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Monday, October 10, 2005



I don't hate that at all...just that IMHO Blankly doesn't project an interesting personality over the "telly". Don't really have anything against him personally - I could have picked far more annoying folk, but his picture popped into my head in contrast to Buchanan just because in my "virtual experience" of him, he's always sitting there next to Pat, and as AAA noted is the perfect shill. Despite Tony's apparent sweetness (wasn't he a child actor in an earlier life ?) I still would rather hear Carville's bullshit than Blankley's. (And your "boss" , KVDH, IS an annoying presence - on the tube at least. ) As for Buchanan, like AAA, I actually subscribe to AmCon because they've had some excellent stuff on the war and the neoCons that isn't always up on their website. On cultural/social /race issues, it's like surveying the dark side of the moon...

I also have a lingering affection for Buchanan because he was in charge of the old St. Louis Globe Democrat's editorial page when they published my letter to the editor attacking local gal Phyllis Schlafly's nut-job views on "modern art". I uncharitably likened her to the Stalinists who touted Socialist Realism. I must have been 15 or 16...

richard lo cicero

The question, "who do you to have a beer with?" is indicative of what's wrong with our politics. I can't image Brits or the French using this as a critereon for picking political leadership. Would anybody want to spend an evening with William Gladstone? Or Charles deGaule? I'm looking for a leader not a bowling buddy!

I don't know what the Dems should do but I note that poll after poll, since the forties, has shown large majorities for National Health Insurance and we still don't have it. Kinda takes the wind out of the sails of those who argue that politics matters. We all know about the fabled Missing Half that don't vote. No one knows how to reach them and I don't think anyone will. At the same time I doubt they don't vote because they think everything is just fine, thank you. More likely they see no connection with their real lives.

So why is it that people say they are Conservative when they want "Progressive" Government? Maybe 40 years of demonizing the word and the total unwillingness of anyone to say "I'm a Liberal and proud of it!" And we have a system of "Checks and Balances" that almost guarantees that significant action can only happen in very dire times. It took the Civil War to not only settle the Slavery question but also get Henry Clay's program of internal improvements he called "The American Plan" passed:

The Land Grant College Act

The Pacific Railroad Act

The Homestead Act

And, of course, the expansion of rights via the 14th and 15th Ammendments. Similiarly, would we have Social Security, the SEC, FDIC and Agricultural Subsidies without the spur of the Great Depression?

Finally lets note the Great Elephant in the room - Race. Any number of Political Scientists have argued that the reason Europeans have a developed Welfare State and we don't is the result of America's Original Sin. Populism has a long, sad, history of foundering on the shoals of race. The experience of Tom Watson of Georgia is indicative. He tried to build a coalition of white and black sharecroppers but, when that failed, he bacame an arch segregationist. The elites always knew that they could use race to break up any threats to their power. And consider that the South, the poorest region of the country, is also the most solid "Conservative" area.

I know I haven't been philosophical here but it seems to me that we have a political system and a social system that makes it very hard to be a viable "Left" politician on the national level. And baring another catastrophy I don't see it happening. So I guess I'm left, like Gramsci, with an "Optimism of the Will". Sorry that I can't do better.


"Dontcha think that we've got parity there with "a lot of people on the far right of the Republican Party" ?"

True of course, but here's my gist. I'm essentially a left leaning guy - there little chance of me ever making of habit of voting Republican (I don't entirely overrule the possibility but it's yet to occur.) But when I encounter the shrillness of people on the left my reaction is to lose interest in voting period. And I suspect there are many others like me - especially in much maligned "middle America." Many of those people implicitly realize they stand to gain from the left agenda but can't stand to vote for they same politician that the guy who runs the alternative bookstore with a a big IMPEACH WARMONGER BUSH sign in his window is voting for. So they don't vote at all. (I should make clear, I do vote, but sometimes it's a real effort.)

For myself, the annoyance value of far righties is less relevant since I wouldn't vote them anyway. Plus I live in L.A. and it's rare I come across them.

That said, most of the few far right Christian folk I've met have been very pleasant people. (I have to keep reminding myself to hate them.)

As for Buchanan, I too am a fan. Don't agree with him much, but always find his comments interesting and often rather stealthily self-deprecating. Call him what you will, he's straight talker. I'd vote for Charles Rangel - another guy I like - as his equivalent on the left.


rlc - Bingo !!!


"The question, "who do you to have a beer with?" is indicative of what's wrong with our politics."

On note on that is that I've always been amazed at the idea that W would be a great guy to have a beer with. That's got to be at least partly a product of the masochism of the Beltway press. I met a guy - a very "down-home" Texas businessman who happens to be quite liberal - who ran in the same circles as George via business associates and couldn't stand him. Of course that could be because W threw up and passed out in his car.


"One note, etc...."


The GOP has dominated the post Vietnam war White House by playing on Americans' security fears, first using the Cold War and now, the "war on terror.''

Clinton did not win primarily by triangulating or finding the center or any somesuch. He won because the Cold War finally collapsed under its own contradictions and the GOP had no Reds with which to scare people. Without a bogeyman, the GOP appears irrelevant to the majority.

The only hope the Democrats have now is to create a movement that can redefine the security paradigm away from: more military equals more security.

Terrorism is not going away for a very, very long time, not matter how many countries the U.S invades or how strict law enforcement and border security becomes.

So the way to beat the GOP in a consistent, lasting way is to offer a viable policy alternative on national security. The GOP, as Kerry's loss shows, cannot be "triangulated" on that issue.

Kerry a multi-millionaire and bona fide war hero was ridiculed for trying to present himself as militarist-lite or somesuch, even though his opponent was a chickenhawk who ducked out of Vietnam. What would make anyone think a different Democrat (Hillary?) could possibly succeed with the same strategy in 2008, when the GOP will probably field a candidate who can speak English and may even have actually fought in a war?

The Democrats have to do much more than adjust their political stance. They need to rebuild a constituency and to do that, they need to stand for something better than providing more, better armor for speculative military aggression.

Marc Cooper

MJT: On second thought, Im going to charge a friggin' fee for that List of Personally Unpleasant Leftists I Dont Want To Be Caught Dead With. Maybe link it to a 900 number. I ought to at least be able to cash in on this esoteric niche knowledge I have acquired over 4 decades. Maybe I'll toss out a few freebie loss leaders to pull the suckers in --- y'know names that anyone with a brain already knows: Alex Cockburn, Michael Moore, Ward Fucking Churhill(!) and so on. Im open to ready investors on this one.

P.S. for the few of you who dont know me personally but have asked by email as to how I fit or not on that list....well... I just pretend to be an a-ho in print. Up close and personal Im a big huggable teddy bear!


So it is "personal" for Marc. I commend his honesty for acknowledging the pettiness of his motives.


Meanwhile this earthquake in Pakistan is utterly horrific. It may seem inappropriate, but I can't keep from wondering if it's going to have an impact on the local politics in some unanticipated fashion. If Pakistani allies of al Qaeda have learned anything from Hamas' basebuilding in the occupied territories, they certainly won't have a "Michael Brown" in charge of their emergency assistance programs.

Marc Cooper

Let me squelch the growing rumor that I actually write the Bunker Buster posts as a convenient foil for my signed comments. Not true! Im not talented enough to keep coming up with the stuff this guy does.

That's right BB, my blog is all about me. Wondrous, isn't it?


Try telling us, for once, which leftists you like and why and how they are going to win.

Aren't you bored yet with telling us ad nauseam how awful the people you disagree with are?


What is weird is…well, I would totally get loaded with George Bush; he is a total phony evangelical hustler…dudes like that are a riot when they get drunk. Kerry just seemed so stuck up and stiff.

Yet, if my child was going to war…shit, if my child was riding the bus to school, I would feel and know my child was in good hands with Kerry….and Bush, well…he would do everything to make sure Bush survived, but would turn his back on my child as soon as things got dangerous.

Bush is personable…but so are most hustlers.

richard lo cicero is correct, part of the “security package” is keeping darkies in their place. Republicans will always play the race card because it works for them. It is naive to think that the Southern Strategy and every strategy after that certainly tells certain Americans that their fear and paranoia is well founded and righteous.

Samuel Stott

A most interesting thread.

I am willing to consider the possibility that America really does want Leftism, not Clintonism, but will have to see some evidence. Anyone got any?

Would it be out of bounds to suggest that the movement Left has nothing to offer? What exciting new left-wing ideas about how to solve our chronic problems can anyone cite?

First, as others have noted, the Left promulgates loser, side-show fixations like gun control and gay marriage and slavery reparations. (Side-shows, because the desiderata are not any of the above but reduced crime, full legal protection for gays and prosperity for the descendents of

After that, you have tactical, if not strategic associations that would make, as Rambo's commanding officer put it, "a billy-goat puke." For any of you who might march in anti-Iraq war demonstrations, I would really like to know, how do you think you will influence the American public
by in making common cause with apologists for Dear Leader, and with objective supporters of Baathist dead-enders and Islamist head-choppers, like George Galloway?

But let me not digress, because my point is that the Movement Left,
(mouthpieced by the Nation, the Progressive, Mother Jones, and by
a thousand Committees and "action groups," and by at least a half-million Americans who make a decent to really good iving on salary, as professional "progressives" have nothing to offer but bile, sputum and 30 year old ideas (long ago rejected by the American public) about how to divert public funds.

How will we eliminate our wretched underclass? How will we educate our poor and ignorant? What idea does any Leftist have on this subject that hasn't been rejected in the last 20 general elections?


"How will we eliminate our wretched underclass? How will we educate our poor and ignorant?"

Discussions about "the movement Left" aren't particularly interesting or relevant, but I'll take the "old ideas" of liberalism (stimulated by the activism of the best elements of those to its left) that have generated the most free and prosperous societies in human history - against the kicking and screaming of the racist, pitiless right - over what the Bizarro World Coalition - the heirs of Buckley, minions of Murdoch, crony capitalists, 800-Number Christers and Sons of The South - are offering as alternative.

Tired of "30-year old ideas" ? Well let's haul in the hack, amateur ideologists of the right, like Marvin Olansky or Charles Murray, to treat us to some truly antiquated bullshit derived with no apparent sense of irony from a coupling of the misanthropic narcissism of Ayn Rand acolytes, the utter intellectual and moral exhaustion of an Ostentatiously Ex-Liberal East Coast Elite and the tent-show hustle of a thousand Big Hair Preachers. That's the "genius alliance" that pretends to offer an alternative to their myth of "the left" in one of the greatest shows of hypocrisy and dishonesty ever to despoil the landscape of politics and social policy ("How do we lift our poor, ignorant brethern from their self-made slough of Democrat-funded despond ?" when the most heartfelt question most of these people are actually found asking themselves about the poor is "Has Juan showed up yet to work the yard?") Muttering bullshit about the bankruptcy of "Mother Jones" and "The Progressive" in the face of the right-wing's bank robbery and moral mugging is truly pathetic.

Jim Santulli

These comments are often good but just a couple of points.

Are people really certain that mass bigotry is the key issue here? Is it really certain that blacks and whites cannot work together-if not, then how come is it that they both voted for the same party for so long?

Are Europeans really that much better than Americans? Do not they have issues-class divisions, anti-semitism-that are comparable to American issues? If so, then how come is it that they have a welfare state and America does'nt?

If you want to talk about mass prejudice, why stop at race? Why not talk about sex, or sexual orientation? Maybe they are just as divisive issues.

Personally, one is inclined to think that the lack of a welfare state is due as to the American left's obsession with mass prejudice at the expense of everything else-class issues, for one-as it is due to anything else. Such obsession, in turn, stems from an almost pathological dislike for one's own people that has always been one of the American left's gravest flaws. Again, failing to answer, repeatedly and loudly and effectively, the anti-government propaganda of the right is the main source of supposed American "anti-big government" beliefs.

Abbas-Ali Abadani

Samuel Stott: "First, as others have noted, the Left promulgates loser, side-show fixations like gun control and gay marriage and slavery reparations. (Side-shows, because the desiderata are not any of the above but reduced crime, full legal protection for gays and prosperity for the descendents of

"The Left" (God, how I hate that term) should embrace states' rights when it comes to matters such as gun control, prayer in schools, gay marriage, etc. Pushing such things on a national level is just plain WRONG, never mind its electoral deficiencies.

Sullivan is right. Embracing Federalism -- genuine grassroots Federalism, not the faux variety on offer from AEI's "Federalism Project" -- is the right move for both Red Staters and Blue Staters.

SS: "After that, you have tactical, if not strategic associations that would make, as Rambo's commanding officer put it, "a billy-goat puke." For any of you who might march in anti-Iraq war demonstrations, I would really like to know, how do you think you will influence the American public
by in making common cause with apologists for Dear Leader, and with objective supporters of Baathist dead-enders and Islamist head-choppers, like George Galloway?"

Gee, I don't know. Maybe we should listen to the sage advice of smug, pretentious, pompous, condescending pricks who are always going on about how they're carrying on the legacy of FDR and how in tune they are with "the American Public."



" I didn't leave the Democratic Pary...the Democratic Party left me!" - Song sung blue by the likes of Strom Thurmond, Ronald Reagan, Richard Perle, Zell Miller and various acolytes of Max Schactman, no less. Good riddance...

roger merith

Marc's discussion of the issue is actually very simplistic and filled with the error of a mainstream liberal...
A serious discussion of the issue [that also confronts head on some of the mistaken assumptions in Reg's comments as well], a more in depth and substantive discussion--


There's been a lot of interesting followup to this discussion over at Kevin Drum's place. One thing that struck me, although it's pretty obvious if one does a gut check on the question, is some hard evidence that activists on the right have veered farther from the views of the much-coveted "independents", while Democratiic activists are more closely aligned with these folk. Seems apparent if you have any familiarity with the rabid nature of the "movement" right-wingers, but it's nothing you'd learn listening to the conformist "wisdom" of the talking heads and scribblers. Quite the opposite...

Reg, go listen to that interview Roger Merith suggested you listen too. he's right, you're filled with mistaken notions about the electorate, much as Cooper is.

Reg, ya listened to that interview with Larry Bartel? A whole lot more informed than Cooper or your blind faith in Frank's arguments


this guy Larry Bartels really makes cooper sound superficial

Has the white working class abandoned the Democratic Party? No. White voters in the bottom third of the income distribution have actually become more reliably Democratic in presidential elections over the past half-century, while middle- and upper-income white voters have trended Republican. Low-income whites have become less Democratic in their partisan identifications, but at a slower rate than more affluent whites – and that trend is entirely confined to the South, where Democratic identification was artificially inflated by the one-party system of the Jim Crow era. • Has the white working class become more conservative? No. The average views of low-income whites have remained virtually unchanged over the past 30 years. (A pro-choice shift on abortion in the 1970s and ‘80s has been partially reversed since the early 1990s.) Their positions relative to more affluent white voters – generally less liberal on social issues and less conservative on economic issues – have also remained virtually unchanged. • Do working class “moral values” trump economics? No. Social issues (including abortion) are less strongly related to party identification and presidential votes than economic issues are, and that is even more true for whites in the bottom third of the income distribution than for more affluent whites. Moreover, while social issue preferences have become more strongly related to presidential votes among middle- and high-income whites, there is no evidence of a corresponding trend among low-income whites.


Unless the Democrats get a cogent, unified, effective policy on Iraq and all that caused it, the economic and social policy challenges are beside the point.

The GOP thrives on fear and demonization. The Democrats need a strategy that works in OPPOSITION to that, because accommodating it, as Marc advocates and Kerry tried, is only going to make Democrats look like phoney wannabe terror warriors.


As someone doing actual electoral work in a southern and solid red corner of a red-maybe-becoming-purple state, I'm very grateful for and interested in the information relayed by the nameless poster at 6:35 pm Oct 11 from the Bartels interview. Nameless: currently I can't listen to web radio; can you point me to the sources of the info in your post?

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