.

    And these were Republicans saying these things.

    All of these projects have resulted in many jobs, and these people who have been working have been spending their money here in these communities.

    Again. I fully concede that I have not traveled throughout the country so I do not know what other areas have done when it comes to the stimulus spending, but speaking for an area that has been one of the worst hit by the Great Recession, I cannot fathom what things would have been like without it.

  • superdestroyer


    While looking at a leftofcenter website that has been tracking the stilumus spending, 18 months after the stimulus was started, only about 60
    % of the contract money has actually been spent. Thebiggest single type of spending has been grants from the department of education to keep teachers on the payroll.

    For a construction project to really be contract ready it would require a current environmental assessment, a contract in place, no need for revisions, and no local oppositions.

    Large construction projects actually employ few people, are capital intensive, and do little for the local economy. Just look in DC area where Maryland has been spending on the inner-county connector for 20 years and the replacement for the Wilson Bridge has taken a decade.

    So no,there were really no shovel ready jobs and people forget that they do not use shove anymore.

    Unless you at least give me the metropolitan area, I cannot check your claims.

  • Rich Horton

    I tremble at the awesome power of the GOP lies.

    Or not. Could it be that the poll results stem from a feeling of economic vulnerability on the part of many people who are unemployed, under-employed, or who fear being either in the near future? Could it be that people don’t make hard and fast distinctions between Federal taxes and taxes more generally? THis would include state/local taxes which have not decreased for people, and which include the more regressive sales and property taxes which people under financial stress feel more actutely.

    Nah…that can’t be it. The answer must be that people are too stupid to realize how good they’ve got it.

  • Chris

    KK you’re painting justin and all people who aren’t “centrists” as extreme, which isn’t the case of course. You’ve chosen being a centrist like anyone else chooses a political party. There’s a bell curve of belief, and people like Justin, myself, alistair are all people who, right now, see the democrats as sucking far less than republicans.

    That is based on observation of their words and then their actions. Any intelligent person can take a look at what republicans running for federal office say and then what they do. They don’t match up.

    Democrats don’t do a very good job, but they generally don’t promise a lot either.

  • Wickedways

    I believe the Democrats have some good ideas. But this post is not about revisiting the Democrats ideas. This post is about perceptions and expectations of the American people.

    The American people are not stupid. They see whats going on. So this election is about the Democrats agenda and Barak Obama.

    This post is not a critique of the Democrats ideas. Its about what is driving this election.

    Its about bailing out GM and then giving the company to UNIONS. Its about telling bond holders to go to hell. Its about Wall Street reform that was needed but is punitive in scope.

    Its about telling corporations how much they can pay their executives. IS THAT the role of government?

    Its about Health care that was not sold to the American people but was passed anyway.

    Its about telling the majority of American people what they will and will not do. Its about taxing the air we breathe.

    Its about expanding government.

    Its about 90 members of Congress being members of the Democratic Socialists of America.

    Its about the Communist Party of America endorsing Barak Obama’s own Pac. Endorsing the AFL-CIO and without so much as a hold on wait a minute from the left. Im not saying that democrats are commies…Im just saying…Its perception.

    Its about believing and proclaiming that Americans are stupid if they dont agree with me. Barak Obama is out there in our faces telling us were stupid. His cohorts are doing the same thing.

    Somewhere all of these centrist, moderate, compassionate Democrats lost control of their message in their euphoria of the mandate they thought they were given.

    Its about the message and the longer the Democrats shout their message the more the American people hate the town criers.

    Stupid Americans for believing what the GOP says? You be the judge.

  • Larry


    You say that the Democrats lied when they ran as fiscal conservatives. You offer nothing to back this up. Yes, you point to a CBS article on the ballooning deficit. Even in that article, they note that a lot of the debt was accrued from the previous administration, and most of the debt accrued since, was the result of emergency spending to prevent the total collapse of our financial system, something that would have happened if we had done nothing. As the story notes, the deficit is one reason why President Obama wants to stop the extension of tax cuts for the wealthy this year, because they would cost us $700 Billion in borrowed money.

    He is offering a compromise. While we cannot afford to extend all the tax cuts, let’s extend those for 95% of Americans, yet the Republican party has held tax cuts for 95% of Americans hostage to tax cuts for the top 5% who don’t need them, and who benefited already from the TARP bailout, which was incidentally passed by the Bush administration. Moreover, for the end of the 2010 fiscal year, the Obama administration actually lowered the deficit by $122 billion.

    So, on that part at least, you are both misguided in your criticism, and wrong.

    I hear this from “conservatives” all the time: We took over the car manufacturers and now the businesses are failing, socialism!!!!

    When I tell them that GM and Chrysler are actually turning around, and paying back the money the US govt lent them, and that this year for the first time in a long time they made a profit, the response is usually, it’s still socialism. We should have let them fail, and unemployment is at 10%.

    I point out that given that both companies will soon be able to fully paid back the loans the US govt gave them, and indeed buy out the US from any ownership stake, that it isn’t really socialism because it was solely an emergency measure to prevent an industry’s collapse. Additionally, I tell them, had we allowed GM & Chrysler to go under, they would not have been the only ones to suffer and collapse. I point out that many other firms and services depend on these two being viable, and that without our bailout, unemployment would be higher than 10%.

    They continue to argue, OMG, Obama said if we passed stimulus, unemployment would not go above 8%. I point out that most of those jobs were lost before Obama came into office. I usually point them to what has become known as the bikini graph, which shows the job losses from the year before Obama became president, to the two years after (starts at 2:06 in that video). As you can see, up until Obama came into office, and before he had implemented his first policy proposals we were still losing an average of 700,000 jobs a month. After his policies were implemented, including the stimulus, the economy started to recover, albeit, slowly.

    Another thing “conservatives” claim is that they care about the deficit, but then they also want tax cuts. Given that we are running a deficit, and borrowing money from China one of those two things will have to go, we can’t have both. You either care about the deficit, and will seek to cut govt spending, and raise taxes, or you just pretend to care about the deficit to get votes, and then do nothing. FYI – Cutting govt spending, unless you are willing to go after DOD and all entitlements, will only partially dent the deficit, and in the long run leave us less prepared to compete in a globalized world. Raising taxes, would help far more in getting more revenue to pay for down our debt.

    What’s more, you talk about the spending under Obama, part of that “spending” is merely the Obama administration clearly including in their budget the true cost of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq & our spending on security. The Bush administration kept the deficit appearing artificially low because they refused to include the costs of these wars in the deficit and financed them via supplemental every few months, in such a way hiding from the American people how much we were being indebted. Obama said, upon being elected that the true costs would be added to the deficit and he did, and now it is being used as a political tool against him, despite the fact that again, it was his predecessor who left these two wars incomplete and unfinished.

  • Tully

    According to him, Republicans are going to re-take the house and maybe the senate only because they repeatedly lie, and the public is too stupid to see through it.

    Hee hee. I just love the “You voters are just too fucking stupid to realize how good for you we are” meme. Yeah, go right on pushing that one. Just keep calling the voters stupid and sooner or later they’ll bend over and say “Thank you, sir, may I have another?” What could go wrong?

    It took the Democrats a mere year to accomplish what the GOP took several to do — alienate the bulk of the non-partisan electorate, the swing voters, the Grreat Middle. Well, the Great Middle is rising, and it is pissed. They had a Flounder Moment, they know it, and they’re about to express their displeasure.

    For the next couple of years we get to watch the small-government fiscal conservatives battle with the Church Lady social conservatives over control of the GOP, while the Dems try to reinvent themselves as financially responsible centrists. Should be amusing.

  • Tully

    According to him, Republicans are going to re-take the house and maybe the senate only because they repeatedly lie, and the public is too stupid to see through it. The democrats have actually done nothing but smart, wise, necessary work for the good of the people.

    I do love that “You voters are just too fucking stupid to realize all the good we’ve done for you” meme. Just keep pushing that one out at said voters until they bend over and say “Thank you, sir, may I have another?” What could go wrong?

    It took the Democrats only about a year what it took the GOP most of a decade to accomplish, namely, to convince the swing voters of the non-partisan Great Middle that they were even more full of crap than the Other Guys. Now the Great Middle is rising, and they are pissed. They know they had a Flounder Moment in 2008 and they intend to do something about it.

    They’re not turning into Republicans, they’re choosing what they perceive as the lesser of evils. If the GOP thinks otherwise they’re in for a rude surprise.

    On the bright side, we get a fresh three-ring circus as the small-government fiscons battle it out with the Church Lady socons for control of the GOP, and as the Dems try to transmogrify their tattered now-leftist/staist image back into one of good-government centrism. (Note to GOP: the fiscons are gonna be starting out with a big lead … )

    We’re gonna need extra popcorn.

  • kranky kritter

    KK you’re painting justin and all people who aren’t “centrists” as extreme, which isn’t the case of course.

    Where? Where did I do that? Show me where.

    You’ve chosen being a centrist like anyone else chooses a political party.

    Not really. I’m not a centrist as much as I’m an independent. I don’t always believe in the middle solution. Depending on the issue, I may lean substantially to one side. It’s extremely important to understand that there’s way more to it than splitting the difference. And I don’t defend my party group from a sense of loyalty and fear and hatred of the other. That is a HUGE, HUGE difference. The essence of loyalty is to join a tribe and to defend it right or wrong. I explicitly reject the utility of that practice in the context of our two-party system. So, you’re pretty much totally wrong. I’ve chosen my political positions as an utter rejection of the way other folks have chosen the republican or democratic parties. And my sense is that I have more company today at than at any time in recent history. And there is a very good chance I’ll have even more company come 2012.

    There’s a bell curve of belief, and people like Justin, myself, alistair are all people who, right now, see the democrats as sucking far less than republicans.

    Sure. Fine. Is it useful or necessary to state this by claiming the Republicans are all liars and that the people are all wrong? Notice how you use the term belief. In my opinion that relates way too much to faith, and not enough to constant open-minded hypothesis testing. There is not a doubt in my mind that most partisans here and elsewhere only ever do research to find things that support their deadly hardened opinions about the world as it is,

    To me, part of being an independent is practicing true independent thought, shaping hypotheses to be testable, and constant revising and refining my thoughts on issues. Being free from party loyalty is a HUGE part of this. If you never have to worry about defending democrats or republicans as a personal duty, you can practice ongoing open-minded inquiry. Try it some time.

    This approach has allowed me to have consistency not on an axis of either party’s platform, but on the axis of what seems best for my country. For example, I’ve been following deficit spending and the growing demographic problems we face with social security, medicare, and healthcare in general for several decades. I’ve some to understand the seriousness of the problem, and I’ve reviewed the numbers and trends. So I refuse to be bullshitted by partisans from either side. Especially nitwits haven’t bothered to understand them (not directed at anyone in particualer here).

    To be as explicit as I can (even though it should not be necessary here), I don’t think Justin is extreme, and I have almost always made that quite clear, despite your claims. I don’t think I’ve ever painted him that way. He’s an admitted partisan who cheerfully concedes that he leans towards the democrats on virtually every issue.

    My conception on the american electorate is a working model that says that the two parties divide the electorate into at least 5 distinct groups.

    Loyalist Democrats and Loyalist Republicans each comprise roughly one third. The other third is made up of independents, but these independents comprise roughly 3 groups; independents on the far left, moderate independents, and independents on the far right.

    It’s the folks on the far left and far right who are extreme. They may vote with their side, but the far left views the democrats as not liberal enough, and the far right views republicans as insufficiently conservative.

    I understand how important it is to any intelligent, educated person’s self-image to believe that they are fair-minded, open-minded, rational, reasonable, flexible, and so on. But I believe that behavior must be viewed as a better indicator of a person’s nature than their self-image. You aren’t extreme, but you are from all that I know of you QUITE loyal to liberalism and mainstream democratic thought. At least in practice.

    Maybe you yearn to be free, though. The dilemma ceases to be a dilemma if you reject both horns.

  • Wow… sorry about coming to this so late!

    This is true, that people are convinced that things are worse than they are at the macro level, but you are making the mistake of assuming correlation equals causation.

    It is assuredly part of it, but it is also assuredly partly because many of those people are feeling the effects of the recession closer to home. People don’t usually see things on the macro level, they see what is happening to their friends, family and localities… and then apply that to the wider world around them… basic social psych… “spheres of influence” (Bronfenbrenner, social ecological theory, etc)

    And even if this was the case, watching polls over the last two years has shown the democrats have taken a hit with independents every time they made a move that weren’t popular with independents. You might agree with those moves, but you’re among the more left leaning independents, so its not surprising you’re among the 30 some percent that is still supporting Obama in the polls.

    Some examples…

    The heath care bill was a clusterfuck, both the passage of it and the mess that led to final passage… as well as the ensuing debate over the individual mandate, which Obama CAMPAIGNED AGAINST (the media REALLY gave him a pass on that flip flop) and a LOT of people think is just plain wrong (myself included). I generally agree with what the president has done in Iraq and Afghanistan, but a lot of people don’t. The President really screwed himself in a bunch of ways with the mishandling of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell stuff.

    The stimulus was packaged with a mountain of promises the president should have known better in making… he set himself up for failure there… and that hundreds of billions of that money went to programs with little to no actual stimulative effect, much less economic multiplier effects, as well as to allied special interests and programs where the money STILL hasn’t even been spent… they really shot themselves in the feet there. They botched it on TARP… they should have made the strings attached to folks who took help a lot more stringent, and the handouts they lathered on the unions during the auto bailouts… obvious pandering… and don’t even get me started on the disastrous push for card check.

    But you know all of this as well as I do… and that there are more examples.

    Overall though, this is one facet, however big, among many. The dems have made a series of mistakes that led to this. Trying to blame it on narrative, or any single, or short list even, of issues just doesn’t make sense.

    Solomon Kleinsmith
    Rise of the Center
    Vanguard of the Rising Moderate and Centrist Independent Opposition