Here’s a cheery note to begin the end of the week — Ohio citizens have stopped a voter suppression law from taking effect today. The law, signed by Gov. Kasich earlier this year, would have cut back on early voting and erects new barriers for absentee and even for election day voters. Yesterday opponents of the law delivered more than 300,000 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
Now back to our usual B&M — bitchin’ & moanin’. In spite of the fact that the GOP presidential candidates belong under a bell jar in the Pathetic Museum, Republican voters still have more enthusiasm for 2012 than Democrats. But, Mistermix says,
Iâ€™m sure after President Romney and his Republican Congress shutter Planned Parenthood, appoint enough Supremes to overturn Roe v Wade, privatize the Department of Education, turn Medicare into Vouchercare, and outsource the Treasury Department to Goldman-Sachs, Democratic enthusiasm will return.
I’m starting to think a big chunk of American progressives are only happy when they feel they’re the outsiders trying to stand up to The Man. They can never adjust to being The Man. Give them their turn to be The Man, and they piss it off so they can go back to protesting.
The corollary to Mistermix’s post is this one by Matt Yglesias. It appears in some circles “success” in the activist arena can be whatever we say it is; something like the Bush Administration’s definition of “success” in Iraq. If you never spell out what you want to accomplish, then you can’t possibly fail.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow — T.S. Eliot
Well, I guess we can still laugh at ourselves.
You might like this one, too, maha.
I may have something that may motivate Liberals and Democrats to come out and vote in 2012, and to vote for Democrats:
BECAUSE IT MAY BE THE LAST VOTE YOU EVER CAST, YOU TWIT’S!!!
Look at what’s being done by Conservatives about restricting voting around this country and explain again to me how you’re going to sit next year out ’cause Obama’s not Liberal enough when he either didn’t fall on his sword for your pet cause, or didn’t agree with you sufficiently enough to allow Conservatives to comletely stop any progress at all, because ‘the good is the enemy of the perfect’ you seek.
Incremental liberal change is not stasis, it’s PROGRESS!
Here’s my message for the members of “The Liberal Purity Police:”
Get over yourselves. Get off your asses. And vote!
Or, in our future Dominionist Christian Corporatist States of American, when your Grandchildren ask you what you did in the final days of “The American Experiment,” do you want to tell them you were sitting at home on your fat ass, snacking, and laughing and commenting about the idiotic and impure Democrats voting for Obama and Bush’s 4th term.
My daughter & I were two of those signatures. The submission of the petition will do two things:
1. Delay implementation of the law, which was supposed to go into effect tomorrow and
2. Put a referendum on the ballot to let the voting public decide the issue.
Slight change of subject. Personally, I feel that the Citizen’s United was the tipping point and there is no go back from that. Who knows, “Occupy Wall St” and its clones may wake up the public, especially if there are more pepper spray incidents. But I am pessimistic.
Check out Glenn Greenwald today. The president ordered and oversaw the assassination of a US citizen without bothering to charge him with a crime. Oh, well. C’est la vie. Bush was worse.
Yes, and if enough progressives sit out the 2012 elections, you will find out what “worse” means.
I just received an email from Chris Redfern, Chairman, Ohio Democratic Party:
“Yesterday afternoon I was joined by volunteers from all over the state as we delivered 318,460 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office to repeal HB 194.”
Yeah, pretty much. I came to that conclusion a long time ago (sometime during Clinton’s first term, I think).
Oh, I’ll vote. I haven’t sat out an election since I’ve been old enough to vote.
I know that being chided for a lack of enthusiasm always engenders significant enthusiasm in me. Especially effective is pointing out how bad the alternative to my preferred candidate is. Boy that really gets me fired up.
Mr. Pennington — I don’t give a hoohaw how enthusiastic you are.
Having to campaign and vote for people because they aren’t screwing you as badly as the others would doesn’t make for great motivation. It also doesn’t help that when you protest the news media ignores you if you have 100s of thousands of progressives doing it but offers endless laudatory coverage if you have a few thousand, or even a few hundred or dozen, rightwingers.
It does, as you point out, have to be done, because the alternatives are even worse. But there has to also be a movement to elect better people, people offering a choice that can make progressives motivated. That’s happening, but it’s harder when the media echo chamber doesn’t work for your side and does work for the other. The Wall Street protests are starting to get noticed now too. The pilots being there helped, and hopefully this will continue until even our news media can’t ignore it.
You’ve got it backwards. We progressives have to work to get better candidates. If we sit on our asses until The System magically produces politicians we like, we’ll wait forever.
Here is what I witnessed myself over the past 40+ years. One of the several reasons the New Left failed to deliver Liberal Utopia back in the 1970s is that activists decided that party politics was for schmucks and the labor unions and the rest of the New Deal coalition were just a bunch of white racist men. Well, they were back then, but that doesn’t mean labor unions didn’t serve a real purpose. So, partly from pressure by the New Left, what was left of the old New Deal coalition finally came apart, and then Democrats had nowhere to go for support except where the money was.
Meanwhile, instead of working for candidates, progressivism splintered into a lot of single-issue advocacy groups that competed with each other for attention and money. And while we purists stood around on street corners and handed out pamphlets about solar energy or saving whooping cranes, the Right took over the political machinery and media and thereby the country.
And we don’t learn. We . don’t . learn.
It seems every new generation comes into progressivism determined to repeat the same stupid mistakes. The parties are just alike, everybody is corrupt, you can’t work with the system, blah blah blah, so we’ll do street theater and occupy parks and hand out pamphlets and stay pure, and wait for the day things get better.
Like it or not, if you want better government, you have to work with one of the two parties. Yeah, it stinks, but the situation we’re in took years to get this bad, and it’s going to take years to work our way out of it. And the Left needs to grow up and realize that incremental change is better than no change, and if we want a political party that really reflects our values, we’re going to have to work with one of them over a period of years. The Good Fairy won’t do it for us.
Ignore it or not, it won’t matter.
Then why were you commenting on a poll regarding enthusiasm?
I was commenting on the quote from mistermix.
I should explain, since I wasn’t very clear. I came here via your Balloon Juice trackback. mistermix’s snark was directed at a respondents to a poll which asked:
To me that read, perhaps incorrectly, as a reference to 2008. I wasn’t hoping for Unicorns, but I was hoping for what later came to be called “looking back.” I was, I think, rightly disappointed.
The reason for my disappointment is a tale of some other poll numbers. On January 16 2009, The Washington Post polled:
Just five months later, after it became apparent that he would look forward, not back (on torture) a GfK poll asked:
and 52% answered “often” or “sometimes” justified. In May of 2011, after the killing of Osama bin Laden, GfK asked again about torture. This time[a]lmost 60% of all Americans believe that torture is often or at least sometimes justified for this purpose.
Inaction has consequences. You make a good point about the necessity of party politics to achieve goals. But I hope you’ll forgive me for being less enthusiastic about 2012 than I was about 2008. I expected more — and no my expectations were not unrealistic.
Mr. Pennington: Please describe precisely what you mean by “he would look forward, not back (on torture)”
Just five months later, after it became apparent that he would look forward, not back (on torture) a GfK poll (http://www.greenbook.org/marketing-research.cfm/american-values-surveys-03050)asked:
“How do you feel about the use of torture against suspected terrorists to obtain information about terrorism activities? Can that be …”
and 52% answered “often” or “sometimes” justified. In May of 2011, after the killing of Osama bin Laden, GfK asked again about torture. This time (http://www.gfkamerica.com/newsroom/press_releases/single_sites/007897/index.en.html) “[a]lmost 60% of all Americans believe that torture is often or at least sometimes justified for this purpose.”
Sorry for the mangled comment.
Mr. Pennington: Regarding public opinion on torture, polls can bounce all over the place because of subtle differences in the way questions are worded. Otherwise — yes, a majority of Americans approve of torture and the death penalty and a lot of other things that should have been left behind in the Dark Ages. T’was ever thus. On these particular issues I’d be more interested in seeing differences across decades rather than a few weeks or months apart.
I apologize for being obtuse. “Looking forward, not back” was a reference to President Obama’s public statements regarding why he would not pursue investigations (let alone prosecutions) of torture. ( http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/12/us/politics/12inquire.html?pagewanted=all ). A definition of torture, and the reason I think some people in the prior administration should have been investigated and prosecuted, can be found in USC Title 18, Prt I, Ch 113C, Â§ 2340 ( http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/usc_sec_18_00002340—-000-.html ).
Also, I agree that polls can jump, and the wording of the question is different in the 1st than the other two (specifically noting the then very popular President elect’s stated position that his administration would not torture) but I chose those polls and that timeframe to make a very specific point: explicit public support of torture by the US for the purpose of counter-terrorism was a minority position before Obama took the oath of office, and quickly rose to a majority position after he took office. Here’s an article about a poll on the same subject from 2004 ( http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/Polls/torture_poll_040527.html ) that notes a that 63% “say torture is never acceptable, even when other methods fail and authorities believe the suspect has information that could prevent terrorist attacks.”
It is my belief that President Obama’s failure to condemn, let alone hold anyone accountable for torture contributed significantly to this change in US public opinion. Yes there are other factors. Particularly, I suspect that people’s understanding of what torture includes has gotten better (and I am somewhat disgusted that this has resulted in a division of torture in many minds into acceptable torture and unacceptable torture.)
Additionally, I feel that because of this inaction, there is no reason for future Vice President David Addington and future Secretary of Defense Doug Feith not to warm up the water boards and restart the fourth branch.
Anywho, I’m rambling at this point. I will note that President Obama has done some very good things — the repeal of DADT being a Very Good Thing. I am not a firebagger. I don’t think he should be primaried. I will vote for him. But I care very much about the torture accountability issue (I also care about other issues where I feel President Obama has fallen short, but this is the biggest for me.) It is important and my expectations were not unrealistic. And that is why I am less enthusiastic about voting in 2012 that I was in 2008 — because in 2008 I was voting for something. And that’s why I think mistermix’s snark was unjustified and unhelpful.
Mr. Pennington: While I share your outrage that torture is going unpunished, I also appreciate the President’s precarious position. If you want to appreciate how precarious that is, read this old Nate Silver post from before the 2010 midterm election, comparing the makeup of Congress under FDR, LBJ, and Obama. It’s even worse for Obama now, of course. Then reflect on the fact that Republicans are far crazier today than in LBJ’s day and that a big chunk of the Dems in Obama’s Congress are blue dogs who vote with Republicans.
Put another way, if FDR had had Obama’s Congress, we might remember Roosevelt as an incompetent, one-term president.
And then appreciate that (1) any other Democrat in the White House would be just as hemmed in., and (2) the man has to pick his fights. There is only so much the President can squeeze out of this Congress.
I take it that torture is your pet issue and one that you would have made a priority. But that may have been at the cost of political capital needed to get other things done, like health care reform.
As far as repeal of DADT is concerned, IMO the biggest reason Congress didn’t fight it that much is that Republicans can read polls, too. And pubic attitudes toward homosexuality have changed enormously in recent years. Enough congress critters made the decision that DADT is not a fight they wanted to pick that the repeal was able to pass.
And I think mistermix’s snark was spot on. I cannot tell you how disgusted I am with most of the activist Left right now.
I doubt that most of the public knows what President Obama’s position is on torture. And correlation is not causation.
“You’ve got it backwards. We progressives have to work to get better candidates. If we sit on our asses until The System magically produces politicians we like, we’ll wait forever.”
I guess I wasn’t clear (altho I thought I was, and think you’re being defensive due to others’ posts), because you got what I was saying exactly backwards. It is “The System” that must produce these, but progressives are part of “The System”.