Is America Irrevocably Ungovernable?

Steven Pearlstein writes that America would be better off with a Republican like Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana, as Senate Minority Leader rather than Mitch McConnell.

The bad Mitch, as most Americans know by now, is the charmless and shameless hypocrite who offers up a steady stream of stale ideology and snarky talking points but almost never a constructive idea. McConnell has decided that the only way for Republicans to win is for President Obama to lose, and he will use lies, threats and all manner of parliamentary subterfuge to obstruct the president’s programs.

The good Mitch, by contrast, is a principled but practical conservative who respects the intelligence of voters and would rather get something done than score political points. Daniels is a genuine fiscal conservative who took a $600 million state budget deficit and turned it into a $1 billion surplus but managed to do so without cutting spending for education and even increased funding for child welfare services. He pushed hard to lower property taxes but didn’t hesitate to propose temporary hikes in income and sales taxes to keep the state in the black. He privatized the state’s toll road and then used the $4 billion proceeds to launch a major public works investment program.

Many have pointed out that Republican governors tend to be less crazy than Republican congresspersons — there are exceptions — mostly because governors actually have to govern. So if Mitch Daniels went to Washington he might end up being as big a waste of time as Mitchell Mitch McConnell. Ezra Klein says, “Telling this story in terms of good people and bad people doesn’t give enough weight to the structural incentives that make people of all sorts do good and bad things.”

Matt Yglesias takes this a bit further

We’re suffering from an incoherent institutional set-up in the senate. You can have a system in which a defeated minority still gets a share of governing authority and participates constructively in the victorious majority’s governing agenda, shaping policy around the margins in ways more to their liking. Or you can have a system in which a defeated minority rejects the majority’s governing agenda out of hand, seeks opening for attack, and hopes that failure on the part of the majority will bring them to power. But right now we have both simultaneously. It’s a system in which the minority benefits if the government fails, and the minority has the power to ensure failure. It’s insane, and it needs to be changed.

A rightie blogger, missing the larger point, snarks that when Republicans were the majority many Dems made noise about obstructing the Bush agenda. However, as I remember it, it mostly just noise — rarely were the Dems able to stop the Bushie steamroller. On the other hand, Republican obstruction of the Obama Administration has been pretty effective.

So the problem is not just that Congress can’t get anything done. Under some circumstances it can act effectively and decisively. However, in recent years when Congress acts effectively and decisively, it does so to do things that should not be done — e.g., wreck the nation’s finances with ridiculous tax cuts, start pointless wars, interfere with Terri Shiavo’s medical care. Pushing each of these bad decisions are mighty forces of ideological and vested interests.

But when it comes to taking care of the needs of the American people — forget it. It seems that nothing the American people really need the federal government to do can ever get done. Which means, basically, that Washington cannot govern. Because using the country’s power and resources to serve narrow partisan, ideological and vested interests is not governing. Responding to the needs of the people is governing.

Update: Another rightie mis-reads Matt Yglesias and thinks Matt is just complaining about the filibuster (see rightie’s earlier post in which he does the same thing). Of course, the issue is not the filibuster itself but the fact that a large chunk of Congress serves partisan and corporate interests only. We, the People, are screwed.

[Update: The rightie tells me I am in error. No; I say again, the filibuster itself is not the principal issue. See the Steney Hoyer interview linked in the next paragraph, where Hoyer says “This is a United States Senate that has had more cloture votes in one year than in the ’60s and ’70s combined.” The use of the filibuster as an instrument of obstruction is part of the institutional set-up to which Matt Yglesias refers, but the filibuster itself has been around forever, even in times past when the Senate really could do useful work.

And there is a lot more to the “institutional set-up” than just the filibuster. The procedures for getting bills out of committee, for example, were often used by the Republicans to bottleneck Bill Clinton’s initiatives and appointees in the 1990s. In the past few weeks we’ve seen Republicans using amendment procedures to block progress in the Senate. This is way more than just the filibuster.

The deeper issue is the obstructionism itself, what is causing it, and how it functions. This reaches into far more aspects of Senate procedure than just the filibuster, but more importantly it reaches into the way all of our political processes have broken down.]

See also Ezra Klein’s interview of Steney Hoyer. Hoyer is talking about the difficulty of working with today’s whackjob Republicans, although of course there are also Democrats who don’t represent their constituents any more.

Newt Gingrich was of course the chief proponent of that policy, and he and Bob Michel, who was leader of the Republicans, disagreed. And Gingrich eventually succeeded in pushing Michel out. Michel’s view was you sit down, offer your input, and move forward. The theory was that the American people elected the legislative body to make policy and so you make policy. Gingrich’s proposition, and maybe accurately, was that as long as you, Bob Michel, and our party cooperate with Democrats and get 20 or 30 percent of what we want and they get to say they solved the problem and had a bipartisan bill, there’s no incentive for the American people to change leadership. You have to confront, delay, and undermine and impose failure in order to move the public. To some degree, he was proven right in 1994. …

…The motivation Congress has on each side of the aisle is to be in the majority so it can set policy. But it’s very difficult for the institution to move forward on a bipartisan basis when the minority party does not believe that that’s in their best interest to regain the majority.

And it really isn’t in the Republican’s best interest to regain the majority, because they have no interest in governing. Their interests lie in serving corporate and partisan needs, and at that they are actually just as effective, if not more so, remaining in the minority.

Update: As usual, BTD filters this discussion through the prism of his own ego and interprets it as an excuse for President Obama. But I don’t see it as being about Obama; this is much bigger. Bill Clinton battled the same forces during his administration — he couldn’t get health care passed, and many other of his initiatives (such as the airport security bill that might have prevented 9/11) were watered down to the point of total ineffection. Now the same forces are more concentrated, more entrenched, more rigid.

48 thoughts on “Is America Irrevocably Ungovernable?

  1. Back when Nixon was in trouble, some Republicans joined with Democrats on the Articles of Impeachment – I doubt that would happen as things are now (to a Republican President) as conservatives march in lock-step. You correctly state that now the GOP is only too happy to stand in the way of anything getting done, as this will most assuredly help them in the next election cycle. And this seems to be the most important thing to them, placed far above the needs of the population at large.

  2. The roll of the federal government seems to be to mainly keep big business rolling and to clobber all those who get in the way. A part of this is to make up laws that turn almost all offenders into felons, this is great news for the prison-industrial complex. We also make war on people who’s goods we covet, and occasionally just to take some crappy little country and slap them up against a wall for an ass whopin’ as an example.
    At least that’s how it seems………..

  3. According to Steven Pearlstein (above), the good Mitch “privatized the state’s toll road and then used the $4 billion proceeds to launch a major public works investment program.”

    Privatized toll roads are a terrible idea. Like privatized prisons, the privatized military, and (last but not least) privatized health care, any short-run gains are more than offset by big taxpayer losses later. Mother Jones Magazine had a good article about it in 2007:

    Even if Good Mitch is not criminally insane like most Republicans, he will be after six months of trying to get his fellow wing-nut senators to behave more civilized than a pack of rabid dogs.

  4. This may be a poor analogy, but this is how it looks to me:
    Many Americans are drowning. Actually, most are – some just don’t know it because the water isn’t over their heads yet…
    A majority of Democrats are trying to scrape-up money to pay for swimming lessons and help people finance life-vests to keep them afloat, which will eventually allow them swim to the shore; and also build a sustainable life-vest industry in this country that will keep other people out of the water.
    The Republicans, and Blue Dog Dems (feeling that swimming lessons and investment in life-vests are a waste of tax payer dollars), take money from the anchor and rope lobbyists, all the while knowing that a drowning person will grab any rope thrown their way. Btw – those anchors and ropes are imported from China, but sold here for tax-free profits by greedy #@$%ing American corporations who have an office on some tax-dodge island nation in the Caribbee’s .
    You see, if Jesus wants you to stay afloat, he’ll see to it that you do, and eventually you’ll make it back to shore with his help, where you can see his footprints in the sand walking beside yours. But if you grab the rope, then you are a worthless, faithless sinner who should have prayed and waited for salvation from Jesus, instead of depending on the help of others. Go ahead, grab the rope with the anchor on it – THAT’LL teach you!!!
    The unasked questions: Will the success of Conservative, Theocratic ideology be measured by the handful of “worthy” people left on land, or the ten’s or hundred’s of millions that are fish food? And what do you do with all those leftover anchors and ropes when there’s no one left to drown?

  5. “So if Mitch Daniels went to Washington he might end up being as big a waste of time as Mitchell.”

    You mean McConnell?

  6. The democrats didn’t block legislation while Bush was in office not because they were playing nice, they were pussies. They rolled over time and time again. The Republican party discipline is at least admirable in that sense. They are using the Senate rules to further their agenda, or thwart the other side. While I disagree with cloture in the Senate, the Dems could have stopped the tax cuts for the wealthy and many other things if they would have wanted to. I think the most Senators the Repubs had was 55 (56 counting Joe Lie). Secondly, our government is working exactly how our (cue deep melodious voice) Founding Fathers intended; that is, inefficiently. I believe we need to throw the entire Constitution out and start over to get a system that can actually get something done. But getting that past the Americans who believe that the Constitution is up there with Holy Writ would be impossible. I’ve recommended this book before but Larry Sabato’s “A More Perfect Constitution” addresses this and many other concerns I hear voiced (or written) on this blog.

  7. Barabara, please don’t be that stupid. The obstruction Yglesias decries, his reference to “a system in which a defeated minority rejects the majority’s governing agenda out of hand,” is ALL about the filibuster. If you’d have read my post carefully, you’ll see that Yglesias, Ezra Klein, etc., are all pissed that Senate rules protecting the minority are preventing the disatrous healthcare bill from passage.

    Short of an apology to me, at least update your post noting your error.

  8. That Mitch privatization of the toll road…the contract omitted how the local fire departments were to be paid for responding to a fire on now what is a private road.
    Is is just by chance the some of the current highest unemployment rates in the state follow the route of the private road?

    Mitch has consistently cut spending, cut taxes, and privatized as much as he can….yet the unemployment rate continues to rise.

  9. “While I disagree with cloture in the Senate, the Dems could have stopped the tax cuts for the wealthy and many other things if they would have wanted to.”

    Senate Democrats denied cloture on both the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, forcing the GOP/Baucus to use reconciliation to pass them, which is why they expire after 10 years. Netroots mythology notwithstanding, Senate Democrats did a pretty good job blocking Bush’s fiscal policy agenda. Outside of the tax cuts, the only thing Bush got on that front was Part D which, for whatever flaws it had, really was a major entitlement expansion that provided prescription drug coverage to seniors on Medicare. And NCLB, which had a measure of progressive support as well. And in Bush’s second term, with the biggest GOP Congressional majority in a long, long time, Bush got nothing. Nothing.

    Contra Maha, I think the problem pretty clearly is the filibuster. Perhaps there was a time when Senators really would sit down and hash out deals that made some level of sense, but somewhere in the interim everyone apparently realized that parliamentary tactics made more sense, at least from the standpoint of the minority party’s political interests. As Yglesias said, when the minority party has a vested interest in failure, it’s probably a bad idea to give them the ability to ensure that failure on the hope they won’t use it. And beyond that, there really are some issues where the parties really are hopelessly split on, which makes the logic for the filibuster even more tenuous if one cares about sound policy.

  10. Americaneocon: I did not make an error. The filibuster itself is not the issue. It is the way the filibuster is being used and why it is being used in that way. As Hoyer said in the interview, “This is a United States Senate that has had more cloture votes in one year than in the ’60s and ’70s combined.” I’m pointing to why this is true.

  11. The consequences of inaction are worrisome for me. I was trying to explain our politics to an English penpal of mine from the perspective of an average citizen. I ran into a real roadblock back in August when the crazies started coming out in force. It began to seem that we had turned into a very large insane asylum. But, it made sense if the goal were to take a dysfunctional political process and paralyze it when the opposition came to power. But the consequences … the Republicans are perfectly willing to let the economy, the ecosystem and this grand experiment in democracy fail, if it allows them to seize power and it the bottom line is good enough.

    The actions of the Right and “Religious” Right have been such an absurd spectacle that it is truly difficult to stay out of “this can’t be happening” mode.

    Note to future democracies: When forging a consensus, it is not necessarily the angiest and the loudest who should be leading the process.

  12. America seems ungovernable now because it lacks leadership. It takes leaders to govern. Obama is not a leader. Reid is not a leader. Pelosi would like to be one but she isn’t one.
    Obama doesn’t even want to be a leader. His whole idea of being president seems to be making appearances and giving meaningless speeches full of platitudes.

    As long as the Democratic Party is headed by empty suits propped up by corporate interests we will continue to get the results, or lack there of, we are getting now.

    • johnnymood —

      America seems ungovernable now because it lacks leadership. It takes leaders to govern. Obama is not a leader. Reid is not a leader. Pelosi would like to be one but she isn’t one.

      Leaders don’t exist in a vacuum. Followers create leaders; leaders define followers. “Leadership” is a relationship, and I think the current broken nature of our politics makes that relationship nearly impossible. It is a terrible mistake to assume that if we just elect the right people the system will be righted. No; the system will just continue to eat them up and spit them out. The system would chew up and spit out Franklin Roosevelt himself I think.

      Bill Clinton didn’t so much lead as finesse, for example, because he had no real following, although he often managed to look leaderly. For that matter, George Bush was good at looking leaderly, at least to some people. But he was less a leader than a front man.

  13. “The system would chew up and spit out Franklin Roosevelt himself I think”

    I think it would do well for progressives if they could be disabused of their notion that FDR got his agenda passed by telling the Senate to shut up and pass it or something. It really does seem like they think Roosevelt just magically got everything he wanted without any sort of downside to it or any sort of handout to marginal members of the Senate. That’s obviously not how it worked. Non-white people were, shall we say, thrown under the bus.

    • I think it would do well for progressives if they could be disabused of their notion that FDR got his agenda passed by telling the Senate to shut up and pass it or something.

      Yes, FDR played politics and used partisanship to get his agenda passed. So did Abraham Lincoln. There was a political culture within which they could work to get stuff done, albeit sometimes by betraying minorities. One of the several hundred reasons the Confederacy lost the Civil War was that Jefferson Davis had no political system in which to work. There was a structure of government, yes, but no parties, no partisan alliances. Lincoln, on the other hand, was a master politician and used the system of his day brilliantly to direct the resources of the Union to winning the war.

      But in those days the system functioned to enable governing. We’ve lost that. The system is such a mess that it cannot be harnessed to do anything useful.

  14. The problem really is the constitution. I have always been a huge proponent of the Jefferson idea of letting each ensuing generation wrote a new constitution (maybe every 25 years…).

    Thomas Jefferson himself was wary of the power of the dead over the living in the form of an unchanging Constitution. To ensure that each generation have a say in the framework of the government, he proposed that the Constitution, and each one following it, expire after 19 or 20 years. James Madison, Jefferson’s contemporary, found comfort in knowing that the populace would not be thrust into political turmoil every 20 years, and noted that the way the Constitution is now structured, it implies an acceptance of the status quo unless explicitly changed. (

    Off the top of my head here are further areas where the founders ideas are not appropriate. The District of Columbia was a big swamp land where people didn’t live back in the beginning – they couldn’t imagine a million plus people living there (it should be a state). Work out some easily (ha!) defined laws for paying for elections and campaigns – our founders never visualized super corporations with no real connection to anything but profits that are currently running our show. For goodness sakes put a fork in the disastrous electoral college experiment (lets go back to majority rules).

    Thats all I got…

  15. This is a topic that has interested me since The Nine Nations of North America came out not _too_ many years before the U.S.S.R. broke up. Aside from weights, measures, language and what it says in some government documents, I don’t see what Madison, Wisconsin has in common with Birmingham, Alabama. And Winnipeg has more in common with Fargo, ND than Fargo has with Miami. And I have about as much interest in visiting Birmingham, Alabama as I would vacationing in beautiful Somalia.

    You can talk about African countries that were created by imperialists by cutting across the middle of tribal cultural groups and the resulting problems that has created for decades. The U.S. isn’t that different because of how _large_ it is. There really are several cultures here that all pretend to be _the_ America.

  16. Mitch Daniels is a rightwing tool!

    “Daniels is a genuine fiscal conservative who took a $600 million state budget deficit and turned it into a $1 billion surplus” Funny the state just announced massive cuts for the state police and early retirement incentives for all state employees due to state budget shortfalls.

    “He pushed hard to lower property taxes” Funny my property taxes went up 15% just this year!

    “He privatized the state’s toll road and then used the $4 billion proceeds to launch a major public works investment program” Since when is selling a state asset to a private firm for short term gain a good thing? By the way the law firm that negotiated the deal was Daniels former employer!

    Mitch Daniels is just another bushbot, he has done very little in the way of positive change.

  17. I second what smchris just said: The United States of America really could be several nations. I’ve always been interested in joining the Republic of Cascadia (, even if some of the anti-government leanings are a bit too much for me.

  18. Gee….. I wonder what COULD be the problem. Ever think both sides are playing on the same team? Duh……

    Obama and the rest of them are doing what they’re paid to do. If YOU gave as much as United Health care to line their pockers, then and only then, would you be heard.

    No way to get it back that I can see.

    Obama? Good suit, same one.

  19. I think St. Ronnie’s worst legacy was all the crazy he left behind when he handed the reins to Dubya’s Daddy. It haunts us till this day. Our system of government USED to work, but I’m afraid the inmates have taken over the asylum.

    can the grown ups in the room go back and undo everything that Bush/Cheney did? What grownups? I didn’t think so. I has a sad

  20. Gee….. I wonder what COULD be the problem. Ever think both sides are playing on the same team? Duh……

    Ir’s not that simple. Duh yourself.

  21. American politics – the permanent campaign where governing is turned into a permanent campaign. Government is REMADE into an instrument designed to sustain an elected official’s public popularity – of either political party, by the way.

    A predominate upshot of this unfortunate devolvement is that sitting members of House or Senate govern so as not to offend (high rollers) which means that they don’t govern, which is really evident during this ongoing, disgraceful marathon called health care reform. Simply, if no legislation of consequence is passed, no one can be offended. (But wait, Felicity, the last Congress DID manage to rename Post Offices – in fact those were one-fourth of all bills it passed.)

  22. Felicity — some of the bills the Bush Administration congress did pass were real doozies, though. The Patriot Act comes to mind.

  23. Contract ON America Redux,
    Once an animal becomes rabid, there’s no going back. It’s fatal. This is the state of the Republican Party today.
    I just hope we can contain their rabid crazies and keep them from power, which is no sure thing. Not with the Dem’s we’ve got. To use a Lincoln analogy, our Dem’s are like McClelland – they’re too busy trying NOT to lose to make any attempt at victory.
    Wake up Democrats -especially you Blue Dog mongrels and you Korporate Kocksuckers (only one “K” short of the ‘Ol Dem’s of yesteryear): All the pussy-footing around you’re doing will get you in the end is a swift kick in the ass in 2010. And, you know what? If it’s the Blue Dogs and KKer’s that lose, then [email protected]$% ’em! I know I’ll regret saying this when there’s a Rabid-publican Congress, but I’m sick of these assholes. I’m tired of getting pissed-on from inside my own tent. Go back outside and try to piss in. Piss on me again and I’ll show you my new Russian wrestling move. It’s called Ivana Kutchyacokoff. So, go ahead and whip it out Blue Dogs and KKer’s. I dare’s ya! I DOUBLE DARE”S YA!
    BTW – these are NOT Howard Dean’s monster’s. They are Rahm’s evil spawn. Thanks Rahm!

  24. Right, maha. So can we assume that the notorious Patriot Act didn’t offend the majority of the electorate? That is beyond scary. Which reminds me that I heard this morn that Palin, barring any really damaging revelations, is probably going for the White House in 2012. If the electorate is the same one not offended by the Patriot Act, she just may be seated in the Oval Office in 2013.

    • So can we assume that the notorious Patriot Act didn’t offend the majority of the electorate?

      Probably it didn’t, but you notice nobody cares whether the Left is offended.

  25. Gold is the color of bipartasanship. What was it George Carlin said? It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it. When something finally does get through the house if it has any teeth, the senate make sure it needs dentures by the time they’re done.

  26. Here’s a quote from Marcus Aurelius just because I like to pretend it’s relevant:
    “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” As one GOP pundit said “They surround us”
    I wonder about where in history the Romans started saying to each other – “You know, Maha-Barbatus-Agrippa, I think we are royally screwed-seriously. Have another flamingo tongue?

  27. It drives me up the wall that dems can’t do this back to them. Only Republicans can actually get things done, but the only things they do are bad.

    It’s enough to make one wish for empire.

  28. MNPundit,
    Or, how about a REAL Tsar?
    In America, we get the best government money can buy!
    Unfortunately, none of us regular folks can afford an interns assistant, let alone a member of Congress or a Senator.
    Somehow, somewhere, in the recent past, our bicameral legislative system, along with the Executive and Judicial branches have become some grand three card monte scheme. Volunteers, like me, have acted a ‘shills’ for their candidates. And the media, which should act as the part of the police, has become a combination of the ‘roper’ and the ‘lookout’ (for said police). And if you’re wondering who the ‘sucker is, just look in the fucking mirror.
    And next year, the Dem’s will be begging us to vote for them so that they can change things. AGAIN! Look ASSHOLE’S, I was a sucker last year, and a shill. I worked for Obama, Kissel and Hagan in NC for over a year. Yeah, it’s an improvement over what we had before. But Christ, syphlitic kindergardener’s prone to violence would have acted better and more responsibly than the previous administration.
    So, sorry, Democrat’s. I was as sucker for the “once in a lifetime” election monte you pulled on us last year. I shilled hard for you. I’ll still be sucker enough to vote for you, because the alternative is something so horrible I can’t imagine. But, don’t expect me to shill for you.
    In real three card monte, the shill get’s part of the take, same as the one dealing, the roper and the lookout. Where’s my health care? Are we out of Iraq and Afghanistan? How about illegal surveillance? Regulation of Wall Street? Equitable tax policies?
    Now, I realize that I, as one of “We, the People,” was just another sucker… Not this time. Deal me out, boy’s. Deal me out…

  29. c u n d gulag – as always your posts are dramatic and intelligent at once. for me the depressing part of this story is i don’t see any other alternative. i don’t want sarah palin, newt gingruich (buttitch), tim palenty, or that dude from louisiana as president! so obama is only not quite as bought as the bushy man? well shit – maybe its just our democratic system is broken and we need to work from the ground up at reforming our constitution.

    please don’t lose hope. i have been fed on hope and wine for a whole year and i feel pretty good still.

  30. “Patriot Act” What a euphemism for raping the constitution. Fear is a great motivator – “We’re keeping you safe” got a lot of work done for Bush/Cheney.

    “When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Sinclair Lewis

    “A man with a briefcase can steal more money than any man with a gun” -Don Henley

    “You cross a lawyer with the godfather baby – make you an offer you just can’t understand” – Don Henley

  31. the ranks of the insane. As one GOP pundit said

    Um, yeah; that’s a huge part of the problem, right there. Anyone who talks about “the ranks of the insane” and then quotes a GOP pundit has been in a coma and has no idea how we got to this hell in the first place. Of course, they’re the loudest know-alls in the land.

    Here’s the equation: No protest against Bush’s crimes and malfeasance = No credibility now.

  32. There are cycles of comity versus polarization in American history. Typically a huge, nation-threatening crisis – like the Depression or World War – makes large numbers of people forget their differences and work together. As time goes on, younger generations emerge that didn’t have this shared experience, which sows the seeds of everyone looking out for themselves. This eventually results in ideological deadlock, paralysis, and crisis, and the cycle repeats. Of course, there’s no guarantee that the country will emerge intact from each crisis, but so far it has.

    This kind of thing is discussed in works by Strauss and Howe, notably The Fourth Turning.

    When a system such as ours is in the grips of ideologues, its flaws are especially apparent, to wit the excessive use of the filibuster – which as you point is symptom, not a cause. Conversely, when people are less ideological and more practical, the flaws and their abuse are more hidden.

  33. I am financing the fight against health care reform – and so are you, probably. I am financing the opposition to cap and trade – big time. I’m sure I have ‘donated’ more mony to conservative causes than liberal ones – and so have you.

    If you have health insurance, a portion of your premiums is being used to influence legislators to kill health care reform. If you have electricity to your home or an auto or even if you ride the bus – you are funding the oppositon to cap and trade. Directly or indirectly if you buy fuel, you are financing the myth that global warming is a fraud.

    This is a big part of how they are winning – everybody is paying involuntarily for the campaigns against a progressive agenda and only progressives are financing the pathetically small budgets that progressove agencies have.

    There’s a huge inequality there, and if someone must find the handle and get the issue before the Supreme Court that mega-corporations can’t use any portion of the funds we pay for in essential services to forge stronger chains to bind us.

    Here is where the war is – we have to continue to elect candidates as liberal as we can. Expect them to seem ineffective. PRAY to whatever deity you believe in that Obama appoints 2 more liberal SC justices. Then push the ACLU to put issues before the S, because that’s the only branch that’s relarively immune to the corrosive effects of big campaign money.

    This is a bigger war than the war on terror or WWII – and it will take longer to win. Every election is not a war, only a small battle. We will win some and lose some. Even the best candidate is only a soldier in the greater conflict. Some will fall and some will fail in courage. I understand the frustration of those who see tis early batttle since the ’08 election as a loss because we have not yet won. It’s the first battle – we are just starting, and in my most optomistic dreams – we won’t be victorious in my lifetime. I do take heart in the fact the enemies of progressie thought are having to exerrt every bit of strength they have to slow us now. And we are just beginning.

  34. Not to worry all. Conservatives have the country precisely where they want it, where they can declare a pox on all our houses and push for secession into a conclave of their making in the south or southwest. They long for civil war in order to make us all nice little creatures of their desire to keep in our places. Because as everyone knows might makes right and God is telling them this is so. Damn I am so proud to be an ex American fighting man. So much for that document called the Constitution. Which conservatives claim to revere but have crushed. you want civil war? bring it on…

    Carlisle IA

  35. How soon before this day comes. Your house is on fire but if you don’t have fire insurance, paper proof of which must be shown before anything can be done, the privatized fire department won’t fight your fire, rescue your wife, forget your children.

    And that is exactly how our present health care industry is running today’s health care system.

  36. At Talk Left, almost all of the entire comment strings are complaints that Obama (or any other president/government official) won’t “fix the problems” for them right away. Wow. I thought that Republicans were lying when they said there were lazy Democrats who want the government to make the rain go away and give them a pony (or else the government SUX, MAN!!!).

    Please warn me before linking to those horrible, disheartening creatures again. It hurts me to think that people like that exist in my party.

  37. That’s just it cundy, we don’t have a Real Tsar. An autocrat who didn’t suck and was dedicated to the state might actually be able to bend the system to his will somewhat. I might have been able to live with oligarchical rule if they weren’t so mind-numbingly stupid and short-sighted.

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