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With every blocked nomination, filibustered bill, or gummed up committee work, we keep hearing the same tired response from Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House: that Congressional Republicans are engaging in unprecedented levels of obstruction and that they are "disappointed" by it. This is true. I wont list the manifold examples of Republicans in Congress doing exactly that. Where I disagree with my fellow Democrats is identifying this as the problem in  the normal functioning of the republic. In my view, the more important problem is how Democrats respond to obstruction. If Democrats had a basic understanding of the modern Republican party, they would expect obstruction of the most irrational sort. Furthermore, their response to it would be something beyond complaining about it and then sitting on their hands. That is, if they truly want to do something about it other than complain. When you consider their current responses, it is pretty clear to me that Democrats are misidentifying where the real problem with legislative gridlock lies.

More below the fold.

Call them out. That's what we hear over and over again whenever Republicans do what Republicans do. But so far, Democrats' "calling them out" basically amounts to demanding that Republicans of all people be reasonable and rational. It is irrational to expect Republicans to be rational. The Republican Party is not a normal political party with various wings and factions all responsive to varying constituencies in the body politic. Not anymore. Instead, the Republican party is a collection of of radical extremist factions, built on a foundation of racism and bigotry, financed and controlled by a self-interested elite. They aren't rational except to the degree that will always be beholden to radical extremists and the rich. They don't believe in winning elections by appealing to the broadest population possible as a normal political party would. Instead, they believe in winning elections by focusing the narrowest band of true believers, turning them out, and using election chicanery and dirty tricks to suppress the vote of everyone else.

This is who they really are. Any political party that actively seeks to curb voting by people they don't like is only naturally going to look to curbing legislation they don't like. We've seen example after example of their hatred for everyone who is not an elderly, white, rural, conservative, wealthy heterosexual male. The Republican Party is not an accident of geography and demographics. It is who they are. Their being opposed to anything and everything Democrats stand for is the natural result of who they are and whose votes and opinions they care about. Calling them out for being who they are is weak, obvious, and ultimately ineffective. Whenever Democrats say "Republicans are opposing our agenda!" the Republican rank and file says "Yes!" Not "oh...why aren't our guys being reasonable?" Even for legislation that 90% of Republicans support, they will oppose it if Democrats are for it. One can't reason with a radical. For Republicans, there is no political cost to obstruction. So what point is there in pointing out that they are doing it?

Secondly, it isn't the job of the party in opposition to cooperate with the party in power. This is the ridiculous idea that has been hurting Washington for years as the Republican Party has moved further and further towards the fringes of society. If there were two parties broadly appealing for the greatest number of people in the electorate, then there would be an incentive to compromise because if both parties are going after the same voters then only naturally would their policy positions indicate broad agreement over issues. Then and only then is compromise possible. But as the Republican Party has gone off the deep end, appealing only a very narrow band of the electorate, the policy gap between the parties, especially over social issues, is a vast canyon. Therefore it is only natural that Republicans would oppose everything the majority wants. They are the opposition, after all, and not of the loyal sort but the radical sort. It simply makes no sense to expect Republicans to be cooperative when their base is telling them not to be. Their job, as they see it and Democrats should too, is to oppose everything until they regain power. They are very open about this. What point is there in asking the uncooperative, radical opposition to become something they have no interest or incentive in being?

Finally, it isn't working. Democrats have gained nothing by calling out the opposition for opposing. Nor has it ever worked. Democrats have been limply complaining about obstruction since early 2009 and so far it hasn't cost a single Republican his or her seat in Congress. No Democrat has beaten a single Republican in an election race that was about the Congressional process. It doesn't cost Republicans politically, nor does it change it the incentives to obstruction. Nor can Democrats point to any of their legislation they enacted into law by essentially school marming the Republicans into good behavior. Democrats have been trying this for years and have nothing to show for it at the ballot box or in terms of legislative victories or nominations. So what's the point? Why keep doing it?

Democrats have to change the incentives for Republicans. That is the only way to defeat obstruction. That is the only way to defeat Republicans in committee, on the legislative floor, and at the ballot box. To make opposition costly. I'll make some simple suggestions in part 2 next week.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Obama does this too....tries to shame them! (34+ / 0-)

      They are shameless....they know dirty politics.  They know ruthless power grabs.  They need to bet treated in kind.  I was so sorry that the IRS publically apologized to the Tea Party for some stupid supposed terrible thing the IRS did to them in 2011.  When you apologize to those assholes, they smell blood and go for your throat.  But we Dems always have to take the high ground....they know this and they use it against us every time.

      Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven. William Shakespeare

      by lutznancy on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:07:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I suspect you are right about the Dems (71+ / 0-)

      If they were able to overcome Republican obstructionism in the Senate, for instance, they would then have no excuse for not doing anything useful or progressive.

      Anyone with three brain cells to rub together knows that waiting for Republicans to compromise these days is a fool's errand.  Pre-compromising in hopes of reciprocation, the president's favored strategy, is probably the only stupider strategy.  Since we know Democrats are in general not as knuckle-dragging stupid as Republicans, it's hard to explain their apparent fondness for these tactics.  Unless you posit that these apparently stupid tactics gain Democrats what they want.  Which is what a lot of us are coming to believe.

      Good cops need bad cops, but both sides are cops.  And they both enforce the rules for the same ruling class.  We need to stop excusing Democrats for not going on the offensive against Republicans every damn day, and beating them senseless.  It's the only responsible approach with this crew, and if "our" side isn't doing it, they're not really on our side.

      If you want to cut Social Security, you're not a real Democrat.

      by Dallasdoc on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:09:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Facts not in evidence (9+ / 0-)

        Since we know Democrats are in general not as knuckle-dragging stupid as Republicans
        I live in Illinois, though, so that may bias me.

        (Can you say Blagojevich three times fast?)

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:22:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Democratic Party is (24+ / 0-)

        "financed and controlled by a self-interested elite" just like the Republican Party.  And there's a whole lot of overlap . . . neo-cons and neo-libs break bread at the same table.  And they get what they want . . .

        The parties differ (a bit) on "social" issues (and make a big show of it as they pander to their "base") . . . but on economic and "foreign policy" they march lockstep.  They are both the "party of the rich" . . .

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:54:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's true and hard to ignore (24+ / 0-)

          ... although some people manage to ignore it.  Both parties use "wedge issues" as well-worn sales pitches to scam voters into sticking with them, despite their complete lack of interest in doing anything to help anybody economically who's not writing big checks.

          If you want to cut Social Security, you're not a real Democrat.

          by Dallasdoc on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:01:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think of the Democrats as being the (20+ / 0-)

            party that uses what I am calling "The Safe Minority" especially in the body of the Senate.  

            They hoodwink people into thinking that they are the party that cares by holding out a few token Senators who take a stand on what are now called "liberal" issues, but used to be called "mainstream majority" issues.

            A big celebration ensued the other night when Franken and Warren made statements against Chained CPI for Social Security.  When I basically said that two out of a hundred is kind of a ridiculous celebration trigger - and that those two Senators basically have little gravitas amongst their colleagues - it seemed that I had totally burst people's bubbles - even though only a fool thinks that two Senators out of a hundred is a significant shift - not to mention the fact that these two aren't influential at this time.

            So we argue amongst ourselves about the significance of their declaration, but the reality is that you need 60+ to get anywhere and even if someone passed a filibuster reform bill, you'd still need 51 and TWO out of 51 still does NOTHING.

            2, 25, 30, 45, 48 out of 100 does NOTHING.  That is what I am calling "The Safe Minority" - a group of people who know they must vote a certain way to stay in power, but for the most part don't care to really push an agenda or policy.  Their voting record is protected and safe, but to what end?  Nada is the answer.  

            The Republican coalition is full of insane people and the Democrats are just trying to hold on.  They are all lame in their own ways.  

            I am not even going to talk about the House because that crazy story is just too much inanity and ridiculous.  But it is safe to say that the five people in the House who come out to defend the social safety net are the same players as always - the ones who always lose - and the ones who the Democrats always highlight in order to maintain credibility as more of the party of the people than the cut throat Republicans.  Problem is that both parties are corrupted to the core now.  I never thought I'd write anything like this, but now I have.  

            •  It takes a while to realize that (26+ / 0-)

              It took the Obama administration to teach me that lesson.  I thought the Clinton years were an aberration, and blamed the DLC types for the corruption of his administration.  But after Obama came in and named Larry Summers and Tim Geithner to save our economy, I thought "Oh shit.  Here we go again."  That feeling was confirmed with the spectacular sell-out on the health care bill.  It was too obvious for me to ignore that the Democrats of our time are mere pretenders to the title, as compared with their predecessors.  The exceptions prove the rule, none more than Bernie Sanders.  He's such a good Democrat he won't even call himself a Democrat anymore.  If chained-CPI passes, I may follow his example.

              Plenty of people came to this conclusion before I did.  It takes us the time it takes.  But once you realize this, there's no going back.  Wishful thinking doesn't change reality, no matter how many times we try.

              If you want to cut Social Security, you're not a real Democrat.

              by Dallasdoc on Sun May 12, 2013 at 05:34:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I didn't think that the Clinton Administration (10+ / 0-)

                was an aberration and I didn't think that Obama was much different.  What I didn't know was that "The Safe Minority" was a ruse.  I thought it was comprised of mostly people of principle who would take a stand against the more conservative leanings of the Clinton/Obama "third way" people.  But they fell to their knees in worship or fear depending on the issue instead of fighting the good fight for principles.

                That's my revelation.  I thought a Democratic majority would help the Obama Administration - but what we saw was a bunch of lemmings complaining while they went over the cliff.  Useless sods.

                •  I look at them as salesmen (5+ / 0-)

                  I've come to see both parties as sales divisions for Oligarchy, Inc.  They have different brands that appeal to different target audiences, along with well-worn sales pitches promising delights that never seem to get delivered.  One lot may fuck things up more than the other one, but neither one would dream of actually working for us.  They're more carnival barkers than representatives.

                  The few principled folks help to maintain the brand, and keep the customers believing in it.  They represent what the target audience wants to believe it's buying, and I don't even know if most of them realize that that's their job.

                  If you want to cut Social Security, you're not a real Democrat.

                  by Dallasdoc on Sun May 12, 2013 at 07:20:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  The Oligarchy of the 1% Owns Both Parties (4+ / 0-)

                The GOP has a gerrymandered lock on the House until the 2020 census. Harry Reid has maintained McConnell's control of the agenda by refusing to reform the filibuster. Obama, lover of Wall Street, never even got to being a lame duck. He went straight to "Dead Duck" status. The Democratic Party is a sick joke.

              •  We are not the first generation of (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis

                Democratic voters to realize this, Dallasdoc.  Maybe we will be the first generation of Democratic voters not to allow ourselves to be shouted down by our "own" side.  Here's to ya!

                •  Yep. (5+ / 0-)
                  The Republican and Democratic parties are alike capitalist parties — differing only in being committed to different sets of capitalist interests — they have the same principles under varying colors, are equally corrupt and are one in their subservience to capital and their hostility to labor.
                  -- Eugene Debs (1855 - 1926)

                  “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

                  by Sagebrush Bob on Sun May 12, 2013 at 10:39:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I don't know if there is a name (18+ / 0-)

              or a meme for it but we saw it with single payer health care.  Lots of Democrats were for it, as long as there was no chance that it could pass. But when the rubber hit the road, everything changed.  I forget if Kucinich ever managed to get a vote on the floor for it but he was going to try to call their bluff.

              The villain rotation speaks to this too.  

              Urban dictionary:

              Villain rotation

              In American democracy, when the majority party has enough votes to pass populist legislation, party leaders designate a scapegoat who will refuse to vote with the party thereby killing the legislation. The opposition is otherwise inexplicable and typically comes from someone who is safe or not up for re-election. This allows for maximum diffusion of responsibility.

              WTF??? Senator Lieberman now opposes the same health care compromise he himself suggested. Just when everyone thought Democrats had enough votes to get this done. Guess they made Lieberman the rotating villain...

              I think the original meme started with Glenn Greenwald.  Anyone who hasn't read this article from 2010 needs to read it to see one of the tactics our party uses.  At one time, this was a well known concept here but it doesn't get mentioned so much anymore.  It's much more common to scream "Squirrel!" "Look at those Republicans!"  
              The Democratic Party’s deceitful game
              They are willing to bravely support any progressive bill as long as there's no chance it can pass

              In other words, Rockefeller was willing to be a righteous champion for the public option as long as it had no chance of passing (sadly, we just can’t do it, because although it has 50 votes in favor, it doesn’t have 60).  But now that Democrats are strongly considering the reconciliation process — which will allow passage with only 50 rather than 60 votes and thus enable them to enact a public option — Rockefeller is suddenly “inclined to oppose it” because he doesn’t “think the timing of it is very good” and it’s “too partisan.”  What strange excuses for someone to make with regard to a provision that he claimed, a mere five months ago (when he knew it couldn’t pass), was such a moral and policy imperative that he “would not relent” in ensuring its enactment.  
              [...]
              This is what the Democratic Party does; it’s who they are.  They’re willing to feign support for anything their voters want just as long as there’s no chance that they can pass it.  They won control of Congress in the 2006 midterm elections by pretending they wanted to compel an end to the Iraq War and Bush surveillance and interrogation abuses because they knew they would not actually do so; and indeed, once they were given the majority, the Democratic-controlled Congress continued to fund the war without conditions, to legalize Bush’s eavesdropping program, and to do nothing to stop Bush’s habeas and interrogation abuses (“Gosh, what can we do?  We just don’t have 60 votes).

              The primary tactic in this game is Villain Rotation.  They always have a handful of Democratic Senators announce that they will be the ones to deviate this time from the ostensible party position and impede success, but the designated Villain constantly shifts, so the Party itself can claim it supports these measures while an always-changing handful of their members invariably prevent it.  One minute, it’s Jay Rockefeller as the Prime Villain leading the way in protecting Bush surveillance programs and demanding telecom immunity; the next minute, it’s Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer joining hands and “breaking with their party” to ensure Michael Mukasey’s confirmation as Attorney General; then it’s Big Bad Joe Lieberman single-handedly blocking Medicare expansion; then it’s Blanche Lincoln and Jim Webb joining with Lindsey Graham to support the de-funding of civilian trials for Terrorists; and now that they can’t blame Lieberman or Ben Nelson any longer on health care (since they don’t need 60 votes), Jay Rockefeller voluntarily returns to the Villain Role, stepping up to put an end to the pretend-movement among Senate Democrats to enact the public option via reconciliation.


              "Justice is a commodity"

              by joanneleon on Sun May 12, 2013 at 06:21:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  what about Elizabeth Warren? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mcartri, mikejay611

          what is she in the Democratic Party?

          What does the establishment think of Warren?

          •  An atavism. Throwback to actual Democrats when (15+ / 0-)

            they were still trying to represent the best interests of their constituents and the country.

            I imagine they're going to get irritated with her pretty soon, if they haven't already.

            Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
            ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

            by FarWestGirl on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:43:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If she was considered a true Democrat by the (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              quill, mikejay611

              party, Obama would not have passed her over for chair of the CFPB.

              We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

              by Susan Grigsby on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:51:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  elizabeth warren did not want (6+ / 0-)

                to be director. She only wanted to set up the agency.

                Richard Cordray was endorsed by Warren don't you remember?

                Cordray is doing more than well on the job.

                Furthermore, she says she has TONS of tools to cause change in the senate and for the country.

                I want warren in the senate so she can become a ted kennedy or other master of the senate.

                I know some will argue and say she has little power. I don't agree. She is only just getting started and she is pushing the regulators to do more to regulate wall street. Slowly but surely.

              •  also, the obama (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mikejay611

                administration and tim geithner (HATED by progressives)

                are not quite hostile to her as you think.

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                •  in this interview (0+ / 0-)

                  she says she has had no problems with the obama administration in terms of wall street conflict of interest.

                •  Other way around (8+ / 0-)
                  also, the obama (0+ / 0-)
                  administration and tim geithner (HATED by progressives)
                  I think that there is more evidence that Obama and Geithner hate progressives, though the feeling is probably pretty mutual with Geithner and not so much with Obama, though that has deteriorated with time, IMHO.

                  How are we to know how Geithner really feels about Warren?  There was a lot of writing about how he worked like hell to oppose her though, and how he hated her, and then there was some stuff in the media where he said some nice things about her. It sure looked staged to me. She was a real thorn in his side.

                  Decide for yourself:

                  In this Vanity Fair article, it talks about another hearing too, and quotes Neil Barofsky, who was in a position to know.

                  At another hearing, in December 2009, Geithner appeared to be barely able to contain his annoyance, at one point almost shouting at her. Warren’s questioning “was masterful,” says Neil Barofsky, who ran the TARP oversight for Treasury. “She eviscerated him.” But Warren would pay a price for those hearings.

                  “Geithner hated her,” says a former administration official. Part of it was seen as personal because she had scorched him in public. But the whole thrust of her work on the oversight panel—getting the facts out to the public—was at odds with Geithner’s perceived conviction, shared by the Wall Street establishment, that the details of the banks’ TARP rescue should be hidden from public scrutiny whenever possible in order to give the banks time to recover, an assessment that a Treasury spokesperson disputes, insisting that “Secretary Geithner initiated unprecedented disclosure requirements for financial institutions.”
                  http://www.vanityfair.com/...


                  "Justice is a commodity"

                  by joanneleon on Sun May 12, 2013 at 06:37:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Elizabeth Warren (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mikejay611, joanneleon

                    denies any hostility by Geithner.

                    Did you read the link I gave you with the video showing Warren saying Geithner has been fully supportive of her every step of the way?

                    Also check this interview out where she says the obama administration has had NO conflict of interest with wall street.

                    http://progressive.org/...

                    Q: You have an amazing anecdote in The Two-Income Trap about Hillary Clinton and the bankruptcy bill, which she called “that awful bill” and opposed when her husband was President but voted for in 2001, though it didn’t pass then.

                    Warren: I give Hillary Clinton a lot of credit. When she was First Lady, I sat down with her in a hotel in Boston. I had all these graphs and charts, and she was crunching through a hamburger, listening, and asking a lot of questions, and she really got it. At first, she was resistant. After all, the White House was quietly supporting the banks’ bankruptcy bill. But boy, by about the third or fourth slide she was starting to say, “Oh,” and she could jump ahead. She got it.

                    Someone later told me there were skid marks on the floor in the White House from people reversing position on that bankruptcy bill when Hillary Clinton got back from Boston.

                    Subscribe to The Progressive

                    Q: And then those skid marks turned the other way again when she went to the Senate and soon thereafter voted for a similar bill.

                    Warren: That was the interesting thing. She stayed in the same place so long as she was in the White House. I believe that Mrs. Clinton was responsible for President Clinton’s veto of that bankruptcy bill. Ultimately, Congress passed the bill again in 2005 and George Bush signed it into law. But in that five-year period in between, eight million families went through the bankruptcy system, while the law was still intact. So the veto was important, and I believe she was the cause. And that’s what’s so disheartening. She changed her vote in the Senate. If Hillary Clinton, one of the strongest, most independent politicians of her generation, felt that she needed to conform her voting to the desires of the banking industry once she held elective office, what hope is there for the rest of the politicians?

                    Q: Do you have any similar stories about Obama or Geithner or Robert Rubin?

                    Warren: No. I have never spoken with Robert Rubin, and I have never spoken with Geithner about consumer issues. But I will say this: The President gets it. He has now done something no other President has done, taking on the banks to back the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

                    Ten years ago, I was fighting tooth and nail, trying to hang onto bankruptcy protection for a million and a half families that were clinging to the middle class. Now President Obama has embraced a consumer agency that will affect the economic lives of 100 million people. We are not now talking about just bankruptcy, or about what to do when the impact of lousy mortgages and terrible credit cards and predatory banking practices drives families into economic chaos. We are talking about preventing the problems up front.


            •  Who knows (5+ / 0-)

              at this point in time I'm so cynical that I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop regardless of the hyped persona involved.Is she a treat to the establishment  Dems, I doubt it. They tolerate Saunders and let him rhetorically rant on. Elisabeth what power does she wield?

              Even Merkley my great senator has my general mistrust. As a famous man here once said a pol is a pol. They are professional weasels and know how to play the game. The trouble is we the people somewhere along the line have forgotten that we too wield power. Instead of focusing on individual pols and persona maybe we should turn our attention to the damage done and figure out how to get our house cleaned up.

              Isn't there an old political saw that talks about 'a new broom seldom sweeps clean'.  I believed Obama would deliver change that was so necessary and instead I got this great Shepard Fairey tshirt I bought on the street. So as far as Elisabeth Warren goes I have no great hope. Hope and despair in the  Tibetan language are one and the same. She may be allowed to give us some truths but will they be acted on? Ask me the Dems if they were truly democratic would run her instead of Hillary the bad ass.        

          •  they'll ignore her, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            conniptionfit, blueoasis, tb mare

            Until she's fully assimilated into the Beltway Borg collective. After she's plugged into the hive mind, she will be allowed to tap into a dripline of power and influence.

            And if she resists, well you know how the saying goes...

            History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

            by quill on Sun May 12, 2013 at 05:00:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The Dem Party Will Step on Warren Like a Bug (5+ / 0-)

            Warren represents the vast, vast majority of the Democratic Party. Few in the party do. They've sold their souls to the same money changers who own EVERY Rerpublican.

          •  An aberration. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mikejay611, ethos

            And the establishment thinks she's great cover.  Eventually, tho, they'll get tired of everybody yelling at them for not being more like Elizabeth, and they'll "shoot" her.

        •  do you even know (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rabel, tb mare

          what a neo-con and a "neo-lib" is???

          neo-cons are the extreme rightwing warmonging powerbrokers aligned with military contractors and intent on projecting u.s. military might throughout the world.

          neo-libs are conservatives and "liberals" who forward the neoliberal economic policy which was outlined in David C. Korten's "When Corporations Rule the World" and work to ensure that government political and economic realities are dictated by international corporate whim.  Similar to the work of the Dulles brotherswith the United Fruit Companyin south and central America,  The World Trade Organization was the main tool used to forward banking deregulation in the late 90's that led to the total collapse of the global economy in 2007.

        •  Main Street Talkers...Wall Street Walkers (7+ / 0-)

          A handful[ of politicians in DC with the (D) name tag aren't owned by the Oligarchy of the 1%. For over 4-years now Obama has played a progressive Democrat in front of the TV cameras. When the lights go out, he walks with his Wall Street buddies.

    •  0the Senate had the chance to end this farce (15+ / 0-)

      back in January. Entrenched Democrats like Levin and Baucus killed rule reform that could hve shaken things loose. Both sides are feasting at the same table.

      The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

      by orson on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:16:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely agree (7+ / 0-)

      How much time does anyone truly think Congress actually spends on governing versus calling for cash? Please, until such time as limits are placed on campaign spending and Citizens United is overturned, we're doomed to a dysfunctional government. As Deep Throat advised: "follow the money"

    •  Yes, collusion comes to mind. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FarWestGirl, tb mare

      “The road to success is always under construction” --Lily Tomlin

      by CarolinNJ on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:36:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The more the 'Cons move to the extreme right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbsoul, len chaitin

      the more the Dems move to the center.  

      Obama is too stuck on his Grand Fucking Bargain to call his party back to it's progressive roots.

      We have a Dem President that wants to cut Social Security and a Congress that is only now waking up to the possibility that the President is willing to throw seniors, the disabled, Veterans and children under the bus to get his GFB.

      Obama is toast.  It is time to take a page from the Tea Baggers manual.  

      Primary, Primary the bums.

      Psst!!!......Mittens you are more of a poor loser than I thought.

      by wbishop3 on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:00:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Planes are Flying on Time. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        goodpractice, blueoasis

        Results Matter!

        Well, that's what they said ("meant to be"). But that's just kayfabe.

        What happened was that Obama delivered cuts for his owners. The cuts inflict great suffering on the poor, the old, children, and working people, which makes the elites happy, because their environment is morally pathological, as Jeffrey Sachs points out. Also, the elites think that taxes fund government spending, so they think that cutting the government will cut their taxes, and they hate taxes, because they believe that taxes, in part, go to help people they hate (like us). So, Obama delivers the goods for his owners, and best of all, he gets to blame the Republicans for it all, a task that his proxy, Hunter, performs for him superbly. Kayfabe once more.

        NOTE * Except for the parts that personally affect Congresscritters or their friends, like flying back to their constituents on airplanes.

        Yep, planes are flying normally.  Nothing to see here.
      •  The more the 'Cons move to the extreme right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, happymisanthropy
        The more the 'Cons move to the extreme right the more the Dems move to the center.  
        Nope. The more the 'Cons move to the extreme right the more the Dems move to the extreme right.

        “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

        by Sagebrush Bob on Sun May 12, 2013 at 10:43:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Two-Right of Center Wings-Lap Poodles for 1% (4+ / 0-)

      Obama & the vast majority of Democrats are buried deeply in the American Corporate Party's pocket. This Kabuki political theater is seen best by focusing on two-Democrats and what they did just recently. Sen. Tom Harkin, an actual Democrat, told Harry Reid the filibuster must be reformed and told Obama to his face that if Reid didn't, he[Obama] could take a 4-year vacation. Reid didn't, Harkin announced his retirement and Obama had left on his 4-year Dead Duck vacation. It will get much worse...guaranteed.

  •  You don't bring a chessboard to a gunfight. (38+ / 0-)

    I think the Dem strategists are still in thrall to the delusion (after all these decades) that if you tell swing voters the other guy is unreasonable that will make them favor you.

    In fact, the swing voters are to be found in the 42-45% who routinely don't show up to vote in every election. Get them interested -- and you'd do that by actually representing their interests, and not by appearing a reasonable sort willing to agree with their enemies -- and you've swung the election.

    Jobs Jobs Jobs. Direct and immediate creation. Not deficits, corporate tax incentives, and trade agreements.


    Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats

    by Jim P on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:09:45 PM PDT

  •  look forward to your suggestions (13+ / 0-)

    right now, it looks like the same team, wearing different practice jerseys. One side says 'no', therefore, nothing gets done, no consequences on either side. Majority rules..., excuse me, Money rules...

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

    by pickandshovel on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:10:31 PM PDT

  •  Great diary, but the question remains ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wdrath

    If that doesn't work, what should Democrats be doing?

    I guess you'll have some answers in your next diary.

    •  Democrats need to be Democrats (6+ / 0-)

      I get that by being president Obama is the de-facto leader of the Democratic Party. So that's a problem. Post-partisan Obama has shown that he only confronts Republican extremism lightly in election years, and never at other times. For all of his reputation as the greatest communicator to be president he has made no effort to call out the Republican Party for its racist, anti-woman, anti-middle class, and in fact, anti-American goals and agenda.

      Couple this with the corruption that money has had on every elected official and most appointed ones, as well as a corporate media owned by the Republican Party and you will understand that the vast majority of this country has no voice for the things that made the American Dream what it used to be.

      If Democrats want to win they need to do what Obama won't: call out the Republicans for the unprincipled, lying mother f*ckers that they are.  

  •  It's time. (13+ / 0-)

    Time to put some fear into the government. Do your job or deal with an angry crowd.

    They are parasites. Primal. No intention of leaving. It has to be removed.

    Fear and ignorance vs reason and science. What's it going to be, America!?

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:14:57 PM PDT

  •  Too many Dems (and thinking Republicans) (11+ / 0-)

    know that the system still works --at least for them. They all have paying jobs (with healthcare) and are making contacts that allow them to transition to other paying jobs after their terms of "service" are over.

    If they had to suffer as ordinary citizens do, they might behave differently.

    "Life is short, but long enough to get what's coming to you." --John Alton

    by Palafox on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:15:26 PM PDT

    •  Without doubt, working your way into politics (12+ / 0-)

      ...and eventually winning elections, and moving forward... is the last bastion of upward mobility in the US.

      Once you win a national slot, it's like hitting the lottery. It's a free-for-all of private money. At the very least, everyone in Congress makes really "fortuitous" investments on Wall Street, filling their personal coffers.

      If you decide to continue, and select your leige-lord lobbyists well, it's a wealth train.

      Most developed nations do not allow private money in politics to avoid overt corruption. All parties and elections are funded by the state.



      Denial is a drug.

      by Pluto on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:45:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And the campaigning in other countries... (10+ / 0-)

        ... does NOT last for two (or more) frikkin' YEARS which numbs people to the infotainment-centered mini-crises corporate media creates out of thin air to fill in the empty gaps in their 24-hour slow news days.  When they get done having a hissy fit, a 24-hour news cycle feels like a bloody boring week.

        Meanwhile, nothing important is said or done by anyone, least of all our "elected officials" who, in their turn in the past, gave the same silly non-responsive carefully-worded this-can-mean-anything-you-want-it-to-mean answers to every question.

        I like the nifty system of some countries - Great Britain, for one.  Call for an election.  Hold the election 90 days later.

        90 days is adequate time to "get to know" a candidate and a long enough time to make up one's mind about her/his abilities.  Anything longer than 90 days is wasted time and effort.

        In the US, if the Conventions are held the end of July, that gives candidates three months (actually, slightly over 90 days) to run around the country glad-handing, hold the election, and be done with it.  How about holding campaign season to the time between the conventions and election day?  I'd settle for that!  Years and years of campaigning is expensive, has a corrupting influence on everyone, and bores us all silly long before election day gets here.

        Boring us to death for two years with bamboozlingly worded lies and bu!!$h!te is just senseless.

        I get why no one wants to vote after two years of crap being shoved in our brains via a corrupt media's brainwashing techniques.  Really.  I get it.  [I don't like being coerced into voting for the lesser of two evils either, but so far I've still voted.  My conscience doesn't like me very well for being reduced to voting for evil in one form or another.]

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:19:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The cozy club (6+ / 0-)

    normally referred to as the United States Senate needs shaking up.

    They play at being "gentlemen", no name-calling, no pointing fingers because it's just not done.

    Harry, for all he went after Romney, is as bad as the rest at this aspect.

    Get yerself on the teevee machine Harry, and name some fucking names!

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:15:57 PM PDT

    •  Name names? (9+ / 0-)

      This is the same Senate leadership which ripped the filibuster reform Senators in private meetings for daring to actually go on the radio and name names?

      Reid (and the problem isn't JUST Reid, we'd have the same crap happening if Durbin or any of the other senior Democrats were in charge) went after Merkley for doing just that.

      Merkley dares speak out?  Well, can't have that!!

      At Tuesday's closed-door caucus meeting, Merkley was upbraided by Reid for breaking unspoken Senate rules and naming specific senators in a conference call with Democratic activists last week, according to sources familiar with the exchange. "He's pissed off so many in the caucus," said one Democratic aide piqued at Merkley. "He has been having conference calls with progressive donors and activists trying to get them energized. He's named specific Dem Senators. Many are furious. He was called out on Tuesday in caucus and very well could be again today."
       Emphasis mine.  

      The Democratic leadership likes things just the way they are.  And no amount of mild protests from the White House are going to convince that they aren't fine with this mess also.  When Biden and Obama were Senators, they liked the rules just like they are.

      Wake up and smell the coffee.  In 2009 and in 2013 the Democrats chose to write the rules of the Senate so that the Republican's could block everything that came along.  

      Chose to.

      Who the hell wants to be part of a political movement that has as its most obvious feature politically correct prune lipped moral scolds and incessant guilt trips about how much we all suck?

      by Rick Aucoin on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:55:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  remember that the democratic party has pulled (21+ / 0-)

    far to the right.

    the republicans provide excellent cover to our "democratic" president and many "democratic" members of congress who want to cut SS and want austerity.

    we need to make DINOs pay the price as much as the republicans.

    big badda boom : GRB 090423

    by squarewheel on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:16:55 PM PDT

    •  ^^^^^ THIS ^^^^^ (11+ / 0-)

      To repeat to make it sink in:

      the republicans provide excellent cover to our "democratic" president and many "democratic" members of congress who want to cut SS and want austerity.

      we need to make DINOs pay the price as much as the republicans.

      Few things have horrified me more or given me that "chills down my spine" sensation more than hearing Democrats (no less!!!) say that "Social Security needs fixing."

      NO, Social Security does NOT "need fixing!"  No rational person with an IQ higher than a rock believes that!

      We DO, however, need senators and representatives who act like they have a passing acquaintance with elementary education, have actually read and comprehend the constitution, know our own history, and will work for what is best for ALL of us, and that means leaving Social Security the hell alone, fix the few things that need fixing for Medicare (chiefly, they need to set some price controls on the corporate medical and insurance community), and MOST of all, they need to take our medical insurance and care OUT of the hands of corporations.

      Allow a buy-in to what is already a single-payer not-for-profit Medicare would be the most convenient and easiest thing to do.

      Never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, should any Congress Critter of either house broach the subject of "fixing Social Security" ever again without being voted OUT of office!  We don't need Political Stooges fawning over Casino Wall Street a$$e$ and sucking Corporate c@ck$ to be our only choices at the voting booth.  (Really, isn't it enough our Congress Critters can legally do insider trading in Wall Street, thanks to legislation that gives them special trading privileges...???)

      WE The People also need to stop our own polite bowing to and kissing of our politicians' backsides when we know perfectly well they have done something that is not in our favor or for our benefit, but only that of Corporate Criminal Cabals, no matter what weak excuses they have ("this is as good as we'll get for now, so let's pass this legislation and come back after break and improve it").

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:42:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe the best diary ever (8+ / 0-)

    Spine transplants for the entire Dem leadership are easy to wish for, but hard to get.

    However, Daily Kos could be a venue to crowd source bona fide and concrete strategies for action--as a way to change the conversation, even if the political class does not start out agreeing.

    •  they do what they're paid to do, (5+ / 0-)

      and have enough "spine" to not turn on them that feed 'em.

      Which ain't us . . .

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:07:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Congress Critters .... (4+ / 0-)

      ... developed a spine fast enough to stand up to us over Corporate-Controlled health insurance and health care.

      They used those spines admirably to stand up to the people who elected them and wanted a not-for-profit single-payer health plan and not the corporate give-away they chose as the ONLY plan they would look at.

      Insurance, Medical, and Pharmaceutical Corporations are now set to make record-setting profits (just like oil and mercenary and military-industrial corporations are, in some cases, STILL making record-setting profits for their parts in the illegal and unconstitutional Afghanistan and Iraq "wars" based on lies for oil).

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sun May 12, 2013 at 05:09:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bingo... (16+ / 0-)
    it isn't the job of the party in opposition to cooperate with the party in power
    Bingo!  

    Obama and the Dems had supermajorities in 2009, and Obama was mainly concerned with getting the GOP on board with everything.  What a waste of political capital.  

  •  This is the climax stage of Third Way politics (11+ / 0-)

    And there are no electoral solutions.

    From here on out, no one can escape the havoc wrought by the unmitigated Class, Climate and Terror Wars.

    by Words In Action on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:18:23 PM PDT

  •  "Republican Party is not a normal political party" (9+ / 0-)

    No, the GOP has mutated into a bunch of racists, theocrats, Ayn Randists, neo-con warmongers and gun nuts who are not into democracy.  As Weyrich explained a long time ago, "when more people vote Republicans lose".

    Unfortunatelly the Dems in DC (and elsewhere) have not figured out that these are not your dad's Repugs.

    The polarization in American politics today is right up there with the pre-Civil War polarization.

    And as Bill Moyers pointed out on Friday, 44% of Republicans think that an armed revolution may be needed soon.

    Compromising with someone pointing a gun at you is not possible.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:20:26 PM PDT

    •  Oh, the Democrats have figured it out. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sagebrush Bob, blueoasis, Shockwave

      But they need a boogeyman to keep the proles from figuring out that - however much more reasonable on social issues they may be - the Democrats are just as much in the oligarchy's pockets as the Republicans.

      After all, which party did Wall Street donate more - much, much more - money to right up to the 2010 elections?

      Democrats.

      "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

      by Australian2 on Sun May 12, 2013 at 09:58:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Democrats (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, len chaitin

        are the pawl.

        The American political system, since at least 1968, has been operating like a ratchet, and both parties -- Republicans and Democrats -- play crucial, mutually reinforcing roles in its operation.

        The electoral ratchet permits movement only in the rightward direction. The Republican role is fairly clear; the Republicans apply the torque that rotates the thing rightward.

        The Democrats' role is a little less obvious. The Democrats are the pawl. They don't resist the rightward movement -- they let it happen -- but whenever the rightward force slackens momentarily, for whatever reason, the Democrats click into place and keep the machine from rotating back to the left.

        Here's how it works. In every election year, the Democrats come and tell us that the country has moved to the right, and so the Democratic Party has to move right too in the name of realism and electability. Gotta keep these right-wing madmen out of the White House, no matter what it takes.

        (Actually, they don't say they're going to move to the right; they say they're going to move to the center. But of course it amounts to the same thing, if you're supposed to be left of center. It's the same direction of movement.)

        So now the Democrats have moved to the "center." But of course this has the effect of shifting the "center" farther to the right.

        Now, as a consequence, the Republicans suddenly don't seem so crazy anymore -- they're closer to the center, through no effort of their own, because the center has shifted closer to them. So they can move even further right, and still end up no farther from the "center" than they were four years ago.

        “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

        by Sagebrush Bob on Sun May 12, 2013 at 11:08:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And we saw this in 2008-2012 elections, too. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shockwave, Sagebrush Bob, len chaitin

          After all, I don't remember John McCain proposing to voucherise Medicare.

          But then Barack Obama got elected, the "center" shifted further right, and suddenly the new Republican orthodoxy was that Medicare "needed" to be voucherised.

          But most of the public is too ignorant to see the kabuki when it's played out in front of them.

          "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

          by Australian2 on Mon May 13, 2013 at 01:08:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  FDR demonstrated the right way to handle this (16+ / 0-)

    in the time leading up to the mid-term elections of 1934.

    It's not rocket science.

    First and foremost, instead of telling the American people what bad guys the Republicans are, tell us the wonderful things you are going to do -- and then do them.

    Write bills that do things that people want. Introduce them. Fight for them.  Make Republicans stop them.

    I would be amazed that parties don't do this more often if I thought the parties actually gave a rat's ass about the people of this country.

    Democratic Part and FDR in 1934:

    "This is what we did for you."
    "They stood in the way"
    "You would have this if they weren't in the way"
    "Elect more Democrats and get these people out of our way so that we do the things we've been working so hard to do"

    You want a filibuster-proof Senate?  In 1934, that took a 67 seat supermajority, not just 60.  Democrats gained 10 Senate Seats and a 69 seat majority in 1934.

    The gun legislation was a brilliant step in the right direction. Individual votes on individual provisions.  Provision 1 is about x.  Vote for provision 1, you vote for x.  Vote against it, you vote against x.  None of this "I really wanted to vote for x, but I'd have had to vote for g, q, and z, which I could never do  as your faithful representative."

    Keep doing that.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:20:36 PM PDT

    •  FDR was castigated for his strong-arm tactics, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac, ranton

      but he did get a lot of lasting good accomplished.

      •  Those strong-arm tactics were made possible by (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NonnyO, joanneleon, ranton, blueoasis

        the powerful support he had from the electorate. He made the Republicans irrelevant.  

        The hard part is deciding that you care about serving the needs of the electorate, but that's what it takes to bring them in to battle the big-money crowd.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun May 12, 2013 at 05:12:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  FDR left the prescription (4+ / 0-)

      for 2008 sitting right there on the table but today's third way Dems are more interested in trying to discredit him than to use his prescription.  Just read the comments around here and on any given day you'll find someone bashing FDR in order to defend Obama.  And of course Obama is working on undermining one of FDR's greatest achievements for this country, Social Security, so it's no surprise.  On that, they are both way out of step with the American people though.


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Sun May 12, 2013 at 06:52:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  FDR understood the American people, their needs (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ranton, joanneleon, a2nite, len chaitin

        and their dreams.

        He put together policies with those things in mind.
        They mattered to him.
        Americans believed that their President cared deeply about their problems and they were probably right.

        How much of that is true today?

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun May 12, 2013 at 07:31:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He had a lot of (4+ / 0-)

          well, encouragement, to be generous.  FDR didn't get it right at first but the thing he should be credited for is allowing himself to be convinced. And after he was convinced, it sure does look like he dedicated himself to it.  The track record is all there in the history.  Plus he had constant reminders from his wife who spent a lot of time traveling the country and seeing first hand the struggles of ordinary Americans.


          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Sun May 12, 2013 at 08:26:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It starts with giving a damn. (0+ / 0-)

            He did, and he did from the very start.

            He may not have had the details of the New Deal down when he first took office, but that's hardly surprising.  

            Instead of clinging to a pre-determined agenda, he built a legacy.

            Cool, that.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Mon May 13, 2013 at 04:14:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  GOP is shrewd and very calculating... (9+ / 0-)

    The GOP has shown time and time again they are much more adept politically and much shrewder than the Democrats are.  That's one of the main reasons they stay in power.  Trying to shame them or calling them stupid isn't going to stop them.  

    Mitch McConnell and the GOP are the ones that run the Senate from the minority because they know how to work the rules for their agenda.  The Dems keep thinking that if they appeal to the GOP's better nature, they will be reasonable and compromise.  They haven't done it in 20 years, and they ain't startin' now.  Real DC is not like a West Wing episode, you know.  

    Or perhaps the Dems are willing to put with the humiliation of the GOP because they don't want anything to happen either.  

     

    •  The Democratic Party power structure is every bit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      as shrewd. It's Democratic Party voters who aren't.

      The very things most Democratic Party voters blame their elected Dems for doing/not doing are the very things most Democratic voters are guilty of themselves. They are guilty of projection.

      “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

      by Sagebrush Bob on Sun May 12, 2013 at 11:13:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Or, there is another possibility: (31+ / 0-)
    ....it is pretty clear to me that Democrats are misidentifying where the real problem with legislative gridlock lies.
    It may be a more elaborate kabuki than mere gridlock. One analyst I read weighed in with this idea:
    The polarization of politics in the US is a myth.

    While the parties have amplified their rhetorical venom against one another over the last decade, and while they have become more intransigent on policy questions that divide them, over the last few decades both of them have occupied positions increasingly off to the right, as measured on the spectrum of politics in developed nations over the course of the last 100 years.

    There is no Left at all in the US political establishment.

    Further, as surveys of popular opinion on key issues demonstrate with regularity, the two parties now stand well to the right of the electorate.



    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:21:32 PM PDT

  •  I said it before and I'll say it again. (6+ / 0-)

    Harry Reid is the problem at this point in time.  He refused to change the rules so that a filibuster is a filibuster.  

    If the republicans doing this obstruction had to actually filibuster, the public would know who they were and what they were doing, just like they noticed Rand Paul when he actually filibustered.


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:21:35 PM PDT

  •  Their "strategy" is a double dose of stupid (11+ / 0-)

    Democrats are not just allowing GOP obstruction to continue unabated, they also are giving the signal to the American people that they are completely impotent and might as well not even be in office.  

    Why should supporters show up for any future elections when you might as well have a bunch of crash test dummies sitting in for your representatives?

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by richardak on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:22:34 PM PDT

    •  Exactly! Our "politicians" (8+ / 0-)

      are so blinded by the dollar signs of the wealthy elite who bribe them that they are not paying ANY attention to the majority of people in this country.  At some point, people are going to realize that their votes are worthless and our political parties are a sham.  And then . . . . well, we'll just see what happens.

      "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

      by 3goldens on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:47:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because (4+ / 0-)

      their strategy is to talk a good game and do something different entirely and count on the fact that most people will only hear what you said in your speech and your soundbite and will never follow up to see how you voted or what you actually did in other ways.

      Then when election time comes around, the strategy is to just convince everybody that the other guy is Satan himself.

      And the media is complicit because they distract, they don't inform.  Which is why corporate media is sinking like a rock and less and less people watch it every day.  A recent poll showed that 60% of Americans don't trust the corporate news media.

      The propaganda grows every day as the media consolidates and there's more control over it.  I forget who I just heard saying that "the media sides with power".  So they largely do what "power" tells them to do, or not to do.  


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Sun May 12, 2013 at 06:58:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe we should start by....... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    spritegeezer

    calling out our republican/conservative family and friends we tend to give a free ride to avoid conflict

  •  It may come as no surprise but (8+ / 0-)

    I really have more alignment with the Green Party than the Dems as far as policy concerns go. The Democrats even on paper [platform] are not doing it for me, let alone in practice.

    I assume that is sedition talk around here, but if you take the time to compare and contrast, I think you will find we are mostly Greens here according to the stated goals.

    Climate Change

    Single Payer

    Peace

    Sustainability

    Breaking the Corporate Stranglehold

    Social Issues; GLBT inter alia

    •  Once all private money is removed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO, alice kleeman, blueoasis

      ...from the electoral process -- such movements that represent the vision of the people for their country will be viable.

      But, even Albert Einstein pointed out, as long as the wealthy can influence outcomes, the people will never have true representation that benefits them cleanly, without oppressing them in other ways.



      Denial is a drug.

      by Pluto on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:57:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Like I've said before, blaming the Repubs for (12+ / 0-)

    the obstruction is like blaming a wolf for killing a deer.  You can't blame a wolf for being a predator.  And you can't blame a Repub for being an irrational obstructionist.  The blame lies with the Dems and in the Senate specifically with Harry Reid who has refused to change the filibuster rules.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:30:10 PM PDT

  •  Democrats aren't as stupid (13+ / 0-)

    as they want us to believe.

    If Democrats had a basic understanding of the modern Republican party, they would expect obstruction of the most irrational sort.
    Democrats in Washington know this. It's the majority of Democratic Party voters who need a basic understanding of the modern Republican Party AND Democratic Party.

    Both parties are engaged in kabuki theater. The Democratic Party establishment aren't fools. The duopoly knows what it's doing and it's this: playing American voters for fools.

    “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

    by Sagebrush Bob on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:31:51 PM PDT

  •  Calling Out is Not About Motivating Some Repbs to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ActivistGuy, chuckvw

    vote with Dems, but probably more about motivating voters to elect more Dems.

    The fact that almost nothing can convince a Repub to vote with Dems on most issues makes electoral politics the only practical use for calling them out.

    It's fine with me as far as it goes, and it's a tactic Dems are much more likely to use than to promise the voters progressive policies.

    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 Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:32:02 PM PDT

  •  Democratic Party voters (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, goodpractice, joanneleon

    complain about elected Democrats lacking a spine and/or Democrats engaging in stupid political strategy.

    Democratic voters who complain in this manner are guilty of projection.

    “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

    by Sagebrush Bob on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:34:57 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for serious analysis (8+ / 0-)

    This is a very important point:

    Secondly, it isn't the job of the party in opposition to cooperate with the party in power. This is the ridiculous idea that has been hurting Washington for years as the Republican Party has moved further and further towards the fringes of society.
    The consequences are magnified by the strategic choice lof the Dems to compete for the same voters that the Republicans pander to.  This means that there is an ever-growing segment of society, at this point pretty much everything left of center, which has been effectively abandoned by the entire political structure of our society which increasingly pursues that fringe, and that fringe only.  Dem demands for stasis of all left-of-center citizens while that rightmost fringe is pursued cannot be maintained for the long term.  Nature abhors a vacuum, which the Dems are deliberately leaving and trying to finesse by pouting about Republican "obstruction" while constantly moving the policy goalposts rightwards entirely on their own.

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:35:24 PM PDT

  •  Filibuster Reform Is One Thing Democrats (4+ / 0-)

    could do tomorrow.  Another thing is quit giving things the GOP wants easily, make it hard.  I mean democrats give up at the drop of a hat.  Democrats are in charge of the senate why don't they act like it.  The senate could start having hearings on things the house does.  One of those things is having a hearing on how much money the house is wasting voting to repeal ACHA.  Another would be the senate could have hearings on the house cutting the budget for the state department and how this has hurt security.  The senate could try to pass bills that the country wants and go around the GOP and let them scream.  One bill would be raising the minimum wage immediately.  Another would be to pass a bill stopping all cash cows instant money shops.  This are just sanctioned loan sharks that prey on the poor.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Sun May 12, 2013 at 03:39:59 PM PDT

  •  Oliver Cromwell: 'I say you are no Parliament!' (4+ / 0-)

    You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately ... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!

    Ah, the good old days.

  •  The GOP have an incentive (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, blueoasis

    They know the dems will cave to their demands on a lot of issues , and after watching the dems join the GOP in passing bad legislation , the dem base gives up and stops voting imo

    Great diary and I agree with your views , and lets look at the sequester failure , I am an uneducated country boy and the 1st thing I said when they presented it was " why wouldn't the GOP just take all the cuts? "..I find it hard to believe DC dems and Obama are not as bright as I am  

    That goes along with the points in your diary I think , senior dems like the status quo , and just sit back in the goo of procedural mumbo jumbo , and voters give up in disgust

    If dems would at least take a sledge hammer to 1/2 of the traditional senate procedures , stand their ground on dem party platform issues and not allow the GOP to keep chipping away at the middle class , they could steadily grow their voting base , and dems would stop losing after they win

  •  Look forward to the suggestions! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens
  •  You're right, but there's more to it. (8+ / 0-)

    The Dems seem to have no ability to take GOP outrages to the public without schoolmarming, as you said. They don't connect actions like the bill to end overtime pay as evidence that the Republicans seek to destroy the working people of America. They can't bring themselves to point out that this bill attempts to end the 40-hour workweek that American workers literally died for. (Doesn't matter that it won't pass in the Senate or that it will get vetoed if it does. They don't use it prove what the GOP is really after.)

    They are unwilling to frontally attack "inside DC" crap like the filibuster, redistricting, and the committee system in Congress. They are afraid to propose ideas that might lose because they think that would make them look "weak", so they look like they have no core beliefs. They don't know how to show nonthinking "conservative" voters that things like Obamacare care benefits make their lives, better, too. They make "bipartisan" the highest value, well above historic Dem principles and ideas like justice and common sense. They are afraid to call the ridiculous ridiculous or the stupid stupid, or the lie a lie.

    They don't follow up on their threats (see Filibuster) and end up looking like weak, rudderless fools. Instead we get stern letters. Even here we get petitions to "tell the House leaders/Repbublicans to xxxx" as if they care or feel threatened by a bunch of online names. Like our elected officials, we should be focusing like a laser on how we can destroy them, not plead with them.

    The bottom line is, Dems just can't accept that the current GOP is the enemy, not some sparring partner. The Reps show no respect to the Dems, but the Dems seem to think they'll win the day by being "gentlemen". Which gives further credence to those who believe that in their hearts, Dems love Reaganomics as passionately as the other side. Just when we need warriors we get a bunch of lickspittles.

    •  Yes, this.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias
      Even here we get petitions to "tell the House leaders/Repbublicans to xxxx" as if they care or feel threatened by a bunch of online names. ... we should be focusing like a laser on how we can destroy them, not plead with them.
      Seriously, how the hell are petitions going to do any good?  All they do is provide lists of names and email addresses for our Congress Critters to spam us.

      Email, phone, fax are the three best methods to let our thoughts be known.

      I can't say my one senator is much of a Democrat, even if she does put a D behind her name (medical and insurance corporations are her big friends).  She's been voting far too conservatively for my tastes..., and her email responses to my emails are generally three pages of a political speech full of "these words could mean anything" and none of her email responds to whatever I wrote to her... and I forgot what I said, forgot to keep a copy, so I don't even know what she's replying to.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sun May 12, 2013 at 05:42:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll tip and rec when I see the suggestions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbsoul, NonnyO

    Frankly, unless management told you that your diary had to be a specific length, I'm not sure why you left us hanging. What, do you expect us NOT to come back and read your diary next week unless you tease it?

    Tell me something I don't know next time, please. This time, the glass is half empty for me. Maybe it's because I've been grading online assignments all afternoon

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Columbine, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Boston (h/t Charles Pierce)

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:00:27 PM PDT

    •  Call them, email, fax them all day long (5+ / 0-)

      Make them do their job - tell them to break the gridlock, keep their hands of SS, create some jobs, protect consumers, etc.  

      Stop coddling them, its what they want.  They want you to throw up your hands and say "we'll have to wait til the next election".   That allows them to work on their corporate donors agenda while telling you they can't do anything for you.

      Stop falling for their excuses and get on the phone.

      "If you can't take their money, eat their food, drink their booze and then vote against them, you have no business being up there."

      by Betty Pinson on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:05:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your analysis has taken us one step closer (6+ / 0-)

    to an understanding of the root of the problem.  We need to continue our inquiry beyond that, however.  Fundamentally, the power of organized money has grown so great that it threatens the ability of the people to govern themselves as a Constitutional Republic.  "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob" (FDR, 10/31/36, Madison Square Garden).  

    The Republicans are the party of organized money.  They actually believe in their own ideological bullshit.  The Democrats, on the other hand, believe in creating the the necessary legislative checks and balances to enable ordinary working people to prosper in a market economy, i.e. an updated application of New Deal principles.  Their natural constituencies believe in these things.  But they are also deeply dependent on the money power, in order to fund their campaigns and to transmit their point of view in the media.

    After the 2008 elections, our party controlled the White House and both houses of Congress.  But they didn't pass the programs to which they were pledged.  We did, however, get some significant half-way measures in health care, jobs, etc.  Our bloggers have often been divided between those who say "Support the Party, we're getting there," and those who say "We've been sold out."

    The truth is more complicated than that, of course.  Most of us agree that we need 1) More Democrats, and 2) Better Democrats.  But also, as a Movement, we must 3) Make them do it.

    Even the best of our Democratic officeholders are stuck in a system that ties their hands.  Unless you're in a safe district, you're taking a tremendous risk in supporting crucial measures such as public option, etc.  As Democrats, we must force this change from within.  As a Progressive Movement, we must force this change on them, from the outside.  

    I understand that I wear two hats, as both a Democrat and as a Progressive.  As a  Movement Progressive I understand that the President is not "one of us."  But he is certainly part of the solution, not part of the problem.  He is our ally.  We need to develop the sophistication to work effectively with our allies,  supporting or opposing as appropriate.

    Above all, we must work to end the stranglehold of moneyed interests, which has grown so extreme that we cannot be sure if our children will live in a Constitutional Democracy, or in a Plutocracy with a veneer of legality, "Plutocracy with a human face."

    And so, I conclude that it is no accident that this "isn't working."  Most Democrats want it to work, but they don't want to incur the enmity of the money interests upon which they depend.  We will continue to get unsatisfactory results until we force the system to strip the money power of the privileges it has built up over the last several decades.

    •  I agree partially, except I think the Dems also (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      goodpractice, gregsullmich, blueoasis

      are a party of organized money.

      They have to be, in order to win elections.  And the sources of that money influence their actions in office.

      Big donors often donate to both parties, or both candidates.  Perhaps in different amounts, but they want to have influence no matter who wins.

      Those with significant money/clout are the ones whose interests are being served by the two major parties in government.

    •  Problem: (4+ / 0-)
      But also, as a Movement, we must 3) Make them do it.
      This, clearly, does not work.  How many emails, calls, faxes did everyone send before that crappy "health insurance" bill passed?  We were first urging, then asking, begging, demanding, begging some more, angrily demanding, begging again and again..., and not getting what we knew was possible and reasonable and sensible: a health care system like civilized countries already have.

      Clearly, "making them do it" did not work.  Our prez and Congress Critters FINALLY grew a spine..., and stood up to us and all our begging, asking, begging, demanding, begging to get a decent health care system.

      Q.  What kind of a bill did everyone want?  
      A.  A not-for-profit single payer health insurance system.

      Q.  What did we get - along with the excuse "the other side won't let us pass anything good"...?
      A.  An insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical corporate benefit package that will have them receiving record-setting profits for decades to come... unless someone takes our health care OUT of corporate hands where the only thing that matters is corporate profits.

      Now........ WHY was it so important for a for-profit health insurance and health care system to be passed, and then get $COTU$ to say it's okay for Congress' mandated law that forces us - by law- to participate in their for-profit system...?  How/Why is it reasonable and constitutional for us to be forced to contribute to the profit margins of insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical corporations...?

      I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.
       ~ Thomas Jefferson

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sun May 12, 2013 at 05:59:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's too late to "crush in its birth" this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ranton, NonnyO

        moneyed "aristocracy."  Contrary to Jefferson's advice, we have allowed it to grow to a position of dominance over the past three decades or so.

        So, here we are.  How do we put this plutocratic Pandora back into its box?  How do we break the power of this entrenched money power?  We have failed to "make them (Congress) do it" thus far.  We have our work cut out for us.  This will be a long-term struggle.  We must grow a movement, and develop new strategies and tactics.  

        We must not concede that we cannot "make them do it" just because we  failed thus far.  We are in the early phases of a long and arduous struggle.  I wish I knew precisely how we are going to accomplish this goal, but we will learn these things as we go.  This conversation we are having, is an essential part of the process of building this Movement.  I hope next month's NN will help us focus our efforts.

        •  Well, I'm old... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryduck

          I don't anticipate any of this will be accomplished - if/when it is accomplished - until long after I'm dead.  [I plan to live to age 100, in spite of health issues, but that's only 33 years from now for me.  No matter how I look at it, I'm on the short side of my life span and the slopes are greased from here on out.  That's being realistic, not maudlin.]

          I don't buy into the school of "make me do it" - as Obama said should happen if we saw him straying off course in his '08 acceptance speech.  That was stupid grandstanding, worthy of only his immature predecessor.

          Whether it's Obama or another politician in the Senate or House, if any of them were truly moral and ethical people like only one, maybe two, seem to be (along the lines of Bernie Sanders, for instance), they would not have to be "made" to do what's right for the citizens of this nation.

          If our Congress Critters were moral and ethical people, they would just DO what is right because passing moral and ethical laws and upholding the constitution (which they swear to do in their oath of office) comes as naturally as breathing for them.

          They would not have to think about it, weigh options, whine about bipartisan compromises, figure out who could pay them more money to make it worth their while, etc., they'd just DO what is right..., starting with repealing and undoing as much of the unconstitutional and illegal legislation that was done during the Bushista years - oddly enough, starting with repealing Gramm-Leach-Bliley (which repealed Glass-Steagall), one of the last pieces of legislation signed into effect by Bill Clinton, then work their way in methodical order through the 'office of faith-based initiatives,' Patriot Act, AUMF, MCA '06, FISA fiasco '08, MCA '09, and officially give us our rights back, starting with habeas corpus and our right to privacy in spite of the internet's invasion of our privacy while trying to sell us crap.  [For good measure, they should include anti-misogyny and pro-choice laws, and equal rights for the LGBT citizens among us.]

          Oh, I know full well what MUST be done to rectify some of the atrocities of the last fifteen years (of things that can be rectified, that is - people losing their lives for the sake of lies for oil can't ever be rectified)..., but legislators move only as fast as speeding glaciers..., not at the speed of my thoughts.

          Congress only works fast, like within two hours of time, when they have passed all the illegal and unconstitutional legislation..., and then keep on renewing "temporary" laws (see the "debate, voting, and passage" of FISA fiasco '08 - all accomplished before noon one Friday morning in the House, then hand-carried to the Senate that same day..., that one left me breathless as I watched it on C-SPAN, as did the following week's vote in the Senate; the only reason they waited until the following Wednesday is that most were already out of town campaigning on Friday afternoon, and there was a funeral on Mon or Tue for one of the senators who had just died..., and all that after the bill had been voted out of existence several weeks before that; it was brought back to life like a Frankenstein's monster, thanks to Nancy Pelosi, the same person who took impeachment off the table, along with refusing to let investigations into lies and war crimes proceed).

          Waiting for Congress to actually DO what's right for all of us?  Yeeeeeeeeeah.  Good luck with that.  I hope you have years of time to wait while you keep on fighting to get back what Congress so cavalierly gave away and gave up without our permission.  It will be a while before Congress Critters accomplish anything good now that corporate fascism has a firm foothold on the government and are being sewn to their own private Treasury Teats to receive our money.

          Who the hell, in their right mind, without being coerced or bribed, makes temporary illegal and unconstitutional laws?  How Orwellian will they get before they permanently pass these unconstitutional pieces of shite legislation that should never have been passed in the first place?

          I'd like to see these things rectified before I die in the next 33 years, but I'm pretty sure I won't live long enough to see these positive changes where we go back to getting our constitutional rights back take place (if they ever do, that is).

          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Mon May 13, 2013 at 01:48:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes x 1 billion (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO
            Whether it's Obama or another politician in the Senate or House, if any of them were truly moral and ethical people like only one, maybe two, seem to be (along the lines of Bernie Sanders, for instance), they would not have to be "made" to do what's right for the citizens of this nation.

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:23:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  You have "nailed" the conversation that will bring (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gregsullmich

      FDR Democrats back to the party they have left. There are very few in Democratic leadership who can talk THAT language...they really do NOT get it.

      People long for a party that will go on the offensive...that was what initially attracted many to the Tea Party when they thought it was a grassroots popular uprising.  Some have realized they were played...more would if they heard the right CONVERSATION.

      Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

      by ranton on Sun May 12, 2013 at 08:58:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You say (0+ / 0-)

    that you don't want to cite here all of the instances of Republican obstructionism, and then you, essentially, blame Democrats for not calling out Republicans.

    Well, then, since most of us on this site are Democrats (presumably yourself, included), perhaps it's time that we Democrats did try to more effectively call them out for their shamelessly blatant obstructionism, here and now and going forward, until we succeed in changing Republican behavior.

    Here's a great editorial from the New York Times on their Editorial Page Editor's blog, which does detail Republican obstructionism since President Obama has taken office:

    http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/...

    Of course, neither they, nor you have said what to do about this.

    It will be interesting to hear exactly how you think Democrats can pressure Republicans to reduce their obstructist ways.

    In my opinion, one of the things we Democrats (all of us, not just the President, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi) need to do is to find a way to MORE EFFECTIVELY call out Republican obstructionism, so that it's clear to everyone why and how the will of the People of this country is so consistently being undermined and disrespected.

    In addition, you say:
    “Their job (Republicans), as they see it and Democrats should too, is to oppose everything until they regain power.”

    Couldn't disagree with you more on that. Democrats should not be temper-tantrum-like children blindly opposing everything when a Republican is in the White House just because they are a Republican. That would be ill-advised, in my opinion, for numerous reasons. And neither should Republicans.
    You are correct, however, in putting aside the matter whether they should be that way and, instead, dealing with the reality of the fact that that's how they are.

    One thing that's glaringly obvious to most progressives like myself is that today's Democratic Party, for whatever reason, has done a terrible job in dealing with Republican obstructionism.

  •  That useless sack of shit, Harry Reid = problem. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango, blueoasis, len chaitin

    And the Democrats who allow him to continue to allow the Repugs to obstruct are the problem.  

    If the Democrats refuse to fix the problem, then they are unworthy of governing.

  •  One cavil -- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, blueoasis

    "We've seen example after example of their hatred for everyone who is not an elderly, white, rural, conservative, wealthy heterosexual male". Really? They're organizing Death Panels for the elderly as fast as they can -- due to their diligence people on Medicare/Medicaid are being denied chemotherapy right now. Rural? Only if they're not agribiz, which owns most of the farmland now. Pretty much the only thing they don't hate is oligarchs -- the rest is just Goebbels playbook.

  •  L.B.J. (7+ / 0-)

    Robert Caro was on one of the comedy central shows recently.  He told of when LBJ was advised not to fight for the civil rights bill because it would use up too much presidental capital LBJ replied - what's the use of the presidency if your not going to use it.

    Obama needs to learn how to use it.

  •  Republicans are purposely trying to get rid of our (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wdrath, blueoasis, len chaitin

    form of government, and Dems act as though they don't know we are in a war, despite obvious examples of it over the last 30 years and in particularly in the last 4. They are stopping everything, but Reid's excuse is what will happen if republicans gain the majority. Harry Reid, it's obvious, they don't need to be in the majority due to your failure to make meaningful changes in filibuster rules. At least we could get nominees confirmed in the senate. Maybe if you did that, we could take more actions against this criminal republican organization. They are criminally compromised.

  •  This guy could be a FPer here (6+ / 0-)

    Dead On analysis...just a presentation of facts...

    “Since Obama was elected President, the Democrats have lost nine governorships, 56 members of the House and two Senate seats,” Doug Sosnik, the political director in Bill Clinton’s White House, writes in a new memo.

    Obama neither directly campaigned nor raised money for down-ticket Democrats last year. The post-election creation of Organizing for Action to push his own agenda has upset party regulars because it makes the Democratic National Committee less relevant than ever, squeezes fundraising for other Democratic groups and emphasizes issues that put moderates in a bind.

    “Obama not only got elected by running against the party establishment, but he has governed as a President who does not emphasize his party label,” writes Sosnik. “It’s hard to be a change agent if you are lugging around a party label in an era where voters are so strongly disaffected from our institutions.”

    • Millennials, born 1981 to 1994, and Generation X’ers, born 1965 to 1980, are voting Democratic, but a plurality identify themselves as independents — which makes them less reliable.

    Sosnik notes that many Republicans are more concerned about losing in a primary than a general election, which makes compromise harder.

    “Furthermore,” he writes, “there’s not a single member of either party who fears paying a political price for not falling in line with the President, making it even more difficult to get members to cast difficult votes.”

    http://dyn.politico.com/...

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:25:48 PM PDT

  •  Why? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, goodpractice, wonmug, blueoasis
    Democrats have been trying this for years and have nothing to show for it at the ballot box or in terms of legislative victories or nominations. So what's the point?
    1.  The get to be patted on the back on the cocktail circuit for seeming reasonable. They also don't like being on the offensive where they can be questioned.  They like to react.
    2.  They are gerrymandered too, so the most risk averse option is their preference.
    3. They have no interest in some of the suggestions I suspect you will make.  This puts their future "lobbying jobs" in jeopardy.  Democrats don't feel as though they will be rewards for rocking the boat.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:37:28 PM PDT

  •  The Dems have been losing for decades now. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, bryduck

    I keep reading that the Democratic Party needs to return back to some time in the past, but as long as I can remember the party has been in defensive mode against the Republican onslaught. When was the last time the Dems were effectively on the offensive for any length of time?

    I think one can easily make the case that the party is filled with people who have been losing the argument to the Republicans for a long time and yet continue to insist that they have the answers. This is part of the reason why we are stuck arguing about the deficit even though most people polled claim to still want lots of programs.

    There isn't going to be some grand pure party. The 21st Century will be about the Obama coalition and that means a healthy slice of votes from people not well liked here at DK.

    Congress matters and we need to play well in all regions in order to have enough votes in Congress.

    State Legislatures matter and decennial election cycles must be seen as absolutely critical regardless of which party holds the Executive Branch. Local races matter as well as they are the most likely spots to develop future candidates for higher offices.

    Finally, principles  and policies are a must, but alone do not win elections. If people voted as they poll on issues, we would live in a vastly different country and not having this discussion for the umpteenth time.

    The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:41:08 PM PDT

    •  The early-mid 1960s. (0+ / 0-)
      When was the last time the Dems were effectively on the offensive for any length of time?
      Since Nixon stripped the Dems of the blue collar vote in 1968, we've/they've been playing a slow game of decline punctuated by quick bursts of decay.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Mon May 13, 2013 at 11:26:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Changing filibuster rules if only to get (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    len chaitin

    nominations confirmed, is more than Dems have now. I read "it wouldn't help in the house". Is the house doing anything now? If the republicans win the majority, "they will benefit from the filibuster rule change". obviously they don't need to obtain the majority, nothing is getting done anyway. And nothing will get done in 8 years. If the republicans do regain the majority, they will change filibuster rules anyway. But Dems cowardice, or whatever reason they aren't fighting back, could make it more likely repubs regain the majority. As far as I am concerned, certain Dems have obstructed Obama for over 4 years. There are wolves in sheep clothing among the Dems.

  •  I think what bothers me the most is there is no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, blueoasis

    turn about. No fair play.

    When the Democrats controlled the House and the President lied a nation into war and violated the Geneva conventions as well as our own laws about torture, impeachment was "off the table." The GOP had so politicized the process that Pelosi apparently didn't want to get anywhere near it.

    And now we are hearing impeachment calls for talking points that were not able to forsee the future. It is beyond obstruction, it is the deliberate destruction of our government and its ability to actually govern.

    We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

    by Susan Grigsby on Sun May 12, 2013 at 04:48:57 PM PDT

  •  If more Democrats did the job they said they would (5+ / 0-)

    then real Dems like Warren, Boxer and Whitehouse wouldn't be such notable beacons of hope and rationality.

    There isn't the slightest reason why the heat and light that Senator Warren brings to the table couldn't be emulated, and even initiated, by her Dem colleagues, but way too many of her colleagues have the same f'ed up allegiance to corporate puppet masters as their disgusting r cohorts.  

    I just don't understand why so many Dems are so willing to play the part of the helpless victim. What a wussified position to always be in. Harry Reid should have been mortified out of his job by now. I don't know what all can be pinned directly to him and what can't, but there's no doubt whatsoever that his tenure as leader has been a total nothing burger and an embarrassment of Dem capitulation to r bullying.

    Certainly, Mr. Brooklyn BB's analysis and conclusion is correct.

    In my view, the more important problem is how Democrats respond to obstruction. If Democrats had a basic understanding of the modern Republican party, they would expect obstruction of the most irrational sort.

    But what if they absolutely expect every single incident of irrational behaviour and from the moment they are sworn in, or very soon after having gotten the inside scoop on how things really work, have no intention of doing a damn thing about it?

    Elizabeth Warren shouldn't be such a rare gem. She should be far closer to an outstanding frontline player among frontline players. The fact that she is that rare gem says much about the exceedingly low courage, conviction and perseverance of the majority of her Dem colleagues.  

    The crappy r's are going to beat the Dems relentlessly with that lack of courage, conviction and perseverance. And there's the nitwit Harry Reid again, saying that pretty darn soon it's going to be time to do something about it. Whatever.

  •  The problem as I see it (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    imicon, goodpractice, ranton, blueoasis

    It seems that the main mission for 99% of elected officials is to get re-elected.
    A lot of this could be cured by fair redistricting and having only publicly financed campaigns.

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Sun May 12, 2013 at 05:02:54 PM PDT

  •  If gridlock saves us from the Grand Bargain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, bryduck

    it ain't all bad, although it is pathetic that the crazy Right is saving us from a Democratic president's conservative impulses.

    The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Sun May 12, 2013 at 05:13:14 PM PDT

    •  Obama is a left (0+ / 0-)

      of center democrat on most issues actually.

      he is not with us on some education policies, civil liberties policies, and some aspects of marijuana.

      But he has done a lot against the winds of business/insanity.

      Lots of progressive epa regulations

      Obamacare (that sets up for single payer, expands medicaid to all poor and native americans, SCHIP, strengthens medicare and removes medicare fraud, provides many options for health care, including a non-profit GEHA option competiting with the other options)

      If nancy pelosi were speaker again, she would pass the 400 bills that was Obama's 2008 left of center agenda in 2009 but died in the senate thanks  to republicans and harry reid. Obama is trying hard to make her speaker so he can get that all done.

      •  He is also not with us on Social Security. n/t (0+ / 0-)

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Mon May 13, 2013 at 01:44:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know why you are saying that (0+ / 0-)

          there is basis

          to be fair though, Obama supported raising the cap several times.

          the republicans would never vote for it.

          republicans would never agree to a deal that supports making the wealthy pay their fair share.

          obama knows this. He is engaging in theatre that can harm republicans. the chained cpi won't pass.

          The fiscal cliff deal ultimately backfired on republcans.

          republicans caved on the debt limit this time.

          Ultimately, a situation will occur where pelosi can be brought back as speaker.

          http://politicalwire.com/...

          •  It will hurt the Democrats as well now that (0+ / 0-)

            they have actual proof of Obama wanting to cut social security.  You don't think their 2014/2016 campaign won't include things like "Obama supported cutting your Social Security (insert video clip of Obama on the Chained CPI)"?

            You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

            by Throw The Bums Out on Mon May 13, 2013 at 10:37:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  BBB I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

    I expected to agree with you when I started the diary.

    But your basic assumption is wrong: that obstruction is IRRATIONAL.  And as we can read in so many other diaries, it's basically unfair in some way.  

    What makes everybody think that obstruction is unfair, dirty pool?  It's part of democracy.

    "Oh, but they are taking it to greater lengths than usual!"  So?  

    They're not breaking the rules.  If they are irrational, it's in not accepting deals that are good for THEM rather than US.  But severe obstruction as a strategy in a two-party system is a natural emergent outgrowth of the rules.  

    Actually, I believe that when WE as a party have obstructed less, that hasn't made us better than them.  

    This kind of thinking weakens us, this constant complaining about how unfair they are.  Feeling morally superior is a booby prize.  

  •  One of the best posts ever!!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, 4mygirls

    Brooklynbadboy you really nailed it and told it like it is. Great post.

    In my view, the more important problem is how Democrats respond to obstruction. If Democrats had a basic understanding of the modern Republican party, they would expect obstruction of the most irrational sort. Furthermore, their response to it would be something beyond complaining about it and then sitting on their hands.
    I hope this post stirs the pot and Dems listen and act.
  •  A populist revolt is the answer (6+ / 0-)

    This is a long diary but I have not seen reference to the obvious answer.  The USA is ready for a populist grass roots rebellion against the Rep /  Dem money party.  It is not going to come from Washington but it could come from a lot of people using the Dem Party as the vehicle.  Occupy Wall Street showed how dry this tinder is.

    There is nothing new under the sun

    by emersonian on Sun May 12, 2013 at 05:34:39 PM PDT

  •  What really (5+ / 0-)

    pisses me off is the the failure of Democrat's both in the WH and congress to use their majority when they do win. Democracy in our system is a majority rules system.  They also seem to marginalize and work against the more liberal or progressive Democratic congress people that do get elected.

    When an asshole like Max Baucus gets to write along with for profit health care lobbyists a supposed health care reform bill or the presidents appoints (resurrects) an old creepy RW ideologue like Simpson as head of an economic committee hell bent on austerity and cuts to our social programs I just don't by the lame obstruction excuse.

    I know what the RW maniac's are about. I'm also hip to the Democratic game of using these irrational bat shit crazy people to get their own nefarious agenda implemented. What choice do we have?

    How about Harry with his endless procedural rules?  He sure manages to pull procedural rules out of his butt to get any bill the owners of the place want passed. The insult to injury being they always call these injurious bills 'reform'. So what's with the by-partisany bs?  

    The Dems in power need to start fighting for 'we the people' for our rights civil and human, The Great Writ, democratic  principles and the common good of our society and people. Ask me as long as the Third Way , formerly known as the DLC runs the party machine we will get no better Dems. We will get more of the same bad kabuki as long as we vote out of fear and do not stand up in mass and say enough.

    Make the Democrat's fish in their own pool for votes instead of using the Repugs for cover. Better Dems don't stand a chance in this by-partisan screw/ coup. This lot sucked as the loyal opposition during the Bush Regime and they suck as the majority. They sure do know how to burn their majority when it proves to be against the 'powers that be' wishes and money.

    Trouble is even if people vote for Democrat's they really are not choosing between two sides instead their getting weasels who fly under the 'better then' banner. Most people get to a point where it's irrelevant who wins or loses. The degrees of our oppression are not hooked up to the electoral process other then 'Do you want a vagina probe and a dose of theocracy along with your sacirifice, austerity, privatization, police state and endless immoral wars?

    'That's why I'm richer then you'  Jamie Dimon
    'In America we do not disparage wealth creation'  Barrack Obama

         

  •  Consensus: We're screwed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    From reading the comments it's obvious that we, the best and the orangist, think we're just plain old fashioned screwed.  Now what?  

    Meanwhile I'll take the "The 25 Hottest Halloween Costumes in Sports" square for $100.  Halloween?  Really?  It's Memorial Day silly wabbit.  

    A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

    by YellerDog on Sun May 12, 2013 at 06:10:44 PM PDT

  •  When you can say the following: (0+ / 0-)

    If I proposed a resolution that puppies are cute, Republicans would say no.  If I proposed a resolution that the sky is blue, Republicans would say no.

    It should be obvious that you cannot negotiate with Republicans.

  •  Harry Reid - Late Comment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, len chaitin

    I have to say, I am sick and tired of hearing Harry Reid belly-ache and issue idle threats about the Republicans filibuster abuse.  An abuse that he had a chance to stop in January but chose not to.  No pity for Harry!  We need a majority leader with a spine!

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Sun May 12, 2013 at 06:20:35 PM PDT

  •  late (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    Sorry to be so late. Recced.

    Looking forward to part 2, bbb.

  •  1 thing GOP fears is the Obama campaign machine (0+ / 0-)

    He needs to announce he is going to send his top campaign staff into the 12-16 moderate House districts held by the GOP (mostly in NJ, Pennsylvania, NY, Florida, MI, IL, and Cali). If these House members think they'll lose their seats because of obstructionism the'll start to jump ship.

    Blue dogs side with the GOP if they feel that voting with the Democratic party leadership will cost them their seats. Until a similar dynamic exist in the House, the House won't work with the President. If the GOP leadership feels that if they block a vote it will cost some of their members their seats, only then will they cut deals.

    This is the only way to break the Solid GOP House, fear of losing seats.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Sun May 12, 2013 at 06:35:51 PM PDT

  •  Still barking up the wrong tree.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, Fredamae, len chaitin
    Democrats have to change the incentives for Republicans.
    Democratic voters have to change the comfortable and corrupt status quo who represent and lead their party. It does no good to endlessly harp about what current Democratic politicians need to do about Republicans when they obviously will never do it.

    You want change? First change the Democratic Party.

    The modern Democrat is one who promotes old GOP ideas and calls them progressive in comparison to new GOP ideas.

    by masswaster on Sun May 12, 2013 at 07:35:35 PM PDT

  •  Dems need to obstruct: A full frontal assault .. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    on the GOP in defenseof  middle class and those striving to better themselves -the workers in this country

    First order of business: Oppose "bipartisanship" make it a costly word. How to do it without seeming to be obstructionist?

    Don't.

    Say it and mean it. We are obstructing the pounding that of 99% of America has been hit with by the repubilicans corporate shills - for decades now

    Obstruct the GOP as one would any party that is squeezing the life out of working Americans.

    Anyone defending co-operation with a party willing to gut SS, medicare and medicaid (and lie about it), the EPA, public schools, fair labor practices...the entire list of republican 1%er policies is my enemy.

    That would rock the GOP's world.

    Democrats have to change the incentives for Republicans. That is the only way to defeat obstruction. That is the only way to defeat Republicans in committee, on the legislative floor, and at the ballot box. To make opposition costly. I'll make some simple suggestions in part 2 next week.
    Shock the GOP completely. Denounce them at every possible opportunity. On the floor of the House & Senate. Anywhere there are people and MSM to hear it.

    Declare war on the GOP in defense of the middle class and be proud of it. Defend Jobs for Americans

    There are literally hours upon hours of footage proving the ownership of the GOP by the 1% and other anti-American anti-worker legislation.

    Use it all.

    Full frontal assualt in defense of the working people - the middle class is the cause.

    That's what I think would change everything overnight

    Thx brooklynbadboy

    rant over

     

  •  Well, I just cannot wait until next week! Teaser! (0+ / 0-)

    "Three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon, and The Truth." Buddha

    by Grandson named me Papa on Sun May 12, 2013 at 08:21:43 PM PDT

  •  Seriously? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    The current GOP obstructions are no worse than the Democrats when a Republican was in the White House. Looks like politics as usual.

  •  Great analysis Brooklyn Bad Boy! (0+ / 0-)

    You are spot on! The main reasons that I think Democrats let Repugs get away with it are: Democrats are too stupid to put a stop to it, they have no confidence that they CAN put a stop to it, they don't have the spine to stop it, or they are too wrapped up in self-interest. I'm not sure which order to put those reasons in. Meanwhile, the Republicans are smart enough to realize this, and they have the guts to use it against us Dems. In other words, we are our own worst enemies. But, that's usually true anyway.

  •  Exactly. If Democrats came out with (0+ / 0-)

    A policy paper that said breathing is a good idea, 87% of the Republican Party would turn blue and pass out 3 minutes later.  Why are Democratic leadership surprised at this, and why do they keep expecting voters to be outraged by this?  Why don't they take advantage of republican intransigence instead of pandering to it??

  •  This view is overdue (0+ / 0-)

      Too many R-cons for their own reasons have been zero sum going back to the '90s with Gingrich pounding D  Jim Wright and winning the Speakership in'94.

         But let us not sleep Team Obama. These neo-Gingrich guys were handily beaten twice, under his and Michelle Obama's leadership, in hot, all out, world transfixing national races, while picking up seats in Congress. Let us bask in the glow and reflect on the winning lessons.  
         It is the D-pros who have been slow, on a host of views, policy and tactics, way before The Obamas came on the scene.
        Gore lost the war 'in the streets' of Miami, after pulling out Rev Jackson and co, protesting 'butterfly ballets', trying to get cute and curry moderate favor. Carey got jacked in Ohio.
         The President does not casually get ahead of the troops; at least not this one.
           And that is why, most Americans are comfortable and confident in the Obama's steady progressive leadership and toughness.
       They let the process play out. He makes a warm and brilliant trip to Israel.  Gets things done in the region, declares  himself a politician, 'Like most you have to 'make us' do things.' This is what we have to know.
        Heading into these off year races and the mid terms. Is time for some new realistic thinking.  

  •  Looking forward to Part 2. (0+ / 0-)

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Mon May 13, 2013 at 07:21:38 AM PDT

  •  Dems in leadership (0+ / 0-)

    making "response" decisions are Not stupid and inept.  They raise Millions, in many instances are lawyers etc who managed to "rise to wealth" through politics and "winking/nodding" with their donors just as well as the GOP, clearly.

    Their response is not an "accident" nor a "surprise".  It's more concerning to me to understand that they Do understand and are Willing to "Help let it happen".
    Then "try" to finger-point their way out of it for our benefit and comfort.
    "Grid-Lock via Obstruction" is a constituent problem that is there by corporatized congressional design, imo.....Yes, if the Dems truly worked "for the people" it would still be difficult, but not as bad as it is---there were other choices the Dems could have made to reach a completely different outcome, especially during just this past decade.
    If you examine their Fully Bi-Partisan votes-Only on just the last 2 "biggies"--The STOCK Act and Restoring Sequester funding back to the FAA, with Rep Schakowsky openly admitting on MSNBC that indeed "congress votes for personal self-interest"?
    If just these two Blantant examples Can't rip the facade down, I don't know what will.
    Dems are as much to blame as the GOP in Far too many instances than not.
    We must stop "hand-wringing" and asking "what is wrong with them, are they dumb?" and look in the mirror and ask What's wrong with Me" that I'm still in denial about our members we sent to congress, omo.
    Voting records, not MSM talking points, tell the truth. And thery go back a Long way.

  •  Stop Cooperating (0+ / 0-)

    The problem is deeper than that. The problem is that Democrats are unwilling to use their own power to block things.

    For example, Democrats did not filibuster over DOMA. Here is a perfect example of where the filibuster is a legitimate use of power: to uphold the rights of a minority and protect that minority from abuse by the majority. Yet, Democrats never tried to mount a filibuster.

    Democrats caved in on the tax issue. In 2010, Republicans demanded and obtained a continuation of the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Not only did Democrats fail to stand up against this, Leader Harry Reid went ahead and put their bill up for a vote. This was entirely crazy because Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate and did not need to do this. They could have rescinded the tax cuts (to the benefit of all) and forced that vote through regardless of Republican opposition. But they didn't because there's no will on the part of Democrats to do the things the Democratic Party stands for.

    The brutal truth is that we are to blame for that. We have not been willing to use the primary system to replace Democrats that go along with Republican policy. Look at President Obama's re-election. His primaries were all non-competitive. It was virtually impossible even to get non-pledged delegates to the national convention. So, where's the leverage? Where is it we get our people to stand up for what we believe in?

    And, not to be overly subtle, but as a progressive, I want to make progress. I'm not interested in progress because I have an ideology. I'm interested in progress because I want to see our country do better. I want our future to be better. When our own politicians do so poorly in Washington, they aren't just offending me. They are undermining the country. They are instituting bad policy for the United States. It's a complete fail.

    We  have to be tougher on this issue. When we see someone signing up for things like chained CPI, then we should immediately move to replace that person at the ballot box. Opposition should form with the intent of replacing that person in the next cycle. That's why I've singled out Sen. Patty Murray as someone that can be replaced by a better Democrat when she runs again. That's how we overcome this problem.

  •  Please Stop Conflating (0+ / 0-)

    radical and reactionary. I agree with a lot of what you're trying to say here. And I think when you repeatedly use the word "radical" in your diary you're trying to convey how reactionary, bigoted, patriarchal, and militarist too many Republicans (and Democrats) in Congress are. It might seem just a linguistic quibble, and maybe it is, but I think it's a linguistic quibble with important implications.

    Radical means to the root, and many of us progressives also call ourselves radical, meaning we want fundamental changes in the direction of equality, multiculturalism, participatory democracy, economic democracy, feminism, pacifism, etc. There's nothing wrong with holding positions that the mainstream doesn't yet hold: most progressive social change movements in the US: from the movement to ban whipping in the Navy to anti-war movements to the early labor movement to the abolitionists to the suffragists to the civil rights movements to second wave feminists to LGBT liberation to disability rights activists etc have all propounded and struggled for fundamental social changes that were once considered radical and we should proudly champion and build on these legacies.

    The problem is not that too many Republicans and Democrats are being radical: quite the reverse. The problem is that too many are acting to defend and indeed often intensify systems of domination, exploitation, overt and institutionalized violence, and unfair privilege. I call that reactionary, quite the opposite of radical.

    One thing I've never understood is why progressives in Congress don't campaign against reactionary positions their opponents take. In the Senate, if they wanted to impose a cost for being reactionary, they would continually be putting forward popular measures against unjust privilege (the financial transaction tax or wealth taxes for example) and putting opponents in the position to repeatedly and in public vote against them. They could then campaign, not that the other side was being obstructionist full stop, but that they are being obstructionists on behalf of bonus-taking plutocrats who are stealing the fruits of the economy from the rest of us.

    Every relationship of domination, exploitation, or oppression is by definition violent. Dominator and dominated alike are reduced to things - the former dehumanized by an excess of power, the latter by a lack of it. And things cannot love.-Paulo Freire

    by samdiener on Mon May 13, 2013 at 09:36:55 AM PDT

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