The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Coakley Concedes, You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

Well, so much for that.

What does this mean?

First of all, this will be taken as meaning HCR must be passed exactly as the Senate Bill.  That’s already clear.  The Democratic reaction to losing Kennedy’s seat will be to do exactly what voters were punishing them for.

In 2010 Democrats will be slaughtered, absolutely slaughtered, because Obama and the senior Democratic leadership does not learn.

In 2012 Obama will become a 1 term president, and a right wing populist will get into power.  That populist will turn out not to be a populist, and will do even stupider things than Obama economically (and may start a war, too).

The job is to prepare for this, to get new members and leadership in in 2014.  Start working on it now.

Because 2014 and 2016 are going to be your last chance.  If the US doesn’t elect people who are willing to do what it takes in those two election years, then the US economy is going to be a smoking ruin, far worse even than it is now.

This group of Dems have proved they can’t learn.  Fortunately, and yes, I do mean fortunately, they are going to be swept out of power.  Yes, they’ll be replaced by Republicans who are marginally worse, but that will give you your one chance to fix America.

Up to you if you’re up for it.  Good luck.


Ummm, No


An optimist and a damned fool are the same thing


  1. fledermaus

    “First of all, this will be taken as meaning HCR must be passed exactly as the Senate Bill.”

    Oh have some faith Ian. I’m sure they can find a way to make it even the Senate bill worse before passing it.

  2. jumpjet


    I think we’ll just start our own political party and run a candidate there in 2012. Maybe Elizabeth Warren, if she’s interested.

  3. You’re right about the slaughter. I think you’re right about the “fortunately” part, too. But what a wonderful thing if somebody DID wake up. Can’t say the alarm isn’t ringing loudly enough.

  4. First of all, this will be taken as meaning HCR must be passed exactly as the Senate Bill.

    Sure looks like it, doesn’t it? And if you’re right about that, all the rest follows.

    My guess is that we’ll be hearing all about how they’re getting our money back from the banks, but I think that theme will be as irrelevant as the amount of money that’s actually involved relative to the total.

  5. Jim

    It is so sad when you paint yourself into a corner and you have no place to go except round and round in circles.

  6. Goodbye middle class. It was nice knowing you.

  7. Frank A.

    Thanks Ian,

    I thought I would comment here, rather than the hopey/changey crosspost sites.

    As a citizen of Usanistan, I appreciate your candor. However, I think you are being too nice. I am pretty sure you would agree with me that “democracy” is only a smoke screen to keep the Usacos hopeful. The great transition of the last 3 decades is heading into it’s final maneuvers now, and the corporate fascist state is all but complete.

    To my fellow citizens I say: Wake up and smell the coffee! Arm yourself and learn how to shoot first and question later. The fascist right wing populists, and their undereducated followers, have a big head start in this area. Conflict, misery, and unfathomable decisions are the future for the bottom 90-95% of Usacos. Get yourself prepared. We are dead men (and women and children) walking.

  8. Well! Yep, so much for that. Not only are they going to pass exactly the Senate bill, this is the larger moral of the story that they’re learning (via dKos):

    The narrower majority will force more White House engagement with Republicans, which could actually help restore a bit of the post-partisan image that was a fundamental ingredient of his appeal to voters.

    “Now everything that gets done in the Senate will have the imprimatur of bipartisanship,” another administration official said. “The benefits of that will accrue to the president and the Democratic Senate. It adds to the pressure on Republicans to participate in the process in a meaningful way, which so far they have refused to do.”

    It’s extremely unlikely to me that they’re unaware of Democratic base ennui/disappointment, on and offline. So this is what they are telegraphing to the base by mentioning bipartisanship: “rather than you punishing us, we will punish you for not being on board.” Or, more politely, from their perspective, the progressive base is an unreliable and demanding partner (in that they want to threaten the profits of the sponsors), so they will seek a partner among the Republicans.

    As a consequence, they will pass the Senate bill as is, without changes. Whether this episode will be repeated en masse in December, I still doubt.

  9. jumpjet

    At any rate, Ian, I’m surprised you’re willing to put so much faith in the Democratic Party as the vessel with which to save America. You ought to know better. Come help us start a new party. We could use you.

  10. Mad Hemingway

    Maybe Haiti will be fixed by then and then they can come rescue the US.

  11. Sam Slaughter

    This Chicken Little stuff is really stupid. Bill Clinton was in a much worse spot in ’93/’94. The health care bill is going to a resolution, one way or another, fairly soon. Obama is going to have around two and a half years to focus on jobs, the economy and whatever feel-good stuff they want. Obama swung for the fences in his first year, and (might) come up short; that doesn’t mean the jig is up.

    Of course, the “lesson” Ian Welsh (and a lot of Lefties) no doubt think Obama needs to learn is a lesson that would get him crushed. In 1994, people just like Welsh were writing Bill Clinton’s obituary because he wasn’t satisfactorily liberal to the small group who considered themselves “the base”. Clinton won reelection, and became one of the most popular presidents in history, by not following this advice.

    At any rate, saying with conviction that anyone is going to get “slaughtered” nearly 3 years out is idiotic and adds nothing to the discussion. At points in their presidencies, Carter was a lock, Bush was an unstoppable war hero whose certain reelection kept big-name Dems out of the ’92 primaries and Clinton was certain to lose the White House after losing Congress.

  12. Ian Welsh

    Yes, Bill lost the Senate and never ever regained it, then wasn’t able to get Gore elected leading to Bush and a decade in which every thing he did was overturned by Bush and then some.

    What a victory.

    We’ll see in a few years. I’m not expecting to eat crow on this one, though.

  13. S Brennan

    Ha ha ha

    “Obama swung for the fences in his first year”

    Ha ha ha ha

    So let’s give Obama a little credit where it’s due, he’s been far more
    effective implementing Bush programs than Bush ever was…and people just
    love the way he talks.

    Year one Obama:

    There’s FISA,


    Tax Cuts for the wealthy [called stimulus],

    3 separate expansions of the AF-PAK War,

    Continuation of the Iraq war,

    Keeping Guantanamo open, expanding the Bagram prison complex,

    Successfully arguing before the Supreme Court for the destruction of Habeas

    Expanding our rendition program,

    Health Insurance Bailout Bill,

    Cutting Medicare,

    Cutting Medicaid,

    Another Bailout bill [4 Trillion this time],

    The right to seize citizens funds until financial institutions can be made

    …and I believe he is on track for the big takedown of Social Security next


    Compared with,

    Year one Clinton:

    signed the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993

    Clinton’s attempt to allow gays to serve in the armed forces garnered
    criticism from the left (for being too tentative in promoting gay rights)
    and from the right (who opposed any effort to allow homosexuals to serve).

    On July 17, 1996, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13011 – Federal
    Information Technology, ordering the heads of all federal agencies to fully
    utilize information technology to make the information of the agency easily
    accessible to the public.

    Clinton controversially supported ratification of the North American Free
    Trade Agreement

    Clinton signed the Brady Bill into law on November 30, 1993

    In August 1993, Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of
    1993, which passed Congress without a Republican vote.

    It cut taxes for fifteen million low-income families, made tax cuts
    available to 90% of small businesses,[48] and raised taxes on the wealthiest
    1.2% of taxpayers

    Oh yeah, Travelgate controversy Counsel Kenneth Starr investigated the
    firings and found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Clintons.


  14. Lori

    Let us also remember, when reminiscing about Clinton’s first two years, that Democrats were going to prison and stepping down from their office on corruption charges. Some how or the other, that extraordinary reality gets left out of all the tellings about Clinton losing the House. Dan Rostenkowski, the House Minority Whip, was on way to prison. A total of five Democrats wound up with convictions on the various charges. The Republican right was ascendant and rightwing talk radio was in it’s bloom. that’s what Clinton faced. And with all of that going on, he managed to raise taxes on rich people and eventually balance the budget.

  15. par4

    I think you are correct on this one,Ian. We need an opposition party and that means no one to the right of Sanders,Franken,Sharrod Brown,Feingold etc. As Gov.Dean called it the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

  16. bornagaindem

    Yup but I actually look forward to sweeping every incumbant out of office. If it is a repug that is a pleasure and if it is a dem that enabled Obama and his lousy non healthcare reform bill then halleluyah. I have been a life long democrat and this administration has shown me that the dems are just as bad as the repugs. They are all corporate hacks and the only way to defeat them is to throw out the incumbent every time. At that rate they will have to enact public financing for campaigns and we may have a democracy in america once again.

  17. BDBlue

    The responses to this piece at OpenLeft have been, er, interesting.

  18. b.

    “[Everything Bill Clinton] did was overturned by Bush and then some.”

    Not the Glass-Steagal repeal and other foundational work for the Great Recession.

    There are a lot of WJC apologists pointing at the NAFTA-generated minority status of the Democrit Party as an explaination of why Clinton did not oppose Rubinomics. Of course, we expect leaders to voice opposition (lest a veto) only when they are guaraneed to succeed.

  19. bandit

    I’ll give the Dems some well intentioned but what I’m sure will be disregarded advice. The running against Bush/Cheney tactic doesn’t deal witht he here and now and you’ve already got the BDS vote wrapped up. Calling people who disagree with you stupid and racists – not real appealing to those in the middle. Jamming thru HCR that people don’t want – lecture them about myths and how they don’t know whats best for them as you will – but is going to be a lot of Dems ticket to the unemployment line. Disregard as you wish.

  20. anonymous

    Something tells me 2014 or 2016 will be too late. Even 2012 might be too late to turn things around before the next TARP type crisis. Too late economically, anyway. Maybe it’s time to start looking around for a primary opponent for Obama next year. Ian scoffed at that idea last year, but if things really go to hell in a handbasket in 2010 or 2011, it couldn’t hurt to have a Plan B, or something going on trying to steer Obama to the left.

  21. anonymous writes:

    or something going on trying to steer Obama to the left.

    Obama will only move to the left if he’s forced, and will only remain if the force stays in place. That’s a truth that his liberal supporters need to embrace.

  22. I knew we were screwed during the primaries, when the favorite tactic of the Obama supporters was to call their fellow Democrats racists.

  23. It’ll be Jeb Bush in 2012. I’ve been predicting this for years.

    The good news is, Republicans are nowhere near as reluctant to prosecute as Democrats. I’m sure the Jeb Bush Administration will vigorously investigate the many crimes of the Obama Administration.

  24. Oh I think Digby’s had this one nailed for a while: It’ll be Petraeus. In 2012, I’d guess. Bush and Obama have, for various reasons, turned him into a mythic figure, and he’s a very ambitious individual.

    MacArthur 2.0

  25. forty2

    “Up to you if you’re up for it. Good luck.”

    I’m done. I woke up politically in 2000 after Bush/Gore, fought the fight, got knocked down & back a few times and the pinnacle was Nov 2008 when Obama won. We danced, laughed, cried, drank too much that night, all seemed right with the US. Hopey was in charge! Change!

    Man, talk about getting sucker-punched. I can’t do this anymore.

    At least with a Republican, I already know I’m fucked.

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