ChrisWeigant.com

Democrats Need A Post-Mortem

[ Posted Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 – 16:35 UTC ]

In 2103, the Republican Party issued a "post-mortem" document which attempted to figure out what had gone so wrong in the 2012 election. It had some very interesting advice -- all of which was then subsequently ignored. Reduced to a tweet, it might have said: "Don't nominate people like Donald Trump." So the party didn't do so badly, even after ignoring their own advice, it must be honestly admitted.

Democrats are at a similar point now to where Republicans found themselves four years ago, but so far there has been no Democratic post-mortem. The GOP document appeared in March of 2013, but we're almost into May and no such Democratic self-examination has taken place. Partly this is because the Democratic National Committee changed hands in the meantime, but Tom Perez has been on the job for a few months now, so perhaps it's time to attempt an analysis of how the party needs to improve?

Absent such an effort, some very ugly cracks have re-emerged, which show there are still serious divisions within the party and no real agreement on how to move forward. Just this past week the whole "Hillary versus Bernie" schism seemed to rip wide open once again, at least in the pages of Salon. An anti-Bernie article was quickly balanced by a pro-Bernie article, and we were all off to the races once again. Some Democrats still hate Bernie with a white-hot passion, and some others have precisely the same feelings for Hillary, to sum the situation up. None of which is helpful, at least not for those who thought we had already laid this argument to rest.

One side's argument states: "Bernie's not a Democrat, and he lost to Hillary. Get over it." The other side counters with: "Hillary lost to Trump, and Senator Bernie's still around. Get over it." This is oversimplification, but to get any more in-depth gets tedious fast.

What sparked the fray was Bernie's recent actions. He and Tom Perez are currently involved in a "unity tour" of the country (including some very red states) which was intended to show that Sanders and the D.N.C. were working together for the betterment of the Democratic Party. You'd think that wouldn't be very controversial, especially seeing that Perez wasn't the Sanders candidate for the top D.N.C. job (Keith Ellison was). So they were going to bury the hatchet and go on tour to present a unified face of the party.

The underlying dynamic, though, is that Bernie has so far refused to turn over his email list to the D.N.C., preferring to keep it for his own uses, despite public demands that he do so. Bernie showed his independence during the past few weeks by not campaigning for one particular Democratic candidate, but also by actively campaigning for another one. Sanders is reserving the right to back candidates based on his own criteria, in other words.

The first candidate was Jon Ossoff in the Georgia special House election, whom Bernie declined to back since he didn't think Ossoff was progressive enough. Then Bernie appeared at a campaign event for a mayoral candidate in Nebraska -- an event Tom Perez also attended. This all led to a fresh round of anti-Bernie complaints. In the first case, Bernie was castigated for not campaigning for Ossoff, who was not the only Democrat in the primary. In the second case, Bernie was castigated for backing Heath Mello, the only Democrat left in the race in Omaha.

The anti-Bernie arguments were a bit contradictory, to put it mildly. In the first case, Bernie was slammed for not backing a Democrat who had a good chance to upset a Republican, for reasons of ideological purity. "He's the only Democrat with a chance -- so let's all get behind him!" was the cry, in other words. But in the second race, the argument was precisely the opposite: "The candidate is not sufficiently pro-choice, therefore no upstanding Democrat should support him, even though he's the only chance we've got to win." Purity on progressivism was bad in the first cases, but absolutely demanded in the second case.

Complicating the issue was the fact that Tom Perez also backed Mello. "Bernie should only support candidates that have the full backing of the party" doesn't make any sense when the head of the D.N.C. is standing right there on stage next to Bernie. And the Bernie supporters are quick to point out that pro-choice purity isn't always such a stumbling block, because if it truly were such a deal-breaker then Hillary Clinton could never have chosen Tim Kaine as her running mate.

Taking a step back from the current fray might be instructive for all concerned. Everyone loves to reminisce over Howard Dean's "50-state strategy," because it allowed Democrats to come in from the political wilderness by electing people with a "D" next to their name from all over the place. But the flip side to that coin is that while the 50-state strategy did indeed give Democrats control of both houses of Congress back, it also ushered in a lot of Blue Dog Democrats and pro-Wall Street Democrats. If you're going for "big tent" then you have to relax your standards on ideological purity, and it leaves you with factions that sometimes fight each other. The "in" party in Congress almost always has this problem (just look at how Republicans have been struggling with their Tea Party membership).

This is the sort of thing that a good post-mortem party document should address in some fashion. How pure should the party be? How inclusive of politicians who don't agree with the party platform on everything? These are big questions worth answering, and if they are left unanswered, they're just going to give rise to the type of intra-party squabbling seen in the past week or so.

I've tried to keep this article as unbiased as possible up to this point, but I do have to now chime in with my own opinion. I've been feeling the Bern for a while now, so this won't be too surprising to regular readers.

Bernie Sanders shouldn't turn his email donors list over to the D.N.C. That would be a mistake on his part, for two reasons. The first is that I know precisely what would happen if he did so. Everyone on his list would begin to be flooded with email pleas for donations from the D.N.C. But Bernie's core supporters are simply not going to joyfully open their wallets in response. They still harbor some very dark feelings towards the party organization, to put it mildly. If they heard Bernie had turned over his email list and then started to see begging emails in their inboxes from Perez, they would immediately demand to be taken off the list. The list would essentially cease to exist, which wouldn't do the D.N.C. much good.

The second reason it would be a mistake is that Bernie's supporters would also immediately begin calling him a "sellout" and their disillusionment with politics would grow. That is also not what the D.N.C. wants to see happen, or it shouldn't be.

Bernie Sanders built his donor list all on his own. He is the most popular politician in the entire country right now. He is free to endorse or not endorse any candidate he wishes, and he is free to make such decisions with whatever criteria he chooses. This is what keeps him authentic to his followers, so why would he do any differently? The man is already out on a multistate tour with the D.N.C. chair in an attempt to show the face of party unity, after all. Bernie Sanders has done more recent work to influence the party and boost its chances for success than most Democrats currently in office, so it's a little astonishing to see him castigated for not doing enough for the party.

Bernie endorsed Mello together with Tom Perez. Perez has apparently gotten a commitment from Mello not to do anything to block abortion access from office no matter what his private feelings may be. How is that any different from Tim Kaine's pledge to do the same as vice president? Bernie has also subsequently endorsed Jon Ossoff, now that he's the only Democrat left in the race.

Getting back to the larger picture, however, Democrats need to start figuring this stuff out. We certainly can't afford a flareup of the fight between Hillary supporters and Bernie supporters at this point in time. Democrats need to remember that implementing a 50-state strategy means recruiting some candidates because they have an actual chance to win, even if they don't agree 100 percent with the party on everything. If Perez is successful in doing so, and if Democrats do take back either house of Congress, this will mean some factionalism within the ranks. It's inevitable. The Blue Dogs may reappear, to put it another way. That's what a big tent is all about.

So I would encourage Perez, after the tour with Bernie is over, to address the party's problems in the next month or so. Convene a group to identify what Democrats have been doing wrong and what they've been doing right. Create a document which lays out strategies for future success, and then (unlike the Republicans) actually pay some attention to it. Create a list of priorities for the party and tactical advice for individual Democratic candidates. It is time to begin moving forward, and part of that should be examining what has been going so wrong over the past few years. People need to get beyond their 2016 primary election choice and start working together once again, or this sort of flareup is just going to happen over and over again. And nobody really wants to see that.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

73 Comments on “Democrats Need A Post-Mortem”

  1. [1] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: In 2103...

    Predicting the future now, are we? :)

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Democrats could use a massive head shake, too.

    $400,000 for a speech? ... to Wall Street!!??

  3. [3] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: People need to get beyond their 2016 primary election choice and start working together once again, or this sort of flareup is just going to happen over and over again. And nobody really wants to see that.

    I know, right? I'm not a big fan of the "purity test" BS. An environment where a progressive upon their election or appointment is then considered "establishment" is seriously insanity... the ranting about Democrats not abandoning Super PAC money while having to face the multi-billion dollar GOP funding machines of Adelson, the Kochs, the Mercers, etc.

    Unilateral disarmament is a known impediment to winning a war. There's a happy medium in there, people. :)

  4. [4] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW

    Lovely column.

    The issue seems to be on the minds of many.

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=18919

    Some good stuff in there.

    I agree with most of your column... for now (see the link).

    But there is an omission in the "tedious" area... namely that those responsible for the Dems losing 1000+ elected offices are dead set against an honest post mortem, because their ideology and the policies they support are actually responsible for those losses.
    They want to blame Russia and the messaging, and keep pushing the policies of and for the rich.

    It's not a "big tent" problem.
    It's the gang in the VIP section of the big tent who think they are entitled to dictate policy that is the problem.

    A

  5. [5] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey again CW

    Just because it's topical, here are some words from Our Revolution directly

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=18931

    They seem pretty intent on maintaining their independence from the Democratic party because the Democratic party hasn't been representing them.

    A

  6. [6] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW and gang

    This is off topic, or rather mostly off topic.
    But I know you care deeply about marijuana issues and will find it very interesting... plus it's a Maryland story.

    There is some discussion about certain Democrats being responsible for blocking progressive legislation, and a threat to leave the Democratic party though... and that does relate to today's column... and Dems better wake up about that reality before it's too late.

    A

  7. [7] 
    altohone wrote:

    Kick
    3

    Bernie proved it's possible to compete with mostly small dollar donations.

    The unilateral disarmament argument is a straw man.
    Nobody is saying don't raise money.

    Check out the link in comment 4... though I think all three links are worth viewing.

    A

  8. [8] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    altohone [6] -

    Dang, now I gotta get up on MD politics AND mj stuff... but before I even read it, doesn't MD currently have a GOP gov?

    More later...

    -CW

  9. [9] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW
    8

    It wasn't an action by the Repub gov that triggered the mess... it was the Democratic speaker breaking his word to the black caucus.

    You may or may not recall that about a year ago I expressed concern about the way implementation of medical and recreational regulations were being manipulated to favor the well connected.

    When the leader of the MD black caucus vows to block legalization of recreational marijuana until the medical marijuana bill named after her dead mother is fixed to address similar concerns, AND she promises to leave the Democratic party as a further consequence, it isn't just important to MD politics.

    And you did set a precedent of writing about state level politics related to MJ, and even MD specific city level politics with that Most Disappointing Dem award for the mayor of Baltimore...

    ... and it's just a video... no background research necessary.

    A

  10. [10] 
    altohone wrote:

    Balthy
    response to comment 31 from A very busy week

    Sure thing boss.
    Our system isn't corrupt.
    Money doesn't buy legislation or regulation or favors of any kind.
    And until you see a video of a bag full of cash handed over in a dark parking garage and a document verified as authentic with a politicians signature on it promising a quid pro quo, you will insist that all is squeaky clean.

    And, while you are at it, you will probably insist that despite the billions in fines paid by the banksters for the massive fraud they committed which devastated our economy, the executives who organized the fraud remain innocent because DOJ refused to prosecute the individuals.
    The corporations committed the fraud, not the people... right?

    If you weren't constantly defending known liars and the establishment of their making, I might be tempted to call you naïve.

    Of course, the optics of Obama joining Hillary by taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from banksters for a couple of hours of work won't hurt the Democratic party at all... right?
    It won't cost any votes or be used by the opponents... right?
    The outrage being expressed is meaningless... right?

    It seems to me, that when Liz writes

    "Democrats could use a massive head shake, too.
    $400,000 for a speech? ... to Wall Street!!??"

    it is time to admit there is a problem.

    Instead, you are pretending like I was trying to make a case that would stand up in court, and that because no one can make the case, there isn't a problem.

    I'm sure the establishment thanks you for your service.

    And, of course, you're the one suddenly demanding proof, whereas circumstantial evidence on Syria is plenty good for you.

    A

  11. [11] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey gang

    Here's an article about assertions from French intelligence on the chemical attack in Syria.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39717894

    "The document concludes that the Sarin from Khan Sheikhoun was produced using the same manufacturing process as that found in an unexploded grenade allegedly dropped by a government helicopter on rebel-held Saraqeb on 29 April 2013"

    A "grenade allegedly dropped by a government helicopter" that made its way into the hands of French intelligence assumedly via the "rebels" is their source for the sample used in this comparison, and the "proof" that this new assertion is based upon.
    Note the word "allegedly" making an appearance once again.

    "It also says that rebel and jihadist groups operating in the area around Khan Sheikhoun did not have the capability to employ a neurotoxic agent or access to aircraft"

    Of course, the prosecution of al Qaida "rebels" in Turkey (just north of Idlib province btw) for having Sarin precursors, and the fact that the "proof" that the attack was launched by aircraft when that is based on al Qaida "rebel" "eyewitnesses" is ignored yet again by those making the assertions.

    The warmongers sure come off as desperate to make a case.

    The pesky, ethical BBC journalists who keep pointing out the holes in their claims must be annoying them to no end.

    A

  12. [12] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @cw,

    One side's argument states: "Bernie's not a Democrat, and he lost to Hillary. Get over it." The other side counters with: "Hillary lost to Trump, and Senator Bernie's still around. Get over it."

    i guess neither side takes its own advice and gets over it.

    JL

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Al,

    You seem to have conducted a great deal of research into the alleged chemical attack in Syria and have provided many links.

    Apparently, you have reached some conclusions about what happened - specifically, that it is far more likely than not that the Russians and Assad regime are the only credible sources of information.

    That, my friend, defies logic.

    Here is a link, just for you ...
    https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/middleeast/100000005063944/syria-chemical-attack-russia.html?action=click&gtype=vhs&version=vhs-heading&module=vhs&region=title-area

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    My point, Al, is that you should have enough information now to make an educated guess as to what happened, subject to more facts coming to light.

    I would appear that you are predisposed to assuming that responsible party was not the Assad regime. Or am I reading too much into your comments?

  15. [15] 
    Kick wrote:

    A01
    7

    Bernie proved it's possible to compete with mostly small dollar donations.

    Good for Bernie, but not everyone running for office across the country is going to be able to reproduce what Bernie was able to do. Bernie and his ilk are expecting Democratic candidates across the country to live up to his purity test, and Bernie is not even a Democrat. Since the Democratic Party is expected to meet a purity test of someone who doesn't even belong to their Party, I wonder what the Republicans and Libertarians will be expecting of the Democratic candidates and if they'll meet those standards? :)

    The unilateral disarmament argument is a straw man.
    Nobody is saying don't raise money.

    Did you read that in context? (asking) The unilateral disarmament argument is not a straw man argument; it's a metaphor. The "purity test" requires a reduction in the types of funds available to Democratic candidates, does it not? That reduction in "forces" is a metaphor for "disarmament" because you're insisting that all your "troops" go into battle with a powerful weapon that you know your opponent is going to wield. That's all well and good for some of your troops, but not all of your troops are going to be sharpshooters.

    Check out the link in comment 4... though I think all three links are worth viewing.

    I've seen Bernie many times over the decades. His message has changed very little over that time, but there is a notable change to an aspect of his rhetoric. Bernie used to demonize the "millionaires and billionaires" ad nauseam, and now the Bern mostly demonizes the "billionaires" (but old habits do die hard and he'll revert). The Bern had to change his "purity test" to accommodate his assets; it's a real PITA when you can't meet your own standards because of your net worth. :)

  16. [16] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Al [10], Liz [2],

    $400,000 for a speech? ... to Wall Street!!?

    Do you think that he should have asked for more?

    After all, if you want to soak the rich, why not make them pay dearly to hear things they may not be comfortable with? I know that there are plenty of WS folks who don't buy into the GOP's fantasy economics, and view Trump's present plan to blow a hole in the budget with suspicion and alarm.

    Count them as "most likely to listen to Obama".

    If we start in with purity tests on the left, we could very easily squander the opportunity that the GOP has presented by doing exactly that.

    Even Bernie understands the 'Big Tent' path to victory, and joined with Perez for this tour for just that reason. There are bound to be some disagreement - nobody says the left should abandon its principles - but the common opponent should be, and is the wholly opposite and dangerous worldview of the Right.

    Don't forget that we agree on more than we disagree. That can get lost in all the bruhaha.

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    After all, if you want to soak the rich, why not make them pay dearly to hear things they may not be comfortable with?

    You know what he plans to say?

    If he plans to advocate for a 'single-payer' government-run healthcare system then his speech may just be worth the handsome sum he has agreed.

    What is known is that this is just the sort of behavior that can only add to the already debilitating level of cynicism out there that says there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans ... a big reason for the current mess we are in.

    I mean, seriously, $400,000.00 for a single speech? Are you kidding me?

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    There is a term for that, Balthasar ... "boardroom liberalism", to quote a wise political analyst.

  19. [19] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The "big tent" path to victory, a strategy for all 50 states, persuading your opponents as opposed to preaching to the choir, etc. etc ... all very good concepts and all have nothing to do with the perception of President Obama agreeing to half a million dollars to give a keynote speech for Canter Fitzgerald.

    This calls for a reassessment of certain critical aspects of his presidency and who he really is.

  20. [20] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I don't know what you mean by your reference to "purity tests" in this context ... ?

  21. [21] 
    altohone wrote:

    Liz
    13

    First of all, I have very recently noted in a comment to you that claims from Assad and Putin are worthy of skepticism.

    "Apparently, you have reached some conclusions about what happened - specifically, that it is far more likely than not that the Russians and Assad regime are the only credible sources of information."

    Your assertion is absolutely false, and I know you well enough to know that you should know it's false. My links have all been to media outlets with competent journalists noting facts that contradict the establishment narrative, leaks of US government documents detailing our regime change efforts, opinions from credible sources that should raise skepticism about the establishment narrative, and historical background about events and previous dubious claims that have been made.

    Not once have I based my argument on claims made by Putin or Assad.

    That said, Putin's and Assad's lack of credibility doesn't increase the credibility of our warmongering neocon and neoliberal establishment. They've destroyed their credibility all on their own without any help from the "bad guys".

    For the record, I also haven't forgotten that the NYT and numerous other media outlets were complicit in disseminating fabricated evidence in an organized propaganda effort in order to sell the war in Iraq.

    That doesn't stop me from reading what they have to say, but it does make me skeptical of everything they report. I therefore seek out alternate sources for confirmation, and as you put it the other day (roughly) base my judgments on the credibility of those sources.

    A

  22. [22] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @liz,

    This calls for a reassessment of certain critical aspects of his presidency and who he really is.

    only by those who weren't previously paying attention.

    JL

  23. [23] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Liz -

    This calls for a reassessment of certain critical aspects of his presidency and who he really is.

    Nonsense. When the text of that speech becomes available, it will be pure Obama. He's not about to change who he is just because of a large speaking fee. That was also the gist of the unfair attacks against Hillary for her speaking fees as well.

    Does anyone seriously believe that either of these successful politicians would modify their belief systems (and credibility) in return for a little cash? If so, the Obamas' recent $65M book deal with Penguin Random House crushes Wall Street's paltry half mil. Must Obama say nice things about RH authors from now on?

    There is a term for that, Balthasar ... "boardroom liberalism"

    And, as the folks at the Gates Foundation, the Clinton Foundation, Emily's List, Planned Parenthood, and thousands of other liberal-leaning NGO's would say: What's your point?

    Believe it or not, not all big money is evil. Some of it provides medicine, aids the afflicted, and helps liberals win elections.

    But, like Dillinger, you sometimes have to go where the money is, and encourage the money grubbers to sprinkle a little green love on your pet projects. And they'll actually pay a handsome fee for that pitch.

    I don't know what you mean by your reference to "purity tests" in this context ... ?

    That is when X equals "not liberal/conservative enough" in the eyes of self-appointed judges from the fringes. Purity tests have given rise to such obnoxious terms as RINO and DINO, and severely cramped the ability of anyone to express moderate views on anything, lest they end up despised by both sides.

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Let's wait and see what he has to say for $400,000... if that is ever made public.

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, let's ignore the fact that this is precisely what breeds the kind of cynicism that gives us Trump.

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Believe it or not, not all big money is evil. Some of it provides medicine, aids the afflicted, and helps liberals win elections.

    No kidding ... you don't think I'm one of those, do you?

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What's your point?

    I thought I made that clear:

    What is known is that this is just the sort of behavior that can only add to the already debilitating level of cynicism out there that says there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans ... a big reason for the current mess we are in.

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Does anyone seriously believe that either of these successful politicians would modify their belief systems (and credibility) in return for a little cash?

    I'm not talking about changing anything for "a little cash". ( "A little cash" ... yes, well, that attitude is part of the reason why we don't have President Clinton today.)

    Just remember how President Obama handled any number of issues ... the Bush tax cuts, for example (Secretary Geithner had a tougher stance with Republicans on this, for God's sake!) and, apropos to this discussion, healthcare compromises. I'm talking about continuing his belief systems but seeing his choices as president in a somewhat different light.

    That was another of my points, Balthasar.

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Finally, we're not talking about purity tests here so much as we are talking about the perception of "cashing in" on a presidency that often veered away from the path of doing what was right for the sake of compromise.

    To be clear, there is nothing wrong with compromise, per se. But, Senator Gary Hart has put it quite right on the opening page of his blog, Matters of Principle:

    "In matters of style, swim with the current; on matters of principle, stand like a rock." ... Thomas Jefferson

  30. [30] 
    altohone wrote:

    Kick
    15

    "Good for Bernie, but not everyone running for office across the country is going to be able to reproduce what Bernie was able to do."

    Very true.
    That's why lots of groups have been formed, including Our Revolution, to help candidates in all sorts of ways including fundraising from small donors.

    "Bernie and his ilk are expecting Democratic candidates across the country to live up to his purity test"

    Not true.
    Democratic candidates are free to run on whatever platform they wish.
    Candidates need to meet some expectations if they want Bernie's help or the help of other progressive groups though.
    And the same is true of the DNC... not to mention corporatist groups like Third Way and corporate donors who have their own purity tests... an aspect of this discussion which most of the establishment types ignore while railing about the left.
    (I'm not including you in that group)

    "The unilateral disarmament argument is not a straw man argument; it's a metaphor. The "purity test" requires a reduction in the types of funds available to Democratic candidates, does it not?"

    The unilateral disarmament argument is regularly made by corporatist Democrats in order to defend their fundraising practices. And their argument is indeed a straw man. The "we can't win without raising money" angle.
    They insist corporate money is a necessary evil, all the while ignoring that the corporatist policies they support make it less likely they can generate sufficient small donations from the masses because the masses are aware those policies are hurting them directly.

    If you followed the 2nd link to the Our Revolution folks, the last guy interviewed said he didn't like the "purity test" framing... and my interpretation of what he said would be-
    You can take corporate money.
    But if you take their money AND do their bidding to the detriment of average Americans, then it's a problem and we won't support you.
    And that's why I wouldn't vote for Hillary.
    But Bernie supported her, so his standards are lower than mine and apparently the guy at Our Revolution.

    You are saying that your use of the unilateral disarmament argument is different, and I believe you, but I didn't quite follow your explanation of why it is different. I did try.

    "The Bern had to change his "purity test" to accommodate his assets; it's a real PITA when you can't meet your own standards because of your net worth. :)"

    Um, that smiley face doesn't make what you said any better in my eyes... what's the punctuation for a growling face?
    Bernie was still advocating for higher taxes on the rich and all the same policies despite his (modest) wealth.
    I hope you were just jerking my chain for Kicks.

    A

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Joshua,

    only by those who weren't previously paying attention.

    I was definitely paying attention but, I guess I just didn't understand.

  32. [32] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Liz,


    "What is known is that this is just the sort of behavior that can only add to the already debilitating level of cynicism out there that says there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans ... a big reason for the current mess we are in."

    But that isn't the fault of Obama or Clinton for agreeing to take the speaking gig, it's yours!!! It shocks me that people do not realize that speakers with backgrounds like Obama and Clinton can EASILY expect speaking offers that pay these enormous amounts. These are private speeches. If you want to hear it, you are more than welcome to hire them to come to your house and speak to you!

    How robbed would you feel if you paid $500 to go to a concert and were stuck behind people who were allowed to come in for free at the last minute? How cheated would you feel if you paid for the speech only to have the speaker publish for free on their website what you paid good money for? The speeches are a service that they are providing to paying customers. You and I have no right to demand they provide us with the speech for free!

  33. [33] 
    altohone wrote:

    Balthy
    16

    You didn't address any of the points I made about Obama's speaking fee from banksters.
    Your inane question comes across as a dodge.

    You defend those who attack Bernie for failing the corporatist purity tests, so your railing against the purity tests on the left doesn't sit well with me.
    It's a double standard.

    "Even Bernie understands the 'Big Tent' path to victory, and joined with Perez for this tour for just that reason. There are bound to be some disagreement - nobody says the left should abandon its principles - but the common opponent should be, and is the wholly opposite and dangerous worldview of the Right.
    Don't forget that we agree on more than we disagree. That can get lost in all the bruhaha."

    Your worldview as expressed here has defended right wing economic policies, right wing foreign policies, and the corrupt status quo. And supporting candidates with that worldview would be abandoning my principles.

    I would like to think we agree on more than we disagree, but I'm actually not so sure. Neoliberals and neocons have a lot more in common than you seem willing or able to recognize.
    And with you rallying behind Trump on Syria, I'm not seeing a "wholly opposite" position.

    Like I said to Kick, Bernie has lower standards than I do. He ended up supporting Hillary.
    Not me.
    So the "even Bernie understands the big tent path to victory" bit is you pointing out what I consider to be one of Bernie's potential flaws. If the Democratic party continues to not only not move back to the FDR left, but also keeps attacking the left, and he continues to support the Democratic party, that doesn't amount to victory. Electing more Blue Dog Democrats prevents enacting the policies I believe we need.

    You are conflating the Democratic party winning with the left winning, when for the last three decades it has actually only meant the left losing a little more slowly.

    A

  34. [34] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    What is known is that this is just the sort of behavior that can only add to the already debilitating level of cynicism out there that says there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans

    Honestly? Can you honestly say that blacks in heavily patrolled neighborhoods, folks with preexisting conditions, dreamers and other undocumented immigrants, teachers, scientists, Iraqi-US collaborators, South Koreans, frightened pregnant girls, and pot smokers are all going to be unaffected by the difference between the parties?

    Get real. Anyone selling the 'both parties are alike' line has their own agenda..

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Balthasar,

    I am the absolute last person here or on earth who would ever say that the parties are the same.

    You get real!!!!!!!

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Russ,

    You have missed my point, completely.

    :-(

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What is the equivalent of hearing but not listening when it comes to processing blog comments?

    Reading, but ... what?

  38. [38] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Like I said to Kick, Bernie has lower standards than I do.

    The man is the leader of the free world. He's brilliant, funny, handsome. He's an above-average dancer. Isn't it possible our standards are just a tad high? - The American President

    The question, of course, is whether you want an ideologically homogeneous coalition that can't get into power, or a diverse coalition that can advance some progressive principles. Even in countries with ideologically distinct parties, winners often have to form coalitions with other factions in order to govern. In America, we have a 'winner take all' system, so that negotiation has to be made BEFORE any voting takes place. But compromise between factions is inevitable, either way.

    To reiterate from today's article: People need to get beyond their 2016 primary election choice and start working together once again, or this sort of flareup is just going to happen over and over again. And nobody really wants to see that.

    Or are you in 'intransigent' mode?

  39. [39] 
    altohone wrote:

    Balthy
    38

    The concept of a big tent is compromise.

    The neoliberals getting their way on economic and foreign policies all the time IS NOT compromise... it is intransigence.
    You are projecting.

    A

  40. [40] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    I am the absolute last person here or on earth who would ever say that the parties are the same.

    Then why give lip service to those who parrot that false narrative? It's false. Period. End of Sentence.

    I can't help that so many folks want to blame Obama for not living up to their (probably unrealistic) expectations, any more than I can give the time of day to those who want to blame Democrats generically for every ill in their lives.

    In fact, what Bernie or Obama have to say or do individually almost doesn't matter at all. The question is: do we all get together to beat the big orange clown and his treasonous heartless cronies, or don't we? If not, this is all just academic.

  41. [41] 
    altohone wrote:

    Listen
    32

    If you've been to a concert, it is highly probable that someone near you did not pay.
    Did that diminish your experience or enjoyment one bit?

    As for Hillary and Obama, seeing them live is what you are paying for in the case of donor events (or in the case of corporate events where attendees don't pay, what the shareholders and taxpayers are paying for, since these things are tax deductible business expenses).

    Somebody seeing a video of the event later or reading a transcript doesn't diminish the experience or enjoyment.

    If you think corporations are paying for exclusive knowledge and insight, you obviously didn't read the transcripts of Hillary's speeches that were released by WikiLeaks.

    A

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Balthasar,

    I'm going to try - one more time - to make my very simple point on this and then I am moving on.

    Let me begin by asking a question: do you think that voters' cynicism with regard to both parties has anything to do with how we ended up with a President Trump?

    If your answer is no, cynicism had and has no impact on where we are today, vis-à-vis electoral politics, then we have nothing further to discuss on this issue.

    If your answer is yes, cynicism does indeed have a lot to do with where we are today, politically speaking, then I would only reiterate that by agreeing to take an unprecedented sum of money from Wall Street to give a keynote speech at a Wall Street firm's healthcare conference (and have no public comment to make about accepting that outrageous sum), President Obama, who arguably compromised too much on healthcare and Wall Street reform, has added - in a big way - to the cynicism that is already out there which leads many voters to the conclusion, dangerously faulty as it most decidedly is, that there is no difference between the parties and which has, in no small part, resulted in a Trump presidency.

  43. [43] 
    altohone wrote:

    Balthy
    40

    Liz is correct.
    You are wrong.
    It is absolutely NOT a false narrative.

    YOUR priority may well have been beating Trump.

    But it was NOT the priority of the Big Money donors who control the Democratic party.
    Their priority was maintaining the status quo.

    And with Hillary versus Trump, it was a heads they win, tails we lose situation.

    And that is the narrative that the corporatist Democrats lay bare when they defend former Democratic presidents and Democratic presidential candidates being lavished with millions by criminals who they protect from prosecution.

    That same narrative is laid bare when corporatist Democrats put their thumbs, fingers and toes on the scale to help Hillary in the primaries, and when they maintained corporatist Democrats in leadership positions of the DNC, the House and Senate. And that same narrative is laid bare when corporatist democrats attack Bernie, support deregulation, support tax cuts for the rich and corporations, dismantle the New Deal, legalize corruption, support mass incarceration and surveillance, support massive military budgets and illegal wars of choice, and when they oppose Single payer health care... just to name a few items.

    And it's probably safe to say that most of those Big Money donors don't give a rats rear about the issues you listed in comment 34.

    -
    -

    And for the record, if the priority was beating Trump, Democrats should have backed Bernie.

    A

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Al,

    Liz is right but, not in the way you suppose.

    And, Balthasar is not wrong, despite having completely misinterpreted my comments here.

  45. [45] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Liz,

    What's your point?

    I thought I made that clear:

    What is known is that this is just the sort of behavior that can only add to the already debilitating level of cynicism out there that says there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans ... a big reason for the current mess we are in.

    So what am I missing? Those that think that it is wrong for a Democrat or liberal to speak to a Wall Street corp. are adding to the level of cynicism out there that views all Dems/Repubs as one in the same? That's how I read it.

  46. [46] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Al,

    Somebody seeing a video of the event later or reading a transcript doesn't diminish the experience or enjoyment.

    You missed the point entirely.... Don't worry, you are not the only one who has done that today! It has nothing to do with your enjoyment or experience...it has to do with getting your money's worth for what you paid for!

    Yes, at every concert there will be someone there who got in free... But if all of those people had better seats than you did, you might be upset that you blew the $500.

    People on the speaker's circuit make money with their messages. They do not make those speeches available for free, as it would make their asking price harder to negotiate by doing so. Also, some corporations will have non-disclosure clauses in their contracts with guest speakers at their corporate events.

  47. [47] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So what am I missing?

    A lot.

    I can't make it any clearer than I did in [42].

    The last paragraph is a long sentence but, I think I put commas in all the right places. :)

  48. [48] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    And, Balthasar is not wrong, despite having completely misinterpreted my comments here.

    Apparently! I'll try to do better tomorrow.

  49. [49] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Thank-you. :)

  50. [50] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    And re [42]: No, I'm not sure that cynicism played that huge a role in the way the Democrats lost this election. Party machines, motivated fringes, suppressed voters, misguided and misdirected voters, unabashed media fascination with Trump, Hillary's health episode, Comey's intervention, and of course, Trump-mania! all had a role in the Great Surprise. You can't pin it on cynicism.

    In fact, you may be getting heavily influenced by the truly cynical both-sides-suck crowd, but if you stop and think about it - to the contrary, there are signs of political participation on a large scale everywhere lately! In the last 100 days we've seen massive marches, crowded town halls and mass action that stopped the Ryanstein healthcare monster in its tracks. That's not a cynical electorate, that's a motivated electorate!

    To put it another way, I wouldn't want to be a consultant with a GOP client in 2018.

  51. [51] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And re [42]: No, I'm not sure that cynicism played that huge a role in the way the Democrats lost this election.

    THAT'S NOT WHAT I SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay, Okay ... you're just fooling with me, right?

    Stop it!

  52. [52] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The cynicism I am talking about is the kind that has taken years of politicians behaving badly to build up.

  53. [53] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Quite obviously, I need to take a very, very long brake from this and maybe after a few months, I will be able to make myself understood so that what is said in a string of tedious comments may be narrowed down to a pithy one ... or, possibly, two!

    Maybe Michaale will be back by then ... fingers crossed!

    Aloha!

  54. [54] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Brake ... yes, well, guess what I must have been thinking!

  55. [55] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Doesn't it figure that I take a day or two off from the site and then you write something that is right up my alley.

    "We certainly can't afford a flare up of the fight between Hillary supporters and Bernie supporters at this point in time."
    Actually, the Democrats can't afford NOT to have that battle.
    The Party Unity line is the Hillary supporters argument for maintaining the status quo in the Democratic Party.
    If the Democratic Party wants to be relevant it has to purge the Hillary wing form the party or it will never get the support of the Bernie supporters in the party and the many independent Bernie supporters that will never support the status quo corporate Democrats.

  56. [56] 
    altohone wrote:

    Liz
    44

    Yeah, well, your comment didn't appear until I submitted mine.

    Your comment was excellent... a more specific focus of the effect of the speeches.
    My comment mentions the many other causes... and to be clear, I wasn't presuming to speak for you there, because I value my scalp.

    A

  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Heh.

  58. [58] 
    altohone wrote:

    Listen
    46

    No, I didn't miss your point.
    I think it is invalid.

    I worked in the industry for years.
    Every band has a guest list with names added by production, sound and lighting staff.
    The venue owner and/or staff has a guest list.
    The promoter has a guest list that usually includes the best seats given away for free to advertise the event.

    Those who paid to get in still get their money's worth even when there are hundreds of names on the guest lists, which is not uncommon.

    As for the speakers circuit, the appearance not the content is likewise what is valued. And in Hillary's case, it was her contract that had the non-disclosure requirement not the corporations (which the media noted as unusual)... not to protect the value of her content, but to shield her from the political consequences... her "public opinion versus private opinion" hypocrisy... which we know thanks to Wikileaks.

    See the Romney incident as a basis for the politically acceptable nature of those seeking office withholding their true beliefs from the public.

    A

  59. [59] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Al,

    Again, we are talking about two different groups. I'm nota liking about people who are on the guest's lists, I am saying that if they allowed the general public in for free at the last moment and those people had much better seats than you did after spending $500 for them, you'd be pissed!

    The experience itself wouldn't change, but how you feel about the money you spent on it would probably change!

  60. [60] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Hate no editing....

    Should read:
    I'm not talking about people...

  61. [61] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Again, we are talking about two different groups. I'm nota liking about people who are on the guest's lists, I am saying that if they allowed the general public in for free at the last moment and those people had much better seats than you did after spending $500 for them, you'd be pissed!

    That's fine but, it has nothing to do with Obama's Wall Street speech, just to be clear.

  62. [62] 
    altohone wrote:

    Listen
    59

    It's sort of like the gay marriage debate.
    A gay couple getting married doesn't affect traditional marriages.

    Someone getting in free to a concert, however they get in, wouldn't affect my good time in the slightest. I wouldn't be pissed, and the thought wouldn't even cross my mind. Their gain wouldn't be coming at my expense.

    I've been to over 800 concerts and only paid for about half of them. I've never come across anybody angry about the issue, but maybe there was a secret corner of outraged folks stewing in their own juices somewhere?

    A

  63. [63] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Al,

    So if you showed up at a concert at you had bought front row seats only to find someone in your seat, and when you show them your ticket with the seat number on it they grab it and toss you a ticket from the nose bleed section and tell you to go enjoy the show, you'd have no problem with that because you are still getting to enjoy the live concert experience....is that it? You wouldn't feel like you didn't get what you paid for?

    You truly are a better person than I am if that is the case.

  64. [64] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Liz,

    You're right, but I'm stubborn and bored.

  65. [65] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I pardon you.

  66. [66] 
    altohone wrote:

    Listen
    63

    You crack me up.
    Your example is a whole different ball game.

    Do they even assign seats on the speaker circuit?

    Dude!!! I got front row center for Hillary tomorrow!!!

    But seriously, I'm not seeing how your new example fits in the discussion.

    And just for fun...
    The vast majority of the concerts I've attended were general admission.
    Setting aside the punk shows where I like to be in the thick of it, the best sound in most venues is about three quarters of the way towards the back near the soundboard, where you also get the benefit of having a little more personal space.
    That is where you will find me and my group of friends... and in that group, I will be in the back because at my height, that is the courteous thing to do, and I can see the stage wherever I am.

    A

  67. [67] 
    Kick wrote:

    A01
    30

    You are saying that your use of the unilateral disarmament argument is different, and I believe you, but I didn't quite follow your explanation of why it is different. I did try.

    Fair enough, but you're making a lot of assumptions in there about what others mean when they use the term "unilateral disarmament." I could write many paragraphs about this, but I don't feel like it... rephrase... I'm on meds... so I'll cut to the chase.

    I mean this in a totally nice way, but it would serve the far left well to clue in to the fact that there are no "pure" candidates; they're all imperfect... they're human, and Lord knows the Democratic Party has made mistakes, obviously, but if the far lefties can actually compare the Democratic Party which is striving to perfect the Union and keep moving forward, however imperfectly, with the Republican Party... the Party of Perpetual Grievances which is sinking daily further into the cesspool... and actually consider them to be no different, then the problem isn't with the Democratic Party but with the far-left's blinkered views... And, yes, I mean that in a nice way, but what do I mean by "blinkered views"? Hmmmmmmmm.

    Democrats have Super PACs... they just call them "unions." So this labeling candidates as heretics and demonizing them if they don't meet economic "purity tests" is not a way to move forward; it's exactly the opposite. No one is asking you to lower your standards... just realize that unions are Democratic Super PACs. What else? Hmmmmmm.

    Economics are but one part of the agenda of the Democratic Party. The far lefties and Berners seem to want to make the demonization of "millionaires and billionaires"... oh right... make that "billionaires"... the entire raison d'etre of the Party. This hyper focus on demonizing a class of people is very much like the Republican rhetoric in reverse. It's like the far righties and far lefties are each at the end of a horseshoe and not really that far apart... but the Trumpers demonize the "poor" and the "others" while the Berners demonize the "rich" and "Wall Street." What else? Hmmmmmm.

    The Berners say they want a "revolution"... seem to want all or nothing... my way or the highway... but politics is the art of the possible... a one step forward, two steps back proposition... not really an "all or nothing" proposition. Our Founding Fathers set it up that way to squash tyranny; they did not want another revolution.

    "There's a happy medium in there, people." That's what I mean. Don't ask me if I'm drunk because I already said I'm on meds.

    Um, that smiley face doesn't make what you said any better in my eyes... what's the punctuation for a growling face?

    >_<

    Bernie was still advocating for higher taxes on the rich and all the same policies despite his (modest) wealth.
    I hope you were just jerking my chain for Kicks.

    Demonizing the "rich" when you've become one is a tricky proposition, to be sure... but, yes, I was jerking your chain, Punk! :p

  68. [68] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Kick-
    .
    >_< is a growling face?

    Sorry, but it looks more like constipation.

  69. [69] 
    altohone wrote:

    Kick
    67

    The corporatist Dems actually say what I wrote about unilateral disarmament, so my comment wasn't based on assumptions.

    Of course, I can't claim to know what all of them are saying in outlets I don't visit, so you may be right.

    "I mean this in a totally nice way, but it would serve the far left well to clue in to the fact that there are no "pure" candidates; they're all imperfect"

    I know your criticism isn't malicious, and I appreciate the prelude, but despite my growly face comment, punks aren't all that delicate. And I hope you feel the same, because I have to disagree with most of what you wrote there and on what follows.

    But starting with the "far left", I don't know if you read my discussion with neil about this a few months back, but in America there is no far left represented in the government at the federal level and barely at the state level. The actual far left considers Bernie a militaristic defender of the establishment.
    But, in polling, 8 out of 10 of Bernie's campaign proposals are supported by the majority of Americans (not just the majority of Dems) and the other two were only just below 50%.
    That actually meets the definition of centrist.

    "if the far lefties can actually compare the Democratic Party... with the Republican Party... and actually consider them to be no different, then the problem isn't with the Democratic Party but with the far-left's blinkered views"

    Two things to note here-
    First, the corporatist Dems constantly call Bernie (and people like me) a far lefty despite his policy proposals being supported by the majority. This is a classical political attack tactic to paint themselves as reasonable while painting their opponent as extreme, and I think a lot of Democrats and Independents have recognized this and aren't buying it any more.

    Second, Democrats are different on social and environmental issues (though they have made numerous "mistakes" AKA sellouts to corporate interests harmful to their voters there too), but they are only slightly better than Repubs on economic issues and foreign policy... and often far more similar to Repubs than they are different in practice, not words.

    On foreign policy issues, there has always been a split in the Democratic party, so that isn't really new... the Iran deal is not what current Repubs would have done, but continuing the war in Afghanistan, drones and Obama's interventionism (Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, etc.) isn't very different.

    But on economic policy, starting with Carter but exploding with Bill Clinton, the Dems have moved to the right quickly and unrepentantly despite the consequences.

    I mean, FDR style Democrats are now being called far lefties, and I just don't think that is factual or politically beneficial. It is actually politically harmful.
    And I think the "happy medium" is where Bernie is.
    He doesn't support nationalization of the oil companies like the far left.
    He wants to enforce antitrust laws and break up the big banks, not nationalize them like the far left.
    Single payer, Medicare for all (which I know you support) isn't socialized medicine. Doctors who take Medicare aren't government employees and they are capitalists who make a profit.
    A more progressive tax system... slightly higher taxes on the rich... is the happy medium.
    Higher minimum wages is the happy medium.

    What isn't the happy medium is where most of the elected Dems and particularly the leaders are right now.
    They insist that the left must compromise, but they aren't willing to compromise. They are the ones with the "my way or the highway" attitude.
    Obama's re-regulation basically maintained the status quo, inequality kept getting worse, the middle class suffered, and a minority comprised of wealthy interests kept dictating policy.
    And Hillary was openly worse on these issues than Obama.

    I understand your point about the unions, but if you compare them to the corporate PACs, it's a more than ten to one difference in resources, and nowhere near a balanced medium on influence.

    I'll chalk it up to the meds, but you wrote "one step forward, two steps back". On economics, that is exactly what we've been getting from Democrats, and it needs to change back to two steps forward, one step back types of compromise.
    All other issues are linked to economics, so we can't ignore that Dems have become so similar to Repubs on economic policies.

    I'm a little sleep deprived, so I know this isn't as clear or concise as it should be.

    A

  70. [70] 
    Kick wrote:

    DH
    68

    >_< is a growling face?

    Sorry, but it looks more like constipation.

    ~(_8^(|)

  71. [71] 
    Kick wrote:

    A01
    69

    DISCLAIMER: On Meds

    I know your criticism isn't malicious, and I appreciate the prelude, but despite my growly face comment, punks aren't all that delicate. And I hope you feel the same, because I have to disagree with most of what you wrote there and on what follows.

    Don said my growly face looked like constipation; I do not know very much about that condition. Maybe Don will tell us more about it.

    ~(_8^(|)

    But starting with the "far left", I don't know if you read my discussion with neil about this a few months back, but in America there is no far left represented in the government at the federal level and barely at the state level. The actual far left considers Bernie a militaristic defender of the establishment.

    That's because in many ways Bernie is a hypocrite whose history doesn't match his rhetoric, and I don't mean that in a malicious way either, but so much of Bernie's rhetoric is simply utter nonsense... no different than any other politician, though, and I would have voted for him over the con artist and pathological liar every day of the week.

    But, in polling, 8 out of 10 of Bernie's campaign proposals are supported by the majority of Americans (not just the majority of Dems) and the other two were only just below 50%.
    That actually meets the definition of centrist.

    That sounds great on paper, but Bernie Sanders is an admitted socialist and has been for decades. There's a history there that Bernie does not really much like discussing, which obviously he never had to. Besides, I believe you could say the vast majority of Americans supported HRC's proposals also... so by your definition HRC qualifies as a centrist too.

    Two things to note here-
    First, the corporatist Dems constantly call Bernie (and people like me) a far lefty despite his policy proposals being supported by the majority. This is a classical political attack tactic to paint themselves as reasonable while painting their opponent as extreme, and I think a lot of Democrats and Independents have recognized this and aren't buying it any more.

    Might you please mull over the idea... I did say "please"... that the Berners and Steiners referring to Democrats as "corporatist Dems" is equally a "classical political attack tactic to paint themselves as reasonable while painting their opponent as extreme." Seriously. Bernie himself has had some big money donors and worked for decades with those he now labels as "the establishment."

    "The truth is there are many people in this country who have money but also believe in social justice." ~ Bernie Sanders speaking to a crowd at a Beverly Hills fundraiser

    Second, Democrats are different on social and environmental issues (though they have made numerous "mistakes" AKA sellouts to corporate interests harmful to their voters there too), but they are only slightly better than Repubs on economic issues and foreign policy... and often far more similar to Repubs than they are different in practice, not words.

    I disagree on your assessment of economic issues because obviously I think you're focusing on one aspect of economic issues while ignoring the big picture that Democrats aren't remotely like Republicans who think the answer to everything is a big fat tax cut for wealthy Americans and promote the fallacy of supply side/trickle down economics and tax cuts that "pay for themselves." Democrats follow Keynesian also known as "pump priming" economics wherein they believe money should be invested in the working class and that spending then increases and expands businesses and spurs growth from the bottom up... you know, FDR style economics.

    Where we mostly agree is how foreign policy has been handled lately, but so much of Bernie's rhetoric and hypocrisy in this department also doesn't match his reality... Lockheed, etc., and you know that.

    I mean, FDR style Democrats are now being called far lefties, and I just don't think that is factual or politically beneficial. It is actually politically harmful.

    "FDR style Democrats"? Really? FDR was a wealthy establishment type who was also Assistant Secretary of the Navy (following in the footsteps of his cousin Theodore, the OP: Original Progressive). FDR was chomping at the bit to take "his" Navy into war while President Wilson's doctrine of neutrality thwarted him at every turn. FDR finally did convince Wilson to upgrade and expand the Navy... to the tune of $600 million, and that sounds like a lot still, but that was $600 million 1915 dollars. You sure you want to align yourself with a rich warmongering elite like FDR? Yes... kidding around, but there's some truth in there.

    And I think the "happy medium" is where Bernie is.
    He doesn't support nationalization of the oil companies like the far left.

    If Bernie is the "happy medium" it's really unfortunate that people have labelled him as a "socialist," which sounds so left fringey... oh, wait... Bernie has called himself a socialist for decades and is an Independent who has criticized Democrats while at the same taking their money for his campaigning.

    A more progressive tax system... slightly higher taxes on the rich... is the happy medium.

    Too bad Democrats didn't support raising taxes on the rich... oh, wait.

    Higher minimum wages is the happy medium.

    Too bad Democrats didn't support raising the minimum wage... oh, wait.

    What isn't the happy medium is where most of the elected Dems and particularly the leaders are right now.
    They insist that the left must compromise, but they aren't willing to compromise. They are the ones with the "my way or the highway" attitude.

    So I just disagree on this, and this is why I think so many lefties are wearing blinkers. They see all the flaws in politicians who can't pass their "purity tests" while not really realizing that their candidate can't pass those tests either... that it's mostly rhetoric designed to label their opponent as extreme.

    You think Bernie is the happy medium, and I don't. I've seen his oppo research file, and I know better.

    I'll chalk it up to the meds, but you wrote "one step forward, two steps back". On economics, that is exactly what we've been getting from Democrats, and it needs to change back to two steps forward, one step back types of compromise.

    Careful now, Bernie Sanders has supported and helped craft much of the Democratic policy you're attacking here. You do realize that, right? I really do think where Bernie is concerned that many people have blinkers on. Saint Bernard has a history too, and it would serve everyone on the left to stop worshiping one while demonizing the other when their policies are really not that far apart at all if you look at the facts. So much of the devisiveness is found merely in the rhetoric and not the reality. :)

  72. [72] 
    Kick wrote:

    And my last sentence means "everyone"... all sides on the left. In my opinion, what is dividing the left is more about rhetoric than it is about policy.

    Meds

  73. [73] 
    altohone wrote:

    Kick
    71

    "Don said my growly face looked like constipation; I do not know very much about that condition. Maybe Don will tell us more about it."

    I'm going to officially request that he NOT tell us more about it.

    "That's because in many ways Bernie is a hypocrite whose history doesn't match his rhetoric"

    If you are referring to his voting record in support for militarism, bloated Pentagon budgets, and his derivatives deregulation vote, I agree.

    I guess I'm asking for examples of what you are referring to there. I suspect you may mean other things.

    "That sounds great on paper, but Bernie Sanders is an admitted socialist and has been for decades."

    I know he called himself a socialist in his early years, but the actual socialists in the far left and the US Socialist Party spent the primaries mocking that claim and refused to support Bernie.

    "I believe you could say the vast majority of Americans supported HRC's proposals"

    Hillary shifted to the left while campaigning, but her record tells a different story. And her campaign was not focused on policy. She is definitely centrist by the standards of the political establishment.

    "Might you please mull over the idea... I did say "please"... that the Berners and Steiners referring to Democrats as "corporatist Dems" is equally a "classical political attack tactic to paint themselves as reasonable while painting their opponent as extreme"

    That's true.
    But I would say the facts support the corporatist claims, but not the far left claims of the corporatists.

    "Bernie himself has had some big money donors and worked for decades with those he now labels as "the establishment.""

    Very true, but his record shows he has mostly fought their influence, and this does contradict the "socialist" narrative :)

    "the big picture that Democrats aren't remotely like Republicans who think the answer to everything is a big fat tax cut for wealthy Americans and promote the fallacy of supply side/trickle down economics and tax cuts that "pay for themselves.""

    Dems occasionally fight for bottom up stimulus, and their rhetoric is as you say, but the record is very clear that they have regularly supported the tax cuts trickle down crap, deregulation, corporate subsidies, and for the last 30 years the gradual dismantling of the New Deal.
    I think only slightly better than Repubs is the factual reality.

    "Bernie's rhetoric and hypocrisy in this department also doesn't match his reality... Lockheed, etc., and you know that."

    I have criticized Bernie for his establishment crap and foreign policy regularly, so I fully agree.

    My personal view is that we're never going to be able to afford nice things (infrastructure) if we continue with our endless wars.
    And even at the beginning of the primaries I openly stated I was hesitant about Bernie for that reason.
    That said, his establishment foreign policy also doesn't support the "socialist" narrative :)

    "You sure you want to align yourself with a rich warmongering elite like FDR? Yes... kidding around, but there's some truth in there."

    That's one of the things I was referring to earlier about the long running split in the Democratic party on militarism.
    My reference to FDR was just economics related, and I will always think that his looking out for those who were struggling in this country despite his wealth and support for progressive taxation is the basis for the expansion of the middle class in the post-war years.
    Democrats never even talk about FDR any more, let alone support workers adequately, and I think the election losses are the result.

    "If Bernie is the "happy medium" it's really unfortunate that people have labelled him as a "socialist," which sounds so left fringey... oh, wait... "

    Again, the actual far left socialists don't support him, due to the issues about that narrative we've both mentioned earlier.

    "A more progressive tax system... slightly higher taxes on the rich... is the happy medium.

    Too bad Democrats didn't support raising taxes on the rich... oh, wait.

    Higher minimum wages is the happy medium.

    Too bad Democrats didn't support raising the minimum wage... oh, wait."

    Saying it and doing it are very different.
    The actual record is clear.
    Wages have been kept depressed and inequality has gotten much worse.

    "So I just disagree on this, and this is why I think so many lefties are wearing blinkers"

    Nope from me. The Wall Street coddling Democrats have been fighting against the left on economics since Bill Clinton. And they really want voters to believe otherwise. It's the rhetoric versus results thing again.

    "You think Bernie is the happy medium, and I don't. I've seen his oppo research file, and I know better."

    Please share anything you can that the Hillary campaign was holding back.
    But I have to say, a lot of their public attacks on Bernie were really weak and didn't hold up when scrutinized.
    But I'm open to learning secrets if you can share.

    And for the record, I am not a Saint Bernard worshipper. I am well aware of his flaws... though I think we see some of those flaws from opposite perspectives.
    But, I mention him a lot because I do believe that the Democratic party would do well to adopt his policy proposals and it would help both the party and the country.
    I also think the Dems would be better served with a younger candidate to champion those proposals, but if he does run again and it is Bernie versus Trump, I will actively fight for him.

    "Careful now, Bernie Sanders has supported and helped craft much of the Democratic policy you're attacking here. You do realize that, right?"

    Yeah, well, the independent socialist is now a crucial cog in Democratic policy? Sorry, I had to jerk your chain there.

    But seriously, Bernie has consistently voted with the Democrats and is known as the amendment king for a reason, but his tweaks around the edges does not mean he is responsible for their policy direction.
    He was allowed to heavily influence the party platform last year, but that document is consistently ignored in practice.

    But don't forget that I am to the left of Bernie in a bunch of areas, and that I will "attack" any and all that get in my way.
    Bwaahaha.
    (sinister laugh)

    Good discussion... other than the one step forward, two steps back thing, I'm not seeing the influence of your meds.
    Are you injured? OK?

    A

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