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The Political Paradox of US conservatism.

by Frank Schnittger Mon Jan 2nd, 2012 at 08:26:19 PM EST

Having written almost 40 diaries on US politics in and around the time of the last US Presidential Elections, I decided to leave it to the experts to comment on US political developments since then. However despite trying to keep up to date by reading Booman and a few other US media sources, I have become increasingly puzzled by the direction of the US politics since then, and particularly by the Republican Presidential candidate nomination process. Perhaps people with more expertise than I on US politics can help me out.

Mitt Romney seems to be the candidate all conservatives Republicans love to hate, partly because of his perceived flip flopping on conservative wedge issues like abortion and public health care, but also perhaps because of his Mormonism and alleged "robotic" personality. Thus, although he is the most experienced, best funded, and best organised candidate, he has failed to achieve more than c. 25%  support from the Republican faithful. The Republican establishment have overwhelmingly backed him as the only Republican candidate to regularly defeat President Obama in opinion poll match-ups.  But the Republican base just can't get to like, never mind love him

And so we have had a plethora of NOT-MITT-ROMNEY (NMR) candidates seeking to achieve a plurality of support from the remaining 75% of Republican primary voters. So long as that 75% of the vote is shared amongst a number of candidates, Mitt Romney can stay in the lead.  However if any one of the rest can become the Conservative standard bearer, it seems that Romney is doomed for all his money and establishment support. But what has been extraordinary is the poor quality of the alternative candidates, so much so that each has collapsed within weeks of having soared into the lead once they become subject to increased public scrutiny.


Sarah Palin
First we had Sarah Palin (remember her?) who was the darling of the Tea Party movement and other conservatives until her thin track record, poor grasp of the issues, increasingly erratic behaviour, and dysfunctional family circumstances made her seem unsuitable as the conservative poster child. Democrats rubbed their hands in glee at the prospect of President Obama bringing his intellectual and organisational prowess to bear on her faltering campaign.  However it was not to be. Palin never seemed to be able to make up her mind as to whether she was in or out, and so we had a succession of even more unlikely conservative candidates.

Michele Bachmann

It may be hard to imagine a candidate even flakier than Palin, but Bachmann tried hard to fulfil that role, inheriting some of the Palin support and less of the baggage. She led with 28% of the vote in some July 2011 polls and seemed well placed to do well in the first primary in her childhood home state of Iowa. A sample of her policy positions include the following:

  1. Introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act
  2. Proposed the elimination the federal minimum wage
  3. Declared global warming to be a hoax
  4. Supports creationism
  5. Proposed closing down the EPA except for some conservation duties
  6. Drill baby drill
  7. Proposed phasing out Social Security and Medicare
  8. Proposed nuclear strike as an option for dealing with Iran
  9. Supports constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage
  10. Opposed abortion even in cases of rape or incest"

Rick Perry
Bachmann was however eclipsed by the entry of Texas Governor Perry into the race who was perceived by the Republican establishment as having a more heavyweight presence and persona. Perry became the new NMR candidate du jour peaking at 38% in the polls in late August.  However his Texan charm did not travel well outside Texas and provided uncomfortable reminders of of a President Bush whose memory seems to have been completely wiped from Republican consciousness. He also performed dismally in a series of TV debates.

Herman Cain
Remarkably his nemesis was a black businessman named Hermann Cain whose chief attributes appeared to be an extremely conservative pro-business agenda and a Washington outsider status. A widely viewed YouTube interview showed him to be a clueless bumbling idiot but that did not prevent him topping the polls despite growing concerns about his predatory attitudes towards women. As recently as mid-November 2011 he was still leading the polls of Republican voters - shortly before his withdrawal from the race. It is difficult to see what his appeal was to any group of voters unless you you are desperate to show that you are not racist and are so disenchanted with the political process that a complete outsider holds more appeal than any possible political alternative.

Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich's campaign was dead in the water as recently as last June when most of his senior campaign aides resigned in protest at what they perceived as a less than committed performance by their candidate. By December the implosion of the other leading candidates meant Newt was leading the polls and attracting a huge amount of negative attack ads from the other candidates because of his record as a Washington insider, special interest lobbyist, and serial husband.

Rick Santorum

Enter Rick Santorum, the only candidate with a word named after him and previously dismissed as a marginal homophobic, racist, creationist, family values "Christian" candidate who believes that excessive liberalism in the Roman Catholic Church contributed to the child abuse scandals. He is an avid "war on terror" supporter and sponsor of the Iran Freedom and Support Act which is aimed at achieving regime change in Iran. Plus ça change? Apparently he has all the late momentum going into the Iowa Caucuses tomorrow and could even win them.

Ron Paul
Ron Paul is the one NMR candidate who can't be accused of being a one month wonder. He has been slowly building support, and it is support which extends from the extreme KU KLU Klan school of racism to moderate independents who are attracted to his non-interventionist foreign policy and civil libertarianism which is some way to the left of Obama (who recently signed the draconian National Defense Authorization Act into law - whilst claiming he won't implement all of it). An extreme Libertarian, Paul basically wants to shrink the state (and especially the welfare state) to almost nothing and leave all governance and self regulation to Capitalism and the "free" markets. His social libertarianism extends to opposing the "war on Drugs" as well as the war on terror, policies which may prevent him from ever getting the support of a plurality of Republican voters.

However some polls have Ron Paul beating both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in Iowa which frightens the hell out of the Republican establishment who have sought to ignore him for as long as they possibly can. He doesn't even support aid for Israel which is anathema to Democrats as well as Republicans...  Whatever the outcome of the Republican primary process, he could significantly move the Overton window - to the right on economic policy, and to the left on foreign policy - especially if he were to run as an independent third party candidate. Either way, Ron Paul could yet be a critical influence on the future of US Government policy.

So what is going on?
So the current two leading Republican challengers to Mitt Romney - Rick Santorum and Ron Paul - are an unreconstructed War on Terror warrior and an ultra-free Market capitalist. It is as if Afghanistan and Iraq never happened and the global financial meltdown was caused by excessive government regulation. Christian fundamentalism, creationism, climate change scepticism, barely disguised racism and opposition to same sex relationships are key qualifiers for the job. Would someone please explain this to me?

Poll
Which candidate do you think will win the GOP nomination?
. Mitt Romney 62%
. Sarah Palin 4%
. Michele Bachmann 4%
. Rick Perry 0%
. Herman Cain 0%
. Newt Gingrich 8%
. Rick Santorum 4%
. Ron Paul 8%
. Jeb Bush 8%
. Jon Huntsman 0%
. Other - please list in comments 0%

Votes: 24
Results | Other Polls
Display:
Well there is debate as to wether this account is real, but it does have the blue tick of a verified account

Twitter / @rupertmurdoch: Can't resist this tweet, b ...

Can't resist this tweet, but all Iowans think about Rick Santorum. Only candidate with genuine big vision for country.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2012 at 09:47:22 PM EST
Bizzare, Yesterday Newscorp confirmed that the Wendy Deng account was real, which confirmed the Rupert account was real. Today News International is saying it's a fake, and the person involved is saying that they never understood how their reality can have been confirmed. so wether the Rupert one is real or not, who knows?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 09:29:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there is much speculation as to whether the newscorp spokesman or the news international spokesman will be seeking gardening leave this afternoon

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 12:26:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would someone please explain this to me?

Don't try to understand it, you'll cause yourself a serious and unnecessary injury.   This is a circus and the GOP is obviously candidate, platform, and strategy challenged. I can't believe any sane person on Earth would take a single one of these clowns seriously.


I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2012 at 11:06:43 PM EST
Those whom the Gods wish to destroy they first make mad...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:25:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They've run their current narrative as far as it can go. They're boxed in on the sponsor side and the voter side. Pushing the narrative further to the right alienates the public, pushing it to the left alienates their sponsors (and they're indistinguishable from their sponsors). Switching to a new narrative will require the party to collapse in some fashion which hasn't yet happened.

Their sponsors are fine with sowing chaos stemming from increasing social inequality and defunding the government as it fits their goals, so there is still a long way to go.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 03:06:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll add some meat to this. "Pushing the narrative further" - as in promising more of X vs. the last election - works on a populace that is unfulfilled and without awareness of where they will find fulfillment, so they pursue more of whatever they were already pursuing.

Also, an unhappy populace derives pleasure from other peoples' pain (vs a happy populace that derives pleasure from other people's pleasure), therefore the pain/punishment narrative instead of a "how to make the world a better place" narrative. The end result on the campaign trail is pretty much everything out of Santorum's or Perry's mouth.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:05:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is as if Afghanistan and Iraq never happened and the global financial meltdown was caused by excessive government regulation. Christian fundamentalism, creationism, climate change scepticism, barely disguised racism and opposition to same sex relationships are key qualifiers for the job. Would someone please explain this to me?

It's not that different from the situation in Europe, really...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 02:42:57 AM EST
Elementary cognitive science: Americans live in American culture, which is that nationalism of such fervor it has its own name, exceptionalism.

We're also acculturated with many little handles, easy to pull, about race, and entitlements, and greed, and conspicuous consuming.

We also whine and have no character. We even believe in God, or think we do. We haven't the clarity or rigor to figure it out.

Americans really ARE yokels and yahoos, and the upcoming generation seems a bit widely and shallowly educated.

But not really a paradox, because it's explicable from basic evolutionary principles. Dawkins is best at it. Try "The Extended Phenotype"

Align culture with our nature.

by ormondotvos (ormond no spam lmi net no spam) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 03:59:35 AM EST
Polls tracker at USA Today

At a federal level its Romney against Gingrich, with the latter slightly at the front. But in the first states Paul and Santorum are more or less leveling with the two favourites.

What I never understood about US politics is why Ron Paul runs for the GOP, he is everything but a conservative. Maybe he doesn't really want to win?

Vencit omnia veritas.

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:00:49 AM EST
Ron Paul admits in current interviews that he sees his function in running to be providing visibility to his ideas.

Ron Paul is all over the map, but he doesn't really SAY things. He instead asks those little tricky rhetorical questions that don't quite finish stating their axioms, depending on the listener to fill in the blanks with their favorite creamy goo.

I agree with his view that cannabis should be legal as medicine, but we disagree, I think, on whether the government should supply it for physical and mental pain. Like he gives me.

I think he's fucking nuts on medical care, which he foolishly describes as insurance. Single payer is the cheapest because it has the largest pool.

Align culture with our nature.

by ormondotvos (ormond no spam lmi net no spam) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:10:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the voting doesn't take place at a Federal level, but at the state level, and the first few states to vote - Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida - are extremely influential in determining which candidates are "viable" and can continue to fundraise successfully. Thus if Santorum can do well in the early Primaries, it doesn't really matter that he is currently at 2% in the national polls. If Romney or Gringrich lose the early primaries, their current national lead could evaporate.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:52:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It does, however, matter that he has no money, which means he has not been able to build cadre org's in second tier of states. So its much harder for him to leverage an Iowa win with a win in South Carolina and then strong delegate  counts through March.

Primaries are supposed to all be proportional until April, though Florida jumped the gun in violation of GOP rules and already lost 49 of 99 delegates. Its been threatened with losing its Winner Take All status as well.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 10:49:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey Franck, yuo should have made a poll. It would be fun to see who is the favourite here at ET :)

Vencit omnia veritas.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:11:54 AM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:42:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh damn, now I have to choose one. The less of many evils.

Vencit omnia veritas.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 08:18:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're not being asked to vote for a candidate, but to predict who will win the GOP nomination...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 08:36:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I voted Romney because the GOP establishment will make the skeletons in every other candidate's closet fall on them like a ton of bricks as soon as any one of them pulls ahead.

Why, maybe that explains the serial and ephemeral nature of the non-Romney frontrunners this past year.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 10:29:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then I should have voted Romney.

But I'm so under the spell of Michelle...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 10:39:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sex and politics is a dangerous mix...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 10:55:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
as vicious a slur as I've seen all year

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 11:13:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian: Michele Bachmann gets her John Waynes mixed up
In an interview before announcing her bid for the Republican presidential nomination in her birthplace of Waterloo, Iowa, Bachmann told a Fox News interviewer:
John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That's the kind of spirit that I have, too.
Except as the conservative Washington Times reported, John Wayne - the star of movies such as True Grit and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - was born in Winterset, Iowa, more than 100 miles away from Waterloo. The John Wayne of Waterloo was someone entirely different:
Waterloo's John Wayne was not the beloved movie star, but rather John Wayne Gacy, the homophobic serial killer.
Oh, that John Wayne.


tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:08:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My pick is Romney, but I'm expecting a bloody January, especially if Florida is forced to proportional allocation, since Ron Paul can collect delegates with 10% or more of the vote in a lot of Republican primaries, until April and the winner take all primaries start.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:59:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All the states I've looked at have a 20% floor.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 08:25:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Republican or Democratic primary?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 10:11:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Republican.

See here

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 10:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
20% is the max, 0% is the min. NH is 10%, SC is a mix of CD and Statewide WTA, Nevada seems to be 3.5%.

I think I was repeating a misapprehension of R rules ~ it so rarely matters after South Carolina. And from Nevada local news coverage, Nevada is a mess where they let each county set caucus rules.

Ron Paul can actually take delegates in Winner Take All District states, by focusing on University heavy districts.

If January is bloody, clinching the nomination gets pushed out to April by the Math ~ each delagate taken by someone else pushes that out. If Fox gets behind Santorum, he'll win some states on Super Tuesday.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 10:51:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd have to run the numbers (groan) but IIRC the earliest a person can be assured of a First Round nomination is mid-April.  (Assuming a competitive race.)

In January the Biggie is Florida, WTA, and 50 pledged delegates.  Next is Iowa's 28, then SC with 25, and NH checks in with 12.

I haven't seen any recent polling from South Carolina but the SC House majority leader endorsed Gingrich today.  That means boots on the ground for the G-man, something he didn't have in Iowa.

Florida is shaping-up bloody.  The last I saw Romney and Gingrich were in a statistical tie.  With Perry and Bachmann gone Gingrich should jump 8 to 10 points.

The Wild Card is Santorum.  Can he flip his Iowa results to become a contender in SC and Florida?  I doubt it since he has no money AND no local organization.  Can win with lots of one and not much of the other, I've never seen a candidate win without both.


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 01:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gingrich effectively conceded the nomination and endorsed Santorum tonight, though he formally stays in the race in order to attack Romney and Paul in the debates.

Must be easier to make the decision to stop running for your own nomination when you never put all that much effort into chasing the nomination in the first place ~ Gingrich spent much more time selling books than he spent campaigning in Iowa, for instance.

That gives Santorum some breathing room, as the Beltway media is going to be focusing on the promised rumble by Gingrich in the debates.

South Carolina is not winner take all statewide ~ it has statewide delegates, but also per house district delegates. If Ron Paul focuses on cherry picking in his strongest districts, conceding the state as a whole, he could well pick up delegates that would otherwise fall to Mitt.

Florida is a winner take all state at present, but the RNC is considering taking that away, in addition to the 50% of delegates it lost when it decided to go before March.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 02:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gingrich effectively conceded the nomination and endorsed Santorum tonight ...

What I'm reading is Gingrich is heading to South Carolina for a showdown.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 11:12:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gingrich sounds to me like he wants to hurt Romney.  Seems to know he's beat, but going on the attack anyway.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 11:42:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This:

A group of movement conservatives has called an emergency meeting in Texas next weekend to find a "consensus" Republican presidential hopeful, POLITICO has learned.

The meeting is being hosted by such prominent conservative figures as James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; Don Wildmon, onetime chairman of the American Family Association; and Gary Bauer, himself a former presidential candidate.

Movement conservatives are concerned that a vote split between Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum among base voters could enable Mitt Romney to grab the GOP nomination. A source who shared the invitation said the meeting was about how to avoid such a possibility.

Romney has the money but he doesn't yet have the votes.  The Conservatives have the votes and can raise the money but they don't have a candidate.

The stage is set for a knock-down faction fight.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 12:03:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's "staying the race" to qualify for the debates, but from his speech on Tuesday night and his smashing Romney in the morning talk this morning, he's in it to hit Romney and Paul, not in it to try to win delegates.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 12:52:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How come this poll uses the first past the post system? How about something based on ranking?

Yeah, not supported, whatever...

by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 03:12:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
American politics, mate, FTPT State by State Winner Take All kicks in April and holds for the majority of the delegates.

Seriously, the reason for proportional representation in the early states is to provide an incentive to refrain from moving front loading all the primaries.

That is, proportional representation in these first three months is a punishment for going early.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:20:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One explanation I heard: Obama is now the moderate Republican in the White House. The only space left for the Republicans is even more to the right.

Also, The Tea Party's "utopian market populism" Tom Frank on the dream that fueled the right wing's improbable comeback - Salon

You write that after Obama took office, "market populism was the only utopian scheme available to disgruntled Americans." There was no liberal utopian scheme that said, "Here's how we get out of this."

There wasn't even a Rooseveltian scheme, which was not utopian but very practical. Just to talk about Roosevelt would have been fantastic.

by epochepoque on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 10:14:44 AM EST
You link to an interesting article. The thesis seems to be that - like European Social Democrats - US liberals have become an entrenched technocratic professional elite who are blamed by the "populist" hoi polloi when things go wrong - despite the fact that it was the ultra rich corporate and financial elite which did most of the damage.The liberal democratic response to the crisis was to let the professional experts take over - without realising they were simply redirecting public anger onto themselves...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 10:45:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The id, the anger needed an outlet. Democrats including 'no-drama Obama' weren't providing it - letting pass the political chance of a generation. So the right filled the vacuum with a sufficiently plausible alternative narrative - as unreal as it is.

Thus we arrive at this stage with a crude innard soup of contestants. Romney, the bland common denominator candidate, will win the primaries if only for electability - the others are just too out there.

by epochepoque on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 11:42:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I (tried to) explain here, Sarah Palin never seriously considered being a candidate. But looking like one was enormously profitable.

The problem the repugs have is that their internal electorate is insane, or rather it is that for the last 15 years the ptb, eg Fox, Kochs etc, within the GOP have found it convenient for their purposes to create an alternative reality  which only marginally intersects with the fact-based universe. As somebody pointed out, people who watch Fox are more mis-informed about the world than people who don't read newspapers or watch any television at all. And to support this "world view" they have funded an entire generation of politicians who live in this delusional world and vote accordingly.

They have largely gotten by because people like Bush or McCain could play at being normal human beings most of the time, they weren't sufficiently invested in the world to have an opinion about anything and, besides which, managers like Rove could spin the message for them. But the GOP base has become too crazy, the Tea Party became a monster, however much it was fostered and encouraged as a tool of the elites, they were just a mob who ran amok and insist to this day on a list of contradictory impossibilities to make the Queen of Hearts blush with pride.

And they've run out of people who can square the circle, candidates who can tick the conservative boxes while still being able to avoid drooling in public. The people who stand any chance of getting through the Primary have to have an unblemished record of such complete craziness that they are unelectable to the rest of the country.

Romney is failing because he's trying to convince the lunatics he's one of them when they can see he isn't. The more he panders to them, the more they hate him. And there just aren't enough non-lunatics left in the GOP for him to get there without them.

I think he will get there courtesy of a fix from the ptb. That or any of the others who looks good for 5 minutes will implode under questioning.

Obama must be the luckiest guy on the planet cos he really really screwed up bigger than Carter and will still get back in

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 10:29:25 AM EST
Thing is, 2010 with Big Oil whipping the base into a frenzy, to slow down health reform to kill the Energy bill, resuslted in all those crazies getting nominated ~ some elected, some losing races less extreme reactionaries would have won.

Now, the reactionaries in the US may all look to y'all as so far over the line that from their position, "the line looks like a dot" ~ but there's careful reactionary extremism that waits until the propoganda has prepared the electorate, and then there's the crazy reactionary extremism.

The crazies convinced every single one of the strongest to sit out this year and let the backlash, either this year or in the massive drubbing one of these hacks would face in 2014, chasten the base for either 2016 or 2020.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 11:01:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but, as the base are insane, how could a dose of reality impact them ?

What would stop this would be that they lose the house and the Senate big time, with filibuster proof majorities and actually do some real good (yes I know but..). For that to happen they really need a Romney to win who will depress the crayzee vote

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 11:12:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe there are enough sane and engaged Americans out there to vote an overwhelming shift in the congressional balance of power (to the Democratic side).

Problem is, as you've indicated, most voting Americans get their "news" by tuning in to FOX or some other such conservative propaganda machine. The FOX message is simple, even if not well documented; it is easy to absorb, relentless, and appealing to the mindless one stop, get it quick personality types who tune in. As has been repeatedly demonstrated, money and relentless advertising sways opinion; i.e., votes can be bought and in American politics elections, as well as congressional voting patterns, are most often simply purchased/influenced by money.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 11:57:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Engaged" being the key word.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 12:23:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, unfortunately the insane are likely very much engaged.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 09:43:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While, fortunately, only a minority of the electorate gets their news straight from Faux News / Limbaugh, etc., its true that an unfortunate number get their news instad from a compliant corporate mess media, tracking for the middle ground between radical insanity and less pronounced insanity.  So the whole dance is much like the Whigs and the Democrats arguing over tariff rates in te 1830's and attempting to ignore the issue of chattel slavery in a state founded on seizing and commercializing Native American lands through sweat equity.

Still, even if the result at presence may be akin to a choice between more and less severe psychoses .... its a regularity of American politics that the primary base electorates on both sides become more anxious to win and more willing to sacrifice "bedrock" principles the longer they are kept out of the White House.

2004 was an unusual case, because of the Supreme Court sanctioned coup ad then the massive post-911 approval ratings of Bush ~ the Democrats went immediately into "pick the electable candidate.

But R's in 1964, after 8 years in, 4 years out, pick "Extremism is no vice". D's in 1972, after 8 years in 4 years out pick Dove McGovern. R's in 1980, after 8 yrs in, 4 yrs out pick Conservative heart-throb Reagan. The Democrats answer after 4 years out under a former ad then anti-New Dealer with unreconstructed Farmer Labor Party New Dealer in Mondale.

Contrast - after 20 years, and losing with New Deal Rollback Dewey,the R's euphorically nominate Ike. After 8 years of Ike, the Democrats pick the Cold War Hawk Kennedy to tackle a Cold Warrior Republican. After 8 years out, the R's pick the Nixon they distrust over the Reagan they fear the general elctorate dstrusts. After 8 years, the D's pick perceived Southern moderate Carter. After 12 years, the D's pick perceived border Southern moderate Clinton. After 8 yrs, and the rise and fall of "nasty Conservatives" like Newt, the R's pick " compassionate conservative" Bush.

Its as natural as breathing that about 5 Republicans who were afraid that the curent base primary electorate would force them into crippling positions would expect more freedom to run between the base and the swing indepependents if the current crop tried and came up short.

And plus, under Citizens Utd, President Obama will have a war chest of 1b+. A democrat who is not the incumbent won't be expected to have as much in 2016.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 01:58:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama's problem is that he is committed to politics as a process, not as a set of defined outcomes. However that process only works positively insofar as the participants can connect to the real world.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 11:17:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Refer to the ET classic: Obama, John Rawls, and a Defense of the Unreasonable by Nonpartisan on June 13th, 2009.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 11:59:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All I can say is that I want to enjoy the lulz of Santorum promising to get rid of birth control.

I can't believe he actually said this out loud.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 12:57:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
are there any repugs NOT signed on to destroy contraception and abortion ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 01:03:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Abortion?  None in the race.  

But contraception?  Opposition to contraception tends to be a fringe Catholic thing.  And even politicians and activists who oppose it don't tend to actually say so out loud.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 01:20:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I love the idea of the Pope as a fringe Catholic...!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 02:07:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They've been pushing hard at the state level in Republican dominated states across the country to enact restrictions on contraception.

The personhood amendment went down in Mississippi, but it was a come from behind victory for the supporters of continued right to contraception.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:14:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if there is, they don't have any National standing.

The GOP is a religious Party whose activists and base are primary Fundamentalist Christian wackos.  You Yurpeens have a cognitive bias, you keep expecting the US to have a European-style secular culture.  We don't.  The GOP wants a Saudi Arabia with the Ruling Class dominating through the Financial Sector, instead of oil production.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 01:25:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Governor Romney was pro-choice.

But of course presidential candidate Romney is pro-life.

Mitt Romney on Abortion

Top Romney Flip Flops: #1. Abortion:

In October 2002, campaigning for governorship of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney said he would "preserve and protect" a woman's right to choose. He now describes himself as opposing abortion.



A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 01:55:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Romney is pro-Romney.

Everything he does is subject to that.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:04:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He would asset strip his own mother...and outsource his children... if it got him the White House

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:16:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Special Place in Hell-Israel News - Haaretz Israeli News source.

Every four years, I watch from a distance as America, land of my birth and my marrow, turns into a foreign country. Familiar people and places grow puzzling, even exotic, under the pulls and spells of this caucus and that dark horse, the backroom heat of the moment and the long-ball crush of history.

At this distance, it often seems that the world's most eccentric candidate-selection process will force the U.S. clear off the rails. Then, just in time, an unlikely rescuer emerges. None more unlikely, surely, than this year's savior.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 02:21:52 PM EST
I think the important point is being missed, which is that this is not a failure of the GOP in particular, but of the U.S. electoral system in general. The Democrats are just lucky right now because they do not have a primary challenge going on. It could just as well be them.

Since the abandonment after 1968 of the "smoke filled room" system of choosing candidates, the entire voting membership of each party has to review all of the candidates from scratch without any prior vetting. A sensible system would have a bunch of experienced political operatives sitting around having this sort of debate, taking into consideration their personal knowledge of the potential candidates--something completely missing in the current "meet the voters in the restaurant" system. This would include things like "is this person a twit?" and "is this person a crackpot?" and "is this person a flaming liar?," etc. This would weed out the Sarah Palins and the Herman Cains, and probably the Mitt Romneys and Ron Pauls, too. It would give you Hubert Humphrys and Richard Nixons instead. Who, despite their shortcomings, were at least predictable carriers of their respective party's flags.

Also, giving Iowa such a big voice is a huge problem. It's not even close to being representative of the rest of the country, it's one of the states that gets its power through the Senate (because of its low population), it's got hardly any minorities, too many farmers made rich at the teat of the corn subsidies, is excessively religious, and doesn't predict winners very well. Sure, it sorts out the total losers like Bachmann, but they would be eliminated by any system. But the Iowa circus is really just a complete waste of time for everybody involved.

The Democrats are going to run into the same problem with weeding out crackpots in 2016.

by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 03:27:22 PM EST
With Liz Warren and Alan Grayson around, I think the dems'll be fine

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 03:47:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking like Warren is going to take the Senate seat.

Grayson?  I don't know.  If he is going to run in 2016 he has to start running now: getting a team together, making contact with local organizers, making contact with state party figures, making TV and radio appearances, & etc.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:03:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but there are also the others, like Stewart Alexander and Ralph Nader and Gavin Newsom out there ready to split up the vote. It's not whether you like one or the other of them, it's that our system doesn't currently have a way to do any sorting of the options before going to the public arena.
by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:05:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
don't know Alexander or Newsom to say.

Nader, however, is a egotist little shit.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:34:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, he's just like Ron Paul from the political viewpoint. (Although he's right on most of the issues, unlike Paul who is from outer space.)

But the point is that the system doesn't have a way to flush out the less likely players, so what is going on in the GOP right now is just a regular part of the process. A part that could be better done in private.

by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:40:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know some otherwise intelligent people who not only support Ron Paul but are also working in his campaign, for three reasons:

  1.  He's the only one in the race saying we need to knock it off with the US bombing brown people

  2.  He's in favor of ending the "War on Drugs"

  3.  He wants to end the Federal government support for the Financial sector

The rest of his "Forward to 1852!" poppycock they could care less about.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:50:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, and I know also some that say that some of his ideas would never get past Congress anyway. Like selling off federally owned land, which is something like 1/3 of the area of the country.

Maybe the thing to do is only look at the things he could do by executive order. Not bombing brown skinned people is one of those things, and its continuance is one of Obama's main shortcomings...

by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:59:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paul could move the Overton window on Foreign policy in ways that might suit Democrats if they are smart about leveraging his influence.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:44:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They don't want to, for good and bad reasons.  One good reason is withdrawing money from the Military would also crater what little manufacturing the US has left.  One bad reason is withdrawing money from the Military would end 72 years of the liberal interventionist foreign policy of bombing people for their own good.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:57:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Problem is: Sarah Palin.

She was chosen in a smoke-filled room once McCain got it through his brain cell having Lieberman as his VP would be the Kiss o'Death.

The US political system is still reeling from the affects of LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act.  Once he signed it the make-up of the Democratic Party substantially shifted and the Dems haven't recovered.  Coupled with the decline of whites as THE determining voting bloc in state and national elections, the general political apathy of the general public to and for politics, the decline of the US economy, the rise of the US Authoritarian State to protect the 1%, and the refusal of most people to 'grok' ANY of the preceding ... and it's all a Big Mess.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 03:59:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She wasn't really chosen in the traditional "Party Bigwigs in a Smoke-Filled Room at the DNC/RNC" way though.  She was chosen as a desperation maneuver by a candidate who knew he was probably doomed and just threw any shit against the wall he could in hopes something would stick.

I think asdf makes an interesting point.  It used to be that the parties served as something of a check on lunacy.  It made the system more conservative, in the sense that it was difficult to run insurgent campaigns, but it also probably helped to keep things somewhat sane.  Nixon was an evil little shit, but unlike (say) Crazy Eyes Michele or Mullah Santorum, Nixon knew the sky was blue.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:19:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Things have come to a sorry pass when we have to comment favourably on Nixon when compared to current candidates...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:42:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nixon: attempted universal health care, created the Environmental Protection Agency, ended the war in Vietnam.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:47:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sucks that Nixon is to the Left of the 2012 Democratic Party.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:58:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh, I'd say he's about near the center of the party, maybe even a little right-leaning within it.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:08:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a wonder the past 40 years have been!

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:09:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"What a wonder" is not the introductory adjectival phrase I'd use.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:13:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Transcript of taped conversation between President Richard Nixon and John D. Ehrlichman (1971) that led to the HMO act of 1973: - Wikisource

President Nixon: "Say that I ... I ... I'd tell him I have doubts about it, but I think that it's, uh, now let me ask you, now you give me your judgment. You know I'm not too keen on any of these damn medical programs."

Ehrlichman: "This, uh, let me, let me tell you how I am ..."

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Ehrlichman: "This ... this is a ..."

President Nixon: "I don't [unclear] ..."

Ehrlichman: "... private enterprise one."

President Nixon: "Well, that appeals to me."

Ehrlichman: "Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. And the reason that he can ... the reason he can do it ... I had Edgar Kaiser come in ... talk to me about this and I went into it in some depth. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because ..."

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Ehrlichman: "... the less care they give them, the more money they make."

President Nixon: "Fine." [Unclear.]

Ehrlichman: [Unclear] "... and the incentives run the right way."

President Nixon: "Not bad."



Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:06:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Adding: I still love Nixon for his achievements in government transparency. Every president should bug his own office to show everyone what a douche he is.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:27:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably so, although truth be told I wouldn't put Nixon in the Top 5 of worst presidents ever.  Probably not even Top 10.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:52:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only thing they had on him was lying about Cambodia, sponsoring some dirty tricks in an election, and generally being a nasty guy who swore into a tape recorder. That's not actually all that much compared to certain other recent presidents.
by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:00:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but you have to deduct a fair number of points simply for having Kissinger around.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:03:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kissinger, the guy who personally kicked me out of the Peace Corps. Love him.
by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:05:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WHAT?!?

Do tell!  Do Tell!

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:05:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seconded!

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:13:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it's not much to tell. With a new BA in Physics there weren't a lot of jobs, and I sort of wanted to help humanity, and avoid the draft for another few months while things wound down, so I signed up. I hesitated about the loyalty oath, and was assured that it was not a problem. But then several months down the road it turned out it was a problem. The debate got escalated up the chain and at the end their was a telegram (yep) flimsy from the State Department over his signature delivered to the Country Office in my little African country: "this person must be sent home."

The end of the Vietnam war sent huge ripples through the Peace Corps as its supply of volunteers collapsed. My contribution to the collapse was insignificant.

by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Nobel Peace Laureate kicked you out of the Peace Corps?

You must be a serious bad ass guy

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:00:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup.

As I've previously said, the country we grew-up in is gone and the one we're living in now I don't much like.


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:05:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We under-40s have lived our entire lives in the crapper.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:17:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:48:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is where we over-40s explain patiently to you under-40s that it is all your fault.
by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:50:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm getting flashbacks about facebook viral posts about an elderly shopper and a young supermarket cashier.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:04:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Democrats are going to run into the same problem with weeding out crackpots in 2016.

Perhaps, but our crackpots aren't nearly as batshit as their crackpots.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:22:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ROTFLMAO

Sadly, that is the best summary of the US political scene I've ever read.


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ah but what about the selection of crackpots available in four years time. No doubt by then the party will have triangulated to fight on the republican parties chosen ground of idiocy.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:35:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the Democrats would get it through their heads they are never, ever, going to get the no education, no money, and no teeth voter in Alabama it would really help.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:40:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its Like the Labour party here in the UK's obsession with the Daily Mail voter

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:46:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe the left should learn to do Fox

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:50:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They have tried multiple times to get "progressive talk radio" to work, and it doesn't.

Partly because progressives are doing something useful during the day, not driving around their farms in pickup trucks listening to AM radio while waiting for the corn to grow, and partly because they can't find anybody batsh*t crazy enough to compete with the likes of the conservative hosts.

by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:09:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't they find some fire-breeding communist to rant away in a manner that would be pleasing to someone in a pick-up truck?

We have a bunch here who hand out there pamphlets with cheerful slogans like "Bush is Hitler's child!"

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:56:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The wild card there is the 99% movement.

The last Democratic candidate positioned to run on that discontent fell prey to GZS (greasy zipper syndrome) ... but if there's a big enough parade, someone'll run to get in front.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 02:44:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You think so, eh? I've got a bridge to sell you...

Just as an example, I was speaking to an Occupy guy here a few weeks ago when that was the big fad (incidentally, the Colorado Springs site was dismantled when the mayor refused to renew their parade permit for another month. So much for Libertarianism), and his claim was that the whole reason that the progressive movement of the 1960s foundered was because they let the girls in who undermined it all with Free Love.

I talked to him about this for a while because I had not previously heard that theory, and he seems to be a perfectly sensible guy in all other ways except for this one point. Upon which he is adamant. The damnned women and their Free Love did us in, he says.

So I'm not sure where to put him on the spectrum of progressives here that includes remote-viewing Buddhist monks, knitting-mad party secretaries, and medical marijuana activists. And this is just in conservative old Colorado, not even any place with depth.

by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:53:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(whimper)


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:07:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but that's just some random nut bag on the street.  The difference is that our crazies generally aren't running for office.  They're just voting and babbling.

I mean, Rick Santorum may actually win tonight, ffs.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:56:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...adding: And that's still not half as crazy as Michele Bachmann's discussions of vaccines.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:57:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, well, there is that.  :-)
by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:58:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought she was a vaccine......

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:47:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, she's a symptom.

The vaccine hasn't been developed yet. (And it may be too late when it is.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 06:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This would weed out the Sarah Palins

Sarah Palin was picked as a candidate by McCain, in one of those "smoke-filled" rooms.....The primary system, on the other hand, somehow or other managed to weed her out.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:30:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And Perry, And Bachmann, And Cain, And, sometime this month, Gingrich.

In a field that is "all weed", you can't weed all the weeds out, but its worked on the majority of the weeds.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:39:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An interesting little burst of truth-telling by Gingrich (although of course it is the pot calling the kettle black.

Iowa caucus 2012: GOP presidential candidates make their final push - live | World news | guardian.co.uk

2pm: Finally, after suffering a million-dollar blitz of negative ads from a Mitt Romney-supporting political action committee [Pac], Newt Gingrich drops the L-word on Romney.

Speaking to Norah O'Donnell on CBS's Early Show this morning, Gingrich went nuclear. Let's roll the tape:

Norah O'Donnell: You scolded Mitt Romney, his friends who are running this super Pac that has funded [the attack ads]. And you said of Mitt Romney, "Somebody who will lie to you to get to be president will lie to you when they are president."

I have to ask you: Are you calling Mitt Romney a liar?

Newt Gingrich: Yes.

O'Donnell: You're calling Mitt Romney a liar?

Gingrich: Well, you seem shocked by it. Yes. I mean, what else could you say?

O'Donnell: Why are you saying he's a liar?

Gingrich: This is a man whose staff created the Pac. His millionaire friends fund the Pac. He pretends he has nothing to do with the Pac. It's baloney. He's not telling the American people the truth. It's just like his pretense that he's a conservative.

Here's a Massachusetts moderate who has tax-paid abortions in Romneycare; puts Planned Parenthood in Romneycare; raises hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes on businesses; appoints liberal judges to appease Democrats; and wants the rest of us to believe somehow he's magically a conservative.

I just think he ought to be honest with the American people and try to win as the real Mitt Romney, not try to invent a poll-driven consultant-guided version that goes around with talking points.

So tell us what you really think Mr Gingrich?

Interesting as well in the context of Krugman writing about Romney running the first "post truth campaign."

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:41:10 PM EST
Yeah, I think he has cratered. Ignoring the Ronald Reagan rule and saying bad things about other Republicans is one thing, but openly calling the leading candidate a liar is pretty far off the track.

My prediction: Bachman and Gingrich are out after today.

by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:56:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
so if this kills him, which lunatic gets the votes that would have been going to him, and does this balance everything between the other candidates more finely?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:01:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's hard to make predictions in a system that is so non-linear.
by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:06:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bachmann I agree with.

I think Perry will also "suspend" (= quit) Real Soon Now.

Gingrich?  I don't think so.  The man is still polling well in South Carolina and Florida; both states are more favorable to him than Iowa and NH.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:04:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing about Perry is that he's got a lot of Texas money that can carry him for a while.
by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:07:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, Perry's first got to burn up his money in a fruitless effort to get back into contention.

But trying to build a Presidential campaign around Perry is like trying to join a cattle drive on a wooden toy pony. Money alone is not enough.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:37:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's interesting.

Gingrich is, I think, hitting Romney exactly where he is most vulnerable wrt the average mouth-breathing, Fundie, crackpot, "Most Likely," GOP primary voter.

It's not only interesting, it's potentially VERY bad news for the GOP, up and down the ticket.  If Gingrich starts getting traction with this the chances of the GOP exploding into a faction-fight increases dramatically.  

(If Metatone can do it ... so can I!  :-)

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:02:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And as the biggest liar left in the race, Newt would know about lying.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:41:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"A Letter from Kim Jong-Un
To the People of Iowa

PYONGYANG (The Borowitz Report) - The following is a letter from Kim Jong-Un, Supreme Leader of North Korea, to the people of Iowa.

Dear Voters of Iowa:

In December I became Supreme Leader of North Korea. Pretty amazing development for a twentysomething who at the time was still living at home and spending all day playing Angry Birds. But there I was, receiving the cheers of millions of North Koreans, who usually don't get that excited unless they've caught sight of a pork sandwich. (LOL)

Here is why I am writing to you today: you will go to your caucuses and choose from among a field of Republican presidential candidates. And let me tell you, the idea of any of these people getting nuclear weapons scares the shit out of me.

This is just one of many differences between your country and mine. In North Korea, we lock up the criminally insane. In America, you let them debate on TV. Right now you have people running for President I would not trust to take care of my plants.

So who do I recommend you vote for on Tuesday? In a word, me.

If you think about it, I am the most Republican candidate of all. In North Korea, we have no taxes. We have achieved that through a conservative policy of no jobs. Also, we have no wasteful "big government" programs providing food, shelter, or safe drinking water. And am I pro-life? Well, try this on for size: I believe that life begins at conception and ends at starvation.

Now, I know what you're thinking: I'm too young to be President, since I'm under 35. Well, who would you rather have running your country, someone who's under 35, or someone whose IQ is under 35? (LOL)

I think when you look at all the facts, voters of Iowa, you'll realize that Kim Jong-un is the Republican who most deserves your vote. And if you're still not convinced, remember this: at least I'm not Mitt Romney.

Peace out yo,

Your Supreme Leader"

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:23:12 PM EST
This group, ET, is not representative a of group of "voters", even though you all vote. This group is wonkish, analytical, rational, and has some understanding of policy considerations.

"Voters" are not like that. They believe in magic. They live in many different realities, where they can have what they want by voting for it, and politicians will promise them that whatever they believe is so.

There is a myth of the rational voter, but it is just a myth. They will tell you that they vote their own interests, or their pocketbook, but they really don't know what that is. They don't get "policy" or the consequences of policy.

I have recently got back into touch with some people from my old home town, Dwindle City, Appalachiastan, which I left nearly 60 years ago. Thanks to Facebook. Which I have cancelled.

I cannot even begin to talk to these people. Tea Party. Anti-Government. Pigeon-hole thinkers. They do not hear me, and I can barely begin to decipher them.  They send me things they think are funny, racist, homophobic, anti-Obama cartoons, or serious warnings from right-wing loons. I gave up responding.  Shovelling the muck.

But these guys are voters, and they outnumber me. The politicians are not the problem, it's the people who vote for them.

by greatferm (greatferm-at-email.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 05:38:11 PM EST
The continuing dismissive-to-scornful attitude in the US towards "egg heads" doesn't help.    

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:03:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That attitude is carefully cultivated by well paid propagandists who would fall under the rubric, but propagated by talking heads who themselves cultivate the brand of "bravely" speaking out against the egg-head nonsense.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:34:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing about professional propaganda is, it works.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:13:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As opposed to the myth of the rational voter, the theory of the rational voter is that if low information voters vote at random, then a minority of rational voters can still decide the election.

The way that Fox News and its compliant other half a compliant corporate news media circumvent that is the same way discovered earlier in the 20th Century ~ misleading propaganda that ensures that low information do not in fact vote at random, but with a bias in favor of those who can hire the best propagandists and control the best media outlets as propaganda amplifiers.

This relies heavily on the the "14 times" effect ~ if you hear the same thing 14 times from 14 different seemingly unrelated sources, you tend to believe it without investigating what lies behind it. That works not only by having an echo chamber to amplify the message, but by selecting messages that the incumbents in the mass media are inclined toward believing themselves.

And the way to fight that effect is via word of mouth, directly spreading counter-messages which provide an alternative to the false narrative provided in the corporate media.

The way to fight that on behalf of the oligarchy of the day is a police state in which neighbors report on neighbors for saying "traitorous" things. The legal language to justify the detention of those spreading the word that There Are Real Alternatives is now in place in the US under NDAA, and the mechanisms for interfering with the ability to use online media for that word of mouth is on deck in the form of SOPA.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:32:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like Deer Hunting with Jesus

Guardian review

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 04:00:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wired: White House Denies CIA Teleported Obama to Mars
Forget Kenya. Never mind the secret madrassas. The sinister, shocking truth about Barack Obama's past lies not in east Africa, but in outer space. As a young man in the early 1980s, Obama was part of a secret CIA project to explore Mars. The future president teleported there, along with the future head of Darpa.

That's the assertion, at least, of a pair of self-proclaimed time-traveling, universe-exploring government agents. Andrew D. Basiago and William Stillings insist that they once served as "chrononauts" at Darpa's behest, traversing the boundaries of time and space. They swear: A youthful Barack Obama was one of them.

Perhaps this all sounds fantastical, absurd, and more than a little nuts. We couldn't agree more. That's one of the reasons we love conspiracy theories  -- the more awesomely insane, the better. Each week during 2012, when the Mayans tell us to expect the apocalypse, Danger Room will peel back a new layer of crazy to expose those oh-so-cleverly hidden machinations powering this doomed plane of existence. Welcome -- back -- to Tinfoil Tuesday.



tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 06:52:18 PM EST
I knew he was a Vulcan. Even with surgically altered ears.

But we're not ready to meet them.

by greatferm (greatferm-at-email.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 08:21:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I can spend the evening watching a bunch of overhyped has-beens hilariously fight for victory in a contest no one cares about, or I can watch the Michigan-Virginia Tech game.

/yes, that's the joke

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:21:56 PM EST
MSNBC has their full crew on, with a Republican shill for comic relief.

It will depend on which game is better.

by greatferm (greatferm-at-email.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 08:25:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With 18% reporting, Herman Cain has 7 votes.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 09:26:12 PM EST
those are my kind of numbers:-))

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 04:02:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No.  You'd get a lot more votes... even in Iowa

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 10:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ron Paul May Have Secretly Won The Iowa Caucuses
DES MOINES -- Ron Paul may have officially come in third tonight, but if the campaign's caucus strategy went off as planned, then Paul may actually be the real winner of the first Republican voting contest.

That's because Paul's massive organizational push in Iowa focused on both winning votes, and also on making sure that Paul supporters  stuck around after the vote to make sure they were selected as county delegates -- the first step towards being elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

That's because Iowa's Republican caucuses are non-binding -- they are technically just a straw poll, so once selected, delegates are free to vote for whichever presidential candidate they choose.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 12:47:35 PM EST
But the importance of Iowa is not its many electors, it is who is reported the first winner(s) and loser(s).

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 03:03:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Daily Kos: Romney may have lost Iowa. 20 Vote Error Found by Vote Counter

Vote Counter Ed True of Moulton, Iowa was shocked to discover that state totals gave Romney 22 votes when he actually won only 2 in the small conservative town. Romney who apparently won by 8 votes may have actually lost by 12.

Edward True, 28, of Moulton, said he helped count the votes and jotted the results down on a piece of paper to post to his Facebook page. He said when he checked to make sure the Republican Party of Iowa got the count right, he said he was shocked to find they hadn't.

"When Mitt Romney won Iowa by eight votes and I've got a 20-vote discrepancy here, that right there says Rick Santorum won Iowa," True said. "Not Mitt Romney."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 09:15:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mitt Romney was always going to win - regardless of the votes actually cast...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 8th, 2012 at 01:18:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would someone please explain this to me?

"Rational fundamentalism" is an oxymoron.

by rifek on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 12:27:15 AM EST
I'll happily settle for an irrational explanation. What human needs to Santorum et al satisfy at an emotional level, and what evolutionary advantage does adherence to such ideologies confer - beyond the obvious effects of his no contraception views...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 06:38:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What human needs do Santorum et al satisfy at an emotional level ...

A research topic of mammoth proportion.  

what evolutionary advantage does adherence to such ideologies confer

um ... none?

Humans "have" genes only in the sense they carry them around for a couple of decades.  A person doesn't pass on genes in the same way they pass on their grandfather's watch and grandmother's quilted coverlet.  Genes have to be expressed.  How, what, why, & etc. they are expressed has more to do with economics, culture, and society and their positions wrt to those.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 12:18:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that this sort of avoidance is why liberals are a dying species.

Although I'm occasionally impressed by your comments, ATinNM, this one is a big aberration.

There is no more important subject than understanding the operation of ideology in governance, since ideology so often trumps rationality.

We get the government we deserve for refusing to understand the emotional voter.

Align culture with our nature.

by ormondotvos (ormond no spam lmi net no spam) on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 06:57:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is fairly simple: expressing unity with someone who bashes groups that are not yours (different skin color, different ways of having sex) means that you wish your group to gain in status with respect to those other groups. Since much in human culture depends on relative status it is a rational wish. Though wanting to improve your material well-being also is a rational wish these two can be put in opposition to each other.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jan 6th, 2012 at 01:43:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I recommend Erich Fromm's "Escape from Freedom."
by rifek on Tue Jan 17th, 2012 at 04:44:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
During the vacation travel I watched some TV news (like CNN) in hotels, and the impression of managed brainwashing was overwhelming. Particularly, the GOP race coverage was just a massive pulp of straight-faced but largely meaningless and even biased (say, contra Paul) number crunching. If you like Eurovision voting, this primary season must be a delight.

If you would try to imagine a GOP race that would fail to deliver a viable candidate against the "dismal" Obama, it would be hard to improve the current developments. These primaries remind very much of the 2004 Democratic primaries. Only Perry's meltdown is smoother than Dean's, and Romney is even a more unlikable "electable" option than Kerry. Apparently, it is now the turn of conservative voters to get joked upon by the glorious US electoral process.

Check Intrade.com betting: Obama is actually favourite to retain the office, whatever the economy, Foxnews or Koreas are doing.

I guess that the GOP goal is not to regain the POTUS office, but to set candidate standards higher on the wackiness scale. Remember: Goldwater lost massively to Lyndon Johnson in 1968, but already in 1980 Reagan won with the same voodoo economics and politics principles. So expect a field of Santorums, Bachmanns, Romneys squared by 2024.

by das monde on Tue Jan 10th, 2012 at 12:02:08 AM EST


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