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I find Greg Sargent to be a must-read every day.  He has good politics and is an excellent reporter.  Below is a short item from his Morning Plum today that I think is worth thinking about and discussing:  

Battle lines are drawn as Campaign 2012 begins: The supercommittee’s failure represented the precise moment when any remaining illusions about the possibility of bipartisan governing compromise died for good — and the moment when it became crystal clear that the only thing that will resolve our biggest disputes is an all-out political war, i.e., Campaign 2012, which begins right now.

Indeed, as Peter Wallsten and Lori Montgomery write today, Obama is quickly pivoting off the supercommittee’s failure to launch a campaign to pressure Republicans to support an extension of the payroll tax cut. The two events are related. Both provide Obama with an opportunity to paint GOP priorities with stark clarity: The supercommittee failed because Republicans wanted the rich to pay less in taxes to secure our fiscal future — yet they are not willing to support a temporary tax cut extention for workers to prime the economy in the short term.

What’s more, the supercommittee’s failure to reach a deal — and the Dem refusal to make the Bush tax cuts permanent — mean the battle over whether to extend them will also come to a head just as the campaign hits its climax. Dems will call for the expiration of just the tax cuts for the rich, while Republicans will oppose extending just the middle class ones in isolation. All these ingredients will be seized upon to draw the sharp contrast of values, priorities, and visions for the country’s future direction that Dems hope will drive what may prove the most consequential election in recent memory.

WaPo, Greg Sargent, The Plum Line

When I think of consequential elections, I think of 1896, when the Wealthy defeated the Coalition of Democrats and Populist Party with McKinley defeating Bryan.   I think of 1932 when FDR beat Hoover.  I think of 1980, when Reagan began the whole-scale dismantling of the New Deal and accelerated the Great Class Stratification.

Will 2012 be one also?  

First, I want to lay out what I think 2012 is not.  It is not an election between capitalism and socialism.  The re-election of Barack Obama will not solve every problem, will not create a consensus in America, will not put every one back to work, will not create racial and gender equality, and it won't end the Great Class Stratification (although it might continue to change the direction and ameliorate some of the stratification, especially as the economy grows and health care reforms kick in.)

Second, I want to talk about what a Republican victory would mean?  Bush II on steroids.  This bunch of crypto-fascists running the Republican primaries would impose austerity, thereby pushing us into a Depression.  The NLRB would be gutted, as would EPA (Yes, I hated some of the Obama admin decisions this year, but there still is an EPA).  With the supreme court, Roe v. Wade would be jeopardy.  

Third, what do I think an Obama re-election would bring?  An end to the Bush tax cuts for the rich, I hope.  Incremental reforms.  I supect Obama will govern more left than before, having seen the folly of bipartisanship, but he's not a leftist.  He is a reform capitalist who is left of center (as viewed in the US system, in Europe he might be center-right).  Electing a more left Congress is essential, because this will make more reforms possible, and push Obama left also.  So will independent grassroots/netroots movements.  

Real long-term change must come from the people.  Persuading many of the 99% to fight for themselves and that change is possible is key. I remember the phrase, "winning the hearts and minds" of people from the Vietnam Era (said with cynicism often then because it was an era in which they destroyed a village to save it), but I think it is true here.  Those who fight class stratification must convince others to join the fight.  

Issue activism can change people's minds; so can elected officials by word and deed, but the driver of change is from the bottom, not the top.  Winning the people, destroying the Reagan world-view that blinded far too many of the 99%, is a neccessary first step to reducing the Great Class Stratification.  Without that, I don't think much is possible.  

2012 is not a revolution.  Those who seek revolutionary changes will not be happy.  I see no electoral path for revolutionary changes.  (Occupy has done great things and hopefully will do more but I do not see it as leading directly to the overthrow of world capitalism.)  

People who seek revolutionary change are welcome to explore third parties, although I see that as a dead end.  But if you see Barack Obama as the cause of the income inequality since January 2009, as one commenter in my diary did yesterday, then you should not support Obama's re-election.  I disagree profoundly with that view, but if that's where you are, so be it.  Frankly, I'm not talking to you.  Your mind is made up; do what you think you have to do.

I grew up in the 60s, turning 15 in 1970.  I went to anti-war demonstrations.  Lately I do see "the torch passing to a new generation" (JFK) and I'm glad.  The Occupy movements (and they are plural) are breaking new ground, using new tactics.  Decentralization and without leaders, they allow for local movements to grow.  Much is owed to those who fought in Seattle in 1999, who fought free trade, who demonstrated with puppets in the early 00s.  I remember Billionaires for Bush.  And the anarchists have made a big contribution (although I see black block tactics as counterproductive, but there are many anarchists who reject such tactics).  I think OWS is building on all their shoulders, creating something new, and their courage is inspiring.            

People of my generation need to look at OWS and learn.  It's their turn to try to change the world.  And God knows, since the early 70s, many of us have wondered, "where are the young folks?"  We have an answer: occupying.  And it is fucking great to see.

I'll tell you what I think about 2012: I do think it can be a turning point election.  It's a center-left coalition fighting the 1%ers backed by the Rush/Fox haters.  It is a which side are you on election to me.

It matters who wins because the amount of suffering will be less if Obama wins and will be so much greater if a Republican like Gingrich or Romney wins.  Poor kids in the inner city will have a chance, maybe not much, but better than if the Republicans win.  Poor rural folks, who mostly vote R, will be better off.  Working people will be better off.  The 99% will be better off.  I believe that.

I do think it will be a turning point in the road, like 1896.  But I also know people differ and I have no monopoly on truth.  What do you think?

Update I: Meteor Blades below in the comments explained the third party issue with respect to many of us who are left of the current Dem Party so well, as he often does with things:

Once someone shows me a REAL... (2+ / 0-)
Recommended by:TomP, qm1pooh
...path to leftwing power outside of the two-party system, I'm probably onboard. So far, nobody has done that, and nobody I know has shown the wherewithal to put together the precinct-level operation to even win local elections against the two-party juggernaut. We can deplore that, and I do. But, meanwhile, we have a choice: vote for Democrats, don't vote or vote for a symbolic candidate without a ghost of a chance of victory.

I am a radical for whom the Democratic platform and Democratic officials do not go nearly far enough. But I strongly disagree with the idea that because many elected leaders in both parties have intersecting interests there is no difference between electing a majority of Democrats or a majority of Republicans. I also disagree with those who say  (re)electing a Democratic President is no different from (re)electing one from the GOP. Democrats have frustrated us on the left, sometimes betrayed us, frequently disappointed us. Never more so than on economic issues. But we have, in a number of important arenas, made significant gains because they, not the Republicans, were in charge. As much as we need? Definitely not. Far from it. But the damage done by Republicans-in-charge is hardly minor.

So, I will, once again, be voting for Democrats who, even though I disagree with a portion of what they do (and what they do not do) support many of the things I do. Because the alternative of not voting or tossing away my vote, is not just bad, it's dreadful. I will also, however, continue to do what I have always done: spend at least half my political time working in and for movement/cause politics. Because that is where all reform begins, whether it's abolition of slavery or the bringing of equality to LGBTQs.

The surest way to predict the future is to invent it. — Stephen Post. [Me at Twitter.]

by Meteor Blades on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 10:45:31 AM CST

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (43+ / 0-)

    "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

    by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:14:30 AM PST

  •  With luck we relive the glories of 2009-2010 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Ian Reifowitz, radarlady

    Otherwise something more horrible.

    This is one of those (many) elections that highlights how rotten our system is.

    Struck me kinda funny

    Funny yeah indeed

    how at the end of every hard day people find some reason to believe.

    As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

    by mightymouse on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:34:31 AM PST

  •  Again? (7+ / 0-)

    Seriously, I'll vote Democrat a means of harms reduction, but lemme address a, well, delicate subject.

    There's been a leftwing populist tide growing since 2008. It helped elect Barack Obama, who proceeded to try to quell it -- to stand between bankers and the pitchforks, and many people -- liberals and Democrats, unions and other groups -- who would otherwise be wielding metaphorical pitchforks are instead supporting this Wall Street-friendly administration, running cover for it. With a GOP president, these people would join the populist uprising in earnest.

    I'm not saying I want Mitt Romney to be president -- my memory of W is too fresh to want that, and a left-wing populist uprising would not be able to shape public policy in the short-term -- but I think it's simplistic to think there would be an important upside to a GOP victory. If that happens I won't mourn, I'll organize.

    •  "there would (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, Ian Reifowitz

      not be"

    •  I'm not willing to (5+ / 0-)

      bet the suffering of many on whether this is true:

      With a GOP president, these people would join the populist uprising in earnest.

      There is no guarantee of that.  

      Yes, there has been a left, populist movement and a right wing, faux populist movment.

      In any event, regardless of our philosphical differences at times, we both end up voting for Obama and suppoting Occupy.

      I think this is wrong:

      and many people -- liberals and Democrats, unions and other groups -- who would otherwise be wielding metaphorical pitchforks are instead supporting this Wall Street-friendly administration, running cover for it. With a GOP president, these people would join the populist uprising in earnest.

      We disagree there.  I assume it is directed to me.  I don't "run cover" for this adminstration.  My words in this and countless other diaries explain my positions.  

      Have a Happy Thanksgiving David.

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

      by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:41:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hang on (4+ / 0-)

        It certainly wasn't directed at you. Surely we can both agree that there are many Democrats and liberals who tolerate actions only because they come from a Democratic president. And there are many Democrats who are already resisting OWS because some in the movement are critical of the president.

        It's not a matter of betting on suffering. As I said, I'll vote for Obama. I'm merely point out what I regard as obvious: that a GOP president would provide serious juice to an already powerful movement.

        •  We're cool. (3+ / 0-)

          Sorrry I misinterpreted it.

          I agree with this:

           

          Surely we can both agree that there are many Democrats and liberals who tolerate actions only because they come from a Democratic president. And there are many Democrats who are already resisting OWS because some in the movement are critical of the president.

          Take care David.  

          "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

          by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:49:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not so sure about that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP, Alice Olson
          I'm merely point out what I regard as obvious: that a GOP president would provide serious juice to an already powerful movement.

          For one thing, the "movement" is not nearly as broad, encompassing and powerful as it needs to be to withstand all that a Republican admin may bring against it. Will it get there at some point before the 2112 elections? Possibly, especially if it does, or continues to do, outreach and bring in other groups, works on some of the very deep distrust some have of the whole thing, and spreads wide and deep.

          However, I guess because I am of the generation that watched the quelling, by mainly Republican administrations, of other movements I am less than optimistic that this one would continue in any big way absent a really firm foundation. And, though I may be wrong, it seems too amorphous (intentionally so) to have that firm foundation as of yet. It is still in its infancy, still sorting things out, and has a ways to go before that happens. It needs time and space to grow.

          Would a hostile presidential administration cause it to coalesce and grow more quickly? Maybe, but I think that would depend on any number of factors. Including who people thought was responsible for the fact of there being a Republican in office in the first place.

          “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

          by Nanette K on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 11:31:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The big issue is congress (6+ / 0-)

      Especially if the GOP retains control of the house.  If that happens we clearly won't see any movement on the issues outlined in the diary.  We will see stagnation and no change if Obama is reelected, and we will likely see a radical shift right if anyone on the GOP side is elected.  What worries me most about that is that I would fully expect a GOP administration to crack down, and hard, on any sort of mass movement.  There would be blood in the streets.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:23:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  scary to think if republicans get the white house (4+ / 0-)

    This country won't be recognizable if the republicans somehow win the white house and control both the house and the senate.
    The reality is the majority of the 20% who are not committed to either side are not informed about issues and will vote based on little thought.
    I still think Obama will win, but it will be  a battle and if the country falls under total republican control I think we will see violence in the streets when people see what is happening.

  •  TomP (9+ / 0-)

    You consistently write some of the most realistic diaries on this site. No Obama-worship, no Obama-bashing, no false equivalencies.  Just a clear articulation of what's at steak

    "Capitalism doesn't reward hard work; it rewards capital. That's why its called capitalism." -- me

    by RickinStLouis on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:36:53 AM PST

    •  Ooops, I think I meant (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, gramofsam1, Ian Reifowitz

      to say "stake"--- I better have breakfast.

      "Capitalism doesn't reward hard work; it rewards capital. That's why its called capitalism." -- me

      by RickinStLouis on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:37:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd love a good steak. Maybe not for breakfast. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP

        Never understood the appeal of steak-n-eggs. To each his own.

        My forthcoming book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity will be published in Summer 2012 by Potomac Books.

        by Ian Reifowitz on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 10:02:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks Rick. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ian Reifowitz

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

      by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:42:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  TomP, I appreciate the time put in& thoughtfulness (0+ / 0-)

        of your diary.

        I agree with most of your points.  

        However, my perspective is a wee bit darker than yours.  I think that the reign of Bush/Cheney was just a dress rehersal for what would happen to us and our country if the R's won the presidency and house and senate.

        I have no illusion as to their illusions and I really believe that the sharia wingnuts really believe the crap that they spout. If they won, they would interpret this as god's blessings and then would take down Roe v. Wade, subjugate women, persecute gays, enslave or deport people of color, cut taxes and all social programs, dismantle labor, epa, education, etc. etc.; in short they would quickly reduce this country to the level of Somalia.  I do not think that this perspective is hysterical or paranoid.  On the contrary, I think it is realistic.

        Because those running don't have a fucking clue about international or monetary reality (listening to the barf they spew,) they would employ  their insane view of 'how' the world should be run (bomb Iran, etc.)  However, I really, really do believe that they believe the crap they say.  Except for Rick Perry.  He is the wind up Ken doll of the plutocrats now, and he just repeats what he is told, without his words taking the time to even fly by his brain.

        Soooo, I beg to differ with this statement:

        I'll tell you what I think about 2012: I do think it can be a turning point election.  ......  It is a which side are you on election to me.

        It matters who wins because the amount of suffering will be less if Obama wins and will be so much greater if a Republican like Gingrich or Romney wins.  

        My view of 2012 is this.

        If the Democrats don't win in 2012, it will be GAME OVER.  Just think of the dire consequences that will happen if the religiousreich and plutocrats get together and stack some more Supremes?

        I believe that the R's will move as quickly and as arrogantly as they have in the past to totally change this country to a theocratic plutocracy.

        It will be emigrating time.  (But where, that is the question?)

        So, Tom, another Thom, Hartmann that is, sees this election as crucial as well.  But I appreciate the tone of your diary which hopefully can draw in some dissatisfied Dems.

        I share all the dissatisfactions w/the Dem party that most people on this site express.  But I look at the other team and I shudder.  Better put our energy into moving our team more to the progressive side.

        I am really really hoping that we will get a new brand of politician out of the Occupy Movement; people who will be 'not for sale' politicians.

        Thanks for the diary and conversation.

        I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

        by SeaTurtle on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 03:29:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sadly, 2000 is still in my recent memories. (7+ / 0-)

    And that sure was a wrong turn.

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

    by HairyTrueMan on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:37:20 AM PST

  •  I Vote for 1992. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, maryabein, frandor55

    At that point the Democratic Party became philosophically conservative. The immense wealth of the 1% was born under Clinton not Bush or even Reagan, though Reagan laid the foundations. There was still a mathematical chance of turning back before Reganomics had time to carry out the heist.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:43:29 AM PST

  •  Something I don't understand (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, mightymouse, MKinTN, jennyp

    Who exactly are (were I suppose) all these voters who gave Obama a decent win last time, but are now talking about voting for a Republican? Is it that so many have changed their minds entirely, many are going from Obama to Uncommitted, or that they say they aren't going to vote at all (or are assumed not to be voting)?

    •  The economy. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, Ian Reifowitz, MKinTN, jennyp

      Many folks have no real political beliefs.  

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

      by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:46:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tom, you cannot underestimate the role of media (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson

        in literally pulling a fog over the whole situation.

        I was speaking with some well meaning, liberal people recently who blamed Congress for the failure of the Cat Food Commission, blissfully unaware of Mitch McConnell's single purpose in life.......  I shuddered when I heard that... they have bought the false equivalency of its both Dem and Rep.  When IT IS NOT.  It is the R Party who have refused to do anything.  Well, anything but lie.

        And unless you follow this stuff or have a media filter on, you believe what the corporate media wants you to believe.

        I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

        by SeaTurtle on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 03:35:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Once someone shows me a REAL... (20+ / 0-)

    ...path to leftwing power outside of the two-party system, I'm probably onboard. So far, nobody has done that, and nobody I know has shown the wherewithal to put together the precinct-level operation to even win local elections against the two-party juggernaut. We can deplore that, and I do. But, meanwhile, we have a choice: vote for Democrats, don't vote or vote for a symbolic candidate without a ghost of a chance of victory.

    I am a radical for whom the Democratic platform and Democratic officials do not go nearly far enough. But I strongly disagree with the idea that because many elected leaders in both parties have intersecting interests there is no difference between electing a majority of Democrats or a majority of Republicans. I also disagree with those who say  (re)electing a Democratic President is no different from (re)electing one from the GOP. Democrats have frustrated us on the left, sometimes betrayed us, frequently disappointed us. Never more so than on economic issues. But we have, in a number of important arenas, made significant gains because they, not the Republicans, were in charge. As much as we need? Definitely not. Far from it. But the damage done by Republicans-in-charge is hardly minor.

    So, I will, once again, be voting for Democrats who, even though I disagree with a portion of what they do (and what they do not do) support many of the things I do. Because the alternative of not voting or tossing away my vote, is not just bad, it's dreadful. I will also, however, continue to do what I have always done: spend at least half my political time working in and for movement/cause politics. Because that is where all reform begins, whether it's abolition of slavery or the bringing of equality to LGBTQs.

    The surest way to predict the future is to invent it. — Stephen Post. [Me at Twitter.]

    by Meteor Blades on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:45:31 AM PST

  •  Go to WAR. (11+ / 0-)

    GOTV as if the survival of yourself, America, and the human species depends on it, because they do: your job and home, our democracy and economy, and the climate crisis, are all at critical tipping points.

    Vote for Obama either enthusiastically or while holding your nose, but do it, because the other outcome is too gruesome and fatal to contemplate.

    More and Better Democrats in Congress, because that's how to move Obama to the left, and every inch counts.

    Support OWS, participate in OWS, set the example, bring in the undecideds, make this movement grow like a tidal wave.

    A Democrat in the WH, more/better Democrats in Congress, and a left-populist movement pushing the boundaries constantly, WILL add up to a WIN.  

    It WORKED before (Civil Rights), it can work AGAIN.

    "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:58:28 AM PST

    •  Well said. (4+ / 0-)

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

      by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:02:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  where are we with better D's in Congress? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP

      What are the possibilities?

      Darcy Burner is out there.

      It would be good to see more focus on that question, what races are worth participating in, etc.

      I don't see how things get any better than they were in 2009-2010 based on what I know now. In fact, it will probably be worse, given that the Senate will probably be worse.

      As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

      by mightymouse on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:45:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Warren and Burner are good starts. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, G2geek

        "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

        by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:52:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  none the less, press on regardless. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse

        ALL races are worth participating in.  Every progressive in every congressional district.  

        The only exceptions are the ones that are just so ridiculously impossible to win: Jerry Falwell country, the reddest of red zones, those kinds of places.

        Everywhere else: make the enemy spend their money fighting on every front.  To paraphrase an old 1960s song lyric, "they have the dough but we have the numbers."

        No matter how much worse it might get even if we fight, it'll get an order of magnitude worse if we don't.

        The only justification for curling up and dying is if a planet-killing meteor is heading toward Earth.  Then go right ahead and commit suicide by the most painless method available.  Otherwise, there's no excuse for not fighting every inch of the way.    

        "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 08:02:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm curious what candidates are good (0+ / 0-)

          out there in reasonably close races.

          "serious" candidates.

          I would like to know more about that.

          I guess someone will run from the D side in the swingy district near me (NY19).

          what primaries feature worthwhile people.

          etc.

          As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

          by mightymouse on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:35:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Excellently done. The clearest case yet. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:01:31 AM PST

    •  Thanks zenbassoon. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenbassoon

      Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving.

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

      by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:02:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  2016 is the critical, turning point election (5+ / 0-)

    not 2012. Of course it will be very bad if a Republican gets in, but I'm reasonably confident Obama has a good chance at fending off the GOP nominee, whoever they are, even given the bad economy. Even if a Republican gets in and starts pushing a hard right agenda, at least the country's institutions - weakened as they are - will still be more or less intact. Social order will be more or less the same as it is today - Occupy demonstrations will grow but not to the point of being a serious threat, with bloodshed.

    By 2016, this country will be in a full blown financial collapse. You're hearing the rumblings of this approaching storm in Europe, country by country, as people lose most of their savings, as they riot, and as governments topple. You're seeing governments and banks cobbling together bailout packages for various countries. However, there is no entity big enough to bail out the United States, and we are hopelessly in debt, and our creditors are getting nervous. Our economy requires strong economic growth to keep up with this debt, and that won't happen with austerity.

    By 2016, people here will be so tired of being poor and destitute, so tired of failing systems, the crime and sheer terror of living through a systems collapse, that they'll turn to anybody who will promise them anything to save them - just give this leader unlimited power to fix things. Hello, President Teabag. Good-Bye Constitution and any semblance of democratic process. Hello fascism and dictatorship, in exchange for promises of "restoring America". Although this country has been dying a slow death for many years, this will be the end of anything resembling the America we knew. This is why 2016 will be the critical turning point, and 2012 just a blip.

    And so, my argument can be boiled down to two things: the probability that Obama will prevail (not certain), but the near certainty of the trajectory our financial system is on, and the way people react to living through massive system failure - Germany and Russia, and other countries provide examples from the past. And BTW, I should add that this failure is exactly what the oligarchs want. It's not a bug, it's a feature.

    BTW, I'm exactly your age - age 15 in 1970, so we have similar memories and sensibilities. Did you ever dream that things would get this bad? When I was growing up, I thought things would only get better. We were so lucky.

    •  Hope you're right about Obama (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alyosha

      being re-elected and wrong about collapse.  We'll see.

      Yes, we thought we could change the world.  Now people look back to the oppression then as the good old days, because it has gotten so much worse.  

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

      by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:33:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree the oligarchs want collapse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP

      Unless the word "oligarchs" has some special meaning for you. The ruling class of the US favors an atrophied "democratic republic" with marginalized, but still existent, free speech.

      There is a conflict within monopoly capitalism between the needs of the monopolies and the needs of "capitalism." A capitalist system benefits from a degree of honest feedback to identify problems and inefficiencies. It also allows for the emergence of new talent. Representatives of constituencies who make demands also have the potential to serve as enforcers of whatever compromise is arrived at, using their legitimacy within their constituencies to ensure social stability.

      The old social contract between workers and employers, between upwardly-aspiring minorities, between citizens and the governors, is all being restructured.The international order is also being transformed, both by a corporate-lfriednly form of "globalization," but also by the US ruling classes decision to reassert American military dominance of air, land, water, space, communications and the human imagination.

      American "pluralism," whereby various constituencies forged alliances through the two major political parties, is less important, and less convenient, to the new masters of the universe. With the trajectory we are on, the ruling class does not need many intelligent, critical-thinking, innovative minds. The standard of the vast majority of Americans is going to decline and democratic rights will lead to increased demands and mobilizations which cannot be satisfied without cutting into the income of the very rich.

      So democracy will become weaker and weaker. Rights we have taken for granted will atrophy even more and in response to our growing frustration, the repression will grow, will become "normalized."
      But "collapse" threatens both the social peace and the profits/ property rights of the rich. There are limits to how much environmental degradation can be limited to low-income and minority communities before it creeps into the gated communities of the very rich.

      Of course, they can move to Hawaii and rule from there. Or the penthouses of Manhattan, hills of San Francisco, London, etc. But they lose a lot if things "collapse."

      "... if I can lead you into the promised land someone else can just as easily lead you back out again." --Eugene Debs

      by Shliapnikov on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 02:29:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent comment. (0+ / 0-)

        "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

        by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 04:15:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  alyosha, if we lose 2012, forget 2016.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alyosha

      sorry don't agree w/your premise.

      I believe that the country will be fundamentally changed if the R's win in 2012.  It is likely that the Supremes will need to be placed in the next four years.

      Sorry your opinion is ill informed; you are basing your argument on theories that are incorrect.  

      This country would be devastated in every way if the R's won in 2012..... every way.

      I belong to the “US” of America, not the “ME,$,ME,$,ME,$,ME,$” of America!

      by SeaTurtle on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 03:40:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dems have to show something (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    if they want to maintain power. As it is now, they win because the GOP is worse.

    great comment.

    As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

    by mightymouse on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:47:56 AM PST

    •  that was meant as a reply to alyosha ... whoops (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP

      As the world warms, the reigning ideology that tells us it’s everyone for themselves, that victims deserve their fate, that we can master nature, will take us to a very cold place indeed - Naomi Klein

      by mightymouse on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 09:48:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A very cogent analysis, Tom. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Eric Nelson

    Thank you, and have a great Thanksgiving.

    My forthcoming book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity will be published in Summer 2012 by Potomac Books.

    by Ian Reifowitz on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 10:00:42 AM PST

    •  Thanks, Ian. Hope you have a (0+ / 0-)

      great Thanksgiving also.  

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

      by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 10:08:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It doesn't matterr anymore (0+ / 0-)

                           
    Our government is just a corporate TV reality show. Some of the actors have blue costumes, and others have red costumes, but all work for the same sponsors.
    If they don't perform as the 1% want, they will just impose a technocratic government to do what they want.
    See Greece and Italy for the prototype.

    •  That's true. But only half-true. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP

      What percentage of DNA do chimpanzees and human share? Accordingly, there is no significant difference between chimps and humans?

      Both parties are strictly controlled by the banks and large corporations. That is the beginning of a political analysis. But it does not follow that domination of DC by the Republicans will not be worse than by the Democrats. The Dems, in general, may be "fair-weatherfriends" to working people, women, minorities, environmentalists, gays, etc. But at least they are not consistent enemies.

      Build a movement as a counter-weight to try to offset the power of the corporations in both parties. Don't expect the Dems to do anything for you based upon any inherent "inner sympathy" for progressive values.

      "... if I can lead you into the promised land someone else can just as easily lead you back out again." --Eugene Debs

      by Shliapnikov on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 02:37:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  2012 is not about Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, SeaTurtle

    it is about your Mama - Rev. Al Sharpton

    If GOP lawmakers vote "no" your taxes go up. "Yes", you get a tax cut. Which way do you think Congress should vote?

    by anyname on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 10:46:41 AM PST

  •  tooting my horn (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Eric Nelson, jennyp, Lawrence

    I, like many here, claimed that the super committee was planned to set up 2012 w/1% taxes being the primary focus.  Our President has never given up on higher taxes for the rich, he has only excepted delays in order to pass other legislation.  Who will pay for US policies will be as much as an issue in this election as what those policies will be, the parties offer very different answers.

  •  Tom, I was 15 in 1960 and... (4+ / 0-)

    the terrible sixties lead to the countries unrest then just like the start of what may happen now with #OWS. I agree with your analysis, and like you am very disappointed that we find ourselves in this place today. One good difference is that we have not had the number of killings in our country now as compared to that time. I was leaving my HS English class when the news of JFK killing spread through the school and I watch in disbelief as Jack Ruby was shoot on live TV. We heard each Friday on the NEWS how many more Americans were killed that week in Vietnam and my family lost a son to Canada until Jimmy Carter gave him amnesty in 1976. The election of 1980 set us on this path that many are just now feeling much like the frog in the bucket. Elections matter in this country and until we can get big money out of them we have to support and vote for the better of the two corporate owned candidates. Maybe in my lifetime it will get better but right now that is where we are.

    Plato's " The Cave" taught me to question reality.

    by CTDemoFarmer on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 11:20:45 AM PST

  •  Not sure 2012 is consequential at all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    Too many things turning to crap too quickly. I'm going to vote Democratic, but not going to fool myself that Democratic inaction will work out any better than active Republican evil, even in the short term.  The status quo is unsupportable to the bottom 50% of the U.S. right now.

    •  Glad you're voting for Dems. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      Hopfully we can elect progressives like Warren and Burner, among others.  

      Have a Happy T-Day.

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

      by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 11:26:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary, Tom (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Shliapnikov, Eric Nelson

    Echoes many of my own thoughts, as does MB's comment.

    Thanks for writing it.

    “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

    by Nanette K on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 11:33:46 AM PST

    •  Thanks Nannete K. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      Hope you have a fun Turkey Day.

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

      by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 12:53:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  36 years of crucial.I had to look up 1896 election (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    Two things that also are eerily similar back then with today:
     1) back then:  huge corporate spending involved (like Citizens United today)
     2) back then: the formation of "outsiders fighting the machine - (#Occupy today)

    Republican campaign manager Mark Hanna pioneered many modern campaign techniques, facilitated by a $3.5 million budget. He outspent Bryan by a factor of five v. The Democratic Party's repudiation of the Bourbon Democrats (their pro-business wing, represented by incumbent President Grover Cleveland), set the stage for 36 years of Republican control of the White House, interrupted only by the two terms of Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Although Bryan lost the election, his coalition of "outsiders" would dominate the Democratic Party well into the twentieth century and would play a crucial role in promoting the liberal economic programs of Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson. For the time being, McKinley's Republican approach was triumphant, and his policies regarding pluralism, industrial growth, and the gold standard determined national policies until Woodrow Wilson became president in 1913.

     1) result: The corporate spending allowed for 36 years of republican control

     2) result: But then the people powered "outside" coalition which is like the #Occupy influence made the future of liberal change possible.

    We just can't let the first result  of corporate money bombs as in 1896 defeat us down to apathy today.

    If we stand by the #Occupy message (99% - people vs 1% - corporations, wall street etc.), and make this the clear choice - Democrats up for election will have a strong incentive to also. They'll  be forced to - and will garner our and independent and even some republican votes. Then the corporate party won't win this time. We don't have 36 years to wait.
    We don't have 36 months.

    I think you spelled it out TomP, this election couldn't be more critical/consequential.

    It isn't just a fork in the road, it's a 180 degree difference in direction. One disasterous direction -> Up for big business and straight down for the common man or vice versa -> the only choice

    •  Thanks for bringing that historical point here. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      Corporate spending back in 1896 and the same now.

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

      by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 12:28:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And your second point also is good. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      I had not thought specifically of the analogies between the Populists and Occupy movements, but they certainly exist.   And 1996 was just three years after the Panic of 1893, a huge depression.

      many similarities.

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

      by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 12:53:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No, it will not be (1+ / 0-)

    The 2000 election was.  

    The most consequential election after this will be the one that establishes the new domestic hegemony.  

  •  I hear this every four years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shliapnikov

    But given the prospect of a Republican president with a radical reactionary congress, the danger is greater than most.  Particularly given that there is no guarantee that a Democratic minority in the senate would use the filibuster the way the Republicans have used it.

    “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry.

    by Paleo on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 01:10:49 PM PST

  •  I'll vote for Obama just to prevent Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    from being in total control, the way they were between 2003 and 2007.  But as I've said before, progressives would probably be better off with Romney and a Democratic congress.  

    “If you think I can be bought for five thousand dollars, I'm offended." Rick Perry.

    by Paleo on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 01:14:55 PM PST

    •  Glad you are. (0+ / 0-)

      Hope you have a great Turkey Day.

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress who cannot help themselves." (Robert F. Kennedy, Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961).

      by TomP on Wed Nov 23, 2011 at 02:01:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  long-term change must come from the people... (0+ / 0-)

    rootstriker.org

    Lawrence Lessig gave a pretty good roadmap in his presentation at google.

    When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

    by Unbozo on Thu Nov 24, 2011 at 03:04:02 PM PST

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