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Republicans may as well phone it in
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mark Mellman, former advisor to John Kerry and other Democrats thinks it's all over but the shouting. He's sure, if history is an indicator, that the midterm elections will see the Democrats prevail:
By any standard, Bush and his party are in trouble. When Democrats lost 54 House seats in 1994, 38 percent approved of President Clinton’s performance. Today 38 percent approve of the way this president is handling his job. Harry Truman’s approval rating was a nearly identical 39 percent in 1950 when Democrats lost 29 seats, while Ronald Reagan was at 42 percent when his party lost 26 seats in 1982. Indeed, since the advent of polling, no president with an approval rating below 50 percent has lost fewer than the 15 seats Democrats need to retake the House.
Well, yes, but those Democrats weren't today's Democrats. Those Democrats actually had a plan and ideas and they were united and able to articulate their issues.

I have no doubt in my mind that Republicans are going to suffer losses in this election. Mellman lays out the reasons fairly well. But he, like most Democrats, avoids the other side of the coin. While the polls Mellman points to show that they lead on just about every issue, he seems unable to tell us why or how best to exploit that lead.

Unless the Democrats are able to focus on at least 3 core issues, and present a positive (note that word) treatment of those issues which significantly differentiates them from the Republicans (and then nationalize those issues), I don't see Mellman's dream happening.

The one constant about historical trends is they tend to end at some point in time. I'd suggest that time could be 2006. While the Republicans are precisely where the Democrats were in 1994, the Democrats aren't anywhere near where the Republicans were at the same time. "We can do it better" isn't something most people are going to vote for, whether or not the "generic Democrat" does better in the polls or not.

UPDATE: Michael Goodwin gives us an indicator of the current state of Democratic leadership ... the folks who are going to develop and execute the Mellman miracle:
Wait, it gets better. "Even the party's five-word 2006 motto has preoccupied congressional Democrats for months," according to the article, which quotes Reid as saying: "We had meetings where senators offered suggestions. We had focus groups. We worked hard on that. ...It's a long, slow, arduous process."

So far, the best and brightest have produced this motto: "Together, America Can Do Better." It does come with a little baggage, however - John Kerry used it in 2004, and you know how that worked out.

Not everybody likes the motto, and The Post says: "There is an effort afoot to drop the word 'together.' It tests well in focus groups and audiences, Democratic sources said, but it makes the syntax incorrect."

Yet even a blue-state copy editor might not be able to save the slogan, for The Post adds dryly, "Governors privately scoff at the slogan."
If they can't even agree on a 5 word motto, how in the world will they ever agree on a 5 point plan before November?
 
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Comments
you may not know the democrat’s ideas because you are dumb, uneducated, lazy or all of the above. but apparently the public does as shown in the polls you cite.

its pretty hard to say democrats are better on issues if they have no ideas as you claim.

why is it so easy for a conservative to so publicly admit they have no f*ing clue whats going on in the country. when did being an ignorant fool become cool?
 
Written By: billy
URL: http://
Well, Billy, before you jump all over McQ, I’ve voted for Ds more often than not for the last 30 plus years and I’ll be darned if I can tell you what three issues the party is going to push and what their position will be. Unfortunately, I don’t think we are the party of fiscal restraint and efficient government, which is what I think most people in the US are looking for. My guess is we’ll do better in 2006 only because the Rs have shown how bad they really are once they get power.
 
Written By: Steven Donegal
URL: http://
part true. even if you dont educate yourself to learn the "ideas" of the majority of the country, you might also say the republican "ideas" didnt work and are not desirable even if they could work.

but actions speak louder then words. remember the last and only time the budget has been balanced in 50 years? yes a democrat was in power. the idea that democrats spend too much doesnt comport with reality.


but seriously, for example democrats created social security. is that an idea, or is the GOP attempt to kill it an idea?

to me the gop’s "ideas" are merely lame attempts to hurt the programs the dems created, like social securtity.

those arent ideas. that is selling out the american people for profit. great idea.
 
Written By: billy
URL: http://
yes a democrat was in power.
Billy if you’re going to be a preacher, know your subject, OK?

Congress has the budget authority, not the President. So Congress balances the budget, not the President. All the president can do, during budget time, is sign it or veto it. And, with a country screaming for a balanced budget at the time, Clinton obviously did the politic thing.

The Congress in question was Republican.
but seriously, for example democrats created social security.
No kidding. And now, like ostriches they hide their head in the sand while the world’s greatest Ponzi scheme heads for ruin and threatens to take the country’s economy with it. The Democrats? AWOL. And those which aren’t AWOL are singing "Don’t worry, be happy".

Yeah, awsome stuff, that.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
My suspicion with why they are struggling to even formulate a motto is that they literally are bankrupt for ideas that have resonance with the majority of people. I don’t think "having ideas" has ever been an issue, it’s the sort of ideas they have.

Billy, we can tax everyone 1% or 100%, spend all of it and the budget is still balanced - so what? Balancing is a red herring.

If you think Social Security should stay the course, I encourage you to study both its history (the social security tax has risen dramatically since it’s inception - why?) and the projections for its future.



 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
My suspicion with why they are struggling to even formulate a motto is that they literally are bankrupt for ideas that have resonance with the majority of people.
I think you’re right ... thus the "we can do it better" nonsense.

There are only so many ways you can dress up the idea "tax and spend" and make it palatable. I think the one thing the Democrats have realized is that most Americans think they give enough money in taxes for government. And realizing that really limits their options. So they’ve got to come up with a creative, positive and acceptable way to get Americans to agree to giving more.

Ain’t happenin’. Ain’t gonna happen anytime soon either. That realization has them stymied.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
you guys have great one-liners but no explanation why the MAJORITY of the country favors the DEMOCRATS on EVERY issue, including now national security.

And yes McQ TAXES too.

why is that?

is it because they have no ideas? or is it because you are uneducated, out of touch, and basically a brainless rushbot?

how is it then that the democrats, without ideas, are favored over republicans?

oh i know. the poll is wrong. good excuse.
 
Written By: billy
URL: http://
I love it when democrats play up the horrible, evil, check kiting scandal that is Social Security. Wonder how old you are and if you work for a living Billy? Here is a clue, if you are under 30 and work, you aint gonna get that money back Biatch.
Yea thats right, Ted Kennedy, and Robert Byrd done made you their Biatch. Of course they wont have to worry about Social Security since they never worked a real job a day in their life.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
"you guys have great one-liners but no explanation why the MAJORITY of the country favors the DEMOCRATS on EVERY issue, including now national security."

Well, no the MAJORITY of the does not favor the DEMOCRATS on many, much less EVERY issue, or the DEMOCRATS would be in the majority now.

Unless you think Diebold explains it all...

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Wait! I figured it out! The paper just got the syntax wrong.
"Even the party’s five-word 2006 motto has preoccupied congressional Democrats for months," according to the article, which quotes Reid as saying: "We had meetings where senators offered suggestions. We had focus groups. We worked hard on that. ...It’s a long, slow, arduous process."
Nonono...
Let me parse that for you.
"Even the party’s five-word 2006 motto has preoccupied congressional Democrats for months" [... Reid is quoted as saying,] "It’s ’A long, slow, arduous process.’"
There you have it folks. The new five-word motto for the Democrats is:

"A long, slow, arduous process."
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
right kyle n. maybe you better go to another forum and talk about how great it will be if bush sells our ports to muslim terrorists. of course bush hasnt made you his bitch. you just think it is a good idea for al qaeda to control port security.

and tom perkins. i didnt expect that exciuse. instead of saying the poll is a liberal media trick, pretend there is no poll.

good one.

ask McQ. he knows that as of now, the MAJORITY favors DEMS on EVERY issue.

 
Written By: billy
URL: http://
yes, yes, of course.

Why is it, before every election in the last 8 years, the Democrats have been way ahead in the polls and yet continue to lose power?

There’s only one poll that counts. It’s coming in November.

If the Democrats have so many ideas, why don’t you articulate some of them, instead of just shouting "They’ve got ideas! the polls prove it!".
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
Come clean, now. Who’s pretending to be the deluded, incoherent leftist "billy". Is that you, Bithead? Shark, maybe?

Whoever it is, you’re doing a great job of mocking a self-important leftist. But you’re laying on the misspellings and lack of punctuation a bit too thick.

 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
its not worth articulating ideas to the wilfully ignorant.

the only point is, if you ask people who has better ideas, they say democrats.

if you dont know what they are it is because you are an ignoramous. that is not my problem. go read or something so you dont have to go around like a fool saying "they have no ideas" when everyone but a few dunces know what they are.

its like a mental retard saying, they dont know algebra. just because you are a moron and openly willing to admit it in public does not put the honus on an ordinary american to bring you out from your ignorance.
 
Written By: billy
URL: http://
Silly boy, I oppose the port deal. But you were too busy rushing to conclusions.
You need to get a clue about the real world. Republicans are not right all the time and do not always act in good faith, In fact most of us here, since we are Libertarians, dont really like the repblican party very much,
On the other hand the Democrats NEVER are right (at least not in the last fifty years) and Never seem to act in good faith. The sooner you learn that the better off you will be.
 
Written By: Kyle N
URL: http://
well i beg to differ. no political party is perfect but DEMS have it way over the GOP for many reasons.

but seriously lets come to an agreement. every poll i have seen shows DEMS favored on every issue.

does that mean they will surely crush the gop this year? no

does it negate the talking point that the dems have no ideas? yes

otherwise why when someone asks you,
"who is better on education, taxes, health care, social security, ..." do most say dems?

because they have no ideas? not
 
Written By: billy
URL: http://
The Democrats’ idea regarding education and health care consists of taking people’s money and spending it on these things. Exactly why I reject them. Here in Wisconsin, the Democratic Party is losing its grip on its most solid base, the inner city, by fighting tooth and nail against improvement in education.
 
Written By: triticale
URL: http://triticale.mu.nu
its not worth articulating ideas to the wilfully ignorant.
Put up or shut up, Billy ... articulate the ideas. Go ahead, please. Maybe the Democratic leadership will read them and take a hint.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
because they have no ideas? not
What ideas? "Education" isn’t an idea. It’s an issue.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
Billy,

I am loathe to resond because you don’t seem to be able to make a coherent point, which basically seems to be we are all ignorant rushbots. Of course that is rich given the third grade spelling and grammer in your comments. However it seems a bit much to be accused of being Rush fans given most here find the man a pompous blow hard, and that doesn’t include how much most of us dislike his views. Or, maybe you think we all listen to Neil Peart and Geddy Lee’s dinosaur act, that would be more likely, if still a stretch. At least there you might be picking up on the whole Ayn Rand affection a few here might exhibit.

Still, I will posit that most Americans when asked about the Democrats ideas are really just saying they aren’t happy with the Republicans. That long line of people includes most of us here. It doesn’t mean they have any clue what the Democrats compelling message is supposed to be. If I had to guess the Republicans will still be in power after the elections once the public actually hears what the Democrats message really is (assuming they ever get it down in a communicable format) and you’ll be blaming Diebold or whoever the bogeyman of the moment is. If it makes you feel any better I won’t be helping them stay in power, but it will not be because of your adolescent rant.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
What kind of slogan is "Together, America Can Do Better?" I know they’re implying that America can do better than the Republicans, but if you just hear the slogan it can come across as "America can do better... than the Democrats"! If they want to get the idea across, why don’t they try "Democrats: The Lesser Of Two Evils"?
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
Wouldn’t that be "Democrats, we aren’t the evil ones"

Really, what do you expect, they think being the opposition party (loyal or not) is what their role in these historical times is. Not trying to make things better, or work smoother. It’s their way or the highway, and if they can’t have their way, they’ll drag their heels every step of the way.

If they put out an agenda, that would give people a yardstick to measure them by.

Heck, the Republican Study Committee has a nice plank of issues for which they are working. Something you can say you either agree or disagree with. Something by which their supporters and detractors could measure them against.

By being ambiguous, they hope to increase the willingness of people to buy their snake-oil, mearly by being the "non-Republican"
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Billy, if you look carefully at the polls you mention, you’ll find that they aren’t quite saying that the majority of people favor the Democrats’ ideas on issues. Rather, the questions are usually asked in the form of: who do you trust more on the issue of _____ ?

It’s all well and good for polls to show that people trust the Dems more, but when it comes to looking at their ideas and actually casting votes, the "trust" has not won the majority of elections lately.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com
I am perfectly serious here, and anyone who’s read my site knows I slam Dems for being clueless in electoral politics for years now, but I’ve heard this refrain ad infinitum from the right — "Democrats have no new ideas". Now, the stupid Democratic response to this is to unveil a new policy iniative (this is what Kerry did during the campaign), but what I’m asking is - what are the "new ideas" that the Republicans have pushed? Even in the case of a stupid war with Iraq, tax cuts for Paris Hilton, etc. - those are all left over garbage from the Reagan-Bush etc.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
Now, the stupid Democratic response to this is to unveil a new policy iniative (this is what Kerry did during the campaign), but what I’m asking is - what are the "new ideas" that the Republicans have pushed?
Oliver, even you have to understand by now that it isn’t the party in power which is left with the job of coming up with new ideas. Whatever ideas they’ve had have already landed them in power.

It is the opposition which has the onus of new and improved (see 1994). Thus far we’ve seen nothing new or improved from Democrats. How, then, does the voting public find it in themselves to pull the lever for Dems? I mean face it, "we can do better" is an implicit endorsement of the issues as they stand (under a Republican regime) and a promise to merely do better job than the Reps are doing now.

And the longer the Dems dither without differntiating themselves, the harder it will be for them to break this perception.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
Republicans may as well phone it in

These idiots have been doing that for awhile.

But the reality is the GOP probably will hold onto both houses by fingernails this election, too many things have to go perfectly right for the Dems to take it now.

2008....what a mad scramble it’s going to be.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
So simply because theyre out of power, the Dems must have "new ideas"? I don’t remember any new ideas offered by Bush in 2000, and certainly not in 2004. Maybe I’m cynical but it sounds like a double standard to me (or a talking point with no basis in reality).
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
I don’t remember any new ideas offered by Bush in 2000, and certainly not in 2004.
Bush was out of power in 2004? Man, I must have really overslept.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Personally, I like Ann Coulter’s idea for a democrat slogan / bumper sticker:

"Ask me how I plan to raise your taxes!"

In my view, the dems have become the party of status quo, or, if I may, status NO! They want everything to be as it has been, even to the point of insisting that the president find a virtual clone of Sandra Day O’Connor to be on the SCOTUS. They stoutly resist even a discussion of Social Security reform despite the fact that the system has been on life-support for years. On education, their only "idea" seems to be to spend more money on a system that many Americans view with mistrust or even outright contempt. I’ve yet to hear them rally around a single idea for winning in Iraq, outside of Jack Murtha’s insane calls to pull out and "redeploy" the troops to Okinawa (!). In fact, the only "idea" they seem to have is impeaching George Bush. This gets their lunatic base fired up, but I don’t think it sells very well in middle America.

This is not to say that I’m very happy with the Repulicans just now. The UAE port deal seemed insane when I first heard of it, and I’ve yet to hear anything to make me feel better about it. Further, even if I discovered that the UAE has agreed to every single possible security measure we could demand, that we’re even CONSIDERING handing over control of our ports to an Islamic country at this time shows a breathtaking lack of political common sense. The refusal to make meaningful efforts to secure the borders also bothers me very much, as well as the fact that we’re spending increasing amounts of money on the already bloated federal government.

I think the politicos on both sides get so wrapped up in listening to polls, focus groups, interest groups, and lobbyists that they never hear / think about what middle America really wants.
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
"So simply because theyre out of power, the Dems must have "new ideas"?"

Since all they pretty much have are bad ideas, yes, they need some new and preferably good ones.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
This whole "new ideas" thing is misleading. The electorate isn’t anxious for "new ideas", so much as they’re anxious for ideas that capture the imagination — the temporary zeitgeist. Those ideas may be exciting new ones or old standards. They may be re-packaged ideas, or ideas specific to a current problem. They may be ideas related to process, or ideas related to ideology.

It’s not whether they’re "new", but whether the general public sees it as relevant and effective to address a perceived problem. "Tax cuts" are far from a new idea, but they address a sustained interest. "Economic security" (i.e., welfare, SS, health care benefits) are not new ideas, either, but they also address sustained public interests.

Like the business cycle, the political cycle has ups and downs, with various interests achieving critical mass. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have "new ideas", so much as they try to repackage old ideas to make them relevant to new problems. Maybe the Dems will find a way to repackage their basket of ideas (essentially, egalitarianism) to address current issues in a way that appeals to the electorate. Perhaps they won’t. Or perhaps they’ll just sweep to victory because the GOPs ideas grow tiresome.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I actually agree with you to a large degree, Jon. I think "new ideas" is a bunch of bunk, whereas Dems have no clue how to talk about the central ideas at the core of the party while Republicans are excellent marketers.
 
Written By: Oliver
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
So simply because theyre out of power, the Dems must have "new ideas"? I don’t remember any new ideas offered by Bush in 2000, and certainly not in 2004. Maybe I’m cynical but it sounds like a double standard to me (or a talking point with no basis in reality).
We’re talking politics here, Oliver. Think "power of incumbency". How do you unseat incumbents? Certainly not by only claiming "I can do better".

In 2000 the new idea was "hey we balanced the budget with a Democrat in the WH, imagine what we can do with a Republican". That worked out real well didn’t it? But what saved 2004 for the Reps was OBL and the alternative to Bush the Dems served up. During time of war the rules are a little different but they still favor (in fact favor more heavily) the incumbent. It’s kind of like a home field advantage in sports.

What have the Dems offered to overcome that Oliver?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
I think "new ideas" is a bunch of bunk, whereas Dems have no clue how to talk about the central ideas at the core of the party while Republicans are excellent marketers.
Nonsense. The "central ideas at the core of the party" are pretty well known Oliver. What don’t we know about them?

The problem is they’re not selling. And that’s not a function of Republican marketing. It’s a failure of Democratic marketing.

Why?

Because they’re old tired ideas.

You guys keeps saying the message isn’t getting out. I disagree. It’s out. The problem is no one is buying it any more.

That’s a situation that kind of screams for "better ideas" isn’t it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
Why is it, before every election in the last 8 years, the Democrats have been way ahead in the polls and yet continue to lose power?
That’s easy. The Republicans are there to protect us from the gays.
Come clean, now. Who’s pretending to be the deluded, incoherent leftist "billy". Is that you, Bithead? Shark, maybe?
No way, Mr. Hollis. Billy deosnt’ hvea egnouh tpoy’s to be Bithead. I suspect notherbob2,
No wait. notherbob2 has no concept of paragraphs. ;)

Personally, I like Ann Coulter’s idea for a democrat slogan / bumper sticker:

"Ask me how I plan to raise your taxes!"
I like Ann Coulter’s idea for a Republican slogan/bumper sticker,
“Ask me how I plan to protect you from ‘ragheads’
Like the business cycle, the political cycle has ups and downs, with various interests achieving critical mass. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have "new ideas", so much as they try to repackage old ideas to make them relevant to new problems.
Excellent point, Mr. Henke… As usual. You see, that’s why I like this guy.
(much love, Jon… peace out, brother. Don’t let these wankers get you down.)

What seems to be relevant in the political cycle today, is that the Dem’s are the usual “what has the government done for you lately” party,
And the Republicans are the, “what has the government done for Republicans lately” party.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
I actually agree with you to a large degree, Jon. I think "new ideas" is a bunch of bunk, whereas Dems have no clue how to talk about the central ideas at the core of the party while Republicans are excellent marketers.
Are Republicans excellent marketers? I don’t see it, though I can see why the Democrats would believe it to be the case. I think Republicans have two tools in their toolbox — "too much government is bad!" and "society is going to hell, and only we can stop it!" — and they deploy them over and over. In the sense that they stick to the basics, they’re effective marketers. I think they’ve utterly failed to explain the former persuasively, though, and that’s a long-term problem for the party.

It’s probably difficult for Dems, on the other hand, because they’ve largely had their way. That’s a large part of why libertarians tend to the Right — because we live in a redistributionist, collectivist, strong central government society, and that’s largerly been a creation of the Democratic Party. Republican contributions have been significant, but the Democrats were the one’s who made it happen in the first place.

From here, though — and I’ve argued this for a long time — the Democrats problem is that they have no organizing principle. The Democratic Party is a motley collection of special interest groups, whose primary motivation for coalition is that the Democratic Party provides a wonderful forum for rent-seeking. Since so many of their programs have been largely implemented, the stakes have grown smaller, and — as Kissinger once pointed out — the fights are bigger, because the stakes are so small. Your party has been reduced to arguing about the fringes. Social Crusades ain’t what they used to be.

The Republican party coalition between the religious right and limited government types is in danger of breakup right now, too. The only thing holding it together, I think, is the lack of a real alternative. Frankly, I hope the Democratic Party finds a way to pick up the social cons. You’re welcome to them.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I think it’s more along the lines of the success of the Democratic positions on so many domestic issues. Bush’s biggest domestic failure has been the attempt to privatize social security, because even as much as the conservatives and libertarians hate it, SS is just an accepted way of how things are done. Ditto for the government’s role in issues like disaster relief, and even the progressive tax system which is tweaked but will not be abolished. As inept as the Democrats are, the Republican idea of laying waste to our federal infrastructure doesn’t fly - especially not after something like Katrina. The one area of GOP strength (and the key to the ’04 election) has been national security, and in that issue like so many others, our side has lost because Dems get lost in a sea of polling and never just give the reader’s digest version of what they believe.

So even with all this Republican dominance and Dem ineptitude, you would think Dems are getting crushed at the polls (and that would be a reason to come up with "new ideas", something that’s being done on the left anyways). But they aren’t. They’re on the losing side, but within a couple percentage point swing of winning. I think many Dems don’t have a clue but it’s kind of ludicrous to say Democratic positioning is so far out of the mainstream when 48% of the electorate voted for John Kerry (a muddled candidate, at best).
 
Written By: Oliver
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
The Republican party will never rid itself of the social cons, and the Dems don’t want them. As they always do, the libertarians will hold their noses and stick with the GOP.
 
Written By: Oliver
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
So even with all this Republican dominance and Dem ineptitude, you would think Dems are getting crushed at the polls (and that would be a reason to come up with "new ideas", something that’s being done on the left anyways). But they aren’t.
We’ve seen how far the polls will take you in March (as opposed to November). Polls are a snapshot and I’m beginning to think Americans use them as a way to vent.

And we’ve also seen what it means to have a "generic Democrat" have a lead in the polls vs. a real Democrat haven’t we?

I also wouldn’t necessarily read a Democratic lead in the polls at this time as approval of Democratic issues either. They may just as easily reflect a current disapproval of Republicans. That doesn’t mean that "current disapproval" will translate into votes, and history bears that out.
I think many Dems don’t have a clue but it’s kind of ludicrous to say Democratic positioning is so far out of the mainstream when 48% of the electorate voted for John Kerry (a muddled candidate, at best).
Was he muddled or was the "message" muddled? Or both?

I don’t think even you can argue that Democratic leadership has inspiried very much awe in anyone to this point. And I’m not at all convinced they can put a unified message together that will resonate with the American people. Right now Americans have only one way in polls to demonstrate their displeasure with Republicans ... claim to prefer Democrats.

But somehow that poll preference never translates into Democratic wins. The question remains ... why?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
The Republican party will never rid itself of the social cons, and the Dems don’t want them. As they always do, the libertarians will hold their noses and stick with the GOP.
So long as our government operates on to Democratic ideals, yeah, the libertarians will probably tend to side with the GOP.

I wouldn’t be too certain of the inevitability of the social cons — i.e., the religious right — staying with the GOP forever, though. That’s certainly not the European paradigm, and people like Wallis and Amy Sullivan are working to change that here, too. Krugman wrote a column last year on that theme, suggesting Rick Santorum look to the European paradigm to see a future path for religious voters.

Frankly, I’d love to separate the parties into Paternalists/Collectivists VS Individualists. So long as the religious right is with the GOP, that won’t be the case.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Actually the polls I was talking about were the ones that count, the electoral polls. Dems have advantages in opinion polls because on an issue by issue basis, they agree with the Dem position probably about 70% of the time. The problem is, Dem politicians tend to have no clue how to articulate that. Bill Clinton was very good at it, Al Gore finally got it when he kept to "the people versus the powerful" and disregarded the consultant class. John Kerry never got it (I believe John Edwards does, among the current crop of probable Dem leaders). Dems have made themselves reactive to the drumbeat of Republican criticism that the press echoes, so instead of saying "I stand for X" their positions are defined as a response to an attack. "Bush says we’re weak on education, so here’s my education plan". That’s why I say the "no new ideas" junk is such a misnomer.

I wouldn’t be too certain of the inevitability of the social cons — i.e., the religious right — staying with the GOP forever, though.
I think it’s the other way around - the GOP needs them to win, and must pander to them even though most of their agenda is dead on arrival (theocracy, outlawing abortion, making gays second class citizens, etc.). I don’t have much hope for the Jim Wallis/Amy Sullivan efforts to convince the religious right they’ve been on the wrong team, though there is value in making distinctions between the religious and the religious right (for instance, blacks vote overwhelmingly Dem, yet black Americans are among the biggest churchgoers).

Personally I think the divide of the near to immediate future is between progress and stasis, with most of the left and middle falling on the "progress" side. I’m going to be writing more on that soon, though I don’t hold any illusions about libertarians being a big part of it (hoping for big business to save the day is a bit of a joke to me).
 
Written By: Oliver
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
Actually the polls I was talking about were the ones that count, the electoral polls.
So am I, and the Dems have been completely out of power for 8 years.
The problem is, Dem politicians tend to have no clue how to articulate that. Bill Clinton was very good at it, Al Gore finally got it when he kept to "the people versus the powerful" and disregarded the consultant class. John Kerry never got it (I believe John Edwards does, among the current crop of probable Dem leaders). Dems have made themselves reactive to the drumbeat of Republican criticism that the press echoes, so instead of saying "I stand for X" their positions are defined as a response to an attack. "Bush says we’re weak on education, so here’s my education plan". That’s why I say the "no new ideas" junk is such a misnomer.
But what are the new ideas, Oliver? Seriously, I’m not trying to be snarky here. All I’ve seen over the past few elections cycles are variations on a theme, but nothing particularly "new". As I’ve said before, when every idea ends with the implementation step being "tax and spend" there isn’t a whole bunch new being advanced.

There’s a school of thought that says that America is going more and more to the right of center. One of the primary reasons that’s happening is because most Americans think that government has more than it needs (monetarily) now to do an effective job. New ideas would be those which provide a benefit without costing more. And most Americans know that some of the things they’d like to see or prefer would come at the cost of some of the things they now benefit from. But no one has the cajones (on either side right now) to make that case. Hence we’re left with the same old song wrapped in different words.

And with the alternate media dissecting and parsing everything each of the parties says, that has a survivability rate of about 10 nanoseconds before it is exposed for what it is.

When you can boil down all the "new" ideas the Democrats have, regardless of who presents them or how they’re presented, to "tax and spend", nothing is going to change for them. There is nothing creative or new about that mantra, and frankly, most Americans have come to the point of automatic rejection when they realize that’s what the new or improved program is all about.

So while they may feel education is important, and they may feel that traditionally Dems focus more on education, fiscally they may find absolutely nothing worth supporting in the actual Dem education plank, especially if it’s boiled down to the old "tax and spend". Put simply, we’ve been there and done that, spend more per pupil than anyone else and our education system lags behind the rest of the free world. Why would anyone buy into more of the same?
Personally I think the divide of the near to immediate future is between progress and stasis, with most of the left and middle falling on the "progress" side.
Well that’s kind of the point I’m trying to make. You can call yourself whatever you want, but most Americans don’t see more "tax and spend" proposals as "progress" or "progressive". In fact, like myself, I see more taxes as regressive, no matter what wonderful things Dems think they should spend my money on.

And I’d define the divide differently. Where you’d call it "progressive", I’d call it "intrusive". And stasis if it means less, or at least no more, intrusion isn’t such a bad thing.

Which brings us to the last point:
The Republican party will never rid itself of the social cons, and the Dems don’t want them. As they always do, the libertarians will hold their noses and stick with the GOP.

Absolutely. With the GOP there’s a chance a real fiscal conservative may actually reach a position of power. With the Dems, there is no chance whatsoever of that ever happening.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
Well, except for the fact that the last Democratic president was more fiscally conservative than the current or previous ones were.

So am I, and the Dems have been completely out of power for 8 years.
Out of power is one thing, you made it seem as if America wholeheartedly has rejected the Democratic position. We lost the last election by 3%, we won the majority of the votes in the previous presidential race and the two presidential elections before that. Does our side need to bring their "A" game instead of pretending politics are played as they were 10, 15, 20 years ago? Yes. The Republicans won the last presidential election, but Kerry got 59 million out of 121 million votes cast. Not exactly a Reagan vs. Carter/Mondale landslide (or Johnson vs. Goldwater) that caused massive changes in the party.

As I’ve said before, when every idea ends with the implementation step being "tax and spend" there isn’t a whole bunch new being advanced.
My side believes in efficient government, the other side believes in no government. We think that some things are either so big or beyond the realm of the bean counters that the government has to do them. The other side believes that if you don’t have the cash - too bad. This is always going to be the fundamental difference between the left and the right, or those who believe in progress (moving forward and advancing America) or stasis (trying to roll us back to 1950 or keep us running in place). That’s ideology. In reality, Democrats have been in favor of progressive taxation with investments in infrastructure, while Republicans support a tax structure that rewards existing wealth without making any sort of serious investment in the development of new leadership.

As far as education goes, how did Bush neuter the current discussion on the issue? He basically endorsed a very Democratic program (NCLB). In the conservative utopia, there’s no such massive spending on education, but it’s an overwhelmingly popular program even though people will say they don’t like taxes - the same taxes that fund it. I sure as heck support NCLB. But politically it puts Dems at a disadvantage because the fight is no longer should this kind of educational program exist or not - to the chagrin of the con base - but how much should it be funded. If Bush took the libertarian/conservative position on education (no Dept. of Education) he would lose a lot of those voters in the middle. In other words, America is "tax and spend" on this issue as you put it, or "pro investment" as I would put it.

As far as progress vs. stasis goes, I see it as either wanting to do the things that move us forward as a nation or burying our heads in the sand and letting America be passed by. There are folks on the left who are stuck in the past (hippies) and I hate them but it is the right that actively works to roll back the clock on issue after issue (worker’s rights, civil rights, warfare, sex education). The argument is no longer about whether we’re going to have taxes or not. It’s about what the government is going to do with the taxes it collects (this is why libertarians will never be happy). The right says we should give the money to the wealthy, either for the already rich or to corporations in the form of corporate welfare. The left (including myself) believes that money is better used to improve America - education, neighborhood redevelopment, homeland security, military, etc. - which will create new wealth and increase existing wealth.

I guess what I’m saying (in a long winded way) is that the libertarian dream of a tiny to non-existent government has been roundly rejected across the bulk of the idealogical spectrum (Bush didn’t run for re-election on a platform of privatizing social security, and would have lost if he had). The only way the GOP won the presidency was by abandoning that dream (I believe the precise words were "compassionate conservative"), and its the only hope they have of keeping hold of it.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
Also, as far as intrusion goes, what’s more intrusive than Bill Frist and Tom DeLay deciding what happens to Terri Schiavo instead of Terri Schiavo’s husband? Or the conservative South Dakota legislature inserting themselves into a woman’s medical decision? Etc.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
Dems have advantages in opinion polls because on an issue by issue basis, they agree with the Dem position probably about 70% of the time.
See, I think that’s exactly wrong. Or rather, it’s an extreme oversimplification of the matter. Dems promise voters benefits, and voters like benefits. Voters will favor the Dems. Republicans promise voters tax cuts, and voters like tax cuts, so voters will favor the Republicans.

The problem is that voters — as an aggregate — pretty much just favor whichever party will allow the most rent-seeking. That’s a great way to get elected, but — as libertarians have been pointing out for a long time — a godawful way to run a government. It leads to my Price is Right Theory of politics: you don’t have to be right; you just have to be $1 closer than your opponent.
(for instance, blacks vote overwhelmingly Dem, yet black Americans are among the biggest churchgoers).
Blacks also favor "making gays second class citizens" far more than whites, though that’s a slur that seem to get lost in the translation when a category votes for your team.
(hoping for big business to save the day is a bit of a joke to me).
That may be part of the problem. No libertarian hopes "for big business to save the day". That’s an absurd misunderstanding of libertarian philosophy.
I guess what I’m saying (in a long winded way) is that the libertarian dream of a tiny to non-existent government has been roundly rejected across the bulk of the idealogical spectrum
You think so? Seems to me that there’s quite a lot of libertarian sentiment out there. You have some yourself. I note, for example, that Democrats are quite interested in getting the government off our back in matters like the Schiavo incident and abortion. The problem is not that the Democrats are pro-choice; it’s that the Democrats aren’t really pro-choice. You think people should be able to make choices about their uterus, but not about their money. About their business, but not about their Business.

There’s a lot of libertarian sentiment out there. The problem is that it’s so widely distributed.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"while Republicans are excellent marketers. "

Ha! That’s why they are getting so much traction with an obvious no-brainer, social security reform. The Republican’s are terrible at getting their message out, simply terrible. They constantly fail to directly address the wildly hysterical charges of ruin and dispair that spill out of the mouths of numerous Dem senators and reps. If a Dem makes a ridiculous assertion about X and the GOP fails to vigorously counter it, they might as well be endorsing the Dem. This happens all the time!
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
"Also, as far as intrusion goes, what’s more intrusive than Bill Frist and Tom DeLay deciding what happens to Terri Schiavo instead of Terri Schiavo’s husband? Or the conservative South Dakota legislature inserting themselves into a woman’s medical decision? Etc."
Come on Willis, there is OBVIOUSLY more than one way to see these two scenarios. Furtheromore, some of the darlings of your political ilk are pretty d*mn intrusive. Why can’t you even feign intellectual integrity in your arguments? Do you have no capacity to see the other side of a position?
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
"The right says we should give the money to the wealthy, either for the already rich or to corporations in the form of corporate welfare. The left (including myself) believes that money is better used to improve America - education, neighborhood redevelopment, homeland security, military, etc. - which will create new wealth and increase existing wealth."
Willis, the Kryptonite is not working, on you. These are silly strawmen. I suspect that you either don’t read and think critically or you are so vested in your ’team’ that you’ll say anything in order to advance its cause, no matter how inane.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Blacks also favor "making gays second class citizens" far more than whites, though that’s a slur that seem to get lost in the translation when a category votes for your team.
I don’t dispute that and have written about it negatively, but this is another clear distinction between the religious and the religious right. The right has much more success appealing to bigotry than the left.

No libertarian hopes "for big business to save the day".
If we’ve got no government someone has to pick up the slack, right?
 
Written By: Oliver
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
"The right has much more success appealing to bigotry than the left."

B*llsh*t. I’m sure you think bigotry applies only to those characteristics in a person which are fixed (race, color, sexual orientation, etc.) but bigotry is all about intolerance and it’s there where we find the left in its sweet spot. Never has there been a more confused, immature, hypocritical lot than the members of the thoughtless left.

 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
I don’t dispute that and have written about it negatively, but this is another clear distinction between the religious and the religious right. The right has much more success appealing to bigotry than the left.
Depends on the kind of bigotry in question. For some reason, liberals/democrats see some dichotemy between social and economic freedoms. So religious "values" are bigotry, while economic "values" are fair game for social engineering. The only difference between liberals/progressives and the religious right are the specific areas in which you want to impose your values on the rest of us.

For my part, I’d wager that I’m far less bigoted than you and yours. I don’t just favor gay marriage — I’m in favor of polygamy, too. I’m also pro-choice on the private purchase and use of drugs, and a host of other issues on which liberals and progressives are anti-choice.
No libertarian hopes "for big business to save the day".
If we’ve got no government someone has to pick up the slack, right?
You’re thinking of anarchists, not libertarians.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net

 
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