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40% of Dems likely to not vote in 2010

2009 November 29
by Ian Welsh

So nice to see the conventional wisdom catching up.

20 Responses
  1. BDBlue permalink
    November 29, 2009

    This might have something to do with it, from A Tiny Revolution (internal links omitted):

    This is from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1933 Thanksgiving Proclamation:

    May we ask guidance in more surely learning the ancient truth that greed and selfishness and striving for undue riches can never bring lasting happiness…May we be grateful for the passing of dark days…for the brighter day to which we can win through by seeking the help of God in a more unselfish striving for the common bettering of mankind.

    Compare to today’s warm, mushy gruel:

    I encourage all the people of the United States to come together, whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place where family, friends and neighbors may gather, with gratitude for all we have received in the past year, to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own and to share our bounty with others.

  2. David permalink
    November 29, 2009

    No Dem since the last election, save Alan Grayson, has shown the slightest backbone in the face of egregious GOP fuckwittery. Free hint, Dems: YOU WON. Act like winners, not a bunch of dithering, sclerotic bumblers who can’t seem to find their own asses with both hands and a flashlight.

    Obama so far is one of the biggest disappointments in my life.

  3. bystander permalink
    November 29, 2009

    Paul Rosenberg’s response to my raising that poll in his threads at Open Left:

    Obama Bombs, Dems Pay The Price (4.00 / 7)
    I think it’s a very perverse situation, because

    (A) Obama was elected on an anti-Bush/anti-GOP wave that could have elected any Democrat, but

    (B) his marketing made that wave his own–in the all-important land of appearances, at least, and

    (C) now the depression of the Dem base is largely due to Obama’s failure to deliver–most specifically,

    (1) his failure to push for really fundamental change and

    (2) his failure to rally the troops and bring pressure on Congress to make really fundamental change possible.

    And, finally,

    (D) The Versailles narrative for all the above will be that Dems went all crazy liberal and “tried to do to much”, forgetting that “America is a center-right nation”.

    Can you say, “clusterfuck”?

    Sure you can!

    “Senate passes expanded GI bill despite Bush, McCain opposition”
    by: Paul Rosenberg @ Sun Nov 29, 2009 at 10:18

    Clusterfuck really just says it all. I guess Obama doesn’t share Digby’s concern about which party in Congress has subpoena power.

    Crossing my fingers and hoping the code doesn’t scramble. Apologies in advance if it does.

  4. November 29, 2009

    The Versailles narrative for all the above will be that Dems went all crazy liberal and “tried to do to much”, forgetting that “America is a center-right nation”.

    This is not a “will be”. This is an “is”. I have hearing this for some time on NPR talk shows and reading it in NYT columns. This position will be endorsed by the party leadership, which will NOT learn the lesson that the base needs to be pacified (because it is not at all acceptable to pacify the base who are a bunch of commies), and they will plunge into another round of looking for the elusive centrist (I) voter.

  5. selise permalink
    November 30, 2009

    mandos,

    This is not a “will be”. This is an “is”.

    not just at npr and the nyt. i thought that was already the story:

    Dems went all crazy liberal and “tried to do to much”, forgetting that “America is a center-right nation”.

    isn’t that why i wasn’t suppose to go all crazy liberal and advocate for for single payer, a sensible carbon tax, an end to the wars, no bankster bailout, etc etc?

  6. selise permalink
    November 30, 2009

    bystander, at least for myself, i completely disagree with paul on this one:

    (C) now the depression of the Dem base is largely due to Obama’s failure to deliver–most specifically,


    i’m depressed not because of obama’s failure, but because of ours to advocate for what i thought we believed in.

  7. S Brennan permalink
    November 30, 2009

    Who’s “we” Kemosabe?

    “i’m depressed not because of obama’s failure, but because of ours” -selise

    Obama is Bush’s 3rd Term

  8. sturgeon's law permalink
    November 30, 2009

    Obama plays 11 dimensional chess, and his enormous leadership skills take place in all 11.

    The fault lies not in our star but in ourselves that we just cannot discern 11 dimensional chess.

    (Or maybe he is just a really shitty leader.)

  9. selise permalink
    November 30, 2009

    S Brennan, guess i wasn’t clear (not uncommon for me). it’s not that i hold obama blameless — on the contrary. it’s just that while he’s much much worse than i expected — and i didn’t even vote for him. in a safe state i had the luxury of a protest vote — i’m not surprised he’s not progressive or even centrist (i did think he was a semi-sane republican. which i now think was only half right).

    but i didn’t think that there was going to be such a massive stand down on and even rejection of progressive domestic policy in the blogosphere. where is single payer or a carbon tax? instead there is support for the dem party polices even though they are blatantly neoliberal corp sellouts that won’t work. and even worse is the economic nationalism (“buy american” bordering on nativism). every day i think “this can’t go on” and yet it does. (and i’m not even mentioning the stuff that is, for me, the worst of if).

    so, i feel like we’ve failed to actually be progressive (at least as i understood the word). “we” being me and some other people (no judgement on you).

  10. Celsius 233 permalink
    November 30, 2009

    Is it really about voting? Look at the last election; we voted and allegedly won. So what! What good did it do?
    This is about more than voting; it’s about demanding accountability. However; we can’t/won’t demand accountability until “we” can unite around a common goal.
    Fuck that; why, because we as a nation can’t find our asses with both hands and we can’t even agree on the simplest things; like healthcare for example. We’ve become a nation so divided and divisive that we’ve had our lives stolen from under our noses.
    We’re too stupid because we try to keep our stupid lifestyles and will become “like” a third world country in terms of our personal finances and standard of living. We’ll lose as we bicker over petty issues and stupid, phoney/hypocritic Christian values and more will be stolen from us.
    If one just looks at todays most popular TV shows; then one can easily see the future.
    End of rant; thank you very much.

  11. November 30, 2009

    Depression is impacted anger. I’m not depressed; I’m mad as hell!

  12. November 30, 2009

    instead there is support for the dem party polices even though they are blatantly neoliberal corp sellouts that won’t work. and even worse is the economic nationalism (”buy american” bordering on nativism).

    I’m confused by your latter point, selise. “Free” trade has been devastating to the power of 1st world labor specifically and to the planet’s ecosystem generally. Economic nationalism is a logical response to having nations’ work forces pit against each other in the drive to depress wages and working class living standards, and national governments are the only entity capable of wielding countervailing force against the power of transnational conglomerates.

    Economic nationalism can have its downsides, but there’s no way it’s “worse” than the sellout to corporations.

  13. November 30, 2009

    Economic nationalism is a logical response to having nations’ work forces pit against each other in the drive to depress wages and working class living standards, and national governments are the only entity capable of wielding countervailing force against the power of transnational conglomerates.

    Bingo! Neoliberal trade orthodoxy is the root of the problem, and more than just in the declining living standards. Essentially, we now endure a strange economic contradiction; free trade destroys wages and employment in developed countries in favour of export-oriented production in less developed/low wage countries BUT the only way this is economical is if consumers in the now-less-high wage countries have the money to buy the goods.

    Essentially, people with no money must provide loans to people with somewhat-more-money, but the people with somewhat-more-money sink further into unemployment and become less likely to pay it back.

    The low-wage lenders lend ever-increasing sums of money to an ever-increasingly immiserated “higher wage” economy. As the indebtedness of the higher wage workers increase to the point of bankruptcy, who captures the excess?

    And yet both groups of workers are locked into this, because any let-up of debt or consumption leads to a sudden and catastrophic immiseration on both sides.

    The only answer is a controlled, limited return to economic nationalism. International trade is a social benefit only up to the point where low-wage economies start chronically subsidizing the debt of consumers in high-wage economies.

  14. DancingOpossum permalink
    November 30, 2009

    “Act like winners, not a bunch of dithering, sclerotic bumblers who can’t seem to find their own asses with both hands and a flashlight.”

    I agree with lambert strether that the first step is to reject the meme of Democratic weakness–or even incompetence. The Democrats are doing exactly what they wanted and intended to do, which is exactly what their corporate overlords wanted and intended them to do. It isn’t that they want soooo desperately to change the status quo and are hampered by their weakness. That gives them a cop-out they don’t deserve. They are not incompetent. If they wanted real health care reform, we’d have it. If they wanted to overthrow the financial system, they’d do it. If they wanted to end our stupid wars, they would. They don’t want to, they don’t want any of it. Period, end of story.

    But progressives and liberals shouldn’t just sit out elections, we should vote and vote for third parties. I have never been ashamed of voting Green in 2008.

  15. November 30, 2009

    people with no money must provide loans to people with somewhat-more-money,

    I kind of see what you’re saying, Mandos, but taken literally your quote here makes no sense. I think you mean, “the rulers of people with no money are providing loans to the consumers with somewhat more money.”

    The only answer is a controlled, limited return to economic nationalism.

    That would certainly seem to me part of some kind of solution,

    International trade is a social benefit only up to the point where low-wage economies start chronically subsidizing the debt of consumers in high-wage economies.

    I didn’t understand what you’re saying, either, until I re-read it a couple times. It makes more sense to me if it’s stated, “International trade stops being a social benefit when low-wage economies start chronically subsidizing the debt of consumers in high-wage economies” … I assume that’s what you’re saying. I would go further, though. International trade is not a social benefit if it leads to declining living standards for a set of workers and/or the ruin of the planet’s biosphere. (Has anyone calculated how many additional hydrocarbons are burned in the transport of hybrid vehicles from Japan or Korea to the U.S.?) In general, goods should be produced close to where they are consumed.

    DancingOpussum, I agree with your comment, but would go farther and say we should abandon the meme of “the” Democrats, and instead be clearer about the distinction between genuinely progressive ones and corporatists.

  16. November 30, 2009

    I kind of see what you’re saying, Mandos, but taken literally your quote here makes no sense. I think you mean, “the rulers of people with no money are providing loans to the consumers with somewhat more money.”

    Well, yes. But whoever is doing it, they are doing it in the name of those low-wage workers, and unless they have not taken steps to insulate themselves from revolutions, they aren’t likely to be paying the price of failure of this gambit. So I think it’s fair to say that low-wage workers—inadvertently—providing the loan.

    But they only risk taking a haircut insofar as a de facto default of some kind happens before, as IIRC Ian has put it, internal demand has ignited.

    I didn’t understand what you’re saying, either, until I re-read it a couple times. It makes more sense to me if it’s stated, “International trade stops being a social benefit when low-wage economies start chronically subsidizing the debt of consumers in high-wage economies” … I assume that’s what you’re saying. I would go further, though. International trade is not a social benefit if it leads to declining living standards for a set of workers and/or the ruin of the planet’s biosphere.

    I take it as a given that at the point at which the chronic debt subsidy commences, declining living standards has set in.

    (Has anyone calculated how many additional hydrocarbons are burned in the transport of hybrid vehicles from Japan or Korea to the U.S.?) In general, goods should be produced close to where they are consumed.

    My understanding is that the lifetime emissions of the car are less than buying a non-hybrid car even if you take into account the pollution of manufacture, but I don’t have a link offhand. A quick googling tells me of several conflicting opinions on the matter.

    I’m not convinced highly localized production can support a technological economy even with the developed world’s current population alone.

  17. selise permalink
    November 30, 2009

    ballgame, i am NO supporter of neoliberal “free trade” — just the opposite. fact is i spent my 2003 vacation in miami getting tear gassed, pepper sprayed, detained, etc in the protests that helped block implementation of the FTAA (NAFTA on steroids) if that helps my anti-neoliberal bona fides:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/selise/241525147/

    mandos is wrong, economic nationalism is NOT the only response (bad for the foreign workers and possibly bad for us as it may indeed cause us to lose dollar reserve status and all the benefits that entails) — we could, instead, have a progressive economic policy. one that builds a high wage economy here instead of limiting ourselves to the false choice of either trying to compete globally on the low wage model or resorting to economic nationalism).

    first though we have to unlearn the false neoliberal constraints on our policy space (that’s my current project).

    i’ll try to find time later for a better response (something with arguments instead of just assertions) if no one beats me to it.

  18. November 30, 2009

    ballgame, i am NO supporter of neoliberal “free trade”

    Whew! I will keep an open mind, then, selise, we may in fact be in ‘violent agreement’. Maybe we mean somewhat different things by the term “economic nationalism.” My vision of a ‘perfect economic policy’ would entail slow growth in developed nations, moderate growth in developing ones, with an extremely strong emphasis on worker protections and ecological sustainability all around.

  19. November 30, 2009

    mandos is wrong, economic nationalism is NOT the only response (bad for the foreign workers and possibly bad for us as it may indeed cause us to lose dollar reserve status and all the benefits that entails) — we could, instead, have a progressive economic policy. one that builds a high wage economy here instead of limiting ourselves to the false choice of either trying to compete globally on the low wage model or resorting to economic nationalism).

    At minimum you need a policy that put curbs (not complete restrictions, curbs/limits) on productive non-service employment from being outsourced/shifted to low-wage jurisdictions. Whatever you want to call it.

  20. selise permalink
    November 30, 2009

    ballgame, love your vision. think the only disagreements are over policy ideas. personally, i find disagreements helpful and educational so imo that’s all good.

    Mandos, only if you think there are a certain number of jobs we have to fight over. i don’t. instead let’s expand the number of jobs — there is plenty of productive work to be done, looks like no reason other than politics for people to remain unemployed. tjfxh has recommended wray’s book, understanding modern money, the key to full employment and price stability. i’m not done yet, but wish to second the recommendation as a great place to start for ideas on expanding the policy space under consideration by progressives. (and jmo, but i think with ian and on his blog is the perfect spot to brainstorm some unconventional ideas!)

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