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Number of Democrats thinking of not voting in 2010 up to 45%

2010 January 3
by Ian Welsh

How to (not) win elections and motive the base:

the highest percentage of Democrats to date (45%) indicated this week that they are either unlikely to vote, or certain not to vote.

Once more, doing things badly (health care “reform”, an inadequate stimulus, refusing to properly take on the banks) or doing things the base opposed (escalating in Afghanistan) has a price.

In 1994 Clinton lost Congress. He lost it in large part because of NAFTA, failing at health care reform and the the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell fiasco.  Democratic base voters stayed home and Republicans were motivated.  Doing “moderate” things didn’t make Republicans not vote against Democrats, but it did make Democrats not vote Democrats.

Clinton may have gone on to win re-election in 1996, but after losing Congress, he did very few truly progressive things and did or signed off on many non-progressive things, like Welfare “reform” and gutting Glass-Steagall (a major reason for the financial crisis.)

Obama stands to repeat.  His major achievement, health care reform, is too compromised to really motivate the base.  He has two things going for him:

  • a large money advantage, since they are now the favored party of corporate America, and raking in money as a result;
  • the Republicans being in severe disarray.

The next year will have some bones thrown to the base, in an attempt to convince them to get out and vote.  But since Obama can’t, and won’t, do anything major for the base, I wonder what they’ll be. Healthcare is off the table, the immigration bill will not be good, carbon trading will be badly done and so on.

Convincing base voters they haven’t been betrayed, that there is hope and the change doesn’t mean “Bush’s 3rd term” is going to be an uphill struggle.

51 Responses
  1. Celsius 233 permalink
    January 3, 2010

    Well, with the utter betrayal, what’s to vote? We’re too stupid to live; we refuse to look after our own best interests (American citizens), we refuse to organize and support a third party, we’re so damn lazy and gullible we believe any stupid lie any body tells us, Wallstreet just pulled off the largest theft of cash in the entire history of the human race and we just sit with our thumb up our ass and, and, and, what’s the point? There’s got to be some really sick humor there, no?

    Oh, and somebody or something took down the Agonist wed site early this morning; still not operational. More than 10 hours.

  2. marcopolo permalink
    January 3, 2010

    I’m not voting. Apparently things have to be in full crisis mode, complete meltdown, before people are motivated enough to think about policy in adult terms. We are close to freefall, but not there yet. Unemployment is a factor in 2012. If Obama can’t put a dent in that, AND the Republicans can field some fresh new face, he could lose. At this point, it might be better. I am pissed off.

  3. BDBlue permalink
    January 3, 2010

    Not to put it all on the President, although Obama has been leading the Party to disaster.* Congress has its own self to blame as well. It’s been way too happy to follow Obama’s lead instead of trying to save itself and in that way resembles the Republican Congress under Bush. And the history of 1994 has been somewhat rewritten to make it all about Clinton, when a large part of the problems in 1994 was the not inaccurate perception that the Democratic Congress was corrupt, particularly the House after 40 years of one-party rule. The Congressional Post Office scandal broke wide in 1993 and along with allegations that Tom Foley knew about it, hurt the Democrats in 1994 by adding to the notion they had simply been in power too long (especially since it followed on the heels of the House Banking scandal. The 1994 loss was well earned by the Democratic Party even if it was a disaster in terms of policy for liberals and progressives (a good reminder about why activists can’t simply align with a political party).

    Since then, Congressional Democrats have sought to blame their losses in 1994 solely on Clinton, but, IMO, that’s because it lets them ignore the problems their own corruption caused and it ignores the fact that many of the Congressional Democrats – hello, Jim Cooper – helped kill healthcare reform, which would’ve been a big boost to the party base (which is not to say Clinton didn’t make his own mistakes on healthcare, just that he had a lot of help in that regard on the Hill).

    Clinton, of course, contributed to the party’s problems, but Congress is its own branch of government and, in the end, members of Congress have their own obligations to make their constituents happy and get re-elected. While Obama has been dreadful, the Congress could still have passed a decent healthcare reform bill. They’re choosing not to. Just as they chose to go along with a weak stimulus, no jobs bill, and no new financial regulation. To the extent Obama hasn’t tried to make them, that’s on him. To the extent they need Obama to make them, that’s on Congress.

    In a thread somewhere, I read a story about Tip O’Neill. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it sounded like him and so I’ll repeat it here. When things were going badly for Carter in the late 1970s, O’Neill was reported to have told him, “I won 290 seats running against Nixon and I can win 290 running against you.” But unfortunately they don’t make Congressmen like Tip O’Neill anymore. They’re all sheep willing to be led to slaughter.

    Again, none of this is meant to defend Obama, who has been worse than even I imagined, but I don’t think that lets Congressional democrats off the hook. He’s only their leader because they choose to follow him. They could be pushing him, but they aren’t (just look at how the Progressive bloc rolled over on healthcare reform). That’s on them.

    I really don’t want a Republican Congress in 2010. OTOH, I can’t think of very many reasons – if any – that the current crew deserves to be left in charge. Both parties have failed the American people, along with the rest of our elite class.

  4. BDBlue permalink
    January 3, 2010

    Boy do I wish you had preview. That comment is a mess. My apologies Ian. I read it over, but I guess my brain isn’t fully awake yet. Hopefully, the ideas in it can be seen through the poor grammar and typos.

  5. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 3, 2010

    Add another body to that count, this one will not be voting for neither incumbent nor challenger. No pseudo argument will persuade me it is a dereliction of responsibility for citizenship when current office holders perpetrate lies, deception, misdirection, and facile falsehoods to obtain their office, no more promise unkept will be accepted, no challenger will be afforded any benefit of doubt as to their position, proof of innocence will be required, a bond on the future performance is required, accountability and transparency prerequisite, forfeit for failure must be life itself, nothing else has value.

    The mass of prevarication has brought the Republic to an end; perversion of fact is a fatal poison for all Republics, stifling and suffocating the exchange and accommodation that is the lifeblood of political comity in a Republic. The corruption of the body politic is complete, it cannot be undone, the cancer is spread into all parts of public office, only one outcome is possible, no miracle of regeneration is possible under the conditions, fairy-tales and fantasy do not work anymore.

  6. January 3, 2010

    Ok, i get the feeling. I even agree with it, and i won’t be voting Democratic in the foreseeable future…if ever. But until we have the opportunity to vote “None of the Above”, not voting only plays into the hands of the legacy parties. They, together, benefit from low turnout.

    Come on, Dems, throw away your vote once. I can almost guarantee you’ll like how it feels. It’s certainly better than staying home, and the message it sends is far stronger.

  7. selise permalink
    January 3, 2010

    jmo, but i think we have to consider the possibility that the obama administration (and the dem party leadership in general) doesn’t WANT to pass progressive legislation.

    if that’s the case, then losing some of their large majorities in congress will be just the ticket — as then they can go back to credibly pretending they support progressive policies while enacting, especially on the economic front, regressive polices: “see? it’s all the fault of those evil republicans who we have to negotiate with to get anything passed.”

    after all, it worked for clinton (i mean, for example, some dem voters still give his administration a pass on financial deregulation).

    wild speculation, but i don’t have a better working hypothesis.

  8. marku permalink
    January 3, 2010

    BDB: message received loud and clear.

    I think we are likely to see a strong third party candidate for prez in the next cycle. The problem is, s/he is likely to be dangerously insane. I could easily see a very popular candidate run on an anti-immigrant, anti-corporate, anti-free trade banner and do very well at uniting the bases of both the left and the right. Except for the anti-immigrant bit, I’d be right there with him. We could get the anti-neoliberal policies that the country requires, but wow, anyone who doesn’t “Murrican” better not go outside….

  9. Jim permalink
    January 3, 2010

    Is the process of moving away from the Democratic Party a bad thing?

    Some progressives have painted themselves into a corner: seeing the only two choices as trying to rescue the Democratic Party or not participating. There are other choices. When all of the objective signs (that have been so wonderfully pointed out in this blog) expose the complicity of the two parties, maybe–and I say maybe–it is time for some new thinking on the subject.

    While many may have the luxury of just giving up, others are going to be forced to do something to survive.

    * Rosemary Williams and four other Minnesota women, “The Minnesota Five,” are part of a growing movement to stop foreclosures in Minnesota. Rosemary has been evicted from her property twice. She says, “It’s time to stand up or shut up and get out of the way.”

    * The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. At its national conference in July, nearly 400 representatives of PPEHRC member organizations voted to organize the next phase of the campaign—a march from the Katrina-torn Gulf through the Mississippi Delta and on through the Rust Belt. The march will culminate in Detroit at the 2010 U.S. Social Forum, which expects upwards of 20,000 participants from around the country and the globe.

    I could point out many more examples. This is not the time to give up just because the busted Democratic Party can’t or won’t move forward. This is the time to move forward in other ways. The Democratic Party won’t be as likely to co-opt these new movements as they have in the past.

  10. marku permalink
    January 3, 2010

    Indeed, add “look” to that last sentence to make it parse-able. Sorry.

    I mean, even *Krugman* is practically calling for tariffs on the Chinese. My first exposure to him in the ’80s was as a die-hard free-trader. With the “lost first decade” and another one staring us in the face, the anti-corporate, anti-free-trade campaign ads write themselves.

    I doubt the expected profiteering of the health insurance cos over the next couple of years will help the Dem cause much either…

  11. January 3, 2010

    Selise, i don’t think that’s wild speculation at all; in fact, i think you’ve driven the framing spike through two 2X4’s with one swing of the hammer.

    (P.S. i’ve read your comments elsewhere and feel heartened that someone else thinks Bill was a disaster.)

  12. January 3, 2010

    I wish people on this site would stop blaming the victim.

    “Wallstreet just pulled off the largest theft of cash in the entire history of the human race ”

    This happened under a Democratic Congress and a Democratic and then a Republican administration. So lets say you are a voter who is anti getting their money stolen by Wall Street. Do you vote for the Democrats, who are in favor of having Wall Street steal your money? Or maybe you vote for the Republicans, who are in favor of having Wall Street steal your money? Or you don’t vote, in which case Wall Street also steals your money.

    You might have a federal representative who bucks his or her own party and takes a more populist line, until his vote really matters and is whipped.

    I happen to vote for fringe parties, they are fringe parties in the US by the way, not third parties or minor parties, all the time. If you think an organized party other than the Democrats or Republicans will gain control of so much as a state government under the current electoral system, you don’t understand the system very well. For a start, look at who makes the appointments to the local election bureaucracies. Also this works very differently in Canada.

    Ian, at this point you would benefit from reading “Indispensible Enemies”, which I think is out of print but still available through Amazon. For one thing it will clear up the mystery of why Obama is doing things that will cost the Democrats seats in Congress.

  13. January 3, 2010

    Alot of the rhetoric on this site is like people looking at Mexican history, and wondering why the Mexican people kept electing the PRI into office again and again and again.

  14. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 3, 2010

    @ Lex
    Not voting is one thing, the return on the position is negligible, as you point out.

    Withdrawal of consent, may appear similar, but has incredible power. It is dangerous to confuse the two and deadly without the wisdom to distinguish. This is true for Republics, kingdoms, all forms of autarchic governance, not one survives the withdrawal of consent. The fall of the Berlin wall is a recent example of what withdrawal of consent can effect, Romania was a violent result brought on by a violent regime. Indifference and apathy may also be a form of withdrawal of consent, be plenty sure placing your bets on those dice.

  15. tjfxh permalink
    January 3, 2010

    Here’s Obama’s bone to the base (not) that is coming up in 2010.

    Medicare and SS “reform” to save money and reduce the debt.

    (from the Washington Post, h/t Warren Mosler)

    Bad policy and bad economics, too. With the GOP in disarray, hell bent on stampeding over a cliff, why is the Dem establishment thinking about grabbing the third rail of American politics with both hands and committing electoral suicide?

  16. S Brennan permalink
    January 3, 2010

    This whole meme of “Obama is as bad as Clinton” is a ridiculous.

    For those who sought a retreat from Bush II corruption, Obama is a disaster of unmitigated proportions.

    The only president Obama compares to is “Bush The Second”…or perhaps Wilson.

    I did not like Clinton, but he and Obama have nothing in common, the most damaging things that happened under Clinton, sans NAFTA, were when Republicans carried the whip hand.

    BTW Ian, a little history, Clinton lost big in 1994 because of his tax increases. Those tax increases led to the biggest boom since the 1960’s. Every Republican, in or out of office, declared with conviction that the world would melt down, 100% wrong.

    Bush’s 3rd Term?

    What is Bush’s 3rd Term Ian?

    Weak tea Ian.

  17. tjfxh permalink
    January 3, 2010

    “What is Bush’s 3rd Term Ian?”

    For starters, the biggest fail is constitutional lawyer Obama’s locking in place W’s precedent for executive supremacy by not only not challenging those dangerous and unconstitutional precedents but also assuming most of them for himself, while mouthing W’s “the US does not torture” meme.

    Oh, and who originally proposed the disastrous bailouts that favored Wall Street over Main Street? Obama rushed in to support W’s policies and extended them in his administration.

    Where’s the change here?

  18. S Brennan permalink
    January 3, 2010


    You might want to read, or show some comprehension of my post before pontificating about it. Of course it could you just being pedantic to garner some attention to your self…you have a pattern in that regard

    To the best of my knowledge, I started with “Obama is Bush’s 3rd Term” after Obama’s reversal on FISA.

    When you leave out “Obama” the phrase becomes meaningless. As an example, I tested the phrase “Bush’s 3rd Term” on some Obama fans at my bar…and without explanation they though it meant something like, “thank God McCain didn’t win”.

    Now maybe Ian thinks “thank God McCain didn’t win” when he says “Bush’s 3rd Term” we don’t know because whoever we mean when we say “Bush’s 3rd Term” is not identified. Thus the phrase is vacuous and open to interpretation, so at some later date “Bush’s 3rd Term” could morph into “Clinton would’ve been Bush’s 3rd Term” or “McCain would’ve been Bush’s 3rd Term”.

    The left has a long history of ambiguous phrases being turn on them, because they assume others play fair.

    So now that I spent 10 minutes explaining to Tjfxz one line personally addressed to Ian.

    How about the other 4 paragraphs Tjfxz, which were the subject of my post:

    “This whole meme of “Obama is as bad as Clinton” is a ridiculous.

    For those who sought a retreat from Bush II corruption, Obama is a disaster of unmitigated proportions.

    The only president Obama compares to is “Bush The Second”…or perhaps Wilson.

    I did not like Clinton, but he and Obama have nothing in common, the most damaging things that happened under Clinton, sans NAFTA, were when Republicans carried the whip hand.

    BTW Ian, a little history, Clinton lost big in 1994 because of his tax increases. Those tax increases led to the biggest boom since the 1960’s. Every Republican, in or out of office, declared with conviction that the world would melt down, 100% wrong.”

  19. January 3, 2010

    @Formely T-Bear

    Indeed, withdrawing consent or apathy is a classic “peasant” technique and i see nothing wrong with it. I think that the problem is how to withdraw consent in such a way that it can’t be ignored. Classically, peasants could withdraw consent by being unproductive (there are several Judean examples of peasant uprisings achieving their objectives by protesting instead of sowing crops). I’m not sure how we moderns successfully and clearly withdraw consent…more importantly effectively.

    The effective means seem quite out of favor with the masses. Reregistering as an “Independent” might be a good place to start, but that can be problematic for those who want to effect political change in states that run closed primaries. (which is a crock, btw, that private political parties can use public funds to run private events)

    Me, i’d like to see “None of the Above” on every ballot for every race. Make them count that too.

  20. January 3, 2010

    selise: As you probably know, I agree with your assessment of Obama and the current leaders in Congress don’t want progressive legislation. I don’t know why, but actions speak louder than words, and their actions are those of people who don’t want progressive legislation.

  21. January 3, 2010

    My guess about what sop they will give us in the coming year is the upcoming “jobs bill”. It will be as inadequate as the stimulus bill was, and loaded with the same sort of nonsense (tax cuts, defense spending). Nevertheless, they’ll trumpet it loud and long, and the people who are inclined to drink the Koolaid will play along, because they always do.

    I doubt that will be enough to reverse this trend, but it might keep it from getting worse from their perspective.

  22. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 3, 2010

    @ Lex

    That is the first time the reference “peasant (technique)” has been associated with Boycott, a withdrawing from having social (political) or commercial (economic) intercourse with (whomever). Short of conspiring to overthrow a regime, a very dangerous proposition at best having remarkably little success, the boycott freed India from British empire, was the effective force in Irish independence, and if properly read, the US Declaration of Independence is exactly an invoice sustaining a withdrawal of consent to be governed by the British Crown (and Parliament). The form of withdrawal of consent has infinite forms, limited only to the imagination, everything from black markets, barter, to infidelities with facts on documents or in relations with agencies (under the premise one liar to another), refusal to participate in public duties, the list can be extended to messing with tax returns (imagine what the IRS would do if 50-70 million returns were falsified – they would have to build thousands of prisons to house the government supporters and turn the country into the prison, much like gated communities are today).

    There is a fact and once it is accepted, the course becomes clear, that fact, the system is corrupted beyond repair, neither the Republic nor Law no longer exists, and “none of the above” is meaningless as is participation in the fraudulence of electoral politics. The urgency to be addressed is the development and creation of a viable, functioning alternative to replace the present governance dysfunction. There is all of history to choose from for your models, and you also have history’s judgments as to effectiveness and utility. Bits and pieces can be combined or recombined to mold whatever is necessary to meet public needs or provide public protection from whatever human excess threatens. Or you may succumb to the siren call of whatever demagogue may be passing, and your future will be as lost as it is now. It is your choice, choose once, choose wisely.

  23. January 3, 2010

    @Formerly T-Bear

    Not sure if i’m understanding you fully, though my guess is that we agree on the premise. I certainly don’t disagree that the system is wholly corrupt. But Americans, by and large, are not ready to face that conclusion, nor are they united enough by circumstances (more pointedly, their perception of those circumstances) to act in unison. We’re still too easily distracted by shiny things.

    My mention of peasants is two-fold. The term is out of date, but indicates an underclass without the means to effect power except in their refusal to consent to governance. It also comes from some current reading (scholarly, heavily references, etc.) on “the life and times of a Mediterranean Jewish peasant”. Guess who? I’m no Christian, but i’ve always been fascinated by religion. This work (i’d read the shorter, popular version some years ago) is fascinating for its context: colonized people, empire, revolt — both open and more subversive, and the like.

  24. tjfxh permalink
    January 3, 2010

    S. Brennan, I respectfully disagree with you. In the important things, Obama is continuing the Bush policies. Sorry, that’s the way many progressive see it, and you aren’t going to convince us with the arguments you are mounting. They are beside the point of me and many others. This argued all the time on DKos and I am familiar with it.

  25. DrJim permalink
    January 3, 2010

    Unfortunately, Obama and the Democratic Party have decided that the money trough is much tastier than making a change to how we do this whole government thing. Equally unfortunate is that I’m not giving any more money to the party organs. I’ll contribute directly to progressives like my Rep, Lloyd Dogett, and to ActBlue or FDL, but OFA and the rest of the corporatists can suck mud.

  26. Jim permalink
    January 3, 2010

    Lex and Formerly T-Bear:

    “It is your choice, choose once, choose wisely.”

    T-Bear, I agree that we have to choose wisely, but what will allow us to make the “right” choice?

    ” Mankind sets itself only tasks as it can solve……it will always be found that the task itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution already exist or are at least in the process of formation.” It is within this context that we define the role of the individual and individual choices. What will allow us to make the right choice: understanding of the material changes and the laws inherent in them. I don’t mean political laws; but rather, economic laws.

    If we have the most advanced technology ever developed by humankind, and yet we have people staving, homeless, dying from lack of health care, etc. it certainly is not the technology that is causing this problem. As a matter of fact, we can produce enough food to feed every human on the planet and we certainly have enough housing: thousands of homes and condos apartments building sit empty and more are being built every day.

    So what is in the way? What is the fetter? If we answer that question, we find the solution within the problem. The fetter is broken and all of humankind moves forward.

  27. selise permalink
    January 3, 2010

    lex, i actually think the clinton administration probably killed more people than bushco. his economic policies were a disaster (which are part of what we are paying for now — financial deregulation and massive increase in private sector debt). so yeah, not a fan.

    cujo359, no i guess i didn’t know exactly what you were thinking re obama and current dem congressional leadership (although i don’t think you ever gave me shit for my semi-outrageous comments, so perhaps i should have figured it out already).

    bummer. nice to have some supportive feedback (thanks!), but i was hoping to be convinced i had it all wrong.

  28. selise permalink
    January 3, 2010


    Bad policy and bad economics, too. With the GOP in disarray, hell bent on stampeding over a cliff, why is the Dem establishment thinking about grabbing the third rail of American politics with both hands and committing electoral suicide?

    because the republicans can’t do it, so the job falls on the dems instead?

    wouldn’t you expect balanced budgets (fed and current account) to lead to a world wide deflationary depression? maybe that’s their plan to protect the climate as energy use plummets? (just joking – mostly)

  29. Ian Welsh permalink
    January 3, 2010

    Sorry Brennan. That’s not my read of why Clinton lost. And, while it doesn’t necessarily mean much, it’s not the read of an acquaintance of mine who was in the Clinton White House at the time. He told me when they read the results it was very clear to them that if the base had come out, they would have kept both Houses of Congress.

    As for Bush’s Third Term, I’m speaking to about 1,000 people at this point, all of whom know very well what I’m talking about since it’s a phrase I’ve used repeatedly. I suppose I should add Obama, but eh, I’m not going to worry that much about it. I don’t mind criticisms of style, but I, like most people, respond better to them in a different form than you used. (ie. less hostility.)

  30. Ian Welsh permalink
    January 3, 2010

    Democrats are doing it because it is part of the elite consensus. They are part of the elite, so they are doing it.

  31. Marsha permalink
    January 3, 2010

    Will definitely NOT vote in 2010.

    Former Democratic

    Never to return.

    (But….I’m still registered as one!) So count me in as one of that 45%…and rising!

  32. January 4, 2010

    Does no one understand that the act of not voting is what allows the representatives to pull this shit off? They *are* pandering to their base: they don’t want you to turn out in the non-presidential elections, because they know that if you did they would lose their jobs and the lobbyist’s money. Their base is the lobby.

    If you’re pissed off, go vote and get all of your pissed off friends to go with you. I’m pissed, and I fully intend to vote, let my representatives know I’m voting, and try to bring as many people with me as possible. Why? Because I want the current reps gone for what they’ve done.

    The Constitution can be easily usurped by those who know how to control factions (Federalist Papers). By not voting, you are allowing factions to be created. Neo-cons: faction. Religious right: faction. Nut-job idiots who don’t like health care: faction. Stop allowing factions. Go vote. Bring people with you. Turn our country back into a representational republic, and not the sham it has become.

  33. January 4, 2010

    @Lex, @Formerly T-Bear

    I think there’s something close to effective in your conversation, but I believe we need to address the issues in this country within the bounds of our own laws, and figure out how to build a stronghold around the Constitution and what it is supposed to stand for.

    Participation is a requirement in our system of government, and unless that happens, it becomes something altogether different. At that point, perhaps, we can talk about boycotts and apathy and all the rest.

    Right now, though, we’re not in Romania, Ireland, or India. We have a government run by lobbies and interests because they control the factions. Control the factions — or eliminate them by making them moot — and you can get our country back.

  34. January 4, 2010

    Demand the expansion of the house. 1 rep per 100,000 citizen’s this is the solution it’s still not too late to prevent the down fall of the republic. See for more.

  35. January 4, 2010


    I agree and don’t intend to stop voting. (Hell, i generally vote 3rd/fringe party anyhow so it’s no big step for me.) It probably needs to go further than that though. We will need to find ways to strip the corporations of the power that allows them to purchase our political system. That, i think, requires two efforts. One is personal, that is, how we behave as individuals in society. And that means moving ourselves out of the corporate dominated sphere…or to slightly mangle the motto of a close friend “one grid at a time”. The other is that we will need to organize – across the political divide – to take back the Republic. A focus on a few simple things like campaign finance and civil liberties will be necessary to push back against the politicians and their corporate patrons.

    But it may be too late…

  36. January 4, 2010

    i’m very doomy about america’s future, and that of the world. i just can’t see the solutions to our many problems being considered, let alone implemented, by our ruling elites. i have been extremely disappointed in the Congressional “progressive” caucus this past year, and they are pretty much our only hope for any kind of change, and minor change is likely the best they would be able to accomplish assuming so many of them weren’t such caving wimps.

    i’m also very down on the amurkin people (whom i so name as i don’t believe we deserve to be called “americans” anymore). we’re pretty much a nation of apathetic addicts who are getting dumber by the minute. as i was reading elsewhere, there is great value in the destruction of a nation, and that’s what i think is going on here today. the ruling elites have no interest in saving the environment, getting off the oil economy, etc., and have pretty much demonstrated that they are at the stage of rulership which is: ‘and when you can’t squeeze a dime’s more profit out of manipulating the population via work and creation, sell off all remaining property of value, including said population as slaves.’

    that’s what i think is happening to america today, and it will continue to happen until we are a true banana republic of wholly oppressed masses kept in ignorance, and a few ruling elite for whom nationality will be meaningless.

    don’t you just love Mondays? 😉

  37. S Brennan permalink
    January 4, 2010

    Ian, I am not hostile to you, I read your blog and agree with most of what you say, if you want all praise, all the time I can’t help you there…besides, I notice you come around to my arguments in later posts. Leaving the subject out of a sentence might be handy when you want to backtrack, or claim “misinterpretation” when quoted…but it is not a matter of style, it’s a factual error.

    Your friend “in the Clinton Administration” just plain wrong about how violently the press reacted to the Clinton tax increases. Read what they contain:

    Clinton tax increases pass 10 Aug 1993

    Republicans said & the press repeated; “Clinton’s 1993 tax plan was the largest tax increase in history”.

    Here’s something about Hillary’s vast right wing conspiracy remark of the time:

    The Council for National Policy an umbrella Conservative group brags about it’s victories: “the defeat of President Clinton’s health plan; the defeat of the President’s attempt to allow gays to serve openly in the military; the Whitewater hearings; sidetracking the Freedom of Choice Act; preventing the passage of the Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting; stopping the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from prohibiting religious harassment in the workplace; and blocking the Lobby Reform Bill.”

    Whatever Bill’s faults, comparing him to Obama shows a lack of background info.

  38. January 4, 2010

    Or, working under the reported information that the Clinton administration’s first line of defense was to claim rabid partisanship, we could rightfully wonder if the VRC was taking credit for things it didn’t deserve full credit for and the Clinton SOP used the VRC taking credit as politically convenient cover.

    I don’t know which is true, and it probably doesn’t matter. It certainly doesn’t matter within the context of Ian’s post because the post does not posit the motivation of Clinton doing his second term damage beyond that the damage was done after Clinton lost his base and Congress in ’94.

    But IIRC, Congressional Democrats were not happy with how Clinton was going about things between ’92 and ’94 because they saw that it would do damage to their electoral chances.

  39. joeroc permalink
    January 4, 2010

    I see. Liberal extremists dont get everything they want, so now they are crying and whining and saying they wont vote. Amazing. Its either all or nothing with extremists, it doesnt matter which side you are on. You are people are amazingly stupid. Obama and Congress are making strides in the right direction, it wont happen overnight…its a slow steady process, that requires patience. Extremist seem to lack that quality. So dont vote..and Republicans takeover again and reverse the little progress that is being made, you only have one group and one group only to blame…..YOURSELVES.

  40. Ian Welsh permalink
    January 4, 2010

    Oh yes, 45% of Democrats are extremists.

  41. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 5, 2010

    @ Jim
    To respond to your comments:

    …, I agree that we have to choose wisely, but what will allow us to make the “right” choice?


    So what is in the way? What is the fetter?

    A wise person would never be caught asking the first question you asked. Wisdom is beyond the either/or nature of “right (choice)” of your premise. There is no such thing as “right (choice)”, a “right (choice)” never existed, and never will. And who or what allows making right choices? The only answer you will ever be able to find is possibly the “best choice” and that is only relative to the question being asked. Ask an impertinent question, your answer will be impertinent, in the same manner as “trash in, trash out”.

    Essentially, what can allow a “best answer” is developed through the path of experience, it is no coincidence that children are not held accountable by the law, recognizing that children haven’t the experience to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the demands of law. From the gaining of experience, the young sometimes develop into functioning adults, as distinguished from calendric adults. Functioning adults rely on both knowledge and experience, both accreting to the adult through effort and reflection. Only then, can these be formed into tools to be used, those tools are called wisdom; it is the reason that a universal social command to respect the elders exists, but then you know that, presumably.

    What fetters you ask. Ignorance, willful and otherwise. Lack of knowledge. Substituting belief for knowledge. Deficit or failure of history. Social herding, lowest common denominator, abjuring excellence in oneself and others. And others too numerous to enumerate here, but you can get the loci. These are, incidently, the fetters that have destroyed the Republic and the country. Maybe, it was best when those who attained the closest stature to functioning adults, those marked by being property owners, were allowed the vote. How is that for being conservative?

  42. January 5, 2010

    Someone is going to win the election of 2010. Staying home does not change that. Not voting means that you do not contribute to our democracy. If you find that the Democratic Party does not represent you any more, find a new party. The Green Party represents the ideals that the Democrats sold out. If all the progressive Democrats who don’t identify with the direction the party is going were to vote Green, there would be a clear message sent to the direction we need to go. Staying at home is to contribute to the failure of your country.

  43. January 5, 2010

    So were John Kennedy’s tax cuts a good idea or a bad idea?

  44. January 5, 2010

    It is really hard to tell which party wants to lose more.

  45. Ian Welsh permalink
    January 5, 2010

    There’s some dispute about that. Galbraith didn’t think so, others do. Cutting taxes when you’re cutting from top marginal rates around 90% (iirc) is very different from cutting taxes now, of course.

    And while taxes were cut, huge numbers of loopholes were also closed at the same time. It was full tax reform, which is what the US needs now (among other things.)

  46. freefall permalink
    January 6, 2010

    I find it hard to believe so many seemingly intelligent individuals debating the question of voting. Doesn’t it seem strange to anyone that there doesn’t seem to be any real choice? For many years now the democratic party has been pandering to the republicans, so much so that you could say they are the left wing of the G.O.P. The reality is that there is a secret government acting behind the front of public politics and they control who the candidates for the next election will be. Their mastery of deception is exemplified by the brillant strategy used to get Obama into office. His repeated declarations of being a Washington outsider and his apparent disgust of the Bush administration secured him the presidency even though he was black. It has become apparent that he was a shoe in, having been groomed for this role for some time. The decendent of slaves who now uses his position to enslave us all. Forgive him for he himself is still a slave. If you look to the future it isn’t hard to see the strategy at work for the next election cycle. George Bush gave white men a bad name so they had a black man waiting in the wings. He now has given all men a bad name so they have Sarah Palin waiting in the wings. They decide who could be president not the voters. In fact the president doen’t have much power anyway. He is told what to do and what to say. Congress has been impotent for many decades now. But not voting just helps the secret government keep getting stronger. If the voters turned out en-mass much could be done to restore democracy. It is absolutely imperative that a new political party be created. And with it a citizen watch dog group to oversee elections. We need to establish citizen oversight of Congress. We need citizen oversight of every branch and department within government. We need acountability from our leaders and their appointees. I don’t know if you have noticed but there doesn’t seem to be a justice department in Washington anymore. What we need is action and we need it now. We need candidates for office that are not part of the privileged few and are willing to do what’s right for it’s own sake. We need to draft everyday Americans into public service because they posess the character and skills required to uplift humanity. We need real choices at every level of government from Mayor to President and I think the time has come for the governed to choose who ought to be a candidate in the race even if it means drafting the individual against his will. Business interests have seized our government and use our leaders to systematically control us for their benefit and it has got to stop. Are you men or lemmings? Vote every chance you get and if there is no choice then let it be known!

  47. Marcia Everett permalink
    January 6, 2010


    Participate in Window Treatment

  48. Joe McDowell permalink
    January 7, 2010

    First suggestion, look up the definition of “LIE” in your Webster’s Dictionary.
    With your “New Found Knowledge”, you can easily understand why we have such a corrupt bunch of elected officials, taking everything we’ve worked for all our lives to date, and either giving our assets to Wall Street, or using them to support those people who our government deems, deserviable, of OUR assets.
    The last TWO presidents, Bush and now Obama, are in it for their own personal agenda’s. What Obama did to get to Washington, is a classic example of what Webster is saying. Coupled with his movement to presaude millions to beleive that he was there for them, and he would put a stop to much of the corruption in Washington D.C. was a very big “LIE” to start with. He never had any intent, but too win that election. Whatever it took! He merely took advantage of a situation, and articulated his big SCAM on the American Public.
    What we have today is “A Government, FOR the Government, BY the Government”. OWNED and controlled by Corporate America’s money. [$$$$$$$]
    While these already elected officials are taking campaign contributions from C.A.’s bribery funds, in reality, they’re selling us out even before they’re elected. Anyone who beleives that their exception of these funds are free for the taking, have already been taken themselves.
    The majority of our elected officials have a gold ring attached to their noses. There is a gold chain assigned to each, held by each Political Party, that is simply attached when needed, to lead each official in the direction determined by C.A., and carried out by the appointed leadership of said parties.
    But what about us, “We the People”? That praise has been changed by the Government. It now should read “The Government”, For the Government, BY the Government”.

  49. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 7, 2010

    Matt @

    Someone is going to win the election of 2010. Staying home does not change that. Not voting means that you do not contribute to our democracy. If you find that the Democratic Party does not represent you any more, find a new party. The Green Party represents the ideals that the Democrats sold out. If all the progressive Democrats who don’t identify with the direction the party is going were to vote Green, there would be a clear message sent to the direction we need to go. Staying at home is to contribute to the failure of your country.

    Obviously you are not acquainted with Henry David Thoreau and his essay on civil disobedience, the wiki link is below. Suggested that you obtain the essay, read it, try to comprehend what it is about, and then, maybe you can add something to the conversation among adults. Thank you for your interest though, but that opinion adds nothing, beside confusing republic and democracy, in fact, democracy is the fundamental problem with the republic. You will find that in Thoreau should you read the essay.

  50. Formerly T-Bear permalink
    January 7, 2010


    Should you be further interested, Tolstoy also has a discourse on civil disobedience that is brilliant, you can research that one yourself.

  51. AingonAtelia permalink
    January 12, 2010

    Am I the only one that noticed that there is no attribution to this 45% statistic upon which this discussion is based? What study, by what group, covering how many people? If I asked 20 people at my local diner and 9 of them said they weren’t going to vote, there’s my 45% – but that’s hardly representative of the party at large. Any chance we could get the source?

Comments are closed.